Archive for July, 2005

Back for all the fun

We’re back in New Orleans, having had to cut short our weekend trip to Dallas due to car trouble near Alexandria. We’ll just stick around to see what happens with Hurricane Dennis and enjoy the fact the streets seem to be a little quieter since so many folks bailed. In the meantime, we’re prepped for whatever happens (meaning a generator, gasoline, some food and plenty of fixings for Adult Beverages).

Where were all these folks who were supposed to be fleeing the hurricane? I know many headed up I-65 out of Mobile or went otherwise north into AL or GA out of Florida. But while we saw National Guard and FEMA units headed south on I-49 toward Lafayette, the amount of traffic going north Friday afternoon wasn’t much heavier than normal. And, despite hearing there were no hotel rooms available in Louisiana, I scored a great room at the Holiday Inn in downtown Alexandria on the third call. It appeared to be the typical rate, too ($75). This call was made at about 4:30 Friday afternoon while we were waiting for a tow truck between Alexandria and Opelousas. Either we got way lucky or things weren’t as tough to find as everyone kept saying.

Advice to travelers — Alexandria pretty much sucks. While there are the usual chain joints along 71 (the old main drag thru town), the downtown area is REALLY dead after 7pm. We lucked into grand opening night at a new Irish pub with lots of potential (a place called Finnegan’s Wake), but the only other offering was what was inside the hotel. Interesting to note the changing of the guard in the hotel lounge, which went from fairly typical Central Louisiana Redneck at about 7pm (when we first arrived) to Urban R&B/hiphop by about 9:30, when we returned for a nightcap. It reminded me of how small-town radio stations used to block-program themselves in the 1950s: “Okay — 3-6pm we’ll play some of that rock and roll the teenagers like, then from 6-9pm, we’ll play country music, then from 9-12pm, we’ll do something for the Negroes.”

At any rate, much better to be home than on the road. We’ll see if this hurricane amounts to anything on this side of the state line.

An Open Letter to the Citizens of New Orleans

My Fellow New Orleanians:

You are all a bunch of pussies.

Actually, let me rephrase that: you are all a bunch of water-hoarding, Margaret Orr-loving, I-10-clogging evacuation monkeys.

For days, every meteorological model has shown Dennis hitting the Floribama coast, but still, you’re closing up shop. You’re cancelling events. You’re running for the hills (literally, since Monkey Hill doesn’t count).

You’re on the streets at 7:00am, eyes wide with hysteria as you make one last run to Home Depot for plywood. Your minivans teeter from side to side, piled high with children and pets and shabbat candles (the only ones you could still find at Robert’s). At the Shell station, you pump gallon after gallon of gas, remembering your evacuation in the face of Ivan and hoping that it doesn’t take you another eight hours just to reach Aunt Judy’s house in Baton Rouge.

And so I ask, could you pantywaists stop with the kvetching and the tsoris and the powerdrills before dawn and please listen to Bob freaking Breck? Yes, I know: with that shrill little voice and those unfortunate hair plugs, he’s sometimes tough to stomach, but underneath all those Cassandra-Complex trappings, he’s a rational guy, and he’s saying “Sit your ass back down.” (I paraphrase.)

Seriously, if you’re gonna fly into a tizzy every time a low pressure system creeps toward the Gulf Coast, maybe y’all ought to move someplace else. There’s Minneapolis, for example. Or St. Louis. Or Hershey, Pennsylvania–you like chocolate, don’t you? Fact is, there’s a zillion places unlike New Orleans where you could live, so do us all a favor and hit the road. We have enough to worry about with crime and public schools and those goddamn new parking thingamajigs without you screaming gloom and doom in our ears every other week.

Good riddance. Don’t forget to drop us a line now and then from whatever godforsaken Midwestern hellhole you land in.

Sincerely,
Your neighbor, who is trying to get some sleep

Getting Rid of French Quarter Tourist Pee Pee

Dear Councilwoman Clarkson,

Did you know that the people in the Quarter have a common problem with the people of V

The 38th Most Unwired City


New Orleans is ranked 38th by Intel among the most unwired cities nationwide. Not bad for a city that seems to be in a third-world of its own.

Looking for wi-fi? Check out Citysearch’s list here to start. I’m sure you can add plenty of your favorite spots to the comments thread, that is, if they still exist by the end of the week.

City on Brink of Pandemonium

There is a mayoral press conference scheduled for 11:00 this morning, at which point Mayor Nagin will probably proceed to light the fuse that will send New Orleans into full fledged panic mode. Not that I can blame him– these latest computer models of Dennis are not a pretty picture. Neither is the idea of my house being underwater or being without power for several weeks.

But I am a gambling man. I even took finite mathematics classes in college. And here are the chances as I see them:

  • Hurricane hitting New Orleans: 10% chance
  • Hurricane hitting New Orleans, power out for weeks, city devolves into Mad Max like anarchy: 5% chance
  • Hurricane hitting New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain levee breaking, city underwater: 1% chance
  • Me being miserable or even suicidal if I evacuate: 100% chance
  • Me actually having fun if I stick around: 60% chance
  • My death due to drowning, poisonous snake bite, dysentery, being shot by national guard, downed power lines, or other hilarious consequence: 0.1% chance
  • My death due to car accident, alcohol poisoning, suicide, or rage after evacuating: 0.5% chance

I will admit that I said similar things when Ivan was on its way, then proceeded to evacuate, but this time I’m serious. I’m not leaving. Not. Leaving. Nagin can go on TV and talk about body bags being delivered and try to scare the living shit out of the city, but I’ll take my chances. With hotel rooms booked solid everywhere within 300 miles and no clear indication that the city’s evacuation strategy has improved, the grass does not look greener on the other side of the fence.

11:30 am Update: Jeff Parish calling for voluntary evac. Orleans Parish remaining “cautiously optimistic.

Cindy hassles

It’s typical that my Irish Channel house is apparently among the last 10 percent of those who lost power from Tropical Storm Cindy to get power back. I am able to write this only because I’m up on a generator to power the computer and a fan. We’ll crank up a light or two once it’s dark.

Power went down about 1am Tuesday morning. This was expected, though the extent of damage and power outages around the city was not. We cruised around a bit in the early morning darkness to look at damage, and I was surprised even the St. Charles Tavern was closed. It appears they had power, but it also appeared so in my neighborhood.
I called Entergy and was told (via autobot) that power would be restored by Tuesday evening. But, in listening to the callers on WWL, it was obvious things were much more damaged than anyone had anticipated.

Now — had Entergy told me it might be the weekend before power was restored, I’d have gone to my office and gotten my generator. But nooooooooooooooooo — I was foolish enough to believe.

Tuesday stretched into early Wednesday morning. No power. Cruised around for a while in the dark, listening to the radio and seeing who had power and who didn’t. A few more places open. Nearly ALL my neighbors had power, but not me and like a half-dozen houses nearby. By Wednesday afternoon, food in the fridge was going bad. Started heavy drinking at 2pm — at least Parasol’s had electricity. Went to bed at 8:30.

Wednesday night — still no power. Got up early Thursday morning (couldn’t sleep in the thick air) and at least got a 2:30am burger at St. Charles Tavern. Coffee at a Starbucks on Magazine at Washington (too early for CC’s to open). Loaded plywood in my pickup for a neighbor in anticipation of Dennis next week. Still no power at 6:23pm as I write. I’m told it will be on by “8 pm.” I have emptied the fridge and tossed all food, except what I could put in a cooler with some ice. Power crews were in my neighborhood today, but left before I could entice them to the house. Next time I’ll get Kim to wear something low-cut when I go talk to them.

Going to Dallas this weekend anyway for my mother’s 80th birthday. We’ll see if power actually returns sometime this evening. If not, I’m prepared for Dennis if it comes this way. At least I’ll be long gone before any evacuation highway headaches.

Note to Entergy — please give us the Worst Case Scenario when my power goes out so I take appropriate action. I’d rather you cry wolf than be Pollyanna. That said, I know you have a tough job and I appreciate your efforts.

Dennis the Menace

Looks like while I slept soundly in my bed last night, everyone else was being destroyed by tropical storm Cindy.

Did I miss any more damage in the quarter? Looks like all that was destroyed here were some bricks.

Dennis
is up next – it looks like we won’t be able to tell how close it’s coming until the weekend, where it’s suspected it will become a Category 2 or 3.

Someone might want to make a call to whoever cooked up the voodoo to protect us from Ivan.

The Mayor’s Office Might (Not) Be Reading


Remember this post? I wrote an email to the Mayor’s Office asking him to take a look at the post about the city’s priorities and Metroblogging New Orleans in the future.

The response:

“Thank you for the invitation to join the Metroblogging community. We are excited that this cyber community is communicating about local issues. Good luck with your new venture.”

No signature line, no response to the post. Metroblogging is certainly not new and I could hardly take credit for it. I doubt it was even actually visited.

Mayor Nagin, are you reading this?

Tropical Storm. Again

A tropical storm moving ashore this evening. Kinda blustery out, but nothing unusual this time of year. I DO like to hear the wind blow things around and hear the rain on the roof, long as things don’t get out of line. And this one’s not a problem.
The next one is of more concern, however. We’ll see what it brings. Never, ever turn your back on Mother Nature. She bats last.

Dog… gone!

When not working for Keyser Soze, Kobayashi still swallows more wiener than anyone else.

Naturally, fellow N.O. Metroblogger Chris Martel has the run-down here.

However, I must acknowledge second place finisher (and new American hot dog-eating record-holder) Sonya Thomas. See, in a contest back in March, this petite woman of 100lbs slurped down 46 DOZEN Louisiana oysters in 10 minutes!! She’s known as the “Black Widow” of the professional eating circuit, and definitely has game. Even after eating the 46 dozen, she consumed 7 dozen more to set an endurance record.

Shucks, who can do better than that?

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