Well, THAT was interesting…

Marigny/Bywater Community Meeting

I’d never been to a meeting of the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association. The group regularly convenes in the basement of St. Paul’s Lutheran, which is right around the corner from my house, but the meetings are always potluck, and I’m not much of a cook, so rather than show up with nothing, or bearing something that might kill off half my neighbors, I’ve generally avoided the get-togethers. Which is just as well, ’cause I think my parents would, like, totally flip if they knew I’d set foot in a Lutheran church.

Last night, though, I broke with tradition. Meeting notices were posted on the many, many refrigerators lining the streets (they’re bigger than light poles, and you can spray paint ’em, too!), all saying that our councilperson Jackie Clarkson was going to be there with reps from Entergy and the NOPD and the Sanitation Department and so on. Since I’m unable to take most of those folks and the services they offer for granted right now, I figured it was in my best interests to attend.

I toyed with the idea of picking up something from the grocery store for the potluck portion of the evening, but then I remembered there aren’t any grocery stores open in the ‘hood, so I nixed it. Big deal: I didn’t bring anything, I wouldn’t eat.

It’s a good thing I didn’t bother. There were several hundred people from both the Marigny and Bywater in the room, and practically no one brought food. Frankly, everyone seemed a little too edgy to eat. While most of us have power and water and phone and cable service, none of us have gas service yet, which means no hot water, which means no hot showers. At the moment, we’re living like old French whores.

Two remarkable things about the meeting. First, Jackie Clarkson–who’s always struck me as a typically grandstanding politico–showed remarkable poise. Though there were clearly moments where she was laying the groundwork for her next campaign, by and large her comments seemed sincere and loaded with common sensical goodness. The same can be said for the various representatives on-hand–especially the Entergy dude, who was, safe to say, easily the least popular man in the room.

The second thing of interest: I realized how completely gentrified my neighborhood has become. Very white, very middle class, very “We could live Uptown but there’s so much more character down here and the prices are cheaper, too.” And, like, really, really gay. Not that I thought my boyfriend and I were the only cakeboys around, but man…. At times, it was like a chorus of asps.

Overall, the meeting was pretty good, pretty informative. The folks at the mike tried to give as many direct answers as they could, sometimes shouting their reponses so that the folks in the courtyard who couldn’t fit in the room could hear. Some of the audience members were good, too, respectfully asking solid, important questions about past performance and plans for the coming weeks. But others…I mean, Jesus H! At one point, I fully expected to turn my head and see folks in mob caps bearing torches. A handful of my dumbass neighbors (mostly the ones who stayed for the whole ordeal and went kinda feral) thought that last night would be the perfect opportunity to yell at some overworked, thoroughly bewildered public officials in a crowded room–which, of course, got us nowhere. By the time the conspiracy theorists started in, it was time to leave. I didn’t even get to hear when they’re going to pick up my garbage. But then, I suppose I’m lucky to have garbage to pick up….

4 Comments so far

  1. Kimmie (unregistered) on October 25th, 2005 @ 10:09 am

    A handful of my dumbass neighbors (mostly the ones who stayed for the whole ordeal and went kinda feral)

    I have seen this, it’s um… well I really don’t have the words for it.

    Richard…
    Since Saturday we’ve had the chance to meet Mark, Chris and Jack… Connections these days are paramount.. email me.. Craig returns wednsday and frankly… I want to personally welcome you home, show you my new tatoo… and let you know how much I’ve appreciated your posts through this.

    Kim


  2. Tyler (unregistered) on October 25th, 2005 @ 11:31 am

    Chorus of asps and old French whores? Coffee, out of my nose this morning … LOL


  3. Robert (unregistered) on October 26th, 2005 @ 11:18 am

    My thoughts exactly Tyler. Good stuff Richard.


  4. richard (unregistered) on October 26th, 2005 @ 11:57 am

    Aw, shucks, Kimmie…

    And, Tyler, Robert, a little advice: I don’t care WHAT the cool kids are shooting out their noses these days. Narial irrigation is best done simply with warm salt water, not coffee! Check it: http://www.nasalcups.com.

    See?



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