Archive for May, 2006

Weekend Full Of Fun Stuff To Do

There is quite a bit going on around the city this weekend. Lots of fun to be had by all:

There is the annual Greek Festival. This is an event I look forward to every year. The food is great! The slow roasted lamb is something I look forward to every year almost as much as the Baklava Sundaes. There is always plenty of shade and good family friendly entertainment. This year I will be running in the 5k Race (for fun, not competition) this evening at 7:00. Something else that I want to check out this year is the canoe rentals. A canoe ride down Bayou St. John could be a lot of fun.

Bayou%20Boogaloo.jpg

The second event that I will be hitting up is the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo. This is a free, all-day event being held at Orleans Ave. and Bayou St. John, on Saturday. I have never been to this before. I am not quite sure if it is an annual event, or something new this year. It looks like it will be great. There is an incredible variety of bands playing. Everything from Blues to Caribbean. From Brazilian to Jazz. From Reggae to Rock. There will be vendors out there selling beer and other good stuff. The Mid-City Art Market will be relocating to the Bayou Boogaloo for this weekend as well. You can’t beet all of that entertainment for free. Courtesy of MCNO

Anybody know of any other fun stuff going on this weekend?

UPDATE: Here are some pictures I took at the Bayou Boogaloo.

Please Help Family Of Critically-Wounded Officer

I’ve been trying to find out as much as possible about the NOPD officer who was shot in the face in Algiers after a routine traffic stop on Monday, May 22nd. This surprises me because I am not normally very sympathetic towards law enforcement, even making fun of the bad aspects of the NOPD a lot before (and after) the storm. However, times have changed and circumstances with them. Most of us have learned by now that no attempt to categorize us succeeds because we are individuals. And a number of the New Orleanian men and women in uniform have proven to be the most brave bunch, fighting to keep our city together since The Big Cataclysm. I can’t help but respect that.

Additionally, at this time when law enforcement is scarce and our officers work for a pittance, a man was shot in the face in the line of duty. Yes, this happens in Iraq, Afghanistan, parts of this country and all over the world everyday. But, this is my city, this man stuck his neck out to protect it, and I want to speak up for and help my own. You can, too.

The neworleans LiveJournal community has been abuzz with debate and information surrounding the wounded policeman and law enforcement in general. Andres “Chico” Gonzalez, 25, visited by a fellow officer last night, still “[cannot] move anything. He couldn’t open his eyes and he is hooked up to every wire and machine known to hospital staff.”


Courtesy NOPD

HOW YOU CAN HELP: The NOPD website lists information on the circumstances surrounding Officer Gonzalez’s injury and a special fund set up at First Bank and Trust. Call the bank at 504-584-5900 to contribute money towards his medical expenses and family.

Officer Gonzalez’s friend found that “[the wounded officer’s parents] are in need/looking for anyone to contribute CARPENTRY supplies or such as [they] will have to remodel their house to accomodate a wheelchair.” Contact and/or delivery information wasn’t listed and I have asked for that.

Also, local bars are going to hold Chico Nights to offset some of the medical expenses.

Hope for the best, folks.

Andy, Barn’, and Otis

A couple of things on my mind today:

“Slick-Willie” Jefferson is in the news because several members of both parties are calling the search of his office unconstitutional which may be a clue as to where the missing $10k went. In some protest letter his attorney said the following:

“The actions of the executive branch are an affront to the constitutional separation of powers and a violation of the absolute privilege and immunity that members of Congress enjoy…”

What?!? What was that again?? “absolute privilege and immunity”?!!?? I don’t remember anything in the constitution about Congressman having a right to take bribes from companies they partly own to in turn bribe officials in other countries. I’m starting to think “Slick-Willie” fell for that Nigerian email scam that’s been floating around the internet for years.

Willie, they have you on video!! The CEO of iGate plead guilty and rolled over on you! When you prostitute yourself out and shit goes wrong, all you can do is swallow and back away slowly.

And in other news, the State issued a statement today that they’re satisfied with the evacuation drill yesterday in spite of the fact that even in absolutely perfect weather there was miscommunication and no one knew who was responsible for calling the evacuation of the drill trailer park near Baton Rouge. As a result, it seems they couldn’t organize a couple of hundred volunteers (who are in no doubt, pretty good health) and get them moved out of a trailer park. So to summarize the drill, they put some wrist bands on people and brought in a few buses – sounds more like a bachelor party in Los Angeles.

On the bright side, several hundred inmates have been released from OPP because they were running out of room in the jail. They assure us though, that these are all non-violent criminals. And it’s also nice to know that the Public Defender’s Office has been abandoned since they don’t have any money. So if you commit a crime in Orleans Parish, you’ll just have to sit in jail without talking to an attorney until they just decide to let you go. What kind of Mayberry bullshit is that? – remember how Otis, the town drunk, used to come in at night and lock himself up, have breakfast in the morning and they’d let him go home? Maybe we need to send them over to Mount Pilot for processing.

I really didn’t mean for this post to be so pessimistic, but what can I say?

Harry Goldgar Explained

In my last post, I mistakenly called him Harry Goldberg. I don’t know what I was thinking, I don’t even know any Goldbergs. No wonder I couldn’t find anything when I googled him. His name is Harry Goldgar, and he is the telepath. He thinks everyone in the world can read his mind and we’re not telling him. He was written up in the Times-Picayune in 2003. This reminds me of I guy who I sat next to in a French Quarter sushi bar once. He seemed very nice and then he started telling me about the steel plate in his head. The one the CIA was using to track his movements. Then, he realized that I was with the CIA and I was sent there to follow him. Well, that’s how I got fired from the CIA.

we could use a telepath

So, now the mayor is re-elected and most people are just dealing with it. My friend, Shannon, has just returned from Paris. This morning we had coffee. She said, “well, you must be really disappointed that Landrieu didn’t win.” I answered her that actually, I’m not. I thought we had two amazingly good choices for mayor considering what we have had in the past. Much of what is going to happen will happen no matter who is mayor. The firing of half the city council tempts me to believe that there is a god. The put-downs on New Orleans are starting to make me want to defend Sugar Ray, who did not build these fucked-up levees.

I had worried that Shannon would move out of town if an opportunity came up. She has been through hell with the insurance company, the mortgage company and the contractor. It turns out that an opportunity did come up in a pretty decent city, but she decided to remain in New Orleans. I think she would move to Paris if given the chance, but who wouldn’t? I think right now is the worst time to leave. New Orleans isn’t going anywhere and right now it’s like the wild west. When will anyone have opportunities like this again?

Earlier this evening, I went to the movie “Thank You For Smoking” with my friend, Josh. First of all, if you haven’t seen this movie, go see it. It’s about a tobacco lobbyist. Josh and I are both the kind of people who will smoke if we damned well please, and we were howling at the dead-on satire. It is very well cast, well written, all that. It’s at Canal Place, which is back in business and looks great. All the big stores are open and there are some new ones. You can park in the Canal Place garage and the theater will validate your ticket.

Any way, I had the same conversation with Josh. He asked me if I had thought about leaving. I told him that I’m not staying in New Orleans at all costs. I intend to stay here and I love it here, but I must be able to work and I must be safe. If either one of those things doesn’t happen, I will explore my options. But until then, I am staying. He, like me, has been to other southern cities and they don’t compare.

About New Orleans, though, Josh said he feels like it’s just not right yet, even though his life, like mine, has hardly been affected. He lives Uptown, works Downtown, goes to most of the places he used to go, but there is something missing. It’s the people. Josh said that he never went to New Orleans East or the Lower 9th Ward before the storm and he doesn’t go there now, but he feels the loss of all those people. They are what made New Orleans what it was. Their different colored faces and different ways of talking made Canal Street the main street of a big city instead of just some coastal town. We need all those people back. I used to be so annoyed by the black guy who walked up and down Canal Street screaming bible verses at the top of his lungs. Now, I say, let’s get that guy back and give him a FEMA trailer. Canal Street is not the same without him.

One eccentric who has returned is the guy who walks around in front of the federal court house at Camp and Poydras. He is an older white man and he wears a sandwich board that reads: “FREE HARRY GOLDBERG TELEPATH” on both sides. Considering the setting, I don’t think he is advertising free telepathic services. I imagine that Harry Goldberg is a powerful telepath whom the government is holding in a special lead-lined prison in New Mexico, trying to harness his ability to read minds. I used to pass that guy about once a week and I have never asked him about Harry Goldberg. I’m so glad to see him back. Free Harry Goldberg, whoever he is!

Me! Pick me!

Here’s something that certainly gives us all something to think about over the upcoming holiday weekend.

If it happens again this season, what will YOU do? I know there are lots of variables, such as where you’re living, how strong the approaching storm is, etc, etc. But it’s certainly worth discussing in detail.

Frankly, now that we know the house is solid and on high ground, we’re more tempted to stay (depending, of course, how just how strong the storm might be). We’ve seen what the house can stand and we know (being close to the river) we’re behind much more solid levees than much of the city.

I’ll try to take an informal poll. But I think Uptown, Garden District and FQ residents might be more likely to remain at home this time around — despite the potential hassles and problems. The idea of another exodus and temporary exile is, frankly, more than I want to deal with.

Shedding some light

The situation in New Orleans has long since dropped off the national radar screen (except for Dollar Bill Jefferson) and it’s to be expected, this being nine months after The Late Unpleasantness. I remember talking about this here way back in September. It’s just the nature of things — and we’ve often not been our own best friends either. But a friend asked me the other day about how things are in this city and today was pretty much a microcosm of what it’s like to run a business here these days.

On the surface, my business has had the best ten-day sales period of any ten days in its history. Yay for me, right? Delivery, however, is quite another matter. It has taken pretty much all my personal worth and company worth to survive this long (no power and roof until a few weeks ago, remember?), so we’re majorly in the hole to begin with. Forget about credit — that was sucked down the crapper trying to pay the normal bills so I could get this far. So now that orders are finally rolling in, what happens?

To begin with, my main supplier’s staff has been cut from over 80 to less than 40. This means the accounts payable lady is now doubling as a salesperson and has no clue what I need. Even when things ARE delivered to me on time, they can tend to be the wrong items. Driving from Point A to Point B can be iffy because of road obstructions and, even if you get there, the hours of the place you’re going to might have been cut so they’re closed when you finally arrive. Sigh. All the rules have changed and they keep changing day to day. And it’s no one’s fault. It’s just How Things Are. And will be for quite some time.

I could go on and on. I’m not griping as much as I’m explaining. What used to be normal is now the exceptional — and it means running a business is now less a challenge and more a marathon endurance contest. Business owners like myself have long since given up hoping or asking for help — since we know it’s going to be up to us. But I gotta tell you it’s frustraing to end the day, come home and think, “Damn. I’d have killed for this much business a year ago. Now that I’ve got it, how do I deliver?” It’s like someone stays up overnight coming up with new roadblocks.

It’ll work itself out okay. It’s just the short-term that’s very frustrating in this city these days. And too many folks simply can’t wait anymore. These days, it’s a miracle to just get enough together to open the door and turn on the lights for another day.

This is, of course, assuming the lights work.

like a bad neighbor

I received a letter in the mail yesterday informing me that State Farm has decided to drop me as a customer. When I called up to find out why, it is because I claimed a loss after the hurricane and then I went over 30 days without remaining a State Farm customer (I removed my name from the plan in February of this year, and rejoined in May). In the world of insurers, this is a recipe for cancelling a plan.
Now, the reason I was without a policy for three months is because I was homeless. When you have no home, you don’t need insurance. So basically State Farm is penalizing me because
1. I was homeless after the hurricane, and
2. They had to make a payment to me as a result of the hurricane (of course, if it had been a reasonable payment I wouldn’t have had issue #1 occur)
So there you go. State Farm has choosen to not insure someone who needs insurance because there is a possibility they will have to actually provide the protection that was paid for. If anyone can recommend a good insurer in this town, please let me know.

Give Blood For Injured NOPD Officer

Would it hurt them to publish his blood type? From nola.com:

The New Orleans Police Department is seeking blood donations for the officer who was shot Monday afternoon and was undergoing sugery Monday evening. Interested persons may give blood at 2701 Manhattan Blvd. in Harvey and at 3400 16th St. in Metairie.

Update: May 24, 2006 12:45PM Just got off the phone with NOPD Public Affairs and they have no new information on the status of the officer.

French Quarter On Thursday Night

Hey guys, it’s been pretty busy the past few days, but I want to bring this important issue to your attention. People, the French Quarter on Thursday night was dead. My husband, his business associate, my daughter, and myself went down to the French Quarter. Yes that’s right, I took my 3-year old daughter with us to go eat since I had no babysitter for the evening, so her and Baby Elmo partied like no others down on Bourbon Street. Anyway, while we were down there, we of course walked around with some drinks in hand and checked out the local shops. It’s very sad since many were closed.

Even my personal favorite, The Panda Bear, where I always purchased my leather goods, handcuffs, lubes, latex body paint, and vaginal jewelry, is closed too. We did go into a tourist shop across from The Gumbo Shop on South Peters that had some incredible deals like N.O. polo shirts for only $9.99 and t-shirts for $3.99, so we replaced some of our weekend t-shirts that got wiped out by Katrina. We even picked up beautiful Mardi Gras feathered masks for only $3.00 and pot holders for $2.50. You could tell that things have been slow around there, especially when we went to dinner.
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