Archive for September, 2006

All I Have to Offer

The neighbor kids, Raheim, who just turned 11yrs old and his brother J’ame, 8, come around to see me when they are here on the Eastbank visiting their dad. Today, I asked them how they feel about the city. They think it’s only getting a little better. We talk about the things that make them mad.

Continuing Edumacation

Man — am I in a big learning curve or what?

I have learned, over the past 13 months, that the truly lucky ones in this city are those who had their jobs to go back to. I mean, their regular jobs. Even if their house was destroyed, even if they have umpteen relatives still living with them and, yes, even if they lost someone near and dear — at least they have that consistent paycheck to keep things moving week to week. Those of us who lost businesses or (as in my case) are having to unload them because they don’t have the reserves they once had are having to adjust to an entirely new reality. I mean, it’s great in a lot of ways — but damn. This shift from one world to another ain’t easy.

Dear Office of Emergency Preparedness,


This letter is to officially inform you that your abandoned vehicle if still located at the corner of Constance and Washington in New Orleans, 70130.

Functionburg vs Disfunctionburg


An artist in the Bywater put these together pre-K. If all you can do is start bawling that ‘it’s divisive’, then you aren’t getting it. Would someone please tell me what Broadmoor is going to do with all that money? Can you count the politicos? Are they going to pump up the ground underneath the entire bowl and finally stop them from flooding? Didn’t we just spend 5 million on the drainage over there? Maybe they’ll fix Napoleon Ave. . . . again? Maybe they could get a ferris wheel . . . the possibilities are endless.

The Good Ol Days

Ya know, all day I’ve felt like I was stuck in the last 20 minutes of A Clockwork Orange. I woke up and everything was as fine as it can be. I’m changing jobs, so there’s a little more stress than usual. I somehow forgot about the 3′ by 3′ hole in the floor right outside the bathroom, but I managed to get my foot on a rafter and not fall. Took my buddy to the airport for a little vacation back home to Chicago. That trail of tears back from the airport in morning traffic involved putting air in the tire three times and trying to patch it, but it just keeps cracking a little more and a little more. So I stopped at Lowes on Jeff Highway to cheer myself up. Hardware stores now remind me of when I was optimistic about this little shanty of mine. I watch people buy dry-wall and I dream of the day I get to do that. You can actually walk from one end of the store to the other and it’s like moving through the stages of grief. You start over with the roofing and OSB board, moving through doors and trim, to cabinets and appliances, on to bathroom fixtures and ultimately, landscaping and flowers. Seems like I’ve been stuck in the first isle for quite a while now and I look longingly toward the paver bricks, morterless, decorative walls and shrubery that will keep me from having to build a fence realizing, sadly, that I’m just not there yet. Sometimes I’ll stand looking around in the power tools section, (a subset of isle one) and think, ‘man, I’d sure love to get me a planer’. But I don’t, and I never will. I just end up buying more of those carpenter’s pencils that are all flat and shaped funny to work better on speed squares and such.

free home gutting services

home%20gutting.jpgFrom today’s Times-Picayune.

All’s fair in love and insurance

We were informed in May that our current insurance company would be dropping us effective September 13th. So we did what we could to get Homeowner’s insurance, calling dozens of companies and getting an emphatic “No, we are not writing new policies for your area.”


One of the establishments that I didn’t forsee coming back after Katrina was the Deutsches Haus. A social club created for the German presence in New Orleans, the Deutsches Haus consisted of several rooms for drinking, eating, meeting, and socializing, as well as an outdoor beer garden area, which is somewhat rare in these parts. I’d passed by there several times in the past year without seeing much going on, so imagine my delight last week when I saw a banner hanging on the building announcing that the 2006 Oktoberfest would be held there!

From their website:

Located in one of Katrina’s hard hit areas of the city, the Deutsches Haus suffered extensive damage to its interior, including kitchen equipment, furniture and historical memorabilia. The costs for rebuilding will exceed $260,000.00 in materials alone. With manual labor costs, that amount could easily double; however, in an effort to alleviate any additional costs with manual labor, much of the rebuilding has been conducted by its dedicated members.

Oktoberfest starts there tomorrow at 5:00 pm. The address is 200 S. Galvez St, admission is $5 for adults, free for children, club members, and military, police, and fire officials. Sausage is provided by Usinger’s of Milwaukee, a first class purveyor of old world meats. More info here: Come show them your support.

Content is King

Bo Walker from Clear Channel contacted some locals to ask if we would attend a meeting this week to help them figure out how they could assist neighborhoods in our recovery process.

It will be interesting to learn what they have to offer. Of course, they could target folks scattered in the diaspora with broadcasts of various local meetings and, at the very least, announce meeting schedules. They could report on the impact of non-profits in post-disaster recovery. My friend Eva has already worked with them to broadcast PSA’s for the Latino population through the Hispanic Apostalate. I have spoken to Nathan Shroyer, who is a leader in the Neighborhood Planning Network and Pat Evans at the University of New Orleans Director of the International Project for Nonprofit Leadership to see what they would request of Clear Channel. At this time, it is rumored that WRNO is going to switch to talk radio. That might not be a bad thing, unless you’re into cutting edge mullet radio. I can’t seek through Rod Ryan’s show fast enough.

I thought maybe I should ask you too, as information consumers, how do you think Clear Channel could best assist us in disseminating information regarding recovery?

In other News

In today’s headlines, we find the Saints win changed the attitudes of some, but caused others to conduct business as usual around town. Three dead guys in one night, again. I wonder if they were so excited about the win that they decided to go out and kill people. I almost killed myself when I ran from the kitchen back to the sofa.

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