The House That Drives Men Mad

If any of you have had kids and know anything about the French comic book hero Asterix, you will recognize the title of this entry. It is the name of an aptly-named place Asterix had to conquer as one of his 12 Tasks — in other words, he had to enter a government building to get a simple form. To wit…..

It’s time to pay my 2007 property tax bill to the (also aptly-named) City of NO. But wait! There is no homestead exemption subtracted from my total — so I call the office of politically connected Betty Jefferson (my assessor, who seems bent on making things as tough as possible while she’s still around). I”m told I can solve this situation by bringing a picture ID and my power bill to prove residence. Hey — I can do that. It’s the same thing I did back when I bought the house two years ago.

…so it’s off to Perdido St. I go, amazingly finding a convenient parking space and (up music) entering The House That Makes Men Mad.

Not only do I bring the Entergy bill and my drivers license, but also my 2005 AND 2006 homestead exemption stubs. Pretty savvy, right? Hell, I fought these bastids before. I know my way around City Hall and, um, well…


It seems the drivers license that was good enough to get me the homestead exemption in 2005 (before the flood) and in 2006 is no longer good enough. It has my old (Mid-City) address on it. So, despite showing an Entergy bill and both proofs of exemption, it seems I can no longer prove where I live. This means I have to finally make the sojourn to Jefferson Parish tomorrow to present my drivers license to get a new address. The state, in its wisdom, will simply ask me for the new address without demanding any proof, so I could easily give the address of City Hall or 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (don’t tempt me). But at least I’ll get the proper piece of ID so Ms. Betty-Gotta-Look-For-A-Job-Soon-Please-Help-Me-Bruthuh-Bill Jefferson can complete a task her office has done twice before. I hope.

Now, I know I should have gone and gotten this drivers license address changed before. Hell, TBK and I have been married a year now and she hasn’t gone through the name-change thing because it’s such a damn hassle to go to Harvey or Metairie, stand in line, nod and shuffle, sigh and shift and move at glacial speed to accomplish a simple task like changing an address and/or a name on a license. But, student of life that I am, I consider this yet Another Lesson Learned.

But again — it’s not the Big Picture that makes it so exasperating to stay here. It’s the collection of so many small items — like being pecked to death by a duck.


11 Comments so far

  1. Laureen (unregistered) on January 29th, 2007 @ 5:02 pm

    So my friend, and our loyal reader, Eva, says she goes out at night with only cash on hand and does not bring her driver’s license in case she gets mugged . . . it’s too hard to replace your driver’s license here. Just to give you an idea of the reality of life here. She said it’s a chance worth taking. When she tries to explain this to people in ‘the states’, they think she’s nuts, but it is understandable if you live here. Just carry a card with your name and someone to call in case of emergency. It’s our own Botswana.

    Nice post, Craig. I was in Shitty Hall today too . . in the usual fever. And it’s only Monday.

  2. paulp (unregistered) on January 29th, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

    I was just using the City of New Orleans website. It sucks. There is a map you can look at for blighted properties and it doesn’t work. I then looked through a PDF of all of the things I would need to do to get a hold of one of those blighted properties. I just had a stroke. I think the City needs to make it a little easier to buy a piece of shit, then polish it.

  3. Chris Martel (unregistered) on January 29th, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

    I went to the DMV about a year ago to change my address and they do ask for a document proving you live at that address. an Entergy bill should do.

  4. Jack Ware (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 9:57 am

    I’ve been dreading the trip to the DMV I still have an address from years ago; several iterations back, and I just don’t want to go. I’ll let you guys and our loyal readers in on a little secret I was told years ago and has always served me well….

    Go to the place on the West Bank right where the toll plaza is. Last time I went, and this was years ago, I was in and out in about 10 minutes – only two people in line ahead of me. It isn’t easy to get to since you have to get off on…not Terry Parkway but the other road it shares an exit with and turn left, then left again *under* the overpass. Last I heard it was still the quickest way to get in and out with a new ID. I have to go in the next couple of weeks so I’ll let ya’ll know.

  5. Chris Martel (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 10:13 am

    Jack, the secret’s out on that place. They had to close the one in Harvey because of storm damage (along with the one in Lakeview and the one in N.O. East) and they started telling everyone to go to the one under the CCC. Well, when I went there there were about 100 people crammed into that space, which is easily the smallest DMV I’ve ever seen. Fucking nightmare. Supposedly there is a mobile DMV trailer that sometimes makes its way to St. Bernard, so that might be worth checking out.

  6. Jack Ware (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 11:19 am

    Damn it!!

  7. Craig (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 12:36 pm

    To update this situation, I went to the DMV office in Harvey this morning and arrived at 7:30am. I was like the 20th person in line when the place opened at 8. But things moved along quickly and I had the new license by about 8:30. I had no trouble (10 minutes) re-registering Kim’s car in the adjacent office.

    Then I went back to the House That Makes Men Mad and accomplished the tax business in short order. Then I went downstairs to the Treasury office to make sure their tax records and mine were in agreement. Turns out they OWE ME about $400 from the 2005 homestead exemption filing.


  8. Craig (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 4:23 pm

    …oh — and the DMV folks asked me for no proof of where I lived.

  9. MindyMoo (unregistered) on January 31st, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

    Glad you posted this, Craig — I looked at my bill and they did not give me a Homestead Exemption, either (smell a rat here?). So I called the assessor’s office and she said that I was indeed owed an exemption, but I had to file for one first. After she refused to send the form to my current address in St. Bernard (the house in New Orleans isn’t finished yet), I agreed to pick it up in person tomorrow. Hopefully the tax bill will go down, and it’ll be worth it. But she did ask me if my license had my Orleans address (which it does)… Your assessor could have at least told you that over the phone.

  10. Craig (unregistered) on January 31st, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

    When you file, they will tell you that you don’t have to pay property taxes until you get a new bill, which will be like 4-6 months. And the new bill should be (ballpark, depending on the value of the property) about $500 lower.

  11. Chris (unregistered) on January 31st, 2007 @ 3:31 pm

    my bill this year, homestead exemption applied, was $30.99.

    I’d say that’s about what the police protection we’re getting is worth.

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