Archive for March, 2007

I’m the Conspirer!

2540488120.jpgI was a child in the early eighties. I remember walking to Time Saver down the street with two dollars I had scraped up from around the house. I would make that two dollars last the whole day. I could play a dollars worth of Dragon’s Lair or Defender, and still have a dollar left over for a pack of Big League Chew and a Coke. I went to one of the flagship convenience/gas stations today; let’s call it Exxon on the Run. I spent $68 in less than three minutes. Yes, I spent about one quarter of my paycheck at a convenience store for a pack of cigarettes, 23 gallons of gas and a Coke Zero. Even in the late eighties and early nineties I would not spend more than $15 to $20 at a gas station and would still have money left over to pay for a night out at Decatur House downtown or Charities’ in Metairie. So how, in the span of only 15 years, has the price of living tripled in this country?

Irish Channel, Irish Schmannel

I invite everyone in the city to Finn McCool’s today. That is, if you prefer hanging out with actual Irish people instead of drunken frat boys. I will be giving tours of my house, also.

Dig a little deeper, Ashton Phelps….

This appeared in the Times-Pic last Sunday:

Four pumps ran without vibration or pulsation during tests Saturday at the 17th Street Canal, leading an Army Corps of Engineers official to declare enough pumps will be functioning on all three New Orleans outfall canals when the 2007 hurricane season begins June 1….


Great story, right? Happy, happy. Joy, and, quite possibly, joy.

But if only Ms. Grissett had sleuthed a bit more. Yo, check it:


Read Me. (or don’t.) (whatever.)

One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.

My five minutes start now….

I spent the weekend doing a lot of manual labor, which gave me time to think. So I was thinking about what the most important questions facing the city are right now. More importantly, how close are we to an answer to these questions? And then, when we have an answer, are we willing to accept the implications of it? So here’s what I’ve come up with (in no particular order). Please add your own in the comments portion. It’s a hell of a lot longer than I intended, but it felt good to vent. I started to not publish this and just delete it. Guess we’ll see if I chose wisely.

We just proud to be here

Today’s story about the city’s murder rate certainly comes as no surprise. After our big anti-crime rally several weeks back and all sorts of cussing and discussing of the problem at top levels, we saw yet another weekend of violent crime. We can post all the “Enough!” signs we want, but they’re not gonna stop any bullets or convince any gangsta to put it in neutral. Ain’t gonna happen.

If there’s anything good coming out of this (and I don’t mean “good” as in “delightful” — I mean “good” as in “one less problem to deal with”) , it’s that at least one of the weekend’s dead was the guy with a looooooooooooong criminal history who no one seemed to be able to keep in custody. That’s the usual case anymore — thug kills thug, mama cries and thug’s buddies/brother/whomever decides it’s revenge time and the cycle keeps perpetuating. Except in this city right now (and I’m talking about Orleans Parish), things are frighteningly close no matter where you live. It ain’t like Dallas or Houston or Atlanta or other cities where “all that” happens “down there” and in “that part of town” and involves “those people.” Not that things are really any different in New Orleans (crimewise) than they always were — it’s just that the lower population seems to give it a bigger stage.

positively perplexing news

Here is an article in the Times-Picayune about revenue in the City being at near pre-storm levels. It is rather confusing on some levels I suppose. While the article points out that there is a large hispanic population that is spending cash in the Parish, and that hotel rooms were occupied by aid workers for a few months, there are other factors I feel that are not paid the attention they deserve.
For example: the cost of everything in this city has increased. It isn’t just that people are buying all sorts of stuff to replace what they lost. I didn’t lose much and I still spent more money last year than I ever have in this city. I spend more on groceries because there are fewer options available, and it is harder to get to different stores. I spend more on housing because rents increased phenomenally. I spent more on my car last year because the roads have been chewing up tires like they were made of marshmallows. I am happy that revenue in the city is higher than what was expected. But I am also cognizant of the fact that this is no longer an inexpensive city to live in. Has anyone seen any studies that come to this conclusion? I wonder if I am just fooling myself to believe this so that I don’t have to tell myself that I simply spend a lot of money without much to show for it, or if my suspicions are justified.

Navy Ship in the Backyard

We are getting around this week. After hearing about it on the noon news today, we took a tour of the USS New Orleans. Turns out it’s been sitting up at Woldenberg Park all week and I just found out about it. And rolling with our theme for this week, It’s FREE! So, off we went to see what we could see.

The line was not very long but moved a little slow, it took us about an hour to get on board. We had to go through metal detectors and such but it was not a very thorough search. They did not even ask me what was in the sling even though you could not see Chance at all. Not that I wanted to take him out of the sling but they also did not ask me. I was hidding a blanket, a diaper and a pacifier in there but I could have been hiding other stuff. Gotta love that false sense of security. Once through the tour took about 30 minutes even though the guide a fine young crewman didn’t seem extremely knowledgeable (to one question he said “um…you know what, that is something you should go home and google”) about all of the workings of the ship ( a little scary) he was very nice.

We saw the mess hall, crew’s quarters, command center and the pilot’s house along with all the hallways and corridors it takes to get to all of these places. Being stuck in there with no windows and all those little close spaces does not seem like fun to me but then again when was the last time a Navy ship went down let alone being in any major battle? So maybe the Navy is a good choice.

The ship is being commissioned on Saturday but there is still one more day of tours. It is highly recommended for everybody. Kids love it, adults love it, your tax dollars paid for it, the tour is interesting and hell who doesn’t want to go on one of those big ships? See it tomorrow from 1pm – 4pm I suggest getting there around noon if you can.

can’t think of a good title…

Being low on cash and looking for something to do with a baby, Chance and I went to The Historical New Orleans Collection yesterday on Royal. This fit our budget perfectly because it is FREE!

I had never been before and it turns out at this time they have a couple of pretty good exhibits, well actually one I really liked and one I could take or leave.

What’s Cooking New Orleans: Culinary Traditions of the Crescent city is pretty much described in the title. They have some menus from local restaurants and newspaper articles along with some pictures and some cookbooks and other items on display from the 18th through mid 20th centuries. It was ok but small in all honesty I was not very impressed with this exhibit. However, it is on display until July 7th so if you are into cooking or New Orleans cooking traditions check it out. I might not be that into it because I am not much into cooking.

The second exhibit I loved, Four Hundred Years of French Presence in Louisiana: Treasures from the National Library of France gets two thumbs up. This exhibit is much larger than the cooking exhibit and features some items that have never before been displayed. There are maps, rare books, early drawing of Louisiana, historic documents and beautiful paintings. I found particularly interesting the way it seems some French saw Louisiana as a wonderful (vacation) getaway, some letters almost read as if they are sending a post card home from a Caribbean island. I never really thought of Louisiana that way. A big thanks to France for letting us borrow this great exhibit, it will be with us until June 2nd.

Hot Ben-Gays!

So I was looking at Maitri’s post and I followed the link to that condo website. I’m not a huge critic of architecture etc., but I do love making fun of poor websites and marketing campaigns, and well, the first line on that “tracage” website jumped out at me:

“Savor beignets and coffee on your private balcony.”

Ah…. yes. As New Orleanians, I’m sure we all share the pleasures of waking up on Saturday mornings, filling a cauldron with oil, heating it up, preparing a batter, and deep-frying beignets on our own stoves. Myself, I do this every single morning, as beignets are just so intertwined with the culture of this city that I feel I must eat them every day. The Domino sugar truck pulls up to my doorstep every week to deliver a fresh sack of confectioners sugar. I eat beignets on my porch, but only because I cannot afford a balcony, which is of course the preferred vantage point for consuming homemade beignets and cafe au lait.

Okay, I’m joking. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty positive most people here do not eat beignets frequently, much less prepare beignets in their own homes. In fact I would venture to say that most of us have been to IHOP more recently than Cafe du Monde. Anyway, my point is, can you marketing idiots out there please put this whole beignet thing to rest? It’s a piece of fried dough with a mountain of powdered sugar on top. Whoopdee doo. You get them at that place with all the tourists, not in your own home. Or if you want to hang with the old school beignet gangstas, you go to Morning Call in Metairie.

In conclusion, I hope some idiot burns down their stupid new condo trying to make beignets.

Trashy Age

So, this monstrosity endeavors to be erected a scant four blocks from my house. On each drive or walk by the Coming Soon sign, I wonder: what the hell is a Tra├žage and, more importantly, WHO in this city is going to live there? While I tearfully and painstakingly admit to an 11-month sentence at the Saulet Apartments (and hated every single, last minute of it and got out the moment I found another suitable place), few move to this city looking to live in high rises that look like they belong in Destin or Punta Gorda.

According to City Business, “units range in size and price from roughly $200,000 for a 573- square-foot condo to $2 million for a 2,900-square-foot, two-story penthouse.” I get allergic smelling hay and just adore a penthouse view like the next Gabor, but not on Calliope between low warehouses and the old beauty of the Lower Garden District! The people who named this building should understand that le contexte est plus fort que le concept. In other words, the building doesn’t fit the local scenery, goes against the city’s required grain of affordable housing, will probably turn into urban blight borne by locals and makes no economic sense, even using the “what the market will bear” mantra. It ain’t no architectural marvel, either.

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