Archive for August, 2007

Excuse this entry

Last year’s one-year anniversary of The Thing was, from what I remember of it, a celebration — of being back, of being alive and of pushing forward. We had survived a year and were able to say we were still here — and there were more of us still here than we thought there’d be. We were more fortunate than so many who didn’t or couldn’t or wouldn’t come back. We had a solid roof, fergodsakes. And power. And clean water. We were, in short, celebrating because we were lucky sumibitches. Because we simply could.

….but this year is different. So very different — in part because so little has changed in so many ways. And because, despite the tremendous strides that have been made on many fronts, there are still so many victims. I don’t mean just those who are still in their FEMA trailers (a little over 30,000 around this immediate region) or those who are remembering lost loved ones. I’m talking about the walking wounded — those who get up and function and try to push ahead and smile and work and resume their life as it was. But, for whatever reasons, they simply can’t. Ot at least not completely. Perhaps it’s an overdeveloped sense of empathy, maybe something they saw in the rubble, possibly a sound that takes them back — but it’s just something they just….can’t…..quite…..get past.

Truth Brigade

Jamay Love the Scooter

I had an unexpected evening to spend with the kids tonight. First, Raheim had some ouchies, that actually made him CRY! I was shocked. So we sprayed it with bacterial spray and I got some Aloe Vera from the yard. I had to teach them how good that is, which they really loved, cuz it doesn’t hurt like the spray. We talked about healing, traumatic wounds and what to do . .911, ice, pressure, then Aloe and, of course, the importance of the Hello Kitty cold compresses.

While discussing minor first aid, we got on the subject of the President’s visit tomorrow prompted by the low-flying helicopters which accompany the, now, predictable, token, annual Presidential visit to the ‘disaster zone’. Having been in the position of many a sound-bite myself in the Katrina media frenzy, I asked them, “What will you say if you get just one second in front of some cameras?”

What will become of us?

My fingers are just doing their own thing people; I have no control at this point.

It’s a question that I guess I’m just now confronting. Seems kind of strange in my mind that I’m just getting around to asking myself, just what will become of us, New Orleans?

It’s a tough question. One that neither I nor anyone else really has an answer to and it’s distressing to say the least. I think that is the thing that is most difficult to handle-the uncertainty. The feeling of not knowing what’s next, waiting for the OTHER shoe to drop. Damn it, we want our normalcy back. Yeah I know, that’s like asking to win the lottery. Nice thought, but it’s not going to happen.

I like to think that the citizens of this city have control over the future, that we can shape or maybe focus the future to be something that will be beneficial to all of us, those who love New Orleans. And we do have a say, but its not like it should be nor is it like it could be. We haven’t given ourselves to the dark side or any such nonsense, but our future depends on things that are generally out of our control. Yes, we can start electing leaders who lead, who don’t steal for themselves and leave the rest of us behind. We can demand a safe city. We can demand adequate levees. But demanding and getting are two different things.

K-Ville- Hindrance or Help?

The Fox Network’s national debut of the “gritty cop drama” K-Ville will occur September 17th. The locals have gotten a chance to check out the premiere early, thanks to and the Fox Network.

Normally, I have better things to do than to watch a TV show on the internet. But seeing how life is a puzzle right now for the majority of us, meaning we are still trying to put the pieces back together, I thought I’d watch to see how the show will come across to the rest of the nation.

First, I don’t expect this program to depict life as it is for the majority of us in the city. No one wants to watch that frankly. I watched it as a casual observer really, not trying to focus too much on either how good or how bad the producers/writers portrayed New Orleans.

I was really more interested in how Louis in Topeka or Mary in Idaho would view the show. If we, meaning locals, get too bogged down with the “that’s not how we do it” or “I’ve never seen a criminal that looks like THAT” then we’re not getting what the show could mean to the city/recovery. A cop show in general is that, a cop show. Good guys, bad guys, good cops and maybe a bad cop or two. The basics are in there. Just like Ragu spaghetti sauce, It’s in there!

I’m not a TV critic, (Boy that must a tough gig). But I rather enjoyed the show. Is it perfect? No, not at all. But I did vibe with some of the post katrina takes and think that, as much as can be expected, the people involved are trying to do the right thing. Will it work? Not sure on that one. We all know the Katrina Fatigue excuse that we’ve heard the rest of the country suffers from, so some folks will be turned off right away. But it’s not just about Katrina. It kept me interested enough to want to see what’s next in K-Ville.

Take an hour and watch. See if you think that it’s close to realistic or that it’s just nutty. These aren’t sweet and cuddly cops like all the REAL NOPD officers are. Can a TV show help an area recover? Or will it just shed more bad publicity on our 2-sided sword city?

Good reading

We’ll be hearing things from all sorts of angles this coming week. Here are a couple of the best ones I’ve run across so far, from the AP (my former employer) and the New York Times…..

The AP article

The NY Times article

The Who-Dats

I’ve never felt this way before concerning the football team that calls New Orleans home. I doubt if the entire city has felt this way about our football team before. Sure, we’ve always had the crazies who think the Saints will be good every year, no matter the record. But much like our political process, the majority of us have been in the middle when it comes to believing that the boys could be good.

No more. The city’s water supply has been sadly lacking fluoride since Katrina, but me thinks the Sewage & Water Board has been spiking the city’s water supply with some kind of non-flavored Saints Kool-Aid. Call it Black and Gold fever, cause the entire city cannot wait for the NFL season to begin.

Die-hard football fans, casual football fans and people who wouldn’t know a football if it hit them in the crotch are hyped, over-hyped and positively giddy over the prospects of the 2007 edition of the New Orleans Saints.

I will not bore you or myself with some “analysis” of the offense, defense or special teams. I will not go into detail about this back up or that back up. I don’t want to talk about the play calling or any such nonsense.

Last season, the staff at the radio station (new web site btw), attempted to predict the final regular season record of the beloved gridiron 11. Some went as high as 7-9. Myself I thought they would go 2-14. Shows what I know. Or anyone knew for that matter.

So tell me, dear faithful metro blogging readers, how will the Saints do this season? What will the regular season record be for the team that restored hope in a city? Basics: 16 game season, wins go first, losses second. No sneaking up on anyone this year folks, this team is expected to be very very good.

If I thought it would work, I’d give another horrible prediction as to not put the whammy on the boys. But I don’t believe in that stuff so I’m going to say 12-4, South Division Champs and yeah you right New Orleans, the Saints will be in the Super Bowl!

Are you ready for some football New Orleans? Tell me what you think!

Look pretty!

So next week is anniversary week and we’ll again be a media and political darling. All kinds of folks are gonna be in town to show us how much they care. Or at least to show they care more than the other guy. And Lord knows they’ll wanna listen. And look concerned. We might even see some sleeves get rolled up.

Actually, all this means to most of us is traffic will be worse. The back streets we’d usually take to get around your normal congestion will instead be clogged with po-leece and other Official Vehicles. Seriously, this is the only real change any of us will notice — long-term or short-term. We appreciate the attention and all but, honestly, it’s been TWO FREAKING YEARS. The past is past and I’m not buying any promises from anyone about the future.

This is also the weekend for the second annual Rising Tide Conference out at the Yacht Club. Yes, this is the first mention I’ve made of it on this site, even though it’s a convention of bloggers. Their website pretty much outlines all the goings-on and, if you’re into that kind of thing, there are some pretty damn nifty folks involved. As for me, I spent the better part of 30 years setting up, running and/or attending these kinds of events and, despite some excellent cameraderie, I find them largely tedious. Then again, I’ve never been much of a joiner. Just the same, thanks for coming to our city.

Sunday! Sunday!! Sunday!!!

I would have completely missed this had a friend not mentioned it in an email this morning. Against the Tide:The Battle for New Orleans There are some clips on the site. Pretty standard stuff you’d expect to see. Interesting that it’s on CNBC – guess we don’t rate the major networks anymore despite the mayor’s best efforts to have the murder rate keep us in the national consciousness. And it is interesting the title is so confrontational. A battle is exciting! Seems to me we’re living in the boring part of the movie. Ya know the part where the battle is over and the helicopter mounted camera is panning out as the wounded are tended to and the credits start to roll? Is that just me? I’d have named the show ‘Treading Water: Languishing in New Orleans’.

branding the city

Is this how we are viewed by outsiders?

The state were in

Sometimes I just don’t understand my state. Yeah that’s right, born and raised but I got out at some point too. Still came back. Anyway, with the new flood maps out and the Corp of Engineers releasing the 100-year storm protection plan, it’s time to connect the dots.

The Corp of Engineers says that to provide 100 year Gulf Coast flood protection it will cost 7.5 Billion to keep Louisiana safe from flooding during a Cat 3 storm or larger. Or so they say. That’s not really the issue. According to federal guidelines, Louisiana will be required to come up with 35 % of the cost, which means Louisiana’s share would be about 2.6 billion.

This is the thing that drives me bonkers about my state. Right after the announcement about the cost, out come the press releases from Louisiana lawmakers saying, “we can’t afford our share”. Bullshit. We can afford our share but the “leaders” don’t want to stop the vote buying crap that has been this state’s tradition for 40 years.

Louisiana has a state budget of, get this, 33.4 Billion dollars. Did you know that in 2000, our state budget was 12 Billion? 7 years later and we’re spending 20 Billion dollars more a year? WTF??!! It’s insane. Louisiana has the HIGHEST state government payroll per capita in the United States. Which means the state of Louisiana employs more workers per person than any other state in the country. What do we as a state get for this fantastic investment in her people? Crap is what we get. Horrible roads. Possibly the worst public education system in the country. Have you been to the DMV? That’s what we get. It’s lunacy.

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