Archive for November, 2007

We’re not #1….

….nor even in Top Ten. I’m not a statistician and I’m not a criminologist and I’m not about to vouch for the accuracy of any of these numbers. All I’m sayin’ is that it’s kinda nice to read a crime report that doesn’t say we’re all gonna die.

I’m not sure which is worse — the critics within or those without. But, this evening, I’ll take another draw on the cigar and sit on the stoop and listen to the ferry and the streetcar and think, y’know? Life’s okay on a pretty Sunday night.

Sugar Cane Harvest Season

Sugar Cane Excursion (25)   Sugar Cane Excursion (17)

The traditional Sunday ride with friends to the outlying areas around New Orleans offers welcome respite from the City for many long-time New Orleans residents. Destinations include Jean Lafitte State Park, Nottoway Plantation, Donaldsonville, and Grand Isle.

My friends Em, Brian and Hank like to head out to the hinterland together when there aren’t any important football games. After visting the usual haunts for the past many years, Brian now works on studying new routes, sometimes he finds little known hiking terrain. On these rides, Hank pulls snake spotting duty. I love hearing Em’s stories about a particular exploratory episode gone wacky.

When I tag along with them on these meandering adventures, we keep our eyes open for the produce guys by the side of the road so we can get some snap peas, sausage and other local culinary goodness. One of our more memorable excursions included a visit to Myrtle Plantation and a hop on the the ferry which crosses the Mississippi in St. Francisville. For those who know, there is always a man selling pralines while you wait to board the ferry. Even if you don’t fancy pralines, you’re compelled to buy a couple.

In the fall, these adventures include a unique aspect; the beauty of the graceful cane fields in contrast with the smoke which rises above the cane as harvest season begins in October and the fields are burned after the cane is cut. In the otherwise lazy countryside, sugar cane harvest season is a flurry of activity. While I have enjoyed this passively for years, I now have a personal tie to the sugar cane harvest that affords a closer perspective regarding the commercial end of the product of harvest season.

More green bullets!

Looks like we’ll be getting more streetcar sooner than expected.

I figured they’d find a way to get it all moving by Carnival.

Living “over there”

Today’s T-P has a story about the latest population trends for Da Parish and the metro area as a whole, and it’s about what I expected. It’s also one of the many reasons why we’ve chosen to remain in New Orleans instead of following so many others out to the ‘burbs.

Except for the sometimes can’t-get-there-from-here layout of some of the streets, I can get pretty much wherever I want or need to go in about 15 minutes. I don’t have to worry about parking a half-day from a store or about being caught in mulish traffic. I can walk from the house to virtually anything I need and, frankly, I like this lower population thing. And don’t tell me about crime — since the folks in Jefferson and St. Tammany are dealing with similar issues.

Of course, we don’t have children to educate — and that would be a major problem. As Orleans Parish has about 63% of its pre-K population, I’d estimate its public schools are providing about a similar percentage of adequate education (based on my back-and-forth with the neighborhood high-schoolers). But it was that way three and five and ten years ago.

Streetcars and Budgets Online

Streetcars Return to Lower St. Charles Ave. (2)   Streetcars Return to Lower St. Charles Ave. (5)

I was so happy to see the streetcar running in the Lower Garden District today that I found myself battling an overdue wave of tearful joy. The atmosphere along the avenue was wonderful. The route to Napoleon was lined with officials and RTA drivers in their purple shirts. Passers-by were taking photos and honking and waving. I had to fight back tears because I had to go to work. I didn’t want to show up all puffy and unable to stop crying, so I called Craig to be sure he’d be able to take a ride with TBK on my behalf once they started to accept actual passengers.

My co-workers were as happy as I was to hear my report of the cars rolling. Some gleeful arm pumps were happening in the otherwise quiet environs of Law Library Circulation in support of the streetcar’s return along the Avenue.
Once at the library, I received some more rather positive news . . .

Just wondering….

…if anyone else has met as many seriously screwed-up folks as I’ve met in the past two years.

By “screwed up,” I don’t mean those who are just your garden-variety whack jobs. This city is and always has been full of them, and it’s part of why we live here. When you look at any historical narrative of yesteryear Anglo-Saxons describing New Orleans, they’re usually filled with descriptions of the godless, the heathen, the French, the Spanish, the mulatto, the quadroon, the pirate, the drunk, the fighters and any other non-, well, well-ordered Anglo-Saxon you can name. New Orleans as Another Dimension — as seen by Those Who Just Don’t Get It. I’m entirely cool with that.

I’m also not talking about the folks who are trying to deal with the New Reality, but are having serious questions about whether to stay. We’ve all had to deal with that in our own way over the past two years and we each have our own ideas about whether to stay or to go. The city isn’t working right now. The job situations have changed. Many neighborhoods aren’t what they were. Rebuilding, be it physical, emotional or whatever, is a six-foot-tall, short-skirted, gold-plated bitch. Practicality is, well, practical. It’s stressful and everyone has to make choices — and it can make you crazy. Or at least to feel like you’re crazy. It’s okay.

…but what I’m talking about is different.

Green bullets

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

The St. Charles streetcars are BACK!!!

Pardon the smallness of the pics, as they were taken with the phone. I’ve not yet learned how to use the new camera. But TBK and I went back to the usual pre-K routine, parking ourselves for a beverage at St. Charles and Jackson. We sat at the old Garlic Clove/BBQ Mama/Buster’s (still the best people-watching spot in town) and waited. Sure enough, it was again a case of waiting for something that seemingly never came — until a we heard the drums from Uptown and here came FIVE streetcars, moving slowly in line behind the Warren Easton High School band.

All the cars were packed full of tipsy Uptowners who had boarded at Napoleon (the temporary end of the line) and were slowly working their way toward the CBD. We boarded wth tears in our eyes and rode for about four blocks, getting off to make room for others. Horns were honking, people were waving and it was, in a word, wonderful.

I think we’ll get on board tomorrow and ride down to Canal and get something to eat. Just because we can.

Finally. It’s something so small and yet so….so incredibly huge.

Quiz: A Mosaic Mystery


This is another one of my quizzes about local places. This mosaic, which is in remarkable condition, is all that remains of an old business in New Orleans which was demolished long ago.

The award will go to the person who can tell me the location as well as be the first to explain the most substantial and accurate historical information about the business that once occupied this space.

Because someone offering only some clues regarding the history of the place could provide tips to others regarding the history of the place, I am installing a strict deadline for responses.

Prizes will be gift cards of universal utility that might help you start your holiday shopping. Or you could go buy yourself a stylish scarf, because, y’all, it’s gotten awfully cold tonight.

The deadline is 5pm today, Nov. 7th.

Bonne chance !

A message to Jack

Hey bud, we’ve never met. Yeah we write on the same blog etc but we haven’t met face to face per se. I know you love this city and the people who choose to live here. We both share the frustration of Mayor McFuck. He is a fraud. Completely useless unless it serves his own wallet.

Let me share something with you and the three people who actually care about this city. He is not the be all and end all of New Orleans. He will not be “a player” regarding what happens to this city in the future. Yeah he has totally scammed his “people”. He is a lost soul. I feel sorry for him and I hope he awakes someday to his issues.

Do not let him win. How does he win? By good peeps like yourself giving up.

The Orleans Parish Inspector General WILL get the correct amount of funding, I promise. Yeah its a stretch for some radio yahoo to say this but I promise you Rob Cerisolli will be fully funded. The City Council will not take this as a endgame. It just will not be that way. We will keep out culture but we will not keep our corruption. Garbage Contractors beware.

Jack, please please please do not bail on this city and its people over Ray Nagin. All dogs have their day and that dogs day IS COMING.

Like I said, we have never met. But I PROMISE you that the people who can change this city will change it. Just hang in there bud and keep writing. Everyone living here right now needs your thoughts and your view of things. We will get this fixed.


Do you just not want anyone to live here? Is that it? Or is it that the city isn’t “Chocolate” enough for you? Could you please, take a break, replenish your fluids and catch your breath. You must be exhausted from FUCKING US FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS!! You’re a fucking joke. You’re budget is a fucking joke. And you’ve made this city a fucking joke.

For those who missed it.

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