Archive for June, 2009

Heritage Foundation & Solar Energy?

Weirdest email I’ve received all week (and I’ve already gotten some doozies):

Greetings and salutations!

I would like to let everyone know of our upcoming Permaculture Courses.

RiverSolar in cooperation with the Heritage Foundation is offering weekly courses in Permaculature and Design concepts. Core concepts will be provided in block format on Fridays from 12 – 2 PM beginning July 10, 2009 at the ArtEgg Building.

Students can choose to take one class or all leading to a Permaculture Design Certificate. Please contact Doris for enrollment information.

1001 So. Broad St. New Orleans, LA

Which sounds great except for the part about the HERITAGE FOUNDATION.

Seriously: THE Heritage Foundation? The same ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation that worshiped at the feet of Ronald Reagan? The same war-mongering Heritage Foundation that pushed heavily for the invasion of Iraq (and, less successfully, Iran)? The same Heritage Foundation that looked at the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina and found it a perfect example of the need for relaxed environmental regulations? That Heritage Foundation?

UPDATE: Of course it’s not that Heritage Foundation. As the friendly Alex just pointed out:

It’s actually the Heritage Foundation for Arts and Cultural Sustainability, which shares a space in the ArtEgg building, along with RiverSolar.

Which is great, but also a really unfortunate choice of names. Oh well: at least the world makes sense again.

It’s Cocktail Time in New Orleans


Well that phrase is actually stated every minute, every hour and everyday in New Orleans but Tales of the Cocktail is something entirely different. Normally I would be blogging about some perceived slight or some moronic decision made by a so-called New Orleans leader but Tales makes even me stop and enjoy a little down time.

I first met Ann Tunnerman, the creator of Tales of the Cocktail, sometime early in 2006. Those early days after Katrina brought people together that may not have ever gotten together before. The radio station was up and running, Ann was a faithful listener and wanted to create a partnership between the station and Tales. We thought the event had potential so we joined up and became part of the event.

Tales of the Cocktail, started in 2002, has become one of New Orleans must-do events of the summer. Locals know that generally, festivals and such are not real wise in the summertime because of the heat but this one is different. How different? Well first, Ann Tunnerman is a marketing genius. I doubt she reads my blog so it’s not like I am kissing butt or something. She has taken this event from a fun humble small start and turned it into something that people from across the country come to our fair city to attend.

Tales of the Cocktail is scheduled from July 8th thru July 12th. Many hotels, restaurants, bars etc are involved in the event so I don’t want to bore you with all of that. You can click the link above and check out all of the events and places. The Hotel Monteleone is the base headquarters though. Events scheduled for the 5 days including mixologists competitions, seminars about cocktails and the creation of cocktails, spirited dinners (which include some of the best restaurants in New Orleans, which also means some of the best restaurants in the country) which are six course dinners that include specialty crafted cocktails that work in conjunction with the fantastic dinner, and of course many many many “tasting rooms”. I don’t really need to explain that do I?

If your a local or a out-of-towner, think about doing some of the events associated with Tales. It is a special event and since New Orleans created the cocktail, what better city than this one to create and host this kind of event?

Case On Point

Nick and his Mom, Betty

Today, the Times-Picayune ran an article about affordable housing issues in New Orleans.

This is a timely issue personally because I found out that my friends, the Causey family, have been evicted from their shotgun rental this week.

From what I know, actual eviction takes 3-months of deliquent rent to take action and according to Betty she did go before a judge who ordered the landlord to work with her because she had $600 of the required $800 but the landlord refused to accept it. Plus, Betty has pride and I think she was apt to try to walk away from someone who wouldn’t work with her. Who knows. I can’t find a good reason why the landlord wouldn’t work with Betty, maybe they wanted more rent or were trying to get tenants in who are friends. Sure, maybe I am not getting the full story, but I am not an idiot. Even in the best of circumstances, it doesn’t take a Bernanke to do the math about how to raise three kids on a supermarket salary.

What I can say is that Miss Betty works at Rouse’s and her kids are the most polite and smart kids in the entire neighborhood. I am a private person, not a crusader by any means. I am not one to invite the entire neighborhood brood into my home. However, Nick and Josh have proven their integrity with me over time. They always ask for snacks and even to use the bathroom. We have done great projects together of all types and we have enjoyed our time together and I have posted those episodes below. In fact, Nick and Josh are far more self-sufficient and resourceful than most adult house guests to whom I have played hostess over the years.

I am concerned because Miss Betty works hard and she’s very level-headed and has not benefitted from any rental assistance so far, she’s been trying to make it on her own But right now they are unable to do so. Of course, there is the chance that if this family is left without any help that these kids, 11 and 12 yrs, could fall into the easy-evil that abounds in New Orleans and be sucked into the drug dealing/violence culture.

One might say, “Well she shouldn’t have had so many children.” Perhaps, but Miss Betty is doing one helluva job raising these kids and the fact is, they are here, and they are exceptional and they have added a lot to my appreciation of life in very short order. What is the alternative? To ignore them?

This week, Miss Betty had to give up some hours at work to find a place, giving up some income, it’s a vicious cycle. She found a shotgun for rent for $800 a month with central air and heat and a washer and dryer on site in the LSU/VA area on Palmyra. Betty put all their stuff in storage quickly, banking on the fact that the first month is only like $40, hoping to get it moved before the $100+ amount kicks in next month. They can move in on Tuesday, once Betty gets the Entergy hooked up, however, they are short $380.

Tuesday is also Betty’s birthday. I am doing my best to rally some resources to help make this happen because in the meantime they are spending $40 a night in the Holiday Inn downtown, wasting valuable monies which could be spent on rent in a stable home.

Ultimately, I know we have to figure out a way to get the family some sort of rental subsidy, such as a voucher, so that they can have a stable place to live. So far, Betty has only applied for housing that is currently being built and is on a waiting list . . . Of course, they don’t have internet at home, so even resources such as Craiglist and other information is not within easy reach.

Today, one reader who has previously assisted the family is helping out with a donation toward the family’s first months’ rent and I am going to float some money. Some good samaritans who have recently become aware of the situation also have offered $40.

The previous posts of our adventures :

Dinosaur Days at the Zoo

Nick’s Essay Assignment

Back to School

Eight Books

The Body Betrays Us

Sully’s Story


Betty’s Birthday

Nick and I Do Blue Dog

Nameless Kitty RIP

City Park Awarded 50K Grant

Recently, Redwood Creek Wines in Modesto, CA held an online contest called the Greater Outdoors Project which awards a grant related to a project most deserving of promoting enjoyment of the outdoors. I was happy to see that City Park won the most votes for their effort to revitalize the Couterie Forest in the park.

Established in 1979, Friends of City Park is dedicated to the preservation and improvement of 150-year-old New Orleans City Park. Quietly nestled at the center of City Park’s 1,300 acres is a hidden gem—Couturie Forest. Destruction from Hurricane Katrina-spawned tornados and floodwaters killed 95 percent of the forest’s trees, disrupting the habitats of alligators, box turtles and over 100 species of migratory and resident birds. Friends of City Park is committed to transforming the damaged woodland into a verdant and thriving ecological destination. The revitalized Couturie Forest will offer 62 acres of preserved land featuring eight native ecosystems. New Orleanians of all backgrounds and income brackets will enjoy the seclusion and beauty of the woodland right in the heart of the city.

Adventures in Arthroscopy

Post Op Release

“I hate lunges”, Dr. Hoffman said, upon my first visit to his office. He’s my orthopedist. I was having off and on pain around February and then some minor swelling in my knee, it eventually prevented me from running. I knew I was going to finally have to do something about it. Dr. Hoffman ordered an MRI which verified his suspicion that the lunges had resulted in a minor tear in my meniscus cartilage.

I was cleared for cycling and started doing yoga at Audubon Yoga. I did these alternative activities as much as possible in order to stay strong before surgery and tone up from months of blobbing out during the past year with little time for anything besides school and work. The cycling and yoga really helped me get stronger before the procedure. However, there is no shade on the levee and I am turning into a french-fry, I really need to get back to my routine light runs in the shade at the park.

The surgery itself didn’t really worry me as much as being put under, I’ve never been in the hospital for anything. I met the anesthesiologist the week prior to my procedure and she made me feel better about that part. I give Baptist Hospital high marks overall. They have you pre-registrer days before you go in and so all you have to do is head up to the out-patient area at 5:30 am the day of the surgery. My best friend Emily is a saint for getting up and taking me there and picking me up. I am very grateful to her for her help. And for taking this rather unflattering photo. . . good girl!

When I arrived the nurse got me dressed in that stupid gown that fits no one at all, she gave me some traction sockies to put on and administered a shot of Versed to relax me. Then, the best part, they put some pre-warmed blankets on me, I was no longer afraid.

My biggest concern was being delirious and nauseous from the anesthesia and barfing all over Emily’s car. But I envisioned myself being up-and-at-em and hoped for the best. Not being able to have a sip of any liquids the morning of the surgery made me really crabby, I didn’t focus on the fear, I just want to be done so I could eat a freakin’ pop tart and drink some coffee.

The last thing I remember was the antesthesiologist telling me they were giving me some oxygen and to take deep breaths. By 8:30 I was conscious and it was all over!

The nurse wheeled me into my own room and offered me a gloriously effervescent cup of diet coke with a little sippy straw. Aaaahhhh. I drank that and some water and I was ready to bust out, I felt great but I had wait to get my personal belongings. I peed as required and waited to be released. They made me ride out in a wheelchair, which came before my wallet arrived from the security detail. Meanwhile, I wheeled myself around the ward, much to amusement of the staff. They saw my potential for escape. I was just so happy to feel so good!

Today, my knee sounds like it has indigestion. It’s all squishy when I bend it because they inject saline in the area to give the doctor room to scope. The saline will be absorbed or seep out the incision holes. I can walk, and so far, and I am not in any real pain. I haven’t had to take any of the Vicodin given to me, not even an Advil. But I know the knee will likely get stiff and the impact to the muscle tissue will not manifest til tomorrow or the next day. I walked a good bit today, in order to keep the knee from stiffening. It’s so bloody hot, a little movement results in a lot of sweat but I was able to give myself a little kitten bath with 4 inches of water in the tub, keeping my knee up. It felt good to move around after being horizontal all day yesterday eating junk food and watching too much reality tv.

Now, it’s back to more of that, and reading some law review articles for a project I am working on, elevating the knee and keeping cool. It’s a good time to convalesce, it’s too hot out to do much else!

It’s not the destination

Phone Box at Washington Square park It’s the journey. And today was a perfect example of why that saying is spot on. The Little Guy and I headed out to the Creole Tomato Festival at the French Market today after nap time.

If anyone went outside at all today you will know it was damn hot so our adventure had a lot of pit stops and every single one of them was better than the actual festival.First we stopped over at Washington Square Park to play and rest, there were more than the usual crowd in the park, I think there was a memory service being held for someone who has passed but with the little one I did not want to disturb anyone and so I could not get close enough to really hear what was going on. As we left the park we noticed what someone has done with the old pay phone box on the Royal side, it does not specify what the money is for but there are flowers and other decoration inside a custom made shadow box and a request for change. If I had any change on me i would have given to Chance to put in the box. We didn’t get much farther before it was pit stop time again as we passed Cafe Rose Nicaud I was informed that we needed a cookie from the coffee shop so in we went and cookie we did procure. Cookie at Cafe Rose Nicaud After we filled up on cookie off we set for the push to the actual festival crossing Esplanade and crossing Decatur over to the French Market and into the action or more realistically the crowd of tourists in fleur-de-leis T-shirts and too short, impossibly plaid shorts fanning themselves with cardboard fans shaped like (Creole?) tomatos, talking loud and occationally doing what they could to insult the local people.

I was told (though under their breath) in so many words more than once that because I wasn’t carrying my son he would get kidnapped. Well, I am happy to say there were not a million people around, I was walking two feet behind him at all times, it’s none of your damn business and as far as i could tell the worst people around at that time were their sorry asses. fountain I’m sorry but the next time a swarovski crystal embellished grandma wants to give me parenting tips, I say bring it on but, Do It To My Face!

Where was i? Oh yeah it was hot really, really hot and the booths for the festival were all out in the sun so we took ourselves through the festivities at a pretty quick pace, landing ourselves at the fountain near Decatur and Ursuline where we rested another few minutes in the shade, I could have sat a little longer but a two year old never really rests no matter how hot and tired they are so off we went again. This time we followed Decatur back till we hit Angeli’s a tasty restaurant with highchairs (even though we didn’t need one this time) where we went in for a drink and a bite to eat. The place was nearly empty which I though strange for all the people that were out and about but I guess we were a little early for the dinner rush. The little guy amazingly sat in a regular chair the whole time amusing himself by making faces in one of the mirrors that decorate the dinning area.
We made one more stop at Washington Square Park, much shorter this time, before heading on home. Just a block from the house someone stopped us and told me that “something smells dead back there” as he gestured over his shoulder in the direction we were going. Nothing came of it since I did not smell or see anything that smelled/looked dead all the way home but it did add to the adventure of the day.

What’s good for Ray Nagin is good for Bobby Jindal

That title is the flat out truth. What is good for Ray Nagin is just as good for Bobby Jindal. But you know what? Governor Bobby does not think so. Much has been made about e-mails and transparency in Louisiana government. The Governor has continued to tout his “ethic’s reform” as the gold standard. Too bad everything in that “gold standard” is basically un-enforcable. Nice to have the laws on the books, not so nice that they are basically worthless laws. So the corruption continues.

New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin received a ton of heat for his administration’s failure to produce public records request pertaining to his own e-mail and his daily schedule. My personal opinion is that he destroyed the majority of the information requested so something smelly would not come out. But I have no proof so it is what it is. The mayor, I am sure, has learned to not e-mail information that he does not want public and that is his right. I have no problem with that decision. But I do have a problem when the Governor of the great state of Louisiana directs his staff to oppose legislative bills designed to open up the governor’s office to more public access.

I think most level-headed, non corrupt folks/citizen’s understand that not everything in a e-mail should be shown in a public record request. Most people understand that private business information and the like are not necessary for all to read. But by not only limiting the publics’ access to the correspondence of the governors office and attempting to restrict even the limited access now available, Governor Jindal is basically saying that the rules are different for him and his office.

Well you know what Governor Jindal, you are no more important than any other public servant. By you and your office attempting to control what the public knows, it comes across as either you have something to hide or you were a total liar when you ran for this position and asked the people of Louisiana to join you in a crusade to change the way Louisiana does business. Neither stance is a real positive for Bobby Jindal. So why is he choosing to control public access to his office?

Is David Vitter really funny, or is it just me?

More unintentional hilarity from David Vitter’s newsletter (which the technologically challenged senator still can’t manage to post online):


“Last month, Olympic Gold Medalist Misty May Treanor dropped by my office in Washington, DC, to discuss her participation in a program designed to educate children about making healthy life choices and avoiding the dangers of underage drinking. Misty and her teammate Kerri Walsh won gold medals in beach volleyball at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.” (Subtext: “PLEASE NOTE THAT SHE IS COMPLETELY CLOTHED AND THAT MY PENIS IS NOWHERE NEAR HER. IN FACT I HAVE COVERED IT WITH MY TIE TO PREVENT IT FROM SNEAKING OUT.”)

“As the first Hispanic and only the fourth woman nominated for the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor is certainly making hopeful and positive history. Now we must study her record and philosophy carefully to ensure that she understands the proper role of the judge as impartial umpire – not pitcher or catcher.” (Subtext: “I HAVE NEVER PLAYED BASEBALL IN MY LIFE. BUT I LOVED THAT MOVIE BASEKETBALL.”)

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