So, the Army Corps of Engineers was in charge of building a hurricane protection system around New Orleans, as ordered by Congress in response to Hurricane Betsy. There are a lot of interlocking political entities–levee boards, New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB), etc.–
from 2006-2007, deep within the trenches ___ Photo credit: Sudhamshu 1. Do not give me Katrina-sized attitude…
In August, I met with a fellow public-school-privatization critic and was told that in a meeting with a charter school employee, my [actual] name was mentioned and I was labelled as somewhat dangerous-scandalous and a person no one should ever talk to, listen to, or read. I wish I could say it was a surprise but it wasn’t. Since 2006, once or twice a year, someone associated with TfA, KIPP, or other entities in the school privatization movement has dropped by to post an insult, a you-are-so-wrong or unfair! comment. None of them have stopped me, and none of them have disputed facts presented. The complaints are about my unfairness, my “tone,” my “blindness” to the “successes.”
New Orleans chessmaster Jude Acers is over in Greece right now competing in the Senior World Chess Championship. So far, so good. He’s won twice, lost once, and drawn once. He’s one tough dude, battling hard against a couple very highly rated players. His friend Charles Broome has been supplying brief updates over at JudeAcers.com, where I also upload game viewers so you can click through Jude’s games on a daily basis.
- Go to 29.959436,-90.060289 on Google Maps, click Street View, and you’ll find Jude‘s World Chess Table, where you can play him for $5 a game.
Tonight I’m gonna take that rideAcross the river to the jersey sideTake my baby to the carnivalAnd I’ll take her on all the rides`cause down the shore everything’s all right
No. It’s not all right and you probably can’t get across the river right now anyway.
My high school years in Bergen County are peppered with memories not of classrooms and despotic Vice Principals, but of subway rides into Manhattan, afternoon rides on the Staten Island Ferry (cheap fun for a truant), and hustling rides ten to a car down the Garden State Parkway to Asbury Park and Seaside Heights, which were never called by name, only referred to as “The Shore.” I picked splinters out of my feet after walking the now destroyed boardwalk in barefeet like an idiot. I was kissed sweetly in the sand that has now buried cars and shifted houses off their foundations. I rode the rollercoaster that now sits in the Atlantic. At least I think that’s the one I rode after being dared.
My last decade has been shaped by the Federal Flood, otherwise known as Hurricane Katrina. The landscape around me has changed since then in both good and bad ways. My interior landscape is forever changed by that experience.
I heard Seaside Heights’ Mayor Bill Akers on CNN this morning. He said that when he hears what’s going on in other areas his heart goes out to them. His voice broke when he said he was trying to keep emotion out of it. For now. I was on my dry couch in New Orleans in tears.
We here in New Orleans watched the NASA shots of Sandy headed your way. She was huge, well organized, aimed at you and we knew how that felt. She was perfect, as Katrina was, actually beautiful when viewed from the safety of a distant satellite lens. We saw the targets on your backs and understood, possibly as no other group of people can.
Initially there was some bitter grousing about our having had to defend our City’s right to exist and be rebuilt, something you might not have to do. We weathered the nasty comments about our being idiots living below sea level, and even nastier comments about tax payer money being wasted on morons and ingrates and freeloaders. These comments were ubiquitous after Katrina, but we wouldn’t wish what you’re dealing with on anyone because we’ve been there.
We endured extreme heat, while you folks have to deal with unbelievable cold, as the power went out and stayed out. We are also a city in which some people don’t have cars, so we understand the New Yorkers who are utterly stranded as the Subway tunnels have turned into something better navigated by gondolas than train cars. We know as we see aerial views of Asbury Park, Seaside Heights, Atlantic City, and all the coastal towns that what we’re seeing in no way shows us the length and breadth and depth of the devastation. We know you aren’t overstating it when you say it looks like a war zone. We understand the loss of everything you own. We know the tears you’ll shed as your kids’ yearbooks and baby pictures are gone forever. We understand your toughness, your determination to rebuild, your compassion for your neighbors and your statements about your family being fine and your losses were “only stuff.”
We get it.
Now for the unsolicited advice:
Cross-posted at New Orleans Slate
Dear Mayor Landrieu,
I voted for you. Twice. I felt then and feel now that you really want to work with the community. I felt then and feel now that having grown up here in New Orleans, you have a deep connection to the City, its people and its culture in all the various forms that culture presents. That said, I am greatly concerned, as are many others, that some of the cultural heritage unique to this City will soon be obliterated by bad laws, pressure from monied property owners (both natives and newcomers), and the pursuit of money for the City coffers which admittedly could use some shoring up.
Unfortunately it often looks as though that shoring up is being done on the backs of the regular working folks via traffic cam tickets that are a hardship on just about everyone trying to make it month to month, crazy new taxicab regulations that are a hardship on many career cab drivers, unwieldy and seemingly serendipitous permitting requirements on club owners who are the small business owner/job creators we hear about every day, more permits on the smallest of entrepreneurial business owners–the vendors at Second Lines, and on the culture bearers themselves—the musicians and artists who create the culture that draws visitors to our City every year from all over the world. Lately we’ve heard words like noise, crackdown, permit, and ordinance used to intimidate bands off of street corners, to cause clubs to stop live music for fear of total shut downs, and as you know, those words have been a sometimes unspoken threat to parades and Indians for a long time.
This post first appeared April 4, 2008.
(photo credit: obLiterated)
Yesterday evening I saw a Chrysler convertible fly by on Carondolet Street with a human-sized Tweety Bird stuffed animal in the backseat. To say it was a giant Tweety would understate the case given the small stature of the Tweety Bird cartoon character to begin with, and proportionally, Tweety’s head, when scaled up like that, is like half a dozen or more human heads. So there Tweety sat in the middle of the backseat, giant head looming there. But as the car sped past, a large–not Tweety big, but bigger than a baby–Teddy Bear rolled off the trunk, flying off and finally bouncing to a stop in the middle of the street. I pulled over. Four, five cars passed, each in turn avoiding the Teddy Bear. I grabbed the Teddy Bear and found it looked almost new, not dirty at all, though it seemed to have some sort of voicemaker inside that wasn’t working or needed a new battery, but all in all, a fine Teddy Bear. It would’ve been wasteful to just leave the Teddy Bear to become just more trash at the side of the road, and certainly a child somewhere would love to have it. It wasn’t the sort of stuffed animal my daughter would like, but I took it with me, figuring I’d include it in our next Bridge House donation.
From the “Things to Do” section of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors’ Bureau website: It is…
Democracy, Davis concluded, was at odds with effective population control and stability in Asia; the only political system for the continent’s mushrooming megacities was a “strong government that stands in contrast to the populace in skill as well as power…
Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared November 27, 2011. Coco Robicheaux passed away Friday evening. Much has…
Note: This post originally appeared August 29, 2010. I thought it might be relevant to run again in light of the encroaching demise of the Times-Picayune.
We were supposed to have a garage sale on Sunday, August 28, 2005. We had recently moved into a house we bought in Central City and had cleaned out our old Broadmoor apartment and planned to sell the odds and ends that didn’t make it to our new home. It was to be the final hurrah of our move. Suffice to say we evacuated the night before and the garage sale never happened. I didn’t get back into town for another three weeks, but there on the second floor of our old apartment’s stoop was our last Times-Picayune, still in the plastic and dry. I tossed the paper in the car and drove back to Houston. I finally pulled that newspaper out of its plastic bag this weekend.
A text message from a neighbor: “Did you see your mail today?” I hadn’t. Intrigued I headed…
I know a Mandingo warrior. Usually he does home repair and he’s got a catering thing, but for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained currently in production in New Orleans, he became a Mandingo warrior for a day, fighting another Mandingo warrior no less, with the aid of three shots of tequila that folks on set downed before the scene. No idea if he’ll make it in the final cut.
Last Tuesday I was a NYC hipster circa 2008 for HBO’s Treme. I’d registered with Caballero Casting hoping to score a role as an extra in the Treme shoot scheduled the second Sunday of Jazz Fest (Fais Do Do stage for an hour or so, then released to enjoy the Fest) but instead got called up for the NYC hipster circa 2008 group a few days post-Fest.