Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why Am I Angry?

FEMA is refusing to continue to help fund bus service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. I feel this is absolutely ludicrous. How are people without cars or money or a job supposed to get home and continue to rebuild their houses and lives? What is FEMA thinking? Oh, yeah, that's right. They aren't, don't, and can't. More here.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Precedents have been set

In what year do you think these quotes about New Orleans were delivered?

"Our city is in a state of utter hopelessness."

"Who would have believed that prosperous, gay, bragging, New Orleans would come to such grief and poverty? Business gone, money gone, population gone."

The answer is 1867. The former from Mayor Edward Heath, the latter from John W. De Forest.

In this months issue of Preservation Magazine, there is a great article (not yet online) about New Orleans after the Civil War. The city itself hired Theodore Lilienthal to photograph the city to bolster its image, the first municipally sponsored photographic survey of an American city.

While there are a few images in the article, New Orleans downtown and the American sector look very much like they do today. The author included a picture of Lake Pontchartrain at Bayou St. John - a marshy, swampy mess. The draining of and building on this land "exposed the city to flooding during Hurricane Katrina." (Aside: I guess that if someone is going to write
about New Orleans these days, they have to include the sentence "contributed to flooding in New Orleans." I do not think this rational is correct, but I do think that the wetlands around New Orleans and Louisiana need to be dealt with. Besides this, I like the article.)

The photographs were sent to be part of the World's Exposition in Paris where they garnered Lilienthal a prize and helped New Orleanians bolster their self-image. (As bizarre as this seems, the Saints may be doing this for us right now. They are helping our image though the depression and destruction lingers.)

The author, Gary Van Zante of the MIT Museum of Architecture and Design, will be publishing a book next year on Lilienthal's photographs.

ADDENDUM: The very next article in the magazine again discusses New Orleans. This article is about the reality of vacation spots, Nola being one. New Orleans, it says, maintained a thin veneer between its wealth and refinement and its hidden poverty. I say that this is nothing new to a New Orleanian. However, Gary Esolen, founder of Gambit Weekly, suggests that Katrina may have given New Orleans a chance to regain some of its authenticity. He wants the tourism industry to back off and let the city rebuild in peace so we can have a "richer, more substantial community for the people who live there." I say just get everyone back home. I think real New Orleanians got it. Bring them back, and we'll get it again.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thank the gods

I now have the latest version of Firefox installed. I can see the compose stuff now, so now I won't have random links in the titles, post entire urls, and I can emphasize words that are important. Now let's see if I can get this thing going again.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

SI Article (link)

If you subscribe to Sports Illustrated, you have probably already read this article. If you don't, buy this week's edition for an article about the Saints by Michael Silver. He drives around town with Coach Payton and learns about the new New Orleans Saints and gives us some great new quotes along the way. Among my favorites:

- "Follow my formula, and we'll win the game." Coach Payton

- "You have to look at why they've only won one playoff game in 40 years. There's a reason. We're in a place where, within 10 minutes, you can get a daiquiri, sit at a blackjack table and go to a strip club - and you can do it at 4 in the morning. If you've got the type of people on your team who are susceptible to that, they'll find trouble. So yeah, character's important." Coach Payton

- The defense, with its three white linebackers, has a nickname for itself - Oreo.

- "Our defense shut down Atlanta, and against Tampa it was special teams. This time it was the offense's turn. That's what a team is all about." - Drew Brees

There is a long bit about how Joe Horn got open. And in it, I couldn't but help think of my friend up above the nosebleed area who takes the pictures that led to the touchdown reception which tied the game.

The last quote is my favorite:
- Right now you're the Big Easy's biggest act - and 53 players and a whole lot of Saints fans are screaming for more.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

What is New Orleans?

Please remember to give your donation for WWOZ. It is one of those things that makes New Orleans New Orleans. I wish I was able to listen more often. And that I had more money to give. NOLA needs WWOZ and WWOZ needs NOLA.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Marching 64

Last night on the NBC Nightly News, Martin Savage did a report on the return of St. Augustine's Marching 100. I found that poignant because last weekend I was watching perhaps the worst band competition ever. Bands were marching in Philadelphia on TV. The bands were wearing t-shirts, the flag teams were awful, and the songs were hideous. I remember in high school waiting for the St. Aug game just so we could hear the band at halftime. I remember one year that one of my classmates ran out onto the field with a blue and white wig and leisure suit to march with the best band in New Orleans.

The rest of this country doesn't seem to have much of a clue of the importance that music plays in the lives of our young people in New Orleans. It is everywhere, and it is vital. How many children in New Orleans have escaped poverty or drugs or depression or any number of other social ills because of music? How many have learned lessons that athletics and academics alone could not teach because of music? How many have learned the importance of practice, technique, and discipline required to master an instrument and march in formation? How many have had the spotlight on them for a week every year as they displayed their mastery during Mardi Gras? How many lifelong friendships have been forged?

St Aug was flooded. The band room was destroyed, but students are coming back because being part of the school band is important to them. One student is living alone in New Orleans while his grandmother is somewhere else so he can be part of the band. It's his school, and it's his band. I miss the days when the streets were blocked off while a middle school or high school band was practicing. In fact, the day of a friends wedding, we were sitting on the front stoop having a drink when this New Orleans phenomenon took place. How great is that?
Little things like this make life livable. Music in New Orleans is a great equalizer. We all shake our butts and tap our feet when we hear great music. It makes us part of who we are. And now the Marching 100 are back so we can do our thing. Thank you, St. Augustine. And keep up the great work.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Records To Think About

Reggie Bush is on pace to be the first rookie since 1964 to run for 500 and receive for 800 yards in a season. Also, he is on pace to catch 108 passes - the most of any rookie ever. in all time. forever. in history. our jesus in cleats. Amen.


There is a student at the school I teach at that is interested in attending Tulane. As expected, her parents are concerned about crime in New Orleans. I tell her that crime is average for a large city in the US. Then I read over and over and over that there was a murder, and a double murder, and then a murder where two innocent bystanders where injured, and then a stabbing, etc. I know that we need people to come down there and visit. This kid is one of the best and brightest, and I am worried for his/her safety right now. What is going on? How can we expect people to visit (or come spend four years worth of money) if we can't keep the murderers off the street and provide the public with some sense of safety? When can I expect some good news for my prospective student and his/her parents? BTW - this kid is a Latin nerd. And would be a great fit in New Orleans (not just for college but after).

ASIDE: Most Tulane kids leave New Orleans for greener pastures because they can. New Orleans and Louisana would benefit immensely by keeping Tulane grads in LA in my opinion. Easier said than done. What you have now at Tulane is kids that are interested in saving the world (because of their new focus on community service). We need them to stay, if you ask me. So what can we do to encourage this? And what do I tell potential students?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bambi works for the Police?

They may not have to look far for other suspects.

From the t-p -

"Prostitution has increased," Police Superintendent Warren Riley said this week through spokeswoman Bambi Hall. Though saying the vice squad is addressing the problem, he said that "the primary issue is the lack of bed space at the Orleans Parish Prison, which creates the inability to keep prostitutes in lock-up."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Who does that? (link)

Mr. McCrossen and his cronies have had years to fix levee problems. Katrina revealed the Levee Boards' utter failure to maintain the levees and protect New Orleans (though I am still pretty pissed at the ACoE). Because of this failure they lose their right to whatever "hidden benefits" being a political appointee on the Levee Board means. The gravy train is over, Mr. McCrossen. Find a real job.