31 May 2006

WRNO: Rockin' The River and Shaking the Lake

The Day the (commercially repetitive) Music Dies

Starting June 1st, 2006 Metairieans, Chalmettians, Kennerites, and Westwegoans will not hear something that they have heard on the airwaves since 1980: ZEBRA. That's right, WRNO is throwing in the classic rock towel and dressing itself in a bitter conservative talk radio jump suit. This will leave the greater New Orleans area without a big media classic rock station that constantly regurgitates generic Aerosmith rock (as well as some actual rock classics that have had so much play time that even the Clear Channel execs are saying "Fuck, not Another Brick in The Wall!".

Well, at least the Clear Channel brain trust were smart enough to replace the lone classic rock station in New Orleans with something that has no competitors. Oh wait, Rush Limbaugh and that other nutjob Michael Savage are already on other stations. Although, since Clear Channel's subsidiary Premiere Radio Networks syndicates Rush Limbaugh, I'm sure there wont be a conflict with Sean Hannity on WRNO.

According to Dick Lewis, New Orleans-based regional vice president of Clear Channel: "the switch is a child of the storm." What a fucking load of shit! Dick hardened his stance and said, "In order to be truly important to the city, we needed a news-talk component..." Bullshit. Since when has Clear $hannel ever given a shit about any particular city? Oh and I suppose Sean Hannity is truly important to the citizens of New Orleans. Fucking joke. Thanks, Dick.

I can't say that I'm real upset about the loss of WRNO. I hardly listen to it anymore. But it is and always was a landmark for New Orleans radio. I grew up with it listening to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and yes even Zebra. And although I'm constantly now listenting to either NPR or WWOZ, every now and then I need to drift back to 99.5 and get my classic rock fix. I'll listen to it for while and then realize that they just repeated a song they played 20 minutes earlier. That's when I go back to WWOZ.

UPDATE: A former DJ of WRNO has some audio aircheck samples from the 1970s and 1980s. Hey, you can buy the new "two footstomping albums" of BTO and The New York Dolls for $3.99 (tapes for $4.99) at Fat City Records on Severn Avenue. Fat City in 1974: WOW.

UPDATE 2, 14 June 2006: WRNO is still on the air, albeit Clear Channel-fied, in a classic rock format. Is 1 July 2006 the real D-DAY?

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, WRNO, Clear Channel, Commercial Radio

Enough Already

Ok Times-Picayune, we get it. You hate LSU and gloat whenever given the chance at LSU's misfortune. Yeah, yeah, yeah - Tulane's going to the NCAA Tournament. LSU isn't. It stinks for LSU fans that much is for sure, but three straight days of stinging commentary just shy of "nanny nanny boo boo" is enough to make me stop reading NOLA.com for free everyday. Not one single time did any of these jackasses positively reflect on a nearly 20 year run of excellence. Never. Not once. Bunch of dicks. An oh yeah, screw you too Smoke.




30 May 2006

BR Daily Business Report Slams Double J

An interesting commentary from The Greater Baton Rouge's Business Report (ala our CityBusiness) - written by the publisher of GBRBR no less, I don't know whether I think these comments are right or wrong, but they are interesting as to the point of view to those outside New Orleans.

Jesse Jackson has until 4:00 today, May 30, according to the Secretary of State's office, to file his lawsuit challenging the results of the New Orleans' Mayor's election. All over the Internet are news articles and information regarding Jackson's public criticism of Louisiana trampling the voting rights of its citizens. One segment says "Jesse Jackson pledged to challenge the election results no matter the outcome. With Mayor Nagin winning re-election it is yet to be seen whether Jesse Jackson will uphold his promise." Many others have asked the same question. Was this an issue of principle for Jackson? If it's wrong, then it's wrong no matter who wins. Or was it an issue of race? Now that the black candidate, Nagin, won, he is going to let the results stand. Jackson's sidekick, Sen. Cleo Fields, who was speakiing out and filing lawsuits to stop the election, was on camera election night at Nagin's victory party saying, "I believe the right person is being returned to City Hall." I guess as long as the outcome is what he and Jackson wanted, then and only then is it a "fair election." We will find out on today if Jesse Jackson is a man of principle and keeps his promise - or just a hypocrite.

The Camellia Grill Remains Closed

There are those that say the Camellia Grill had slipped in recent years--that the food wasn't as good as in the past. The ownership had gotten into some financial troubles in the past couple of years and I recall some brief talk the place might actually be a casualty of the owner's bankruptcy. I remember having a conversation with a friend when this was in the news and we agreed the idea of New Orleans without The Camellia Grill would be inconceivable--no way it would ever happen. The events of 29 August 2005 obliterated that rationalization as well as countless others.

Its now nine months later and The Camellia Grill still hasn't reopened post-KTMB. Located two blocks from the River, the building is located upon some of the highest ground in New Orleans and the MAN-induced floodwaters of Lake Pontchartrain never came close to inundating this section of Carrollton. The fluorescent pink State of Louisiana Department of Health inspection placard necessary for reopening after KTMB was posted in one of the restaurant's window in October, but the place never opened. Perhaps, it was slipping a bit before the storm. Both the interior and exterior were beginning to be in need of renovation, but I didn't think the food or the service declined--although others would disagree with that assessment. The last time I ate there was about 10 days before the storm the evening of my son's fifth birthday. My wife and I made a big deal of taking him there for his first time saying that we had waited until he was big enough to be able to sit on one of the stools at the counter. Longtime TCG employee Peanut was our waiter. Word. He gave my son a yo-yo and had all of the patrons in The Camellia Grill sing "Happy Birthday" to him. If the place never opens again, at least my family has a great final memory of the one time my son had his birthday dinner there.

About two or three weeks ago I noticed a shrine of sorts has appeared on the front entrance of The Camellia Grill where with post-its people are leaving messages hoping for a soon re-opening, wishing for a particular dish, or communicating the desire to see a particular waiter. My son of course scribbled one to Peanut--wherever he may be.

There was something in the Times-Picayune a while back (like around Thanksgiving) about what was going on with The Camellia Grill but I've heard nothing for months . . . Anyone?


TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Carrollton, Camellia Grill

29 May 2006

Our Mayor--in Houston, too . . .

Ya, its a horrible picture taken at 80 mph while driving . . .

The Fair Family spent a long weekend in Houston--specifically Kingwood--for my wife's cousin's high school graduation Friday night. On Saturday evening we headed down (for the typical Houston 45 minute drive to get anywhere) to Channelview to a favorite Mexican place named Armenta's. The place was no frills, inexpensive, and the large portions tasted pretty good. Following dinner, some of us (the ones not pregnant and the ones not children) went for frosty beverages at a place back towards Kingwood in Humble called Whiskey River. On the way from the restaurant to the bar (another 30+ minute drive), we passed two of the Nagin "Our Mayor" billboards along I-10 and I-610. According to my wife's uncle, there are more of them still remaining along the freeways in/around Houston. At the bottom of each: Paid for by Ben Edwards. Who exactly is this guy and why does he care who the Mayor of New Orleans is? UPDATE, courtesy of bayoustjohndavid: And more on Edwards. Hmmmmmmm.

Yesterday on the drive back to New Orleans from Houston, I noticed more New Orleans election-related billboards on I-10 (facing eastbound only) in the western part of Louisiana between Lake Charles and Lafayette. These two weren't for a particular candidate (at least literally), but were aimed at encouraging black voters to go back to New Orleans specifically to vote. Take a look at the website address posted on the billboard. Does it seem to infer that Nagin not winning the election would be a setback to universal suffrage or "the movement" (as stated on the website)? Or is the site benign in nature simply offering resources to displaced citizens of New Orleans concerning their constitutional right to vote? I'm not so sure how I'd classify it.

I am not for anyone being denied the right to vote. In fact, I do subscribe to the theory (a la Greg Palast) that the results of the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections were severely impacted by voting rights infractions upon mostly black American citizens. However, in the case of the City of New Orleans post-KTMB elections, I have my reservations about allowing thousands of former residents (regardless of their race) who are not likely to ever return permanently to New Orleans the ability to directly effect who is to be the leader of and spokesperson for New Orleans for the next four incredibly crucial years. (And by the way--what was this faxing votes in stuff??? Seems ripe for abuse to me.) In my opinion, what's truly amazing is that of the two mayoral runoff candidates, Nagin is the one who's agenda/backers are most in favor of policies/plans that will potentially negatively impact New Orleans' black citizens regardless of the "at the end of the day" aka "Chocolate City" aka "I am indeed a black man" speech. I mean come on, when these sorts of signs (i.e. "Nagin Backed Jindal Over Blanco") are popping up in predominately white neighborhoods such as Lakeview and Forman Uptown by a GOP cool kids club in favor of Nagin at the eleventh hour, the New Orleans black community should have realized something might be up. The people who put up these signs attempting to squeeze the not so enamored with The Landrieu Family white vote (because Moon Landrieu integrated City Hall, PERIOD) over to Nagin do not have the well-being of the black populous in mind. Sorry. I think perhaps our black citizenry (and former citizenry now in Houston, Atlanta, The Stick, etc.) has been duped . . . .

I have one last post to make concerning the Mayoral Runoff Election: the voting results by neighborhood like I did for the primary. And then that's it. Moving forward . . .

UPDATE: Oyster/YRHT has a must-read entitled "State GOP gamesmanship uber alles!"

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Houston

24 May 2006

Photo du Jour: A Good Song and Dance to an Empty Room

Last night I was flipping around the television in the early evening and stumbled upon Louisiana Senior Senator Mary Landrieu speaking live to an empty Senate Chamber about the significance of Louisiana's wetlands and Louisiana's natural resources. She stressed the overwhelming importance of Louisiana to the energy needs of the United States. I watched the entire presentation from the time I happened upon it and felt as if she did an excellent job hitting all the main points that we in Louisiana all know. One problem: No one from the other 49 states that need to hear this were in the Senate chamber to hear it. I know, I know: that's how it works--such presentations aren't meant to be actually seen or heard necessarily, but are intended for the written record.

Senator Landrieu: The rest of the country isn't going to "get it." The only way they are going to "get it" is to be deprived of our natural resources (and our ports). Until that time happens, the majority could care less if our state dissappears into the Gulf of Mexico or gets washed away by another hurricane . . . . Senator Vitter: Are you going to do and say something to help our state or just sit there like a bobble-head doll??? For the past nine months, I only seem to see Senator Landrieu standing up and at least making an attempt to fight for Louisiana. I am not sure what you are doing . . .

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Louisiana, Wetlands, Mary Landrieu

Broadmoor Improvement Association/Urban Development Plan for Broadmoor

Broadmoor Vernacular Architecture Thumbnails


Check out the Broadmoor Improvement Association website to view a first-run draft of the Urban Development Plan for Broadmoor . The flood-stricken Broadmoor neighborhood, similar to other New Orleans neighborhoods such as Gentilly and Mid City, has come together on their own (not waiting for the federal government, the state government--the Louisiana Recovery Authority--or the city government) to start planning the neighborhood's future with the aid of both design professionals and related academia. Sections of the 58 slide powerpoint presentation are Orientation (location in the city, etc.), Existing Conditions (an inventory/analysis), and Future Vision (i.e. the plan). Take a look.

Also, of note: An open-house/presentation/Q&A is being held this afternoon showcasing a flooded bungalow currently being rebuilt on Walmsley Avenue. The cost is five dollars per person and all proceeds go to the Preservation Resource Center. Here are the details.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Broadmoor, Plan, PRC

23 May 2006

Post City of New Orleans Election Day Three...

and I still feel like someone beat me with a Louisville Slugger.

Great piece in today's Times Pic HERE.

I suppose hizzoner now thinks he is beyond reproach for any comments he may make now. He can go public and piss off whoever he wants. Its a great piece about how Nagin may be pro-business but he may not have a clue how to actually bring business here post KTMB. His vague rhetoric and revolving door City Hall may have been fine in the "innocent days," hell all we needed then was a lack of corruption. That was a positive step, his crap won't fly anymore.

I appreciated Joe Canizzaro's comments about how although Nagin has "embraced" the Bring Back New Orleans Commission's reccomendations he has taken no steps towards implementation and has not put a price tag on it.

I did not appreciate Rob "Incontheviable" Coughig's baseless BS comments about how Nagin is so pro-business but yet offered no real, tangible base - Post KTMB - for that statement. Great..."HEY WORLD, I'M PRO BUSINESS!!! WHOOO-HOOO!!!" WTF does that mean, and what is the Mayor doing to bring business in besides making polarizing, alienating comments and showing the world that not a whole lot has changed here post KTMB.

I've been in the background on this Blog after having kept my own blog for a month after being in the city a great deal immediatly after the storm, it was a blog that became too much of a part of me and I still have difficulty going back and looking at it but now I'm pissed. Now I touched the live wire with this whole Mayors race. I'm a Republican, a fairly conservative one at that. I own two businesses I SHOULD want the more Conservative, Republican backed candidate but not now, now is the time to put political ideology aside and do what is right for our city, for the economic engine of our state. We had a chance to do it right and we screwed it up. You'll be hearing lots more from me.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu

News From Tulane: And Then We'll Kill the Engineering Program

I am on the near-daily News From Tulane email list. Here's what I got from them yesterday:

As the 2006 Hurricane Season begins, nearly 50 national experts who make their living making life livable along the world's beautiful but volatile coasts will gather for the Tulane Engineering Forum, "Engineering in a Coastal Environment" June 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the New Orleans Hilton.
And then they can kill the 110+ year old Tulane Engineering School. The stoning of the program will commence following the forum.

Seriously, this appears to be an excellent opportunity to stage a protest . . .

I was involved in a Tulane-related function over the past week. I personally have no affiliation with Tulane although I have several relatives which received, ironically, Engineering degrees from the university. I had a question to most Tulane-affiliated people I met: What is your opinion of Scott Cowen? Let's just say that every single response was not favorable for Mr. Cowen. My money is he's out of New Orleans to so-called greener pastures within two years . . . . moving on like his Kent State-bound buddy Lester Lefton--who I understand was the more influential one regarding the hit jobs of Tulane Engineering and Newcomb College.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Tulane, Scott Cowen

21 May 2006

The City of New Orleans Runoff Election: Some Thoughts

Despite the Tulane poll earlier in the week that stated Mitch Landrieu held a 10 point lead over Nagin, I had a feeling C. Ray was going to pull it off in a close one--I figured by less than five points. Tis exactly what happened last night, but the first hour and a half of election returns on WWL and on WDSU (during the WWL commercials) was all Mitch all of the time. Landrieu had an eight point lead for nearly the first hour after the polls closed which was chipped at bit by bit with Nagin eventually catching up and passing Landrieu's total for good at about 10pm. The total difference: 5,400 votes. I am disappointed with the result of Landrieu losing, but I think I convinced myself this would be the probable outcome about mid-week. My wife can verify my mood concerning the election shifted on Wednesday or so.

On Thursday evening before the election while the last Nagin/Landrieu debate (on WWL) took place, I noticed Virginia Boulet in a booth at my neighborhood sushi joint Hana. Watching the debate on one of the restaurant's televisions (not the new Katrina/jacuzzi effect flat panel wall-mounted one), she was giddy as can be laughing and giggling at Mayor Nagin's wit on display. I was there getting "pick up" and I actually considered confronting her about her endorsement of Nagin but opted not to. At that moment, I couldn't think of what to say which would not be interpreted as abrasive or disrespectful. After I left Hana, it dawned on me what I should have asked her. The turning point in my opinion of Ms. Boulet was in that first MSNBC debate when Nagin asked her about her "UNO to Downtown" idea. She completely botched the answer and sounded way too clueless for someone seriously running for Mayor. Nagin downright embarrassed her--and in my opinion, and many others, was the defining moment of her not being a legitimate contender. With this, she goes and endorses him? Then, yesterday on election day, I see Ms. Boulet jumping up and down on the St. Charles Avenue neutral ground for the Nagin campaign looking as if she was jacked up on ten gallons of coffee. (Thank you sir. Can I have another?) Now Couhig and Boulet are to be placed onto what Nagin is calling his "First 100-Day" commission . . . Oh, and look for Couhig to be the hand-chosen GOP candidate in the fish-in-a-barrel 1st Congressional District when Jindal makes his Governor redux run in 2008--along with Mitch, perhaps.

Ernie the Attorney has an excellent postmortem on the election and Mitch Landrieu. Its a very good post and gives me hope. The reality is Nagin continues to be the Mayor of the City of New Orleans for the next four years--until 2010. I didn't vote for him this time around, but I want him to be the man. I want him to be successful. I want New Orleans to be successful. Before the storm, I started to have concerns about Nagin as Mayor for several reasons. The main concern was the many resignations of his inner circle, high end staff. His administration has had more turn-over than a Burger King . . . Another issue brought up by others is that he doesn't seem to listen to anyone. Perhaps this has something to do with the high volume of resignations/strange departures of upper staff throughout his tenure . . .

Ray, do the right thing. And listen to experts, please. Our city depends on it. Oh, and I agree with Adrastos--Nagin's victory speech was leftfield-ish--as usual.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. That's me laughing hysterically. Looking at the primary results, there was no way in hell Shelly Midura was going to beat Jay Batt. I was just hoping she'd come within 10 points, but instead she actually pulled it off and got the win. This race was about as ugly as it gets--and I'd say the ugliness was instigated by the incumbent's camp. Today a friend was telling me of similar activities against then-incumbent Scott Shea four years ago. Ya, Jay--Ms. Midura wants public housing projects in "the heart" of Lakeview. I'd say Harrison at Lakeview Harbor would be an excellent place for a St. Thomas-like housing project. Oh, and she "wants" Entergy rates to go up 300%. Just pathetic--especially the race-baiting stuff. Batt losing actually made last night tolerable. I walked over to Batt's campaign headquarters on Oak Street after the results were final to get in with some of their fun, but unlike the primary the "victory" party was apparently Downtown and not on Oak. The place was abandoned and locked up tight. I took one of the bogus grassroots effort "We Love Batt" signs (nice work Batt campaign consultants) off of the Carrollton neutral ground to relish the defeat for years to come.

I voted for Arnie Fielkow, but I have no issues with Ms. Clarkson. I admire Fielkow for sticking around New Orleans. The day he departed his vice president position with Mr. Benson and his San Antinio Saints he could have gotten far away from New Orleans and its long-term issues. I am sure numerous business opportunities were there for his taking elsewhere. Instead, he decided to stay because he and his family want to be in New Orleans. Too bad the Nevilles (minus Art) don't have this attitude. I figured Mr. Fielkow had a decent chance to beat Clarkson, but whoa, he cleaned her clock winning by over 14,000 votes and 12 points. I look forward to seeing him in action as a New Orleans City Council member. I doubt Clarkson will completely go away as she will be involved in the recovery of New Orleans in some fashion.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Jay Batt

I Hope You Republicans Are Happy

I have never been so bitter about getting a prediction right. I told you that the Couhig endorsement was the nail in the coffin. I don't even live near New Orleans anymore, and I saw that from a million miles away.

We all know why the swing vote went to Nagin. And it's f&*$in' pathetic. You sold out your city so that you could send a message to the Landrieu family. I hope you all are proud of yourselves. You sure showed them. You punished Mitch because daddy helped out the black people. Or, better yet, you punished Mitch because his sister (whom we all know is Hillary Rodham Clinton's best friend) has been humiliating W in Washington.

Saying that it was Moon Landrieu's fault that minorities took charge of City Hall is about as stupid as saying that W caused Katrina to come to New Orleans. You can criticize W for the response, but don't throw blame for things that are beyond his control. Integration was coming, no matter who was in office back then. Landrieu didn't make it happen. Why can't you just let it go?

I guess all of you Couhig Republicans who sold out Landrieu forgot the mantra that Old Man Reagan preached 20-plus years ago: Are you better off now than you were one month after Katrina?

You re-elected an incompetent race-baiter to settle a score. Wow, that's petty.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Couhig

20 May 2006

Ray Nagin = 52% - EDITED

One thought: We're f***ed.

Anybody see Nagin's acceptance speech? Is anybody taking this seriously? He's quoting Ghandi? He's buddying up with Bush? He's condescending to Blanco? WTF?!?

One question: Does this help or hurt people who were on the fence about coming back? And, after sleeping on it does anyone feel as punched in the stomach as I do this Sunday morning by this?

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu

Dead = 1,577

The death toll in Louisiana from Hurricane Katrina was officially raised to 1,577. No outrage, no headline news stories, and no response. 1,577 of our neighbors, friends and family members are gone, and most of America cares only for the search for Jimmy Hoffa or bogus border issues. Where are the criminal charges against those engineers responsible for the design and construction of the floodwalls? Where is the money and planning and engineering to make sure that the levee system is redesigned so this does not happen again? Where are the civil suits against the responsible engineering design firms? Where are the 6,000 National Guard troops that could be working on rebuilding New Orleans infrastructure instead of standing in an empty desert? And more imporantly, where are the responsible journalists that should be pressing these important questions?

19 May 2006

Tim's Nameless Blog: My Letter to Ray

Just as Dangerblond has penned a letter on this election eve to incumbent New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Tim at Tim's Nameless Blog has also written another excellent one. Both are sincere and I believe speak the truth as to why Mayor Nagin's tenure as Mayor of New Orleans should end. Read this and pass the links along . . . .

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Endorsements

"The Best Value to Government"

THE NATION article on Blackwater USA in New Orleans from its most recent issue . . . .

These guys--privatized/militarized security--were crawling all over the City of New Orleans in the "Brownie" days and are apparently still around New Orleans to some degree.

Also see THE NATION article from the October 2005 concerning their presence and use here.

Dangerblond: The Blond Truth

Dangerblond had an excellent post yesterday with the title The Blond Truth: I Still Love You, Ray.

Well done. Check it out.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Endorsements

18 May 2006

Jay Batt Sure Has Impeccable Timing

Dammit. A power surge just caused me to lose an entire posting . . . The cliff note version:

Batt Announces Store He Promised in today's Times-Picayune.

Basically, the point of my now zapped post, was that the timing of this Walgreen's/Robert Mart announcement sure is impeccable--three days before the City Council District A Runoff Election against Shelly Midura. Batt was getting burned on this Carrollton grocery store issue as he gave his "I won't run again unless a grocery is built in Carrollton" speech over three years ago. For the past two years he has tried to say that the Sav-A-Lot on South Carrollton and Palmetto "counted" when everyone knows what he meant when he made the speech on the abandoned South Carrollton/South Claiborne site. So meanwhile, the abandoned buildings continued to be an eyesore and a public safety hazard--and this is even before the buildings got flooded in August 2005. Now they're funkified by the flooding as well.

I think Batt is likely going to get re-elected--probably by at least 10%. Check out the geographic results from the Council District A Primary. Lakeview/Forman Uptown to Batt. Carrollton to Midura. And Mid-City split to the both of them. The grocery store issue, the Stuart Hall expansion issue, and the Bruno's The Sequel issue are all the causes for the anti-Batt sentiment in Carrollton. I live in Carrollton, so you can guess where my vote is going . . . .

You got to hand it to Batt for the timing on this announcement . . . .

The result of the new Walgreen's on this site is that the Walgreen's at South Carrollton and Earhart will not be reopened (never reopened from the flooding). So, we just traded one abandoned building for another one.

17 May 2006

Pop Culture Normalization of KTMB

I once had a Sociology professor who said it is impossible to be an American and not watch TV. Watching TV is the only way to ensure you are up to date with what America thinks is right and normal. I watched TV with great curiousity this weekend as two very popular TV shows, THE SOPRANOS and HOUSE, gave more than a glancing reference to KTMB. I did not see HOUSE, only the promo, but it dealt with a black woman who was somehow paranormally influenced by the floodwaters of KTMB. Since this show was on FOX I can only assume that the subject matter was dumbed down to appeal to the lowest common denominator and was incredibly inaccurate and inflamatoy at best. However, it did feature a Katrina, err, USACE failure to build a levee, Victim. Still in the mainstream pop media.

I did watch THE SOPRANOS and I have several problems with this fucking show. For five seasons now I have been a fucking sycophant lapping up each and every second of this dribble HBO has been pouring into the bowl of mindless media. For five seasons I've been drinking the cool aid thinking along with so many other premium cable service subscribing Americans that this show was edgy and hip, cerebral and real. I thought their references to realtime pop culture was nothing short of genius. Fuck them. Fuck HBO. I have suffered through 5 or 6 episodes of this CCCCRRRRRRAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPP they have put forth this season and the lack of creativity was none more present than this past Sunday than when they referenced KTMB. First off they drag up these two horrible actors who are playing legitimate New Orleanians. One of the characters was no doubt Dennis Quaid's voice coach in "The Big Easy" and the entire scene where they refered gleefully to the gouging of New Orleanians was a total disrepect to us, but that's not my point.

My point, or rather my question, is does the mentioning of Katrina in prime time entertainment mean that America is still acutley aware of KTMB, does it mean that KTMB is and will become part of American culture or does it mean no one really gives a damn anymore and its just sort of become primetime entertainment for America??? Comments please.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, The Sopranos, Levee

City of New Orleans Mayoral Runoff Election Endorsements

All four major New Orleans print media groups have endorsed Mitch Landrieu for New Orleans Mayor over incumbent C. Ray Nagin. Each endorsement can be read at the below links:

The Times-Picayune
The gap between the mayor's vision and his ability to execute has only grown since Katrina. His Bring New Orleans Back Commission crafted a nuanced proposal to guide the rebuilding of the city, but the mayor failed to embrace its most important provisions. New Orleanians want answers, but Mr. Nagin has left many people scratching their heads.

Gambit Weekly
We endorse Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu because he has the skill sets that New Orleans needs to get its recovery moving faster and in the right direction. He has years of political experience, yet solid credentials as a reformer.

The Louisiana Weekly
However, in the months since the storm, justified or unjustified, Ray Nagin has built a reputation nationally that inspires humor and contempt rather than the compassion this city needs to rebuild.

New Orleans CityBusiness
Our next mayor, should another catastrophic event happen, must have good instincts and good advisers to manage the crisis. This is the other point of separation between the mayor and the lieutenant governor. Our mayor has decent instincts but he has come up short in his ability to assemble a competent team of advisers.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Endorsements

Yet Another Fire: Orange Street Wharf in the Lower Garden District

Yet another fire (currently ongoing) in the city. WWL TV reports the Orange Street Wharf is ablaze and the smoke can be seen as far away as the Northshore. Overhead water dumps using helicopters are being used to help put out the fire.

FYI: The wharf is one of the ones always coveted and long-term planned to be re-developed to greenspace/multi-use (residential/commerical).

Live Streaming of the fire from WWL.

Live Streaming of the fire from nola.com.

MSNBC/WDSU City of New Orleans Mayoral Debate: Part Deux

So you didn't get to see the debate last night? There's only one thing needed to be known: Chris Matthews is a douchebag. There it is.

This "debate" has nothing to do with who will be Mayor of New Orleans. Its about giving Chris Matthews an opportunity to grandstand. Hey, Chris, could you talk over the two people this event is to be focused on anymore? I am sorry--I couldn't hear Landrieu's or Nagin's answers to your stupid, irrelevant questions (Hillary Clinton or John McCain for POTUS in 2008) because you won't shut up with your loud, piercing voice . . .

I could go off further on this in several directions, but let me focus in on my particular favorite myth that people such as Chris Matthews continue to perpetuate: the "building a city below city level" thing. Once again, this statement is made and unfortunately neither Nagin or Landrieu ever corrects it. Yes, many areas of the City of New Orleans or below sea level, but many sections of New Orleans are at or above sea level. Therefore, to completely assume the entire city is at a lower elevation than Lake Pontchatrain, Lake Borgne, or the Gulf of Mexico is false, but yet this belief is an unquestioned fact since August 2005. To simply frame the entire post-KTMB situation in New Orleans as "are we going to rebuild a city below sea level" typifies the way the American public is handled by media (and by the politicians). Everything has to be yes or no, A or B. Its not quite that easy with anything, much less discussing the future of the City of New Orleans. But yet it continues unabated.

Another thing: in addition to the grandstanding stage of Chris Matthews--a friend a few minutes ago said something very interesting as we discussed the Chris Matthews I Get to "come down here" and Eat at Antoine's and Galitoire's Show. It seemed as if this event wasn't meant to gauge the two candidates vying to be the leader of this city at perhaps the most crucial time in its 288-year old history. Instead, it was as if New Orleans was on trial--and the two guys up on stage were there to justify its continued existence. So are any other cities in this country expendable, Mr. Cab Driver?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . and another thing I almost forget to mention. For the second time this week in a televised debate, Mayor Nagin mentioned Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I don't care what the context is (the original place on Broad--upcoming new post to come on this, by the way--where the political deals traditionally got done over lunch), why does he keep giving these sellouts mention and advertisement? What about chastizing them for moving their corporate headquarters from our city? Instead he gives them a plug. That alone loses my vote.

An Outsider's Take:
I sent an email yesterday afternoon to some out-of-town relatives informing that the debate was to be televised nationally on MSNBC. My wife's aunt in Houston SuburbiaLand Northeast responded with her thoughts post-debate. She's not from here, never lived here, but has been to New Orleans visiting us several times over the past couple of years (including Barkus weekend post-KTMB). Here's her "untainted" take on what she saw last night:

OK. Here is my opinion from a person that doesn't live in New Orleans and may not know the "real" issues and the two candidates presented tonight. I haven't watched any previous debates. I may be way off base since I am basing my opinions from this debate and what I have seen on the news.

First off: The major question I had was not answered: How are they going to get the people back to New Orleans what is the plan for rebuilding the city?

Ray Nagin:
He seems slimy. He doesn't admit to statements he made before, he doesn't answer any question negatively (he sugarcoats every bad situation) so this makes me think that he isn't truthful and doesn't speak from his heart, his ideals and opinions. He makes too many promises (without immigrant workers we can still rebuild New Orleans). Then why isn't he doing it? Where is theplan to get the people home and back to work? He says the levees will be fine (Is that true? I find it hard to believe that they can withstand a higher category than a 3). He doesn't seem to have much political clout to get things moving (from what I observed/don't know if it's true). He says there have been incremental improvements but there is no where to go but up right now-right? Shouldn't it be happening in a more efficient way by now? The levees are a Federal responsibility, yes, but does he have the ability to get the government to act responsibly and fix it right?

Mitch Landrieu:
He is much better spoken and articulate. He makes good points and seems to know the issues and appears to have more clout to get things done. BUT he didn't tell me what his plan is! I think his point on getting tourism back was excellent, it showed America that New Orleans didn't die. He made a few good points on rebuilding in areas prone to flooding (even if they aren't below sea level, they are still vulnerable). He points that rebuilding is done in Florida, Mississippi, San Francisco, etc., so why not in New Orleans? He also says the levees will be rebuilt to withstand a category 5, but is it realistic with what we know about our government? Is he also making too many promises?

Chris Matthews:
He was an idiot. His questions were so off base so many times (the immigration issue, are the candidates too boring, Hilary Clinton??) Who cares? What are the candidates plans? I did like his question about Bush, but I still think Americans have a 10 minute attention span and it wouldn't have helped keep the issue in the American minds any longer. However, what it would have done is perhaps provided more aid and money to the area.

Anyway I have rambled on enough and to make a long story short, if I was voting on Saturday I'd vote for Landrieu since from my perception (I don't live there so am not close to the issues) Nagin hasn't done the best job in the rebuilding stage and if he is reelected has already burnedtoo many bridges whereas Landrieu would be a fresh start.

My brothers in the cause also chime in similarly on the Chris Matthews Show, Live from New Orleans: Wetbank Guide, Ashley Morris: The Blog, World Class New Orleans, and People Get Ready.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Chris Matthews

16 May 2006

Photos du Jour: Check the Clearance, Clarence . . .

Caught this "misunderestimation" on the way home from work yesterday afternoon at the Causeway overpass of Jefferson Highway. Ooops. The subsequent lane closure of Causeway caused traffic to back up to the most bizarre highway interchange/traffic circle on earth at Airline.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Causeway, Jefferson Highway

15 May 2006

That Hurricane on the 29th . . .

Stumbled upon this:

In view of the very great severity of the hurricane of the 29th ultimo, and of the unprecedented succession of subsequent rainfalls and their intensity, it is safe to say that no city anywhere in the world could have withstood these conditions with less damage and less inconvenience than has New Orleans, and the feeling on the part of those in the most responsible positions in the Sewerage and Water Board service is entirely one of gratitude and satisfaction that the city as a whole and the Board's service have all escaped with only a little inconvenience and a relatively insignificant amount of minor damage, which soon can be fully restored.

Unfortunately, the above statement has nothing to do with the hurricane and flooding of 29 August 2005. Instead its taken from the report of George G. Earl, General Superintendent of the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board following the 29 September 1915 Hurricane which passed 20 miles west of the city. Overwhelming quantities of rain, sustained winds of eighty miles per hour and more, failed pumping stations, over-topped levees by a surging Lake Pontchartrain and Inner Harbor Canal, the complete annihilation of St. Bernard and Lower Plaquemines Parishes . . . Sadly, the usual stuff--repeated in 1965 and 2005.

The Report entitled "The Hurricane of Sept. 29th, 1915 and Subsequent Heavy Rainfalls" is a fantastic read and can be found here.

Reports from the Times-Picayune in the days following the 1915 storm can be seen here.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, 1915 Hurricane, Levee

New Orleans Saints Update: Reggie Bush at Mini-Camp

There he is. Reggie Bush in a Saints uniform. At least he's smiling now. And he has donated money to Holy Rosary school, and toured the Ninth Ward (saying it looked like a "war zone"). He's doing and saying the right things, even though our "friends" at ESPN keep saying that he "lost money" coming to New Orleans.

I have updated my 53-roster projections. The offense can be seen here, and the defense can be seen here. To summarize, I have removed Michael Bennett and Courtney Watson, and recalled Fred McAfee and Michael Lewis.

And you may recall my post about the Reggie Bush Conspiracy Theory. Well, this happened last week if you weren't paying attention. I'm still saying it's coincidence, but this is word-for-word the second step in the theory.

TAGS: New Orleans Katrina Saints , .

13 May 2006

Times-Picayune: Flooding Timeline/Interactive Map

Bob Marshall in Sunday's Times-Picayune provides a timeline of the flood protection system failures that lead to the inundation of New Orleans, Old Metairie, St. Bernard Parish, and Plaquemines Parish.

Also included is a nifty interactive map (a flash animation) that illustrates the flooding by time increment.

What's amazing to me is that none of the flooding within the City of New Orleans was officially stated by the media until the early hours of Tuesday, 3o August. The timeline states all flooding was underway by 10:30am on the 29th, the day of KTMB landfall. From my evacuation location in Colfax, LA, I recall feeling pretty confident about the flooding situation within New Orleans in the afternoon of the 29th based on what was stated online, on the radio, and on television. In reality, the place was drowning.

Some points from the article:

The costliest natural disaster in the nation’s history began early Monday, Aug. 29, with a small leak near the Interstate 10 High-Rise about 4:30 a.m. and climaxed with the horrific collapse of floodwalls along the 17th Street and London Avenue canals between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.

Researchers now say as many as 30 breaches in the system accounted for 84 percent of the metro area flooding, with most of the water coming from the big gaps along the 17th Street, London Avenue and Industrial canals, as well as holes in the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway levees and a gap in the Orleans Avenue outfall canal that flooded much of the City Park area.

St. Bernard Parish: 89 percent of the flooding came through breaches in the MR-GO levees on the eastern side of the parish and from the Industrial Canal, also called the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal, on its northern end.

Eastern New Orleans: 63 percent of the flooding came from breaches along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Industrial Canal.

The rest of New Orleans: 87 percent came through the holes in the 17th Street, London Avenue and Industrial canals, as well as the gap in the Orleans Avenue Outfall Canal.

Read the full article.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Flooding, 17th Street Canal, St. Bernard, New Orleans East

New Orleans CityBusiness Editorial: New Orleans Needs Unity in Recovery

I think this piece from New Orleans CityBusiness is dead-on:

May 12, 2006 2:57 PM
NEW ORLEANS — A variation on the insolent "It’s the economy, stupid" rallying cry that accompanied George Bush Sr. along the way to becoming a one-term president is serenading Mayor C. Ray Nagin during these final few mayoral campaign days.

It’s the recovery, mayor. Or, more specifically, the lack thereof.

New Orleanians have waited for the mayor to work closely with the state and federal government to shift this recovery into a higher gear. It hasn’t happened. In listening to the mayor campaign, there’s no sense of the urgency many of us feel about how slowly the recovery is progressing.

CityBusiness called for visible actions from city government following Katrina, which would have encouraged citizens and instilled confidence in federal decision-makers. It has not happened.

Our mayor’s poor planning capability, illustrated most recently by his incomplete evacuation ideas undeveloped beyond the brainstorming stage nine months after Katrina, have betrayed this city and robbed it of opportunities.

For example, New Orleans remains littered with cars that should have and could have been hauled away long ago. The performance by Waste Management Inc. in terms of its garbage collections is a disgrace yet the city continues to tolerate its finicky pickup policies.

City finances, shredded by the loss of business sales tax receipts and property taxes from citizens, remain a puzzling question mark. The only plan the mayor seems to have is to rely on federal largesse.

The city should be marketing New Orleans fiercely with all the financial incentives the Gulf Opportunity Zone and other programs have to offer. This is not happening in any appreciable way. If it is, the mayor has not communicated that message.

The mayor also has remained mum on the intensifying crime rates that continue to erode the feeling of safety in the city. Murder rates have already returned to the unacceptable levels that existed pre-Katrina.

Worst of all, and to his great discredit, the mayor has divided the city by his campaign remarks rather than trying to mend its splintered spirit. His Chocolate City comments remain the most obvious reminder of his inability to speak to the coalescing and unity needed to further our recovery.

The next mayor must make it clear that government is not going to save New Orleans. He must call on citizens to volunteer time and effort, much like the Katrina Krewe has done, to augment insufficient city services. We must start taking care of ourselves.

In return, we deserve active and urgent leadership intent on showing the entire world that New Orleans will recover. The recovery will not just happen. It takes careful planning, aggressive lobbying, constant monitoring and the ability to prioritize.

It takes a thoughtful unifying presence in City Hall. United, we can stand again. Divided, we’ll continue to fail.

Last night I attended a fundraiser for my child's school. In the general conversation with other parents, the mayor's race inevitably came up with several of them. Everyone I talked with has come to the same conclusion: Nagin's shelf life as Mayor of New Orleans has expired. His divisive comments post-KTMB as well as his ineffectiveness and his "hey, man--its all going to work out but I don't have any hard facts to back anything I say up" demeanor thus far in 2006 demands his removal from office. The national perception of Nagin is so tainted that this city giving him another term as our mayor is nearly the equivalent irrationality of Washington, DC re-electing Marion Barry in 1994 following his infamous video-taped drug incident. Perhaps that comparison is a bit extreme, but from a national perception angle it has similarities. How much of a joke was the District of Columbia when Barry got elected? What New Orleans doesn't need now is to be anymore of a punchline.

The challenges facing New Orleans on every level are incredible and unparalleled--no doubt. But they aren't impossible to overcome given effective leadership. I voted for Nagin twice in 2002 and up until January 2006 believed he was doing an adequate--and perhaps even admirable--job given the grim realities of a post-KTMB New Orleans. (This belief may change upon completion of Douglas Brinkley's THE GREAT DELUGE.) The past five months of Nagin's leadership in 2006 have gotten progressively worse and it is now simply a time for a change. I know many have reservations about Mitch Landrieu's family background (some would call a political machine), but I believe the City of New Orleans has a much better opportunity for recovery with Mayor Landrieu than a re-elected Mayor Nagin.

And finally, Rob Couhig (someone who I actually have always liked before he had his political aspirations)--should be ashamed of himself . . . All his support of Nagin does is sell the City of New Orleans out for the assumed long-term gains of his party statewide. They have no care whatsoever what happens to New Orleans in the short-term--all that matters is getting the Governorship and the Senate in 2008. In fact, the more deplorable the conditions are within New Orleans the better for them in their eyes--thus the support for the next-four year punching bag "hey, man" Nagin.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Couhig

11 May 2006

Just Pathetic . . .

Hum "Proud to be an American (at least I know I'm free)" as you read this . . .

from WWL TV:
71-year-old man becomes a hero during Betsy, now forced to sleep in a tent post-Katrina

08:08 PM CDT on Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Bill Capo / WWL-TV Action Reporter

After Hurricane Betsy, a New Orleans man became a hero when he rescued others from the flooded areas of the city.

Ed Wragge has been forced to sleep inside a tent that he pitched inside his gutted house. He's been waiting weeks for the keys to his FEMA trailer.

Then after Hurricane Katrina, the same man asked FEMA for a trailer to live in until his flood damaged home could be rebuilt. On Wednesday, Eyewitness News found him living in a tent.

Ed Wragge, 71, has been sleeping on a cot inside a tent that has been pitched in a room of his gutted Gentilly home.

“It’s been real frustrating, I give up. The government should do well for people. I don’t know what to do,” cried Wragge.

Wragge doesn’t have a kitchen, so he eats meals from cans and drinks bottled water. He does not have a bathroom, yet outside his home sits the FEMA trailer he had asked for in October.

He said it has been there seven weeks, and he has yet to receive the keys. Wragge had been staying with friends, but couldn’t any longer.

“I got to sleep in this house. I have no place else to stay, everybody died. They died on me,” Wragge said as he tried to hold back his tears.

Before he bought the tent, Wragge was sleeping in his car, which he said was even worse.

“Oh, it’s miserable. I’m too tall, I couldn’t stretch out my legs,” he said.

Wragge said there was still mold in the house he and his nephew were gutting. He has lived there since 1960, and his parents before him. Wragge said Katrina was the first time it had flooded.

Among his belongings he was trying to save were the water damaged uniforms that he wore when he was a Sergeant in the 1960s. He said he wore those uniforms during Hurricane Betsy when he was on duty.

“I was a National Guard Sergeant. The first few days I was in the water, until I got too cold, I started driving a truck,” he said.

Wragge said he wore the uniforms when he rescued hundreds of people.

The reason Wragge hadn’t been given the keys was because there was no power to the trailer.

Since he called the Action Line, Eyewitness News has had several conversations with FEMA and the contractor Fluor. Officials at FEMA said they were working on the situation and Wednesday morning, FEMA called Wragge.

“Oh, it would be a life saver, been sleeping in a tent. I’m making do,” Wragge said.

Eight fucking months and this guy--a hero following Hurricane Betsy no less--has to "make do" living in his car and in camping in a tent within his moldy house???? What the fuck is wrong with this country? This shit makes me livid. And you know what the worse part is? This isn't an isolated situation . . . .

I am so sorry this bores you, America.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, FEMA

10 May 2006

Firefighters and Police Groups Endorse Landrieu

From nola.com:
Representatives of the city’s firefighters and police officers endorsed Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu for mayor in a joint announcement in front of City Hall on Tuesday.

New Orleans Firefighters Local 632, Police Association of New Orleans and Fraternal Order of Police threw their political weight behind Landrieu despite endorsing Mayor Ray Nagin four years ago.

I'm not sure how much influence these endorsements will have but I find it interesting that the men and women of these departments want their current boss fired. I think they know how effective or ineffective a leader is especially after an experience such as Katrina. But, maybe I'm reading this the wrong way - perhaps there are ulterior motives by these departments. And I'm sure it wasn't a unanimous decision either. But whatever the case, it's hard for me to disregard the fact that they don't want to serve under Nagin.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Couhig

2006 City of New Orleans Primary Elections Detailed Results

The results of the 2006 City of New Orleans Primary Election are linked from the State of Louisiana Secretary of State website to this site. It provides a detail breakdown of the primary election vote for all positions (mayor, city council, etc.) including maps. Be sure to check out the results by precinct which also displays the amount of registered voters, their party affiliation, and race. Very telling information within these statistics.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Couhig

09 May 2006

A Pictorial: The Last Few Days (non-Jazzfest)

After a few "happy hour" drinks at Kingpin, I finally made it to the Brothers Three Lounge on Magazine on Thursday night. I had never been there before, but I knew of the Brothers Three fixtures such as "Cowboy." Unfortunately, Cowboy, his poetry, and the other regulars are gone having never returned to New Orleans after KTMB. The bartender has no idea where they all went other than "up north." Yet another loss of the funk of this place. The subject of the mayor's race came up with one of my old college-days friends--let's call her Red. Red voted for Couhig--and in fact actually lives in the one of the few precincts Couhig won outright (in Lower Algiers) in the primary. She was telling me the reasons she could not vote for Mitch Landrieu (i.e. "he's too much of a politician," and "I just don't like the Landrieus") and is leaning towards not voting at all. TBNO contributor (currently internet-deprived due to a computer virus) Hollis P. Wood then chimed in with the perfect reason why she should vote for Landrieu: perception. He argued that Nagin has become an embarrassment and a liability to New Orleans and that the rest of the county is watching to see what we do. Can they take New Orleans seriously if we re-elect Nagin? Landrieu projects a progressive, competent, untarnished image as our mayor. Oyster has expressed similar sentiments--of which I am in complete agreement. To the Couhig/Forman supporters like Red: Christ, this isn't a David Duke/Edwin Edwards-like choice circa 1991. Nagin is a ridiculously easy target for the Republican Party to go medieval on for the next four years--thus the Couhig endorsement as well as their behind the scenes maneuvering pro-Nagin. Divide and conquer: the name of the political game. So one question remains: will Jindal join Couhig doing the inconceivable?

After B3L, we made it over to Carrollton Station for the Anders Osborne, John "Papa" Gros, and Theresa Andersson show. Damn good stuff there causing a late night with lots of beverages consumed. Opening act was Woodenhead guitarist Jimmy Robinson.

Vote Emperor Ernie K-Doe for Mayor--purchased at Kingpin for 20 bucks. Proceeds go to New Orleans Musician Clinic. I was going to get one for myself but the above friend grabbed the last one the right size.

Friday evening the Fair Family headed over to the re-opened Five Happiness. They are currently operating in the Imperial Room which in non-KTMB times acts as party/reception room. As of now, the main building isn't slated to be open for business until the end of the year and remains gutted down to the stud. The furnishings in the Imperial Room are of course all new and the interior in my opinion resembles a casino. Mirrors are everywhere. The menu was streamlined compared to normal times, bit still presented a large selection. The food lived up to the 5H standard.

After dinner at 5H, we drove over to the new Lowe's on Jefferson Highway (Friday was it's first day open). It will of course provide another opportunity for tax revenue to be siphoned from the City of New Orleans to Jefferson Parish. This is already happening of course between the Elmwood and Veterans boxes, but this location literally sits on the Jefferson/Orleans border making it that much easier. Between Lowe's and the parish/city boundary is a dedicated right-of-way for a to-be-constructed interchange between Jefferson Highway/Monticello and Earhart Expressway which I am sure made this site selection even that more attractive to the suits. Look for more such future development on Jefferson Highway.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Nagin, Louisiana, Landrieu

06 May 2006

Blanco Vetoes Offshore LNG Facility

Governor Blanco made a monumental decision to protect Louisiana's precious natural resources from further desecration by large corporations on Friday. Under the Deepwater Port Act Amendment, the Governors of adjacent coastal states have the power to approve or deny deepwater port liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities such as the Main Pass Energy Hub proposed by Freeport McMoran. The Main Pass LNG facility was an offshore port that proposed to use an "open loop" system to regassify liquefied natural gas brought in on specialized tankers. In a nutshell, this system uses warm Gulf of Mexico waters (off the coast of Louisiana) to heat liquefied natural gas and return it to a gaseous state, which can then be moved into existing pipeline networks. During this process, hundreds of millions of gallons of seawater are rapidly cooled and chlorinated, killing all living organisms in the water (including fish eggs and larvae, such as shrimp, red fish and red snapper) and is then discharged back to the Gulf of Mexico. There are alternate technologies, such as burning some of the natural gas brought to the facility to reheat the liquefied natural gas, but these processes do not net as much profit for the oil companies.

The problem with the Deepwater Port Act is our US Congress and President passed an amendement in 2002 that required the pemit application process for LNG facilities to be completed in 330 days. This does not provide an adequate amount of time for real environmental impact studies to be completed on the types of technologies proposed, such as open loop systems. Although this speedy process greatly benefits oil companies by keeping them from having to truly analyze the potential impacts of their proposed facilities, it leaves all US citizens, and especially those in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama where facilities are proposed, as the big losers. The lack of real environmental impact data keeps everyone in the dark as to the real long-term effects to fisheries and our precious coastal resources from these facilities, and also causes the Governors of adjacent coastal states to have to consider vetoing the application of much needed LNG facilities. The only decision to be made is to either allow unknown risks to already depleted coastal resources or allow for demand of natural gas to further outstrip supply causing ever rising natural gas prices.

What needs to happen is for the oil companies to volunteer (or our elected officials to stand up for the citizens they are supposed to represent) to slow down the process and collect real fisheries and water quality data at the proposed location of their facilities and use the best science available to analyze their impacts. With these real studies, the decision-makers, including our Governor, can make informed decisions about the real impacts to our resources. However, until that time, kudos to Blanco for protecting our coastal resources from further exploitation by big out-of-state oil companies.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Blanco, Louisiana, LNG

04 May 2006

Couhig Endorses Nagin: The Nail in the Coffin?

In a previous post, I calculated that Landrieu would need to get about 75 percent of the votes that went to Forman and Couhig if he wanted to win.

I guess that's not going to happen now. IT'S OVER.

This endorsement sort of took me by surprise. I thought that a Republican like Couhig would be more wary of "Chocolate City" Nagin than of "Mary's brother" Landrieu. I guess Mary took her Bush bashing a little too far. Either that, or he's getting a cushy deal to support him.

Either way, Mitch is in trouble. Unless Couhig's supporters ignore the endorsement. Or he gets 95 percent of Forman's votes instead of 75.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu, Couhig

Mayor Nagin Pitching South Carrollton and Earhart Intersection

On my way to work this morning as I approached the intersection of South Carrollton and Earhart I came across groups of Nagin campaign volunteers on the side of the street and in the neutral ground wearing "Our Mayor" shirts and holding signs donning the same slogan. The light turned red and I stopped--and out from the sidewalk came Mayor Nagin himself into the intersection handing out brochures and shaking hands to each of the cars first in each lane. As he approached my car, I stuck my camera out of the sunroof and took the above pictures. When he came to my car window I took his brochure and shook his hand. Mayor Nagin asked me for my vote. I seriously considered--but decided not to--asking him which idiot political consultant instructed him to make "the" comment. (I personally didn't think he needed a racial divide to win this election, but perhaps I'm incorrect in that belief. I also initially thought "the" comment was a foot-in-mouth Naginism, but have since determined instead it was calculated.) I should have also told him he had my vote in both 2002 elections, but would not be getting it in either of the 2006 ones. He had me and then he lost me--and he hadn't lost me until January 2006. Nearly everyone I know follows this same rationale.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Election, Nagin, Landrieu

03 May 2006

2006 NFL Draft: Not a Conspiracy

Ok, I will play devil's advocate here for arguements sake. Houston was horrible last year, I can remember 5 or 6 games where they were winning the game and blew it in the final minutes. They went into the offseason with a plan---get better on the offensive line and defense.

In the draft, they took Williams and Ryans 2nd (who I was hoping would fall to the Saints, but then again they don't draft LB's). After that they took two offensive linemen. All 4 likely starters.

Some teams draft by need--the Texans, others draft whoever they have higher on their board--the Saints. Aside from the 1st round. The Texans drafted much better than the Saints did.

Mario Williams (I liked Hawk better-that's just me) was the #1 rated defensive player who would have been picked by the Saints had the Texans taken Bush. There maybe a "conspiracy", but the pick makes sense.


The Texans already have a healthy running back in D. Davis who is no slouch. Casserly is one of those "team" GM's who knows one player can't take a team to the super bowl - example, Barry Sanders.

Houston is in a division with the Colts. A team, that if you haven't noticed, collapses like a house of cards when their "cerebral" quarterback gets pressured. --Side note, I can't wait to see the Colts start losing more. Without E. James, defenses are going to be all over Manning. I can't wait to watch his bro Eli take the less talented Giants farther in the playoffs than golden boy Peyton. You may think I'm crazy, but we'll see in December.

Back to my point, Gary Kubiak from Denver is the new coach of the Texans. While at Denver, Kubiak had offensive line schemes that made Mike Anderson and Olandis Gary 1,200 rushers (WHO?), imagine what he can do with Dominick Davis. We all remember when Mike Anderson came to the superdome and had over 250 yards rushing. After the game Kubiak admitted they had only run 4 different running plays all game.

Although the Texans didn't make the "sexy" pick, it wasn't by any means a mistake. If you want to laugh at someones draft, look at the Buffalo Bills who are on the clock with the first pick next year.

TAGS: New Orleans Katrina Saints , .

The Third Battle of New Orleans April 2006 Flickr Photostream

No, no. The above pictures of Bud's Broiler on Tulane Avenue/Banks Street weren't taken in October or November 2005. They were taken on 8 April 2006--222 days after MANMADE flooding ruined the City of New Orleans in August 2005. The disgusting, dark line derived from the false promise of adequate flood protection still stains the buildings, the fences, and the utility poles in the majority of our city's neighborhoods. Yes, there have been some signs of progress over the past eight months. But has this progress been enough? Nope. Hell no. Not even close. I am ashamed to be an American seeing what the majority of our city continues to look like today. But at the same time, I am prouder than hell to be from (and continue to live in) the City of New Orleans. I personally only plan on flying one flag and one flag only over my home--its red, white, and blue and features three fleur-di-lis. No stars.

I know operative Bay Buchanan does not speak for all American citizens when she made her "Katrina bores us" statement the other day, but still I sense and have seen firsthand that many fellow Americans do indeed have this indifferent attitude towards New Orleans' plight--you know, because we are just so stupid for living in a place ten feet below sea level and where hardly anyone participates in the national flood insurance program and where the evacuation center of last resort is twelve feet below sea level and where our citizens shoot at rescue helicopters. Too bad all four of these "facts" are incorrect.

To my fellow non-Louisiana American citizens might I have suggest something: New Orleans' plight is your hometown's plight. Do not think that some other disaster will not strike some other American city? It will. Do you want your city to resemble what most of New Orleans currently looks like--or worse? How about our citizens that perished on 29 August 2005 and the following days as it took the "calvary" nearly a week to arrive. You don't think such things can happen in your town? New Orleans, unfortunately, is the barometer. Our devastated city serves as a wakeup call. The failed response of the federal government can just as easily happen to your hometown. Go ahead--have indifference towards New Orleans, but at the expense of the place you call home.

I have posted my April 2006 photos on my flickr photostream. Included in the set are pictures taken at the 2006 Lusher Crawfish Boil, the first friday of the first weekend of Jazzfest 2006 (Bob Dylan/Dr. John), and miscellaneous CBD, Mid-City, Uptown, Carrollton, and Lakeview images.

The Third Battle of New Orleans April 2006 Flickr Photostream

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA

02 May 2006

Sports Illustrated Peter King: The Truth about New Orleans

Sports Illustrated NFL columnist Peter King discusses the "truth about New Orleans" in his latest Monday Morning QB segment.

The best paragraph concerning his time in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast:

What I saw was a national disgrace. An inexcusable, irresponsible, borderline criminal national disgrace. I am ashamed of this country for the inaction I saw everywhere.

I agree. Couldn't have said it better myself. Ashamed of this country: EXACTLY.

Thank you Mr. King for writing this and not just going back to your cocoon.

TAGS: New Orleans Katrina NOLA Flood Peter King

Hell Yes: Liuzza's Pre-Opening Post-Katrina Party

Some great news:

Mid-City institution Liuzza's on Bienville is having a pre-opening party this Saturday starting at 3pm. My family was fortunate enough to have had dinner at Liuzza's the last night the restaurant was open pre-KTMB. That night I had my usual open face roast beef, a huge side of mash potatoes, and several fish bowl Abita Ambers. I look forward to ordering these once again . . .

Check out their website:

The Reggie Bush Conspiracy Theory

They're slowly starting to creep about over the Internet, if you know where to look. Apparently, the NFL worked its magic to make sure Reggie Bush got to New Orleans, a team and a city that desperately needed a savior. Now I'll warn you: I buy a lot of these conspiracy theories, because they make too damn much sense. But this one has a lot of conflicting information. Judge for yourself:
  1. The Reggie Bush house story was intentionally leaked right before the draft to raise doubt about his character in the minds of the Houston Texans.
  2. Texans G.M. Charley Casserly may have intentionally tanked the pick, because he wants to be released from his job. He has an eye on the commissioner job or a major NFL executive position when Paul Tagliabue retires later this year. If he played ball right here, the league might remember that when it makes its decision.
  3. Paul Tagliabue desperately wants the Saints to succeed in New Orleans. So to ensure that (and keep Tom Benson out of Los Angeles), he rigged the draft to make sure Reggie Bush fell to #2.
  4. The NFL wanted Reggie Bush in New Orleans because when the team fails and moves to Los Angeles, it will already have one of the league's most marketable players.

Now, there are many reasons why I'm not sure about this one:

  1. You wouldn't throw the entire USC program and possibly Reggie Bush's Heisman Trophy under the bus just to rig a draft.
  2. If Charlie Casserly wants to be commissioner, he doesn't need to be fired from his current job. He would still need to be approved by the rest of the league too.
  3. I don't think the league would make Reggie Bush flounder in the league's "worst market" (the media's terms, not mine), just to get him to L.A. in three years.
  4. Wouldn't it have made the MOST SENSE to make sure he got to New York? I thought for sure that, if any conspiracy theories were going to materialize, it would be that one: the league makes us trade with the Jets. That's probably where he wanted to go anyway.

I am just going to keep my head in the sand and say that we got him because we were lucky and the Texans were just stupid.

TAGS: New Orleans Katrina Saints New Orleans Saints NFL Draft .

2006 New Orleans Saints, Version 2.2: Projected 53-Man Roster (Defense/Special Teams)

STARTERS (4): Charles Grant (DE), Will Smith (DE), Brian Young (DT), Hollis Thomas (DT)
BACKUPS (3): Willie Whitehead, Rob Ninkovich, Jimmy Verdon
NOTABLE OMISSIONS: Tony Bryant, Cedric Woodard, Rodney Leisle
COMMENTS: I go with 7 linemen, because we have a defensive coordinator (Gary Gibbs) who will probably eventually convert to the 3-4. The starters are obvious. I have Jonathan Sullivan on the roster right now, because I don’t see anyone else who can beat him out (unless undrafted free agent McKinley Boykin can play). Ultimately, I don’t think Sullivan makes the team at all. He doesn’t sound like a Sean Payton player. Maybe he can go to St. Louis and reunite with Jim Haslett. 6/8 UPDATE: Jonathan Sullivan has been traded to New England. I've put Jimmy Verdon in his spot for now, but the last line position is clearly up for grabs.

Tommy Polley(OLB), Anthony Simmons (OLB), Alfred Fincher (MLB)
BACKUPS (3): Colby Bockwoldt, Scott Fujita, Jay Foreman
INJURED RESERVE (1): James Allen
COMMENTS: I hope Fujita and Simmons can play. Simmons sat out a year after injuries, so there is some doubt. Watson and Fincher still have potential. Allen is on my roster for now, just because we don’t have anyone better. I put undrafted free agent Iwuchukwu on the roster for now because A) He’s probably better than E.J. Kuale, and B) This guy sounds like a monster on special teams. Also, don’t forget that we have a 3-4 coach. 5/15 UPDATE: I have removed Courtney Watson from the backups. It's obvious that he's not going to be a Saint much longer, after his failed trade to Miami last week. I don't see anyone to replace him right now, so I dropped the number down to 6. 6/4 UPDATE: The Saints have finally signed two more NFL-caliber linebackers: Tommy Polley and Jay Foreman. I'll move Polley into Fujita's starting spot and put Forman in Iwuchukwu's spot. In addition, James Allen is out for the year, and Alfred Fincher is starting with the first team at middle linebacker. 6/8 UPDATE: Courtney Watson is a Buffalo Bill now, pending approval. No surprise.

Mike McKenzie (CB), Fred Thomas (CB), Josh Bullocks (S), Omar Stoutmire (S)
BACKUPS (5): Jason Craft, Bryan Scott, Roman Harper, Josh Lay, Anwar Phillips
NOTABLE OMISSIONS: Dwight Smith, Jay Bellamy, Steve Gleason, Joey Thomas
COMMENTS: I think 3 of the 4 starters are locks. Based on the activity I’ve seen at safety, I think Payton isn’t interested in keeping veterans like Dwight Smith and Jay Bellamy. Since we drafted Harper, I keep hearing that Smith might be traded anyway. From what I read, undrafted free agent Anwar Phillips was initially projected as a first-day pick. I hope that’s accurate. He sounds like he’s more likely to make the team than Lay, who sounds like a project. But both of them sound better than our other options. 5/15 UPDATE: Fred Booker has already been released. Too bad, because he's an LSU guy. But in reality we can do better.

PUNTER (1): Mitch Berger or Steve Weatherford
KICKER (1): John Carney
LONG SNAPPER (1): Kevin Houser
COMMENTS: I like Berger, but Weatherford was supposed to be one of the 2 or 3 best rookie punters available. Berger was initially a lock on my team, but you never know. You have to think Carney, although older and less dependable, is going to beat out undrafted free agent Connor Hughes. I don’t have a problem with Houser either. But this undrafted free agent Bienemann guy is a long snapper too, and an OK tight end prospect. Who knows? 6/4 UPDATE: Bienemann was released right before mini-camp.

FINAL COMMENTS: Somebody double-check my math, but I think I have 53 here. The thing that scares me is that I have all 8 drafted players making the team right now. In addition, I have 2 undrafted free agents (Iwuchukwu and Phillips) on the team, and 4 more (Eugene, Allen, Weatherford and Bienemann) as possibilities if lucky. I guess that’s not unusual when you are a rebuilding team with a new coach—especially when you bring in a “discipline” and “leadership” guy to replace somebody like Haslett. But it just says one thing to me: WE NEED DEPTH, BADLY. AND AN OFFENSIVE LINE. Hopefully we aren’t finished bringing in veterans. 6/4 UPDATE: I have now moved Iwuchukwu off the roster, and Bienemann is gone.

There are causes for optimism. We have Drew Brees and Reggie Bush. That should improve our team by a few games. Maybe playing a full season at home and the acquisition of Bush will build morale. The last time we were this pessimistic about an offseason was the year that Haslett took over from Ditka. And that was the only team that won a playoff game IN THE HISTORY OF THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS.

2006 PREDICTION (5/2/06): 6-10, last in NFC South. Subject to revision if things change.

TAGS: New Orleans Katrina Saints New Orleans Saints NFL Draft .