30 September 2006

The Return of the NEW ORLEANS Saints and Reopening of the Louisiana Superdome

Mr. Dar Dar did his usual superb job recapping the Falcons/Saints game--from a football persepective. I don't think the Saints have ever been that imtimidating and dominating in a meaningful game--at least not since Jim Mora late 1980's Dome Patrol era. The key in my opinion was the containment of Michael Vick. How many times in previous games did he run wild on the Saints? In this game (with one exception) he had no where to run even when he did ducked and juked the rush. The Saints coaching staff actually outcoached Atlanta's--and the linebacking corps, non-existent for the Saints since 1993 or so, made the difference. When's the last time a New Orleans Saints coaching staff outcoached anyone?

The day and night was emotional for me personally as a year ago it seemed as if none of this would ever happen again. (Same thing for Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest.) For me, going to the Saints games is a ritual--and has been for 22 years. Yes, its a football game--but is something I do with my father. And for the first 5 or 6 years I went with my father and grandfather until he died. So the normally 10-time trek to the Dome each Fall has more meaning to me than just a football game.

The Dominion Tower and the Hyatt remain shuttered as does the New Orleans Centre. Macy's has decided to for the time being not to reopen their store here. The former Lord and Taylor store is being used as hospital space for the time being. As tailgating and good times were being enjoyed, these very visible scars remind all that all is still not well with New Orleans.

The official reopening of the Louisiana Superdome.

Dome Sweet Dome. These guys have been sitting a section over from our seats for over 15 years. The front page of the Times-Picayune featured this guy and his sign on the morning after the game.

Gov. Blanco about to be interviewed by the NFL Network.

The team gets fired up after final warmups.

Spike Lee being interviewed by the NFL Network.

Green Day, U2, et. al perform "The Saints are Coming." I do think the sound system in the Dome is better than the previous one, but it wasn't until I watched my PVR'ed copy of the game that I heard of all of the lyrics.

The team takes the field as a line of Katrina first-responders line their path.

Rob Ninkovich getting helped off the field after suffering a knee injury.

One of Atlanta's deepest penetrations of the night--which ended with . . .

Morten Anderson's chipshot field goal about to be blocked.

Then my camera crapped out . . . .

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans, NOLA, Louisiana Superdome

Photo du Jour: Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest 2006, Day One

Last September was a sad time. I recall on the third week of September 2005 becoming even more sad thinking of the condition of Deutsches Haus and that in normal circumstances it would be Oktoberfest time. I kept thinking of that Berlin Bear statue submerged . . . I also feared the flood may have permamently ended Deutches Haus and its annual Oktoberfest. Or at least foster the long rumored move from Galvez and the city to Metairie--or yikes, beyond.

After much hard work over the past year, they are back. Although not completely finished, the Haus looks better than ever. (During the renovation, a surprise stairwell was found under the flooring.) The horn player with the viking hat: he was there. The guy with handlebar mustache continuously taking pictures: he was there.

I found the Spatan Oktoberfest to be the beer of choice and the Fair Family sampled brats and a mongo pretzel. Of course since we have a newborn (this was her first "non-someone's home" social outing) it wasn't too late of an evening for us after getting there soon after the doors opened--we were back home by 8pm. I think I was asleep by 10pm.

Be sure to support the Deutsches Haus and make it out for Oktoberfest 2006--its another one of those annual events that make living in New Orleans so special. Doors open at 5pm every Friday and Saturday for the next month.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Deutsches Haus, Oktoberfest 2006, Mid City

29 September 2006

September 30 Vote - State Amendments

NOLA.com has a sample ballot for the election tomorrow, however, I found some of the Amendment descriptions a little vague. Below are the Amendments as listed on NOLA.com but I have also provided a more detailed description of them at the bottom:

Amendment No. 1: Change the name of the Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Fund to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund and deposit federal revenue from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas.

Amendment No. 2: Require 20 percent of the proceeds from any future sale of the state's tobacco settlement to be deposited in the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund

Amendment No. 3: Authorize the Legislature to establish regional flood control authorities and create two authorities in southeast Louisiana.

Amendment No. 4: Reduce the level of compensation paid by the government for taking or damaging private property for hurricane protection projects.

Amendment No. 5: Place restrictions on the taking of private property for some economic development projects.

Amendment No. 6: Prohibit, except in limited instances, the transfer or lease of property expropriated by the state or its political subdivisions to any person without first offering the property to the original owner.

Amendment No. 7: Authorize the state to invest up to 35 percent of the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly in stocks.

Amendment No. 8: Allow people who cannot reoccupy their homes because of a governor-declared disaster to keep their homestead exemption and special assessments.

Amendment No. 9: Prohibit some state mandates to increase local school spending unless passed by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or accompanied by financing or a revenue source.

Amendment No. 10: Allow public or private colleges and universities to invest up to 35 percent of state-financed permanently endowed funds in stocks.

Amendment No. 11: Extend the homestead exemption to property placed in a revocable trust by a person who continues to occupy the home.

Amendment No. 12: Require an election if there is a vacancy in the office of the lieutenant governor and more than a year remains in term. Also, require a special election, if necessary, to fill vacancies in statewide elective offices.

Amendment No. 13: Require judicial candidates to have been admitted to the practice of law for eight or 10 years, depending on the court, and reside in their districts for one year prior to qualifying for election.


CA No. 1 – Act 69 (2005 1st Extra Session)
To change the name from the Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Fund to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund; to provide that the eligible federal revenues received by the state generated from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activity shall be credited to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund and used only for purposes of coastal wetlands conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane protection, and infrastructure directly impacted by coastal wetland losses.
(Amends Article VII, Sections 10(D)(2)(e), 10.2, and 10.5(B) and (C))

This changes the name of the fund to shift the focus from wetlands only to the entire coast and dedicates all federal revenues from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activities to coastal restoration and hurricane protection.

CA No. 2 – Act 854 (2006 Regular Session)
Requires twenty percent of the proceeds of tobacco settlement to be deposited in the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund, with a portion to be used for barrier island stabilization and preservation, and repeals the Louisiana Coastal Restoration Fund.
(Adds Article VII, Section 10.2(F); Repeals Article VII, Section 10.11)

This amendment would combine the now empty Louisiana Coastal Restoration Fund with the aforementioned Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Fund (or Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund should amendment 1 pass) along with monies from any future sale of the remaining 40% of the tobacco settlement.

CA No. 3 – Act 43 (2006 1st Extra Session)
To authorize the legislature to establish regional flood protection authorities and provide for its governing authority, powers, duties, and functions, for the governing authority of levee districts within the territorial jurisdiction of the regional authority, and authorizing ad valorem taxes subject to voter approval.
(Amends Article VI, Sections 38(A)(1) and 39 and adds Article VI, Section 38.1)

This amendment would reduce the number of levee boards located primarily in southeast Louisiana to less than 20, its current number.

CA No. 4 – Act 853 (2006 Regular Session)
To provide that compensation paid for the taking of, or loss or damage to, property rights affected by the construction, enlargement, improvement, or modification of hurricane protection projects, including mitigation related thereto, shall be limited to the compensation required by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution; to provide an exception for the taking of buildings or structures destroyed or damaged by an event for which a presidential declaration of major disaster or emergency was issued, if the taking occurs within three years of such event; and to authorize the legislature by law to provide procedures and definitions for these requirements.
(Amends Article VI, Section 42(A); Adds Article I, Section 4(G))

This is a case of closing the barn door after the cattle have left. Besides, it gives too much power to government, pays private landowners less. I understand this was based on one extreme case and seems like a knee-jerk reaction, treats landowners differently, fails to consider issues such as relocation costs and is overly vague.

CA No. 5 – Act 851 (2006 Regular Session)
To prohibit the expropriation of property by the state or a political subdivision of the state for predominant use by or transfer to a private person or entity under certain circumstances; to define “public purposes” relative to the expropriation of property; to provide exceptions for the operation of public ports and airports and for the expropriation of property for industrial development purposes; and to provide for items included in just compensation to be paid to the owner of the expropriated property.
(Amends Article I, Section 4(B) and Article VI, Section 21(A); Adds Article VI, Section 21(D))

Part political window-dressing/part blank check given to the government, this amendment has loopholes big enough to drive several casinos through.

CA No. 6 – Act 859 (2006 Regular Session)
To prohibit, except in limited instances, the transfer or lease of property expropriated by the state or its political subdivisions to any person without first offering the property to the original owner; to provide that unused expropriated property be declared surplus property to be first offered to the original owner prior to sale to the general public by competitive bid.
(Adds Article I, Section 4(G))

CA No. 7 – Act 857 (2006 Regular Session)
To authorize the investment in equities of up to thirty-five percent of the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly.
(Amends Article VII, Section 14(B))

This would authorize (not mandate!) the state to invest up to 35% of the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly in the stock market, something the state can already do with similar funds like 8(g) funds, wildlife trust funds and the Millennium Trust Fund.

CA No. 8 – Act 70 (2005 1st Extra Session)
To authorize the continuation of the homestead exemption and the special assessment level where the homestead has been destroyed or is uninhabitable due to a declared disaster or emergency.
(Adds Article VII, Sections 18(G)(5) and 20(A)(10))

This amendment extends the homestead exemption to persons unable to inhabit their homes while rebuilding after an emergency or disaster.

CA No. 9 – Act 855 (2006 Regular Session)
To provide that no law, unless enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house of the legislature, requiring increased expenditures for any purpose shall be applicable to any city, parish, or other local public school board until approved by school board resolution or until, and as long as, the legislature appropriates funds to the school board for the purpose and only to the extent and amount of such funds or until a law provides for a local source of revenue to the school board for the purpose and the school board is authorized to levy and collect such revenue and only to the extent and amount of such revenue; and to provide for exceptions to such prohibition on increasing the financial burden of city, parish, and other local public school boards.
(Amends Article VI, Section 14)

Intended to eliminate unfunded mandates.

CA No. 10 – Act 856 (2006 Regular Session)
To authorize the investment in stocks of up to thirty-five percent of the state-funded permanently endowed funds of public or private colleges and universities.
(Amends Article VII, Section 14(B))

This would authorize the investment of up to 35% of endowed university funds in the stock market.

CA No. 11 – Act 852 (2006 Regular Session)
To extend the homestead exemption to property owned by a revocable trust, in addition to the existing application to property owned by an irrevocable trust.
(Amends Article VII, Section 20(A)(3) and (5))

The law was changed in 2004 to allow for parents who had transferred their homes into irrevocable trusts for their children but continued to live in their homes. Now those with revocable trusts want in, too, though there are limited cases.

CA No. 12 – Act 858 (2006 Regular Session)
To provide for the filling of vacancies in the lieutenant governor’s office and other statewide elective offices; to provide that if more than one year remains in the term, the person nominated by the governor and confirmed by the legislature to serve as lieutenant governor or the first assistant in other statewide elected offices, shall fill the vacancy only until the office can be filled at the next regular statewide or congressional election or until the governor is required to call a special election.
(Amends Article IV, Sections 15 and 16)

In a nutshell, this amendment makes the procedure for filling vacancies uniform across all the statewide elected offices.

CA No. 13 – Act 860 (2006 Regular Session)
To provide that a person shall have been admitted to the practice of law for ten years preceding election to the supreme court or a court of appeals and for eight years preceding election to a district court, family court, parish court, or court having solely juvenile jurisdiction; and to decrease the requirement that a person be domiciled in the respective district, circuit, or parish from two years to one year preceding election. Effective January 1, 2008, and applicable to any person who is elected to the office of judge on and after January 1, 2008.
(Amends Article V, Section 24)

This amendment will raise the qualifications required of all of our judges except city and municipal courts or justices of the peace.

28 September 2006

Get out the VOTE!


YES on Amendment #3

The Levee Reform that we fought so hard for last February will not become law unless Amendment #3 passes!

This is a statewide vote!

The Levee Board Amendment #3 will:

      1. Create two regional levee boards to replace the many levee boards found in the Greater New Orleans region.
      2. Implement a set of professional qualifications that a candidate must meet before being appointed to serve on the levee board.
      3. Increase accountability, efficiency and transparency in the levee board system in Southeast Louisiana.

It is important that you also vote for Amendments 1 & 2 as they support funding for Coastal Restoration



25 September 2006

Saints 23 Falcons 3

Steve Gleason celebrates after blocking the punt.
Note the "Thanks America" sign in the background.
Now read the next line.

I will try. I haven't been this happy-emotional after a Saints game for a long time. The "Good" list will probably be too short to do justice for what I just saw.

  • Offense
  • Defense
  • Special Teams
  • Steve Gleason
  • Fred Thomas
  • Brian Young
  • Scott Fujita
  • Charles Grant
  • Will Smith
  • Josh Bullocks
  • 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles (neither recovered), and 10 passes defended
  • One blocked punt (TD), one blocked FG. Take those away and it's 16-6 in the 4th quarter
  • John Carney still perfect for the season
  • Offense: 0 Turnovers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Deuce and Bush: 32 carries, 154 yards
  • Marques Colston: 7 catches, 97 yards
  • Drew Brees: 70% completions, one huge block on Devery Henderson's TD
  • The offensive line somehow keeps holding on. It's amazing how you have fewer sacks when your quarterback doesn't hold on to the ball for 10 seconds (yes, that's a dig at Aaron Brooks).
  • The opening drive of the second half took 7:45 off the clock
  • No garbage touchdowns in the 4th quarter
  • Michael Vick held to one big run, when the game was out of reach
  • The Saints shouldn't have settled for a field goal on that opening drive in the 3rd quarter
  • 2 fourth down conversions for the Falcons
  • A big Deuce run in the 2nd quarter was called back for holding
  • Curtis DeLoatch's stupid late hit on the kickoff return. I don't care if he grabbed your facemask--don't play stupid. I'm glad Payton got in his face when the play was over.
  • The Falcons dropped a lot of passes. The Saints defended a lot too, but they still dropped a bunch.
  • The Saints used their timeouts early in the 3rd quarter. I'm glad we didn't need them later.
  • That personal foul called on the guy who hit Joe Horn late in the first half was ticky-tack, and it gave us 3 points. But I'll take it. God knows we've been the victim of those too.
  • The Falcons fan I sat next to at the bar was convinced the game was rigged. "How can it not be rigged? They won't let Michael Vick run the football." I wondered why Vick wasn't running too. Part of it had to do our defensive scheme and our safeties not letting him get to the corner and improvise. But I don't care if it's rigged or not. The Falcons never had to play a home game in New York City. I don't feel sorry for anyone after the Hell the Saints and their fans went through last year.

TAGS: NFL, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush

24 September 2006

1,060 Hours of My Life Spent in the Louisiana Superdome

The Superdome Memories post on New Orleans Metroblogging made me stop and think about the amount of time spent within the Louisiana Superdome in my lifetime and the events in the DOME I have attended. Here’s what I came up with:

200-220 New Orleans Saints games (preseason, regular season, playoffs)
10-15 regular season NCAA Football games (LSU, Tulane)
10-15 Exhibition Shows (Boat, Sportsman’s, Home/Garden, World of Wheels)
8-10 New Orleans Night Arena Football games
5-10 NCAA Basketball games (LSU, Tulane, NCAA Tourney)
5-7 NCAA Baseball Games/Tourneys (LSU, Tulane, UNO)
5 New Orleans Breakers USFL games
5 LHSAA Championship Games
5 Sugar Bowls
5 Circuses
5 Major League Baseball exhibition games
2 Moto-crosses
2 New Orleans Bowls
2 Concerts
1 Super Bowl
1 Elementary School "Dome Tour" Field Trip

Approximately 310 Events.
Approximate Time of my Life in the Louisiana Superdome: 1,060 hours (or 45 days).

Unfortunately, I never attended a New Orleans Jazz game or a 1977 Pelican-Ken Oberkfell game. I was in the Louisiana Superdome in September 1987 the weekend Pope John Paul II was in town, but not for his mass but instead for the 28-21 victory by the Saints over the Cleveland Browns the next day . . . (two safeties in that game by the Saints!!!)

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Louisiana Superdome, Saints, Louisiana

Good News: Streetcar Progress

The Mid City Neighborhood site has some new news regarding the streetcar situation. Work is underway at the Carrollton Streetcar Barn on the Riverfront Line cars (see Earl Hampton's comment on that post). Bravo. He also says the Riverfront Line cars will be repainted blue upon completion of their rehabilitation.

St. Charles Avenue Line: green streetcars
Canal Street Line: red streetcars
Riverfront Line: blue streetcars

Works for me . . .

I will try to get some pics at the barn . . .

I also noticed yesterday that the St. Charles Avenue Line overhead line work seems to be concentrated in the Lee Circle area lately. I haven't seen any work anywhere Uptown in weeks except for track work (which I think was going on right before the storm) near Jefferson Avenue.

Has it been a year since the streetcars ran? Seems like at least ten years since I heard the sound and felt the rumble . . . .

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Streetcar, St. Charles Avenue Line, RTA

Tulane Football: You Get What You Pay For

I am one of the hardcore LSU alumni/fans who does not hate Tulane. I probably grew up a bigger Tulane fan than an LSU fan. My dad was a Tulane season ticket holder, and I was in the Dome for the 2 big wins over LSU in the late 70s/early 80s. The "Dalton-James Gang," Wally English and the Bubby Brister incident changed my allegiances--permanently. But I was still happy for Tulane when they had the perfect season under Tommy Bowden.

So, needless to say, I was happy when LSU whipped Tulane 49-7. But not that happy. It's sad to see how far Tulane has dropped.

Some of the younger people may not realize what Tulane used to be. If you don't know, read this article. It's gone from a national powerhouse in the 1950s to a program that was at the center of a much-publicized debate between the haves and the have-nots a couple of years ago.

Or if you want to get more recent, how did Tulane get from a perfect season to this year in less than a decade? And don't say "Katrina," because this trend started in the early 2000s.

For both, the answer is easy. The decline from the 1950s is due to leaving the SEC and enforcing academic standards for student-athletes (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

The decline from the Tommy Bowden era is, in my opinion, Tulane's fault. It's due to a conscious decision to choose program continuity over building a competitive program. Or specifically:

Chris Scelfo. That's when it happened.

Look, I know it sucks to lose good head coaches. I remember when Larry Smith was on the road out of town when Tulane regained its prominence in 1979. I remember Mack Brown dumping the program the second he had a winning season. And, of course, there's Tommy Bowden. And that's the exact moment when it happened.

Tommy Bowden left for Clemson after the perfect season. He had Rich Rodriguez on his staff. He deserved the job. He wanted the job. But Tulane passed him over, because they didn't want another coach who would leave for a higher-profile program 2 years later. So, instead, Tulane gave the job to a Louisiana native with Tulane connections. It found a guy who wasn't going to leave for greener pastures after a couple of seasons. It found Chris Scelfo. And then, it basically gave Scelfo a "coach for life" offer after one winning season (for the record, he has 2 winning seasons and one bowl appearance--and win--in his 7-plus years at Tulane). It's a noble idea, but there was only one problem.

Chris Scelfo is a terrible head coach. Buddy Teevens bad.

So I don't know how I feel about Tulane. I feel bad for them, but I don't, because it was in part a conscious decision to accept mediocrity. Schools like Boise State and Miami of Ohio have accepted their role as "stepping stone" schools. They lose their coaches to prestigious programs every few years. But they just come right back and find the next-best guy, win some more, and then lose that guy too. They are proof that you can keep on winning in spite of being under-funded athletic programs from non-BCS conferences, and in spite of losing coaches every few years. Tulane decided to hop off that train, and Tulane is where it is today. Staring down the barrel of another 2-9 season.

I want Tulane football to come back and be relevant again. I don't want to see the program disappear and use Katrina as the cop-out excuse. But it's not gonna happen until Tulane accepts its current role in the college football landscape. And that means firing Chris Scelfo and finding a coach who might leave once he becomes successful.

Because there will be another promising young coach to replace him if you make an effort to find him.

So, there's your dose of sports for the weekend. More Tuesday morning after the Saints game. But until then, back to other issues.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Tulane, Green Wave, Chris Scelfo

22 September 2006


The race for insurance commissioner is really giving me the red ass. All the two candidates that anyone has heard of can do is tell us why we shouldn't vote for the other guy. Well they will both be glad to know that I am listening to them and not voting for either one of them. I am going to vote for the one person in the race who has bothered to tell me why I should vote for him, S.B.A. Zaitoon. It's a real shame that no one will ever really get to hear what he has to say. He really makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, that means he has no chance.

I'm voting for him and I hope all of you will consider doing the same.



21 September 2006

"These People Want to Kill...Us"

Progress for America, Inc. ("PFA") is a national grassroots organization dedicated to supporting a conservative issue agenda that will benefit all Americans. PFA is comprised of a diverse coalition of concerned citizens, businesses, nonprofit organizations and community leaders who promote public policies that improve the lives of every American. PFA promotes nonpartisan policies that stimulate the economy, reduce tax burdens on American families and businesses, and encourage free trade. PFA is organized as a nonprofit corporation and exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

I was hoping that these upcoming elections would be about common sense. Looks like I was sadly mistaken.

It's still about FEAR.

The Republican party can't stand on its record on Iraq and Katrina, so it has decided to scare the crap out of us, predictably.

I live in Missouri right now, and this is the garbage we are being inundated with. You cannot watch any television show over here without being subjected to this offensive political ad.

And you know what the sad thing is? It's working.

For the first time, I'm beginning to seriously doubt that America will bring in a new Congress that won't be afraid to stand up to the president. A congress who will tell him that domestic issues like Hurricane Katrina are more important than Iraq.

And Hugo Chavez sure didn't help the cause either. Now the "True Believers" are galvanized.

It makes me want to cry, if I didn't have so many other things to worry about.

THURSDAY P.M. ADDENDUM: We are now being flooded with a "new and improved" version of the same spot. I caught this one tonight, just in time tonight for dinnertime.

I say the people of New Orleans also make a "These People Want to Kill Us" political advertisement. Only that can include George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Dennis Hastert, Michael Brown and Michael Chertoff. Only come up with a equally-bogus "patriotic" name for your non-profit group, like "Americans for America" or something like that.

New Orleans City Council Neighborhoods Rebuilding Plan/Lambert Advisory Final Presentations This Saturday

From the PRC Yahoo Group:

The New Orleans City Council Neighborhoods Rebuilding Plan/Lambert Advisory will host a citywide meeting in the City Council Chambers on Saturday, September 23,2006, from 1:00 pm-6:30 pm. The purpose of this meeting is to share each neighborhood's final plans with the accompanying funding matrix, as well as, to show how each neighborhood andplanning district fits into the broader context of citywide recovery. Since this is a lengthy meeting and time may not allow you to attend in its entirety, we have scheduled an approximate time for each neighborhood's presentation. Please see the schedule below for the approximate time for your neighborhood's presentation.

Planning District # 9, 1:15 p.m.
St. Martin Brown & Associates
Communities Represented: Read Blvd. East, Read Blvd.West, Little Woods, WestLake Forest,Plum Orchard, Pine Village

Planning District # 3, 1:45 p.m.
Billes Architects
Communities Represented: Hollygrove, West Carrollton-Leonidas, Dixon,Fontainebleau-Marlyville, Freret, Audubon-University

Planning District # 5, 2:45 p.m.
Bermello Ajamil & Partners
Community Represented: Lakeview

Planning District # 4, 3:15 p.m.
Zyscovich, Inc.
Communities Represented: Bayou S1. John, Treme, Historic 7th Ward,Fairgrounds/Broad,S1. Bernard, DeSaix

Planning District # 4, 4:45 p.m.
C. James & Associates
Communities Represented: Gert Town, Mid City

Planning District # 7, 5:15 p.m.
St. Martin Brown & Associates
CommunitiesRepresented: St.Claude, St. Roch, Desire Area, Florida Area

Planning District # 8, 5:45 p.m.
Stull & Lee, Inc
Communities Represented: Lower 9th Ward, Holy Cross

Planning District # 2, 6:15 p.m.
Byron J. Stewart & Associates
Community Represented: Milan

If you have questions, please call (504) 588-9068.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Urban Planning, PRC, New Orleans City Council

Guess Who's Back . . .

I admit it--I've been down lately.

For the first time since I started THE THIRD BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS nearly a year ago, I haven't had the energy or inspiration to post much to it . . . My feelings have been increasingly negative and I really don't want to go in that direction in my postings as the point of the blog is to attempt to be creative, positive, and constructive about post-KTMB New Orleans--not harp how impossibly and eternally screwed New Orleans is in the wake of man-made disaster. (I mean, Christ, most of the nation doesn't even realize or give a flip that what happened to the City of New Orleans wasn't caused by a natural disaster. How disconcerting is that?)

And the thing is I didn't lose my house. I didn't lose my job. I didn't lose my business. I think about that and then I feel guilty for being down. Hell, I'm one of the lucky ones. I personally know many, many people who lost it all. And my house still stands--never inundated with Lake Pontchartrain. Neither my wife or myself lost our jobs or lost our paychecks for those two exiled months. I know people who lost all of this. And some of my friends in this position somehow are managing to not only cope, but actually embrace the changes and positively move forward. I don't know how I would have handled such losses--and my wife doesn't know how I would have handled them either.

Is it the now-past year anniversary of the ruining of my city and the revisiting and rekindling of emotions stirred by the imagery shown in the one year anniversary media blitz of the event that has gotten me down? Is it the reality of how difficult if not down right impossible it is going to be for New Orleans to ever recover that has gotten me down? Is it the complete lack of political leadership and political games at virtually all levels that continues to hamper progress that has gotten me down? Even if some aspects do move forward in the recovery (as I think can be physically seen day by day in some portions of the city), the insurance industry (5K+ for homeowner's insurance) and the utility industry (i.e. poor bankrupt Entergy "violin-playing" New Orleans) will assure as little incentive as possible for current residents to stay here or for there to be any attraction of new residents New Orleans desperately needs. That thought--along with the future of property taxes within the city (while Jefferson Parish will continue to have 200K houses 100% homestead exempt)--really gets me down.

I've also been busy the past few weeks. A new child. A new job. Both are requiring adjustments. Both are causing sleep deprivation. Then I had internet issues at my house, but Bellsouth customer service representative "Steve" from Hyderabad helped me remedy that problem. Then I had a little automobile accident--which occurred because of an outsider's confusion of Uptown New Orleans going the wrong way on a one-way street. (No one was hurt.) Now his insurance company (the one with Pedro Cerrano as spokesperson) is trying to say that the accident is partly my fault--despite the issuing of an NOPD traffic citation for his failing to notice the DO NOT ENTER and ONE WAY signs a block before he hit me.

I know, the blog has become THE THIRD DOWN OF NEW ORLEANS over the past two weeks, but as Mr. Dar Dar correctly stated earlier the football thing is relevant right now. Whether one despises Tom Benson or the big business that is the NFL, the New Orleans Saints have played a significant role in this place over the past forty years and as the Times-Picayune stated earlier in the week do serve as a well-needed diversion in post-KTMB New Orleans. And as a friend of mine once made the point to me a few years ago (a friend by the way who suffered a flooded house and an exile from New Orleans for six months) as we were talking about the potential future departure of the team from New Orleans (presumably to Los Angeles) the Saints are perhaps the single thing that this city--black and white, poor and rich--unify and come together on. People that would otherwise likely not say a word to each other have no problem high-fiving or hugging each other when the Saints make a good play. That is worth something.

Mr. Dar Dar, by the way, as his posts demonstrate knows what he is talking about on these subjects. His posts are appreciated and are both relevant and important.

To those that think the football talk has been too much, I think I.D. Reilly's "Focus" post was timely and his points are dead-on. Schroeder also remarks about the football and Marinello saturation by WWL saying: "It's becoming far more difficult these days to hear anything of substance about the recovery of New Orleans."

So hopefully I am out of the funk. Geeeezz, I didn't even have the motivation to do a post on the "That's not my job" New York Times interview with Ruth's Chris Sellout CEO and anti-Ruth Fertel Coward Craig S. Miller two weeks ago . . .


TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Entergy, Allstate, Craig S. Miller

20 September 2006


I guess the hospitality of Houstonians has now taken a nasty turn.

Gun dealers in the Lone Star State are now encouraging Houstonians to take up arms against people they are calling "Katricians."

It's nice to see opportunistic Houstonians making a move to take back the city from outsiders. Here's an excerpt from the story:

"When the 'Katricians' themselves are quoted as saying the crime rate is gonna go up if they don't get more free rent, then it's time to get your concealed-handgun license," warns the radio ad by Jim Pruett, who co-hosts a bombastic talk-radio show and owns Jim Pruett's Guns & Ammo, a self-styled "anti-terrorist headquarters" that sells knives, shotguns, semi-automatic rifles and other weapons. As Pruett describes the dangers posed by "Katricians," glass can be heard shattering, and a bell tolling ominously.

I recognize that a lot of evacuees may be up to no good, but come on. I lived outside of Houston for six years. I was at least as concerned for my safety in their town as I was in New Orleans, before or after the hurricane.

How much longer will it be before "real" Houstonians begin striking back against known Louisianians who aren't evacuees? Maybe you can start tagging us when we reach Baytown, so that we'll be more identifiable to you.

Yep, Barbara. This is really working out well for them.

19 September 2006

Don't Turn Monday Night Football into a Photo-op

Some of you may appreciate that I have found a way to reconcile my hatred for ESPN, "The Worldwide Leader in Synergy," with issues that involve the city. So here it goes:

We are 6 days away from the biggest post-KTMB celebration yet. We finally get our Saints back. For a while it was uncertain whether that would happen. Tom Benson was giving us mixed signals. We figured he would use the disaster as the excuse he was waiting for to move the team out of town--Just like Ruth's Chris did. New Orleans still has a long way to go with recovery. Lives have not been completely fixed yet. God knows the levees arent. And God knows that coastal restoration still needs a serious commitment. But, just like we did with Mardi Gras and Jazzfest, Monday Night Football will be our opportunity to show the world that we remain defiant in the face of great odds. It is a way to prove, once and for all, what this city means and why it is important to America. It is our biggest celebration and coming-out party yet.

So just don't exploit us, like the media and the president did on the one-year anniversary. Neither have been anywhere to be found in the days between the anniversary and today. Don't
come back now, at the opportunity when the largest number of television cameras will be there to see you.

I'm saying this because I'm hearing things. George Bush (the daddy) is expected to be here. I also hear that U2 and Green Day will be here too.

But that's enough, thank you very much.

And to whomever else comes to get their faces on camera, please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, stay out of the booth.

We don't need W. coming down here, at least while he's more interested in defending the war in Iraq and saying we are not allowed to disagree with him than he is in helping us.

We don't need Brad Pitt and George Clooney showing up to tell us how the Republicans don't care about places like New Orleans and Africa.

We don't need our "national" celebrities like Emeril, Harry and Aaron hogging the spotlight.

We don't need W's daddy showing up in the booth to tell us his son's trying real hard.

We don't need Bono in the booth, unless he's ready to talk some football.

And we DEFINITELY don't need C. Ray up there putting his foot in his mouth. Again.

I feel like I have to say this, because God knows the ESPN Monday Night Football crew loves to have "celebrities" in the booth. They have turned MNF into a mockery of itself. Look at how it turned its first ever MNF game into "The Tom Cruise Show." And this isn't just me going off on a rant here. Apparently the 2nd quarter of Monday Night Football is now the "celebrity quarter," with Jamie Foxx and Dwayne Wade making it 2-for-2 so far. You know they're just salivating at the opportunity to exploit the situation for ratings points.

Please, ESPN and the NFL, don't turn Monday Night Football into a Republican Party, pro-war rally. And don't turn it into "Entertainment Tonight" either.

Does anyone remember when football games used to be about football?

This is OUR night, not yours.

We deserve better. We deserve respect.

And if we aren't in the mood to be told to wave American flags before the game because we feel like America (or the president) STILL has his back turned to us, leave it be.

TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , ,

17 September 2006

Saints 34 Packers 27

Will Smith sacks Brett Favre to kill a Packers drive while the game is tied



  • The Saints went on a 34-7 run after falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter.
  • Drew Brees caught on fire after the first quarter.
  • Deuce had 2 big touchdowns on the ground, and a nice catch and run in the first quarter.
  • Reggie Bush caught 8 balls, including 2 big catches. Sooner or later he'll break one.
  • Marques Colston has touchdown catches in his first 2 games as a pro.
  • Joe Horn had a better game this week.
  • Sean Payton going for it on 4th down late in the 2nd quarter, and converting. If we don't, we don't have the lead at halftime.
  • The vertical passing game came back about halfway through the second quarter.
  • The defense bent some more, but still didn't break.
  • The Saints stuffed the run for the second week in a row. We hadn't done that in a while either.
  • The defense forced a HUGE Omar Stoutmire interception at the end zone, when the Packers were driving to reclaim the lead.
  • Will Smith had a HUGE 12-yard sack of Brett Favre at a point when the Packers could have retaken the lead in the 4th quarter.
  • The Saints d forced a HUGE Ahman Green fumble. And the offense came right back on the VERY NEXT play and scored what would become the game-winning touchdown. By the way, why didn't the Packers challenge the play?
  • The defense kept the opponent from tying or winning the game in the final minutes for the second week in a row.
  • Who on the offensive line was blocking Aaron "3 sacks" Kampman?
  • We had a hard time stopping A.J. Hawk too. He looks like a real player. And remember, he's the guy we probably would have picked if Reggie wouldn't have fallen in our laps.
  • Jason Craft let Donald Driver steal an interception from him. If he pulls it in, GAME OVER with about 5 minutes left in the game.
  • Outside of Deuce's 2 touchdown plays, we could not run the ball against a defense that probably isn't very good.
  • SOMEBODY COVER DONALD DRIVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Drew Brees's first ten minutes of the game were as bad as I've ever seen from a Saints quarterback. Sure, the fumbles were a result of pressure, but he wasn't even close on the interception.
  • How many passes did the Packers drop today?
  • Even though he had a nice punt return, Lance Moore's "attempt" at an important catch on 3rd down in the 4th quarter was atrocious.
  • I'm putting that Reggie Bush punt return here, because I wouldn't call it good or bad. But damn, those moves were sick.
  • Devery Henderson's dropped pass, which he made up for--thank you very much.
  • We still can't close on offense in the final minutes. We get a chance to milk the clock late if we get one first down. But we can't do it, again. Of course, this is not a new development in Saints history.
But, I must say, when the good is just as big as the bad and the ugly combined, it's usually a good week. Keep it up!

TAGS: NFL, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush

The Third Battle Photo of the Week--Take 2

How can you do worse than you did last week, when what you did last week was complete less than half your passes, get sacked SEVEN times, and lead your team to ZERO points?

Here's Aaron Brooks's day today (from NFL.com):

(9:06) A.Brooks FUMBLES (Aborted) at OAK 37, RECOVERED by BLT-T.Suggs at OAK 35. T.Suggs to OAK 35 for no gain (J.Grove).

(6:32) A.Brooks FUMBLES (Aborted) at OAK 29, RECOVERED by BLT-K.Gregg at OAK 29. K.Gregg to OAK 29 for no gain (A.Brooks).

After that, he was on the bench. The official team word was "injured right shoulder."


TAGS: NFL, Aaron Brooks, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens

15 September 2006


Maybe I am a bit cynical but.... Fitch posts an interesting discussion on ESPN and the way they treat certain local teams, and I admire the post. Good stuff, really. But this LSU/ESPN-related posting generated 61 comments in 48 hours? I was amazed at the interest in a sports-related post, and the lack of comments generated by recent New Orleans recovery-related posts. By the way folks, this is what our politicians and government agencies are hoping for, a distraction that takes the pressure off of their efforts, or realistically their lack of efforts, to acheive any real recovery for metro New Orleans. Here are some items that deserve some discussion:

1. All New Orleans institutions of higher education posted substantially reduced enrollment this Fall. Some institutions, such as UNO, had dramatic decreases in enrollment. By the way, higher education and the college graduates are a key component of the economic, social and political future of New Orleans. If young, intelligent, motivated individuals are not returning to schools in the area, that will be a major long-term problem. Don't even get me started on the status of the LSU dental and medical programs!

2. I am flying back from Texas (sigh) and open the Houston Chronicle to read a story about Mayor Nagin's plan for rebuilding New Orleans. The plan is to not have a plan. He is hoping that individuals will come back and reinvest across all neighborhoods, overcoming all obstacles such as the banking and insurance industries and magically make New Orleans whole again. Who needs a plan? Plans are for losers.

Realistically, some people will come back, reinvest, rebuild and under Nagin's No Plan-Plan, be an island in their own neighborhood. No neighbors, limited infrastructure support, limited city support, and very alone. Sooner or later, utility companies will be forced economically to quit providing service to island homes in mostly abandoned neighborhoods. How is this planning? Comments anyone?

3. I am ashamed at myself for not doing a better job of cleaning up my own property and re-landscaping, etc. since Katrina. This is an admission of guilt. I continue to be amazed at how fast weeds and litter can take over fully inhabited properties since Katrina (all of my grass and shrubs died - now the invasives own the lawn!). Abandoned properties are really looking bad, and this is just the beginning. Wait until a few years go by. So, I am going to do better at taking care of the aesthetics of my property and I hope others will also commit to this. But the real problem will be what happens to all of the abandoned homes. What is the plan to take care of the litter and invasive vegetation taking over these lots and residences?

4. The insurance industry has not only substantially raised rates for homeowners and started to threaten cancellation of insurance in some areas, but they have also raised the rates of insurance on some industries in New Orleans so high that those businesses are not returning. The burgeoning film industry is an excellent example. I have been talking to some folks in the film industry and have discovered that since Katrina, insurance companies have made it so expensive to work in New Orleans during hurricane season that the tax breaks are not enough of an incentive to be here this time of year. Many scheduled productions have moved to other out-of-state locations, not because of the damage caused by Katrina, but because of the cost of insurance to do business in south Louisiana after Katrina. Another economic hit on a locally growing industry.

I am sure there are many other issues I missed that deserve discussion. Please let me know what other important issues related to recovery (or lack of recovery) I am missing out on. And Geaux Tigers!

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Hollywood South, UNO, We Are Not Ok

13 September 2006

Why Isn't the ESPN College Gameday Crew at the LSU/Auburn Game This Weekend?

It would not be acceptable BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION if "NBC Nightly News" decided that its top story tonight would be Meredith Viera's first day as host of the "Today" show. NBC would be torn a new one, and rightfully so.

So why does America allow ESPN to make decisions like this EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? And don't say "it's just sports." Sports are an extension of the news, and many people in this country take sports as seriously as they take the news. You can debate whether it's appropriate, but it's hard to deny.

Which brings me to Reason 543,527,853 that I hate ESPN.

For those of you who don't know, ESPN College Gameday is a huge program for college football fans. Every week, Gameday picks the college campus that will host the biggest game of the weekend (or one of the biggest), and it does a live broadcast on that campus. For college football fans, having your campus chosen as the Gameday site is the equivalent of having your city chosen to host the Olympics or a presidential convention. Fans of both teams are encouraged to stand behind the Gameday set, wear their colors, hold up signs, cheer for their teams, and shout at the hosts. Having been to a Gameday set when it came to LSU years ago, I've seen firsthand that people think it's a big deal.

That's why I just assumed that Gameday would be at the LSU/Auburn game this weekend. Outside of last week's Ohio State/Texas game, it doesn't get any bigger than this this year. Both teams are in the top 6. It is THE GAME in the SEC this year. The winner will not only be the favorite to win the SEC West, but it will also be the favorite to win the entire SEC. LSU won the BCS National Championship in '03. Auburn had a perfect season in '04. Two great teams. One intense early-season rivalry with possible national championship implications.

But ESPN, for some reason, has chosen not to send Gameday to Auburn this weekend.

So I figure, that's okay. There are other huge games this weekend. Take, for example, the Tennessee/Florida game. Before LSU/Auburn was THE GAME, this was THE GAME in the SEC. Both teams have won national championships in the last 10 years. We're talking Spurrier, Fulmer, Peyton, Wuerffel, The Swamp, and Neyland Stadium. We're talking history and tradition.

ESPN College Gameday will not be there either.

Then I figure, of course! They're going to Notre Dame. The Irish are playing Michigan this weekend. ESPN loves both of these schools. And they're both pretty good this year. You can say they're overrated, but you can't deny history, tradition, national championships and Heisman Trophies.

Nope. No Gameday crew in South Bend either.

So, where in the hell is ESPN sending the Gameday crew this weekend?

Yep. You guessed it. USC.

College Gameday will be at USC this weekend to cover the USC/Nebraska game.

So why in the hell did ESPN choose USC? Especially when it's playing, at best, the 4th most important game this weekend? I have a theory:

  • LSU/Auburn is on CBS this weekend
  • Florida/Tennessee is on CBS this weekend
  • Notre Dame/Michigan is on NBC this weekend
  • USC/Nebraska is ABC's primetime game this weekend. Oops. I meant ESPN on ABC

So LSU and Auburn are getting screwed because ESPN would rather shamelessly engage in blatant self-promotion, and, by association, give more publicity to USC. Again.

As Morrissey once said: Stop Me if You Think That You've Heard This One Before.

And if you don't understand why I'm so angry about this, Scott Rabalais from The Advocate probably explains it better than me:

ESPN, like it or not, shapes public sports opinion the way the big three networks and Sports Illustrated — for the dot.com crowd, that’s the magazine which actually gave birth to the Web site — used to do. If the average casual college football fan sees College GameDay in L.A., they will at first glance assume that is the biggest game of the day.

All of this has to make an impact on a team’s national ranking in the short term, and recruiting in the long run. All of it should make ESPN and CBS think bigger picture about where to throw their primary assets.

And, in case you were wondering, Auburn doesn't like it either.

Bloggers from Gator Nation also have our backs on this issue.

But you wonder why LSU and Auburn have a complex about ESPN and USC. You wonder why SEC fans say that ESPN plays favorites?

Should ESPN continue to blow off SEC teams and promote USC and Notre Dame? Basically because there are no major television markets in the Southeast? And because the other two teams are popular and/or come from the #2 television market in America?

If you don't like it either, ESPN's Ombudsman can be reached here. I can tell you from experience though that your comments will probably be ignored, except for some form response from an ESPN bigwig.

TAGS: , , , ,

12 September 2006

The Third Battle Photo of the Week

Thanks to the San Jose Mercury News.
It's just an f.y.i.. Not a complete gloat. I don't want the guy to completely fail. I just don't want him to do better than the Saints. I don't want him to be another Jake. I don't know if I could take 3 former Saints QBs taking other teams to the Super Bowl. In case you forgot, Kerry Collins was the other one.
But, man, that wasn't his fault last night. That offensive line was truly offensive.

TAGS: , , , NFL

11 September 2006

Bush's 9/11 Speech

I just can't take it anymore. I'll let him say it, from tonight's address to the nation:

a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent.

He's talking about them, not us. But every time I run across stories like this, this, this, this, and this, I wonder.

Saddam is not the person who told the American public "Either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists." And speaking of....

I am often asked why we are in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the Nine-Eleven attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat. My Administration, the Congress, and the United Nations saw the threat – and after Nine-Eleven, Saddam’s regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take.

Vintage Bush. Uhhh..................care to elaborate? We know it wasn't a 9/11 connection. We know it wasn't WMDs. You already lied about those and we busted you. But you never tell us in the speech what constitutes the "clear threat" now. Is it because he "hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent?" That kinda justifies us going into Africa and South America too, right? And what about Mexico?

And now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in free elections last December.

A noble sentiment indeed. Maybe after we establish a democracy in Iraq, we can try establishing one here.

The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower. They are thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the election lever … girls enrolling in school … or families worshiping God in their own traditions.

Okay. Now that's even funnier than the episode of "Two and a Half Men" that followed it. Except that this isn't funny anymore. Do you think Bin Laden was thinking about girls enrolling in school when he executed the attacks? Fire this speechwriter, NOW.

And you can say what you want about the connection to our region. He already told us he screwed up down here and turned his back on us. And it's obviously never going to change, because he is clearly preoccupied with war against "freedom." Please tell me that the Red States didn't buy this crap last night.

I'll prefer to let this one stand as the essential 9/11 speech.

I'm sick and tired of people questioning my patriotism. Yes, I support our troops, Mr. President. Just because I don't have a yellow ribbon and drape myself in the American Flag, it doesn't mean I'm not a "true" American. I'm exercising my right to question a war that was supported because of 9/11 patriotism. A war that was justified because you connected Saddam to Al Qaeda. And, as it turned out, a war that had nothing to do with 9/11, patriotism, terrorism and Al Qaeda. And, now as it turns out, is now being fought on some stupid abstract idea like "he hates freedom."

If that's the case, who's going to be America's liberator?

I now refuse to stand idle while people like the president accuse me of being un-American.

POST-SCRIPT: And don't tell me that I'm supposed to support our president and the Republican Party because "We're at war. You're supposed to support your country when it's at war." I REPEAT: We are at war because HE LIED ABOUT WHY WE NEEDED TO GO THERE. AND HE STILL HASN'T GIVEN A REASON WHY WE STILL NEED TO BE THERE. If we were just supposed to support a president because we're at war, wouldn't every president from here on out start a war (for just reasons or not) right before his re-election? Isn't that what he actually did?

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10 September 2006

Saints 19 Browns 14

DT Brian Young sacked Browns QB Charlie Frye three times.

1-0, baby!

This team has a realistic shot at starting out 3-0, even though I still think a 6 or 7 win season is optimistic.

Every time I get a chance, I will post my thoughts on the game. So here is "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly."

  • Reggie Bush looked above average. Not ESPN-good. Not Hall of Fame good. But pretty damn good.
  • Reggie Bush will lead NFL running backs (rookie or otherwise) in receptions if healthy.
  • Deuce is back.
  • Marques Colston is going to be our Antonio Gates. By that I mean Drew Brees's security blanket, not All-Pro tight end.
  • That much-maligned offensive line gave up no sacks and helped the Saints rush for over 150 yards.
  • The defense looks aggressive. Maybe they won't be the worst in Saints history.
  • Brian Young: 3 sacks. Where the hell did that come from?
  • Interceptions from Fujita and Bullocks.
  • The defense didn't give up a first down until the Browns' final drive of the first half.
  • The defense came up big after Deuce's fumble. I just knew that the Browns would take the lead on that drive.
  • The defense came up with a big 3-and-out (with 2 sacks) after the Saints took the 19-14 lead.
  • The Browns had the ball at midfield with 2 minutes left. And the Saints stopped them. Cold. How many times have we seen us lose a game in the last 2 minutes that we dominated for the first 58?
  • No (or at least very few) dumb-ass decisions or stupid penalties for the first 50 minutes of the game.
  • We scored points in our first drive. Remember when we used to do that?
  • We have a head coach more concerned with the game plan than showing up the refs.
  • Drew Brees never broke the huddle and discovered that 3 seconds were left on the play clock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • The penalties started to come back in the final minutes of the game.
  • We need to find a way to get Reggie Bush involved in key 3rd-and-short situations.
  • We settled for 2 field goals in situations where we should have scored touchdowns.
  • Our vertical passing game is nonexistent.
  • Our tight ends are nonexistent, at least as receiving options.
  • Roman Harper vs. Kellen Winslow. But in Harper's defense, he came up with a big sack in the 4th quarter on 3rd down.
  • Drew Brees and Joe Horn have no chemistry. Yet.
  • Marques Colston needed to bring that ball in on the flea-flicker pass.
  • Charlie Frye was able to scramble on us. What's going to happen when we play Michael Vick???????????????????????
  • The Browns had a first half touchdown and a 4th down conversion called back by penalty. They also had a 50-yard change of field position after a punt in the first quarter because of a penalty. Isn't it nice to see other teams get the bad breaks for a change???????????
  • First and goal at the 3 late in the game. Good teams get in the end zone and put the game out of reach. Instead, we settle for a field goal and keep the Browns in the game.
  • 3rd and 1 with 3 minutes left in the game. WHY IN THE HELL CAN'T THE SAINTS EVER CONVERT A 3RD AND 1 IN THE FINAL 5 MINUTES OF A FRIGGIN FOOTBALL GAME????????????????????????????????????????
  • The Cleveland Browns offense is Mike Ditka bad. They have one NFL-caliber skill player (Kellen Winslow). The rest of the team was just a bunch of Andre Hastingses and Lamar Smiths.
  • Aren't you glad that we didn't select (Browns offensive coordinator) Maurice Carthon wasn't selected as head coach? Actually, like I said, I think the Browns' lack of talent is more to blame than his play calling.
  • That penalty against the Saints on the Browns' final drive of the game. GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Why do I think that Joe Horn is not going to be happy with his role on the team?
Next week: Green Bay. I'm not going to predict a victory. However, I will predict that it will be better than 52-3.

TAGS: , , , , , ,

An Earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico. Hello.

A Magnitude 6.0 earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico just before 10am this morning 329 miles southeast of New Orleans???


UPDATE: Here is the NOLA Blogger's resident geologist's take on the earthquake.

Exploring Lakeview--One Year Later

On Tuesday, 29 August 2006--the one year anniversary of KTMB's landfall and the man-induced drowning of New Orleans--I decided to skip the "dumbass" parade (see comments section of a previous post) or bell ringing ceremonies or politician photo ops. Instead, I decided to mark the anniversary by canvassing Lakeview to assess the rebuilding progress in one of New Orleans' most devastated neighborhoods. I started off by visiting the 17th Street Canal breach/Old Hammond Highway bridge/in-progress 17th Street Canal pumps and floodgates. There, two of the levees.org ladies were out on the bridge with sign and American flag getting the attention (and horn blows and "thumbs-up" in return) of passing-by cars . . .

About a block from the breach site hangs a "Hold the Corps Accountable" banner. Ten to fifteen buildings closest to the breach site on the west side of Bellaire Drive were demolished in the past couple of months. The removal of the buildings makes construction access to the site easier, but also it is my understanding that the permanent gate and pump to be built within the next few years will possibly be located upon these lots.

17th Street Canal Breach, Hi-Res via Flickr
17th Street Canal Floodgate/Pump Construction, Hi-Res via Flickr

After revisiting the Old Hammond Highway bridge for the at least 20th time since August 2005, I drove extensively throughout Lakeview. I have done this every so often throughout the neighborhoods of New Orleans since the storm (thus explaining my nine flat tires) and sometimes this is a quite depressing (but necessary) experience and other times it provide some hope for the future. This day was one of hope--and again keep in mind this hope is relative to seeing what Lakeview has looked like month after month over the past year. The place still looks like a bomb went off--make no mistake--but what I hoped to see and did see were some signs of progress. The two panoramas below illustrate the varying degrees of conditions of homes in Lakeview: abandoned/overgrown, abadoned/but maintained, demolished, and renovated/new construction.

General Diaz and Bragg Streets, Hi-Res via Flickr
Argonne Boulevard and Lane Street, Hi-Res via Flickr

Many houses in Lakeview resemble the one below: the house has been gutted and cleared of the ruined contents, but still sits unrehabilitated and overgrown. It seems as if many Lakeview houses in this current condition are awaiting demolition--either using ICC monies (City/FEMA-funded) or being paid for by the individual property owner.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are houses like the two below. These have been completely renovated and its owners are back living within them. Amazingly the second picture below is a house on Bellaire affronting the 17th Street Canal within a few lots of the breach. Their City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana flags fly proudly.

The next two pictures display a house on Orleans Avenue sitting untouched (minus the for sale signs) for the past year. What interests me about this house is that it is extremely old for Lakeview--and uncharacteristically raised. Bounded by Harrison and Filmore, this section of Orleans had 10 feet of water and even the second floor of this house took in some water. The interior shot is within the ground floor of the house.

New construction--raised 10 feet from ground level--underway off of Harrison Avenue can be seen below. Imagine if all post-war residential construction in Lakeview (and Gentilly and New Orleans East) was built in this manner instead of mostly slab construction for the past fifty years . . .

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Lakeview, 17th Street Canal, We Are Not Ok

09 September 2006

ESPN Is Even Making Me Sick of Reggie Bush

Hey, ESPN. I'm starting to get the idea that you think that Reggie Bush is going to be good. I don't know why I'm thinking this. Maybe because you won't shut the Hell up about it.

If you watch SportsCenter or read any article on ESPN.com about Reggie Bush, you see two main recurring themes:

1. Reggie Bush is going to be the most exciting running back since Gale Sayers, and it's only a matter of time before he makes it into the Hall of Fame.
2. He is Michael Jordan to Mario Williams's Sam Bowie.

And he still hasn't played an NFL regular season game yet.

And he still hasn't beat out Deuce McAllister for the starting RB job.

And nobody is going to the Hall of Fame running behind this year's line.

Get a load of these comments from ESPN's week one preview:

  • I'm looking forward to the beginning of the Reggie Bush era in the NFL. It has been a long while since we've seen a rookie enter the league with this type of hype about the kind of impact he can make on the league, and that's including when Michael Vick came into the league. The only thing is, I can't really call it hype because we all know just how special Bush is going to be.
  • Despite his being in the same backfield as Deuce McAllister, I'm picking Bush to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year. People are expecting Bush not only to save a franchise that has been moribund in recent years both on and off the field but to help a city that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina last year.
  • Mix that in with the chip on his shoulder the Houston Texans placed there by not taking him No. 1 overall, and your heart starts beating fast just waiting for his first play from scrimmage this weekend against the Browns.
Know what else is interesting about these comments? They come from Eric Allen. Yes, that joke of a player who didn't do a damn thing for all the all of the money he took from the Saints.

I'm a big Reggie Bush fan. I think (or at least hope) he's going to be a great player. Only 3 other players in Saints history (in my opinion) have had such an anticipated debut among Saints fans as you are going to have: Archie Manning, George Rogers and Ricky Williams.

But ESPN really needs to shut the f#*k up about him.

Why does ESPN have to ruin everything? Why can't the network show any restraint and moderation in anything it considers important. Look at the network's track record:

  • ESPN thinks T.O. is important. Therefore, America needs daily updates on his hamstring.
  • ESPN thinks Roger Clemens is important. Therefore, America wants pitch-by-pitch anlysis of his training starts in single-A.
  • ESPN thinks Brett Favre is important. Therefore, America wants daily off-season updates on whether he has retired yet.
  • ESPN thinks USC is important. Therefore, the 2005 team is the greatest team in the history of college football--even though it didn't even win the national championship (and I won't even mention 2003).
  • ESPN thinks Danica Patrick is important. Therefore, America wants to know that she finished 11th in EVERY SINGLE RACE she enters (she has never won a race, but ESPN has made her a legend).
  • ESPN thinks Michele Wie is important. Therefore, we need analysis of every single time she doesn't qualify for a men's tournament.
  • ESPN thinks Tiger Woods is important. Well, he really is that good. Bad example.

Well, I think you get the point.

Please don't do this with Reggie Bush. We appreciate the Saints getting more exposure and visibility because Reggie Bush is on our team. Just relax. Please.

TAGS: , , , ,

A Lakeview Story

Yesterday I got a phone call my 90 year old widowed great aunt. She called me by accident as she meant to dial the number above mine (another relative) in her address book. She was surprised when I answered the phone and was confused who I was initially. Once we got that straight I asked her how she was doing as I haven't talked to her since Christmas or so. A few things about my aunt. She was raised in the Irish Channel and since 1950 has lived in the same house in Lakeview located between Filmore and Robert E. Lee. She evacuated New Orleans before the storm--but reluctantly. Although located in one of the areas with deepest amount of floodwater in Lakeview she was able to retrieve nearly all of her possessions on the second floor of the house. The first floor and all of its of contents of course was a total loss.

Currently she is living in one of her children's houses in Lake Vista as her son and his family have relocated. She's in a large modern house which went unflooded in the storm--and she doesn't like it. She says she hears no dogs barking or no children playing in Lake Vista. She desperately wants to return to her salvageable Lakeview house of 56 years--which sits cleared out and gutted awaiting renovation. Her children have vetoed that option, and her house is currently under contract to be sold at the end of the month. If she was allowed to have her way, she'd have the house renovated and she'd move back in. Her kids tell her they have concerns she might be living there in complete isolation if she returned to her house as there may be no one around her on her street or on nearby streets. Her response: "That's how it was when we built the house in 1950--there was no one anywhere around us. Lakeview was desolate. I've already experienced that."

She doesn't care--at least she'd be in her house where she wants to be . . .

She also informed me that according to a conversation she had with one of the owner's of Lakeview Fine Foods that they intend to re-open in about three months (November/December). She says she misses that store so much, but looks forward to the new renovated and larger (they took over the West Marine space) store.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Lakeview, Lakeview Fine Foods, We Are Not Ok

08 September 2006

LSU's Latest Commitment

I know we don't talk about LSU so much in this forum, mainly because the school's not in New Orleans. But many of us are fans and/or alumni. For the record, I'm both. So indulge me for a minute, and don't turn this into a LSU/Tulane/ULL (or whatever they want to go by)/UNO debate.

At some point, I got myself on the mailing list for LSU at scout.com. As a result, these guys e-mail me every time LSU gets a new verbal commitment.

I got one of these e-mails an hour ago. So I automatically get excited. Maybe Luther Davis from West Monroe is picking LSU after all. Or maybe Joe McKnight shocked everybody and picked the Tigers.

Well imagine my disappointment when I click on the link, and I discover it's a basketball commitment. I'm not disappointed because I don't think LSU basketball isn't important; I expected it to be a football commitment because we're in the middle of football season.

But then I start to think, cool. We just got a guard. We need guards. Darrel Mitchell is gone, I don't trust Tack Minor, and Ben Voogd sucks. And then I look closer.

This guy is a member of the high school class of 2009.

It's 2006.

LSU just got a verbal commitment from a guy who can't be much older than 14. This guy is a couple of weeks into his HIGH SCHOOL SOPHOMORE season.

Jesus H. Christ. I knew basketball recruiting was shady, but good Lord. It's even worse than college football apparently.

Now I'm not saying IN ANY WAY that LSU is doing anything wrong. If you want to have a good team, and other teams are targeting your guy, you need to get to him before they do.

But this guy is freakin' 14 or 15 years old (I assume).

Why do I get the feeling that A) this guy will commit to about 5 other schools before he graduates from high school, or B) this guy is playing one season at LSU and then going pro?

TAGS: , high school basketball, , ,