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Katrina 10 Months Later
June 29th, 2006 under Katrina, New Orleans. [ Comments: 7 ]

GilgameshHere’s a picture of my friend Michael and his son Gilgamesh. Mike’s post and my experience this morning are so stinkin’ depressing! But…I must share the misery. Read his story here. Michael and his family are having a really rough time. I pray for them every day.

Here’s my story:

I was driving Shirley Jr to her friend’s house in Lakeview this morning. In many parts of the city, you see devastation but there’s gutting going on or some sort of rebuilding. In Lakeview it’s different. A lot of older New Orleanians lived in Lakeview. I know a few of them. I served as interim pastor in a church in Lakeview and I know where many of the members (former members) live(d). In this area, very few trailers can be found and most houses are abandoned. Not a lot of work going on. Of course, traffic lights are still out. Some STILL don’t have power.

I felt myself getting really upset. Then I spotted some great stuff in a pile of rubble in front of a house on Canal Street! I pulled over and JACKPOT! I saw some really incredible trim and some great little shutters. These would make terrific birdhouses!

I pulled over and hopped out of the van. In the midst of the trash pile, I saw one of those crocheted doilies. All of a sudden, I felt a huge rush of emotion. I felt guilty for invading someone’s privacy. I felt tremendous sadness for someone’s loss. I felt like I was stepping on hallowed ground. I began to cry. I felt like the weight of the suffering around me was going to crush me.

I walked back to the van, got in, and turned the stereo up full blast. Then I headed to work.

I know that I’m trying to bring beauty from destruction by building birdhouses. I know that my motives are pure. But if I could, I’d go home and clear out my garage. I’d throw it all away. I’d get as far away from the destruction as I could. Man I hate this place sometimes.


NoLaGrants.com Launched by My Friend
June 27th, 2006 under Friends, Katrina, New Orleans. [ Comments: 1 ]

NoLaGrants.comA good friend of mine launched NoLaGrants.com to help non-profits, artists, educators, and faith-based organizations secure funds for their projects!

Sounds like a really needed service! Hope he can help New Orleans rebuild. He’s working with a few friends to make a difference in his community.

Let your friends know about this valuable service! I know he will really appreciate the opportunity to continue the work he’s doing here.


Cool Jesus Merchandise!
June 27th, 2006 under Christian Crap, Humor. [ Comments: none ]

Jesus-HeadI think this Jesus only shakes his head “no.” Or maybe just at me.

If you get a bobo (New Orleanian speak for booboo) Jesus can also be your friend!
Jesus-bobo

These fine products can be found at Archie McPhee’s site. Tell em’ that Howie sent you and you’ll get no discount!

There are many fine products at Archie’s site including Buddha Pencil Toppers if you’re not that into Jesus.


Joe’s Passion
June 24th, 2006 under Christianity, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 1 ]

JoeI just read a post from a guy who stops by my blog quite often. It’s funny because we now live in the same city and have never met. I’ve extended a few invitations for free meals (that used to be pretty inviting when I was in seminary), but he hasn’t taken me up on the offer so I can’t really call him a friend.

His post kind of knocked me out of my chair because he is reflecting on his answer to the question, “What would you love to be doing with your life?”

You see, I’m kind of unemployed at the moment so that does seem like a good question for me to be thinking about. Hmmmm.

Thanks Joe. I really enjoyed reading your answer and I’m going to give mine a lot of thought.

Who knows? I might post it Monday. Have a good weekend!


UPDATED: Senate Rejects Bid to Raise Minimum Wage
June 22nd, 2006 under New Orleans, Politics. [ Comments: 8 ]

kennedyI just got off the phone with Edward Kennedy’s office in Washington.

The AP reported that the proposal brought forth by Kennedy to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 and hour was rejected. The U.S. Senate site mistakenly reported that it passed.

I don’t understand it. Mary Landrieu must have recieved the email I sent her two days ago that encouraged her to support the measure while David Vitter ignored my email. Hmmm.

Oh yeah I forgot that Vitter is more worried about gay folks getting married than about poor people. Sorry Dave!

Guess I’ll be sending David another email this afternoon. What an idiot!

UPDATE:

From Barbara Ehrenreich’s Blog:

From a Congress that has consistently cut taxes for the wealthy, themselves included, while cutting programs that serve the poor and the middle class, the minimum wage vote is not entirely surprising. What merits special notice in this instance is the unctuous rhetoric that arose from the sties as Republicans rushed to explain that by holding down the minimum wage they were actually helping the poor. If we don’t keep wages down, they said, grease dripping from the corners of their mouths, the Predators might find their prey less tasty, and unemployment will rise!

Never mind that there is no empirical evidence for this prediction. Employment didn’t plunge the last time the minimum wage was increased, in 1997, nor has this happened in any of the states – Massachusetts for example – that have raised their own minimum wages in the last few years. I grant you that there might be trouble if the minimum wage were to rise at the same rate as CEO pay. As the Institute for Policy Studies reported in 2005, “If the minimum wage had risen as fast as CEO pay since 1990, the lowest paid workers in the US would be earning $23.03 an hour today, not $5.15 an hour.”

Nor is it true, incidentally, that the minimum wage is paid mostly to teenagers working to support their Abercrombie and Fitch habits. According to economist Heather Boushey at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, fewer than one in five minimum wage workers is under the age of 20. In my experience, many of those youthful minimum wage workers are in fact making important contributions, however tiny, to their families’ inadequate incomes.


Crappy New Orleans Judge of the Day!
June 21st, 2006 under New Orleans, Politics. [ Comments: none ]

ElloieNew Feature!

Here’s a little info on Criminal Court Judge Charles Elloie of New Orleans:

Judge Lets Man Found with AK-47 Go

The New Orleans criminal justice system might have been ground to a virtual halt by Hurricane Katrina, but one pre-storm practice is continuing unabated: the willingness of Criminal Court Judge Charles Elloie to bend over backward to release jailed suspects on lenient bail.

In four recent gun and narcotics arrests — two involving the same felon accused of wielding an assault rifle — Elloie, by his own admission, issued either free or affordable bail over the telephone without determining the facts of the arrest. Elloie said he considered only the suspect’s rap sheet and new charges.

In one case, Elloie acknowledged he wouldn’t even have issued bail had he known the facts of the arrest: Brian Expose was caught Tuesday with six ounces of cocaine; two assault rifles, — one with a bayonet and one with a 60-round clip; a Tec-9 with a silencer; four pistols; and $189,000 in cash, police said.

Crime Group Blasts Judge’s Record

The Metropolitan Crime Commission said Judge Charles Elloie is responsible for 83% of the bond reductions in the parish. The rest of the judges combined only lowered bonds in 17% of the instances.

The Commission study found that 2,900 defendants got back on the streets following the bond reductions between July 2003 and July 2004.

Of those out on lowered bonds, 27% went on to be charged with additional crimes.

“Judge Elloie’s nine years on the bench are littered with horror stories of people that were victimized because of Jude Elloies’ releasing these people from jail,” said Metropolitan Crime Commission Chief Rafael Goyeneche.

Elloie did not comment to WWL-TV, but in a published report in the Times-Picayune, he indicated that he would revisit his methods after seeing the report.


Axis of Evil Meets Triangle of Death
June 21st, 2006 under Katrina, New Orleans, Politics, Rant. [ Comments: none ]

George W. Bush once spoke of an “Axis of Evil.” In New Orleans, we’ve got something similar… It’s called the “Triangle of Death.” This triangle-shaped area of the city, bounded by Louisiana Avenue, Earhart Boulevard and St. Charles Avenue has been the home of 14, of this year’s 54 murders. I try to assure my friends that New Orleans is just as safe as any other large city.

Having the National Guard come in to patrol sections of town doesn’t really allay many fears though. I would like to hear your take on this (especially out-of-towners).

I think I might have partly discovered why such murders are now commonplace (again) in my town:

Here’s the recent history of Michael Mack, the city’s latest murder victim

After racking up six juvenile convictions — including one for murder at age 13 that kept him locked up until he was 21 — Mack returned to the streets after Hurricane Katrina and was arrested three times on drug charges, court records show.

In January, he was booked with cocaine and marijuana possession in a case in which New Orleans police were assisted by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
In March, he was booked with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
In April, he was booked with distribution of prescription pills.

“He was a well-known Central City dope peddler,” said local DEA Chief William Renton. “He had been on DEA radar since 1997.”

After each of Mack’s recent arrests, he was released after making bail, court records show. And each time, the bail amount decreased, records show: from $35,000 in January, to $10,000 March, to $5,000 in April. The details of those bail arrangements were not available Tuesday.

“The Police Department is feeding cases into the system, but the district attorney and courts aren’t functioning,” said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the nonprofit Metropolitan Crime Commission. “I think New Orleans is teetering right now. And the decisions that are being made about crime right now are just as important as flood protection.”

Amen Mr. Goyeneche. How do you get rid of idiot judges? Any suggestions?


Get a Grip!
June 21st, 2006 under New Orleans. [ Comments: none ]

GlassI’ve been really down lately. More than usual. My job performance has really suffered. I used to pride myself in how much I could get done. Yeah, I’m no workaholic, but I do take pride in what I do. Shirley challenged me to think about the positive things going on now instead of the negatives.

She’s definitely one of the positives. She kind of lost her mind this weekend and suggested we get Shirley Jr a pool for the back yard. It’s got a pump and everything and I was able to work on a birdhouse and swim with Shirley Jr last night. That was fun.

I’ve got three former colleagues who are really trying to get me back. That’s very encouraging. I had another friend send out a resume for me the other day. That’s also very encouraging.

My brother and his wife pray for me a lot and check up on us a lot too. I have friends that encourage me often. I do have a source of income until October.

And my comments problem has been cleared up.

I am really thankful for these blessings.


Tony Snow and Dan Bartlett Contest!
June 19th, 2006 under Humor, Politics. [ Comments: 2 ]

Snow and Bartlett

Please provide your caption for the above picture of Tony Snow and Dan Bartlett. The winner of the contest will receive an autographed picture of Howie Luvzus!


Ballsy Howie Luvzus Look-Alike Protests Lack of Katrina Aid!
June 19th, 2006 under Katrina, New Orleans, Rant. [ Comments: 1 ]

eddie favreEddie Favre (cousin of Packer quarterback Brett Favre), Mayor of Bay St Louis MS, is protesting the lack of relief assistance for Hurricane Katrina damage. He’s not going to wear long pants until his city is “back on its feet.”

President Bush joked about Favre’s attire when they shared a stage. Journalists gawked at his black shorts and tuxedo top when he showed up in March at the annual Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington.

Favre, 52, welcomes the ribbing and stares as long as it keeps a spotlight trained on his city, which, before Katrina plowed ashore Aug. 29, was known for beachfront summer homes, quaint shops and a thriving art colony. Now the city is littered with bare concrete slabs where homes once stood, boarded-up businesses and government-issued trailer homes.

Farve’s response to those who question his approach:

“I’ll do whatever the hell I’ve got to do to get the attention and keep the attention we need,” he said. “Our people don’t want pity. Our people need help.”

New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas has called a press conference to deal with the violence in New Orleans over the weekend. Where the hell is C. Ray?

Nagin has been noticably absent since the election. Wish he’d throw on some shorts and do something!


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