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The New Orleans Levee: My new favorite site!
September 27th, 2007 under Humor, Louisiana, NewOrleans. [ Comments: none ]

leadershipfordummies.gifThis is from my new favorite site. The New Orleans Levee: We Don’t Hold Anything Back!

It’s got great cartoons and very funny articles like:
Community shocked Vick picked to lead N.O. animal group

Mayor C. Ray Nagin’s blue-ribbon committee to choose a successor to outgoing LA-SPCA Director Laura Maloney, who is relocating to Australia with her husband, has picked Michael Vick.

Nagin’s appointees to the committee were Congressman William Jefferson, District Attorney Eddie Jordan, and former Councilman Oliver Thomas. Thomas replaced former school board President Ellenese Brooks-Simms, who was unable to attend due to legal obligations. They made their announcement at a recent fund-raiser for Nagin’s gubernatorial and/or congressional and/or Urban League campaign fund.

“We are excited about our choice for the new Director of the LA-SPCA,” Nagin said. “We are pleased  to appoint Michael Vick, former quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.”

Nagin cited Vick’s experience with dog kennels in Virginia, as well as his proven record of interstate networking of animal events.

“Mr. Vick is experienced in animal euthanasia as well as all the legal ramifications of animal care.” Congressman Jefferson added. “And he’s already been sentenced to prison, so that eliminates the need to spend taxpayer dollars on investigations and court costs.”

Oliver Thomas initially had reservations about appointing Vick to the sensitive position, but later sided with his colleagues.

“At first I was reluctant to place a controversial figure in an animal rights position, but then he gave me free game tickets and I reconsidered.”

Great Stuff! Keep up the good work!


The Costs of Living in New Orleans
September 17th, 2007 under Katrina, NewOrleans, Politics, Racism, Social Issues. [ Comments: 1 ]

The costs associated with living in a post-K New Orleans are hard to calculate. Sure there are the increases in property taxes, insurance, and utilities. Although they are terribly unfair, they are to be expected. The unexpected costs can also get to you. See my friend Michael’s latest shock.

But probably the biggest costs are ones that are not easily measured in dollars and cents. For instance, prior to Katrina, I only had one job interview that didn’t work out. Having lost my job, spent countless hours in Craigslist, and been to many unsuccessful interviews has done a lot to damage my ego. Being separated from my family for four months so I could bring home some bacon was also terribly damaging in a variety of ways I’m still trying to understand.

Along the way, I’ve picked up way too many pounds, type-two diabetes, a more “colorful” language, and thousands of dollars on my VISA account. I’ve lost some friends, a bit of my faith, and according to one of my colleagues—the hope I used to have.

As soon as my son graduates from High School I might bolt for greener pastures. The latest cost is also not really related to money. Well, it’s sort of related….

My daughter attends Lusher Middle School. To say we’ve had problems with buses this year is an understatement. We arranged for a paid bus to take my daughter to school and drop her off in the afternoons. It was only about $400, but it bothered me because there are many parents on the Westbank that can’t afford to pay for a bus. The alternative? Send their kids to crappy schools. You see, there’s a stereotype out there that all Westbankers are white and rich. It’s far from true, but it makes some people happy to write of whole groups of people that way. Easier to hate.

Now I’ve got a justice issue. I feel guilty because some of my neighbors won’t be able to afford to send their kids to a “good” school. Then great news! We get free buses! Of course the Principal of Lusher did not notify the parents of this great gift because “buses have not been a part of the culture here.” Hmmm. Sorry we’ve imposed upon your “culture” by importing kids from other areas of the city. Isn’t that one of the purposes of charter schools to allow students better access to better schools? Guess not if they’re from the wrong neighborhood. Further, Riedlinger defended not telling parents about the buses by stating, “As parents express interest, we give them information.” I wonder what other helpful information we should ask about? Are there other services?

Why the heck wouldn’t they want to tell parents about services? Why should we have to ask? Hmmm….Looks like they might be hiding something? Great way to run a school! The don’t ask, don’t get information rule is a heck of a management style. Especially if you want to show how much you care for your students!

Then we hear that the free buses have been cancelled again! Only, Lusher administration knew about this for quite some time. If we had known about this, we wouldn’t have cancelled our contract with the paid bus service and lost over a $100!

Fortunately, we have a new contract with a bus service. It’ll cost us another several hundred dollars or so, but we can afford it. Now I’m feeling guilty again. Wish the Lusher folks would feel guilty too.


The Great Iraq Swindle
September 4th, 2007 under NewOrleans, Politics, Recovery, War. [ Comments: 3 ]

For those who whine about giving money to those who live in a bowl (again, I’m not including the link), here’s a bit of reporting in Rolling Stone about how taxpayers are getting screwed while some politically connected businesses are making billions off Iraq:

In March 2004, Parsons Corp. magically wins a contract from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to design and build the Baghdad Police College, a facility that’s supposed to house and train at least 4,000 police recruits. But two years and $72 million later, it delivers not a functioning police academy but one of the great engineering clusterf*cks of all time, a practically useless pile of rubble so badly constructed that its walls and ceilings are literally caked in shit and piss, a result of subpar plumbing in the upper floors.

Interesting how those who want New Orleans to go away seem to look the other way in regard to corruption in the Federal government. Wish we had $72 million to set up a crime lab or something for our police. Just don’t ask Parsons Corp. to build it.


Bigots Suck!
August 30th, 2007 under ChristianWalk, NewOrleans, Social Issues, violence. [ Comments: 2 ]

I began yesterday with a depressing post. It was so pathetic that I deleted it soon after writing it. It was a really bad day. Then I read Dangerblond’s great post-which led me to Ashley’s post.

I was shocked by a few exchanges between Ashley and some Texans. They chose to ignore the fact that yesterday was a really tough day for most of us and then began an attack on Ashley and New Orleanians on their blog. (I won’t link to it). When I tried to call for compassion for us on a difficult day, I was attacked.

I told my wife yesterday when I got home that I was surprised at that so many people hate us here in New Orleans. As usual, she was the voice of reason. She reminded me that over a million people have come to help us here and many showed great hospitality to us when we were in trouble. . THANKS SO MUCH! For a few short hours I let a few knuckleheads from Texas get me down.

I have to believe in the goodness of persons. I’ve experienced too much of it to let the folks who are filled with hate and bigotry to get me down. If you hate New Orleans and want us to die…

God bless you. I’ll be praying for you.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:27-31. NIV)


Why Get Rid of Eddie Jordan Now?
July 13th, 2007 under crime, NewOrleans, Politics, Racism, violence. [ Comments: 1 ]

jordan.jpgThere’s been quite a bit of outrage about Eddie Jordan lately. Seems one of the biggest murder cases since Katrina has been bungled. The day after he dropped the charges against the man accused of last summer’s quintuple murder because the key witness couldn’t be found, NOPD promptly located the witness within hours of their finding out about Jordan’s dilemma.

To top this off, last night every TV news outlet showed lawyers pointing out that Jordan’s negative comments about the witness compromised the case by shedding doubt on her integrity. A District Attorney who calls a key witness a liar on television is either trying to get the murderer off the hook or a complete idiot. I don’t know which one, but my question is this: Why all of a sudden is Jordan not good enough to be our DA?

Nobody (almost nobody) got pissed and asked for his resignation when he was found guilty of racial discrimination by a federal jury. I don’t remember a city council member asking for his resignation then. If someone is found guilty of hiring and firing folks based on race, why would you think he would do a good job?

If he hires prosecutors based on race, why do you think his office can do a good job? This isn’t a new development. We’re just seeing the consequences of looking the other way AGAIN when someone breaks the law or is incompetent or both.

Why should we be asking for a boycott of New Orleans? Not because of Eddie Jordan. It’s because we don’t care enough to demand that those who serve us do so with dignity, honesty, and integrity.


Nagin and His Contributors Have a Lot to Gain from Each Other!
July 12th, 2007 under Katrina, NewOrleans, Politics. [ Comments: 1 ]

nagin.jpgAccording to a Times-Picayune article today, Ray Nagin’s fund-raising dinner in Kansas City last night had some interesting donors:

Black & Veatch, BNIM, Walton Construction, AM Consultants, Astra Communications, Crawford Architects, DuBois Consultants, E&K Retail Inc., Garry & Associates, KC Consulting, Kingston Environmental, Rutherford & Associates and the Zimmer Companies.

Seems these folks have a lot to gain from Nagin! They’re either getting a piece of the pie or will be.


Mid-City Treasure!
May 21st, 2007 under Food, NewOrleans. [ Comments: 1 ]

sausage.jpgLast night Shirley and I went to a fund-raiser for the Mid-City Library. It was great fun! My favorite food items were the charbroiled oysters and the great sausage from Creole Country. The sausage was so good that Shirley Jr and I stopped by this morning and bought three different kinds of sausage-Green onion crawfish, aligator, and andouille.

It’s a bit hard to find the place at 512 David St, but it’s worth it. Deanie Bowen was excited that we came in as a result of having tasted the sausage at the fund-raiser and gave us a taste of some great sausage she had just cooked when we stopped in.

Later this afternoon when we stopped in again (I didn’t bring my checkbook), Vaughn Schmitt gave us a taste of the Greek sausage he made for the Greek Festival this weekend. He’s a great guy. I’m going to send all my relatives some sausage from Creole Country for Christmas!


Thanks Michael!
May 11th, 2007 under Friends, NewOrleans. [ Comments: 3 ]

mike.jpgI spent last Saturday with my friend Michael Homan at Jazz Fest. When I heard the following lyrics from Cowboy Mouth’s song Glad to Be Alive, I was reminded how blessed I am to have Michael as a friend.

Here is the chorus:

Easy to bitch
Easy to whine
Easy to moan
Easy to cry
Easy to feel like there ain’t nothing in your life

Harder to work
Harder to strive
Harder to be glad to be alive
But its really worth it if you give it a try

Yeah, Michael does like to bitch and whine, but it’s the last part that he does particularly well. He’s tirelessly worked to better his neighborhood and community since Katrina. His commitment has been a real challenge and inspiration to me.

Michael’s the hardest worker I know. But the best part is that he really likes to enjoy himself. He never does anything half-way. When he does Mardi Gras-he dresses up. When we do Barkus-he’s got the coolest float. When I went to his house to see the Saints play the Bears, we were all dressed up and ready to watch it on the improvised big screen!buddy.jpg

His fascination with the culture of New Orleans has rubbed off on me and it has enriched my life and as a result, my family life as well. He’s allowed me to experience the greatest New Orleans moments in the last several years by inviting me to the Saints return to the Superdome and the Eagles game. Of course, in typical Michael fashion, we visited Buddy D’s grave before the playoff game! Every time we get together to go to a special event or just get together for fun, he reminds me that it it good to be alive.

Thanks Michael for all that you’ve done to make these past few years memorable in a good way. I could write more, but I don’t want the folks in PJs to see me cry. I’d be stuck in that first stanza without friends like you.


New Orleans: Blame It on the Rain
May 5th, 2007 under Katrina, NewOrleans, Recovery. [ Comments: 1 ]

Pretty scary way to enter the hurricane season. Yesterday I had to travel the 8.4 miles from my house to pick up my son at Archbishop Shaw High School. Because of the severe flooding, it took me an hour and a half. Eight flippin’ miles!

It seems that we have a severe problem with pumps. I would think that in the wake of Katrina, there would be an attempt to fix the levees and the pumps. Go figure. Marcia St. Martin, executive director of the city Sewerage & Water Board said, “But the real key to this afternoon is, irrespective to our problems, the rainfall event was greater than our capabilities with everything working perfect.” Strike up the Milli Vanilli!

Great answer Marcia! Ever think to fix the pumps so that the rain might not have such an impact? We had a bad rain. It showed you really haven’t done your job. Why not do something about it? Why haven’t you done your job? Shouldn’t doing all you can to decrease flooding be a priority?

Sometimes I hate this place. Glad I’m going to Jazz Fest today.


Permanently Damaged?
April 26th, 2007 under Katrina, NewOrleans, Recovery. [ Comments: 5 ]

Flooded and BurnedI’m riding into work today with two major things on my mind. I will begin my vacation tomorrow and head for a symposium in beautiful North Carolina and I have only two weeks of employment left at the job I hate. I’ll be going back to a job I love.

Then why am I stressed and sad? I’m fatter than pre-K. I have more health problems due to stress. I should be thrilled. For the most part, I enjoy the festivals and food and music and culture of New Orleans much more than before pre-K. But everything else….not so much.

I live with the hope that my return to Xavier and only one job will be such a relief that I’ll be transformed. I’ll eat less, exercise more, and be happier. God help me.


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