Monday, April 30, 2007

How NOT to lead

Bayou Buzz dot com.

This is beyond disgusting.
This is way past ineptitude
an excerpt

It seems that the wounds from the U.S. Government’s miserable handling of Hurricane Katrina will never go away. This weekend, a shocking report shows that our federal government turned down millions of dollars in aid from foreign countries in the aftermath of Katrina. A staggering $846 million in aid was offered from countries across the globe, yet only $40 million was eventually accepted. Some went to private charities, but other assistance, such as medical supplies from Italy, was unused, exposed to the elements and eventually discarded.

The reasons the aid was rejected often dealt with a strict adherence to government regulations. For example, the Greek government offered two cruise ships to be used to house or care for Katrina victims. The ships were rejected due to concerns about the sprinkler systems on the boats. Other aid was turned down because of concerns about bottlenecks at a U.S. airbase in Little Rock, Arkansas caused by too many relief planes arriving. How infuriating that our government was worried about sprinkler systems and airport congestion when people were dying throughout the Gulf Coast!

More at the American Zombie

20 Months Later

At ground zero - Bay St. Louis and Waveland - there is still so much work to be done.

From "Rising from Ruin see what this area looks like in April 2007

Jazz Fest 07

I hadn't been to Jazz Fest in almost 10 years, so it was a pleasure to go this year.

We headed for the Blues Tent first thing. After looking at the schedule of performers, we decided we'd stay there all day

It was a good day. The tent was cool and there were Jazz Fest Staff there who kept the aisles clear and did their best to keep the rowdies tamed.

We watched

Mem Shannon and the Membership

Burnside Exploration

Richie Havens

The incredible Tab Benoit

and Sonny Landreth

While listening to all this talent we ate!

A very huge and very tasty steak pita

The Crawfish Bisque & Trout Baquet from Lil Dizzy's. mmm-mmm-mmmm
and the meaty ribs with white beans.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Katrina keeps on "giving"

Tim posted a story about a neighbor of his who lost more than his home to the storm.
Read about it at his nameless blog

New Orleans-ABOVE Sea Level

E.J. over at "NOITSJUSTME blogspot has some interesting info for all of you NOLA dissers.

N.O. - It's Just Me: City ABOVE the sea

Local Idea for Cat 5 Levees

From a NOLA-dishu post last week:

Local Idea for Cat 5 Levees

This brings you to Jim Boudreaux's home page with a very interesting and entertaining powerpoint presentation.

Thanks, Clay!

NOLA Katrina Memorial

Orleans Parish Coronor Dr. Frank Minyard is responsible for the interment of the unclaimed and unidentified New Orleans victims from Hurricane Katrina.
According to the state Department of Health and Hospitals, Katrina left 1,464 victims. Of those vicitims, 100 still remain
unidentified or unclaimed. The unclaimed remain at that classification because either the families cannot be located or, in some cases,
the families "don't want to pick them up". How sad. Minyard feels all Katrina victims deserve a better fate.
Organized in late 2006, the idea for the charitable, non-profit establishment of a memorial in New Orleans in honor of the Katrina victims,
including a mausoleum to house the unidentified and identified but unclaimed remains.
From the New Orleans Katrina Memorial Webpage

…..we are soliciting tax-deductible donations toward the construction costs of the memorial, estimated to exceed $1.5 million, including funds for the perpetual care of
this memorial. Matthews International has been selected to design and build the New Orleans Katrina Memorial.
The New Orleans Katrina Memorial will house these victims as well as provide remembrance plaques for all Katrina victims recovered in the city of New Orleans. Family members of the deceased are asked to contact the New Orleans Katrina Memorial Corporation.
The memorial incorporates both the curves of the hurricane and the meditative quality of a labyrinth, an initial idea conceived by Dr. Jeffrey
Rouse (the deputy New Orleans coroner dealing with psychiatric cases). The concept was then presented to Dave DeCarlo, Vice Chairman of
Matthews International Corporation, and a design team under the direction of Chris Kroll developed the rendering.

Update, September 2017: I found a webpage that hasn't expires that describes the Katrina Memorial Cemetary here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Weekend of Festing

This past weekend we attended two Slidell festivals: the Antique Street Fair and the Crawfish Cookoff.
click on pictures for full size versions
The sky was clear, the temps were cool and the food was plentiful.

We hit the street fair early, so the crowds were thin. It made for a much more enjoyable time.

We could smell the italian sausage grilling from blocks away and decided that that's what our breakfast would be.

A very good choice.

It's a small fair, but there were some gorgeous pieces of furniture there.

Check out that chair. Wish I had the $350 they were asking.

There were smaller items as well. This 1930's era handmixer was really neat.

After an hour of so of strolling around, we were hungry, so we headed for the Crawfish Cookoff across town.
The proceeds of this event benefits Hospice Foundation of the South.

For $20 each, we ate all of the mudbugs we could consume. I never ate so much crawfish in my life.

I award the gentleman in the red hat the outfit of the day.

Bag of Donuts entertained the crowd

Now it's time to rest up for this Saturday and Jazz Fest We'll be spending a majority of the day in the Southern Comfort Blues Tent

New Orleans East

Want to see what some parts of New Orleans East looks like 20 months post-Katrina?

Click here

Yet, in another part of "the east", there is a the opposite.

The Vietnamese in the East making a strong comeback

Like many other small-business owners in the area, Mai Nguyen didn't wait for money from the Road Home or any other government program to reopen her restaurant after Katrina. She dug deep into her own pockets.

Nationwide Relooking

Nationwide Insurance will voluntarily review all claims in the state where the customer's home or building was reduced to nothing more than a slab by the 2005 storm.

Thanks ever-so-much for all your help, Nationwide!

Here's another link

Who will be next?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Business Recovery Grants

from Bayou Buzz dot com

More than 2,000 checks have been distributed so far to recipients of the Business Recovery Grant & Loan Program created by the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) in partnership with and administered by Louisiana Economic Development (LED). Award letters were mailed to more than 3,400 grant recipients in early April. Many have already returned their signed Terms & Conditions documents and are receiving the first 50 percent of their grants. The program will grant more than $63 million in this first round, with an average award amount of $18,100.

Of businesses receiving grants in this first round,
- More than 85 percent have 10 or fewer employees
- 85 percent were located in the most devastated parishes: Cameron, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard
- 53 percent were woman- or minority-owned firms

Community-based financial institutions played a major role in helping to spread the word and walk participants through program requirements. LED staff and these local partners hosted more than 25 workshops across South Louisiana to educate business owners about eligibility rules and the application process.

Once the business owner has submitted original receipts, invoices marked "paid," or other evidence of payment for usage of the first 50 percent of the grant, the second half will be released. Recipients can download the reimbursement form to request the second haf of funding. Grant recipients may use the funds for operating expenses and inventory from the date of their award letter forward. Current debt incurred for past business expenses may also be paid down with the grant.

LED and its community-based partners will begin distribution of the first round of loans in the coming weeks.

Those applicants who were not eligible for grants in this round (e.g. because they did not meet revenue decline requirements) will be automatically considered in the next round. LED expects to begin the second round of funding this summer following a series of meetings with business groups, elected officials and other stakeholders to help design the program.

Applicants who wish to appeal the grant decision can submit the electronic appeal form available on LED's website,

For Round 2 of the Business Recovery Grant & Loan Program, the State is in the process of reallocating $68 million, plus funds remaining from Round 1. The allocation between grants and loans will be determined during the program design phase following meetings with small business representatives across the state.

New Orleans Neighborhoods

The Times Picayune Video essays exploring the regrowth of neighborhoods in NOLA

So far they only have four neighborhoods: MidCity, Broadmoor, 9th Ward & St. Bernard Parish.

I think they're done well. Hope they add more to this series.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

We are owed

In answer to all those who believe people affected by Katrina are whiners and aren't deserving of help, this is from Maitri

Thanks, Maitri.

take that, Allstate

From the Times Picayune, April 17, 2007:

Jury awards Slidell couple $2 million in case against Allstate

NEW ORLEANS -- Allstate Insurance Co. must pay a Louisiana man who lost his home to Hurricane Katrina more than $2.8 million in damages and penalties, a federal jury decided Monday in a case that hinged largely on whether it was wind or storm surge that wiped out his house.

Allstate spokeswoman said the company will appeal.
Allstate is shocked with the jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
I guess they thought that they
could get away with screwing people forever.
Allstate believes it acted in good faith throughout the entire claims process said the Allstate spokesperson.
The verdict included a $1.5 million penalty for the company's failure to pay the claim quickly enough.

In good faith. Pffft. Yes, there is justice.
The Allstate lawyer......said in closing arguments that Katrina's winds were not strong enough to do the damage.
Excuse me? According to the City of Slidell website

The Weather Service reports that Slidell had sustained winds of 176 mph and gusts of 190+ mph during Hurricane Katrina. In addition, Slidell was hit by a 23' - 26' storm surge that devastated much of the city.

I stupidly stayed for the storm and listened to those winds. I saw the damage immediately after the storm. Lawyers. Pffft.
A surveyor/engineer who inspected the house for Allstate...states that wind may have destroyed the home before the surge of water washed away its remnants. He later backed off that conclusion, and deferred to the engineering consultant
The consultant, who wrote the final report on the home for Allstate, convinced the surveyor that storm surge demolished the house. The consultant didn't personally inspect the property until after he wrote the report. He said he based his conclusions in part on evidence gathered by other Rimkus engineers -- a practice he described as common.

Thanks for the info, Mr. Consultant. Perhaps it's time to rethink your processes.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

2007 French Quarter Festival

Went to the French Quarter Festival on Friday. It was a beautiful day for a festival! Here are views of the first day of the 07 FQ Fest

click on photos for full-size versions

Things were just getting started when we arrived at 11:30. It was breezy but sunny and warm. Perfect festival weather.

The Steamboat Natchez had its calliope playing full throttle.

These two dogs were excited to be part of the fun. But they had to be on leashes

Jackson Square from the Moonwalk.

The Easter Bunny decided to stay over a week longer to see F.Q. Fest

Throughout the square were food and drink vendors.

St. Louis Cathedral's spires are beautifully done

This laid-back baby seemed to be enjoying herself. Must've been people watching.
There sure was a lot to watch.

The stage set up in Jackson Square was playing "Do You Know What It Means..." as we came in through the gates. Gave me goose bumps.

After sampling Shrimp Cakes and Shaved Prime Rib Sandwiches, we tried some of the
fare offered in the Square. The BBQ Shrimp was delish...

The setup of the booths throughout the Festival was well orchestrated. All signs were consistent and easy to read. All of the vendors were very polite and professional.

Mrs. Wheat MeatPie....the BEST!

The blackened Catfish Poboy was a disappointment, IMHO. Too much blackening, which overpowered the flavor of the fish.

Crepes filled with nutella and fresh sliced strawberries. Very tasty!

Nuns on the the fest, I assume.

Huge blue cat sign on Royal Street.

I like the lines in this picture. New Orleans is extremely photogenic

Ah, so HERE is where their studios are!

Rodrigue's Gallery on Royal.

Coco Robichaux on stage.

While we were watching Coco Robichaux, several jets from Belle Chasse Naval Air Station provided some fun flyovers for the crowd

Roast Beef Debris Poorboy.

Spring Rolls. They were wonderful. The peanut sauce went well with the cilantro.

This cat was walking through the crowd like dog!!! Not afraid of crowds or noise at all.

Whever else you eat, you MUST sample the desserts at the Flour Power booth.