Wednesday, June 27, 2007

State Farm Scuzzbuckets

Even though it's old news around here, I assume that the "rest of the world" may have not heard the latest about State Farm Insurance.
From the Scruggs Katrina Group blog:SCRUGGS KATRINA GROUP FILES RICO SUIT AGAINST STATE FARM
Investigation shows pattern of corrupt behavior violating Federal law; policyholders were cheated out of claims payments
Even before Hurricane Katrina hit, State Farm began holding strategy "meetings of the minds" at corporate headquarters to devise ways to avoid paying claims. A few days following the hurricane, a claims "council" continued to meet to develop a strategy for maximizing payment of national flood policy claims. Later, State Farm and Renfroe employees met to participate in "mock mediations" during which they practiced scripted dialogue designed to demoralize policyholders.
.....State Farm defrauded hundreds of policyholders by changing engineering reports which originally concluded that the damage was caused by hurricane wind in order to avoid paying the claim under its homeowners policy.

bastards.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

NEW ORLEANS-STILL NOT OKAY

Here are some recent pictures taken by my husband on his daily commute into New Orleans. As you can see, things are not "back to normal".
Click on pictures for full sized versions
New Orleans East - the forgotten section of the city








That's grass from the marsh that washed in during the storm....almost 2 years ago....




Jazzland - a Six Flags Park - abandoned


Approaching the city, this is a typical sight.




"Fast Food" in New Orleans, Post Katrina





Thanks, Katrina.
Thanks, Insurance Company
Thanks, Nagin.
Thanks, Feds.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Another Fest

A small one, but enjoyable to us denizens of the Northshore.


The Lacombe Crab Cookoff Fest
starts today and runs
thru Sunday. Admission $3.00

A Blast from the Past

On Bayou Sauvage: the Life and Death of Jeanfreaux’s Fishermen’s Rest

Those familiar with "The Chef" might remember Jeanfreaux's right past Power's Junction.
This is a short story about Jeanfreaux's and its owners, penned by Miss Claire's grandson.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Katrina Recovery June '07

I was up early Sunday morning thanks to my two alpha male cats who decided to duke it out under my
bed, so I decided to venture out into the local area to witness post Katrina
progress.
click on photos for full-sized versions

My first stop was about a mile away from the house at Bayou Liberty Marina.
where I noticed that new boat slips are being constructed.




There is an old boat still sitting on the penninsula



Several houses are being built along Bayou Liberty Road while others lay gutted
and dormant.










I decided to circle Lake Pontchartrain, so I headed down to Highway 90 to check out the Lake Catherine
and Venetian Isles areas. On the way, I passed a FEMA trailer park still being occupied by Katrina victims


This eastern section of Slidell was just about ground zero during Katrina.
The storm made its third landfall here with 120 mph (195 km/h) sustained winds and 928 mbar (27.37 inHg) pressure, still at Category 3 intensity.
There is still a lot of work to do in order for the folks living here to be able to have a real home.
About ten miles away to the southeast, right before the Rigolets Bridge the there are signs of life.


This beauty sits on Lake Borgne.

There hasn't been a lot of activity in the Lake Catherine area since
my last visit,
but I just HAD to stop and snap a picture of this fridge, still sitting in a tree, six or more feet off the ground.



Continuing on to Chef Pass I came to Venetian Isles.
Slammed by Katrina, since it is outside the levee system and it's surrounded by water. But the past few months have seen
a flurry of activity as people are rebuilding.





Heading north again, I passed through Irish Bayou. There are several raised houses popping up along this
small fishing community located on Highway 11 at the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain.









The Irish Bayou Castle's been spruced up as well



Back in the Bayou Liberty area, St. Genevieve parishoners are awaiting the beginning of
the rebuilding of their church. The chapel, however, stood up to Katrina's wrath and won.



Back at home one of the earlier offending cats relaxed in the backyard


I thanked him for getting me up early enough to make the little "recovery progress" trip.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Internet Attic

Dan Hammack of Biloxi writes about an email - dated August 31st, 2005 - JUST being delivered to his mailbox almost two years after the storm.

Has the USPO taken over email or something??

An Open Letter

Karen Dalton Beninato writes a tongue-in-cheek open letter to Paris Hilton and outlines the many ways that the poor dear can help the city of New Orleans.


Our coroner needs you to donate $150,000 to finish a mausoleum for the hundred unclaimed bodies still waiting for a decent burial. That's the cost of half a party appearance.

Our dead zone with Mississippi runoff from the rest of the country is growing. Fish can't live in it. There goes sushi.

I can guarantee that you have never been to better parties. We dress up at the drop of a hat. We don't spend time social climbing -- there's room for every lost soul who rolls down the country to New Orleans. There always has been. At the St. Patrick's Parade when they throw cabbages and carrots for Irish stew, Nicole could eat. Al Sharpton would like you again. Anderson Cooper is here right now. I think he parties.



Thanks, Karen

Thursday, June 14, 2007

take that!!!!

Poppy Brite does what she does best in response to someone who wonders " ....when they're just going to give up, admit they're not going to rebuild, and raze what's left. Stop stringing these poor people along, let them start over someplace else."

I don't have to be polite in my own journal ... so fuck you. Fuck you sideways with a chainsaw. While it's certainly true that we are being strung along in any number of ways, I don't need your sympathy because I live in New Orleans any more than I need your contempt because I've chosen to stay. I am damn lucky to be here. There are still thousands of people hurting because they can't come back to New Orleans. This is my home, and their hearts' home, and it's still one of the most beautiful, interesting places on earth. Still, I guess we're even, because when I looked at your profile and saw where you live, I pitied you. It's actually kind of funny how often members of the "those New Orleanians are so stupid" crowd seem to inhabit some festering armpit that you couldn't pay me enough to spend a fortnight in.

Wet Bank Guide: Little Miracles

Wet Bank Guide: Little Miracles

Bad Week

It's been a tragic week for law enforcement officers in the New Orleans area.

Four deaths occurred in the post Katrina landscape. Two in St. Tammany and two in New Orleans.


A St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office deputy was killed Saturday morning
and another deputy was injured when their car ran off the road while they were responding to a false report of a body on another parish highway

During the funeral for the officer killed, a strong thunderstorm rolled thru the area, knocking over a huge pine tree, probably
weakened by Katrina's winds, killing another deputy.



As a miles-long funeral processional snaked through Covington en route to pay respects for fallen Deputy Hilery Mayo on Wednesday, tragedy delivered yet another cruel blow to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.

A deputy was killed and another was badly injured when a sudden, violent thunderstorm deluged the funeral procession around 4 p.m. and toppled a large pine tree that crushed the deputies' patrol car.

Here's a letter to the editor from a local law enforcement person regarding this tragic matter.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In New Orleans, one officer took his own life.

A former New Orleans police officer, facing trial
in connection with the videotaped 2005 beating of a retired teacher in the French Quarter, died over the weekend in an apparent suicide, authorities said.
Lance Schilling, 30, was indicted along with another officer last year on charges of second-degree battery regarding their actions in a confrontation with a 64-year-old man. Schilling and Robert Evangelist were fired from the New Orleans Police Department following the Oct. 8, 2005, incident. Before his dismissal from the department, Schilling, an eight-year NOPD veteran, worked in the 8th District.
Schilling died Sunday around 9:45 p.m. from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Jefferson Parish coroner's office. The shooting, which took place at his Metairie home, was ruled a suicide.

Another officer died on his day off in New Orleans East

An off-duty New Orleans police officer died Sunday afternoon in an apparent one-vehicle traffic accident
in eastern New Orleans.
The officer was Sidney Trepagnier Jr., 50, of New Orleans, a 26-year veteran who worked in the Traffic Division, said Garry Flot, a New Orleans Police Department spokesman.
Trepagnier apparently was traveling west on Terminal Road about a mile south of Interstate 10 and just east of the Industrial Canal, police said. When he reached a point about a quarter-mile east of Jourdan Road South, the sport utility vehicle he was driving veered left and entered a ditch just north of the Intracoastal Waterway

Sunday, June 10, 2007

FQ Fests


We ventured into the French Quarter yesterday to attend the Creole Tomato and Seafood Fests. What a great idea!!! We walked thru Waldenberg Park to the French Market and it was sunny and breezy.

But...when we hit the Market, the lack of moving air, the number of people and all of the vendors cooking in a small area kind of took the enjoyability away for me.
Now, I'm not an old fart by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't like the combination of 90+ degree heat, 100% humidity and a whole bunch of people crowded into one space;it's not my idea of a great time. But we persevered and ventured down to the old US Mint at Esplanade Ave.

The grounds were covered with food booths, beverage booths, a craft booth, a food demo stage and two music stages. We grabbed cold beers and got to work checking out the food.

The BBQ shrimp was absolutley delectable. The crab balls by Deanies were the best crab cake-type eat I ever had: crunchy on the outside and moist and crab claw meat-filled on the inside. Daughter wanted the seafood pasta, but the lines were getting very long. Next we had boiled crawfish by Pigeon Caterers...very tasty.

By this time Tab Benoit was playing, so we headed over to the stage. It was 2 pm and the sun was high in the sky and brutal. My daughter couldn't take the heat, so we found some comfort under the shade of the crepe myrtles while Hubby enjoyed the cajun BB King Entertainer of the year . She and I caught a little of Prudehomme cooking andouille.

Back at the Creole Tomato Fest we watched a demo by a young Commanders Palace chef as he demo'd a mouthwatering, cool creole tomato and mozarrella dish and a creole tomato bloody mary. Delicious! We purchased five pounds of the tomatoes and made our way back to the car and were home by 6. A fun day.

here's Chris Rose's take
And you have to admit, it is a little strange: The fewer people live here, the more festivals we have.

Japan Fest?

I suggested -- in total seriousness -- to a friend in the hospitality business that what we needed this summer, every summer, to liven up the two weeks between the Essence Festival and the Satchmo Festival is the Louisiana Humidity Festival.



Note to Lt. Gov-Tourish Czar Mitch: Next year think about combining the two fests and having them in Woldenberg park along the river where it's cooler. And less hot food and more things like boiled shrimp and grilled catfish with creole tomatoes. Hmmm...my love of cooking makes me want to take part in something like that!!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Grammys add Cajun/zydeco category

Grammys add Cajun/zydeco category


The Recording Academy announced Thursday the creation of a Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album category in its folk music field.

The first winner will be chosen Feb. 10 at the 50th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. CBS will broadcast the ceremonies live.

The announcement caps a six-year campaign by Lafayette's Cynthia Simien and her husband, zydeco veteran Terrance Simien, to establish the category. The Simiens actively petitioned the Academy and rallied local musicians to become members and submit their records for Grammy consideration.

Although zydeco and Cajun musicians often are nominated in the Grammy's folk category, victories are rare. They often have been paired against Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and other legendary figures.
Ten years have passed since Lafayette Cajun band BeauSoleil won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. The last zydeco winner came in 1985 when Rockin' Sidney won Best Ethnic recording for My Toot Toot.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

NOLAready


Here is the website to get alerts on your cell phone, etc. in case of an emergency in New Orleans.

Here are examples of when NOLAReady may be used:

Life-threatening weather
Amber Alerts
Highly disruptive road shutdowns
Evacuation or Shelter in Place information
Boil water notices
Information about emergency shelters
Other emergency information

When an emergency occurs, authorized senders will instantly notify you using NOLAReady. NOLAReady is your personal connection to real-time updates, instructions on where to go, what to do, or what not to do, who to contact and other important information.

It's run by the city of New Orleans and powered by Roam Secure Alert Network.

Pirogue Races

This past Sunday (June 3rd) was the Bayou Liberty Pirogue Races.
The Times Pic featured a short video with interviews of race participants.

Here is the link


In the background you can hear the squealing of the Bayou Liberty Bridge as cars cross the bayou.
Click on picture for larger view

This is one of my favorite sounds of this area.

The sights, sounds and smells of the bayou is what has kept me living in this area for 20+ years.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Welcome Back, Cap

WGSO AM-990 has changed owners and formats. Out is William Metcalf Jr.'s MC Media. In is Northshore Radio LLC, a consortium of investors who primarily reside and do business on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.

The new owners have installed a news-talk format targeted at north shore listeners who've largely been overlooked by New Orleans broadcast media, said Michael Starr, a local broadcasting veteran who is the new station's general manager.

The station's studios are in Slidell. Its tower and transmitter are atop an office building on Canal Street in New Orleans. Though targeting St. Tammany, its programming may appeal to Jefferson and Orleans listeners as well.

Ed Clancy has joined the roster of north shore talk radio hosts on WGSO AM-990.
"Some of the topics we're talking about are topics without borders," Starr said. "We might be having a problem in St. Tammany Parish that's universal. The Road Home is a common problem for everybody. In addition to that, (north shore) residents work in other parts of the metro area.

"Whether people are driving to work or play or whatever, they can keep in touch with what's going on (at home)."

In the station's new talk-host lineup is Hugh Dillard, who many local listeners will remember as rock-radio's Captain Humble.

Dillard, a marquee jock at album-rock WRNO FM-99.5 in its air-guitar-windmilling prime, has recently been running a po-boy shop in Slidell, and intends to do his noon-2 p.m. show from there most days.

Other hosts include Jeff Crouere, Ed Clancy, Bernie Cyrus, Ken Trahan and John Marie.

"You know how you kind of say your prayers and at the end of them say something you know is pretty spectacular? 'I want to win the Powerball' or something?" Dillard said. "I always used to say, 'I'd sure like to be back on the radio.' "

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

He gets it....

Dan Baum has been blogging from New Orleans for the New Yorker since August 30, 2005 and has just left the city. In his final journal post, he yearns for the city....

“Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?” an old song asks; another reminds us, “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.” Since Katrina, I’ve often been asked (though never by someone in New Orleans) why the country should bother rebuilding it. Is it really worth the billions it would take to protect this small, poor, economically inessential city, which is sinking into the delta muck as global warming raises the sea around it? But the question of “whether” has been settled—New Orleans is rebuilding itself, albeit slowly, fitfully, and imperfectly. Now it’s only a matter of how and how long. That is better news than perhaps the rest of America fully understands.


It’s the American way to focus on the future—we are dreamers and schemers, always chasing the horizon. Looking forward has made us great, but it comes at a price. .... New Orleanians, on the other hand, are excellent at the lost art of living in the moment. √Čtienne stopped at our house one afternoon to drop off some papers he wanted me to see. No, he said, he couldn’t stay; someone was waiting for him downtown. But we got to talking, and gradually moved to the chairs on the porch. We had a beer. The shadows lengthened as the day cooled, the jasmine across the street smelled sweet, and a few houses away someone was practicing the saxophone. Margaret brought out a dish of almonds. We all had another beer. It was dark by the time √Čtienne left. And here’s the true miracle of New Orleans: the person waiting for him downtown no doubt had an equally pleasant couple of hours, and √Čtienne surely paid no social penalty for being late.
.....
Right before Katrina, a Gallup poll found more than half of New Orleanians “extremely satisfied” with their lives, despite the city’s wretched state, a higher percentage than in any other city surveyed. New Orleanians have more time than money, and they like it that way...... I can tell you that, wherever we live, I’m comforted knowing that New Orleans is there. It’s no exaggeration to say that, without New Orleans, the United States would be lost.


Thanks, Dan. Godspeed.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Weekend Plans

This weekend (June 8-10) offers a few interesting options

WEEKEND PLANS

There's the Creole Tomato Fest
as well as

New Orleans first annual Seafood Festival
located at the old US Mint
During the New Orleans Seafood Festival, locals and tourists will be able to view live “Chefs' Secrets” cooking demonstrations from some of the best chefs in the country and purchase mouth-watering dishes from local restaurants serving up their seafood specialty at the special food and beverage booths. The sound of musical beats and French Quarter mayhem are definitely on the menu of events at this French Quarter fun-loving “Foodie” festival with live music on Saturday and Sunday, beginning noon at the historic U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Avenue. Some scheduled events include a cookbook autograph session and Behind-the Scenes Kitchen Tours with private cooking demonstrations.

People Powered Rebirth


New Orleans' people- powered rebirth

an article by Jonathan Capehart

…….People are now trying to say, 'Been through the stages. How do I move forward? What can I do?' "….
What they are doing is driving the recovery. "Recovery is being done by the people, not by government,"

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Honoring Gate


A stretch of U.S. 11 from the southern boundary of Slidell to Lake Pontchartrain will be designated the Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown Memorial Highway
if state Rep. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, gets his way.

Gate lived on this stretch of road that includes camps and apartment buildings, all of them just about flattened in Katrina's wake.
He was evacuated August 28, 2005 to Orange Texas where he died from emphysema, lung cancer and heart disease two weeks later.

I had the opportunity to see Gatemouth Brown up close and personal several times in Slidell. He would show up at Palmetto's in Slidell and
play a few sets. His guitar playing was excellent despite all his health problems. He loved his music and enjoyed entertaining.
He played the 2005 Jazz Fest despite the need to carry around oxygen wherever he went.
At this website is a shot of him at the end of his last Jazz Fest set.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Miscellanea

Three websites to check out:


The Psychogeographic Guide to the City of New Orleans

The photographs posted to this site were taken during the winter of 2006, roughly from early December through Mardi Gras (late February). At the beginning of that time, homes in flooded areas were mostly not reoccupied. The city streets had been cleared of debris, but flooded cars were everywhere, and by the side of the street, houses were littered with broken branches, overturned cars, swamp grass, and stranded boats.



Recent aerial photographs of Louisiana's wetlands
are evidence of the damage done by oil and gas companies throughout the decades.
taken by Clay over at noladishu


Clancy DuBos talks about the New Orleans Culture front
in the May 29th Gambit.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Hurricane Season

June first ...... the calendar moved from May to June. In Pre-K times, the change in months only signaled the beginning of the long, lazy days of summer. Katrina changed that. I avoided a majority of the madness about the beginning of the hurricane season
There's just no reason for this feeding frenzy by the news and weather people.

I stand by my post of last year
as far as the local meteorologists are concerned.


Our evacuation plans are gelling. We have MRE's left over from Katrina, the box with all of the important papers in it is
ready to go at anytime; there's a big old box in the attic filled with the necessities for leaving home for some time as well as
five carriers: one for each of our cats.
I've also checked out Pets Welcome dot com , a website devoted to finding pet friendly establishments.
The boards to cover up the windows are in the shed. (Note to self: buy AA batteries!).
We were handed our contraflow map, as
well as hurricane "tips" as we entered Wally World over the weekend. Where we go depends upon the track of the offending
storm, but it will be somewhere in the middle of the state.
So, we're ready, but not doing the "hurricane boogie", like all of those crazy news folks!!
Here are some good links to make sure you're ready:

Hurricane Evacuation Tips

some more from Gambit Weekly