Thursday, December 27, 2007

Faith in the Future

Tim (of the nameless blog) posts about the New Orleans pioneers this Christmas and their belief in the rebirth of the beautiful city.


Yes, we struggle on. We want for so many things in New Orleans, but not the frivolous fare hawked this time of year—not flat-screen TVs, diamond jewelry and xbox gadgetry. We are still trying to get back the basic things that make a community viable, livable and prosperous. We struggle for schools, for hospitals, for basic, decent housing for the poor and elderly.

But here is something we have in abundance: faith


Christmas Past

Over at EJ's Website (It's Just Me), is a beautiful photo montage depiciting the first Christmas after Katrina. We've come a long way, even though it doesn't feel that way.

FEMA faces


Voices of New Orleans website discusses the reasons behind the FEMA's
flaccid response in Katrina's aftermath versus the lightning fast reaction following the California wildfires recently. It turns out that the difference between the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Louisiana after Katrina and in California after the fires boils down to this: In California, they listened to Nancy Ward and in Louisiana, they didn't



From an AP report last week
A week after Hurricane Katrina, a senior official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of streamlining the flow of disaster aid issued a directive that would have helped a staggering 1,029 rebuilding projects and $5.3 billion in funds cut through the agency's infamous red tape.

But in a decision critics say led to losing precious time in the post-storm recovery, her three-day deadline to clear projects through a final bureaucratic hurdle was rejected. The rebuilding of schools, roads, hospitals, firehouses and other desperately needed infrastructure was stalled for months of interagency reviews that ended at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Gil Jamieson, FEMA's head of Gulf Coast recovery and one of the officials who dismissed the directive of colleague Nancy Ward, said her order would have given federal agencies too little time to check for funding duplication.




Thanks, Mr. Jamieson. Lord knows that your rejection of Ms. Ward's deadline made sure that you had enough time to eliminate the possiblility of funding duplication.

From a a GAO report

"FEMA made nearly $20 million in duplicate payments to thousands of individuals who claimed damages to the same property from both hurricanes Katrina and Rita. FEMA also made millions in potentially improper and/or fraudulent payments to nonqualified aliens who were not eligible for [FEMA's Individuals and Households Program]. For example, FEMA paid at least $3 million to more than 500 ineligible foreign students at four universities in the affected areas. This amount likely understates the total payments to ineligible foreign students because it does not cover all colleges and universities in the area. FEMA also provided potentially improper and/or fraudulent IHP assistance to other ineligible non-U.S. residents, despite having documentation indicating their ineligibility.


Douchebag.

Fever on the Bayou

One of the many musical gifts from my hubby this Christmas was Tab Benoit's CD,
Fever on the Bayou .

One of the best cuts on the CD is "The Blues is Here to Stay", written by Cyril Neville. This song is a powerful reminder of where the music comes from and the universality that makes it a permanent fixture in the cultural landscape.



Whether you're a fan of Benoit or new to his music, take a listen to some of the cuts on this CD. It's worth it!

Rebirth in Gulfport

Before Katrina

After Katrina


After more than 2 years at a temporary location at Handsboro Presbyterian Church,
the displaced congregation of St. Peter's by the Sea Episcopal Church have returned back home.

Church members with what they call the best view in town will celebrated Christmas 2007 here.

Hurricane Katrina's surge of 10 to 12 feet hit the gulf front church, but the upper infrastructure survived the storm.

Following hurricane Katrina many decided not to build back near the water, but not St. Peter's. Members said they felt a financial as well as moral obligation to come back to their chapel by the sea.

The 100 year old congregation is no stranger to the perils of mother nature.


On August 17, 1969, Hurricane Camille, the most severe storm on record,
hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Although badly damaged, St. Peter's quickly reopened its doors to feed and shelter as many survivors as possible. Sister churches along the Coast had suffered complete destruction. The Parish Hall became a headquarters for distribution of information and relief. Funerals were a regular occurrence.

In the mid 1990's, Mississippi Gulf Coast voters approved casino gaming and a large casino was soon built directly across the street from St. Peter's. The nature of the neighborhood changed dramatically, and "the sea" could no longer be seen from the church. In 1997, the Grand Casino bought St. Peter's property and the Building Committee looked ten blocks east and found a site for a new, gothicstyle church. On June 26, 2000, St. Peter's newest location, constructed by George P. Hopkins, Jr., and George P. Hopkins, III, was consecrated by Bishop A. C. Marble. The Dorhauer bell was once again hung in a tall bell tower atop the church.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Scuzzbuckets of the Week




The lazy no count Tisdales of Covington.

From NOLA.com
Kayla Tisdale, who Covington police say is 2 or 3 years old, was found after she knocked on a neighbor's door on East 35th Avenue at about 9:20 a.m., West said. The child, who suffered from ear and upper respiratory infections, was wearing an overfull diaper and thin cotton pajamas, he said.



Officers found a vehicle with a child seat in front of the Tisdales' home and smelled natural gas when they knocked on the door, West said. When Lauren Tisdale answered, she told officers that her daughter was sleeping in bed, he said.

As they searched the home, police found that the living room floor had collapsed, the bedrooms had separated from the rest of the building, electrical wires were exposed and -- despite recent freezing temperatures -- the home was unheated, West said. In addition, the stove was piled with rotting food and piles of trash and dirty clothes, he said.

After a code enforcement inspection, natural gas and electricity were shut off at the home, West said.

much gas had accumulated that West said he felt dizzy as he searched the home. Lauren Tisdale, who told police she is pregnant, and her husband were treated for natural gas inhalation and released from St. Tammany Parish Hospital.

Doctors told police that had the parents been exposed to gas for another half-hour, they would have become comatose, West said.

Both parents were arrested on charges of child desertion and leaving a child in need of care, West said. Both also were booked with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, the second time Adam Tisdale has been charged with the offense.

Both were on probation stemming from "numerous charges" that include burglaries and theft, West said.

"In every case I've worked like this, where a child is in deplorable conditions like this, the child is wonderful," West said. "It breaks my heart."

Kayla Tisdale was turned over to her grandfather after the investigation, West said.

West said that to protect the privacy of the neighbors who found Kayla, he would not release their name or address. But he lauded their generosity, which included feeding and cleaning the girl and dressing her in warm clothing and a clean diaper.

"I'm sure the only thing the little girl is going to remember about this Christmas is the kindness those people did for her today," West said.

Views from the Front Line

Regarding all of the press coverage the media is giving the issue of demolition of four New Orleans housing developments:

A local blogger provides a map of the REDEVELOPMENT plans for Lafitte

This resident of St. Bernard Housing Development at yesterday's protest

TP Photo by Mike DeMocker
Seen here in her Section 8 housing

TP Photo by Ted Jackson
From a New Orleans blogger On the other hand, few people would trust the views of Sharon Jasper who seems to be arguing for why she should be allowed to return to the St. Bernard development because she can’t afford the deposit and utility bills in her Section 8 property. She could probably make a down payment on a modest house with that 60 inch television in her living room.


There's some great writing and comments about this issue at YRHT

The Chicory hits the nail on the head with this comment am assuming the photo was meant to suggest that many people view public housing units as eyesores and fail to realize within them are communities and homes. What I took from it is an amazement that anyone would consider such places homes. What the sign says to me is public housing is a failure. The moment someone considers the government to be their caretaker is the moment they have lost their sense of worth. I am open to debate on this. But I will need an answer as to why the entire anti-demolition movement isn’t being geared toward educating and empowering the displaced residents rather than getting them back into the situation (dependent on the government) that has impoverished them for decades?


An under-the-weather Adrastos gives his feelings on the
debacle at city hall yesterday:

In spite of all the lofty and moralistic rhetoric, this episode brought out the worst in everyone. Of course, cant and posturing always seems to do that. I'm inclined to think (wishfully?) that the most violent moments were initiated by non-locals. Why? New Orleans is a violent place but like good Mediterraneans, NOLA violence is usually *personal* and not political. And thank God or whatever for that. Council meetings here feature a lot of screaming and posturing but not much punching until today, that is.


New Orleans Nation blogspot gives a first-hand account of the melee at City Hall

Here's another first-hand report from Dangerblond.

Celcus opines have many thoughts I could offer, and I’ve posted a few comments around, but there really isn’t much point. We’ve reached the point where the whole issue has been neatly packaged into two positions which are equally divorced from reality. Any vocalization of any opinion outside of the orthodoxy of the extremes is usually taken to mean one supports of the other of those extremes.

Some news media are claiming that innocent, peace loving people were cruelly
tasered and maced during the demonstration. Here's a pic of rapper Sess 4-5 from the 9th Ward. He isn't looking too peace loving to me


And these folks don't look to peace loving either



These lilly white girls are probably not residents of the projects in question.

photos by Ted Jackson of the TP

More non residents getting what they asked for


Some of these young protesters are probably members of the left wing World Can't Wait Organization . Just my personal opinion.

Public Housing Debacle

I've been on Christmas break for a few days and have not been checking the local news. Big surprise when I did this morning. I noticed that the fight over the demolision of four New Orleans Housing developments became quite heated yesterday.
It's a shame that things have deteriorated to this level. I believe that it has gone to that level is partly related to "outside agitators". (I see nothing wrong with the term "outside agitators", unlike some folks who think it's a racist term. I think anything can be termed "racist" if it's used in a racist way.)

Anyway, at this time I am torn about what's going on in the city. I've been trying to study up on this story and get a good background on it, but the more I dig, the more small facts are either misrepresented or missing. It's difficult to peel off all the bullshit and hysteria related to these protests to get to the core of the issue.

So far, I've done a history of the projects in questions. Here we go:



ST. BERNARD HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

The St. Bernard Housing Development was the fifth of ten such developments built between 1940 and 1960. Initially, there were 744 units in 74 buildings constructed on 30.9 acres of land. The boundaries were St. Bernard Avenue to Gibson Street and Senate to St. Denis Streets. The architects used the same principles of design of most "housing projects" of the times. Two and three story brick apartment buildings encircled parking lots and playgrounds.

In 1946, a gas explosion on the southside of the development killed seven people and injured 38. Fourteen buildings were demolished.

In the 1950's, The Housing Authority needed to relocate 700 families. Through the 1949 Housing Act, the St. Bernard expanded, adding 720 more units. It is regarded as one of the largest housing developments in New Orleans.

Scattered sites were first introduced to New Orleans in the late 1960s as an alternative to higher concentrated family dwellings. The idea was to have families "scattered" throughout existing neighborhoods to reduce the number of units in one location. One of those sites is the Imperial Scattered Site Housing Development, just to the west of the St. Bernard development. In 1968, the Housing Authority of New Orleans purchased 54 two-bedroom houses and in 1972, bought 200 more.

The St. Bernard Projects are one of the Housing Projects of New Orleans. Located in the city's 7th Ward, the complex was built over a few decades, beginning in the 1940s and has the distinction of being the largest housing project in the city. Like most public housing developments, it was not a very safe complex but by the standards set by other facilities in the city, like the Magnolia Projects, it was one of the city's safer projects until planned closures began and residents of 'rival' housing projects were moved into the St. Bernard.

It has been closed since Hurricane Katrina, much to the dismay of residents and activists.

Survivors Village,
a tent city created by residents of New Orleans housing projects, was established on June 3, 2006 to call attention to what participants and supporters say are violations of the UN International Policy on Internally Displaced Persons.




C.J. PEETE (aka Magnolia)

From 1952 through 1978, the manager was Cleveland Joseph Peete. In the 1980s and 1990s conditions in the projects declined severely. In 1998 demolition of portions of the projects began as part of a Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) revitalization plan. There are plans to redevelop the area along the lines of what had been done with the St. Thomas Projects.

By 2005, only the 1955 expansion had been razed. The majority of the remaining buildings were vacant and fenced off, with only a portion still occupied, when the area flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (see: Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans). Redevelopment work has been delayed in the aftermath of the disastrous flood which devastated the majority of the city.

It is one of the most notoriously dangerous housing districts in the United States and ranks even globally. This section of New Orleans has a local crime rate higher than many full municipalities in the US and has a significant influence in New Orleans' extremely high murder rate.

Here's a slide show put together by a C.J. Peete resident
.....…do you really want people to move back here?
(beware the language for the crap rap that plays during the slide show)





B.W. COOPER HOUSING PROJECT (aka Calliope)

The project was built between 1939 and 1941. The original boundaries were South Dorgenois, Erato, Calliope (now Earhart Boulevard) and South Prieur Streets. In 1941 rents ran from $8.25 a month for a one bedroom apartment to $22.00 a month for a three bedroom.

There are 690 apartments in the original development. In 1949, a gymnasium was added at Broad and Calliope Streets.

In 1954, a twelve block expansion added 860 new units. The expansion pushed the western boundary of the Calliope back two blocks from Erato Street to Melpomene Avenue (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard).

In May 1981, the Calliope was renamed the B. W. Cooper Apartments. Mr. Cooper worked for the Housing Authority of New Orleans for 33 years and served on several civic and social organizations until his death in 1974.

The Calliope Projects (or simply Calliope to the locals) are among the most notorious in Uptown New Orleans and the United States along with the Magnolia Projects. The drug trade and subsequent violence from it were two of the primary reasons New Orleans was nicknamed the "Murder Capital of the U.S."

A popular nickname for these projects is "CP-3" meaning "Calliope Projects--Third Ward".

Notable residents have included Master P and brothers C-Murder and Silkk The Shocker, as well as the Neville Brothers.

Most of Calliope is closed due to damage from Hurricane Katrina. As of January 2007, a small section of Calliope has been reopened to residents.



LAFITTE HOUSING PROJECT
In 1941, the Lafitte 896-unit housing development was completed. Lafitte was to house African American tenants while the nearby Iberville development accommodated Caucasian tenants.

Low-income families, including residents of the Lafitte Housing project, will be able to return to new homes as part of a $350 million development project to revitalize the predominantly African-American Tremé neighborhood. The construction of 1,500 new homes on the site of the Lafitte Housing Project and scattered throughout Tremé will preserve all 900 subsidized housing units that existed pre-Katrina, while renovating and building an additional 600 vacant properties as affordable homes.


Here's a link to more New Orleans Housing Projects photos

Appropriations


Details on the Omnibus Appropriations Bill with $142M Specifically for La.


The omnibus appropriations bill contains key funding for Louisiana that will help us recover from the 2005 hurricanes and boost our economy by fueling infrastructure projects all over the state.

The bill now must return to the House of Representatives for final consideration before being sent to President Bush's desk.

Something Positive (for a change)

Katrina wrought so much destruction and pain. But there are some things related to the storm's aftermath which may have a positive affect on the area and hopefully more wide spread areas in the near future.

One such project is the grassroots efforts started by an non profit organization in the Slidell area called Bio Liberty .

The brainchild of US Vet Gordon Soderberg of Slidell, Bio Liberty aims to help rebuild the Gulf Coast.....and use recycled materials and renewable energy techniques through the following aims:

1. Market the use of bio diesel that we use in our vehicles and equipment.
2. Market our lot clearing and tilt wall construction services.
3. To demonstrate a sustainable business model
4. Provide jobs for Veterans of the US Military.


Located in the heart of the Bayou Liberty area in Slidell on the same land used by hundreds of volunteers from the Bayou Liberty Relief Organization , Bio Liberty has already manufactured 500 gallons of "Gator Grease ®". It's used in their tractor, bobcat, stump grinder, trucks, a media buse, and a Volkswagon TDI. Gator Grease powers the equipment used to run the machines that perform lot cleaning services in Slidell and New Orleans. All drivers and operators have reported increased fuel economy, horsepower, and engine response using the Gator Grease. To date, Bio Liberty has cleared 50-60 lots in the Lower 9th Ward.

Gator Grease is made from used cooking oil from Slidell restaurants Southside Cafe , Vera's Restuarant and the Red Fish Trading Company.

Here's a link to a video that tells the whole story of Bio Liberty. It gives one a good feeling to know there are people out there who are actively pursuing to make this area come back better.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

FEMA Trailer Testing to begin


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will begin testing Dec. 21 for formaldehyde in a sampling of trailers FEMA
provided for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, FEMA and the CDC announced today.

The testing is scheduled to take 35 days, when results will be shared with residents. A final report will be made public in mid-May, the agencies said.

Dr. Henry Falk, director of CDC's Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention, said 500 trailers will be tested. He said that number was chosen because it allows a representative sample of 11 types of trailers by different manufacturers. Scientists, accompanied by FEMA officials, will go to trailers in Louisiana and Mississippi proportional to the number of occupied trailers in each state.

There are about 46,000 families in FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes across the Gulf Coast.


It's about freaking time, y'all.

August '06 from The homeland stupidity website
In Mississippi alone, FEMA has received 46 complaints from people who say they have been affected by symptoms of formaldehyde exposure, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea and breathing difficulties. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, formaldehyde has been found to cause cancer in rats and may cause cancer in humans.

The Sierra Club conducted tests of 31 FEMA travel trailers and found that 29 of them had unsafe levels of formaldehyde, according to a report (PDF) published on the group’s Web site.


A tragic story about the affect of this toxic substance's tragic affects were detailed in a Gambit story in July.

Indeed, the story of toxic levels of formaldehyde in the 120,000 trailers that FEMA supplied to Katrina and Rita evacuees -- and the agency's cover-up of the crisis -- is still unfolding. At a minimum, more than 5,000 internal emails, many made public on July 19 by the House Committee on Oversight and Government, reveal what committee chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) calls "an official policy of premeditated ignorance."

CBS news received an envelope stuffed with documents from the FEMA.
What they found was quite interesting:
a standard part of the job description package for most federal jobs..... entitled "FEMA Job Hazard Analysis" and lists, in helpful chart form, the activities involved in the position. The position is Logistics Material Specialist, Trailer In-Bound Inspection (the guy or gal who inspects a brand-new trailer before it is sent off to a needy family in the Gulf).

Under the "Physical Hazard" for those entering a new trailer it says, "Formaldehyde off gassing..."

The potential injury: Cancer.



From Ellathebella over at reelrelief dot com
I spent the weekend working in Hancock County. While researching air quality issues, with the help of two stalwart volunteers, I spent about sixteen hours over two days in FEMA trailers, a FEMA mobile home, a newly constructed home and a MEMA cottage. Before the second day of work was over, we were all suffering from nausea, headaches, bloodshot, puffy eyes and wheezing in our lungs. Having left that environment, we are all feeling better. We had the option to leave for more healthful housing, thanks to the generous folks at St. Rose Outreach and Recovery and D'Iberville Volunteers Foundation. Even if money were not an issue, which it is, there are not enough buildings for everyone on the Gulf Coast to leave the trailers.

If we felt that sick after two days, how must it feel to live in that environment day after day after day?

It has been 27 months since Katrina hit. I would challenge anyone on Capitol Hill to spend 27 days, let alone 27 months, living in this uncertain, unhealthful environment and say that enough money has been spent on Gulf Coast recovery.


FEMA, acting "responsibly" issued this press release in July of 2007


From the Sea Coast Echo website

A Bay St. Louis resident who worked in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency following Hurricane Katrina alleges the embattled agency knew of potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde in trailers in December 2005 and the death of a Diamondhead newborn may be connected.
A congressional hearing held last month have resulted in changes to many of FEMA's procedures, including distributing formaldehyde information, revising guidelines of swapping trailers to temporally halting sales and deployment of travel trailers.

From Food Music Justice dot com
Quotes from a 7/20/07 New York Times article about formaldehyde-laden FEMA trailers provided to evacuees :

“We were not formaldehyde experts.”
- R. David Paulison. FEMA Adminstrator.

“Do not initiate any testing until we give the O.K. Once you get results the clock starts running on our duty to respond to them.”
- Unnamed FEMA lawyer sent this e-mail in response to concerns expressed by field staff about toxic levels of formaldehyde reported in FEMA trailers.



How do these bastards sleep at night?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Scuzzbucket of the week

I was reading the article at nola dot com about the two bodies which were discovered a few miles apart on Interstate 12 in western St. Tammany Parish. The victims were of Hispanic descent. After reading the article, I stumbled into the 'comments' section where this einstein posted


I find it interesting how things have changed since the large influx of non-locals to St. Tammany. You may call me a racist or a bigot, but it is a FACT of life in our society that these people are bringing violence and crime to our area. It is crimes like these that I thought only occured in the East (New York/New Jersey) and West (California/Arizona) of our nation. It is a shame that we cannot preserve our community and heritage since Katrina. There are so many out here that complain about who we were and how we need to keep South Louisiana as she was, but there is little action. We really need to get out act together, stop arguing over who lives where and just make sure that our community does not implode before we have time to rebuild.


What a pinhead idiot this person is.

Happy Story (for a change)

December sucks. Too many things to do, so little time. While looking around for something to smile about in the midst of so much bad news, I came across this at the Katrina film dot com website




Thanks to Charles London for this ray of sunshine for today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why I love New Orleans



One of a thousand reasons.

Cliff on Brad


Cliff's take on what Brad Pitt is doing down in the 9th Ward



While “black leaders” all over the country sit by their television and wait for the next Don Imus or Jena Six to jump off.

Guess who’s down here on the ground actually helping poor black people rebuild their homes?

Baghdad on the Bayou - Part II

Excerpts from part two of an interview with Tab Benoit about Louisiana Wetlands.

I posted about part one last week

“Right after the hurricane, they were digging new canals. I saw, I was out there in my boat. Here the world just saw us flood because of this [Katrina], and we did get introduced to the fact that the wetlands are our real protection, and here oil companies are right in here instantly digging again. It’s wide open. It’s a gold rush down here. This town [Houma] is, probably after Katrina, another 30 or 40 thousand people. This town was 80,000 before Katrina, and now it’s way beyond. All of that is oil. That’s the only real industry out here.

“But then again my family will gladly move out of here. They don’t have any ties here, not like me. I love this place. I understand the importance of Louisiana, for the United States to survive, for the globe to survive. You hear all about this global warming, and you look at all the stuff that supposedly causes it, and the stuff that could be fixing it. Everybody knows that the delta of a river, that those lush forests of swamps and trees are like natural filters, and oxygen makers. And we just killed a huge amount of it. We killed the third largest river on the planet’s delta. We killed one of our big atmosphere scrubbers. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that maybe we should pay more attention to the delta of the Mississippi river.”

“As soon as I started being a professional musician I felt this is the right place. Just keep going. It’s led me to everything that I’ve done. Like talking to you right now. Little did I know that my area would need the most help out of any area in this entire country. But there you go. There’s gotta be a reason why I’m here, why I know what I know, why I’ve seen what I’ve seen, and everything that I did before was a huge part of getting me involved in wetlands restoration. I saw it from the air, day to day, I would come in and talk about it and people would think that’s never going to happen in my lifetime. Every day I’m watching stuff wash away. Yes, this is going to happen in our lifetime. Learning it from the air, watching it from a bird’s eye view, it’s so much easier to see. All your questions are answered in a matter of minutes.”

Monday, December 10, 2007

December

an interesting post comparing
December activities in New Orleans versus Wisconson.


Yeah, you right.

The East


New Orleans East clinic closing.



Opened 18 months after the storm, a New Orleans East Clinic, operated by
Operation Blessing International .
must close in less than a month.

From the above link
Operation Blessing, the charity that launched the clinic after Katrina and raised thousands of dollars to support its operations, has exhausted the stash of private donations that came pouring in after the storm.
The closing threatened to strand thousands of uninsured patients in eastern New Orleans without health care in their neighborhood, but the city Health Department - aware for some time that the clinic would close - has made provisions to turn an obstetrics clinic on Read Boulevard into a full-service primary care office by January.

A lot of blame has been pointed at the federal government since Katrina, and rightly so. But the above statement makes it clear that
Ray "Chocolate City" Nagin has not been on the job since his re-election; a victory fueled by the diaspora of Katrina victims not living in the city.
Ray Nagin…..here's a guy who can't remember if he
voted in the last three elections
. The voting records show he didn't, but he claims he did. Whom would YOU believe?

New Orleans East has long been the "bastard step child" of the Big Easy.
I work in the industrial section in The East, and the main thoroughfare - Old Gentilly Road - has been in dire need repairs since long before the storm.
The New Orleans city government has been contacted numerous times regarding the road repairs and chooses to ignore them.

Heartfelt thanks goes out to Operation Blessing and all who've donated to them. You can be assured that your money has been put to the
best use. Let's hope that the city of New Orleans steps up to the plate and opens that long closed hospital in timely fashion to help the people
in The East.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Post Katrina Mental Health

Man jumps from highrise.

A little over 27 months post Katrina. People still living in those formaldehyde ridden trailers while FEMA - in typical fashion - drags its feet.

Fifty thousand Kids are still suffering all across the Gulf Coast due to the storm.

The mayor of New Orleans is suffering a mental breakdown in public.

People are still fighting the damn insurance bastards

The holiday season brings depression for a lot of people. This, the third holiday season since the storm feels like it's not going to be any better than the last two.

Thanks, Katrina

Helping the Gulf Coast


Coast moving on after Katrina; help them

Chef and restraunteur Robert St. John has written an article in the Mississippi Sun Herald about supporting the Gulf Coast
businesses this holiday season. Being a "world-class eater", he ends up talking about restaurants destroyed by that bitch Katrina. Here are some excerpts from the article.

At a book signing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast last week, I was hit with a blinding jolt of reality.
I have been a victim of out-of-sight out-of-mind Katrina apathy. My hometown of Hattiesburg was hit hard. Yet we bounced back quickly.

I am a huge fan of the old-line seafood restaurants of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I have fond memories of eating
at Baricev's
The Friendship House ,
McElroy's and the like.
I have always encouraged support of the independent restaurants of the Coast.
One restaurant that I must have passed a thousand times, but never once visited, was Annie's at Henderson Point.
As with most of the independent restaurants within a few blocks of the Gulf, Annie's was a casualty of Katrina. They, too, moved to Delisle after the storm.

As I signed books we ordered a cup of gumbo from the newly-relocated Annie's (now Café Annie, located next door to the bookstore). The gumbo was rich, the roux was dark, and it had the distinct taste of a well-made crab stock in the foreground.

As I finished my gumbo, I felt an overwhelming pang of guilt for not visiting Annie's in its original location.
At Café Annie, 80 years of Gulf Coast restaurant history have been reduced to a small wall of black and white 8" x 10" photographs. There are hundreds of businesses with similar stories all along the Gulf. Let's throw apathy to the wind and keep them in sight, and in mind, during the holiday shopping season, and throughout the coming years.

To a person, everyone who bought books at the Pass Christian book signing had lost all of their cookbooks - and their homes along with them - to the storm. No one complained. No one seemed resentful. They had gotten on with their daily lives and to the business of rebuilding the Coast. "It's only stuff," one woman commented


Robert St.John is an author, chef, restaurateur, and world-class eater. He is the author of five books and the upcoming "Southern Seasons." He can be reached at www.robertstjohn.com.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dummy of the day

From the December 6th, Times Picayune


It was one of the strangest accidents I've responded to in my 37 years on the New Orleans Police Department," said Lt. Melvin Howard, assistant commander of the Traffic Division.

The man lost control of his 650 cc BMW motorcycle and struck a curb as he headed west in the 5900 block of Almonaster Avenue about 1:15 p.m., police said. The impact threw the driver across the median and into the eastbound lanes where he came to rest, his yellow helmet left in the westbound lanes as was his motorcycle, police and a witness said.

He was taken to a local hospital in "very critical" condition, police said.

The lone witness to the accident, Matt Rutan, said the motorcyclist sped past his truck as he was driving back from the landfill.

"At first I thought it was a piece of rope dragging behind the motorcycle," Rutan said, referring to what later turned out to be a 5-foot canebrake rattlesnake secured by twine to the motorcycle.

The motorcycle got at most a half-mile ahead of Rutan, he said, when he saw the cyclist "lift up a little and twist around in his seat like he was attending to something on the back of his bike."

In doing so, the driver failed to negotiate a right-hand curve in the road and struck what Rutan judged to be an eight-inch concrete curb. The driver was ejected from the motorcycle and came to rest about 150 feet down the road, on the opposite side of a grassy median, Rutan said. He said the motorcycle flipped many times and ended up in the westbound lanes more than 200 feet down the road.

Rutan stopped his truck and called 911 as he ran to the driver and saw he was apparently unconscious, he said.

An ambulance responded within 10 minutes, he said.

Rutan discovered that what he had thought was a rope was really a snake "loosely tied by a rough kind of twine" to the back of the motorcycle.

Although Rutan said the snake definitely moved its body a number of times before police arrived, one officer said he believed the movement may have been due to post-mortem reflexes. The canebrake rattlesnake had had its rattle apparently cut off before the accident, an officer said. It appeared to have had its fangs removed as well.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Scuzzbucket of the Week

Brent Eric Finley, 38, of Rayville, along with his wife, Stacey Finley.


The Finleys “convinced numerous victims, who were their family, friends and neighbors, that through Stacey Finley’s contacts as an agent with the CIA, she could arrange and schedule a medical scan of the victims’ bodies by satellite imaging that would detect any hidden medical problem; and that in return for payment of money to Finley, she would arrange for secret agents to administer medicine to the victims as they slept,” Washington’s news release stated.

“All of this information that Finley conveyed to the victims was false.”

The Finleys used all of the money received for their own personal benefit, the release stated.


Besides the fact that the Finley's are scum of the earth for doing that, I question the intelligence of the people who gave these two people over half a million dollars. Geez.



Asked how so many people could be conned by such far-fetched claims, U.S. Attorney Donald Washington described Finley as “a cult-like, charismatic personality.”


Finley is sentenced
to spend 51 months in prison and also was ordered, along with his wife, Stacey Finley, to jointly pay restitution of $873,786.94,
according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Donald Washington.

Stacey Finley previously pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to 63 months in prison.

Prosecutors said that money won't come from what was stolen because the victims' money was spent. They said the Finleys owned a home and five vehicles, but their house was mortgaged and the vehicles financed and there were few other assets.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Strangest thing...

What makes New Orleans unique is the off the wall things that happen here.

The American Zombie blog
is compiling stories about strange things people have experienced or seen in the city.

Quite entertaining.

This isn't strange, but - being the human to five cats, I found this sight quite funny:



This cat had no issue with the crowds/music/noise of the French Quarter Fest last April.

Baghdad on the Bayou


Baghdad on the Bayou: Disaster Capitalism and the War on Equality

An Interview with Tab Benoit in Houma, LA - November 2007

Tab Benoit is an ardent champion for Louisiana's Wetlands.

Op Ed News dot com's investigative environmental writer Georgianne Nienaber recently interviewed him for his view
on saving the wetlands. Here are some excerpts from that three-hour interview
(the article stated this is part one, so stay tuned…….)


“Three miles off the coast is considered off shore. I mean just right here, right now, if I could take you up in an airplane and show you this; you’d see that the Gulf [of Mexico] used to be 25 miles from the Houma airport, now it’s three miles.”

“We [Louisiana] have got 4,000 rigs in the Gulf, compared to 100 rigs in the rest of the Gulf. We’re not getting the money from the off shore drilling. We’re getting the money from on shore. So it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why there’d be 4,000 rigs in Louisiana waters, and only 100 rigs outside of Louisiana waters that belong to the United States. The federal government gets our [Louisiana’s] share. It goes straight into the federal fund. That’s been our big issue; [and] we’ve fought for it.”

What’s behind the 9th ward? Two major refineries. Those things are running. The refineries are running. Nothing else is [running] in the ninth ward. What else do you need to know? There it is. There are the answers.”


I started Voice of the Wetlands (www.voiceofthewetlands.com) because we had no voice. Nobody was acknowledging that there would be people here. It was all about oil, and infrastructure. You know the first things were refineries and oil ports. Those are the first things on the lists of things to do. And that’s exactly what happened.


The interview covers Tab's opinions on big oil, the media's cover-ups regarding Katrina, Blackwater's activities in the days following Katrina, the attidude of the Federal Government toward the citizens of southeast Louisiana and much more.

It's worth the read.

Making it Right

Through the Make It Right project Pitt's inspiration came from the strength of the residents of the 9th Ward:
Having endured the ravages of Katrina, the people of the Lower 9th Ward are proving that, with passion, commitment and collaboration, they can beat the odds. They are ready to represent a city that not only provides a steady stream of culture and soul to the nation, but also provides renewed hope in the triumph of the human spirit.
The people of the Lower 9th Ward are survivors. They are strong. They are united. They are passionate, and the situation they find themselves in - two long years later - needs to be addressed. We need to make it right.

From today's Times Picayune article

Applicants must have owned a home or lot in the Lower 9th Ward before Hurricane Katrina.

Though the project's most significant impact surely will be felt by the families who end up in new homes, other local residents said that Make It Right's effects already are spreading through a neighborhood that but for the crash of bulldozers has remained mostly silent -- and vacant -- since the flood.
Tennessee Street resident Gertrude LeBlanc, 72, said Monday's party -- and the giant pink blocks scattered across the landscape -- already had introduced a hopeful new spirit.

This is like letting them know that we're still here, said LeBlanc, who said a church group will help her rebuild her house using Road Home money. "Yes, indeed, honey, I have been praying for this. I have been praying for somebody to give us a break. I think this might be it."

Rather than bemoan the slow pace of redevelopment in the Ninth Ward, Mr. Pitt said he decided to address the problem directly by teaming with William McDonough, the green design expert ; The Graft architecture firm ; and Cherokee, an investment firm based in Raleigh, N.C., that specializes in sustainable redevelopment. John Williams of New Orleans is the executive architect for the project.

The "Make It Right" team consists of successful New Orleans natives and innovative professionals as shown here:
Brad Pitt, with GRAFT Architects .

Stefan Beese
Executive Associate at GRAFT and the Exective Producer of the Pink Project
Mr. Beese is an Executive Associate at GRAFT and the Executive Producer of the Pink Project.

Nina Killeen
born and raised in New Orleans (and lost her home to the break in the levee at the 17th Street Canal following Hurricane Katrina). She attended Loyola University, and subsequently worked for a local television production company as a producer on numerous commercials and documentary-length films.
Senior Advisor to Jolie Pitt Foundation and a Co-Producer for the Pink Project

Stephen Rehage
Stephen Rehage is the founder of Rehage Entertainment and a Co-Producer of the Pink Project. Mr. Rehage is a New Orleans native and the originator, producer and owner of the Voodoo Music Festival, one of only a few independently owned large music festivals in the country.

Hervé Descottes
Hervé Descottes is the principal founder of L'Observatoire International and the Lighting Designer for the Pink Project. L'Observatoire is a New York City-based architectural lighting design firm founded in 1993.

Lionel Milton
Lionel Milton, creator of the Art Piece for the Pink Project, is a New Orleans-based artist. Lionel's latest venture is the re-opening of Elleone Gallery now located at 2001 Magazine St. in historic Lower Garden District, New Orleans.

Adam Ford and Rendon Slade
Ford and Slade are owners and lighting designers of Universal Visual, LLC, a Mississippi Gulf Coast and NOLA-based lighting design firm that was founded in 2007. The goal of Universal Visual is to provide a means to become completely independent of the current energy grid through the implementation of solar power and hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Bag Manufacturer
The Lighthouse for the Blind in New Orleans is a not-for-profit agency that has been in existence for almost 100 years and is the manufacturer of the Pink bags made from 100 percent recycled scrap materials from the Pink Project.

Here's the link to MIR merchandise,
including caps and Tshirts.

You can make any amount of donation to this project by going to this website .
Smaller donations -- from $5 to $45,500 -- will support the cost of the individual elements of the houses' eco-friendly designs, such as fluorescent bulbs, low-flush toilets and solar-panel installations.

Monday, December 03, 2007

America's Energy Coast Initiative



The fragile energy-producing coastal wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico are crucial to the nation's economy, but the rest of the country doesn't seem to be taking the area's problems seriously, a group meeting today in Baton Rouge contends.

But that could all change if the four states — Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama — work together in forming "America's Energy Coast," say Sidney Coffee, project director of the America's Wetlands campaign, and former U.S. Sen. John Breaux.

Find out how your state depends on Louisiana. America's Wetlands has gathered statistics for the following states.

Florida


Illinois

Kentucky
Massachusetts
Minnesota
North Carolina
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
Virginia

From the America's Energy Coast website,

The America’s Energy Coast initiative will bring together leaders of academia, industry, conservation, government and non-profit agencies to educate the public about the necessary co-existence of energy and ecology to sustain America’s Energy Coast. Through leadership assemblies, economic forums and outreach projects we will educate the public how responsible and sustainable energy development is attainable and consistent with conservation and environment stewardship.
We believe that a better public understanding of the role, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama play as a vital energy corridor, will lead to a stronger, safer, sustainable energy future for all Americans.

The Honorary Leadership Council for the America’s Energy Coast Initiative has agreed to help lead the initiative and provide valuable counsel to the effort as we educate the public of the importance of balanced, national dialogue about America’s energy future.

Co-Chair
The Honorable Trent Lott
U.S. Senator
Republican Senate Whip
Mississippi

Co-Chair
The Honorable Mary Landrieu
U.S. Senator
Louisiana


Louisiana
The Honorable Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Governor, LA
The Honorable Mary Landrieu, US Senator, LA
The Honorable David Vitter, US Senator, LA
The Honorable Richard Baker, US Congressman, LA
The Honorable William Jefferson, US Congressman, LA
The Honorable Bobby Jindal, US Congressman, LA
The Honorable Charlie Melancon, US Congressman, LA
The Honorable Charles Boustany, US Congressman, LA

The Honorable Mitchell J. Landrieu, Lt. Governor
The Honorable Jay Dardenne, Secretary of State, LA
The Honorable Charles C. Foti, Jr., Attorney General, LA
The Honorable John Kennedy, Treasurer, LA
The Honorable Bob Odom, Commissioner of Agriculture, LA
The Honorable Jim Donelon, Commissioner of Insurance, LA
The Honorable Scott Angelle, Secretary of Department of Natural Resources, LA
The Honorable Robert Adley, State Senator-District 36, LA
The Honorable Robert J. Barham, State Senator-District 33, LA
The Honorable Joel T. Chaisson, II, State Senator-District 19, LA
The Honorable Ann Duplessis, State Senator–District 2. LA
The Honorable Reggie P. Dupre, Jr., State Senator-District 20, LA
The Honorable Nick Gautreaux, State Senator-District 26, LA
The Honorable D.A. “Butch” Gautreaux, State Senator-District 21, LA
The Honorable Francis C. Heitmeier, State Senator-District 7, LA
The Honorable Ken Hollis, State Senator-District 9, LA
The Honorable Lydia P. Jackson, State Senator-District 39, LA
The Honorable Robert Marionneaux, Jr., State Senator-District 17, LA
The Honorable Willie L. Mount, State Senator-District 27, LA
The Honorable John A. Alario, Jr., State Representative-District 83, LA
The Honorable John F. “Andy” Anders, State Representative-District 21, LA
The Honorable Jeffrey “Jeff” Arnold, State Representative-District 102, LA
The Honorable Glenn Ansardi, State Representative-District 92, LA
The Honorable Austin J. Badon, Jr., State Representative-District 100, LA
The Honorable Damon J. Baldone, State Representative-District 53, LA
The Honorable Regina Ashford Barrow, State Representative-District 29, LA
The Honorable Clara Guilbeau Baudoin, State Representative-District 39, LA
The Honorable Gary J. Beard, State Representative-District 69, LA
The Honorable Shirley Bowler, State Representative-District 78, LA
The Honorable Timothy G. Burns, State Representative-District 89, LA
The Honorable Roy A. Burrell, State Representative-District 2, LA
The Honorable Don Cazayoux, Jr., State Representative-District 18, LA
The Honorable A. G. Crowe, State Representative-District 76, LA
The Honorable N.J. Damico, State Representative-District 84, LA
The Honorable Carla Blanchard Dartez, State Representative-District 51, LA
The Honorable Gordon E. Dove, Sr., State Representative-District 52, LA
The Honorable Sydnie M. Durand, State Representative-District 46, LA
The Honorable James R. Fannin, State Representative-District 13, LA
The Honorable Robert Faucheux Jr., State Representative-District 57, LA
The Honorable Mickey Frith, State Representative-District 47, LA
The Honorable Richard Gallot Jr., State Representative-District 11, LA
The Honorable Hunter V. Greene, State Representative-District 66, LA
The Honorable Elbert Lee Guillory, State Representative-District 40, LA
The Honorable Elcie J. Guillory, State Representative-District 34, LA
The Honorable Mickey Guillory, State Representative-District 41, LA
The Honorable Herman Ray Hill. State Representative-District 32, LA
The Honorable Avon R. Honey, State Representative-District 63, LA
The Honorable Donald Ray Kennard, State Representative-District 65, LA
The Honorable Charles E. Kleckley, State Representative-District 36, LA
The Honorable John F. LaBruzzo, State Representative-District 81, LA
The Honorable Juan A. LaFonta, State Representative-District 96, LA
The Honorable Billy Wayne Montgomery, State Representative-District 9, LA
The Honorable Jean-Paul J. Morrell, State Representative-District 97, LA
The Honorable Dan W. “Blade” Morrish, State Representative-District 37, LA
The Honorable Kenneth L. Odinet, Sr., State Representative-District 103, LA
The Honorable Wilfred Pierre, State Representative-District 44, LA
The Honorable Gil Pinac, State Representative-District 42, LA
The Honorable Loulan Pitre, Jr., State Representative-District 54, LA
The Honorable Joel Robideaux, State Representative-District 45, LA
The Honorable Joe R. Salter, Speaker of the House-District 24, LA
The Honorable M.J. Smiley, Jr., State Representative-District 88, LA
The Honorable Jack D. Smith, State Representative-District 50, LA
The Honorable John R. Smith, State Representative-District 30, LA
The Honorable Gary L. Smith, Jr., State Representative-District 56, LA
The Honorable Karen Gaudet St. Germain, State Representative-District 60, LA
The Honorable Francis C. Thompson, State Representative-District 19, LA
The Honorable Joseph F. Toomy, State Representative-District 85, LA
The Honorable T. Taylor Townsend, State Representative-District 23, LA
The Honorable Wayne Waddell, State Representative-District 5, LA
The Honorable Patrick Williams, State Representative-District 4, LA
The Honorable Ernest D. Wooton, State Representative-District 105, LA
The Honorable Aaron Broussard, Parish President-Jefferson Parish, LA
The Honorable Gordon Burgess, Parish President-Tangipahoa Parish, LA
The Honorable Caesar Comeaux, Parish President-Iberia Parish, LA
The Honorable Guy Cormier, Parish President-St. Martin Parish, LA
The Honorable Kevin Davis, Parish President-St. Tammany Parish, LA
The Honorable Mike Grimmer, Parish President-Livingston Parish, LA
The Honorable Dale J. Hymel Jr., Parish President-St. James Parish, LA
The Honorable Albert D. Laque, Parish President-St. Charles Parish, LA
The Honorable Nickie Monica, Parish President-St. John Parish, LA
The Honorable Paul Naquin, Parish President-St. Mary Parish, LA
The Honorable William H. Nungesser, President Parish of Plaquemines, LA
The Honorable Charlotte A. Randolph, Parish President-Lafourche Parish, LA
The Honorable Henry J. Rodriguez, Parish President-St. Bernard Parish, LA
The Honorable Don Schwab, Parish President-Terrebonne Parish, LA
The Honorable Steve Trahan, Parish Police Juror-Cameron Parish, LA
The Honorable Robert E. Billiot, Mayor-Westwego, LA
The Honorable Lionel J. Bordelon, Jr., Mayor-Moreauville, LA
The Honorable Anthony Daisy, Mayor Pro Tem-New Roads, LA
The Honorable James T. Fontenot, Mayor-Simmesport, LA
The Honorable Ronnie C. Harris, Mayor-Gretna, LA
The Honorable Clarence Hawkins, Mayor-Bastrop, LA
The Honorable Timothy Matte, Mayor-Morgan City, LA
The Honorable John D. McAdams III, Mayor-Mer Rouge, LA
The Honorable C. Ray Nagin, Mayor-New Orleans, LA
The Honorable Randy Roach, Mayor-Lake Charles, LA
The Honorable C.J. Scheufens, Mayor-Iowa, LA
The Honorable Patrick White, Mayor-Gibsland, LA
The Honorable Carroll J. Allemand, Councilmember-Grand Isle, LA
The Honorable Taranza Arvie, Councilmember-Evangeline Parish, LA
The Honorable Brenda Burley, Councilmember-Youngstown, LA
The Honorable Stan Cain, Councilmember-Livingston Parish, LA
The Honorable Thomas J. Capella, Councilmember-at-large-Jefferson Parish, LA
The Honorable Arnie Fielkow, Councilmember-at-large- Orleans Parish, LA
The Honorable Jonathan Foster, Councilmember-Amite, LA
The Honorable Rodney Geyen, Councilmember-Lake Charles, LA
The Honorable Danny W. Harrell, Councilmember-Livingston Parish, LA
The Honorable Marshal Harris, Councilmember-Livingston Parish, LA
The Honorable Willie ‘Sunset’ Holden, Councilmember-Winnfield, LA
The Honorable Elton Lagasse, Councilmember-Jefferson Parish, LA
The Honorable Lawrence Landry, Councilmember-City of Harahan, LA
The Honorable Kenny Matassa, Councilmember-Gonzales, LA
The Honorable Dianne McClelland, Councilwoman-Lafayette Parish, LA
The Honorable Shelley Midura, Councilmember-New Orleans, LA
The Honorable Cynthia Hedge Morrell, Councilmember-New Orleans, LA
The Honorable Provino Mosca, Councilmember-City of Harahan, LA
The Honorable “Ram” Ramachandran, Councilmember-St. Charles Parish, LA
The Honorable Chris Roberts, Councilmember-Jefferson Parish, LA
The Honorable Randall L. Rushing, Councilmember-Livingston Parish, LA
The Honorable Tommy Sandifer, Councilmember-LaSalle Parish, LA
The Honorable Ray A. Santiny, Councilmember-Grand Isle, LA
The Honorable Sandy Sonnier, Councilmember-Loreauville, LA
The Honorable Teddy Sutton, Councilmember-Bernice, LA
The Honorable Thomas L. Talbot, Councilmember-Iowa, LA
The Honorable Eddie Wagner, Councilmember-Livingston Parish, LA
The Honorable Tiffany Scot Wilken, Councilmember-City of Harahan, LA

Alabama
The Honorable Jim Folsom, Jr., Lt. Governor, AL
The Honorable Beth Chapman, Secretary of State, AL

Mississippi
The Honorable Thad Cochran, US Senator, MS
The Honorable Trent Lott, US Senator, MS
The Honorable Chip Pickering, US Congressman, MS
The Honorable Amy Tuck, Lt. Governor, MS

Texas
The Honorable Gene Green, US Congressman, TX
The Honorable Jerry Patterson, Land Commissioner, TX
The Honorable Donald Payne, County Commissioner-TX
The Honorable Dennis Bonnen, State Representative-District 25, TX
The Honorable Luis Sarinana, County Commissioner, TX