Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Scuzzbucket of the Week

James E. Delancey of Gulfport, MIssissippi. A waste of oxygen, this drunk apparently passed out on Hwy 190 in Covington.

Here's the story:

Deputy Kerry Snaples, 22, of Ponchatoula, died at about 4:20 a.m. Sunday when his motorcycle struck a pickup that was stopped in the westbound lane of U.S. 190 near Covington High School. The Sheriff's Office did not release the deputy's identity Sunday because of difficulty contacting his family.

....the impact knocked the truck into a side ditch. The truck's tail lights were not on, and he says its dark gold and gray paint would have been difficult to see on the dark highway.

Covington Police, who are investigating the case, booked the driver of the pickup, James E. Delancey Jr., 37, of Gulfport, Miss., with vehicular homicide, DWI and driving with a suspended license.

Delancey's blood alcohol level was "several times" the legal limit and he admitted to taking prescription opiates before driving, Covington Police spokesman Lt. Jack West said Sunday.

Condolences to Officer Snaples' family.

Katrina continues to affect lives

Katrina continues to affect lives; media needs to acknowledge this

From an editorial from a Tennessee paper last week, an excerpt:

Now there's no use in beating a dead horse. But then again, you can't really ignore the elephant in the room either. Animal clich├ęs aside, lack of media coverage of the Katrina aftermath is hurting recovery, because no one really knows how bad it is or how to help.

We, as mass media consumers, never got answers to the questions posed in news coverage. The matter was simply washed away.

The irony of this is we, as an editorial board of a newspaper, are complaining about lack of media coverage. Then again, it should be noted that we try to do the best we can, but just simply cannot afford the high-tech and in-depth coverage. But you, the reader, probably already knew that.

St. Bernard Project

St. Bernard Parish

At a Massachusettes news site, I ran across this
article entitled New Orleans still needs our help

~ In mid January, along with a group from the Boston College Alumni Association, I went to New Orleans as a volunteer to help in the reconstruction of homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

What we saw and experienced was far beyond our comprehension. I had expected to find small areas of unfinished homes in need of repairs. Instead, we found that the storm’s devastation is still very much in evidence today. We saw scores of people living in tents under a highway overpass. There were neighborhoods where most of the residents had not returned. There were sites where homes once stood and the only evidence left is the slab of concrete marking its location. In the community where we worked, only 20 to 25 percent of the residents have returned thus far.

Some interesting facts about this area are:
· More than 75 percent of the homes were owner occupied;

· In 2004, the unemployment rate hovered near 4 percent while the median income was $36,000;

· Families were working hard — as tradesmen, in the refinery industry and as fisherman;

· The Parish had a large community of retirees — nearly 50 percent of the population, many of whom owned their own homes and lived on fixed incomes;

· 200 people lost their lives in the St. Bernard Parish;

· 100 percent of the homes were officially “uninhabitable”;

The organization we worked with is located in the St. Bernard Parish an area outside of New Orleans encompassing a number of communities. We worked on homes in the town of Chalmette which is next to New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and is arguably one of the hardest hit communities. In the evenings after work, we had the opportunity to have dinner with different people in the community from church groups and education leaders to businessmen, doctors and people who had lost their homes. The stories were gut-wrenching as people described their challenges, their fight for survival and in many instances, personal losses. The amazing thing is, with all their losses, enduring complete financial ruin and having lost everything, not one person that we met ever asked for money or any type of donation.

But universally they asked for one thing. That we go back home and tell their story and that we not forget them. Their plight is no longer front page news and there are times we may not remember their challenge.

This is where the St. Bernard Project comes in. The seeds of the St. Bernard Project were planted in March 2006 by four volunteers who went to St. Bernard Parish to do relief work. After working with people to help them rebuild their homes for a month, they decided to establish the St. Bernard Project. This is a non-profit organization with a mission to provide people with the resources necessary to rebuild their homes. They undertook reconstruction of their first home in August of 2006. Since that time, they have completed over 90 homes and today have nearly 30 more under various stages of construction. They provide construction materials, tools and volunteers to complete their projects. A FEMA trailer cost approximately $70,000. Because all the materials are acquired with donations and all the labor is completed by volunteers and the actual homeowners, the cost for this organization to reconstruct a gutted home is approximately $10,000.00 and takes about eight weeks.

Where do such incredibly dedicated and giving people come from? There are two co-founders of the St. Bernard Project.

Liz McCartney: Liz worked for a community-based nonprofit organization in Washington, DC for the past four years. Prior to that, she taught ESL and middle school for over five years. Liz is a graduate of Boston Collegeand recently received a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction from George Washington University.

Zack Rosenberg: Zack has been a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. for the past three years. Prior to his defense work, he founded Linking Communities for Educational Success (LINK). Before law school he was the development director of Families Forward, a low-income housing and job training program in Washington, D.C. Zack grew up in Belmont and graduated from Belmont High School in 1991 where Zack’s mom still lives.
Michael DelRose works with RE/MAX First Realty of Watertown.

St. Bernard Project Accomplishments
(Updated 12/05/07)
Total Projects 115
Complete home rebuilds 100!
Current rebuild projects 33

Total Volunteers 4260
Americorps Volunteers 147
States Represented by Volunteers 52 (with DC and Puerto Rico)
Countries Represented by Volunteers 12

Here's a video of St. Bernard created a year after Katrina:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thanks, NBA

Many thanks to all the people who volunteered this past weekend in the day of service related to the NBA Allstar Game.

Looks like the whole weekend was a huge success

People from around the country travelled to NOLA and a lot of them "get it"

After nearly three years, the headlines about New Orleans contain GOOD news. The city showed the rest of the world that it is an awesome host . As one of the articles said "you can't buy this kind of publicity".

Friday, February 15, 2008

TP lacks integrity

here's a link about the newspaper deleting comments from the hard copy of their paper and online site of all Nagin gun antics, including two letters to the editor. Perhaps they should've thought out the whole Nagin gun issue.

Schroeder discusses this issue better than I ever could .

I like Mike

Former NBA great and all-around class act Michael Jordan was in Slidell yesterday to present an extremely generous valentine gift to the Boys & Girls Club of Slidell.

From moneycentral MSN dot com:

Jordan Brand, a division of Nike, Inc., announced a donation of $500,000 to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana's Slidell Unit, to help build a new athletic gymnasium... The donation will go towards the construction of a state-of-the-art gymnasium named after Jordan Brand complete with a professional basketball court, scoreboard and bleachers to be used by the kids of the Boys & Girls Club and other related community events.

The Slidell Boys & Girls Club was damaged in Hurricane Katrina when it
took four feet of water inside the facility and required a total rebuild. On a daily basis the club provides education, athletic, and peer support for over 500 children. The rebuilding of the facility serves as a testament to the dedication of many contributions and countless volunteer hours to restore it in honor of the Boys & Girls Club. The Jordan Brand gymnasium will serve as a brick-and-mortar reminder of the contributions and volunteer hours spent rebuilding the facility that has helped and will continue improve the lives of children and families of Slidell.

"The Boys and Girls Clubs of America has been a visible contributor to the families and children of New Orleans, during and post Hurricane Katrina," said Michael Jordan. "Slidell is a community that has been somewhat overlooked in recovery efforts and we are proud to aid with its rebuilding and leave a lasting legacy for the community."

Michael Jordan and some Team Jordan athletes have a special connection to the Boys and Girls Club of America as some were once members and now continue to be involved with the organization in their respective hometowns and communities. Jordan Brand believes that physical activity plays a vital role in building character in youth, and the donation is dedicated to the children of the greater New Orleans area to inspire them to commit themselves to hard work in life and athletics in order to achieve their dreamed goals.

In 2006, Jordan Brand donated $450,000 to Habitat for Humanity to aid in the rebuilding efforts in Louisiana. By auctioning off 21 pairs of Michael Jordan autographed AIR JORDAN shoes to raise the funds, the money helped rebuild homes in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.

Thank you Mr. Jordan

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Scuzzbucket of the Week

Ray Nagin.....great example to kids everywhere on how to handle firearms.



The Times Picayune, who are making a "big joke" out of it What's wrong with these people?


Varg is "blogless"


Pistolette asks Why is it that people can drone on for hours about the "serious repercussions" of David Vitter getting some illicit nookie, but turn the other way with a "c'est la vie" smirk while Ray Nagin destroys us?

Suspect Devices offers his usual witty reaction

Maitri mirrors a lot of people's feeling about Mr. Nagin

Humid Haney rants....

More from WDSU, showing a video from where the picture was taken.

Update February 15th The TP apologizes for showing the picture out of context.

It still does not change my opinion on the wackjob in charge of New Orleans. Still a scuzzbucket.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rex 2008

Great video showing Rex (King of Carnival) being toasted by Nagin at Gallier Hall
(found at At the Parade blogspot)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

PTSD lingers....

from the "Reel Relief" website , a resident of St. Bernard parish still suffers from his experiences with Katrina:
The water came up in 12 minutes. The water came up to our attic. I knew my neighbors, who were 90 and 80-something, had stayed. I didn't see them on the roof, and their house is lower than ours, so I knew they were in the attic. I swam over there, yanked out the vent pipe. As soon as I pulled out that pipe, arms stretched through and grabbed my leg. They had been standing there with their heads tilted back, water up to their necks. I couldn't pull them out through the hole, so I looked around for something to use to make it bigger. There was a 2x4 stuck in a nearby tree. I needed it to break out part of the roof to save them. But when I had to leave them to get the 2x4...

This man is among thousands how still suffer physically and emotionally, almost three years after the storm. Thanks to the many people out there who still volunteer their time, hearts and money to help people like the gentleman above cope with the storm's lingering legacy.

Photo from The Faces of Katrina website

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Brock Project, revisited

In October I posted about the Brock Project, initiated by the Mayor of New Hyde Park, NY and the Principal of The Road School in the same town, the fine folks there are hoping to raise one million dollars to assist in the rebuilding of Brock Elementary School in Slidell, Louisiana.

Interested in checking out the progress of the rebuilding, and lured outside by the better than excellent weather we had this weekend, hubby & I ventured down to the middle of Slidell, his camera ready to shoot. We got three pictures:

It appears as if work is continuing in bringing life back to Brock Elementary. while not at a breakneck speed, it's safe to say.

Unfortunately, the website for the Brock Project is "temporarily unavailable." I do hope it's temporary.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Katrina's Trees

A few months ago everyone latched on to the news about the "death toll" of trees in Katrina's wake. Touted as "ecological catastrophe that killed or severely damaged about 320 million trees in Mississippi and Louisiana"

Image above: The devastation of southern Gulf Coast forests by Hurricane Katrina was documented in before-and-after images from the Landsat 5 satellite. The Interstate 10 "twin-span" bridges that cross Lake Pontchartrain east of New Orleans is seen here pre- and post-Katrina. Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge is the large patch of forest (green) the lower left portion of the LEFT image, which suffered heavy tree mortality (seen in red in the RIGHT image after the storm)". Credit: USGS

My daily commute takes me through the heart of Bayou Sauvage and it's there that I have watched the trees slowly dying off. It's especially obvious during these winter months, when there's no other vegetation hiding this slow death. Here are some pictures taken at the end of January along Highway 11 in Bayou Sauvage.

(click on pictures for full-sized version)

The wind isn't blowing in this picture; this tree looks like this when there are no winds.

This tree was bent and broken by the storm's winds. One of thousands and thousands of trees like this in the area from Southeast Louisiana to the middle of Mississippi.

Despite the destruction done by the storm, I find the colors and textures in this picture to be beautiful

Bayou Sauvage is still home to a wide array of wildlife, as evidenced by this guy

There were hundreds of ducks and other waterfowl out on this day, just going about their daily business while we spied on them

Twin Spans

According to the Times Pic today the Lake Pontchartrain Twin Spans construction is ahead of schedule

Essentially hurricane-proof, the 5 1/2-mile bridge touted as the largest public works project in the state's history will rise 30 feet above the lake with 80-foot high-rises, keeping it out of reach of storm surges. The structures will also be nearly twice as wide as the existing bridge, which will ease traffic, officials say.

The existing bridge was pretty well beat up by Katrina in August of 2005, rendering it useless for several months. Pieced together with what was left after the storm, the east bound lanes opened in October of '05. The westbound lanes reopened in January 2006, using prefabricated bridge sections of hot-dipped galvanized steel.

Here are recent pictures of the progress being made, taken on January 26, 2008.
(click on pictures for full-size versions)

You can see the progress being made from the southshore. The present spans are on the left

Taken from the North Shore (Slidell), you can see how far the construction has come

This shot shows the height of the new bridge at its lowest point compared to the present bridge.

Pilings to support the new bridge

Another shot from the North Shore. I've found Ed Blakely's cranes in the sky!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Waveland - 30 Months Post K

We took a little trip down Highway 90 on Saturday, to get lunch at Rickeys Restaurant in Bay St. Louis. On the way home, we decided to check out the rebuilding in Waveland along the coast. Although it still looks pretty damn bad to an outsider, we noticed a lot of improvements on the gulf front since our last trip three or so months ago. While the roads that come off the beachfront are still almost impassable for a passenger car, there are several main arteries connecting it with Highway 90.

Click on photos for full-size version

People are rebuilding while still living in those nasty FEMA trailers

Some places are just about done

There are a lot of Katrina Cottages along the beach. Seems like the Katrina Cottages are being used as both temporary quarters while people rebuild as well as what appears to be semi permanent homes to others.

Despite the obvious rebuilding efforts by the people of Waveland, there are still a lot of signs of Katrina's wrath along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

There's still the presence of people who've dedicated their time and money helping the people of Waveland recover.

St. Clare Church is still operating out of this structure.

Hurricane Katrina has not been forgotten

On Fat Tuesday, a grand tradition in New Orleans, the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena saluted Mardi Gras with a lunch to benefit Katrina survivors.

What this is all about is trying to help people out and keep awareness going," said Chef Instructor Larry Bressler, who spearheaded the effort three years ago.

Bressler has lived and worked in New Orleans and feels a responsibility to keep support coming, he said.

"It's very important and very close to my heart," he said. "I really understand what these people went through."

Proceeds from the event will go to the International Association of Culinary Professionals, who will distribute it to the Crescent City Farmers Market in New Orleans.

"Since Katrina, we've had several opportunities to work with national restaurant organizations in an opportunity to give back," said Executive Chef Angela T. Goodman.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

R.I.P. Nicola Cotton

Funeral for NOPD's Nicola D. Cotton

From the TP:

On Monday morning in Central City, the officer with the million-dollar grin encountered a middle-aged homeless man who reportedly suffered from mental illness. Police said she approached Bernel Johnson, 44, of Kenner, as he was sitting in a small strip mall parking lot in the 2100 block of Earhart Boulevard.

At some point, Johnson allegedly attacked Cotton, wrestled away her gun, beat her and shot her. She was pronounced dead a short while later.

He didn't just shoot her. He emptied her gun into her body.
My husband works near the murder scene and said he heard at least ten shots.

News of Cotton's death spread through the law enforcement community across the country. Patrol cars parked near the New Hope Baptist Church in Central City bore the names of the Jackson, Miss., department, of the Baton Rouge Police Department, of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office in Montana and more.

Cotton's commanding officer, Maj. Robert Bardy, stepped to the microphone and, with his voice shaking slightly, the grizzled veteran called Friday "one of the hardest days of my life."

He spoke of how he would use Cotton and her partner Latrice Selders as an example to other officers -- sometimes to embarrass them. He said the pair of young officers often outperformed their peers.

Her obit

Nicola Diane Cotton
COTTON Officer Nicola Diane Cotton on Monday, January 28, 2008, age 24 years. Beloved daughter of Jeannette Cotton and the late Hosea Robinson. Sister of Olydia Cotton-Willis and Monique Cotton. Granddaughter of James Cotton and the late Izella Cotton and Herbert Robinson. Niece of Mable Cotton, Vernell Wilkerson, Tyrone Cotton, Henry Cotton and Sherrine Cotton. Aunt of Jasmin, McKenzie and Jamar. Officer Cotton was a two and a half year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department and assigned to the 6th Police District. Relatives, friends, also members of the New Orleans Police Department, Warren Easton High School class of 2001, Carter G. Woodson Middle School and Delgado Community College are invited to attend the Funeral Services at New Hope Baptist Church, 1807 LaSalle Street, New Orleans, LA, on Friday, February 1, 2008 at 12:00 PM. Interment will follow in Greenwood Cemetery. Visitation on Friday from 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM. To view and sign the guest book, please go to www.lakelawnmetairie.com.
Published in The Times-Picayune on 1/30/2008.