Thursday, July 31, 2008

Scuzzbucket of the Week

It's like a bad comedy. The sad part is it's true.

Wayward Jefferson Parish Senator (who voted for this idiot?) Shepherd has been in trouble for some time now. The latest is his arrest for what appears to be his slow descent into insanity.

Shepherd was released early Sunday morning after being arrested Saturday night, accused of punching his ex-girlfriend and stealing her cellular phone and $100, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office reported.

Shepherd, D-Marrero, was arrested around 6:45 p.m. Saturday and booked with unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, simple battery and theft over $500.

Shepherd was arrested at his residence in Stonebridge. The sheriff's office said there were two women in the house, one of whom appeared to be performing a lap dance on Shepherd, who was on a sofa.

At a press conference Sunday afternoon, Sheriff Newell Normand reported that deputies responded to a call of aggravated burglary at the home of Thaise Ashford, 29, early Saturday.

Deputies later learned that Ashford and Shepherd had a romantic relationship that ended in 2005.

All that changed on July 30th:

During Tuesday's three-hour hearing, Thaise Ashford recanted domestic abuse claims she filed with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office on Saturday. She initially told police that Shepherd, whom she described as a jilted lover, bashed in her door while she was sleeping, became violent, left her with bruised arms and stomach, and stole her $589 Blackberry Pearl and a $100 bill.

In court, Ashford said she and Shepherd are still intimately involved. She said she manufactured the story for police out of frustration that Shepherd paid her a visit after 3 a.m. instead of at 10 the previous night as they had planned.

Explaining the missing phone, she said she and Shepherd were "fussing" with each other over trust issues and agreed to exchange cell phones to demonstrate that neither was being unfaithful. She explained away the broken door frame by saying it was previously damaged.

Ashford, 29, the transportation coordinator for the New Orleans Recovery School District, according to a state Department of Education Web site, testified that she yanked Shepherd's shirt at one point, igniting a scuffle inside and outside the house. When he eventually drove away, she threw a rock at his car window and called 911 to report that he had stopped by unannounced and hit her.

"I was angry, and before I even thought about it I did it, " she said.

Attorney John Reed, who called Ashford as a defense witness, asked her directly several times whether Shepherd had attacked her.

"Did Derrick Shepherd punch you?" Reed asked.

"No, he did not, " she said.

"Did he hit you?" he repeated.

"No, he did not, " she said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Magner suggested that Ashford was bowing under great pressure by Shepherd, with the lawmaker going so far as to arrange for Gretna lawyer Bruce Netterville on Monday to draw up an affidavit recanting her report to deputies. He said Shepherd violated a state judge's earlier order to stay away from Ashford by putting her in touch with Netterville, and in turn violated his federal bond requiring him to abide by all federal, state and local laws.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier called state Sen. Derrick Shepherd's weekend domestic violence arrest "very troubling," but agreed with a magistrate judge's decision to allow him to await trial under house arrest.

"I've got to say, Mr. Shepherd, this is very disturbing, your behavior," he said. "I don't know what you're thinking."

The senator told Barbier that he had elected to have his mother's house on Blueberry Court in Marrero wired with a monitoring device,

saying his Stonebridge house in Gretna was merely an investment property that he plans to flip.

He uses a third address on Garden Road in Marrero for official documents, but a neighbor said a tenant has rented the house from Shepherd for at least a year.

When asked to state his legal residence, Shepherd told the judge that he "lives and sleeps" at all three houses, dodging accusations that he doesn't reside in his 3rd Senate District.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ahh...summer vacation

We spent four days last week (the middle of July, mind you) on the shores of beautiful Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville Louisiana. It truely is beautiful, but I believe I'd enjoy it much better in November. It was ungodly hot!!!

I'd say it was a bargain at $90/night.....a lot cheaper than some stinky hotel rooms in some unknown city between here and Maine (where we were supposed to go before the demons that run the oil business got super greedy). So without further ado, here are pictures of those very comfy cabins and our experiences:

click on photos for full-sized versions

We stayed in Cabin #9 of 12 cabins

The cabins are staggered, so that your views are varied but not obstructed by other cabins

The kitchen accomodates people who enjoy cooking - with more room than my own kitchen.

Nice dining room furniture for those who use it......we usually end up using ours as a place to drop our stuff. The floors are stamped concrete which are nice an cool underfoot.

The living room is very comfortable, with a fold out sofa and a love seat and a great tv.....BUT, for those of you with kids and particular TV watching habits....they only have direct tv basic...(no food TV, sniff)

Very comfy master bedroom. I'm sad that it was too warm to not have the windows open to hear the surf,

The guest room can sleep four kids or more...there are four bunkbeds.

Both bedrooms were connected by a screened-in porch with two rockers. Here's a shot I took when I mistakenly locked myself on the porch and knocked for five or so minutes, hoping to alert hubby or my daughter.

The four days we spent there were very calming for us. We lazed around, canoed, rode bikes and watch "the deadliest catch" forever (the only thing we got that interested us, lol.)

It was good to be away. The last morning we were there, I looked outside to see a beautiful rainbow on the lake.

And if nothing else, our trip there allowed my beautiful husband, with a heart for nature to capture this fantastic picture of a "cayenne dragon fly". The first he's seen in his life. It was truely a beautiful afternoon.

So if OPEC steals your vacation this year, push back at those fucktards and take a local vacation. There's a lot of beauty around us which we need to focus on. Katrina has taught me that much.

This sucks for everybody

Just when we think that it's okay to go back into the water again
this happens

From the Institute for
Southern Studies comes this article
regarding the oil spill that took place in the Mississippi River on July 24th.

booms that have been placed along the Mississippi's banks to keep the oil away are in many cases trapping the pollution against the shore.... The smell of petroleum hangs heavy over the entire river, the banks of which are coated with tarry oil, as seen in this LEAN photograph taken on the border of Orleans and St. Bernard parishes:

according to a recent report from newsinferno dot com

The Mississippi River oil spill occurred when a 600-foot tanker and a barge loaded with fuel collided. The spill occurred about 1:30 a.m. central time last Wednesday near the Crescent City Connection, a pair of New Orleans bridges. The barge split in half, spilling more than 419,000 gallons of tar-like oil into the river. The barge’s owner, American Commercial Lines, immediately took responsibility for the oil spill.

The ill-fated barge was being pushed by the tugboat the Mel Oliver. Last week, the US Coast Guard determined that no one on the Mel Oliver had the proper licensing for piloting a tugboat. The operator on the Mel Oliver at the time of the collision had only an apprentice mate’s license, and no one else on the barge had a license. To legally pilot a tugboat, an operator is required to have a master’s license.

Now it turns out that the pilot of the Ruby E., another DRD tugboat that sank on the Mississippi River on July 18th just four miles from last week’s collision was also being piloted by an apprentice mate. Three days ago, the Coast Guard had said that the Ruby E.’s crew was properly licensed, but has since issued a correction.

So far, the Coast Guard has refused to release further details about its investigation the Ruby E. sinking, or the oil spill. Officials from DRD have also not returned the Times-Picayune’s calls requesting comment.

Now we're entering the height of hurricane season with this insanity in the river. Seems like things just get crazier and more unbelievable every day around this earth.

Lee Zurik

Local reporter is DEFINITELY getting under Nagin's skin.

Check this out and follow the links

Lee Zurik, an investigative reporter is doing his job and doing it well.

Hope they make him King of Endymion.

And if that happens, then of course Karen Gabdois deserves to be on the same float for her endless work keeping her nose in New Orleans' Katrina recovery.

As usual Schroeder covers this subject in his unique way.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Taking a few days off to do absolutely NOTHING. We're having a "staycation", staying close to home; we look forward to seeing manatees and other assorted vacation-type activities

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ticking Time Bomb

This NOPD officer - hopefully soon to be former NOPD officer - appears to have anger issues.

According to WWL TV dot com, Ashley Terry came unglued while waiting in line
at a Treme Summer Day Camp pickup line.

From NOLA dot com:

On Tuesday afternoon, dozens of children at a community center in Treme ran inside screaming that a lady outside had a gun.

The woman - who according to several witnesses announced that she was a New Orleans police officer - had come to the Treme Community Center to pick up a 7-year-old nephew and, for reasons unknown, became enraged at the driver of the car in front of her in the pickup line, witnesses said.

Numerous witnesses said the woman relentlessly honked her car horn. As the situation escalated, she yelled expletives at the other driver and got halfway out of her car and brandished a gun, they said. At that point one of the witnesses called 911, but several people said the responding officer spoke privately with the angry woman, then said loudly as the two walked together that she should've shot a man who told her to put her gun down because children were present, witnesses said.

On a radio talk show yesterday, the widow of an NOPD officer murdered by his partner, Antoinette Frank said that Ashley Terry's behaviour reminded her of Antoinette Frank as far as the crazed bully-like personality. Frank is on deathrow for the murders of Officer Ronald Williams and a Vietnamese family in 1995.

NOPD needs a real leader.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Scuzzbucket of the Week Part Deux

Slidell Police arrested one of their own
after an internal investigation determined the officer stole from several Hispanic motorists during traffic stops, authorities said.
Officer Jonathan M. Lutman, 25, resigned Friday after two years on the force. He was booked with one count of theft over $500, eight counts of theft under $300 and four counts of malfeasance in office, Police Chief Freddy Drennan said at a news conference

Police believe Lutman targeted Hispanics because he believed the language barrier would prevent them from reporting the thefts, Drennan said. Most of his victims spoke English poorly or not at all, he said.
If convicted on all charges Lutman could face up to 74 year in prison at hard labor and up to a fine of $59,000 or both.

Domestic Tragedy

This was published six months ago, but I feel compelled to blog about it.

From the Institute for Southern Studies,
a publication which discusses the hypocracy of the current "leaders" of our country. It's entitled

A Global Human Rights Perspective on a National Disaster

you can read the report here (pdf file).

Hurricane Katrina was not only a domestic tragedy: The U.S. government's insufficient efforts to prevent families from being uprooted, its inadequate emergency response, and the still-lagging recovery are at odds with internationally-recognized human rights principles -- standards that the Bush administration has promoted in other countries.

The report is the first in-depth look at how closely U.S. officials have abided by the U.N. Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in the wake of Katrina. The United Nations adopted the Principles in 1998 to protect the rights of people uprooted by war, storms and other calamities.

Leaders in Washington have embraced the U.N. Guiding Principles for helping disaster victims abroad, said Chris Kromm, co-author of the study and Institute director. "But there's serious concern that the Principles continue to be ignored at home in the Gulf Coast."

Scuzzbucket of the Week

Don't know this person's name, but stumbled across his blog via Google alerts for "gulf coast".
It's people who think like this that make the expression Sinn Fein more appropriate for
people affected by Katrina.

This mook, probably a frustrated yankee living in BFE in Wyoming, which is why he sounds so bitter, can't let it go when it comes to writing hurtful things about Katrina's legacy

The Gulf Coast is America's back 40. It's the ghetto, the slum, the sewer outfall. Nobody really knows what's going on down there, or cares, so all kinds of stories can be made up about it, and who's gonna argue?
And I'm thinking they're right. The Gulf Coast is the dark underbelly of flyover country. Say what you want about it, because nobody's gonna check up on you. We eat the fish and shrimp from it, burn the oil and gas from it, buy the products from the refineries along it, and no one protests drilling in it, so why should we pay attention to it?

nice guy, eh?

STILL not okay

Pascagoula, Mississippi is still struggling to recover from Katrina nearly three years after the storm.

Months of wrangling over proposals to bring a limited number of "Katrina cottages" to the city on a permanent basis ended Tuesday night when city leaders unanimously approved the measures.
Before the votes, Dorothy Shaw, director of state and local affairs with Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, told the council that the shipyard could hire 1,000 workers today if there were somewhere for them to live. Representatives from Chevron Refinery Pascagoula, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others were there in support of the project.

We were 95 percent underwater. So we have a lot of people that have not rebuilt, don't have a place to live. Couple that with our industry that's having trouble finding employees and Pascagoula depends on that," said Pascagoula City Manager, Kay Kell.

Up to 16 cottages will be donated by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to the city will be lived in for two years by people still in need of assistance, Kell said.
People who are in the process of rebuilding and don't have anywhere to go or don't have room on their lot for the cottage while rebuilding will reside in the cottages.
After the two-year deadline, the city-owned property and cottages will become a retail area, Kell said.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Besh at the Market

This past Saturday, those who ventured out to the Slidell Camellia City Farmers' Market were treated to a cooking demo by Slidell native John Besh. There were alot of older ladies there, one even demanding that my daughter and I move our chairs (which we'd been sitting in for 30 minutes before the demo began) so that she didn't have to sit in the sun. Sorry, Grandma! Don't get me wrong, I'm not hateful towards elderly people, just rude elderly people!

In this pic, Besh is being greeted by Mary Dubuisson, founder of the Market

The man has a fantastic personality. Several old ladies yelled out that Besh should've won Iron Chef America and Besh agreed.

Here Besh is prepping for his bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes. He has four sons and three of them were there that day, serving samples of the bruschetta to the crowd.

It was super hot and humid that day and Besh and his chef Mike were sweating bullets, but neither one missed a beat in grilling the bread and warming the
tomato mixture.

At the end of the demo, people lined up to get his autograph or to ask questions.

Here my daughter is telling him that she's a culinary student AND that she's going to
La Provence next month. It's great when your kid looks up to the likes of Besh rather than something like Paris Hilton (shudder).

Yeah, we're looking forward to eating at La Provence. The restaurant is beautiful and the waitstaff attentive but not overbearing and food mouthwatering.

From An old article in the NY Times

He is the anti-Emeril, a polite, bona fide hometown boy who is less bam! and more bayou. That he looks good on television hasn’t hurt.

Spend some time with Mr. Besh, and it becomes clear that he knows how to work his assets, which include an addictive laugh, deep blue eyes and hair that always looks a few days away from really needing a cut.

He is a practiced bad boy. His idea of a joke is to send his Israeli-born chef at the Besh Steakhouse at Harrah’s on a nine-hour drive with a car full of Berkshire pork to a Tennessee smokehouse for what Mr. Besh calls “ham camp.”

check out this link to watch the chef (who calls himself a "cook")create
a classic southern breakfast of pork grillades and grits

Friday, July 11, 2008

NOLA Rising

Michael "ReX" Dingler and others commenting on the past year.

Here's a comment gleaned from about the group's efforts:

"...Rex had the unassuming belief that if he offered public words of encouragement to those souls striving to eke out a life in post-Katrina New Orleans, that perhaps he could buoy his community and help everyone work towards a happier, and decidedly healthier future."

"...because of Rex's efforts to preserve that uniqueness that all Americans hold dear, regardless of where our legal addresses keep us anchored. Rex is nothing less than an ambassador and he has the global support to back up this notion."

posted by SINA of Tucson

Thursday, July 10, 2008

FEMA Trailer Stuff


AP - Companies that make recreational vehicles should not be blamed for high levels of formaldehyde in FEMA trailers, according to a report by House Republicans.
The partisan analysis instead points the finger at the federal government for not having standards for safe levels of formaldehyde before Hurricane Katrina victims lived in the trailers.

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. received the bulk of the FEMA trailer contracts after Katrina. Gulf Stream Coach chairman Jim Shea said every FEMA trailer was inspected at the factory, and FEMA inspectors were at the manufacturing plant while the trailers were being made.
Since Hurricane Katrina, Gulf Stream's lobbying costs have more than doubled.
In 2003 and 2004, there was no lobbying activity on behalf of Gulf Stream for trailer-related issues. In 2005, Gulf Stream paid less than $10,000 to lobby the House and administration on trailer contracts. But it paid $50,000 in 2006, $120,000 in 2007, and $60,000 in the first quarter of 2008 to lobby the House and administration on trailer issues, according to Senate records.


On another FEMA trailer front:

From the "Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

HOPE — The 146 acres leased by FEMA at the city airport for $ 25,000 a month to store trailers for victims of natural disasters isn’t enough to meet the agency’s needs, so the city board has approved rental of 85 acres more for an additional $ 5,000 monthly.

Catherine Cook, city manaager of Hope said FEMA officials told her recently that the massive inventory of mobile homes and travel trailers is becoming difficult to manage without additional space. In addition to serving as a storage area for trailers before they are provided to disaster victims, the airport staging area is being used to recondition some trailers after those victims move into other housing.



Keeping the Gulf Coast in the minds of people, we have those dedicated folks of the

KatrinaRitaville Express

The 32-foot FEMA trailer, called the KatrinaRitaVille Express, will be open to visitors in the parking lot of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday. It's part of a nationwide tour to educate the public about "what's really going on in the name of recovery in the Gulf region while families are still living in these toxic trailers," said tour coordinator Derrick Evans.
Evans, a school teacher and Mississippi native, heads a grass-roots organization called the Gulf Coast Peoples' Movement for Full and Fair Recovery.

Katrina victims have been forgotten - we want their voices heard by everyone in the country, said Latifa Woodhouse of Great Neck, who, with her husband, Colin, arranged for the Manhasset stop. Estimates range from 15,000 to 37,000 New Orleans and Gulf Region families are still housed in FEMA trailers, which scientists last year determined to have potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

He has been driving the trailer across the country, scheduling stops near the White House and the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, and other tour sites. He plans to park the trailer close to both the Republican and Democratic conventions and presidential debate sites.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Mississippi Gulf Coast

Chris Rose writes about a recent trip to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in his latest article.

The social and familial bonds that link places like Biloxi and Pass Christian to New Orleans have always struck me as some of the most symbiotic and even romantic interstate relationships that exist in our country.

Sure, the place still looks like hell. My daughter, who has seen some pretty rough stuff around New Orleans the past two years, summed it up succinctly. "Daddy," she said. "This place really got destroyed."

Indeed, where once-glorious mansions stood there are now mostly just tangles of overgrowth.

There's not a lot to warm the heart, even though a few brave souls have built houses atop towering beams.

I took Highway 90 from Bay St. Louis to Biloxi last weekend to pick up my daughter at the airport (sooo much better than Moisant to get to). Aside from the casinos,
there is very little being built in some places. It still resembles this picture, taken last year

I was also reminded of my 'Art from Destruction' post when I saw the beautiful carvings made from live oaks that were killed by Katrina

They're coming back, but it'll take time.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Plaquemine Parish Update

Michael Homan chronicles his recent trip to Plaquemine Parish and how it appears nearly three years post K.

I previously wrote about Plaquemine Parish's slow recovery

Another victim of Katrina

Sad, Sad, Sad.

Nearly three years after Katrina, people who survived the storm and its aftermath are still dealing with all sorts of
mental problems. These problems can be directly related to the horrific stress we were all under. People deal
with it in their own ways. Some are okay and some will never be okay again.

Case in point:

From the Times Picayune the story of a 58 year old well-educated man in so much painful denial

For months after Lon Adams' 81-year-old father died, the decomposing body lay in an upstairs bedroom of the Metairie home they shared, raising questions that not even Adams can answer.

"He died. I couldn't deal with it so I just left him there", Adams said Monday while fighting back tears. "I blocked it out of my mind. I was stressed out after Katrina. I just, just don't know."

Adams, 58, said his father died of natural causes, possibly Alzheimer's disease.

Despite being a well-educated, accomplished military and career man, Adams said he still cannot understand why he didn't notify authorities sooner, why he allowed his father's body to stay in bed in an upstairs bedroom for so many months and how he managed to shut out the reality of it all for so long.

I can't explain what happened, Adams said. "I regret it very much."

Lon Adams was taken into custody while his mentally handicapped son, Chad, 31, who also lived at the residence, was turned over to relatives. Lon Adams was taken to West Jefferson Hospital in Marrero for an eight-day mental evaluation and released.

Adams said he was very close with his father. The two lived next-door to one another in eastern New Orleans for 20 years and had lunch every Saturday and Sunday. Leroy Adams was from Bay St. Louis, Miss., but his son grew up in New Orleans and attended Cor Jesu High School. Adams said he graduated from Loyola University in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in political science and earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans in 1979.

Adams served 28 years in the Army Reserve, retiring in 1999 as a lieutenant colonel. Adams said he worked for AT&T for 27 years as a project manager until he retired after Hurricane Katrina in November 2005, exhausted and burned out.
He served as a caregiver for his father to keep him from having to go to a nursing home. He said he took his father for treatment at the VA Medical Center in New Orleans until the storm closed the facility.

I know there are some crackpots out there who will view this as 'just another wacko from that crazy place that shouldn't be rebuilt' and I feel sorry
for them for being so narrow minded and cold hearted. This story is quite tragic and I'm sure there are many versions of this within the miles and
miles of devastation wrought by the storm.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Grand Isle post K

From the "daily comet" dot com, an article that discusses Louisiana's Grand Isle's rebirth from Katrina.

Tourists are back, business is bustling, construction is everywhere.

That's good to know. Grand Isle State Park is undergoing beach reclamation at this point, so it's closed to camping right now.

Grand Isle State Park is also enjoying a building boom of sorts. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is currently pumping sand onto the beach, in an effort to rebuild what was lost to Katrina. This has closed beachside camping and is causing a lot of noise for those campers who braved one of the park’s off-beach campsites.

“We’ve got three hundred feet of new beach,” the manager of the park Jason Cline said. “The corp is moving really fast. They started on the tenth of June. I know it’s right in the middle of the tourist season, but that’s when the corp said they could do it … We’ve got a lot of projects coming up. As soon as we finish the new bathhouse, we’re going to renovate the old one. I see no reason that beach camping won’t be back by next summer.”

Guess I'll start planning a road trip to Grand Isle next year. It's been too long.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Bay St. Louis & Waveland- three years post K

I've posted about the state of two small Mississippi towns that were pulverized by the winds that were to the east of Katrina's eyewall.

Waveland and Bay St. Louis were serene, sleepy coastal towns before the storm. And by the looks of things this past weekend, they're on their way back, although they still have a long way to go.

click on pictures for full size versions

Hubby and I decided to spend July 4th at the

Our Lady of the Gulf 24th Annual Crabfest in Bay St. Louis.

This church somehow survived Katrina's 28 foot storm surge pretty much intact

True to the theme of the festival, they had some succulent boiled crabs. The first thing we did was devour these two plates of seafood, washed down by ice cold Abita beer

The festival was pretty low-key, which was actually quite enjoyable. I must be getting old. The band Relative Unknowns played and they were damn good.

The food was great and the weather was tolerable with a nice breeze off the bay.

In between courses of boiled seafood and fried catfish, we took a walk around the grounds of the festival and spotted a few interesting sites.

Bay St. Louis City Hall still appears to be closed due to storm damage

St. Stanislaus School has repaired the pier that juts out from it's grounds

There is a really neat little gazebo built around an oak right next to City Hall

And a few blocks away is the rebirth of Old Town Bay St. Louis, an area of shops and eateries that we've yet to discover .

On the way home we took Hwy 90 along the coast to check out how the recovery was coming.

You can still see a lot of Katrina Cottages springing up along the Waveland coast.

But now there are big, beautiful bay front homes being completed like these two:

Of course, some people have been screwed by the insurance companies

With much thanks to all of those who have taken part in the rebuilding of Katrina's vast wasteland. We salute you