Friday, November 28, 2008


Karen Gadbois at Squandered Heritage dot com posts about preservation in the light of "the powers that be" decision to build new LSU/VA hosptial over taking what's already in place and rehabilitating that.

These past months as the drone of process took place many of us knew that the day would come when the decision for the LSU/VA hospital would be made public. We knew the day was coming and we knew the endless processes and procedures that took place would have little to no impact on a decision that was made outside of the realm of public input. We were entertained, we were placated and we were lied to. But in the end those decisions were not ours to make for ourselves. The public realm, the private property and the fate of a neighborhood fell to those who will not show their faces, those who seek to make careers, not communities.

Mark over at Toulouse Street holds the opinion that quite a few in New Orleans share:

the announcement that our Betters have come to a decision on building a new hospital complex downtown. Rather than take the advice of the citizens to rehab the historic Charity complex (and some some loot to boot), or perhaps to take the idle ruin of old Lindy Boggs/Mercy Hospital in my own neighborhood of Mid-City, they will instead demolish an entire neighborhood of hundreds of homes in lower Mid-City to build their bio-science field of dreams.

One ignored side effect of this is that the area where I worked for the last year-and-a-half, the north side of the Central Business District, will remain mostly a ghost town of abandoned commercial buildings. All that is needed to complete the hair-brained scheme to convert downtown into some sort of condominium time-share hell is the other bright idea of our recovery leaders to move the civil district courts into the criminal justice complex down Tulane Avenue (adjacent to the new Hospital World), leaving the city’s commercial center a whistling ghost town.

The decision is wrong. Make your voice count and use the link below to
send a letter to the Governor, the Secretary of Health & Hospitals and the Secretary of Veterans affairs via the National Trust for Historic Places website

From their website

"The National Trust for Historic Preservation views this decision as a serious error, as better alternatives that would save the neighborhood around the hospital are available"

Sign the letter at this website
and pass this on. It's important.

Kudos to St. Bernard Project

Liz McCartney, dedicated to helping survivors of Hurricane Katrina rebuild their homes, was named 2008 CNN Hero of the Year.

The St. Bernard Project has rebuilt the homes of more than 120 families for free. St. Bernard Parish was leveled after a 20 foot storm surge roared up the MRGO and flooded and destroyed nearly everything.

McCartney, who will receive $100,000 to continue her work, was selected from among the top 10 CNN Heroes after six weeks of online voting at More than 1 million votes were cast.

Here's the background on Liz and her partner Zack:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Scuzzbucket of the Week

Walter Block,
who holds the economics chair at Loyola, delivered a lecture a couple of weeks ago at the namesake college in Baltimore on why women get paid a lot less than men and bump into a "glass ceiling."

His conclusion was that women are less productive.

During question time, someone asked why blacks get paid a lot less than whites.

The explanation was the same.

The way Block sees it, women's intellects cluster around the mean, while men dominate the high and the low ends of the spectrum. Thus, while women are much less likely to wind up in prison, an early grave or sleeping on the streets, they are also much less likely to win a Nobel Prize -- except for "wussy stuff like poetry" -- or rise to the top of a corporation.

The entire article can be read at the link above.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fort Pike Update

I got an email recently from someone who is working on cleaning up historic Fort Pike.
The Fort reopened 2 and 1/2 years after Katrina but was closed again this past September as a result of the impacts of the 2008 hurricane season.

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike caused just as much damage to the Fort as the 2005 season. It is currently closed due to clean up efforts, but should reopen by the start of 2009 season.

Here are some recent pictures showing what Gustav and Ike did to the Fort.
click on pictures for larger versions

Note the marsh grass washed in from the storms.

Here is a photo of the old Rigolets Bridge

And here's a picture of its demolition

This is the bridge that replaced the old, narrow bridge.

The view from the top is very nice. That coming from someone that's afraid of heights. I'd love to be able to stop at the top and look around someday.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Swampwoman over at the Mosquito Coast said she usually trashes emails with tags but is playing this time. And she tagged me. So, in that same spirit I'll play along.

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Okay, here are six random things about me:

1.) I'm left handed

2.) Hubby and I share the house with five (count em) felines

3.) I prefer boiled crabs over crawfish

4.) Born a yankee, I've spent more years of my life in S.E. Louisiana than my home state of Massachusetts.

5.) I will never get over my insane fear of cockroaches, dead or alive.

6.) I taught myself html when I quit smoking 10 years ago.

Here are the six bloggers I've tagged:

Wendy at Bayouwoman

Vicky Moos


Adrienne over at After Katrina

Howie over at Howieluvzus

Greta from Kiss My Gumbo

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Camellia City Market

Earlier this year I posted about Slidell's first Farmers' Market opening
after years of the city's residents resorting to travelling elsewhere for fresh produce.

Since its birth in April of this year, the Camellia City Market has grown and is still branching out.

In July of this year the market hosted its first live cooking demonstration
with Slidell native John Besh.

Hubby and I visited the market yesterday in search for wonderful Mediterranean food
from Pinnur Foods.

And we found it!

Lucky for us there was another cooking demonstration starting just as we arrived. The chef this week was Chef Scott Esteve from Abita Springs' Camellia Cafe. He was preparing oyster dressing. It was delicious.

We spoke with the people who run the Farmer's Market and they mentioned that they will have a cooking demonstration by the Redfish Grill in New Orleans. They'll be doing jumbo lumb crab cakes. I'll definitely be there.

On December 13th the market will be offering cookbooks signed by one of my favorite Louisiana cooks Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker from the Times Picayune.

The cookbook being offered is "Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes for Recovery From The Times-Picayune of New Orleans" and has 250 favorite authentic recipes from home cooks, restaurants and chefs, and tells the stories of those who lost the recipes and those who shared them so generously.

So if you're in the Slidell area on a Saturday morning, make the effort to visit the Camellia City Market from 8 am to 1 pm. It's worth the trip.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rebirth on the coast

The Gulf Coast of Mississippi to a brutal beating from Katrina.

I posted last year about a Mississippi artist who has created some heartwarming art using dead oak trees along Highway 90 in Gulfport/Biloxi as his canvas and a chainsaw as his brush.

We recently took a ride out to the coast to see how things are progressing and found some new works of the chainsaw artist Dayton Scoggin. Called Hurricane Katrina Beautifucation Project he has works placed in Biloxi, Gulfport, and Long Beach centered in the medians and in the Parks.

Here are pictures of what we found.
click on pictures for larger versions

We looked in the grass to find this owl's lost eye, but didn't find it.

this picture warms my heart because you can see growth from what was thougth to be a dead tree at the base of the pelican.

West Bay Diversion

From a Gambit piece
in the November 18th issue regarding the West Bay Diversion project

The Corps' attempt to dodge financial responsibility for dredging is another example of its egregious indifference toward Louisiana's — and the nation's — environmental plight. Moreover, the Breaux Act was passed to create, protect and restore Louisiana's coastal wetlands — not improve navigation.

Garret Graves, director of the Governor's Office on Coastal Activities and a nonvoting member of the task force, says the state will pay for the dredging in the short term to keep the West Bay project going. He adds that the Corps should revisit the idea of balancing navigation, flood control and coastal restoration. Like Nungesser, Graves is interested in solutions, and the West Bay diversion is part of the solution to coastal wetland loss. Graves reports that the project produces 3.7 million tons of sediment a year — sediment that builds protective wetlands rather than clogs shipping channels, which the Corps otherwise would have to dredge. According to Harrison of the Environmental Defense Fund, when the Corps dredges a navigational channel, 80 percent of the material is either pumped or dumped into the Gulf of Mexico.

The diversion thus saves money, because it uses sediment productively rather than requiring expensive dredging to expel it from shipping channels and dump it into the Outer Continental Shelf. The Water Resources Development Act of 2007 directed the Corps to implement a program for the beneficial use of dredge material and authorized $100 million for the project. Is there anything more beneficial than using sediment to restore wetlands — while saving the federal treasury money on dredging? "If done properly, [diversion projects] benefit navigation and that is the whole point of an integrated coastal program," Graves says.


image from Environmental Health Perspectives website

2nd Annual PoBoy Festival

Sunday, November 23, 2008: 12 noon - 6:00pm
Oak Street at South Carrollton

The 2008 New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival will feature two stages with live music, arts and crafts, a silent auction, a children’s section with games and prizes, a "Corner Grocery Photo Experience" photo booth, panel discussions covering the history of the po-boy (starting at 11:00 a.m.) and, of course, the best tasting po-boys in New Orleans.

Food Vendors

Art Vendors

Music Schedule

Big Oil & Our Wetlands

In a video by WWL TV Dennis Woltering talks about the destruction of Louisiana wetlands in LaFouche, Terrebone and Plaquemine parishes by big oil and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Final Blow

Cliff writes about the loss of his Ninth Ward home and the history it had three years after Katrina.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Schroeder says it all

Schroeder says it one hundred times better than I could ever have regarding the recent flare up between New Orleans Councilperson Stacey Head and Veronica "Whitney Houston wannabe" White.

Here's the video of Nagin discussing how he and Council president Jackie "Brownnose" Clarkson made things better

Here's a niblet of Schroeder's reaction

Ray Nagin is a freaking idiot! The man is a pandering racist himself! Just pull out that race card anytime you’re being scrutinized for ripping off the taxpayers.

Oh, and thank you, Jackie. You have about as much spine as a steaming colostomy bag. This ain’t a social. It’s about the taxpayers of New Orleans getting ripped off and shit on by a feckless, incompetent, stubborn, worthless man who enjoys the privileges of the office of mayor, without any of the responsibility or accountability.

On the subject of Mz White, Big Red Cotton says it all

Eli links to a petition to dismiss Veronica White here

Scuzzbuckets of the Week

The teachers and administrators in St. Tammany Parish who either refused to let students discuss Obama's victory or gave kids some bogus information
From the link above:

Many students said teachers displayed a clear political bias, and praised McCain in class while making disparaging remarks about the president-elect. Brandy Welch, a black eighth-grader at Slidell Junior High, said one of her teachers said that "Obama's not even from this country and that McCain is a war hero."

In some cases, students said they were threatened with punishment if they talked about the election.

"She said that if we did talk about (the election) she'd write us up, " 14 year-old Briana Seals, who is black, said of a teacher at Slidell Junior High School

Rachel Weaver, a senior at Northshore High School in Slidell and a white Obama supporter, said teacher and peer bias made her reluctant to voice her opinions. Some students used racial slurs to refer to the president-elect and her American history teacher simply ignored the election, Weaver said.

Makes me ill and happy that my daughter is no longer a part of this school system.

New BBQ for Slidell

We discovered a fantastic BBQ place in Slidell. Called Taste E Bones, their pulled pork sandwich (served on ciabatta bread) is fantastic.

Click here for their menu

New Orleans East Wetlands

Recently we took a trip down to Highway 90 in New Orleans East.

click photo's for full size versions

I drive some of Highway 90 going to and from work at the spaceship factory. Every day I notice how much damage the wetlands have suffered since Katrina. And the trees. Katrina killed thousands and thousands of trees .

For miles going east, away from New Orleans, this is the sight

This part of the swamps faces Lake Borgne, a lagoon in eastern Louisiana of the Gulf of Mexico. Due to coastal erosion, it is no longer actually a lake but rather an arm of the Gulf of Mexico. Its name comes from the French word borgne, which means "one-eyed".

Before Katrina, the trees in the photos above hid all of the wetlands you see past the dead trees. A good number of these trees were killed by saltwater intrusion created by Katrina's huge storm surge.

While we were snapping photos along Highway 90 near Powers Junction, when we discovered that a leg of Bayou Sauvage Wildlife Refuge was open once again to the public.

Different from the Refuge Boardwalk a mile or so up the road , the Madere has a boatlaunch and a short boardwalk that transports you from the traffic noise from Highway 90 into what seems like the heart of a bayou.

There are so many channels that you can canoe out to to do some serious wildlife watching.

For more info on Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge Click here

Ike and the wetlands

Hurricane Ike was over two months ago.

I'm finally finding the time to post some pictures hubby and I snapped during our trek around Slidell on the Friday morning Ike made landfall.

Although Ike came ashore in eastern Texas, everyone along the northern Gulf of Mexico felt his impact. The tidal surge created havoc days before, with road closures in New Orleans East and beyond.

Here's what we saw back in early September.
[click on pictures for full-size versions]

The Bayou Liberty bridge

The boat ramp at Bayou Liberty

Here's what it usually looks like.

A tree swing in a yard facing the bayou

Here's what it looks like when it's not flooding

Along Rats Nest Road in south Slidell there was an abundance of marsh grass that had been uprooted and washed ashore during Hurricane Gustav a week before.

Lake Pontchartrain was sporting whitecaps that day.(that's the twin spans in the background)

This structure is a victim of three hurricanes, but still standing.

This is what back-to-back hurricanes can do to your neighborhood when you live on the shores of the lake.

Along Hwy 11 in the community of Northshore, water was coursing across the road from the lake into the marsh.

This house was an island during that weekend.

Over in Lake Catherine about a month later we spotted this house. It looks as if maybe it was in the process of being built when Gustav/Ike came along.

All along Hwy. 90 in Lake Catherine were moutains of marsh grass that had washed ashore during Gustav and Ike.

A trailer that was tossed around in the floods of Gustav and Ike, laid to rest in this marsh grass.

The thing that stands out in my mind after seeing the storm surge from Hurricane Ike was how much more water came ashore compared to pre-Katrina storms. Katrina destroyed so much wetlands that there is now nothing to protect us against future storms...even those that don't hit us directly. We have to save our wetlands now.