Thursday, December 31, 2009

recycling Christmas Trees

okay, southern Louisianians, recycle your Christmas trees.

Here are the details by parish:
Jefferson Parish - All residents of unincorporated Jefferson Parish and Lafitte are asked to place their tree curbside on the evening of January 6 for collection on January 7, 8, and 9. Trees should be stripped of all tinsel, garland, lights, ornamentation, plastic bags and tree stands. Flocked or painted trees cannot be used in this project. Garbage trucks will make only one pass through each neighborhood, typically on the second scheduled collection day.

Jefferson Parish is looking for volunteers with shallow draft boats to assist with placing Christmas trees into pre-constructed shoreline fences located in Goose Bayou, near the town of Jean Lafitte. Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at Cochiara’s Marina, 4477 Jean Lafitte Boulevard in Lafitte, Louisiana on the following four Saturdays: January 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2010. If inclement weather (rain or high winds), please call 731-4612 to check if scheduled event has been cancelled.

Volunteers must be at least 17 years of age. Volunteers should wear layered clothing including long pants, long sleeved shirt, and closed-toe, sturdy shoes. Hats and sunscreen are recommended. Gloves, safety glasses and life vests will be provided. Lunch and refreshments will be provided as well.

Lafourche Parish - Lafourche Parish Government is asking residents to help fight coastal erosion by recycling their Christmas trees. Each Christmas tree recycled through this program is placed along the coastline in Lafourche Parish to help restore the coast and lessen the impact of hurricanes which causes erosion. Curbside collection of Christmas trees will occur on January 7, 8 and 9 and again on January 14, 15 and 16. Residents wishing to participate can simply place their Christmas tree curbside, separate from garbage and trash items, for pick-up during these periods. Residents can also drop off their tree at any time in the designated bin at one of the three drop-off sites: Thibodaux High School, Central Lafourche High School, and South Lafourche High School.

All trees should be completely bare. Residents should remove all ornaments, lights, tinsel and tree stands. Only green trees will be collected; no flocked or artificial trees. Any tree placed on the curbside AFTER January 16, or any tree which is not recyclable, will be picked up with the regular garbage pick-up. Again, residents are encouraged to be a part of this wonderful program and recycling their tree by bringing it curbside during one of the collection periods or by dropping it off at one of the three high school sites.

Orleans Parish - The initiative collects used Christmas trees after the holiday season to be deposited in Bayou Sauvage as part of an ongoing wetland restoration project. Residents of Orleans Parish who would like to participate are asked to place their trees curbside on the evening of January 6 for collection on January 7, 8 and 9. Trees should be stripped of all tinsel, garland, lights, ornamentation, plastic bags and tree stands. Flocked or painted trees cannot be used for the project. Garbage trucks will only make one pass through each neighborhood.

Plaquemines Parish - The tree pickup will begin January 5. NATURAL TREES ONLY. (Painted, flock, and artificial trees not accepted).

St. Charles Parish - The Department of Public Works will be out starting Monday, January 4 through Friday, January 8 to pick up Christmas Trees to be recycled. Residents are being asked to put your trees by your curb for pickup. Please do not put trees in the roadways. For those unable to get their trees out that week, Monday, January 11 will be the final day for picking up the trees. Any trees not pickup will be the responsibility of the resident to dispose.

St. Tammany Parish - The annual Christmas tree recycling program is taking place in St. Tammany Parish. Starting Wednesday, December 30, citizens may drop off their discarded Christmas trees at two locations in St. Tammany: in Covington, at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds Florida Street (East) Entrance, and in Slidell, at the Slidell Parish Complex on Military Road just north of Brownswitch Road. Citizens may also call their individual waste haulers for information on tree pick up dates. Look at your bill to determine your waste hauler and phone number.

Terrebonne Parish - Crews will collect Christmas trees January 2 to January 9. Only green trees will be accepted. Flocked trees or trees with tinsel and decorations cannot be used. Only trees that meet these criteria will be picked up and used for this program. For more information, contact the Terrebonne Parish Solid Waste Department at 985-873-6739.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas in New Orleans

New Orleans blogger Slate recounts how exhilarating it was living thru that first Christmas after the storm. (the good, the bad,the ugly) Read it, it's a great post.

The Snakes of 2009

Via American Zombie's blog , the snakes in the NOLA area for this year. Excellent!!!

Scuzzbucket is too nice a name for this

From nola dot com

Not only is this man freaky looking, but he's dumb as a rock. Here's the story:

Authorities say a Florida man who called 911 claiming he'd been beaten and shot at was hoping the tale would get him a ride to a bar.

Instead, 37-year-old Gregory J. Oras is facing charges of misusing the 911 system and battery of a law enforcement officer.

An arrest report says Oras called 911 three times before his arrest early Tuesday in Oldsmar, northwest of Tampa. He told the dispatcher he had a broken nose and bleeding ears, and claimed people were shooting at him.

Authorities say he was actually looking for a ride to another bar.

The report also says Oras kicked a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy in the knees and a Taser was used to subdue him.

Online records show he is being held at the Pinellas County Jail but don't indicate whether he has an attorney.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a Saints Fan "must see" website

There are SO MANY Saints tribute fans at this site.

Please take the time to check them out before Sunday's game It will get the Saints fans in the mood and ready to cheer our boys to victory~!

Well, if not victory, it'll get the fans psyched up~~~

here's my fave

one "list of the decade"

Taken from what's left of NOLA dot com, the highlights of the 200x decade:

December 29, 2009, 12:52PM

Was it only a decade ago that a blackberry was a mere warm season fruit? That green was, well, a color, and reality TV was that one show sandwiched between music videos on MTV?

The Associated Press

Crocs, life-changing? The ubiquitous plastic clogs debuted in 2002 and became the shoes people loved to hate. There were, of course, huge political and social upheavals that roiled the world in the past decade, but there also were the gradual lifestyle changes that people do not always notice when they are happening; kind of like watching a child grow older. Here is an alphabetical look at 50 things that changed our lives since the beginning of the millennium:

AIRPORTS: Remember when you did not have to take off your shoes before getting on a plane? Remember when you could bring a bottled drink on board? Political terror changed all that.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: From acupuncture to herbal supplements to alternative ways of treating cancer, alternative medicine became more mainstream than ever.

APPS: There is an app for that! The phrase comes from Apple iPhone advertising, but could apply to the entire decade's gadget explosion, from laptops to GPS systems (want your car to give you directions to Mom's house in Chinese, or by a Frenchwoman named Virginie? There was an app for that.)

AARP (American Association for Retired People) cards ... for baby boomers! Some prominent Americans turned 50 this decade: the pop singers Madonna and Prince. Comic Ellen DeGeneres. The Smurfs. Michael Jackson, the King of Pop -- who also died at 50. And some prominent "early boomers" turned 60: Rocker Bruce Springsteen and actress Meryl Streep, for example.

AGING: Nobody seemed to look their age anymore: Clothes for 50-year-old women started looking more like clothes for 18-year-olds, tweens looked more like teens, long hair was popular for all ages, and in many ways women's fashion seemed to morph into one single age group.

BLOG: I blog, you blog, he blogs ... How did we spend our time before blogging? There are more than 100 million of these Web logs out there in cyberspace.

BLACKBERRIES: Considered essential by corporate CEOs and moms planning playdates. Introduced in 2002, the smartphone version is now used by more than 28 million people, according to its maker, Research In Motion Ltd.

BOOK CLUBS: Thanks in part to TV personality and business mogul Oprah Winfrey, the decade saw not only a profusion in book discussion clubs but a growing reliance on them by publishers.

CABLE: Cable 24-hour news made the evening network news seem quaint, cable dramas reaped Emmys ... and at decade's end, even Oprah was making the move to cable.

CAMERAS: Remember those trips to get film developed? Nope? Even your grandmother has a digital camera, and she is probably e-mailing you photos right now or uploading them to a photo-sharing site.

CELEBRITY CULTURE: Celebrity magazines fed a growing obsession with celebrities and the everyday minutiae of their lives. By decade's end, Americans still were obsessed, though Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie had ceded many covers to reality stars like Jon and Kate Gosselin. Celebrity Web sites like TMZ took hold mid-decade.

CELL PHONES: Cell phones are now used by more than 85 percent of the U.S. population and for some have replaced land lines. On the downside, they have made cheating on a spouse more difficult -- just ask Tiger Woods.

CHEFS: Chefs are hot! The Food Network, whose viewership tripled this decade, reeled in viewers with high-voltage personalities like Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Giada De Laurentis. Meryl Streep starred in a cinematic pean to the late Julia Child.

CONNECTIVITY: As in, we are all expected to be connected, wirelessly, all the time. Boss e-mails you on a Sunday? Better answer, because unless you are off in Antarctica, you have no excuse.

COUGARS: A new TV series called "Cougar Town" focuses on a phenomenon that gained its name this decade: women dating younger men.

CROCS: Those ubiquitous plastic clogs debuted in 2002 and became the shoes you loved to hate. Kids love 'em, but there are Web groups dedicated to their destruction. Not to be deterred: Michelle Obama, who wore them on vacation in 2009.

DANCING: Dancing never went out of style, but this decade saw the huge popularity of dancing contests like "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Dancing With the Stars."

DATING: Dating was transformed like everything else by Internet sites, rendering other ways of meeting people obsolete. And it was not just the territory of the relatively young: Seniors found love online, too.

The Associated PressAn icon of the digital age, the iPod was launched in 2001. Six years later, the 100 millionth iPod was sold.DVRs: Suddenly, DVR-ing is a verb, and what it means is this: There's no reason to know anymore what channel your program is on, and what time.

EMBARRASSMENT ENTERTAINMENT: Embarrassment has always been part of comedy -- you need only think of Don Rickles -- but this is the decade of cringe-worthy Larry David in "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Ricky Gervais, and of course Sacha Baron Cohen, who as Borat and Bruno shamed perhaps the entire country.

FACEBOOK: Can you believe this social networking site was once limited only to Harvard students? Now it is a time-sucking obsession for more than 300 million users globally and a whole new form of social etiquette: Whom to friend on Facebook?

FAT: This was the decade that fat became the enemy of the state. New York City banned trans fats, and Alabama -- second in national obesity rankings -- introduced a tax on overweight state workers.

FOODIE: It is not just that guy in the White House who liked arugula -- this was the decade of the foodie, when we all developed gourmet palates. Even a burger became a gourmet item -- as in Daniel Boulud's truffle burger, stuffed with foie gras and short ribs.

GOING GREEN: From the kind of light bulbs we use to the kind of shopping bags we carry to the cars we drive, "going green" took hold this decade. Now, it is not strange to hear a schoolchild tell a parent to use a cloth grocery bag.

GOOGLE: This was the decade that Google became a part of our brain function. You know that guy who was in that movie -- when was it? Just Google it.

GPS: We cannot get lost anymore -- or at least it is pretty difficult, with the ubiquitous GPS systems. But you had better type in your location carefully: One couple made a 400-mile mistake this year by typing "Carpi" rather than "Capri."

HELICOPTER PARENTING: Translation: helicopters hover, and so do many parents. After years of obsessive attention to safety and achievement of the youngest children, some said a backlash was under way.

INFORMATION OVERLOAD: An explosion in Internet use led to an overload of information about practically everything. It is at our fingertips, but is it accurate? Some call it part of a larger phenomenon, namely ...

INSTANT GRATIFICATION: Otherwise known as being able to get anything you want within an instant. Often referred to as a theme of the decade.

IPODS: An icon of the digital age, it is hard to believe this portable media player was launched in 2001. Six years later the 100 millionth iPod was sold.

LIFE COACHES: In the aughts, there was a coach for everything! So why not life itself? Some say life coaches are merely therapists without the license or regulations.

MUSICALS: They have been around forever, but this decade musicals came back to film, starting with "Moulin Rouge" and "Chicago." But for kids, it was Disney's extremely successful "High School Musical" franchise -- three movies and counting -- that brought back the musical magic.

NETFLIX: The DVD by mail service, established in 1997, announced its two-billionth DVD delivery this year. For many, those discs on top of the TV are just one more thing to procrastinate over.

ORGANIC: Americans rushed to fill their grocery carts with organic food, making it big business -- now a $21 billion industry, up from $3.6 billion in 1997. At decade's end, Michelle Obama planted the first White House organic vegetable garden.

PREGNANCY CHIC: If you've got it, flaunt it: That was the new ethos of the pregnancy experience, with chic clothes that emphasized the bulging belly, personal pregnancy photos, and endless coverage of celebrity pregnancies.

REALITY TV: As a nation, we became addicted to reality TV, from the feuding Gosselins of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" to "American Idol" to "Project Runway." At decade's end, the Heenes of Balloon Boy fame and the Salahis of gate crashing fame give reality TV some unwanted attention.

RECESSION CHIC: Fashion skewed to more severe styles, and much black, as so-called "recession chic" took hold in the latter part of the decade.

RETRO CHIC: Once you forget the smoking, the racism, the sexism and the homophobia, the early 1960s depicted by the AMC series "Mad Men" sure looked good. The swinging Madison Avenue ad men make neckties cool again.

SEXTING: Combine texting with a cell phone's camera function and you get this parental nightmare. A survey from Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that 15 percent of teens ages 12-17 with a cell phone had received sexually suggestive images or videos.

STARBUCKS: It is a cliche that there is one on every block, but sometimes it seemed like it, and millions now consider it normal to spend $4 or so on a coffee drink in the morning, perhaps a venti half-caf half-decaf vanilla latte with an extra shot.

TATTOOS: It started innocently enough -- maybe a butterfly on the shoulder or a tribal symbol on the bicep. A few characters from the Chinese alphabet later, it seemed any hipster who really meant it had a full sleeve of tattoos. The trend extended to middle-aged moms and even 'tween idol Miley Cyrus.

TEXTING: R u still rding this sty? Hope u r. This is the decade we start communicating in the shorthand of text messages. Get used to it: E-mail is so '00s.

TV SCREENS: Television screens became bigger and flatter, making some ordinary living rooms and dens the equivalent of big-studio screening rooms. At the same time, though, people were watching movies and videos on the tiniest screens imaginable, their iPods or other mobile devices.

'TWEEN CULTURE: 'Tweens, especially girls, became an economic force to be reckoned with, buying everything from clothes to electronic devices to music to concert tickets.

TWITTER: The new social network introduced tweets, retweets, follows and trending topics, as long as the message fit into 140 characters.

UGGS: Not since the Croc (see above) has functional footwear created such a frenzy. The fur-lined snowboots were everywhere, no matter the climate. Los Angelenos insisted on wearing them with shorts.

WII: In a sea of ever-more-sophisticated video games, this simple console became the decade's breakout hit by appealing to the nongaming masses. Wiis became a center of family gaming, home fitness and even senior socializing.

WIKIPEDIA: A boon to lazy students everywhere, the open-source encyclopedia used the masses to police its entries and keep them (mostly) (sometimes) accurate.

YOGA: Madonna, Gwyneth and other bendy celebrities brought the eastern practice mainstream. By the end of the decade, even Grandma could do downward-facing dogs on her Wii Fit.

YOUTUBE: Let's end this list and go kill some time by watching ... YouTube videos! The video-sharing site was born in 2005. Political candidates in 2008 even had their on YouTube channels. The most popular video yet: "Charlie Bit My Finger," in which baby Charlie bites the finger of his brother Harry.

Much needed Levity

blog "Hakim Drops the Ball" presents a humorous "dream sequence" to last Sunday's game with Tampa Bay. The link is here

surprise traffic stop

from fox news dot com:

JENNINGS, La. — A South Carolina family passing through Jennings on their way to Texas was pulled over, hauled off to a church, "tried" for not stopping to enjoy local hospitality and "sentenced" to gumbo, presents and a tour.

"We do this every year at Christmastime to some unsuspecting out-of-town person," said Gayle Jones, a member of the Jennings Optimist Club, which has made it part of a more than 30-year holiday tradition.

Neither Leonard nor Lori Pavia of Greer, S.C., could figure out why the deputy had pulled them over as they headed to see friends in McAllen, Texas.

"I couldn't think of anything that I did wrong. I knew I wasn't speeding," Leonard Pavia said. Lori Pavia said her first reaction was to make sure that Sienna, 10, and Dakota, 12, had their seat belts on. They did.

Deputy Terry Guillory, who pulled the family over, said he spent several hours Monday morning on Interstate 10, waiting to find the perfect family to stop.

"I asked them if they'd like to be the guests of our town," Guillory said.

Leonard Pavia said the family left South Carolina on Sunday morning and had spent the night in Baton Rouge before continuing on their trip to Texas.

Assistant District Attorney Stacey Naquin was prosecutor in a mock trial at Immanuel Lutheran Church and local attorney David Marcantel was the defense attorney. Judge Daniel Stretcher sentenced the family to enjoy bowls of chicken-and-sausage gumbo, gift baskets from area merchants and a tour of Jennings.

"It's just a community service project we do each year to bring people in and show them our hospitality," member Leonra Dupuis said.

Saints Cat Saved

A black and gold colored cat was rescued today after spending a week in a 75 foot pine tree in my neighborhood. here's the link.

The Humane Society is working to see if the cat - who appears docile but does not have any tags - has an owner or if he is a stray. If he doesn't have an owner and is not feral, he will be available for adoption.

Anyone interested in adopting the cat can call 888.648.6263, he said

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jeff Parish Voters need to research

I don't think I would give even a $5 donation to Aaron Broussard and his boy Tim Whitmer . But I live in a different parish and am not aware of the reasons that these two gentlemen deserve the support they get, given their ethical backgrounds.

Thank You Altamura and Associates!

Thanks to Saratoga, NY
for their help.

from the

MECHANICVILLE — In a year that has wreaked havoc on many small businesses, one local construction company is rallying its muscle power behind the old adage “give and you shall receive.”

Kevin Altamura, of Altamura & Associates in Mechanicville, and a crew of about six volunteers from his family construction business are heading to New Orleans Feb. 22 to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

They’ll spend one week working with other volunteers through Operation Southern Comfort (OSC), an organization based in central New York that helps needy and displaced families on the Gulf Coast with the assistance of charitable organizations.

“They need skilled people, and so that’s why as a business I thought I could bring skilled people,” Altamura said. “I felt it was important for us to go down because it’s been more than four years now, and there’s a lot of people down there that have not received a lot of benefits.”

Thousands of displaced families in Mississippi and Louisiana still live in trailers, he added.

The group’s goal is to build the frame and roof of a small house (about 800 to 1,200 square feet) that will be home to a family of up to six people in the lower ninth ward of the city.

Volunteers will divide into teams to do everything from tearing down old structures and removing debris to erecting new walls.

Local churches and a Knights of Columbus chapter in New Orleans host the volunteers and provide meals, which cost $50 for the week. Other travel expenses are being paid for by the business, Altamura said.

The trip will be the family’s second to the area; last winter, Altamura and his parents, David and Lisa, chaperoned a group of college and high school students from schools in Syracuse and Mechanicville.

“We tried to save homes that should have been demolished but due to lack of funding are being rebuilt,” he said.

Altamura, who started his remodeling company in 2006, said he’s eager to give back to the less fortunate despite the financial hardships his and other local businesses have faced this year — an attitude that is shaped by personal experience.

“I lost my house to the tornado of Mechanicville in ’98, and there were lots of people around to help us get it together then,” he said. “Ultimately, I think that if you give, you shall receive.”

Other local builders interested in volunteering with Altamura & Associates in February can contact the business at 470-0032. For more information about upcoming Operation Southern Comfort trips, go to this link .

13 and 2

Watched the game against the Buc's. Like all of the teams playing against the Saints, this team played tough and hard. And the Saints were missing passion.

Cliff has more here

Bless you Boys for a fantastic ride. We love you till the end!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Scuzzbucket Grinch

A crack smoking scuzzbucket has been arrested in the case of the stolen Christmas gifts in St. Bernard Parish.

A 45-year-old man on parole for a previous burglary conviction was booked early Wednesday with stealing Christmas presents for needy children from a Violet church over the weekend, according to the St. Bernard Sheriff's Office.

Herman "Peter" Smiles allegedly hurled a cement block through the window of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church about 2 a.m. Sunday, filled six bags with the goods and carried them to his home where he lives with his mommy.

Smiles allegedly confessed during questioning. He told detectives that he broke into the church shortly after smoking crack. He allegedly searched for money but instead stumbled upon a stack of wrapped presents, stashed under a wooden crucifix.

There, Smiles reportedly told detectives, he unwrapped gift boxes and rifled through gift bags for nearly an hour. He allegedly stuffed them into several bags and made two trips carrying them to his room in his mom's house, about 300 feet away.

Members of Our Lady of Lourdes, 2621 Colonial Blvd., worked vigorously to identify needy children in their community devastated by the effects of poverty and Hurricane Katrina. They then bought them Christmas presents, wrapped them and planned a giveaway.

The presents were stolen the day before church volunteers doled the goods out. When they arrived to prepare for Sunday Mass, they found only torn wrapping paper and empty boxes and bags.

After word spread of the crime, people from across the metropolitan area and as far as Wisconsin and Ohio showered the church with new presents and cash donations. By Tuesday night, gifts were piled on the floor about seven feet deep along several of the church's walls. The Boy Scouts in Metairie donated 15 bicycles. The Salvation Army stuffed nylon crawfish bags with toys.

Instead of receiving just one or two presents as originally planned, the children braced to receive a sack about the size of a yard bag packed with gifts. Our Lady of Lourdes, it turned out, amassed a mound of Christmas joy much larger than it ever expected.

The Sheriff's Office returned the gifts to the church by late Wednesday morning, officials said.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Help for Chinese Drywall Victims

from NOLA dot com

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development cleared the way Tuesday for the Louisiana Recovery Authority and local governments to use Community Development Block Grant funds to help people with toxic drywall in their homes.

This fall, the Louisiana Recovery Authority set aside $5 million to help Road Home applicants with problem drywall. Many homes that were built or repaired after Hurricane Katrina were constructed with wall board that emits sulfuric gases that many people believe are making them sick and are corroding metal fixtures and appliances in homes. Insurers so far have been rejecting claims for damage, leaving homeowners without a source of money to fix the damage.

Tuesday's announcement takes a major step toward making funds available to help drywall victims, but money cannot be disbursed until the federal government comes up with protocols on how to test for drywall and agrees on the proper way to remediate damage. Those decisions are expected to be made early next year.

"This is kind of like half the equation," Stephens said.

HUD's announcement also means that the Recovery Authority could make funds available to non-Road Home applicants with drywall problems, if money could be found.

Similarly, local jurisdictions could use their CDBG entitlement funds to help non-hurricane victims with drywall in their homes as long as such efforts were aimed at low- to moderate-income people, meaning people who earn less than 80 percent of the area median income.

Money could be used to remediate, demolish or acquire homes with bad drywall, or to move people into apartments while their residences are being fixed.

Bad drywall has been found in 35 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, but most of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's 2,360 complaints have come from Florida, Louisiana and Virginia. In recent weeks, the Recovery Authority has registered 574 people with problem drywall in their homes, and is continuing to collect more names.

Reporting the problem to the Recovery Authority will help the state document how big the problem is and make the case for federal assistance. Anyone who hasn't yet registered with the Recovery Authority should complete a form online at or call the state's contaminated drywall hotline at 1.866.684.1713.

Most of the bad drywall was imported from China because domestic manufacturers couldn't meet demand for wallboard after the disastrous 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons and because of the housing boom. Recently, problems have also been discovered with some U.S. drywall.

In its announcement, HUD also reminded lenders using Federal Housing Administration-insured loans that they should use existing forbearance programs to work with borrowers in financial distress because of drywall problems.

A Saintly Christmas Gift

From the advocate dot com website

PORT ALLEN — As the big white moving truck made a right turn down Village Street followed by a shiny black Cadillac truck with tinted windows, residents of the Village Street Apartments let out a roar.

They knew who was driving the Cadillac even though they couldn’t see inside.

It was Port Allen native and second-year New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter returning to the city he grew up in to deliver gifts to the children from his old neighborhood, known as The Village.

“Feels good when you put a smile on kids’ faces,” Porter said as one young man jumped on his new bike and sped off without saying a word.

“This is a struggling area,” Porter said. “To come back here and see all these kids so happy just warms me up.”

Deshawn Raymond, 12, watched the scene from the side of the street sitting on top of his brand-new lime green bike.

“I feel special,” Raymond said. “Especially because it came from Tracy. He used to stay back here and baby-sit me.”

The event, was sponsored in part by the Baranco-Clark Branch YMCA in Baton Rouge.

Earlier in the day, before the bike giveaway, Porter was at the YMCA, where he worked as a lifeguard and summer camp counselor during his summer breaks from Port Allen High School.

In the past two years, Porter has donated $25,000 to the facility. On Monday, the YMCA returned the favor holding a small dedication ceremony in the facility’s newly revamped weight room dubbed the Tracy O. Porter YMCA Wellness Center.

His mentors and former coaches Curt Richardson and Grover Harrison were on hand at both events to help out and poke some fun at the football player.

“He’s a little guy but he’s always thought he was big,” Harrison said, laughing.

“When he was in high school, he wanted to run a (recreation) center like the YMCA and then go to the NBA. Now he’s in the NFL, and he’s giving back,” Harrison said.

Homesick for Christmas

Southeast Louisiana is rich in its people, food and traditions. So it's no wonder that people who've had to move away for jobs or other reasons become homesick at this time of year. The Houma today dot com website carries this story about cajuns yearning for home:

Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 11:21 a.m.

HOUMA — There’s no place like home for the holidays, and Louisiana natives who’ve moved away for jobs, love and adventure say there are always things that make them blue for the bayou, especially near Christmas.

“I miss the traditions,” said David Chiasson, a former Thibodaux resident. “The nostalgia is hard to get over. There are some things you just take for granted.”

Chiasson, 41, left the swamp for the desert two years ago to move to Phoenix for a job. Thanks to the wonders of modern shipping, the family has taken to ordering things they miss from their home state over the Internet and by phone, like beef jerky from Bourgeois Meat Market in Gray, Community coffee and king cakes.

But there are some things about the bayou that just can’t be replicated.

When Chiasson tried to introduce his new Arizona friends to a south Louisiana tradition, the crawfish boil, he said he was met with challenges and confusion.

Chiasson had 50 pounds of crawfish shipped live by plane from Lafayette to Phoenix and invited his neighbors to a crawfish boil at his house. Stores in Phoenix didn’t carry crawfish pots, so he had one shipped from a Sam’s Club store in Louisiana.

After all that trouble, when his neighbors spied the live crawfish, he said, they were turned off.

“Nobody ate them,” he said. “They said, ‘What are these things?’ I think they didn’t like the fact that they were alive just a few minutes ago.”

Troy LeBoeuf, a former resident of Montegut, Houma and Thibodaux, moved to South Carolina after meeting a girl from Charleston and following her home.

“Halloween night on Bourbon Street in The Famous Door I met a girl and danced until the wee hours of the morning,” LeBoeuf said. The two spent a whirlwind weekend together, and a few days after he dropped her off at the airport, she invited him to come visit her in Charleston. He loved it, and decided to relocate. But, especially this time of year, he finds his mind drifting back to the bayou.

“I miss the Christmas boat parade passing in front my Dad’s house in Montegut,” LeBoeuf said. “Cajun eggnog daiquiris, going from one house to another on Christmas Eve, having snacks and drinks with friends, and most of all, the food.”

The food is one thing most relocated Louisianans mention missing from their lives elsewhere.

“The food is not the same,” said David Toups, a former resident of Thibodaux who now lives in Juneau, Alaska. “They have seafood up here, but it’s bland.”

About a year-and-a-half ago, Toups found himself getting restless at his job at Fort Polk in Leesville and applied to a hospital lab job in Alaska on a whim. He got it, and decided to move.

He acknowledges that living in the cold tundra of Alaska is about as far removed from Louisiana as you can get.

“You don’t have to wish for a white Christmas up here,” he said.

Toups said he misses houses decorated with tons of Christmas lights and popping firecrackers out in the streets with his friends. People in Alaska also enjoy hunting and fishing, he said, but “the people up here bring back moose meat, bear meat and caribou meat.”

When he lived in Thibodaux, he said, during the holidays he and his family would have big get-together. One year he invited a friend from Illinois to join his family during a Louisiana State University football game.

“Boy, he was scared,” Toups said. “Everyone in my family was hooting and hollering at the T.V., even my grandma. I think it was a little too much for him.”

But it’s the packed houses, the gregariousness and the hospitality that many away from the bayou area miss most around Christmas.

“I miss that kind of tradition,” Toups said. In Louisiana, “it’s a little bit more lively. People are a little bit more reserved here,” he said.

The Winning Attitude

From the NY Times fifthdown blog:
in New Orleans, the Saints are more than a football team. In Central City, they have become a beacon to a community that needs as much hope and positive reinforcement as possible.

For the last 17 years, Saints players have conducted a Thanksgiving program in which players distribute thousands of baskets.

The day after the Tampa Bay game on Nov. 22, 26 Saints players went to the Y.M.C.A. and distributed Thanksgiving baskets.

“The players do a lot of great things with us,” said Douglas Evans.

Evans has been the president and chief executive of the Dryades Y.M.C.A. for the last 39 years.

The Saints helped Dryades organize the midnight basketball program as an anticrime approach in the community to get kids off the street. The Benson Hoops Midnight Basketball program is anchored at the Y.

Evans said that the Saints’ success had generated a winning attitude.

“When you look at a Dallas, the expectation in that community is that they win, when you look at New York, the expectation in that community is that the Yankees win. That in and of itself raises the expectation level of everyone when you are expected to do something.”

The Saints lost their first game of the season on Saturday night, but Evans said the atmosphere surrounding the team continued to be jubilant.

“We’ve already won in the sense that you still have this outpouring inspirational moment in the community,” he said.

“Are we disappointed? Yes. But therein comes the hope and the desire that we will make it to the Super Bowl.”

hattip: Voices of New Orleans blog .

Monday, December 21, 2009

HELP Needed in the Parish

St. Bernard Parish sheriff's detectives are looking for the SCUZZBUCKETS (my word)
who stole Christmas from dozens of kids and seniors, in a break-in at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Violet.

The church was preparing to give toys and clothes to 60 children, when someone broke in over the weekend the took everything.

"They actually unwrapped every single gift, and took what they wanted and left very little," said Pastor John Arnone of Lady of Lourdes.

The church had just reopened last month after being shuttered by Hurricane Katrina. Father Arnone said some parishioners took it hard when they came to church Sunday morning and learned of the break-in.

Anyone wanting to help can call the church at (504) 281-2267. Anyone with information about the crime, or wanting to help, can also call the sheriff's office at (504) 271-2501.

Friday, December 18, 2009

An embarassment

A lot of attention has been given to the "Unknown Who Dat" in the two weeks since the Washington Redskins game. Some people have romanticized the fan as the "typical New Orleans Saints Fan" of 40 plus years. I beg to differ. This guy - while a true Saints Fan - is an embarassment. Watch this and decide for yourself

The Unknown Who Dat comes to New Orleans

Do you know what the national media is going to do with this? Ugh. The Who Dat Nation deserves better than this. This is the unknown fan's 15 minutes. Call me a snob, but I don't find this man a poster child for the New Orleans Saints Fan.

I like what "Hakim Drops the Ball" has to say at this link .

Sunday, December 13, 2009

We're not the only mis-pronouncers

A great website that provides the correct prononciation of common words.


100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English Now that Dr. Language has provided a one-stop cure for the plague of misspelling, here are the 100 words most often mispronounced English words ("mispronunciation" among them). There are spelling rules in English even if they are difficult to understand, so pronouncing a word correctly usually does help you spell it correctly. Several common errors are the result of rapid speech, so take your time speaking, correctly enunciating each word. Careful speech and avid reading are the best guides to correct spelling.

Don't say Do Say Comment

ANo: acrossed | Yes: across

It is easy to confuse "across" with "crossed" but better to keep them separate.

No: affidavid | Yes: affidavit

Even if your lawyer's name is ''David,'' he issues affidavits.

No: Old-timer's disease | Yes: Alzheimer's disease

While it is a disease of old-timers, it is named for the German neurologist, Dr. Alois Alzheimer.

No: Antartic | Yes: Antarctic

Just think of an arc of ants (an ant arc) and that should help you keep the [c] in the pronunciation of this word.

No: Artic | Yes: Arctic

Another hard-to-see [c] but it is there.

No: aks | Yes: ask

This mispronunciation has been around for so long (over 1,000 years) that linguist Mark Aronoff thinks we should cherish it as a part of our linguistic heritage. Most of us would give the axe to "aks."

No: athelete, atheletic | Yes: athlete, athletic

Two syllables are enough for "athlete."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

11 & 0

"You have to give New Orleans credit,” Belichick said. “They were obviously the better team tonight. It wasn’t a competitive game like we thought it would be or like we needed it to be. We got to coach better, we have to play better. We have to do a lot better than we did. … We have to do a lot better to compete with a team of this caliber.”

New England Patriots' Sore Loser Coach


How loud was the crowd in the dome? Check it out here!