Archive for October, 2006

Fidel

Images from lower Decatur St. Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006.

Halloween is upon us. To get you in the moon, we are posting some images from our last two Weeny night’s out. Enjoy.

Halloween images.

Click here.

There is a time when empathy becomes too much. When, for one’s on good, they can’t take on any more of their friend’s and neighbor’s subtle suffering. Sometime, you have to stop feeling it all.

The bodies were everywhere. And not only during the storm. Even before. In a city like this, the bodies just pile up. Sure, the removal service comes and hauls them away. Bring out your dead. Bring out your dead. But they don’t haul away their memory. This one flipped her minivan here and that one was shot in the head there. Reports are printed in black and white 100,000 times and read by thousands and felt; mired in the goo of collective conciousness. Then the thousands drive or walk past the spot and think to themselves, “this is where it happened.” Maybe they mention it to their out of town guests or maybe, out of respect for the city or perhaps for their visitor’s nice vacation, they don’t mention it anywhere but in their head. And it stays there.

And now, in the grip of this “mental health crisis,” those with empathy are the ones ailing. Those who are taking it all inward. Empathy is the killer that drives a woman out into the lake or a man off the side of a bridge. Those that replay the suffering over and over again are psycho-trauma victims. They may not think so but they are. A mind has many ways to react to the horrors but none of them are good. Perhaps they will emerge as hypertension, cancer or panic attacks. That’s our little way of coping with it. All the insanity and ruinous behavior. The constant threats from criminals, pollution or high water.

The forces will align against us in the name of honest debate but it’s really a display of their own arrogance. They think a lack of empathy makes them strong. Perhaps it does but it also makes them ignorant. The time will come when no one wants to help them either.

For a person with empathy, for a humane human, dessertion is not an option.

What a little inspiration can do…
Welcome to Deltawerken.com
Deltawerken Online

“20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine”
New Orleans man pleads guilty to Katrina fraud in Miss.
Sun Herald.com

It’s old, but still fucked up. Mr. Shafer, I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.
The case against rebuilding the sunken city of New Orleans.
Slate

Originally published Nov. 9, 2005

Seems there is quite a hullabaloo going on in the Quarter and a few other neighborhoods in the city about the recently installed electronic parking meters. You know, the kind that brought parking into the 20th (not 21st) Century by allowing for credit card payments and such? No more fumbling around in your pockets for change or digging underneath your seat to get a few extra minutes. No more buying a 25-cent pack of Big Red just to get some change from an indifferent store owner. Sounds great right?

Not so fast.

According to a recent lawsuit filed against the city the meters were installed without notice or review and violate a law that states tickets can only be issued when a red flag is displayed on the meter. Since the new meters issue printed slips that indicate when time is up, issuing tickets based on those terms is said to be a violation of the law. Perhaps it is. But the real reason the lawsuit has been filed is because people think the new meters are ugly. The “red flag” part is just a device to have the city remove them. No boby really cares about the language of the law, they just want the ugly meters gone.

I happen to love the new meters. They have saved me on quite a few occasions because I almost exclusively carry credit cards and very rarely have two bucks worth of change on hand. They have never malfunctioned on me and I thought they were a step in the right direction. I welcomed them.

I’ll give it to people who oppose them that the meters could be a bit more aesthetic and frankly that’s about the only good thing that can come out of this entire mess – that the company that makes these meters can find a way to make them more aesthetic. Because, if the people who are suing get their way, the meters will be removed and any tickets issued while they were in use will be refunded. That’s just ridiculous and a huge waste of much-needed funds that could go elsewhere (and no, I don’t mean into the hands of crooked politicians).

The city planned for ten years to have these meters installed. God knows at what cost of management, workload, materials, studies and manpower. Also, the machines cost around 7,000 bucks a pop which I don’t think ACS State and Local Solutions is likely to just refund. Then there is also the amount of money that is going to be needed to have these new meters removed. Then there is the amount of money that will be needed to install new meters. I mean new-new meters or, new-old meters, I guess.

Anyways, I’m sure it will add up.

A story written by Mary Foster of the Associated Press and posted on Nola.com on July 20 quoted a man named Chris Sharkey stating that he didn’t think the new meters were that convenient either, mostly because they don’t take bills. While I agree with Sharkey that the new meters should take bills, I disagree with him when he says they aren’t convenient. They are considerably more handy than the old “Cool Hand Luke” style meters we had before. As I stated above, change is not always available so having an extra option is always nice.

Also, the new meters are solar powered and THAT’S cool.

I think what is really at the crux of this whole mess is that the city didn’t ask anyone before installing the meters. At least that is what I am gathering from the language being bandied about in the papers. Like a supervisor that somehow gets skipped in the chain of command, people just want to know what’s going on. I don’t blame them for that.

What I can blame them for is being quick on the draw to fire off a lawsuit that will: 1.) Waste money needed for a myriad of other projects throughout the city. 2.) Reverse ten years of work and planning. 3.) Reduce the number of options myself and other New Orleanians will have at when we are trying to park in the Quarter.

The logical conclusion to this mess will be for the city to attempt to make the new meters more aesthetic. They should do this with the cooperation of the citizens who have voiced concerns about the current meters and then, hopefully, both sides can reach a compromise.

Replacing the meters shouldn’t even be on the table. There are much bigger fish to fry in New Orleans. And everybody can think of at least one I’m sure.

And here’s some pics…

You will need…
1,500 dollars for a “going away” party
28 cigarette burns
7 pages of a suicide note
2 legs baked in the oven (for 12 days)
1 head boiled in a pot (for 12 days)
1 torso (chilled)
1 former New Orleans mayoral candidate and landlord
1 charge of misdemeanor possession of marijuana
1 gun-pulling incident in the French Quarter
1 death leap from a historic New Orleans hotel
2 jobs as local bartenders
1 mental health crisis
1 bathtub strangulation
A sprinkle of flashing your breasts for local police
A case of Post-traumatic stress syndrome from military service
Some poetry
A heaping dose of national media attention after Hurricane Katrina
Equal parts Buffa’s Lounge, The Spotted Cat and Matassas
A hint of necrophilia

Mix it up in one Rampart St. apartment above a voodoo shop and serve in every coffeeshop, street corner and chatroom in town…

- Since Antoinette Frank is in the news again …
Saturday, March 4, 1995. 1:55 A.M. New Orleans
Court TV

- Now our Grisly murder is World news.
Suicide link to Headless Corpse
Times Online, UK

- “Due to complacency, fatigue, and/or the effects of alcohol, Auletta failed to detect the approaching ship.”
MV George Prince ferry disaster
Wikipedia


Man dismembers girlfriend in Quarter; cooks body parts

Mental health crisis? You bet your ass! This is such New Orleans Babylon. Girl gives boy shelter during natural disaster. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl cohabitate above a voodoo shop. Boy cheats on girl. Girl throws boy out. Boy strangles girl in bathtub. Boy chops girl into pieces, bakes her legs in the oven and boils her head on the stove. Boy throws himself off the roof of the Royal O. Landlord and former Mayoral candidate states, “He may have in retrospect seemed a little troubled.”

I’ve never had a problem with the Times-Picayune. As daily newspapers go, it does its job. Dailys are supposed to be huge, lumbering behemoths whose responsibility it is to be the most accurate and thorough reporter of news in any given city. The daily doesn’t have to be edgy or artistic. It needs simply to report the news quickly and accurately with a healthy dose of investigation and a fundamental understanding of what is newsworthy and what isn’t. And in this respect the Times-Picayune performs its task admirably. It seems a tad cloistered in its hard-to-reach Howard Ave. offices but hey, I don’t hold that against them.

I do have a problem however with their Web presence, Nola.com.

Time and time again, it seems Nola.com just mails it in, is asleep at the wheel and wouldn’t know a grip-and-grin from a double-truck.

Now, it must be said that Nola.com and the Times-Picayune are owned by the same company and run the same editorial copy but the union between the two ends there. They don’t share the same offices and they don’t share the same staff other than the T-P writers whose bylines appear under the stories. These writers I don’t have a problem with. Bravo to them. Excellent journalists.

But the staff at Nola.com…

The wages must be higher at the main office because Nola.com always seems to slack when it comes to simple stuff like copy writing and/or journalism basics such as headlines and cutlines.

Case in point. On today’s Nola.com page, there is an article about hookers following the influx of construction workers who have arrived in town post-Katrina. Great article. Worthy of the main page. In fact, I think it actually WAS on the page earlier this month. That’s right, the story is dated Oct. 8. It’s almost 10 days old and now it has magically reappeared on the main page of the Web site. Guess today was a slow news day. Nothing else was going on?

Then there are the numerous links that go nowhere. The other day they advertised a link that was going to show video of the recent shooting in front of the Praline Connection in the Marigny. Hey why not right? I clicked the link. Sorry. Page not found. Did the person who uploaded this link check to see if it even worked? Or perhaps it was the last thing he or she did that day and they just hit “enter” then ran out the door en route to Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar?

There are others. In a recent story about a murder in Mid-City they said only one house on the block “have been occupied” since the storm. Then last Saturday they had a headline that read “Louisiana Lottery results” right above another headline that read “Louisiana Lottery Results.” On Oct. 8 they actually had the sentence, “They were died at the scene,” in an article about two people murdered in the 9th Ward. “They were died at the scene.” Wow. Whose typing this stuff? I have screencaps of all these errors if anyone doesn’t believe me.

I know Nola.com recently won a Knight Foundation Award for Public Service. I know this because they bragged about it on their main page for what seemed like an entire week. Meanwhile other news was being left off. YOU aren’t the news guys.

Then there are the ridiculous poll questions they ask. Do you think prostitution is a problem in the French Quarter? Do you carry a handgun? Do you like to watch parades during Mardi Gras? Okay, I made that last one up but the questions always seem to be not the least bit divisive and, honestly, a bit stupid. Never have the results surprised me.

Don’t get me started on their annoying practice of forcing people to fill out a form stating their zip code, age and sex before browsing to another page. Is marketing really that important to them? So much that they will risk pissing of their page’s viewers? I just fill in 12345 as my zip and 2006 as my birth year. Then I tell them I am a woman. Even though I’m not. I have a penis. Tee hee.

It’s not that I don’t visit Nola.com. I have to because of its association with the T-P (and don’t think for a second that I would lower myself to visit a TV news Web site). It’s just that their lax attempts at presenting the news in a revered manner piss me off when I do.

If I wanted lackadaisical presentation of the news, I’d read blogs.