Archive for November, 2006

The Comprehensive Coastal Protection Master Plan for Louisiana was released today but I can’t open it due to the vastness of the PDFs. I’d love to print it out and have a copy handy but just the first part is 116 pages. If I wanted to take’s word for it the plan screws Lower Plaquemines. But I’d rather read it myself.

Unfortunately, I lack the resources.

Appendix A (The Long-Term Plan) is 116 pages.
Appendix B (Alternative Plan Formulation Process) is 113 pages.
Appendix C (Measures Appraised) is 78 pages.
Appendix D (Hurricane Surge Elevations) is 31 pages.
Appendix E (Economic Consequences) is 105 pages.
Appendix F (Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration Report) is 77 pages.
Appendix G (Stakeholder Engagement Summary Report) is 105 pages.
Appendix I (Riverine and Coastal Processes, Lower Mississippi River) is 13 pages.
Appendix J (Glossary of Terms) is 14 pages.
Appendixes H (History of the Problem and Response) and K (Bibliography) are forthcoming.

652 pages total. That’s a lot of paper and ink. Mostly good news I hope. Who am I kidding? Any news is good news. I wonder who will pay for all of it? I have an idea who should.

Here’s the linky:

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to kindly ask that WWL consider adding the Penn Jillette radio show to their afternoon line-up. I have been listening to the podcast on Itunes for some time and think that the programming would find a large audience in the New Orleans and surrounding areas. It’s that good!

A particularly enjoyable segment on the show that I’m sure New Orleanians will love is their weekly “Monkey Tuesday” show in which callers phone in and share any stories involving our simian friends. Recent stories have been about a monkey murdering a woman’s dog, four drunk sailors eating monkey brains, a monkey beating up a man’s drunk (abusive?) uncle and a monkey feeling up a woman in front of her husband. They also play a looping piano jive in which the raspy-voiced Penn accompanies with ooh-ee-ee’s and ah-ah-ah’s. Hilarious!

Other highlights of the show are Penn’s gravely spewn rants against all religion, commentary on interracial sex with comedienne Lisa Lampenelli and request for viewers to send in actual silicon breast implants.

A particular episode of recent memory occurred in the days following Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation when Rummy’s old friends called in to pay tribute to him and share some of their old stories about his “wilder” days. Let me tell you, that guy was a madman! Whoa!

And Jillette is a good example for the children of New Orleans. He doesn’t do drugs and has never drank alcohol.

Recent show titles have been, “Pledge Of Allegiance: Who Cares?” “Public Death Tapes and Vomiting On Stage” and “What’s Your Kink?”

Eh? (nudge nudge) Eh? Sounds good right?

At least on AM.

I gotta get going. Let me know.


Lance Vargas
Proud New Orleanian

All I ever wanted to do was write and/or edit for a media outlet. It didn’t have to be anything fancy. Just an avenue for myself and other like-minded people to better the world through our collaborative creative efforts. I had the opportunity to write for and edit a weekly paper for four years and loved every minute of it. I moved to New Orleans hoping I would be able to do the same.

I haven’t.

I don’t know if it was the “good-ole-boy network” or a lack of initiative or preoccupation with moving and buying a home or even a lack of skill that kept me out of the local media. And at this point it doesn’t matter. I started the blog and it has done a good job stoking my creative fire. And the like-minded individuals are all around.

I have an administrative job now and it’s very nice. I certainly can’t complain, considering the employment experiences I endured the first few years I was here. Horror stories. I’ll tell them one day.

Out of curiosity tonight I clicked the “web / info design” section of Craigslist. It was worse than it was back when I used to check it a few times a day.

Tue Nov 21
Need e-card site

Sun Nov 12
Multimedia Designer/Developer (Baton Rouge, LA)

Tue Oct 24
Web Media Designer (New Orleans)

Wed Oct 18

Mon Oct 16
Web Application Software Developer (New Orleans)


“Writing / editing” was a little better but not much.

Tue Nov 28
Wanted: Shorts Stories For Film (New Orleans area)

Wed Nov 22
Web Copywriter for Interactive Agency (Atlanta, GA)

Mon Nov 13
Tulane Students – Be the Editor of the Daily Jolt! (Your Dorm Room)

Fri Nov 10
Bilingual Translators, Proofreaders, and Copywriters (ALL LANGUAGES!)

Thu Nov 09
Cool-Funny-Writing Partner (New Orleans or near)

Mon Nov 06
Wine Reviewer and Writer Needed!

Fri Nov 03
Any Certified Librarians Out There? (New Orleans-Uptown)

Wed Nov 01
Retail Reporters- Hardlines & Consumer Electronics Industries

Sun Oct 29
Writer,Copywriter,Editor and Reporter

Fri Oct 27
PR Media Release Writer Needed! (Anywhere in USA)

Thu Oct 26

Tue Oct 17
Textbook Proofread

For a fella trying to make a mortgage, the opportunities were scarce. It got better in “arts/media/design” but many of those had some serious strings attached as well. I guess New Orleans is just not a media kind of town. That’s why I just quit looking and got comfortable where I’m at. I have dogs in my office. I listen to NPR and Penn Jillette and Paul Harvey while I work. There’s coffee and it’s a bike ride from my house.

But the thing is, New Orleans really could establish a media industry here. Or at least a small movement. I know there are those out there that are leading the way. And with all the creative people around, it may just work. Just an idea.

Hurricane season ends tonight. Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene and Isaac, we hardly knew ya. Tell your buddies next year how much fun you had in the North Atlantic. Thanks for the quiet season.
Hurricane season ends quietly

While everyone was predicting the watery end to coastal civilization as we know it this year, the closest forcast was by a fella named Lian Xie and his team at NC State.
N.C. State researchers’ mild hurricane season prediction holds true
USA Today

“They knew nothing of the disaster which had befallen those in the station, but the groans and screams of the victims hanging in the trees soon became evident even above the fury of the wind”
Frenier Beach Hurricane Storm Surge Revisited

Making the rounds tonight is an item about a poll released by UNO that stated (with a whopping 7 percent margin of error) that 60 percent of the current population of Orleans and Jeff Parish have considered leaving the city since Hurricane Katrina.

One-third of Orleans, Jeff residents polled may leave in 2 years

That ain’t news. After all we’ve been through, who HASN’T considered leaving?

But the poll is bogus and here’s why. What’s the definition of “consider”? Do they mean looked at prices of real estate in other cities? Done it. Do they mean get so fed up with the criminal justice system you want to get as far away from it as possible? Done it. Do they mean stating that if the levees fail again I’m never coming back? Done it.

But I’m staying for now. And I don’t “consider” leaving very often. If my fiance and I leave, it won’t be a storm that drives us out. Not THAT storm anyway. Rather, it will be a decision much like any other decision. A new job. A change of pace. An offer we couldn’t refuse. Something.

But it won’t be Katrina. Fuck her.

One thing I do know for sure. All polls aside. You need to have grapefruits (and yes, ladies can have grapefruits) to live in the city right now. And you’d have to have casaba melons to honestly state you haven’t thought of leaving. So take that poll with a grain of salt.

And to anyone reading this who is still here and isn’t considering leaving (strongly or otherwise), I salute you brothers and sisters.

According to the AP:

Michael Vick apologized for making an obscene gesture toward Atlanta fans as he walked off the field after the Falcons’ fourth straight loss Sunday.

Vick used both hands to deliver the gesture and flashed an angry look toward the handful of fans remaining in the Georgia Dome. Those who hung around booed the home team loudly after its dismal 31-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

He really IS a dirty bird. Then of course there is this.

I was checking the news Thanksgiving night on and read these headlines:

“Two dead after Mid-City shooting.”


“Thursday night gunfire kills two more.”


“Sixth Ward violence claims another.”


“Two men shot in Mid-City”

All separate headlines but three of them were about the same incident – a Mid-City shooting in which two men were killed on Pear St. Since had it posted in three different places on their front page that night, one who may have been browsing the page looking only at headlines might be under the impression that seven people were shot on Thanksgiving night and at least five of them were killed. Actually, only three men were killed in Orleans Parish that night. Still sucks but at least it wasn’t more than twice that amount as it appeared on

Shitty thing is, I know was just screwing up again. However, someone who doesn’t know their record for this sort of thing might be under the impression that folks were getting killed all over town. accuracy is a journalists number one priority and dropped the ball here.

Hey, crime is bad in the city as it stands. Let’s not make it seem worse through irresponsible management of your Web page on a holiday evening when many people will be checking the page with friends and family looking for a good brass band to see.

Screenshot below…

Seven shot in New Orleans on Thanksgiving.

“McCormick had been released from jail on Sept. 8 after a judge ruled that the district attorney’s office had run out of time in bringing him to trial on a 2002 first-degree murder charge, records showed. A 2003 trial in the case ended in a mistrial.”

Four dead in three hours in N.O., Jeff

Good job Ed!

Barbarian at the Gate

I just finished a search for any plans that may be underway for coastal restoration in Louisiana. I’ve heard talk but wanted something visual. Like a pretty drawing or something magical and innovative that would inspire me.

I didn’t find anything. Perhaps more time.

The sad thing is that, from what I have gathered speaking to people and reading on the Internet, many think it’s not a matter of IF we could protect South Louisiana from future storm surges, but SHOULD we. And the “should” addresses the simple matter of cost.


So it comes down to capitalism. Good to know that prudent spending trumps ego in the minds of constricted thinkers. We could have the greatest flood protection system in the world but [whiney voice] It’s too expensive! [whiney voice].

I’ve heard everything from “let it sink,” to “is it worth saving?” to “leave.” Nobody questions IF our home can be saved, it always comes down to a question of worth. And it’s these motherfuckers that really infuriate me. They are the barbarians at the gate. The way I see it, these opinions are a direct threat to me and my loved ones. My neighborhood and my home. As much as a terrorist or a mugger or a crooked politician. Some dumbass in another part of the country who couldn’t give two shits about New Orleans is fine. But if said dumbass wants to write a letter to a newspaper or tell some reporter or post on a message board that he doesn’t think New Orleans should be saved and he doesn’t want his tax money spent on our safety, then I consider him to be a threat to myself and my loved ones. They can choose to put themself out there or they can STFU.

And in the end, I hate to say it. It may come down to simple racism. Or at the very least classism. I don’t believe in playing the “ism” very often because I think it’s way overused and often is just a tool implemented to get somebody something they want. But it seems to me, in this case, it’s appropriate. People only see South Louisiana as crazy Cajuns living in swamp shacks or black folks on welfare living in projects or spaced out artist types riding vintage bikes around the French Quarter. These are false impressions that are perpetuated over and over again because once people see something that they accept as the truth, they never want to see anything that questions that truth. Multitudes are too much for their minds to bear. Tiny devices inside their heads become trained to see things in only one way. So when New Orleans is brought to mind, instantly pictures of boobs, beads and beer flash inside their heads. Toothless Cajun men in straw hats who can’t speak and gutter punks collecting dogs and spare change follow. Like all generalizations, these are inaccurate. The homeowners and renovators and mid-level managers and professionals and salesmen, hospitality workers and medical students and shipping executives and honest contractors and all the other good people in the area are left out of the equation altogether, even though they make up the vast majority of the populace.

Hey, everyone’s entitled to their opinion right? Yea, they are entitled to it. But when they go around posting it on the Internet or writing about it in newspapers then it becomes more than just an opinion. Then it becomes a notion they are trying to spread. And then they become a threat. I’m not losing my mind here. I’m not going to go on a rampage. I’m just stating that, when faced with people who aim to destroy my home through inaction, I will engage them as I would any other threat. I’m sorry if this sounds like I am acting in some macho aggressive shithead manner but the emotions that boil up inside of me when people talk shit about New Orleans are akin to the same thoughts that effect those Toby Keith-types when people run down America. I never thought I would have anything in common with those folks. And to be honest it may very well be those folks who are the ones who I’m talking about. They want to defend America but not New Orleans. They want to spend money in the Middle East but not South Louisiana. It fucking sucks.

My, my. What a potty mouth. On a Sunday no less.

I just wanted to add a few pics and point everyone to this excellent post over on Ashley Morris about how we stack up against the world in terms of flood protection and land reclamation. Pretty pitiful we are. This was also touched on in this Harry Shearer post and the ensuing comments.

Palm Island

Palm Island



Three Gorges Dam

Three Gorges Dam

Everyone else is doing it so why can’t we?