Archive for February, 2007

One of the many Yat dictionaries on the Web
A Lexicon of New Orleans Terminology and Speech
Gumbo Pages

Another one of those, “New Orleans is different now” articles…
Facing an un-Easy situation in New Orleans
Pop Matters

New Orleans through the eyes of a New Urbanist
New Orleans: The Wealthiest City of the Caribbean
Business Week

Worst headline ever?
New Orleans band in a jam perseveres
Baltimore Sun

In this game we will pit four New Orleans Harrys against each other in a battle for New Orleans Harry supremacy. The title will be the honor of never having to be referred to as “Hank” in this blog. They will be judged on their worth to New Orleans and their accomplishments in life. The contestants are:

Former New Orleans DA Harry Connick Sr!
His son, singer Harry Connick Jr!
Actor and musician Harry Shearer!
Actor and magician Hank (nee’ Harry) Anderson!

Hank Anderson got waxed in the first round against Harry Shearer who advanced to the finals. Furthermore, Anderson will only be referred to as “Hank” on this site. Now, a battle of real heavy hitters. So with no further ado…

Harry C
Harry Connick Sr.

Vs.

Harry C
Harry Connick Jr.

Let’s go!

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Legal trouble

Senior: In 1989 for allegedly aiding and abetting a gambling operation. He was acquitted.

Junior: Separate offenses for attempting to carry weapons onto commercial airlines. He said all were simple mistakes.

Advantage: Senior was acquitted and Junior’s offenses were in New York, not in Louisiana. So, a tie.

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Height

It has been impossible to find an exact heigth of Senior but, judging from this photo, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree in terms of heigth.

Advantage: Tie

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Cover of “Sheik of Araby” (Judge: Romy Kaye)

Senior: Found here.

Junior: Found here.

Advantage:
Romy says Junior.

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Preceded by:

Senior: Jim Garrison, who brought a case to court for the murder of John F. Kennedy.

Junior: Frank Sinatra, who brought a mistress to the court of John F. Kennedy.

Advantage:
Senior

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Handsomeness (again, judged by Romy)

Senior:
null

Junior:

Advantage: Romy says tie. It’s a defensive struggle!

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Spawned…

Senior: Harry Connick Jr. and sister Suzanna

Junior: Three daughters

Advantage: Since he spawned the spawns, Senior

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Parades founded:

Senior: 1, Orpheus

Junior: 1, Orpheus.

Advantage:
Tie

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Rhyming:

Senior: Sued by Myers and then retires

Junior: Kicked the tires and lit the fires.

Advantage: Junior

—————————–


Google Fight:” results (exact phrase match)

Senior: 101,000 results

Junior: 1,630,000 results

Advantage: Junior, by a million and change.

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Moonlighting:

Senior: District Attorney who moonlighted as a singer.

Junior: Singer who moonlighted as an actor.

Advantage: Tie

—————————–

Winner by a one point in a mostly even match: Harry Connick Junior!

Congratulations cap! You are going to the finals!

Up next! Shearer Vs. Connick in the final battle for official Harry of New Orleans!

Well, I intended to keep an every-other-day posting schedule up but, once the thing got in full swing, best intentions fell to the by-and-by. It was a glorious Carnival, more robust and inspiring than any other. New Orleans was in her most magnificent plumage and the spirit of rebirth was in the air. I chatted with a lot of locals and a lot of tourists and everyone was 99.6 percent enjoyable to be around.

I went ahead and posted the posts I didn’t get around to posting the past few days below this. Now I’ll pick up where I left off…

Saturday, Feb. 17
What is normally one of the tourism industry’s biggest nights of Mardi Gras is now one of my most quiet. I haven’t gone out and had a good time on Saturday in years. I have never liked Endymion much. Too slow, crappy celebs, less-than desirable attendees and, after catching Muses and D’Etat the nights before and Arthur and Carrollton the week before, I needed a break.

The KoPs and I went to the fabric store and watched some TV while designing our Fat Tuesday costumes all day and the fiance and I ate Mexican food and watched a movie that night.

I did have the pleasure of having NOMTOC go by near house but it was moving so slow and I had so much costume work to do, I only saw a few minutes of it. I did HEAR it all day though.

Sunday, Feb 18

I was going to ride my bike across the river to “see which way the wind blows” but we needed more costume supplies. So we loaded up and went to Party City and Michaels. For fun and folly, we took the Huey P back and got some Popeye’s in Westwego. We needed the chicken bones for our costumes anyway.

That night we caught the ferry over and watched Bacchus. We foolishly tried to get some drinks at a retarded daiquiri shop on Canal Street but the meatheads, future Girls Gone Wild and loud music drove us out. Then we saw a middle-aged tourist man being carted away in an ambulance due to drunkenness.

I wonder what the ratio of alcohol poisoning to muggings per tourist is? I’m just wanting to know if we do more damage to them than they do to themselves.

Still in need of a drink, we wondered on over to an old favorite, The Jimani, or the Jim-mon-ee, as a tourist lady put it. Who could blame her? We had a few and headed out to the parade.

It was hard not to yell “Tony! Tony!” at James Gandolfini but I resisted. He couldn’t seem to keep still and his bead throwing technique was unlike any I had ever seen. Drew Brees was much better. He was chunking those bad boys clear across Canal.

I was filling up on beads pretty quick and then started taking requests. I got some grape footballs and some teddy bears for the girl behind me and some big pink ones for some others. There was a mother and son from Algiers beside us and, after every float beyond the tenth one, she was ready to go. “Is this the last one?” she kept asking? I kept telling her, “Only about a dozen more!”

There were lots of nice people all around us.

When the parade finished, we made our way over to the Erin Rose and then to Molly’s.

When we finally decided to go home, the cabbies were being real pricks. Some flat-out wouldn’t take us to Algiers Point and another guy said it would be $40 (which I know is illegal). One of them was from United too.

We found an honest one and he took us over. He was Jamaican and had a wife who was a nurse and he had three kids. He was listening to Bob Marley and said he shaved his dreadlocks a few years back to set a better example for his kids.

When we got back to the house, Romy showed me a blurry wad of money and asked if she should give it all to him. Thinking it was $20 I said yes. Turns out it was $30. He deserved it though. He is the only rasta I ever met named Fritz

Lundi Gras

This was the grand finale day of costume-making. Everyone came over our house and we got it together. Burlap and Spanish moss was everywhere. Hot glue burns on the fingernails. The efforts were well worth it though. All that was left was the make-up.

The KoPs all got together and made it over the river for Orpheus. We watched it on Tchoup and Poydras. It was a great location with no guardrail.

We did how ever happen to run in to the “Worst Parade-Goer Ever.” She was a real foul-mouthed, rude, boisterous girl with an undetermined accent. She had long hair and was flinging it everywhere and causing a ripple effect of unpleasantness in the crowd around us. She stepped on toes, jumped in front of people and almost got into a number of fights including one that escalated to some pretty bad name calling. Somebody said they saw her old man roughing her up and somebody else said she deserved it. Either way, he carted her off and everybody started enjoying the parade again.

Patsy Clarkson looked like she was having a the time of her life and and Coach Sean Pay-un looked smooth.

The floats were absolutely gorgeous as always. Some of the flambeux had red flames and all the fiber optics and lighting effect the Krewe put into their parade really paid off. It was the best looking parade I saw all season.

My fiance (for whom this is her third Carnival) made a beautiful one handed catch of some beads with a full Mardi Gras mask pendent. I was very proud.

When it was all over, we caught the ferry back over the river and had a drink at the Dry Dock before heading over to the Old Point to catch the remnants of Marc Stone, Lynn Drury and Shannon McNally. Every body was feeling good and we were all looking forward to the next day.

Fat Tuesday

I must admit, I had a bit of a hangover when I first woke up. I had to immediately start drinking water to replenish my dehydrated body and I had a bit of a bagel to settle my stomach. My fiance did my make-up and the KoPs came over to get their applications.

I loaded up some gris gris bags full of various non-canon trinkets that we would distribute throughout the day. In maybe an hour-and-a-half we were on our way to the ferry.

Just as we pulled up, an entire bus load of the Jesus crowd pulled up. And there we were dressed as voodoo dolls with Pablo (who just pulled in that morning off the oil rig) as our voodoo priest.

As we were going up the stairs in the midst of them, my gris gris bag busted open and the stuff spilled down the stairs. Pablo and one of the Jesus guys helped me pick it all up. I have no idea if it caused the good man to lose his faith or not.

One of them gave Subu some paraphernalia and she said, “Let me put that in my gris gris bag.” Pretty funny.

We got over to the other side and made our way to the Marigny. A guy sitting on a couch outside Coyote Ugly was cracking jokes on people as they walked by. Now I have an official reason for not going there.

We got to the R-Bar a short time later and the costumes we saw so intricate and thoughtful that I wasn’t even sure what some of them were. I saw Kim Il, Zorro, a bottle of mustard, a ton of pirate wenches, the governor, a Bush buster, another voodoo doll, a hubig pie, it went on and on. The parade rolled through, and rolled again, and rolled again. It was fucking beautiful.

I even saw Supa Saint.

The KoPs were getting hungry so we headed over to Buffa’s and got served pretty quick. While were there we watched some of Rex in the back room and headed back to the R-Bar.

Now, a good costumes is always great, but a costume with the persona to go along with it is total gravy. That’s why I have to give “guy shaving” the best costume of the day award. We saw him coming out of his room outside the R Bar and for a minute, we didn’t know if he was acting or not. He wandered around the street looking like he didn’t know what the hell was going on and the last we saw of him he was walking down Royal into the Quarter, scooting around holding his crotch and razor and appearing bewildered.

By this time, the KoPs started breaking up. My fiance and I headed over to Molly’s and along the way she said something pretty funny, “Holy shit! It’s a chicken in a Cadillac!” Only in Nawlins.

It was on the way to Molly’s that I saw a woman walking down the street topless and made the comment that I was wondering if this would be the first Mardi Gras where I didn’t see titties on the streets of New Orleans. Well, let’s just say this was the first year I wasn’t intentionally looking for titties in New Orleans.

We got to Molly’s and hung out for a few beers. Everybody was of course enamored with Earl, the stuffed Raccoon who I lug around during special events. Many people took pictures of him so I may end up seeing him in some foreign paper one day.

We met a ton of nice folks from New Orleans and out-of-town. Including some fellas from Terrytown who were having a good time. They said they had a Web site they were getting off the ground called robfucious.com. (Hey fellas! Get a blog!)

We headed out of there and went back to the Marigny and laughed and chatted with tons of people along the way. Everyone was in the greatest of spirits with only a few miner D-Bags.

When we reached the Marigny we jumped in and out of The Spotted Cat and DBA. We danced in the street and headed over to the R-Bar again where we danced to some hip hop and had our last drinks on that side of the river.

We headed back over to the West Bank via the Moonwalk and caught the ferry. There we had a pleasant conversation with a guy named Willie who came down from Atlanta to see the parades but was disappointed to have missed Rex and Zulu and only caught four trucks in the truck parade. I told him to just come back next year.

When I mentioned I was giving up red meat for lent (I’m not Catholic but do it about of respect for Mardi Gras, he talked me into giving up pork too.

So I went to the Dry Dock and ate my last burger for 40 days and some of the KoPs came and got us and took us back home.

It was a good Gras. Here’s how they rate:

1. 1997
2. 2007
3. 2005
4. 1994
5. 1995
6. 1996
7. 2006
8. 1990
9. 1984

Best float: Orpheus train
Best satire: Muses
Best throws: Bacchus
Best band: O. Perry Walker
Best celeb: Sean Pay-un
Best costume: “Guy shaving”
Best throw: Muses comic book

Some favorite pics:

Bacchus throw
Bachus flambeax
King Arthur
KDV Tuba
Hermes reveler
Decatur bikes
Girl sees Earl

On to Jazzfest…and back to recovery of course.

Beads come in all shapes and sizes. Round is the norm but then there are the strange variations.

I call these ones, “sweet tarts.”

“Disco balls”

Stars look best in silver…

Of course, hearts…

Lettered

These are “14s”

I always catch a ton of these but have no idea what they are all about…

A rose is a rose…

And finally, these jewel shaped jobs…

I do have to say this about these odd-shaped beads. They can create havoc on your neck due to their irregularity screwing with the natural rhythm of spheres. I read once that, given consistent conditions, objects of equal mass and weight will almost always group together. Take that logic and apply it to beads and you may have a mess at night’s end. Not that you will care of course.

I don’t have time to get into variations in size, length and color.

I could go to 10 Carnivals and never get as perfect a pic as this…

null

If you haven’t had a chance to read the Muses comic book, find one and revel in the adventures of Mr. Freeze, Nutria Boy, Stuporman, Jindalboy, Vitterman Yatman and Robinette, Mr. Go, Oilman and, of course, Mighty Mouth and Wondering Woman. It’s hysterical.

Thursday, Feb. 15

Myself and some of the KoPs (Krewe of Pacific) were at Lafayette Square and had easy beer and bathroom access. It was a tad cold though, and breezy. Wind chill took it down a few dozen degrees. Even the painted nipples were hard.

We started off the night with the Knights of Chaos and I caught a whoopee cushion that went along with their theme of Chaos Breaks Wind. This was a fun parade and we all got some good laughs at the floats and satire.

Then came Muses and we got a little crazy. The city neglected to close the barricade at the square so we were able to get really close to the floats and holler for throws. I just screamed “Muses! Muses!” and jumping up and down. My houndstooth hat fell off at some point and some nice folks found it for me later.

I will never get tired of that fiber optic shoe.

We screamed our heads off for The O. Perry Walker band and I got a good picture of one of their bass drummers and another of the color guard.

Everybody got the throws they wanted. My neighbors across the street were old pros and got them with ease. I had to do seven types of theatrics to get mine. I did alright though.

The muses were of course gorgeous and so very witty.

Friday, Feb. 16

The next night, the KoPs took a break but I went out solo to see Hermes and D’Etat. Told you I was hardcore.

I found good parking and went back to the spot we were at the night before.

For Hermes, I got next to a family with a bunch of cute kids and got maybe five big pink ones in a row. Then I filled up with all kinds of doubloons and beads and was really overloaded. I even got a Hermes football but at the end of the parade I gave it to a kid in the family who had been screaming for one the whole time. He looked a little bit like Marques Colston.

For D’Etat, a man came up next to me and asked me where Camp street was. We got to talking and he said he had never been to New Orleans and had only been in the city for an hour and a half. I welcomed him and did my best to answer his questions about Carnival. I even expounded on a few things such as Flambeux and why the parades stop at Gallier Hall. He said he was only in town tonight and was leaving tomorrow to continue a cross-country trip.

D’Etat started and within the first few floats the girl next to me suffered a bad case of bead burn. You could plainly see the impression of the beads on her forehead. She had to ice it down even in the cold weather. By this time, the older man was totally into it and damn-near killing himself trying to get various throws. He asked me what he should do with all the beads and I said he may want to put some around his rear view mirror so everyone on the I-10 would know he was coming from Mardi Gras.

Then I heard a St. B’Nawd accent behind me saying D’Etat was her favorite and begging the Krewe for lit beads and getting denied. She was pulling the “I lost everything in the storm” card and it just wasn’t happening. Finally we were able to get her a really cool crystal throw that emitted light. She was pretty happy about that.

The older man was calling his kids and screaming, “I’m at Mardi Gras!”

I didn’t get any good skull beads like last year but I did get some fun throws and more doubloons to glue to my shed.

Not sticking around for Morpheus, I gave my best beads to the older man and said he could use them for various things on Bourbon Street if he wanted to get rid of them all.

On the way home I did see a float on the GNO going faster than I ever thought a float could. It was a strange juxtaposition seeing something that usually moved at about 4 mph hauling ass down the ramp at 40.

More posts soon.

Happy Mardi Gras yall.

Nola.com says that alleged worst-mother-in-the-world Vanessa L. Johnson will be facing federal charges for giving her 17 year-old son, Clarence Johnson a gun with instructions to kill Robert Dawson, also 17.

So we asked for it, and we got it. The feds are here.

The Johnson case certainly makes a case that the state, even one as fucked up as Louisiana, would make a better parent than this particular woman supposedly was. If you read on in the article it also shows that approach works with prosecution as well. The Feds are making a better case against Johnson than Ed is:

While Clarence Johnson has a preliminary hearing set for later this month, the only court date scheduled for his mother is a “rule to show cause” hearing set for April, exactly 60 days from her arrest and the legal deadline Jordan has to either charge her with a crime or watch her walk out of jail.

Ed is giving himself as much time as legally possible for his office to show why this woman was arrested. Let’s hope no one from his office calls in sick or gets a flat tire en route to the courthouse that day.

At least the federal charge will keep her from aiding and abetting more of her children to commit murder. If that was what she in fact did of course.

The article also calls the Feds appearance in Central City as a “boots-on-the-ground” approach. I heard something similar to this on WWL the other day when an agent stated he (or one of his colleagues) was in a store and heard a man on the phone postponing a drug deal based on their presence. I’m not sure if it was their presence in the store or just in the neighborhood recently.

Either way, I am hopeful that perhaps the arrest of Vanessa Johnson will have a similar effect on the culture of violence that is most-evident in Central City but really exists in neighborhoods all over New Orleans, and (though they like to point their finger at us) all over urban centers in the United States.

I hate to celebrate a person’s incarceration but, at this point in my life, I think the negative influences of the previous generation need to either be reformed or removed so the next one can see the light of day that hopefully awaits us all.

There is a sublime sense of gratification in the catch. It feels like a feat. A crucial play in a big game.

You’ve gotten some small purple, green and golds and even some dice but that something special has eluded you.

You scan the float and find the right reveler. Not the one plundering their bag looking for stuffed bears. Not the one who just tossed a handful of cups to the tourists. You find one who has a dozen or so big pink ones in his hand and he’s dropping back to pass.

“Those will be the envy of everyone I see tonight,” you say to yourself.

You say what you can to get him to look your way. Any number of clever statements may or may not work. Or you simply scream your lungs out. You being a man with no cute little kids or a well-endowed girlfriend, the odds are against you. The natural selection of the Krewe does not favor the single thirty-something man.

But he does see you and you motion that you want them, and hope that there aren’t any nubile ladies around. Or old women that look like his me-maw. Or supple teen-agers that resemble his first. But if you are smart, you will have brought your own comely female companion. Or at least posted up near one for the benefit of splash beads.

Then he gives them a throw and you set your sights on the prize. You aren’t his target, but you make the snap judgment that, with enough athletics, maybe you can intercept them. You don’t take your eyes off the bundle of beads as they seem to be sailing over your head. With your foot on the barricade, you leap up and back with five fingers spread out like a web. You bump the woman behind you and throw her slightly off balance. In the second she takes to adjust, you reach the apex of your leap. The nucleus of the throw descends and hits your palm like a bullseye, letting out a unique and familiar sound of victory. The tentacles wrap around your hand, which you bring forward and down as the others try to snatch a string or two from your grasp. But they fail and you hear her behind you, muttering something about how they weren’t meant for you.

You look back with a smug smile and are turning your attention back to the parade when a long chain of inch-wide pearls smacks you in the forehead and fattens your lip.

A small price to pay for the perfect catch.

You place the beads around your neck and await the next float.