Archive for July, 2007

Lien lagniappe: DA situation makes the L.A. Times, too bad the local press seems to have forgotten about all about it.
A violent tempest in New Orleans
LA Times

Speculating on Nola’s future
Recovering New Orleans
Common Ground

Sometimes I go back and read this…
Bush’s speech: full text
Herald Tribune

And hell, while we are on speeches, check this video of Brother Huey thinking he just got shot before delivering a speech at the Washington Press Club
Huey P. Long: “Share Our Wealth (Text) and “Barbecue Speech” (Video)

American Rhetoric

No commentary necessary here. After the murder of contractor Tony White, NOPD sergeant Joe Narcisse said:

“I think people can take some comfort in knowing that it was a random act of violence,”

It doesn’t seem random that this is the third recent robbery that has turned (or was perhaps originally intended to be) violent:

Chris Roberts on June 17.

Tony White on July 26.

Yesterday in the Marigny

Here is a great video that shows a model of the levee system I-wall when placed in a centrifuge to simulate the pressure placed on it during a Lake Ponchartrain storm surge.

Following is a short update on the murder of Chris Roberts on Father’s Day. Actually it is not much of an update, the police still have no suspects or motives. I have traded a few e-mails with his girlfriend Jeanette Kelly and here is what she has told me:

- Kelly is doing some investigating on her own.

- She is enlisting the help of Crimestoppers and the Guardian Angels.

- There appears to be no motive.

- The killer pushed Roberts’ motorcycle about 7 feet, got off, went to the door and shot him when he opened the door (accounts say that he had yelled at them out the window).

- Roberts was not robbed. He still had his wallet on him.

- Kelly does not think it was someone Chris knew.

- She also thinks the killer lived within a few blocks of the crime scene.

- Roberts was only living in the apartment four days.

Need a reason to head on over to Algiers (nee’ Slaughterhouse) Point? Now you got one!

From Friends of the Ferry:

Ferry Night
July 28, 5 p.m. until midnight

Friends of the Ferry is inviting locals and tourists alike to celebrate the extension of the Canal St./Algiers Ferry hours from 8:45 p.m. to midnight. Fairy-dressers (and ferry-dressers) can enjoy discounts at French Quarter, Central Business District & Algiers Point cafes & bars when they blast across the river & take the last boat home.

New Orleans’ newest festival is sponsored by Friends of the Ferry, the grass-roots nonprofit that has battled the LADOTD’s Crescent City Connection Division for nearly two years to restore the ferry hours to its pre-Katrina schedule. Despite a petition with over 1100 signatures, numerous meetings with public officials, an intense media campaign and a City Resolution–authored by Councilmen Arnie Fielkow and James Carter–the hours were not restored until Rep. Jeff Arnold initiated a bill which resulted in amending the legislative budget to include funds for reinstating this historic transportation link across the city.

Ferry Night is a celebration of this latest rebuilding block for New Orleans. It is about Algerines who can again cross the river for a night in the French Quarter. It’s about French Quarter & CBD restaurateurs who desperately need their patronage. It’s about late-shift hospitality workers who can now find housing on the more affordable West Bank. It’s about restoring property values, keeping drunk drivers off the bridge, promoting self-propelling transportation alternatives like strolling and bicycling. It’s about embracing this most delightful form of public transportation–and in doing so, reducing our city’s carbon footprint.

Ferry Night is one big “Open House” –
where a river runs through it.

Please join us for this historic event.

Schedule of events:
5:00 – Meet at the Canal St. Ferry Landing for the Second Line along the Moonwalk.
5:45 – Take the Ferry to the Algiers Point Landing for the . . .
6:00 – City Proclamation, Blessing of the Ferry, & complimentary “Pink Ferrytinis.”
6:30 – Second Line along the levee to the Costume Contest @ Warren’s Corner (across from The Old Point Bar) where SOMEONE WILL BE CROWNED 2007’s “Algiers Fairy” — or for the kids, “The Pedestrian Fairy.”
7:00 – Stick around the Old Point for the Bourbon Cowboys at 7 & Westbank Mike at 9; or cruise Algiers Point pubs & places ; or jaunt back over to the CBD & French Quarter where your fairy/ferry costume–or Key to the City–is your ticket to deals & discounts in all three neighborhoods.

CONTACT:
Fay Faron
Friends of the Ferry
525 Pelican St.
New Orleans, LA 70114
(504) 363-9090 FAX (504) 366-7210
fay@friendsoftheferry.org

http://www.friendsoftheferry.org

NOTE TO THE MEDIA: We are in the process of compiling deals and discounts for the French Quarter and CBD. We respect your deadlines and wanted to get you this info ASAP. Please check back for updates.

Ministers show support for Jordan

The Rev. Joseph C. Profit Sr., president of the Ideal Missionary Baptist Association, said New Orleans’ murder rate was also high in the years before Jordan became the first African American DA in the city’s history.

But when Jordan’s predecessors were in office, Profit said, “No one cried out for their resignation or threatened impeachment. The difference, he added, is that the predecessors were all white.

To Rev. Profit I must ask: What kind of defense of a man’s job performance is it when he is said to be just as mediocre as his predecessor?

Well, it appears as though another newspaper columnist has taken up the “let it die” cause.

This one has considerably less credentials than the last but he needs to be addressed nonetheless. No one gets a free pass when they are advocating my and my neighbors’ financial ruin and the destruction by neglect of our homes.

Following is a point-by-point retort to Mr. Bryce Lambley of the Freemont Tribune, a 139 year-old paper in Eastern Nebraska that should really have a more respectful attitude towards history and cultural heritage.

The continued hand-wringing over rebuilding efforts (and our tax money being spent) in New Orleans is starting to wear real thin on me.

Then you can imagine how thin it’s wearing on US.

The experts are now saying if they build up the weakest levees, it will put the French Quarter in even more jeopardy.

Seems to me the smartest response is to simply rebuild the poverty-ridden city on higher ground; just annex the neighbors like Omaha did.

I like that he uses the word “simply” in reference to rebuilding an entire city with a giant port, four major expanses, with many historical districts and cultures and built on the deepest channel of the Mississippi River.

It’s not that I don’t have a heart.

No. You don’t get it both ways. You advise that people be made to leave the place where their families have lived for 300 years and write that a major city to be abandoned rather than spend a small portion of your tax dollars on it, and you still want to pretend you have a heart? No.

We’ve got tornadoes in this part of the country. There are also wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, ice storms, blizzards, floods, and all matter of other natural disasters. All are regrettable and most are unavoidable.

But when New Orleans – a huge part of which actually existed below sea level – got hammered by Hurricane Katrina, the nation’s outcry and shock was astounding, fueled by knee-jerk angst from pseudojournalists like Geraldo Rivera.

Perhaps their outcry and shock were fueled by the fact that they contained a shred of humanity and were outraged that such a botched response could happen in the United States to Americans? No but, really, it was Geraldo and Anderson Cooper who conjured up a spell that made their viewers suddenly sympathetic. Because nobody is moved by a bloated body floating in the street of a great American city unless a journalist tells them to be upset about it. Ditto for the reactions to dead old ladies in wheelchairs.

I too was shocked when I learned how much of that city was built below the level of the Mississippi River, Lake Ponchartrain, and the Gulf of Mexico. Do these people not understand the simple nature of water and physics?

That’s it. The Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t understand the simple nature of water and physics. You got it. This sports writer from Nebraska has a stupefying revelation for the United States Government. Somebody call the Netherlands! Water flows DOWN!

Some lessons must take a while to sink in (pardon the pun). Years ago, when Nebraskans tried to alleviate flooding in the southeast part of the state, they quickly found that when you channelize one part of a river, you just about have to do the same for the rest of the river downstream.

Yea, downstream, that’s us. And why didn’t your state just tell those folks to simply rebuild their cities? Wait, they had alittle vision?

If you don’t, the newly-straightened (channelized) portions of the river do a great job of quickly moving heavy downpours out of the flood-prone area. But when this accelerated runoff then hits the unchannelized portions downstream (with lots of twists and turns), the flooding is dramatically worsened.

In other words, if you don’t do the job completely, you’ve actually made the situation worse. We learned those lessons quickly on the Nemaha river system as well as the mighty Missouri.

Doing the job completely, yes, that’s what we want.

So what should we learn from this disaster? Move the city to higher ground!

Even though I have said this isn’t the smartest path, I want you to know that to create a new infrastructure for New Orleans in a different location would be very, very expensive for everyone involved, including the oil and gas industry. There is already an infrastructure in place so it would all have to be rebuilt elsewhere. Then there is the problem with what to do with the infrastructure in place. Ban people from entering the city? How exactly is this supposed to take place? Is this more practical than simply buyilding better levees? Probably not!

Instead, in New Orleans (and Washington) it seems they’d rather point fingers, hold out their cup, or label the poor response as racism. That and blame the President, FEMA, the Red Cross, National Guard and the war in Iraq. Where is the federal relief money? Where is their FEMA trailer?

And the head of FEMA who had no emergency management experience? What was that? We were supposed to keep our outrage to ourselves?

And the many people rebuilding in the city right now who never held out a cup? What about them? We are supposed to tell them they don’t count and no one is going to regard them because everyone is so pissed off at the poor people who can’t afford to rebuild? Everyone wants to drag out the people who are waiting for government assistance that they are ignoring the people who don’t. Therefore they are drawing attention to the very thing they despise and ignoring those who are actually doing something.

Do you really think the disaster response would have been as botched if Katrina happened in Miami Beach?

The people down here are asking for federal money because federal levees failed and caused the disaster in the first place.

And since you brought up the War in Iraq, you may want to look over your figures and see how many of your tax dollars are being spent on that debacle and compare it to how many have been spent on revitalizing an American port city. We could have bought dozens of levee systems with that cash.

Are they serious?

Damn right we are serious.

They built a city on ancient river-borne sediment

When you say “They” I want you to realize you are talking about people like presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. You are also referring to people who maybe thought it to be a good idea to have a city on the mouth of the continent’s largest river. These people thought it could possibly be a good idea to regulate traffic on that river. They also saw a resource rich continent to the south that would need a port close by. They also saw that large ocean-going vessels could never make it up the river so they would need to offload their supplies somewhere near the mouth. I know. What dumb asses!

that is prone to compaction (sinking)

Thanks for the parentheses. I never would have known what compaction was without that aside.

and did it below the level of an ocean that is known for brewing up nasty storms, and suddenly they’re horrified this great act of tempting fate backfires.

It’s a gulf.

Most of the city (including my house) is well over sea level, so much so that it is measured in meters. And I’m in New Orleans proper too. Also, the horror is from the selfish nature of certain members of the American populace and their unwillingness to care about the city and its people. We are also a little teary-eyed about the death of vision in America.

It would seem to me that when natural disasters strike here in the Midwest – such as the monster blizzards in the high plains this past winter – that folks simply button up their coats and help each other in any way they can.

And as many have pointed out, there was not widespread moaning that the federal government wasn’t helping. Or complaining there wasn’t a FEMA trailer or stipend for them.

Really? Because with a simple Internet search, I found a blizzard that occurred in 1949 that required the help of the Fifth Army, the Red Cross, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Air Force, the National Guard and the Civil Air Patrol. I guess the three people that died in this blizzard didn’t button up their coats far enough.

And I suppose everybody refused this money allocated to the state shortly before Katrina.

They didn’t expect the President to be there in person. And (thankfully) there were no visits from Sean Penn, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or other grandstanding opportunists.

So if someone comes down to help, they are only doing so to be an opportunist, and someone who doesn’t do shit is…what exactly?

Didn’t everybody expect at least a visit from Bush? I mean, is it too much to ask for the guy to put his feet on the ground and make an appearance? Smell the odor of flooded houses? LBJ did it.

Yes, the destruction caused by Katrina was devastating and I truly feel bad for those affected.

Again, no. You don’t have the right to back off from your own words by stating that you care. If you cared, this article would be in the form of a plea rather than sounding as if it was the schoolboy scribble of a snide heel. So spare me the part where you try and make yourself feel good by saying you really do care for people who you attempt to make look stupid with remarks about not understanding physics and such. Especially since none of us have forgotten that we lost 1,700 neighbors two years ago.

And I do hope much of the city can be rebuilt Å  on higher ground and without my tax money.

Vote for who you want to vote for (though I have a sneaking suspicion you aren’t happy with any of the candidates) but rest assured, your money will be wasted on much worse than building people new homes and helping them get back on their feet.

But let’s put things into perspective. If you or I are crazy enough to build much more than a ramshackle cabin on a Platte River island or shore, and a flood sweeps it away, folks here won’t have much sympathy for our decision to build there in the first place. We take the risks of developing such land knowingly.

I wouldn’t project your lack of sympathy onto others. That’s a bold and arrogant step. Simply because you lack compassion for your fellow Americans doesn’t mean everyone else does.

Your “they deserved it for living there” argument is common. I wonder how many of you felt like writing that after thousands of people died on Sept. 11 in a building that had been attacked once in the last decade? I don’t recall many people writing editorials about that. But somehow it is okay to insinuate that about New Orleans. I wonder what the difference between the people who died in those two disasters is?

Anyway, you are on the list.

We knew it would come. The issue of race has entered into the DA debate.

Well, actually, it was always there. Since the day Ed stepped into office really.

But man, it is really stinking now.

It stinks because no debate as to the merit of black leadership can avoid the inevitable comparisons to lynch mobs. When DOES a man actually get judged on the content of his character? Not there yet Martin.

But the race card is getting old. Not because racism is getting old either. Racism is going strong.

It’s getting old because it is increasingly being used as a tool in politics and not as a demand for human rights. What is astounding here is, the broken justice system here in New Orleans is resulting in many dead African Americans, thus denying those who live in high crime neighborhoods their right to feel safe in their homes and on their streets. The future of the community lies dead in the street while the citizenship is being attacked for demanding change. And human rights is lost along the way.

Eddie Jordan’s civil rights aren’t being attacked. His job performance is. The people whose rights are under attack are the victims of crime all over the city.

If I have to attack black leadership to save black lives and enrich black communities then I am prepared to do so. If I have to endure allegations of racism, I’m ready for that too. Sticks and stones you know.

I don’t think anyone who has spoken out against the district attorney truly gives a damn what color his replacement might be. They only ask that he or she be better. It’s about competence.

But there seems to be a group of people who DO care what race the DA is.

The attack on Ed isn’t racism. It’s a demand for more from our leaders. And once an African American puts them self in a position of leadership, he or she should expect debates about their merit from all sorts of people, white or otherwise. That’s what leadership is.

It should be said that allegations of racism don’t pay infinite dividends either. There might be a time when the boy cries wolf too many times. How long can this very serious problem be used for political gain? Until people stop believing it.

What’s happening to Ed is a civic protest. It isn’t racism. His defenders should enter into a more serious debate and defend him based on his job performance rather than crying wolf again.

The heartbreaking thing is racism is alive and well in Jena, Louisiana right now. And I’m prepared to get on any bus going up that way. Because those are the real villains.

Wreck led to woman’s drug addiction, and ultimately her murder

It wasn’t so much a weak spirit but a strong will, relatives say, that drove 28-year-old Nicole Guagliardo to a tiny Shrewsbury back street on what would become a fatal search to score drugs.

Hmmmmmmm…

Guagliardo’s unwavering confidence, after all, had helped her walk again after she almost lost her right leg six years ago in a horrific traffic crash.

Oh, OK.

Later, her determination fueled her attempt to kick her debilitating addiction to methadone that relatives said was prescribed to control her chronic pain.

Go girl.

It was that same willfulness, they say, that lead her to try crack cocaine as a euphoric alternative

Wait, what?

Anyway, they have arrested a suspect.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Ron ‘Ookie’ Mexico’s endorsements are dropping like flies as sick details of his dog fighting operations are beginning to emerge.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Eight of the animals didn’t make the cut, and were executed by Vick and two co-defendants by “hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground,” authorities allege.

And:

In March 2003, Vick and others sponsored a 35-pound female pit bull in a fight that had a $26,000 purse. After the fight, Purnell Peace, one of the others indicted, consulted with Vick about the losing dog and Peace then “executed the losing dog by wetting the dog down with water and electrocuting the animal,” the indictment states.

If the allegations are true, I can’t see how the NFL wouldn’t suspend Mexico for a lengthy period of time.

Mexico has denied knowledge of the dog-fighting activities at the time, but acknowledged:

I’m never there. I’m never at the house. I left the house with my family members and my cousin. They just haven’t been doing the right thing. The issue will get resolved. It’s unfortunate I have to take the heat behind it. If I’m not there, I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a call for me to really tighten down on who I’m trying to take care of. When it all boils down, people will try to take advantage of you and leave you out to dry. Lesson learned for me.

Either way, that team looks to be in turmoil. So we will be competing with Chucky’s last stand in Tampa Bay and the perennial question mark Carolina Panthers this season.