Archive for February, 2012

New Orleans trees show nation’s steepest dropoff

The tree count for my street…

When I first bought my house there was a huge, old, dead, crepe myrtle in the back of it that was among the first things to go. For three days, I hacked and chopped at it’s solid branches and pulled at the limbs until it was just a stump.

-1 (-1)

A few months later, Katrina blew through and knocked down a termite infested pine next door onto my shed (which was a piece of crap anyway).

-1 (-2)

I had a guy with a Bobcat come in and haul everything away and lay down some dirt. Some time later, romy and I planted a Willow, a Fig and a citrus tree.

+3 (+1)

The citrus developed a fungus and died.

-1 (0)

I took a piece of the Willow and grew roots from it in a glass of water and transplanted it to a pot and then to the neighbor’s yard across the street.

+1 (+1)

I got a Meyer Lemon tree from a client down in Plaquemines Parish and planted it in the front yard where it’s doing well. This client also told me the one in the back probably died because it was in partial shade.

+1 (+2)

If anyone wants a baby Willow just let me know. They are beautiful trees with a majestic sway and can be easily grown from branches. Don’t plant them near plumbing as they are known to squeeze the lines for water. They are also great for making wreathes and baskets and such.They don’t live very long unfortunately, usually about 40 years. I have looked for the one Jack Kerouac said was in William S. Burroughs yard here in Algiers and don’t see it so I assume it’s gone.

I should add that in this time period a man cut down three very tall, old pines that were in the lot behind me in hopes of putting a double rental property with no off street parking but we complained to the city and he hasn’t built yet.

- I woke up for the first time in years feeling ready to go on Fat Tuesday rather than, the typical, “Oh, I don’t know how I’m going to do this” cruddy hangover notion. I was ready for greatness!

- As always it took us way too long to get ready for the Golden Traipse. Minor costume finishing and make-up always takes longer than we think. There are too many details that take up too much time. “What’s the hurry, we have all day to party!” my wife says but I don’t know. Kids got all day to open presents on Christmas day but they still do so as soon as possible right?

- Posed for this picture.

- We managed to get everyone loaded in ferry shuttles our neighbors generously provided and got over there. However, I lost my hand-painted tambourine so my music making would be a little less this year. There is a long story about how its being left at the house depended exclusively on a particular home inspector from 2005 but I don’t need to get into it.

- Kids stared at my costume transfixed. Also, I was losing plumage. Amount of costume failure must always be factored in.

- We walked down costume and as always, I bid adieu to any chance of seeing Rex or Zulu. It started by oversleeping and then developed into a real tradition. To this day, I have never seen any part of Rex and only saw a few moments of Zulu from a hotel window.

- I immediately began taking photos of people with the “petals of rejoicing” flower I carried with me and the whole set is here.

- Posted up on the first block of Decatur at Attiki and witnessed a mounted Serpas roll by.

- In the bar, I fashioned a noisemaker from some Mardi Gras beads, a Pabst Blue Ribbon can and duct tape. Saved by found objects!

- Began the traipse down Royal where it didn’t take long to encounter the raucous Krewe of Ragnarok composed of some friends and fellow artists who, and I aint even trying to be hyperbolic, made the greatest walking Krewe float ever, so far, replete with girls in cages, confetti canons and trays full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

- We of course had to go by Jackson Square where Romy and I posed for this picture in the spot where we got engaged.

- At the Golden LOantern I experienced an ugly incident where a girl was passed out on the ground surrounded by people concerned about her and as Romy was calling the EMTs a guy with a fake penis came by and rubbed it on her face prompting a pushing match from a few ladies that were there who he threw beer on and yelled, “Go back to Kenner.” (I love it when people lead with their stereotypes) Though an ass-kicking was surely deserved at this point, as I am learning more and more recently, there are many things that are utterly douchbaggy but not illegal but there are many responses which are justified but illegal. I could have been the one in OPP on Fat Tuesday in a head dress and loincloth. So we left. I should have snapped a picture. Oh well. At least it wasn’t even close to the worst thing that happened this Mardi Gras.

- We posted up at the R-Bar and danced in the sun, drank more copious amounts of domestics, ate cookies, hollered at passers by, helped some people navigate the crowd in their car and made our way down to Frenchmen.

- I was able to use the PBR noisemaker at Frenchmen and Royal in a very tribal music making session that I seem to recall only small amounts of.

- Then Mollys, then Pirates Alley, then the Moonwalk, then the ferry, then a walk through the Point, then bed. Stuff happened and I recall it being fun.

- Wednesday morning I normally have that, “Wait, it’s over?” but it was stronger this year. I blame the teetotalism. Of course the alternative is to destroy myself more next year. Not sure which is worse. A three day recovery or a lingering sense that all was not done that could have been done. And Jazzfest aint the same. At least in a year when Arcade Fire aint there.

Can’t really seem to get a narrative going about this year’s Carnival so I’ll just do bullets…

- Raged, RAGED against the dying of the light in the majestic Krewe of Mama Roux and finally learned what it must be like to be an adored superstar. Yet somehow, in spit of all that adoration, some superstars still get hooked on crack. Cocaine is a helluva drug!

- Was buying my wife a Guided by Voices CD for Valentines day and saw Galactic’s Carnivale Electricos on sale a bit early at Louisiana Music Factory. Picked it up and popped it in where it played non-stop till Tuesday.

- All Fat Tuesday costuming completed before Thursday due to frenzied pace and much listening toi indian music.

- Caught Muses at Laffayette Square where there are baffrooms nearby and I can bring a six pack of beers an an “orange thing.” Unfortunatly, not only was my two-years streak of shoe-catching snapped but I think I walked away with perhaps four strands of beads and no real special throws in spite of my handsome good looks.

- I DID however witness a SHOE FIGHT! This one involved the Popo as a member of my party and an old lady got into it over ownership of a shoe. At first I thought perhaps my friend was at fault for ganking the shoe but the behavior of the old lady and the rest of her group the rest of the night seemed to suggest they were no angels themselves. Also, I love seeing “throw fights.”

- I slipped a bit from the “marathon not a sprint” technique Thursday night and consumed all the beers in the orange thing plus a shot of whiskey. A shaky base in which to build on.

- Having only missed one Bachuss and one Orpheus and zero Muses and D’Etats since 2006, I was determined to keep up a decent run of appearances over the years on the Thursday / Friday / Sunday / Monday night parades so I ventured back out Friday night, caught up with some friends and drank copious domestic lagers to further weaken my marathon stance. Also, throw drought continued as I honestly don’t think I caught a single item in D’Etat and only a few in Hermes. Fabulous floats in Hermes as always. Caught that parade on Canal by myself next to a very enthusiastic old couple who were acting like I did way back in 1983. Including the couple beers I had at work that day and the wine with dinner I think I had like 8 beers that day. Marathon not a sprint?

- Since the chance of rain was almost 100 percent on Saturday I stayed home from the Square and recovered from the hangover I incurred from the night before. Unfortunately for all of Algiers, our only neighjborhood parade, NOMTOC was cancelled and moved Uptown, ruining a lot of my neighbors and probably the participants’ good times. Haven’t heard anything about how it went.

- All throughout Saturday as the rain approached I wondered how Endymion’s “super campers” were fairing in the weather and could not help but delight in a tiny bit of schadenfreude at the deplorable conditions at the parades onset. Worked out for everyone involved in the end thankfully.

- The weather conditions did not bode well for sales at the Square but I put on last year’s funky pope costume and went on out anyway. Didn’t make a lot of money but did enjoy hollering at the Jesus freaks who now actually have divided into two camps, a nicer “we don’t want you to go to Hell” camp and a “You’re fucking going to Hell sinner!” camp. I just yelled “Zealots!” at those guys. Next year, I plan to make some signs with William Blake and Ecclesiastes quotes on them. Don’t they know “eat, drink and be merry” comes from the Bible?

- As a result of having worked, I missed Pants in Toth.

- More throw drought endured at Bacchus believe it or not but it was still better than previous parades. Beyond the fact that I just wasn’t getting thrown to a lot, when I was thrown to I wasn’t catching the fucking things. I felt like a bad wide receiver.

- I could blame a bit of my Bacchus issues on my positioning which was: On my right African American family of five with three kids ranging in age from 3 – 9. Behind me, three six-foot tourist men from Midwest. On my left, two high school girls from North Shore on boyfriend’s shoulders. No chance. When I moved, throw numbers increased.

- Thought Will Farrell was a good Bacchus, he played a little cowbell for us and the rumor was he was tossing cowbells as throws. Still think Hulk Hogan was the best Post-Katrina king.

- Managed to teetotal a bit this night but my neighbor more than made up for it.

- Lundi Gras always has a real nice vibe to it. In spite of the huge Christian concert that occurs in Washington Artillery park and also in spite of people’s binge’s pretty much reaching their receptive ends of the lines and hitting rock bottom. For those that can handle their drugs and alcohol, you can see the look on people’s faces in the Quarter that it’s been exhilarating for them. And they buy lots of presents for their friends and fam.

- My mom got in on Monday night and we loaded up the orange thing and checked out Orpheus where she delighted at all the celebrities. She thought every float was going to have a star on it.

- Hollered at my friend and fellow Jackson Square artist chaperoning St. Aug both nights. He told me earlier in the week he used to be the drum major back in the day. Never knew.

- Okay when I die and yall do my second line, here’s what I want: Rent the Smoky Mary float, put my casket on the locomotive part, all my friends ride in the back and throw throws while brass bands blow through the speakers. Yall make that happen for me please.

- Again, I took it easy so to prepare for Fat Tuesday and just go crazy so I only had a few beers.

Part 2 coming soon…