Monday, April 13, 2009

Springtime in New Orleans

With Easter, "Spring" has officially begun in New Orleans. We were home this weekend, since I had a conference presentation to make at the American Cultural Association meetings. It was a wonderful conference, and my presentation on the "new" culture emerging in post-Katrina New Orleans was extremely well received. Gwinnett College would like me to come up there to make the presentation. The Conference also is interested in having me do a showcase presentation on my research next year. I am working to finish the paper and submit it for publication.

More than the conference, though, it was nice to be back home and feel like we were back home. I hate being a tourist in my own city, so we did more of the "normal" things this time--had a cookout with Maggie and JC and the gang in Broadmoor, visited with friends in the Quarter, took Devin back to the Aquarium (ok, so that is touristy), watched the Crescent City Classic on our front porch, went to Antoinette's Wake Party at the Mother-In-Law, and had some good food. What I need now is to stay at a place with a kitchen so I can cook my own meals.

What I realize is that as I grow professionally, I must be able to get back home as often as I want--perhaps once a month, perhaps in time with a job back in New Orleans. The city, the culture, and my friends are too embedded in my soul. I appreciate my place in New Orleans. I find my soul in the city.

I have the patience to see how time and opportunities take us back to New Orleans. Baby-steps back home. If it becomes the once-a-month journeys back home, I'm ok with this right now. This is a good starting point.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Antoinette K-Doe's Passing

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, Ms. Antoninette K-Doe passed away in her sleep. We have lost another New Orleans cultural icon and community rebuilder. I will miss seeing her in New Orleans, and I will try to be there for her second line. She needs to be honored for all her work in the city. She was recently awarded the "Heartbeat Award" by Offbeat Magazine. Here is the article.

I will miss you very much. You have done so much for New Orleans.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Change We Can Believe In

It didn't take Ms. Napolitano as Director of Homeland Security long to begin reviewing the mess left behind by Bush, Chertoff and Brownie.

Here is the link.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Is It Time to Leave New Orleans?

I have been troubled at the volume of murders happening in New Orleans at the beginning of 2009. There seems to be more of it taking place now than even before the Federal Flood. Keith Spera writes in today's Times Picayune an excellent reflective piece.


I think it is important to read

Spera writes:
"Until now, my wife and I have chosen to remain in the neighborhood and accept whatever risk that entails. But what of our responsibility to our child?

Does it make sense to raise her in a neighborhood, or a city, where killing is routine?

If not, when do we leave? And how far do we go?

How many other New Orleanians -- natives, like myself, and relative newcomers, like my wife -- ask themselves this same question?

Or do we all live in a state of denial?"

Something has to be done to make New Orleans safer. It will take more than good schools and an economic development program that truly distributes more jobs to residents beyond the tourist sector. Multiple systems have fallen apart and need to be repaired or replaced. Indeed, a whole culture may have to change on multiple fronts--political, social, community.

How we got here--historically there are numerous points we can find. How we go forward--if the will exists, it will still take time and more importantly for the disenfranchised there will need to be "proof" that viable alternatives to hopeless life exists.

I hate to see my city decay in this way, but it may be time for those who do have families to reconsider if it is worth it to LIVE in the city.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hallelujah!!!

The 44th President of the United States....


I have not been so hopeful about the direction of America since 1968. In that year, two of my heroes were murdered--Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. It would shape my critical attitude towards the United States and its politics up to this point in my life.

These last eight years have been nothing but a nightmare for me. Year after year, things only got worse. How Shrub got "elected" in 2004 was incomprehensible to me--a real low-point in politics in this country. How could so many people be so wrong?

Barack Obama will take the oath of office at Noon. It is an incredible event on so many fronts. I am filled with lots of emotions right now.

I am happy to say that I will support my President with all my heart.

My President

President Barack Obama
The 44th President of the United States
Thank God

Lift Every Voice And Sing

Remember....

And let us MOVE to Change.

One more day....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

George Bush can Kiss My Ass

I have now lived in Harker Heights, TX for 3 years. We have landed on our feet and we have, with hesitancy, moved on. It took me a while to do that, and I honestly know that there is no other place for me to live in the world than New Orleans. Someday, I know we will find our way back. But for the long-term, we will be here in Central Texas. Good job, a “peaceful” life, beginning to collect good friends, and throwing some good parties. Susan and I are enjoying our Blue Room nights more and more—it’s like relaxing at Zots on Royal St. back in the day.

This is all good and fine, but it doesn’t mean I don’t get mad as hell when Katrina is brought up, especially by the Village Idiot from Crawford, Texas.

George, not only was the Federal response “slow” during Hurricane Katrina—it was non-existent. Yes, the Coast Guard worked vigilantly to rescue people from their homes. But we needed more help, even while the Coast Guard was doing its job! How many people died in the hospitals? How many people died in the nursing homes? How many people died while waiting to be evacuated from the highways and airport? How many days did it take for ANY concerted Federal response to hit the city? How many days before Michael fucking Brown admitted that there was even a goddamn problem in New Orleans?

I could go on, and ask any of us who experienced Katrina firsthand what we think about Bush and Katrina—we can go down our own personal checklists of unmet federal promises to make our lives whole again. I just traveled through the Lakeview and Lower Ninth Ward neighborhoods and am now numb at the lack of visible signs of rebuilding in those areas. Drive through many of our neighborhoods, and you still see one occupied house among 10 in a block, the occasional FEMA trailer, and houses destroyed by the storm still lying vacant and unrepaired. To date, the Federal Response has been “at best” SLOW—AT A SNAIL’S PACE, and truly INADEQUATE. Both of those truths indicate how serious you never were in helping rebuild our city. Look at Galveston today and you see a continuation of this total neglect for the safety and rebuilding of communities destroyed by disasters in our own country by your fuckingly inept administration.

I will be happy to see you go in 6 days. The clock cannot tick fast enough. And I hope I can say hello to you in Crawford, TX, just a few miles north of me where I now live because of your lack of help to New Orleans. I want to give you my own personal one-finger salute. You are a sorry excuse for human life.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Nice to be home

It is difficult updating anything on the road when all you have is a minicomputer and a phone pc!!! But that's what I brought with me, and it will have to do.

I was surprised with the quality of the food at Fiorella's last night. They finally got it right (or back to the way it was before the storm). Chicken was excellent, and so were the fried pickles. I would highly recommend it, especially to those who have been there after it was bought two years ago by the folks at Whirling Dirvish.

Cece and I walked through the Quarter last night after dinner, and I felt like I was home. Window browsing on Royal St. is a joy, though I continue to see shops closing every time I come back. The Quarter was alive, though, and that is what I needed.

We actually packed lots in for the evening. The Quarter, Frenchman St., Rock & Bowl to see Kermit, and then a drive down Magazine St. It was again as if I had never left.

Cece appreciates this visit very much. She especially appreciates the diversity here among the young men she sees. She is having fun, and that's really what this trip is all about.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Heading to New Orleans

Should be there by tonight. Dinner at Mandina's with Cece, then off to Brocata's. Yum :)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

Here's to all of you, wishing you the best for 2009. Here's to Hope, and Change, and New Beginnings that will make a better life for working people in America.