Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Missing Art in St. Roch

If you had passed through the St. Roch neighborhood before the storm, this house would have had a man sitting in front of it, surrounded by his collection, piled high above the foundation line of the house. The look of the collection was reflected in the backdrop that he created for it on his home. Many would have called it trash, but it was his art. Now, all that remains is Cookie Monster and a wonderfully and meticulously painted house. I would like to think that he evacuated with his pile...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Nice Day For a Good Read

One day after I came back into the city, I took a drive through Mid City. I worked there at a school for awhile and was checking the area out, surveying the damage to the school, etc. No one had really tried to move back into the neighborhood yet, so it was shocking to see anyone around. One couple was living in a single floor shotgun that had been flooded really badly, and they had obviously not ripped out the moldy stuff. They were sitting on the porch, sipping beer. When asked how they were doing, they said that the town that they evacuated to didn't want them around so they came back to what they had.

After that exchange, I found this lady. She was reading quietly in her yard. She remains as a symbol for me of all the attempts to get back to normal living dispite the huge, glaring reminders that this city is a frickin' mess and will be for awhile.

Friday, January 27, 2006

More of The Graffitis

Slimbolala is credited with the identification of the disease, I merely found a later example over in an area referred to as Gert Town. My favorite of his examples: The Case of The Potty-Mouthed Car.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Article in The Nation about the Men of Labor Second Line

See Billy Sothern's article called A Second-Line Revival, about the Men of Labor second line that appears in The Nation this week. He also wrote another great article called Left To Die, about the current state of the New Orleans/Louisiana prison system, which appeared in The Nation on December 14, 2005. That's him, writing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Trash Pile I

The first of my trash pile installments. I stumbled upon two separate piles of mannequin heads in Mid-City one day. It was bizarre to see the huge piles, full of these faces. Strangely drawn to them? See a few more here.

I will add more pictures of heads to the set another day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Oh, Dahlin'....

Been feeling a little like this?

This is my neighbor. This is what he did to help his mama on his first day back in New Orleans.

Just shoveled up a massive trash pile into many, many, many bags. There's another pile around the corner, twice as big. YES!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Deadwood-Salami Fest

When I lived in New York, whatever mood you're in, no matter how dowdy you look, if you walk down a street alone as woman, there is the inevitable catcall. Some comments are VERY discriptive and at times threatening (some bad stories, I tell ya). Being the kind of person who walks around in La-La land, these can interrupt fantasy world with a screech, to say the least. Of course, there was the friendlier, more polite comment once in awhile. and that was nice. My husband never believed just how rude the comments could get so I made him follow behind me one day at distance far away to suggest we were not together, but still within hearing range of the comments. Let's just say he never doubted again.

In New Orleans, the comments are more polite, for the most part. Example: Last year, I had put on a few New Orleans pounds and was going to the gym ( so I wouldn't die of a heart and lung attack on the soccer field). I was crossing Rampart, and these two men ran in front of the gym's doors, blocking my way and begged me not to go in, claiming that I shouldn't change a thing, it would ruin it all. Well, that was nice and done with humor and flair.


I had been warned by a bartender friend of mine that venturing out into certain uptown bars is flat out advised against for women, but I thought, pish-posh, I ain't ascared of no boys. But then, I went into one after soccer practice with a few male members of the team. I was one of two or three women in there, max, one playing video poker in such a way that she didn't count.

You know that feeling when you are in a restaurant and there is someone sitting in your "thinking view" (When in conversation, when thinking or listening, I often look over to my right, and in public situations, this often creates unwanted eye-locking moments with the same person over and over again)? Well, it was like my thinking view was panoramic, because if I looked anywhere but in the faces of the two guys I was chatting with, I locked eyes with a man. Then I realized that it was because every man in the room was actually staring at me. A compliment? Can't say it was. My friend, the bartender, says that if a woman walks into his bar, (which he now calls a salami fest, post K) where all the contractors and guys who came into town to work hang out, she is zoomed in on in this competition like survival of the fittest -who can get in a conversation first. Yeesh. I did not realize that it was actually giving me the creeps until I went to go use the ladies room and felt really wierd. I expressed this to my friends and one said that if they weren't there with me, as a "protective shield", if you will, the whole bar would close in.

It's freaky, but really sad for those lonely guys. It's not like I feel threatened, just oogled to the max.

I can say, however, that it is not like that in the Bywater bars or the Circle Bar. I haven't been back to the Saint yet.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Windows of New Orleans

I like to take pictures of things that are in New Orleans windows. This is on my desktop. I don't know who Joel is, but good job, buddy. This picture cheers me up.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Second Line Pictures on Flickr

I finally got the rest of the post-Katrina New Orleans Black Men of Labor second line pictures up on flickr, but you have to go here to see them in the correct order. I still haven't figured out a few things, obviously. Big thank you to David, AGAIN.

The Mardi Gras!

In New Orleans, after the carnival revelers have been ashed, the scene keeps on, but under wraps. I was once offered a top-secret position painting Mardi Gras floats for the next season. The warehouse workshops for these floats are all over the place in NOLA, hidden from view. Everyone knows this, but forgets, really as the year floats by. Well I found one, thanks to the winds of Katrina, and you'll have to figure out where it is yourself, though there are many visual clues.

The Mardi Gras will go on, and I cannot wait for my favorites: Muses (an all women's parade -on THURSDAY this year, not Wednesday), Endymion and St. Ann' s rag tag parade made up of revelers that is timed to clash with Rex (if you are costumed, you're in). I live one block from St. Charles, the main parade route and when I hear the marching bands a-blarin' I dash out the door just for them, because more than anything, I love the bands with the dancing girls with shiny, glittery, clickity-clackity boots.

Mr. Hardy has put out his Mardi Gras book, a great sign of post-Katrina normalcy, and this is the 150th anniversary carnival so it will be a good time to pick it up. This is not a promotion on purpose, I just want to get it in my hands to feel proof of it all, that it's really going to happen, that I can thumb through the schedule....

and then, of course, the Mardi Gras Indians!


In response to Ms. NOLA, who pointed out that I left out Cubans,

You betcha! And to throw in some support for a local Cuban business owner (Bridge Lounge): she wants to start up a program where spanish speakers volunteer as advocates for Mexican workers who are getting beat up and robbed after work. When the ambulance comes, they cannot communicate. If you know any spanish speakers willing to advocate, send 'em to Jane and tell them Nikki (the art teacher) sent them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Nagin's Fears

Interesting that I posted about how many churches are in the down and out neighborhoods of New Orleans, and Nagin spoke of the wrath of God raining down upon us... What to say about him and that statement? A little bit of the Bush possesed him, I think we need an excorcism.

As for the fear that he has of the black culture being lost to NOLA, this is a fear that gripped me in the panic of all that occured in the days after the storm. However, when I returned to New Orleans a few days before Halloween, I noticed a nice mix of cultures here in the city -with a little extra flavor to boot as we had attracted a hefty Mexican population looking for work. I hope they stay for good, adding to the mix of Vietnamese, Hondurans, Salvadorians, African Americans, African-Native Americans, Native Americans, Cajuns, French, Greeks, Irish, Italian*...all of whom contibute to the festive atmosphere of our poor little city with celebrations and rituals specific to their culture. And of course all us other caucasians/ caucasian-mixes who, according to Nagin, don't want this city to runneth over with chocolate.

The very next day after I came back, I saw a family of African Americans going into the Sav-a-Center and I knew they were New Orleanians because of the footwear: the biggest, fuzziest slippers that could be found here on earth. This is something that I have only seen here in NOLA and it gave me great comfort. Not that everyone walks around in fuzzy slippers. Just a good bunch.

I mean, check out that man's shoes in the picture above. Absolutely stunning!

Which brings me to another description of a comforting event. The Men of Labor always put on a second line on Labor day. Due to the storm, it was postponed and I was lucky enough, along with many others, to witness the re-opening of Sweet Loraine's and the emergence of the wonderfully decked out dancers of the second line, gettin' down to the brass band music of two bands. For those of you unfamiliar with the second line, go to the link provided below for more info. It's a wonderful tradition and it's back and it is not going anywhere, Mr. Nagin. There will be more! And tomorrow I will address Mardi Gras worries, you can bet your fanny that the Mardi Gras Indians will be back...

I will be posting more pictures of events set against the scene of our roughed up city on flicker as soon as I can. When you see the link on the side bar, check it out.

*If I left anybody out, tell me. I will make additions!
**in case I cannot figure out how to add the link at the bottom of the post:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

To kick off the blog, A little Central City, New Orleans for you. This is my neighborhood, where the Holy Spirit is the tormentor of drugs and guns. One can always find the most little churches in the "worst" neighborhoods. Almost one for every block in these parts.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Look for the first postings next Monday or Tuesday, January 11 & 12