I met a woman today who was (rightfully) suspicious when she saw me in the 7th Ward, digging under a house, snapping pictures and writing in my legal pad. After chatting for a while, she asked, "What are you going to write about? This article, what is it?" I said, "Well. I don't know. A little bit of everything, really. I can delete the pictures of you if you want." She looked at me for a little while, trying to see if I was legit, before saying, "Alright, sista, Imma let you have this one...But if you see what's going on and don't write about it, you're a part of the problem."
I agree. I've mentioned the issues that we were venting about (gentrification, euphemistic neighborhood names and discrimination) and others that would have come up in the conversation eventually (hate groups, homelessness, accessibility, the stigma in the black community associated with seeking mental health care, blight and the lack of love for New Orleans East), but I'll admit that I haven't really gone into detail as much as I can and should. She correctly guessed that I try to keep my power-fighting to a minimum because I don't want to ruffle feathers.
When I started this column, I was used to writing for CUE, our monthly fashion, home and beauty magazine. I love writing for CUE because I love glossy magazines; like CUE intern Angela Hernandez, I have stacks of glossy mags all over the house. (I know a girl who slipped on a magazine and broke her arm, though, so be careful and keep those stacks off of the floor.)
@angieworldorder @megandoesnola We are all going to end up on hoarders burried under stacks and stacks of magazines.
— Angela Hernandez(@AngieHrndz) September 10, 2012
I'm not linking the actual Twitter conversation because I know this person doesn't like to mix Twitter with his actual blog. I know that because I ended up getting really angry about his accusation later that night. Not because of him, but because I was venting to someone about the accusation who said that someone else said that my writing "sounded too much like ad copy" and that set me off. (The person who told me this was trying to be helpful, not gossipy.)
I didn't think the person who originally said my writing sounded like ad copy liked me anyway (well, I thought the person did at first but then I thought the person didn't), so I tried to brush it off, but I kept hearing it play in my mind: Ad copy. Ad copy?! I wondered to myself if the person had ever read a magazine; my CUE writing and glossy magazine writing are pretty damn parallel, which is a good thing.
I searched all over the Internet and found out who was behind the cartoon avatar on Twitter and was pretty happy to see that I wasn't the only journalist — not even the only Gambit writer — that he openly critiqued.
(Update: He liked the next installment, we follow each other on Twitter and he likes my Facebook journalist page and all of that good stuff. And I'm pretty cool with the person who didn't like me back then. We're not best buddies or anything, but we like and respect each other.)
Riding the bus today with Apptitude founder Chris Boyd, we discussed the importance of doing things for your community, even when they are often literally more trouble than they're worth. He said, "It's a good motivation when you remember that you're doing something for New Orleans."
The East is coming back and it's pretty close to what I remember. Ah, the East. Aside from having to live with my Mom's emotionally abusive first cousin and his even more emotionally abusive wife from October 2002-May 2003, after my Mom died and my Paw Paw took ill (He died in February 2003.), I have nothing but fond memories there: shopping at the Plaza as a kid and boy-watching there as a teenager, visiting family and friends of the family since practically every 7th Ward household engaged in the New Orleans East exodus and doing suburban family things like going to Denny's and Wal-Mart without having to go to Metairie, Kenner or the Westbank.
From what I gathered on this bus adventure, the majority of the East is back and there's not much blight — except for businesses. There were so many abandoned businesses and overgrown lots where businesses once stood. And it wasn't Mom and Pop places — these were strip malls, schools and other businesses that, if I had to assume, have the means to rebuild.
The fact that the Lake Forest bus was "oh-my-God-is-someone-else's-sweat-dripping-down-back," "please-mister-bus-driver-don't-make-a-sharp-turn-because-I-don't-want-to-fall-out-of-the-back-door" packed not only illustrates the rebounding population of the East but provides quite a few quotable moments...
The second accompanied installment of Public Transit Tuesdays brings us from City Park to Audubon Zoo on the Leonidas bus, passing through Hollygrove, Pigeon Town and Gert Town, proving to be a fine continuation of my Uptown education which began years ago when I was a student at Lusher Extension. This bus adventure opens with difficult questions: How do you pronounce "Leonidas" anyway? What are the boundaries of these neighborhoods? Good thing my bus buddy and best friend Jenny who was raised in all three neighborhoods was there to help answer them...
And you will rebuild.
In the meantime, why not re-read our Hubig's cover story, "The Value of Pie: Simon Survives"?
Since the Tchoupitoulas bus comes only once an hour—with the exception of coming once every half hour in the early morning, late afternoon and early evening—this bus adventure was more of a walking tour. A very exhausting walking tour. Still, I explored different socioeconomic areas, stopped at some fun places and met some nice people who were eager to talk with me...
Canal Street is the hub of public transportation in New Orleans. In fact, most of my Public Transit Tuesdays and non-Gambit bus excursions have me crossing Canal Street at some point. Also, if you're ever lost on a bus adventure, you'll be halfway home if you can find your way back to Canal Street. Sadly, this doesn't work for the RTA's demon seed, the Kenner Loop. The Canal streetcar demographic can't be explained, as it's full of tourists, locals, students, working people and the unemployed. That inexplicable demographic is one of the best parts of riding the Canal streetcar, as you never know who you'll meet. The only depressing thing about riding the Canal Streetcar is that it makes you long for the New Orleans that was...
“Aren’t you happy?” asked my uncle of Marie Rodrigue on the night of my engagement to her son. “You’re going to have a daughter-in-law!”
“I had one,” she replied, her face deadpan. “It didn’t work out.”
When she died in 2008 at age one hundred and three, George Rodrigue’s mother still wanted to “go home” to New Iberia. She wanted her car back, to remove her grandsons’ hats and cut their hair, to lengthen my skirts and overcook my Thanksgiving turkey, to visit long-dead friends and family, and, most important, to see her son get a real job, “with the telephone company,” she said, as she worried about his pension:
“When will you realize that nobody’s gonna buy those pictures?”
She was tough, ‘solid,’ as George used to say, with legs like tree stumps (her description, not mine, although…)…
The Political Desk has unearthed a real gem — a 1960 "public information service" newsreel by the American Petroleum Institute, which debunks the crazy theory that the oil industry might have some deleterious effect on the Louisiana oyster population ... as proven with a "two-million-dollar oyster research program!".
Back then, something was retarding the growth of oysters in the Gulf, so oil company scientists put some oysters in a tank and fed them a diet of crude oil and other gunk.
Surprise: "The test oysters were so happy they brought forth new generations – they never had it so good!"
Must be seen to be believed.
“Despite the debate in the museum world about the value of blockbuster exhibitions, … the show became a watershed in the cultural history of New Orleans, with people speaking of ‘before Tut’ and ‘after Tut.’” -Prescott N. Dunbar*
Last week, with the death of Encyclopedia Britannica’s print edition, I toured Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial and thought about information. I researched the show beforehand on NOMA’s new and improved website, impressed with the museum’s education efforts, particularly in sharing the exhibition with Middle School children.
In my youth, the show was Treasures of Tutankhamun, and the research came not from websites and social media, but from small images and dense text in a fat set of alphabetized books lined up along the school library wall. There were no links, no games, and no videos. Outside of Encyclopedia Britannica, Tut existed only in Egypt until one magical year it visited six U.S. museums, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, its only southern stop. I sat last Monday on a bench in Hard Truths (reviewed here by D. Eric Bookhardt for Gambit) and googled 'Selket' on my iPhone, triggering a flashback:
At 4:00 a.m. on December 26th 1977, my mother, giddy, woke me.
“Hurry up, Wendy Anne. Wear your new coat. It’s cold.”
I was ten.
Along with my younger cousin Kelly, we left my uncle’s house at 484 Fairfield Drive in Gretna, Louisiana on a moonless, stormy night. We ate pop tarts in my mother’s canary yellow Oldsmobile as we drove across the Mississippi River and a then-single Greater New Orleans Bridge to a parking lot located somewhere in Mid-City. With hundreds of families we waited one hour in the dark for a bus that carried us past a Nile-blue painted Lelong Avenue and the New Orleans Museum of Art to a distant City Park path, where we joined thousands of people already in line.
This was a symbolic move that accomplished absolutely nothing, you can't change what is in…
new video of funny New Orleans french quarter water commercial I made link here https://twitter.com/NeedWetlands/status/856940058435354624
There are liars and Da*n Liars and Mayor Mitch is both -- Robert E. Lee…
He is a parasite has been his entire life, He and his failed senator sister…
He is a liar 70% of constituents want them left alone
No public vote, never got public opinion. This whole thing is out of town influence…
Now that the Liberty Place monument is gone, we can safely say it didn't happen…
Great opening line and your article is excellent as usual Kat!
INSEAD OF WASTING TIME PROVING IGNORANCE AND PROVIDING NOTHING BUT BLAME WHY DONT YOU PROTESTORS…
To learn the facts of public record about an Article V Convention go to www.foavc.org…
I like what I'm learning about her. Love when she says she just can't stand…