Has it really been a whole year since Travel+Leisure did its "America's [fill in the blank] Cities" list? Yes, it has. And list-loving New Orleanians might be interested in some of the results, including the designation of the Crescent City as the second-dirtiest burg in America. (Don't tell Sidney.)
Other listicle nuggets: We're the country's top city for "wild weekends," bars, and friendly locals — as well as No. 1 in "offbeat," nudging out Santa Fe, N.M.; Austin, Texas; and Portland, Ore. As far as sports-crazed, we only made it to No. 4, and few will be surprised that Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago came out ahead.
Since the weather outside is (about to be) frightful and tonight's parade schedule has been cancelled, why not pull on your Saints snuggie, fire up the tube and
watch people collect garbage for an hour enjoy the TV debut of New Orleans' own Sidney Torres and Trashmen, his reality-series pilot that airs tonight at 9 p.m. on TLC.
There's scant info about it on the TLC Web site, but here's the network's description:
Sidney Torres is one of New Orleans' toughest sons and has made cleaning up the city his business. After Katrina, waste management companies fled like scared rabbits, but Sidney bought a garbage truck to take on the dirtiest job around.
You want more? We got more:
New Orleans garbage man Sidney Torres is proof that trash makes for good TV. Torres is famous for managing to do what no one else has - cleanup after the massive parties on New Orleans' world famous Bourbon Street - and look good doing it. Now, the city's own "Rembrandt of Refuse" shows the world how he gets it done in TLC's new pilot TRASHMEN...
The hour-long episode features Sidney and his trash troops keeping it clean on Halloween weekend, one of the busiest of the year in the Big Easy. Tens of thousands of people pack Bourbon Street, while another 100,000 more flock to Voo Doo Fest, a major annual outdoor concert. To cap off the busy weekend, the New Orleans Saints will be playing on Monday Night in the Super Dome - yet another big job for Sidney's crew. These are huge demands for his upstart company and he relies on his trusted team to pull it off. With his best friend, Lenny Kravitz, headlining Voo Doo Fest, which Sidney is also tasked to keep clean, he works to find balance between his life and work. Sidney's reputation is on the line as everyone from city officials to local residents are depending on Sidney to leave the place spotlessly clean.
Anyway, Sidney's pretty excited about it over on his Web site and his Twitter stream (only 130 followers? c'mon, New Orleans!) if you want to read more. And here's a 30-second teaser, titled "Jason Throws a Fit," in which we learn that fit-throwing may make for mildly diverting and heavily bleeped "reality" TV, but is completely unacceptable as Sidney works to find balance between his life and work.
Tune in tonight to see who scores higher on the Awesome-O-Meter: Sidney Torres, Trashman -- or Steven Seagal, Lawman.
One of our favorite NOLA bloggers, Clifton Harris, asks the following (and I apologize for quoting so much from him, but it's hard to cut any of this):
While most of you obsess and argue over what happens to government emails and start recall petitions for every elected official, does anyone realize that someone (or some company) has been dumping waste into the citys sewer system? I dont know if you need me to inform you of the fact that plagues and disease knows no color.
I realize the waste was pumped into the Lower Ninth Ward and that automatically makes the majority of the citizens here less concerned. The first question I pose is how do we know this is the first attempt to set up Sidney Torres. Whoever is trying to set him up must be really pissed because he managed to dump waste in City Park and St. Bernard Parish too but finally got around to bringing a camera this time.
The second question I have is if Mr. Torres knows hes being set up with such venom that someone would be willing to pump waste into the ground, what in the hell were the trucks doing with waste in them overnight anyway? Is this some common practice? ... Havent the people in my hood suffered enough without worrying about catching Hepatitis?
How about if I say Ray Nagin is the one that drove the truck with Veronica White riding shotgun? Ill make it even better and add that Stacy Head was the one working the camera and when she got home she emailed the clip to Tracie Washington. Are you pissed off enough now?
Cliff's right, of course; if someone, anyone, was pumping hundreds of gallons of liquid crap into the ground around Audubon Place, it would be getting a lot more attention. Talk to Cliff about it. And if you're not reading Cliff's Crib every day, you should be.
Let's try this again:
Some time after Mardi Gras, SDT Waste & Debris Services anticipates kicking off its much buzzed-about curbside recycling in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes. Customers will pay a monthly fee based on a one- or three-year contract with SDT and receive biweekly recycling pickup on regular trash collection days.
Though the initial contracts sent to participating customers in late December only offered a three-year commitment, SDT president Sidney Torres says the company now is offering a one-year alternative. The optional one-year plan also may alleviate concerns for renters or short-term residents who could not commit to a three-year service.
Torres says the company wanted to ensure a fixed price for three years to make up the cost for customers to be provided with a free, 35-gallon cart for recyclable material. And for those who decide to tackle a three-year contract in light of a should I stay or should I go kind of town, Torres says customers can transfer their contract to another address in the New Orleans area should they decide to move.
But if they sign a contract with us, if its a year or two years, theyd have to honor the contract, he says.
First-round contracts also said customers would have to wait until at least 500 customers in their respective ZIP code returned completed contracts. A map pinpointing service contract requests on SDTs Web site shows some ZIP codes have more than 1,000 requests, while others have only a handful. Torres says customers in areas with fewer requests would not have to wait.
We decided to expand the area, he says. Instead of having 500 people within a ZIP code, were actually going to do the entire New Orleans area, and were going to do the St. Bernard area. You can have only 200 people in your area, but if youre in New Orleans or St. Bernard, were still going to cover you.
Torres says customers will pay $15 a month on a one-year contract and $14 for a three-year contract. The program requires customers to pay the monthly fee with an electronic check or credit card charge.
For more information call SDT at 940-2177 or visit www.sdtws.com.
In recent days the local media (myself included, via WWL-TV) have discussed the New Orleans City Councils potential lawsuit against Mayor Ray Nagin as taking the form of a writ of mandamus. Its a term familiar to lawyers, but not to many lay people. Heres what it means:
Literally, mandamus is Latin for We command. If a plaintiff convinces a court to issue a writ of mandamus, the court commands a public or private corporation or one of its officers (in this case, the mayor) to perform a particular act that is part of that corporations or officers public, official or ministerial duties. Applied to the council-Nagin feud, the council may ask a Civil District Court judge to order the mayor to spend money appropriated by the City Council in a manner expressly specified by the council and to the full extent authorized by the council.
In all the fuss over the off-again, on-again lemony-fresh French Quarter street cleaning, this bit of news got short shrift: SDT is now offering residential recycling services for new and current customers in Orleans Parish:
As soon as 500 people sign up in your area, starting on January 1st, we'll help you recycle. This program is available to new and existing SDT residential customers within service areas. So tell your family, friends, and neighbors to sign up today!
The pickup is twice monthly, on your regular garbage day, and there's a nifty Google map that allows you to click on your ZIP code and find out how many people in your neighborhood have signed up. Here's all the details.
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