Friday, April 30, 2010
Friday Night And The Sweet Smell Of Petroleum
Once again Southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast are staring a disaster in the face and this time nature doesn’t have anything to do with it. You already know the story so I won’t get into any of the details. I really don’t know enough about drilling for oil to keep from saying something ignorant. All I can see right now is a threat to my summertime crabbing trips down in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish. If too much oil makes it inland I won’t be surprised if they ban folks from doing any recreational fishing. If that happens I will one pissed off human being because those activities are a big part of living down here to me. Being concerned about a crabbing trip may sound trivial but if I can’t fish then the commercial fishermen won’t be fishing either and that’s bad. It’s also bad if all the birds and wildlife can’t survive. It’s going to be made worse by our governor who won’t ask the government for anything because he’s too busy kissing up to his party. Right now the faith of our coastal well being is in the hands of BP and I don’t think they know what they are doing. I hope they figure it out because I don’t to have to boil water before I take a bath or get sick from the fumes. All we can do is sit back and hope for the best.
Sometimes I feel like I am being too simple in how I look at a situation but in this case I can’t help myself. We live in a country where soldiers can operate droid planes from America and conduct strikes behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. It’s also a time of such great technology that I can go to Google Earth, type in my parents address in Memphis, Tennessee and get a picture so clear that I can almost see them eating dinner. I refuse to accept the fact that there was no way to stop this oil from flowing or at least know how much oil was coming out of there when the leak started so the response could have been appropriate from day one. I do not understand how something like this could potentially go on for weeks. I bet you there is a way to keep this from happening but no one made sure the oil rigs in the Gulf had it because we don’t have any politicians with the balls to stand up to corporate America. Oh yeah, all you anti government folks need not worry about your tax dollars paying for this one. BP’s responsible so when you are paying 7.00 a gallon for gas if this spill gets further out of hand, you can feel good knowing you have your freedom and the government didn't take charge.
This last thought may also be simple but if BP is drilling that close to where we live how come we don’t have more money than we do? BP’s home office is in the United Kingdom and they have a giant corporate building in Houston. They earned 246 billion dollars in 2009 and I know some of that came from rigs that are so close to my house that I can smell the fumes from the oil leak. Despite that our state has cut health care and education repeatedly over the last few years and I live in a city that can’t even open a damn hospital. These are the kinds of things that make you want to join the wing of the Tea Party that likes black people.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Risking Your Life For A Living
I’m sitting here watching the latest episode of Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel. This is my favorite show on television. I’m addicted to the reality shows that feature jobs where people put their life on the line for their paycheck. Those people are fascinating because I know they are aware of the danger but they always seem to ignore it. Some of them even act like they love doing that dangerous stuff. They are all tougher than me. I don’t think I can do it. I wouldn’t even insult the people dedicated to those professions to make an attempt. Watching this reminds me that 11 people are missing because of that oil rig explosion in the
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Memories Of The Katrina Tour Bus
Modern life is demands that you have to eventually put certain things aside in order for you to make it. If you harp on something too long or get too depressed about it you might end up sleeping in your car because the world isn’t going to wait. In New Orleans we are real good at that because we usually don’t have the resources to put life on pause and give our issues full attention. At least most of the people I know can’t. Every now and then you see something that reminds you just how deep something was or still is.
I was watching Treme tonight and the end the last scene Chief Lambreaux and some fellow Indians were paying tribute to one of his gang who remains were found in his home when the chief went looking for him. In the middle of their song a tour bus rolled through and stopped. The people on the bus started taking pictures like what they were doing was some damn tourist attraction. Let me tell you, going through that experience is something that I can’t describe. Me, my cousin and some of our friends decided to clean out my grandmother and parents’ house. It was bad enough cleaning out my parents’ side and throwing away almost every family memory we had in that house. It was worse doing my grandmother’s side because everyone knew she passed away in there somewhere during the storm and the thought was on everyone’s mind while we were doing it. Imagine looking at a piece of furniture and wondering if she tried to climb on that or where she was in the house when the water finally claimed her. That’s the kind of vibe it was. It was one of the roughest days ever. We were halfway through the task and trying to maintain some sanity in order to finish when all of a sudden a tour bus full of people drove up and stopped on the other side of the street. Here we are standing in clothes full of mold, dirt, water, and a few tears and people are taking pictures of us. We just stared at them for awhile and I think they got a little scared and decided to start moving again. We probably wouldn’t have done anything because it was all too confusing at the time. I’ll never forget that day.
This post is not to make any particular statement about the show. I just want to tell anyone that may have been on a Lower Nine Katrina tour that stopped on St. Claude St. to watch five emotional brothers clean out my grandmother’s house that you can kiss my LOWER NINE ASS!
I now return to 2010 and life in a city that is not supposed to be bothered by this anymore.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Sitting On My Porch Part Forty Three.....Continued
I want to clear up something from yesterday’s post just in case it wasn’t clear. The scene in Treme where Chief Lambreaux beats the hell out of that kid could definitely be a real story and that’s the part that pissed me off. If it was so far fetched that I thought it could never happen I wouldn’t have been affected by it. That’s how David Simon shows go. My concern all along was how the world would react to that side of my city being out there to digest. I knew eventually something would happen that made me uncomfortable. I felt the same way when I watched the Wire and Wallace got murdered at the hands of his own friends. That was just as hard to watch because it happens in real life all the time too. It’s always rough to me when someone puts your business in the street. Like I said, I tend to take things personally.
I didn’t blog during the week or read any because for some reason my employer actually expected me to earn my paycheck. I am sitting here today realizing that a lot of people have been lead to this blog by other local bloggers. If you are reading this blog because someone else told you about me I just want to say that all of those people are very smart.
Arizona has a new immigration law that allows law enforcement to stop and check the identification of anyone they think could be an illegal alien. I don’t know how you can get this accomplished without profiling everybody. We have a lot of Hispanic workers here in New Orleans since the storm and I can’t tell who’s illegal and who’s not. They are all the same people. I heard on MSNBC this morning that the majority of Hispanic Americans in Arizona support the bill. We’ll see how they feel about it after a few months of getting pulled over to show their driver’s license. There’s got to be a better way to do this.
Meanwhile back in my neighborhood there’s a new shopping area opening. I am proud to say it has all the essential ingredients of economic development in black neighborhoods of New Orleans.
Nail shop – Check!
Hair product store – Check! (They even named it Beyonce Hair Supply for that added flavor)
Chinese food restaurant – Check!
Rent A Center – Check!
All we need now is one of those clothing stores that spell all the words with z’s at the end like Urban Trendz and a check cashing/ pay day loan place and we are on the fast track to economic development. I’m not even going to mention our new Dollar General store because I don’t want to speed up the gentrification of my neighborhood.
I am ending this post to start enjoying some traditional New Orleans weekend beverages. (Don’t search for that on the internet. I am only talking about beer.) Before I shut it down I want to dedicated “Freaky People” by the Crowd Pleasers to the employees at the SEC who were watching porn while the economy was collapsing. On one hand I am a little disturbed because if you can’t watch Internet porn for a full eight hour shift then you need to be in the same program Tiger Woods went to for some help with that addiction. On the other hand I guess if you are sitting there realizing the despair that is headed to the country when foreclosures and unemployment skyrockets while at the same time 401K’s and retirement funds are going under watching some porn is a pretty harmless way to try and cope with it. I don’t know if that’s why they were doing it or not but if it is then I understand. Jada Fire beats jumping out of a window or coming to work with a gun any day of the week.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Sitting On My Porch Part Forty Three : Taking It Personal
So yeah, when someone questions whether President Obama is a real American I take it personal because I know what they mean.
When CNN compares New Orleans to Bagdad and The Congo I take that personally because I know whose doing the crime to cause that they look like me.
When I turn on the news and see another story about the murder of black men in any city I take that personal for the same reason.
When the police shoot innocent people on a bridge I take that personal because I live in walking distance from that spot and it could have easily been me and my family.
When a sister I know tells me a story about how the father of her children is not doing what he is supposed to do I take that personal because I know what kind of life is waiting for all the neglected children and they have to grow up and live with my children and I want them all to have a better life.
When I watch a television show based on my city and I see a man who is supposed to be the symbol of the surviving culture beat the hell out of a kid for stealing his tools even though he had no way of knowing if that kid really stole them and the kid had no idea who he was to purposely disrespect him, I take that personal because I don’t just live here. These are my roots and showing that image to the world reflects poorly on me and all the men I was raised around in New Orleans who would have never done that. It made black men from New Orleans look savage and that’s personal.
When I see the city is about to spend over 100 million dollars as their share for building a new VA hospital I take it personal because I know we are about to sacrifice all of this money to tear up an entire neighborhood and most of the people employed there will be a mixture of folks who just moved here that love New Orleans way too much for some crazy reason or people that live in the suburbs that act like they hate to city for no reason at all because they can’t survive without it. I really want to be wrong about this last one but I’m not. I take things personal but I don’t know why everyone doesn’t either. It's okay though because I don't expect anyone to think like me.
Rest in Peace.......
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
New Orleans Is Rough But It's Not The Congo
Yes, I am worried about crime and want the city to be safer. We are about to swear in a new mayor and police chief and I hope that happens quickly. I think we are trying to turn the tide but all it takes is one person doing something crazy to drain everyone’s energy when we think we might be doing better. At the same time the environment is not so tense I am ready to barricade myself in the house. If it was I and a whole bunch of others would leave. I would even say that the lack of apparent random danger makes it more complicated to deal with the crime issue in the first place.
Statistics are a useful tool to understand what’s really going on but sometimes you can have numbers without the back story and it makes things look more drastic than it is. Take the last few weeks for example. We had a quadruple murder that ended up being a family member looking for money and another triple murder that was a domestic violence dispute. That’s seven murders added to our total that was so personal and unpredictable that there was nothing anyone in any city could have done about that. Now, there have been more murders than that so far this year and I am not making excuses for the amount we have but we definitely aren’t living like the people of the Congo. Numbers alone don’t always tell the exact story.
Being added to a list like this reminds me of why having a show on a network like HBO bothered me in the first place. For some reason any labels about New Orleans stick forever and they never seem to change. When we get our new police chief and with his help along with our new mayor and the community we cut our crime statistics even lower than they have been dropping recently, we will still be seen as one of those most dangerous cities in America. According to this article we are only sixth in the U.S. in crime now and we still ended up a list with Beirut. How come Camden New Jersey keeps getting a pass?
Part of changing any situation is seeing yourself in the way you want things to be. If you view yourself in a certain manner then it’s easier to act that way and maintain it. It’s hard to be a champion if you let everyone label you a chump. If we want the world to think we are a city on the rise then we have to carry ourselves that way and reject things like this article.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Not Enough Time To Help Out
If you have school aged children your life is hectic. Back in the day everyone in my neighborhood walked to school and when they got older they caught the city bus. You could live the house for 8AM and get to school on time. On the way there you would run across people who knew you and your whole family. You could be home, have homework done and be outside playing by 5PM. Now the kids don't get out until 5. They probably go to school across town and have to be there at 7:30AM. So you and the kids both get home about 6PM and schools are handing out hours of homework every night as a way to show they are serious about education. Now you have to do all of that and still find time to eat, give them a bath and sneak in some family time. If they are into some extra curricular stuff on the weekends then you are pretty much on lock down until Sunday. If someone is doing this day after day it's hard for me to look at them like they are destroying the community for not having the time or energy to help other people's kids. I'm not saying we shouldn't try. I'm saying all of these mentors and strong men they want to hit the streets should only be a support group for the daddies that created the young men we are trying to save. In this day and time if a daddy is already doing what he's supposed to do then he may not have time to be everyone else daddy. Their real fathers need to come in and lighten the load.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
We Already Know What's Happening
Kill The Culture
I am tired about writing about the same thing because that means it keeps happening.
For many years now we have had this sad acceptance of violence as long as the victims fit a certain profile that said they were in the street game. As long as they description of the people involved in the stories included the words young, black, corner, and drugs were found on the scene we just sucked it up and moved on. We are all guilty of being silent and dismissive. Some of us are even guilty of giving the street soldier more admiration than an everyday hard working man. We’ve had a love affair with the thug even though we know there’s a good chance he might not live long or destroy the community. It became such an acceptable way of living that it spawned its own culture. It has its own music, dress, and language. Now the virus has mutated and that invisible wall that existed to keep the acceptable level of death between young black males is breaking down and we are having infants, children, and young girls just starting life all falling victim to the same ignorance we let get out of hand.
We have to kill the culture. It's the only way. The only way we save the people in the culture is to stop letting them think it's cool to be that way. You can't come up with all these great solutions in the midst of people living the problem as a lifestyle. We have to teach the little kids that the stupid shit they think is cool really isn't. We have to stop letting people talk up drugs, murder, violence and a lack of respect for women. We have to eliminate stupid ass words like "haters" and "beef" that people actually harm one another for like that is a good reason. This is no hate at all. No one loves me more than my dad and he never let me make excuses for anything. If we love these brothers and sisters then we can't make excuses for them either. The idea that thug culture is somehow interwoven with survival is false. The last time I checked, black people made it through a lot of challenging times without having to slaughter one another. We'll be just as black and cool without going to war with one another all the time. The babies won't live if this culture doesn't die.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Treme : Week One
If you moved here since the storm you are probably more likely to love it because new residents tend to be really into the music scene. If you lived here your whole life until the storm and haven’t returned you are probably so excited to see the hometown on the screen that everything was beautiful to you. Then you have the folks that hate the fact the city is reduced to being about music and food. This show may drive them crazy because it doesn’t reflect the depth and diversity of the people. My personal take is I want to love the show because nobody else had the nerve to put their credibility on the line to put the city in the spotlight besides David Simon and Spike Lee. You want to give those guys the benefit of the doubt. Spike’s view was more realistic and raw than Treme is because it was a documentary. David’s is fictional so it’s not going to be as real as ‘When the Levees Broke’ but he was in the ball park. You add an extra challenge when you set a show three months after the storm. There were some things going on in this city that were so deep and emotional that the life of musicians alone couldn’t capture it. Nevertheless I am glad the show is airing. Instead of ripping the show for things that didn’t look right to me, I thought I would tell you how I think some things would have gone in real life.
A lot of people’s favorite scene seems to be when Mardi Gras Indian chief Albert Lambreaux dresses in full costume and marches up a dark street to his friend’s house to get him to help clean out the bar for Indian practice. The scene was great from a television standpoint but the dialogue would have been much different in real life.
If there are any brothers from New Orleans reading this I need you to comment and back me up so I don't sound foolish when I say in real life the reception from his friend would have been much different because the closer black men in New Orleans are to one another the worst they talk to each other. If you are ever in a room full of brothers from New Orleans the two guys going at each other the most are the two closest people in the room. We don’t disrespect one another like that to talk trash to strangers or people we don’t really fool with it. The only men who could ever talk trash to my daddy were his brother, my grandfather and Nolan. Everyone else had to fight. That’s how we are. We love one another and will do anything for one another. We just talk trash while we are doing it.
If I had written that scene it would have went a little different. The brother would have came outside after hearing that noise, saw his boy dressed in full yellow Indian gear and said something like this….
“ Man…what the F#$k are you doing walking around looking like Big Bird on this dark ass street? …. <<
To people who don’t know any better that paragraph may seem crazy but there’s a lot of love in there. If that dialogue would have been on HBO last night I would have laughed and cried at the same time. They got it right when the cat hanging out in Kermit Ruffin’s yard called Antoine a broke ass horn player as they were laughing at him when he asked Kermit to pay his cab fare. There was a lot of love in that yard. That’s just how we communicate.
We’ll see what part two looks like. Judging from the preview I think that's the episode to send me over the edge. We shall see.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
My Weekend Vibe : Waiting On Treme
Our greatest strength is making the struggle sound and look beautiful. I’m not against that because it’s part of what makes saying you are from New Orleans special. It gives you a unique cool factor. I also don’t believe in sugarcoating how it is to live here either. I don’t want anyone thinking that just because we like to dance to jazz bands and dress up in Mardi Gras Indian costumes that we are happy with poor education and sub standard bullshit. There’s a lot of drama going on between Sundays when the second line starts. There's a lot of people here that are in love with the beautiful part but they haven't taken the time to understand the struggle. I’m looking for balance in the show especially since the setting is after Katrina. I think I can speak for everyone I know personally and tell you there was a lot of pain going on. We may have been dancing but that’s just how we deal with stuff. That might confuse people from normal cities so the show needs to bring that out. We will see how good of a job they did tonight. I’m looking forward to it.
Since this post is about a New Orleans show built around New Orleans musical culture then I might as well post some Hot 8. This is dedicated to my Auntie Anna, Katrina refugee and loyal second line followers for over 20 years. Right now she is in Opelousas, Louisiana trying to drown out zydeco music.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Sitting On My Porch Part Forty Two
The air is full of pollen and grown is full of that brown stuff that falls off the trees this time of year. It seems like there is more pollen in the air this year than there has been for awhile. I don’t know what this means but I have to look it up and see if it has anything to do with hurricanes. Yes, it’s almost time for that but we have two months before I put the Weather Underground icon back on my desktop. There are other things to worry about at the moment.
People are resigning from Mayor Elect Mitch Landrieu’s committee to find a new chief. They say the process isn’t open enough. I am all for transparency but do we really want a chief that didn’t care enough about the city there are in now and the officers who work for them to have their name all over the media as someone dying to leave and take the New Orleans job? What if we decide not to hire that person and they have to keep working where they are? It isn’t fair to them.
Some of that is a little political posturing in my opinion. That’s how the game is played. I think you will see a bit of this here and there by some local folks who may be getting the feeling that outsiders are coming in to run our community. I understand the sentiment on general principle but when it comes to police chief you need to let that go. You can’t ignore the obvious. The fact remains that our last two chiefs were black and from
Maybe now since one of the Danziger 7 officers turned on his comrades and gave explicit details about what happened that day the city can unite around the idea that things like this can never happen again. Good and honest police officers should be first in line to start the process of changing the image of the department. You guys have to be trusted enough for the community to work with you to reduce crime and make the city safer. If anyone blindly supports these officers it’s the same as me not turning in my childhood friend if I know he shot someone then complaining about the violence in my neighborhood. You can’t have it both ways.
We have been having a rash of pit bull attacks. I am surprised this doesn’t happen more often because so many people have pit bulls now and some of these folks are not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I don’t believe all these cats even like pit bulls. Some of them probably want a cocker spaniel but they are too afraid to admit it to their boys.
The fact that people expect more violence in the streets when it gets warmer outside pisses me off because it makes us sound like amphibians whose self hatred gets higher as we build up heat. It also depresses me because it’s true. Violence does goes up when it gets warmer.
The governor of
Enjoy reading this blog for free while you can. After the court ruling on net neutrality you will soon have to purchase the social media package along with the blogging bundle of websites to go with your Internet service.
Oliver Thomas is home in
This song has been in my head all day and I don't know why.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
McNabb Pays The Price For Being A Good Dude
I want to talk about Donavan McNabb being traded to the Washington Redskins. I know it’s not football season but there is a teachable moment in this (I am falling in love with that term.) I am a fan of Donovan McNabb and as long as their winning didn’t affect the Saints I pulled for the Eagles because of him. I guess I have to change that rule to the Redskins now. No matter if it was the fans booing him on draft day or this popular radio host saying the media gave him props because he was black, he’s managed to handle himself in a respectable way. What I am about to say only applies because I think Donovan got traded because of Michael Vick. The media said it was for the other quarterback Kevin Kolb but there is no way Michael Vick is going to sit behind Kevin Kolb for 16 games. The Eagles just need to say that so Donovan doesn’t feel like the fool he was for lobbying the Eagles to sign Vick in the first place. Even if they really want Kolb to start they weren’t going to pay Vick all that money to be third string again. I knew this was going to happen because good brothers get played like this sometimes when they try to help people. You just have to be prepared for it when you make that decision. There was no personal upside to Donovan McNabb helping get Vick back in the league. You didn't see any other established starting quarterbacks endorsing their team signing that human highlight reel did you? He put his reputation out there to help him get a second chance and now he is the odd man out.
The last time he did this kind of thing was for Terrell Owens who acted like a complete asshole in Philly until he went to Dallas so he could suck up to Tony Romo who eventually got him ran out of town to Buffalo. I’m not a T.O. hater but I can't get over the way he handled that situation in Philly and treated McNabb the way he did. He only made it worst by crying on television behind Tony Romo’s overrated self. Now Donovan takes his character and integrity to Washington. Knowing the kind of guy he is if T.O. wanted to come to Washington he would be the first person lobbying on his behalf. I am upset because I thought he was going to the AFC where I could pull for him to get to the Superbowl. Now all I can do is hope Washington makes the playoffs and gets blown out by the Saints on our way to back to back titles. Even if he doesn’t win a title I know he will handle himself in the right way and for that he has no reason to feel like an underachiever.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
My Weekend Vibe : Personal Doctrines and A Belated Birthday
Some cats try to live life with no restrictions on their actions at all. If it feels good or pays well they are going to do it and deal with the outcome later. There are times I wish I could do that. I used to do that. I used to do it more than I want to admit to. That was before the word ‘daddy’ was associated with my name. When I blew all my money on a good time ten years ago I felt like a loser but since it was only me involved I could disguise it until I recovered. Now there is too much at stake. Anyway, I have to go and dye these eggs. Which reminds me of something that’s been puzzling me; why don’t the tablets for egg dye come in the color they are supposed to look like? How am I supposed to know that the orange tablet is actually yellow and the ugly looking one is really green?
Yesterday was my mommy’s birthday and I didn’t do my usual post dedicated to her. She wasn’t about it either. “I logged on your blog and I saw was some political junk!” The lady is spoiled. So, I am a day late but Happy Birthday. I know the song below is not an old school jam but I am putting it up there because it’s beautiful and I think Bernadine will like it. Plus, I think she would look nice with Ledisi’s hairstyle.
Friday, April 2, 2010
If Bobby's A Target Then No One Is Safe
I will go to the Iowa Caucus and testify to everyone there is no candidate that will restore the values of the Republican Party like Bobby Jindal will. I’m not being sarcastic about that either. He won’t raise taxes under no circumstances. As a matter of fact, he cut taxes so much since he’s been governor that for the first time since I can remember I received a refund when I filed my state taxes. I went over them twice because I thought I made a mistake. Not only that, you won’t have to worry about all those social programs that “real Americans” have such a problem with. They won’t break the budget under President Jindal because he will cut anything. Hospitals, higher education, non profits, and anything else you want to have a tea party for is on the chopping block. If he were president there would be entire programs eliminated from the budget to save money. Governor Jindal actually does all the things Sarah Palin makes speeches about. He’s Christian. He has a beautiful family and I am sure he doesn’t have a side boo. He’s everything conservatives want so if that dude is starting to get letters from groups then the other Republicans need to start figuring out a way to distance themselves. They may be destroying their own party.