Sunday, December 31, 2006

Welcome 2007

Have a Very Happy and Prosperous 2007
May You and Yours Have a
Better Year This Year Than Last Year

Posted from Key West, Florida

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I love Christmas

I have always loved Christmas. It is a time of joy and giving. A time for family and friends. A time even the unreligious can enjoy a winter festival and contemplate the meaning in life. A time to prepare for a New Year with hope and determination.

The first Christmas we moved into our now flooded house, I covered the front of the house with lights, including a giant tapestry of crawling, blinking, sequenced lights. I said it was so people could find the place but I just wanted to do it. In that now empty house we hosted several Christmas Eve parties for far flung family and friends. We have many memories.

Every Year we have gathered family and friends and exchanged gifts and good cheer. Often we hear for far away friends who, while not exactly forgotten are, in the press of time and the hustle of life, not often remembered either.

This year we took it easy. Just the Mother in Law, Brother in Law and Nephew joined us for a traditional Christmas dinner in our temporary condo. Christmas Eve was spent with a much reduced Family at Her Uncle's house, but her uncle has not yet been able to return to his home from exile in Texas, due to health care problems. Hopefully he will return shortly after the New Year.

After our Christmas Eve party, back in our temporary residence we exchanged gifts and talked of relatives and friends who have moved on. Children of friends we have known since childhood, now raising their own children. It doesn't seem that long ago. People no longer in New Orleans. She asked me what we did last year.

In the the aftermath of the flood we were trying to put our affairs in order. We didn't get together with family because they were spread across several states, with no home completely unscathed and ready to host the crowd. I don't even think we exchanged gifts between the two of us. I honestly can't remember Christmas at all.

This year was a whole lot better. Maybe next year will almost normal.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Emergency Living Unit Blog Crue

Back when I started Tin Can Trailer Trash someone wrote that I was the only person in New Orleans blogging from a FEMA Trailer. I didn't know if that was true then and I still don't.

I do know that there are now several other New Orleans Bloggers living in FEMA "Emergency Living Units".

I think we need to Organize.

I propose we establish the Emergency Living Unit Blog Crue
"to unite fraternally all autocampers" 'Emergency Living Unit Residents' and promote "friendliness among campers residents, decent behavior and to secure plenty of clean, wholesome entertainment for those in camp "Emergency Living Units".

The only requirement for membership is to have blogged while residing in a FEMA "Emergency Living Unit".

I know of several potential members and am looking for more. I hope the Blogosphere will do its thing and help me unite all Survivors in ELUBC.

NOLA Bloggers

Tin Can Trailer Trash
Tim's Nameless Blog
Michael Homan
Kalypso The Odyssey
PH Fred at Humid City
Gentilly Girl
Gulf Sails

Other candidates I found on the Internet.

Confessions of a Wannabe Princess
Jason Sampler
Mary-Pat
Ruminations
Paula's Pad
darnola
Kitchen Politics
Pat
Cameron
Aly
BigMac
Cool Will Gee
Rachel
Kevin Gallagher
aimee
David and Beth
Wendy Michele
tdoe

I actually may have found several more potential members, but I couldn't be sure they had actually blogged while living in a FEMA "Emergency Living Unit".

We need to recruit someone to devise "an initiation ceremony that teaches the prospective member the secret handshake, sign, and password. After singing the official song (which still needs to be written) the trailerite will become an official member of the Emergency Living Unit Blog Crue". We are looking for someone to volunteer to develop an official logo and blog banner so that members of ELUBC can identify themselves.

Maybe in a year or two we can organize Bonus March on Washington, just like the old days.

We could use a better name.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Government in Action - Gretna Style

Last week I had occasion to attend the Gretna City Council Meeting.

It was a great opportunity to see Government in Action and judging by my small window it actually seems to work.

I arrived early and the mayor introduced himself to me while I was waiting for the rest of my party to arrive. He even took the time to check the agenda to see if my matter was on it.

The meeting itself was a model of decorum, with the council members offering courteous, respectful comment on the issues before them.

The meeting had the possibility of running off the tracks in several places but failed to do so.

Its interesting that the issues paralleled issues which come before our much more Self Important Council.

Historic Preservation. Several issues dealt with the Gretna Historic District and approvals of various proposals. Everyone seemed to be trying to come to a reasonable conclusion. They discovered and discussed a few issues which needed further consideration and actually came to a sort of resolution.

Advisory Base Flood Elevations. Gretna adopted the FEMA Advisory Base Flood Elevations. A representative of FEMA was present. She offered helpful information and was treated with respect.

FEMA Trailers. Like Jefferson Parish, Gretna adopted a Housing Emergency Ordinance after the flood. Their Ordinance apparently authorized trailers in Gretna (they are otherwise prohibited) until January 1, 2007. After that trailers are technically illegal. City Workers have managed to locate all 501 trailers in Gretna and have so far delivered two notices of the existing requirements to each one. City workers have identified 78 trailers which do not meet the requirements of the regulations or were not permitted and suspect many more do not but they can't be sure.

The City of Gretna will be notifying each trailer after the first of the year that the Housing Emergency has expired and will eventually cite any trailer in violation of their regulations. Any trailer complying with the rules will be allowed to stay until repairs are completed, but monitored for progress. All in all a fair outcome. The rules apparently allow trailers only to be used by citizens of Gretna as a temporary residence while their home is repaired. They apparently may not be used to house displaced relatives or as rental property. Seems reasonable to me. I don't have all of the rules but this is what I understood from the meeting.

Citizen Involvement. One portion of the meeting was set aside for Citizen Statements. Apparently the statement can be on any issue. Most of the comments were on FEMA trailers. As you might expect most of the people commenting were not well informed, apparently there was a rumor that all trailers were going to be moved to a trailer park somewhere. The Mayor and Council listened carefully to each citizen and tried to understand their situation. In a couple of cases they made recommendations for the Citizen to consult with someone at a city department later to provide more information.

The Times Picayune also came up. Apparently the Paper gets it wrong a lot and reports things like murders as occurring in Gretna when they didn't

Meetings like this make you understand that government can work and doesn't need to be all about the politicians. Although the meeting took almost four hours and we were near the bottom of the agenda, I'm glad I had to go.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Radio Bru-Ha-Ha

Someone left my blog this spammy comment;
anonymouse has left a new comment on your post "The (Long) Road Home - the First Steps":

If only New Orleans cared about New Orleans If it had been a concert at the High Noon Tuesday evening it would have been a sold out show. Four hundred ninety supporters of Madison's Air America affiliate, the Mic, packed into the venue with more spilling out onto the patio and into the parking lot. Multiple speakers, including politicians and Mic advertisers, took to the stage to express their concerns and frustration over the decision by Clear Channel to dump the progressive talk format and replace it with FOX Sports. But those speakers, while they all brought important messages, weren't the most striking part of the evening. What struck a chord in me was the casual conversation after the event from unsuspecting folks who sounded like they were snapped in the ass with a towel. They were saying things like, "Clear Channel doesn't care about Madison," "why does Clear Channel get to make our decisions," "Clear Channel owns too much." It struck a nerve because it has been a long time since there has been casual talk like that in a public space.
It made no sense in the context of my post and shortly afterwards the same comment showed up on another New Orleans Blog. I rejected the comment but the subject brought up some things I had been thinking about but had almost decided not to post since the events were getting a little stale.

Recently Entercom, WWL and WSMB's parent company, changed the format of WSMB, one of the oldest radio stations in New Orleans (along with WWL). WSMB was originally a partnership of Maison Blanche and Sanger Theaters, hence the call letters. Both WSMB and WWL have great history.

Some of my blogger friends have taken exception to Entercom's decision to discontinue Air America Radio. They all seem to have overlooked some facts. Which are;
  • Air America Radio has filed bankruptcy protection under chapter 11.
  • WSMB was one of the lowest rated radio stations in New Orleans.
I hope Arbirton doesn't mind me reproducing their most recent survey here;

Station
Format
Su03
FA03
SP06
SU06
WQUE-FM
Urban Contemporary
*
*
10.7
11.3
WWL-AM
News Talk Information
*
*
10.6
10.6
WYLD-FM
Urban Adult Contemporary
*
*
10.3
10.3
WLMG-FM
Adult Contemporary
*
*
7.3
7.7
WNOE-FM
Country
*
*
9.6
7.3
WKBU-FM
Classic Hits
*
*
3.8
5.0
WEZB-FM
Pop Contemporary Hit Radio
*
*
6.0
4.9
KMEZ-FM
Urban Adult Contemporary
*
*
3.2
4.2
WRNO-FM
Classic Rock
*
*
4.5
4.2
WTIX-FM
Oldies
*
*
2.3
2.8
KHEV-FM
Gospel
*
*
2.3
2.4
WDVW-FM
Hot Adult Contemporary
*
*
2.1
1.9
KKND-FM
Country
*
*
1.5
1.5
KGLA-AM
Spanish Contemporary
*
*
*
1.4
WYLD-AM
Gospel
*
*
1.2
1.3
WPRF-FM
Contemporary Inspirational
*
*
0.8
1.2
WMTI-FM
Soft Adult Contemporary
*
*
1.5
1.1
WIST-AM
Talk/Personality
*
*
1.0
1.0
KLRZ-FM
Variety
*
*
1.0
0.9
WFNO-AM
Spanish Contemporary
*
*
0.4
0.9
WSMB-AM
Talk/Personality
*
*
0.9
0.7
WYNK-FM
Country
*
*
0.4
0.7
WODT-AM
All Sports
*
*
0.7
0.6
WFMF-FM
Pop Contemporary Hit Radio
*
*
0.4
0.5
KNOU-FM
Urban Contemporary
*
*
0.6
*
WYLK-FM
Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio
*
*
0.4
*

Please note that WSMB is near the bottom and falling from 18th to 21st of 26 stations (if I can count, which is questionable). There are two Spanish language stations with better ratings than WSMB.

Air America's parent filed for bankruptcy protection. According to MSNBC;
Air America has struggled financially since its inception. Documents filed with the bankruptcy court show that the company lost $9.1 million in 2004, $19.6 million in 2005 and $13.1 million so far in 2006.
I don't listen to talk radio much. I never did prior to Katrina. I started with the United Broadcasters of New Orleans (a joint project of Entercom and Clear Channel). That's when I started listening to Tom Fitzmorris. In the early part of this year when I drove alone through absolute darkness and desolation to my FEMA trailer behind my gutted house he was the only person I found who was trying to lighten our spirits, reporting every day on restaurant openings in New Orleans as we all struggled to return to sanity. He politely refused to report negative news. That helped me more that I can express. I still listen to WWL sometimes because they have call in shows with local officials.

I found what little I heard of Air America annoying. Rush Limbaugh is subjectively more entertaining, whether you agree with him or not he is, to me, simply better radio. I know a number of my progressive friends who regularly listen to Limbaugh, just to yell at the radio.

But my primary beef with all of this is I still like to listen to Tom Fitzmorris on my way home from work. They have moved his show up in time so I can't listen to him any more. Instead I get Bobby Hebert or Garland Robinett.

I'm also ticked that they changed the call letters of WSMB to WWWL and let the history of WSMB, a pioneer local talk radio station in the sixties, fade from New Orleans.

One final fact, Entercom introduced Air America into New Orleans giving it a chance to find a local audience and if their web site is correct Entercom still has an Air America station in Sacramento, California, that hot bed of progressive activism.

I think I'll just go back to WWOZ.

I probably shouldn't have waded into this and some of my blogger buddies probably won't speak to me again but facts is facts.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Geaux Saints


Section 139, Row 29, Seats 1 and 2

Stop by and say Hello.

Be forewarned that we often don't arrive in time for kickoff.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

The (Long) Road Home - the First Steps

We procrastinate.

We are also pretty much convinced we will never collect anything from the Road Home so we put off filing our application.

We were concerned that we might need a lot of stuff we don't have. That turned out not to be the case.

Finally about a month ago we sent in our application.

Monday we got a letter saying we were qualified to apply, but that we needed to make an appointment. The earliest appointment is January 19th.

I don't think that's too bad.

I still don't think We'll get a nickle.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bones

I am watching "Bones" in Atlanta and it is full of voo-doo, as if New Orleans is submerged in voo-doo.

I especially liked the snake in the morgue.

When did voo-doo become a part of the cause of the flood?

How did someone who rescued people during Katrina get swept away when the levees broke.

I'm glad I'm not paying attention.

Got Milk?

A few weeks ago She stopped by our neighborhood Kroger's in Atlanta. She just needed a few things on the way home from the office.

When she got to the checkout, She selected a line with only one cart ahead of her. There were Two Ladies conversing with the Checker. They all seemed to know each other. The Two Ladies had apparently been shopping together, mixing their purchases in the same cart. They were separating their purchases at the cash register all the while while carrying on an animated conversation with the Checker.

Impatient as always She stood there for several minutes waiting for the conversation to end. Eventually A Man with a few items got in line behind her. Noticing his few purchases she commented somewhat exasperated, I'm sure, that he "might want to try another line, it might be a while". He decided to stick it out.

Finally as the Two Ladies finished their conversation with the Checker and gathered their groceries to leave, one of the Two Ladies announced, to no one in particular, "I'm from L. A. and don't allow Milk to talk to Us like that." The Lady hurried out the door and disappeared.

At least that was what She thought She heard. She was both stunned and puzzled.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Jingle, Jangle, Jingle - He's Baaaack ...

I don't shop. She Shops, or rather She buys stuff. Shopping would imply that She browses through merchandise comparing and selecting. She is much more direct that that. She is also fast. She calls it BlitzShopping.

She started Christmas shopping and made one of her occasional trips to Dillard's. She came home with one of these plush Bingles.


She also bought one of these tree ornaments. You can't read it but it says Mr. Bingle 2006 on his jacket.

I miss the giant Mr. Bingle that Maison Blanche put up on Canal Street. Do you think Dillard's and the Ritz-Carlton could get together to continue the tradition?


Dillard's is offering collections of Bingles, for people who want to restore their collection or start a new one.
They also have a website, which has all sorts of Binglemania, including the Story of Mr. Bingle.

Sean Payton is a God

His play calling was beyond great. He beat the Big Tuna every which way.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Darkness Continues but Some Progress Is Made.

Darkness at The Trailer continues unabated. We are still without electricity in our Emergency Living Unit.

I'm staying in the Kenner Kondo, but I go back to The Trailer and the house every few days.

Yesterday I made a visit. Work on the house next door is progressing nicely. More good news. down the block construction has started on one of the cleared lots. They haven't done much but they have started. Further down the block another house has its yard all torn up, with big piles of sand in the yard. They seem to be getting ready to complete the work.

Entergy has now been out three times. They identified the problem, the conductors from the manhole to the meter are shorted out. Entergy sort of knows where the short is, it's under our house or our driveway. Entergy thinks it's because the conductors were submerged for however long they were under water or bexause of f;ppd related settlement. Entergy also says its our responsibility to provide a 2 1/2" conduit from their manhole to our meter cabinet. That was a month ago.

We also called FEMA. They said they would send someone out to put up a pole and a meter. The said they would call us back. That was three or four weeks ago. Someone dug a hole next to the manhole and drove a very stout red metal spike in the ground. That was a couple of weeks ago. No call yet.

Not much progress on my part but the neighborhood is starting to show signs of recovery.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Saints Go Marching In.


I had planned a post prior to the Saints game, unfortunately I was not able to be in that number. I will probably post it before the next home game.

Last Thursday while I was in Atlanta I got a call from my sister. My Dad had been taken to the hospital. I started figuring out how to get from Atlanta to East Texas. I was a little disappointed to be missing the Saints game.

Whenever I think of the Saints, both the song and the team I usually think of the my Dad. My Dad came late to New Orleans. He moved here in 1965 to help build the Union Carbide plant in Taft. I was just starting high school. We got here just in time for Hurricane Betsy. Almost all of our furniture was destroyed when the storage warehouse flooded. Welcome to the coast.

My first Saints game was the very first Saints game. We attended almost all of the home games while I lived in New Orleans. I spent many Sunday afternoons in the end zone of old Tulane Stadium with my brother and my Dad. When I left for college I continued to follow the Saints. Going to LSU I came home frequently and still attended many games, until the rest of the family moved to Puerto Rico the next year. After I graduated we moved away for a while but I still followed the Saints, of course She is a much bigger fan than I am. When we moved back to New Orleans for good a few years later She and I started going to the games again this time with her father. He was another "plank owner" having held his tickets since the beginning. We eventually took over two of his seats.

Before I could finish my travel arrangements, my sister called back. My Dad was gone. Suddenly, unexpectedly.

When he lived here my Dad loved to go to Preservation Hall. He loved tradition, all sorts of traditions. He recognized the value of them. He also recognized the value of passing tradition to the next generation. He often took families with children to Preservation Hall early in the evening to sit on the floor and listen to the music.

The family gathered from around the country. Lately we only seem to gather at times like this. What started as a sad occasion became a remembrance of a life well lived, a man and his family.

We played the Saints at the end of his service.