Friday, September 28, 2007

Drink a Beer - Save a Landmark

Oktoberfest 2007

Every Friday & Saturday from Sept.28 thru Oct 27
Doors open at 5 p.m.
Entertainment and food starts at 6 p.m.
Continuous music.
Sauerbraten, Bratwurst,Knackwurst & much more
German Beer and German souvenirs.Admission $5
Children under 12 free

Deutsches Haus is a New Orleans Landmark and institution. It is threatened by the proposed new Medical Complex. As much as we need the new hospital we need our heritage more.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Vote for the Muffuletta - It's important


Ashley has appealed to everyone to vote for the Muffuletta at It could help save New Orleans.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Perhaps you read about the plane crash which killed 88 people in Puket Provence, Thailand.

The name alone started me off on a search for more information.

Apparently it is pronounced "Poock-get".

I found out some interesting things. There are beautiful beaches and a robust tourist trade. 12 million visitors a year. New Orleans had 10.1 million visitors in 2004, our best year.

I'm thinking vacation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Who's Your Pirate?

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Time to get in touch with your inner buccaneer. But who is your pirate? The classic peg leg and parrot pirate or the more modern kind.

Robert Newton as Long John Sliver

In addition to Robert Newton actors who have portrayed Long John Silver in the various motion picture adaptations of Treasure Island include Wallace Beery, Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, , Anthony Quinn, Tim Curry, Jack Palance, Brian Murray, Oleg Borisov and British actor Ivor Dean in a televised version of the novel.

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow

I think in a few years Talk Like a Pirate Day will be heavily influenced by the post modern performance of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. He may be the worst pirate you ever heard of but you have heard of him.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

K-ville Debuts. New Orleans Still Stands.

K-ville is the new Fox Cop Show set in post Katrina New Orleans. It has been available on the Internet for some time. I've avoided anything to do with it in spite of intense interest and apprehension. Depictions of New Orleans in film and on TV have been almost uniformly bad and clueless. I wanted to see it in its intended setting. has a Weekly Scorecard. Chris Rose even wrote about it. That makes it officially important. Chris Rose even did a follow-up, how much more important can it get.

We in the nolabogosphere have been following production because Michael Homan's house and daughter are featured.

Monday Night K-ville finally debuted. It is basically a conventional gritty street cop show, set in New Orleans. It doesn't get New Orleans too wrong, assuming typical TV creative license . The Characters are typically gritty and the settings really are mostly in New Orleans. We'll see how it goes from here.

Other Bloggers have posted their reactions. Schroeder didn't like it much and has elaborated his impressions. Mark Deane E and Pistolette agreed. Adrastos thought it mediocre. He also collected most of these links. Clecus sort of agreed and wonders why we expected anything different. Marcus was mixed. Maitri was typically busy, live blogging and probably doing geological research as the same time. Tim as as usual came up with the lyric response. In typical New Orleans fashion Metroblogging New Orleans came up with a drinking game. Leigh's Mom even found a silver lining. YatPundit was kinder, he sorta liked it Swampwoman did too.Even Ashley came around eventually. I probably left some people out, please leave comments and I'll add links.

I have a few observations of my own.
  • My name was mentioned in the first 5 minutes. I'm more famous.
  • Kalypso has star quality.
  • New Orleans will survive this TV show.
  • The white guy's back story need serious work.
  • This is the first dramatic broadcast TV series with a predominately black cast.
I could be wrong about the last one but I don't recall one. There have been a lot of integrated shows. A lot of black situation comedies, but I can't remember any other dramatic series with a predominately black cast. And I haven't seen that commented on at all, but I live under a rock.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Now That's Appealing.

We got out letter for our City of New Orleans Property Tax Appeal, actually we got two letters with two different hearing dates. I guess when we sent in an overnight letter followed by a certified letter we confused them.

I was listening to Mr. Rogers Arnie Fielkow on the radio. It actually sounds like they have a workable method of hearing these appeals. In a very short time the City Council has advertised for and hired a firm to run the hearings. They have given people specific a time to present themselves at the dome, if they want to. You don't even really even have to have to show up. You can simply let the Hearing Officer review your files. I'm tempted not to tell them about our duplication and see what happens. I think our package is pretty good, but its probably dangerous to leave anyone working for the City alone too long.

Our appeal is not for a couple of weeks, so I guess we'll get a chance to see how it goes for others. I'm hoping for a rare display of governmental competence. That's the one thing which could rebuild citizen confidence in our local government.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

O. J. Can You See?

The latest O. J. news out of Las Vegas is just plain weird.

Whatever people are telling the press and the police can't be the whole truth. I have no idea what actually happened and neither does O. J., apparently.

Cliff has a great comment over at his Crib.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

We're in Resolution Now

We are officially in Resolution with The Road Home now. That is completely different from an Appeal, which can only come after you've been totally rejected. I guess I have that to look forward to.

This was supposed to be posted last week before we got the report I posted a few days ago.

On January 18th we had our appointment. June 4th The Road Home sent us our Gold Letter. On June 11, we fired back a response as best we could considering the forms didn't really fit our situation.

A few weeks ago I called The Road Home and confirmed that they had indeed received our letter on June 15 and realized we were contesting nearly everything they had done. I was told to call back in a week to see what had happened.

Today (September 5) I spoke to a very nice bubbly woman from The Road Home. I wonder if they put happy juice in their coffee or something. We had a grand old time talking about how screwed up the evaluation of our application is. She confirmed that nothing appeared to have been done on our "resolution".

She readily agreed that the Deduction for FEMA emergency housing grant was incorrect and said she would email the person in charge of that area and she felt certain that it would be corrected promptly.

I advised her that we had, through a lawsuit, obtained more money from our Flood Insurance and that should be reflected in out application.

We also discovered that our Title Search had not only been done, it had been uploaded into the system 13 times, each one apparently identical to the next.

Then we got down to the serious matters.

Our Road Home appraisal was seriously low I found out why. A Company named First American Appraisal had done the appraisal on our home. One of the comparables they listed was on at least a mile away from our house on the east side of Elysian Fields, south of Robert E. Lee from our house. That may be a nice neighborhood but its not anything like comparable to the neighborhood I live in. On top of that the value assigned to my house was less than the comparable, in spite of the fact that my house is in a more expensive neighborhood and probably larger. My new best friend, the Case Support Specialist, agreed with me. I guess we should have hired local appraisers who might actually be familiar with our neighborhoods.

The final item was the cost of repair. I have a number of estimates. I have estimates from two insurance companies, from a contractor and comparables from other people. The Road Home didn't bother to share their estimate with us, not even the total. It is simply not listed on our Gold Letter.

That complicates things. It turns out the Case Support Specialists aren't authorized to tell you what the estimate is, even if The Road Home forgot to put it in your letter. I told her what I thought it should be and through a guessing game we determined that their estimate of the repairs to my house would be somewhat less than $50 per square foot. I can't imagine how they got that number.

As we spoke further a number of other facts came forward. If you house is damaged over 50% then The Road Home applies a fixed square footage amount. That is somewhere between $100-$130 per square foot. If however your estimate damage is below 50% then they do a component estimate. That seems reasonable, if the component costs are reasonable. I sorta knew that. They also do an estimate of the cost to raise you house. I didn't know that.

If you elect to raise your home then you can get a $30,000 additional grant. Their estimate of the cost to raise my house was $120,000.

I'm confused by these numbers. There seems to be a discontinuity between the cost of repair derived from the component cost estimate and value of the damage if your house has over 50% damaged. Part of that may be the requirement for any house damaged over 50% to be brought up to current code, including raising it if necessary. But if it costs $120,000 to raise my house and The Road Home will only give me $30,000 I'm not sure how that actually works to my advantage.

I could change a few things and my damage would be over 50%, the cost of repair would remain virtually unchanged and the Road Home would more than double my cost estimate. The only difference would be that we would be required to raise my house and that isn't included in the cost of my repairs.

They are supposed to be sending me something called a CAD report which details their estimate of the value of the damage. When I get the report I imagine that it will become clear.

Friday, September 14, 2007

As if we didn't have Enough Problems!

Killer Bees have become established in the New Orleans area!!

Not these Killer Bees, the real ones.

That's OK we have experience with this one! In 1976 a massive swarm of killer Bees descended on New Orleans. All we need to do is lure them into the Superdome and turn the Air Conditioning down to 45 degrees Fahrenheit!

The made for TV movie The Savage bees actually won an Emmy for best Sound Mixing. Who said line hum needed to be eliminated! A plot recap can be read at The Agony Booth, along with some interesting New Orleans film trivia.

This was the only color photo of the SNL Killer Bees I could find. I'm expecting a DCMA take down notice.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Nearly everyone knows the City Council has issued a subpoena of the Head of the city's Property Management Department. She didn't show up according to The Zombie and the TP.

I wonder why the Mayo can't bother to send his representatives to a meeting with the council?

The Mayo recently said the City Councils subpeona of his Department Head was illegal.

I wonder if he's channeling George W. Bush in his controversy with Congress over subpoenas?

In any event The City Code says;
Part I Charter

Article III The Council

Section 3-124. Investigations. (1) The Council shall have the power to conduct investigations of
(a) The operation of any office, department or board administering the affairs of the City.

(b) Any subject upon which it may legislate.

(c) Any entity which receives funds from the City or which is funded in whole or in part by City taxes, fees, fines, bond proceeds, or other revenue generated by or under the authority of the City. Such investigation shall be limited to the use or expenditure of such funds.

(d) Any entity which was created or exists under the authority of the City.
(2) In conducting investigations, the Council shall have the right to administer oaths, subpoena witnesses and compel the production of books and papers pertinent thereto.
Section 3-124 (1) (a) looks legal to me, but IANAL but the neither is the Mayo.

Finally he says the council members requesting the subpoena are inexperienced and if the crook Oliver Thomas hadn't "gone away" this wouldn't have happened. Oliver the Crook hasn't gone away yet but he will be "sent up the river" fairly soon.

I have a suggestion for the Mayo, release everything there is to know about this situation. If the Administration has done everything in its power to remedy the situation, then they should be exonerated. According to published reports approximately $40,000 has been spent on the problem, which depending on the nature of the system and the problem may not be out of line. But as I understand it the problem is more than six months old and hasn't been fixed yet, plus it apparently took all summer to decide to buy a "few WalMart air conditioners".

I guess Park Island really is the "Isle of Denial", or maybe its Plano.

I wrote a while back about my visit to the Gretna City Council. Maybe it would be a good idea to make the Mayo preside over City Council meetings, at least they could see him once in a while.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I finally got my Road Home Cost Estimate. Here it is. I'm still looking at it but I see many flaws.

Item Quantity Units Price Extension
General Conditions

Final Cleaning 12 Rooms $12.00 $144.00
House Raising Survey 1 LS $550.00 $550.00
Builders Risk 124 M $20.00 $2,480.00
Insurance Requirements 1 LS $20.00 $20.00
Construction Management 1 Allowance $1,900.00 $1,900.00


Masonry 50 Sq. Ft. $21.28 $1,064.00


Door Exterior French Single 2 EA $1,163.60 $2,327.20
Door Exterior French Double 1 EA $1,818.13 $1,818.13
Door Pre-hung Passage 17 EA $642.84 $10,928.28


Drywall Paint Insulation and Base 2367 SH $14.47 $34,250.49

Floor Covering

Floor Covering Entire House 2367 SH $5.78 $13,681.26


A/C Compressor -Outside 1 EA $3,786.91 $3,786.91
Air Handles Inside Replace 1 EA $2,253.48 $2,253.48


Water Heater – 50 Gallon 1 EA $895.67 $895.67
Kitchen, complete gutted house 1 EA $12,891.39 $12,891.39
Bath – 3 fixture 3
EA $6,346.29 $19,038.87


Rewire Complete House 2376 SH $7.86 $18,675.36


Right off the top I see that there were a number of things left out;
  • All closet doors
  • No overhead an profit for a GC
  • The drywall number seems low
  • My house is about 250 square feet bigger than this.
  • I have no French Doors.
  • There is no line item for the laundry connection.
  • The ductwork needs to be replaced.
I forgot the most interesting part;


Raise House Slab 0-4'
2367 SF $52.27 $123,723.09

I wonder if the Road Home will do the work necessary for their estimate.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sad to Say, I Knew This Was Coming

I found this first at I like his take on things.
Many of the people were not aware that they were registered to vote elsewhere and intend to return to Louisiana, said [NAACP Legal]defense fund attorney Kristen Clarke. Times Picayune, August 31, 2007
Like C. B. I wonder what they thought they were doing when they registered to vote somewhere else? Were they duped by undercover Republicans, intent on creating more Democrats in Texas?

If expatriates someday return to Louisiana (I hope they all do) I welcome them. I welcome them to register to vote here again.

I've long wondered how long can a person reside in another state and continue to vote in Louisiana? I believe the Supreme Court has ruled that any residency requirement beyond about 90 days is excessive. How long must you be absent before you forfeit you registration?

I was always sure many people would find they were better off when they moved and would never return. That seems obvious, not because there is any inherent advantage to other places but simply a matter of circumstance. Many people will also decide not to return because of their fear of a recurrence of Katrina. That too is understandable and predictable. Many of these expatriates will continue to identify themselves as New Orleanians. Just as many of the thousands who left long before Katrina was even a thundercloud in the Atlantic do. New Orleans is home. It is captivating and magic. It's also a hard place to live in many ways.

The article in the Time Picayune makes interesting reading. State officials apparently examined many thousands of registrations and sent two notices to many thousands of people. They pared an initial list 50,000 down to 19,000. How much is enough? When will there ever be enough good faith demonstrated? When does an individual registered voter have a responsibility to respond or even take any action? Is it up the State sue each and every voter registered in two place, including the ones residing in cemeteries?

I'd guess the Mayor would like his new neighbors in Dallas to come over to the house for a barbecue and then come over to New Orleans for a fun weekend so they can vote for him.

Let's create the world's first virtual city (outside Second Life) with a strong brand. We could all go somewhere comfortable and safe then simply mail in our votes for our favorite crook who can continue to skim contracts and collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees for his friends and family over the Internet, while he and increasingly she sips drinks through a straw on the beach somewhere in the Caribbean.

If we work it right we can continue to support the local crooks with our votes while at the same time voting for honest public servants where we sleep at night.

Does someone living in Dallas deserve to be Mayor? Does someone living in Katy know enough to be a responsible voter in New Orleans? I don't know.

I also wonder how the NAACP determined the voters being purged were disproportionately black? If they identified the voters being purged why didn't they take steps to correct the problems? Once the dual registrations were discovered why weren't the Texas registrations weren't voided?