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Sax in the City June 19, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 8-29, Federal Flood, Hurricane Katrina, Jazz Vipers, New Orleans, NOLA.

Americans will probably continue to use economists’ numbers to measure recovery from the current recession. But as we debate what to do for the millions of homeowners who are “under water” — owing more on their homes than the homes are worth — we could learn from a city that knows a thing or two about being under water. New Orleans can teach us that the life we build with our neighbors deserves at least as much attention as our endless thrust towards newer and bigger.
–Dan Baum, The Way of the Bayou , New York Times

Yeah, you right.

Except, Dan, “the Bayou” to a lot of folks is a place you get to be crossing over to the West Bank and heading down Highway 90: Cajun Country. You’ve been down here long enough to know that, but I guess Big Apple headline writers are too busy rudely shoving people out of the way to snatch their cabs to whisk them to Tavern on the Green for lunch, or some such goofy stereotype.

Hell, forget about Irvin Mayfield running for mayor. I nominate Joe Braun of the Jazz Vipers. He may be the my generation’s equivalent of a trustafarian, but then he doesn’t really need so steal anything. He’d make sure the important things–music, food, the real life down here–were put first. Joe doesn’t strike me as the political type, but he did make a fine speech at Jazz Fest in favor of reopening Charity Hospital “where so many jazz musicians were born”.

And Dan: you can’t honestly say people down here don’t want change. It’s just that we don’t want change on the terms of a lot of carpetbagging architects from up north who only know how to build a movie facade retail “towne”, or bulgy eyed school reformers looking to start the Ayn Rand Charter Academy of Applied Objectivism.

We want the things most people want. We just want them on our own terms because frankly we’ve figured out what everyone else in our neighbor to the north only dreams about: not how to work and get ahead, not how to pay for it all, but how to live. Sure, things change. The Spotted Cat is no more and I hear there’s been some falling out with Bruce the clarinet player and frankly, a band like that needs a clarinet player (paging Dr. Micheal White, paging Dr. Micheal White). But usually that vanished clarinet player or chef just shows up down the street, and life goes on.

So be sure to come back and visit us. Maybe you can stop by Rising Tide IV this August 22nd. We’ll try to have some bagels and “Northern Coffee” for you.


1. Editilla~New Orleans Ladder - June 19, 2009

Yeah you right!


2. Editilla~New Orleans Ladder - June 19, 2009

On 2nd read, Yeah you Damn Right!


3. Todd A. Price - June 19, 2009

I can guarantee Dan had nothing to do with the headline. That’s not what writers do. Editors write headlines.


4. Mark - June 19, 2009

Todd, I can pretty much guarantee you’re right. I’ve written stories and headlines both, and except back in the day when I had to walk through the pasteup room to get coffee my own headlines were usually a surprise to me.


5. Tim - June 21, 2009

Ha! Although I love to travel, there are two things that I cannot stand: the lack of local architecture and Yankee coffee. Do you think he might come to RTIV? And if he did, would he get it?




6. mf aka wet bank guy - June 21, 2009

If he comes and wears the pink pork pie hat, I’ll pick up his admission.


7. Is Change “Unwanted” in New Orleans? - EdLab Showroom - November 11, 2009

[…] happy (at least by some scales) with New Orleans prior to Katrina. Some readers of Baum's column remark that it isn't change that is unwanted, just change on other people's terms. In any case, I think […]


8. Odd Words « Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans - January 21, 2010

[…] at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia Books, Wednesday, February 24, 2010 6:00 p.m. Yes, I have picked on his newspaper writing but the book sounds interesting to me and now that it’s out in paperback I think I’ll […]


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