jump to navigation

Doing Exactly What You Said November 12, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

I started off the day reading this cheerful piece on the Times-Picayune/NOLA>com site about the New Orleans City Council’s efforts to extract someone’s head from their ass (the Mayor’s, the Recovery Czar’s, their own) so they could figure out when the pretty signboards announcing progress in recovery might be replaced by something like actual progress on city-controlled recovery projects. Typical happy reading down here in Year Three.

Thankfully, I got over to read what Cliff of Cliff’s Crib said on a similar subject. Cliff does a better job of summing up what’s going down and going wrong (and right) than anybody else in this town. I wanted to call out this from his last post:

Brad Pitt had a radical idea for hurricane recovery. He presented a plan, people gave him money to do it, and then he did what he said he was going to do. Sometimes great plans are very simplistic. I was wondering. Has the city council or the mayor recognized this man for this work? Has he gotten a key to the city? Does he get to ride in the Zulu parade? What about a good pot of red beans? Maybe we can give him and Angelina a second line in their honor when they are in town. I would like to nominate Mr. Pitt for a new position in the city. He should be the Director of Doing Exactly What You Said You Were Going to Do.

And I nominate Cliff for Director of the Ministry of Speaking Truth to Power, for at least the salary the mayor’s half-dozen press hacks are getting.

Advertisements

Normal Is The New Black July 10, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

I don’t know when I stopped asking the hard questions. I routinely wrestled with them for over two years at Wet Bank Guide, but being angry all the time is wearing on a body. At some point, I think I just began to drift into that happy place the pollsters find us in.

Normal is a pretty tenuous concept from one end of Toulouse Street to the other. Still, just because every passing day makes it that much easier to get your New Orleans groove on does that mean we can all just forget about our unlivable Entergy bills and leaky levees, the broken streets and schools, the politicians who all seem to have a sense of decorum and propriety acquired on another planet?

Among my new regular reads is Cliff, who joins that honor roll of NOLA bloggers who stand ready to ask the questions that never seem to occur to Garland Robinette or the Times-Picayune columnists.

In his current post episode of Sitting On My Porch my favorite questions are: “Where are all the comments from angry suburban residents in Mandeville, LA threatening to leave the the Northshore because of all the corruptness in local government and law enforcement? Isn’t that why they all say they left New Orleans?” and “Mayor Ray Nagin has a 31% approval rating. His rating is 49% approval with blacks and 11% with whites. Judging by the quality of life these two groups have in the city right now, shouldn’t those numbers be reversed?”

If at least a few of Cliff’s questions don’t leave you squirming uncomfortably at your keyboard, the ones everyone in New Orleans should be asking regardless of race, then I think the new normal has gotten here just a little too soon. Remember two years ago, when there was some hope that washing the slate clean might, just might make things better?

Soldier Boys June 22, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
3 comments

You need to read this today. In fact, don’t read another world I’ve written until you read it.

This is not how I grew up in this same city, out on the Bunny Bread lakefront. A person needed to be ready to fight when cornered, but there was nothing like Cliff describes at all. Once when another gang of guys came to our neighborhood specifically looking for trouble, we all stood there in two tableau as artificial as a scene from West Side Story until our friends in the Levee Board Police showed up and everyone scrambled. What was funny about that day was we ended up helping the guys from the other hood through out thicket of shortcuts in Lake Vista, as secret and secure as as the Ho Chi Minn trail, so they could escape the police. At some level we were more alike than we thought ourselves to be.

I think I’ve understood the situation Cliff describes to be a large part of the problem we have in New Orleans, but this is the first time someone has summed it up so clearly. (You did go read his post, right?)

I don’t know how to change this anymore than I know how to take all the folks in Lakeview or Metairie (some my oldest friends) and shake the ingrained racism out of them. We were fed it with our mother’s milk, and I know there is a lot of reinforcement all through life if you choose to seek it out, to make that a part of one’s identify. I also know that it can be overcome if only like an alcoholic’s journey, one day at a time because we decide not to be that person we were somehow programmed to be.

We are all like dogs over bred to some task and liable to neurosis if deprived of sheep to herd or the right sort of a hunt. We can change ourselves, one at a time. How we change whole neighborhoods, whole wards, whole peoples: I don’t know any more than Cliff does. He can behave one way at home, but is forced to behave another to run the gauntlet of a grocery trip to Wal-Mart at River Place.

But we have to think of something. We have to start somewhere.