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Doing Exactly What You Said November 12, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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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.

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This is what you paid to see, right? July 18, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Big h/t to Oyster for calling out this 2 Cent production.

Still waiting, still dreaming… November 11, 2007

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Debrisville, Flood, flooding, Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, Rebirth, Recovery, Sinn Fein, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Since all of the tickets for the Theater of Harlem’s outdoor production of Waiting for Godot were long gone by the time we arrived, we decided not to wait around under the tree at Pratt and Robert E. Lee and debate, but instead withdrew for more drinks, starting back on the porch at Chez Folse and ending at the Circle Bar for Gal Holliday.

I heard (from someone who asked last night) that there would be no Sunday show added as they did last weekend. So tonight instead of seeing Becket’s play, I am–after a prolonged episode of absurdest, existential angst in my friend’s club level seats at the Dome–reduced to watching bits of video.

I had read the script through online during a business trip this week. There is something essential in it to the current experience of so many in New Orleans, the discovery that we are not suffering from post traumatic stress disorder because we are not past the thing but instead in the very midst of it, in a landscape and a plot as bleak and confusing as Beckett’s, on a road of dubious prospects in a landscape swept clear of familiar geography and of hope, no prospect that over a hill or beyond a wood there is something different, something better.

Nothing to be done.

And yet we came in the hundreds last night, into the thousands, turning our back on the well-lit streets of the sliver by the river, forgoing the restaurants of Magazine and the lively nightclubs of Frenchman to try to sit through this difficult work, a comedy as black as the streets were for months in this part of town, as dark as the picture windows remain in so many of the empty brick boxes that line the streets. We came because all of us are so like these characters, lost in a landscape from which familiar references have been erased, clinging to the one thing that keeps us all from dropping over the brink: each other. We know Godot will not save us, that the Pollo’s of the world care not a whit for the outcome.

The careful fictions we have erected like pyramids in this country were all swept away by the flood, were taken from us as cataclysms of the Twentieth Century destroyed the illusions for Beckett’s generation. We have peered into the abyss, an abyss where many waded or swam in desperation and too many drowned, while the newsreaders stood puzzled on dry streets and the relief trucks stopped at the edge of town, waiting for word that it was safe to come, waiting for instructions from Godot. We were not simply ignored or abandoned by America. Instead we tasted the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, and were driven out of the garden of mass marketing, ashamed of our nakedness. We have peered into that abyss and come away filled with uncertainly and angst, equally incapable of trust in god or government. What is left? What reason is there to live here, to live at all?

And still we come home, even as we came to see Godot. The ticket rules changed without announcement, more turned away than admitted, we left the site of the play not confused but affirmed in the life we have found here. We left that open air stage, but we can no more leave this place, this city than these characters can hang themselves: not because we are incapable, but instead because it is beyond our human nature to surrender this life we call New Orleans. Perhaps Godot will come. Just as likely he will not. All we can be certain of us ourselves: Sinn Fein. In the end, however bleak the scene, we will not give up hope.

VLADIMIR:
Well? Shall we go?
ESTRAGON:
Yes, let’s go.

    They do not move.

New Orleans students take on Corps of Engineers November 7, 2007

Posted by The Typist in 8-29, Corps of Engineers, Debrisville, Flood, flooding, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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If you have a You Tube account/login, please visit this video’s page and vote for and favorite this video produced by New Orleans school children in support of an 8-29 commission:

K-Ville September 17, 2007

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Anthony

Our New Hero

“Everyone’s going to think there’s crime like that in New Orleans,” my daughter said after the machine gunning of the fundraiser by the river. She’s right, because most Americans are easily led idiots. I mean, some of them think we’re winning in Iraq, or that New Orleans was destroyed by a hurricnae. I don’t care what they think. I’m New Orleans to the bone and I love this damn show.

On balance, I thought subplots around the deserting partner and Boulet’s struggle with his wife over staying or leaving were both genuine and believable. If you wander in here from the Outside, both are as close to home as you can get on television. Much of the rest of it was pure TV fantasy of the sort I liked when I was a kid (think Startsky & Hutch or the Rockford Files). However, the major plot isn’t that far off from conspiracy theories you can hear on the street today in NOLA about people buying up land in the Ninth Ward. And there were Blackwater mercenaries all over town in the days after the Federal Flood, riding around with automatic weapons and questionable deputations to act as law enforcement.

And as to the female bad guy’s statement toward the end: pure reality television. From a post I wrote what seems like a lifetime ago on Wet Bank Guide titled Knights of the Invisible Hand:

Jimmy Reiss, head of the New Orleans Business Council Reiss told the Wall St. Journal, with better services and fewer poor people. “Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completey different way: demographically, geographically and politically.”

Marlin, speaking for everyone who came home: you’re my new damned hero man. I may have to start watching a TV series again, something I haven’t done in a long time. Sure, it hits all the stupid cliche marks about New Orleans, but a lot of what went down in the premiere rings true. It is worth fighting for. Three hundred thousand of us can’t be that wrong.

If the idea that this show was more reality TV than fantasy bothers you, well, I hear that Britanny Spears will be on MTV later. If you hurry you can catch it again.

Me, I’m going to watch the director’s cut online at the Fox site for the show

I need New Orleans more than New Orleans needs me September 2, 2007

Posted by The Typist in art, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Noted sculptor, Xavier professor and of course Orleanian John Scott, interviewed on June 29 from Houston as he struggled with the illness that took his life this week:

“That’s the only home I know. I want my bones to be buried there. I belong there. I need New Orleans more than New Orleans needs me.”

Amen.

Help Is Coming January 21, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Hurricane Katrina, Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK, Xmas.
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Vid this:

Bit ol’ hat tip to Danger Blonde.