Brad Pitt's Make It Right foundation has committed millions to try and revitalize New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward by building 150 affordable, green, storm-resistant homes from designs by the likes of Gehry Partners, Morphosis, Kieran Timberlake, and McDonough + Partners. Thing is, the ward doesn't have enough residents to attract stores and services, so no one wants to live there. Meanwhile, the city continues to follow through on millions in commitments to rebuild roads on streets where no one now lives, and to erect police stations and schools for a lonely, "barren moonscape" of a neighborhood. About 90 households, primarily elderly people, are living in futuristic homes that most Americans would covet, and yet there’s not a supermarket--or even a fast food restaurant--for miles.
I didn’t put much stock in the possibility that a Dominican spiritualist working out of a basement in Union City, New Jersey, would have much to say about a lampshade that might have been made from human skin in a Nazi concentration camp. But there I was.... (via)
Bad credit or no credit? No Problem! Are you on welfare? Social Security? No Problem! You have to see the Special Man
Bad credit or no credit? No Problem! Are you on welfare? Social Security? No Problem! You have to see the Special Man!
It's not uncommon for the mayors of two cities locked in sports competition to make friendly wagers. But, do the cities' art museums do too? Apparently, they do.
Just ease on into one of the most laid-back grooves to ever weave its way through a New Orleans junkyard, and join the procession as the estimable Dr. John is led through the rusting automobiles on a mule. After that, you'll be ready to enter the Inner Sanctum of Deep Mystic Hoodoo, with the good Doctor as your intoning, night tripping guide through the Zu Zu Mamou hallucinations. You won't be the same, afterwards...
A High Tech Building for New Orleans: ‘New Orleans Arcology Habitat’ or NOAH by E. Kevin Schopfer [more inside]
Death and Life: Madison New Life Band bid farewell to Bishop Daddy Madison in Washington, D.C. Stooges Brass Band plays in New Orleans [second line].
Prospect 1. From the New Orleans Museum of Art in the City Park, to the Lower Ninth Ward's multiple installation locations, Prospect 1's curation is tasteful and moving, sometimes heart breaking but mostly promising. An unbelievable concentration of impressive artist's commentary on New Orleans. And it's free to get around (shuttle service available also) if you simply register. [more inside]
At Sammy's at 2016 Main, on September 8, a historic jam session occurred, an impromptu reunion of many of the city of New Orleans's finest musicians. Each player who walked in the door was much more than a mere musician that night -- they were an affirmation of life. Not only did their attendance indicate that they had survived the storm, but their collective presence also indicated that their music would survive, too.The New Birth Brass Band (and friends) tears it the hell up in downtown Houston post-Katrina. The whole show is great, but if you're short on time, parts one and three are especially smoking.
New Orleans filmmaker Benjamin Reece asks fifty New Orlean's residents a single question: "If you could wish for one thing to happen by the end of the day, what would it be?".
Since when did we get cat 5 levees? Or a working flood plan? Behold the New Orleans Levee, where 'We don't hold anything back.'
Tomorrow morning, from this place, I'll announce that I am a candidate for President of the United States.. John Edwards prepares to throw his hat into the ring via YouTube, from New Orleans' 9th Ward.
The Democrats' Sonny Bono? When George Bush used the 1970s Orleans hit, Still the One, as a campaign song in 2004, John Hall issued Bush a cease and desist order for using his song without permission. A founder of the antinuclear group, Musicians United for Safe Energy (best known for the 1979 concert film, No Nukes), Hall decided to run for Congress in upstate New York, winning upset victories this year in both the Democratic primary and the general election against GOP incumbent, Sue Kelly. Before his Congressional victory, Editor & Publisher posted From Soundchecks to Soundbites, an interesting discussion with Hall about music journalism vs. political journalism.
'History on the Half Shell.' "A loaf of bread," the Walrus said, "Is what we chiefly need: Pepper and vinegar besides Are very good indeed-- Now if you're ready, Oysters (via) dear, We can begin to feed." . . . . . "O Oysters," said the Carpenter, "You've had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?' But answer came there none-- And this was scarcely odd, because They'd eaten every one.------Lewis Carroll-------
Newsfilter:Former FEMA Director Michael Brown engages in a heated exchange during a Senate hearing Friday. Here is the C-SPAN coverage.
READY TO ROLL? " . .Carnival produces $900 million in annual spending and more than $50 million in direct tax benefits to government. " New Orleans depends on tourism , now more than ever before. but are they really ready to host Mardi Gras in 06? What are locals saying? This will make the 150th Carnival the city has seen, but should it take place?
Firms with White House ties get Katrina contracts Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root and Bechtel have been awarded no-bid contracts in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. There's also this.
There lay Vera. Jacob Appelbaum posted about body recovery in New Orleans today, posting photos of what is apparently the destroyed remnants of the interim tomb of one Elvira "Vera" Smith at the "corner of Magazine Avenue and Jackson Street." Smith's daughter hopes her body will be brought to her former home of Victoria, Texas, for final burial. Smith's tomb was the single most indelible image of the New Orleans disaster, reprinted - and shot - countless times over the past two weeks.
Discuss. God help us all.
Discuss. God help us all.
Beyond Incompetence Reading the news after the Katrina Hurricane and the lack-of-response disaster, a pattern began to emerge. Mainstream media compilation - Collective Bellaciao via xymphora, which has several other uniquely critical posts on Katrina
New Orleans' critical 17th Street Levee has apparently been plugged, but more work remains. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a 1999 report, National Register Evaluation of New Orleans Drainage System, that discusses changes to the system throughout its history. It's worth noting that delays in implementing sewage and drainage improvements go back to the 19th century, even after the American South confronted the deadly Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878 (the last U.S. case was in 1996). More inside...
Michael Homan rode out Katrina in New Orleans and later "escaped" one of the freeway-based collection points. His is the first of what will surely be many firsthand accounts appearing on blogs. Why not collect your link finds here?
A cached google page says Loyola thought the city of New Orleans contracted with private companies for hurricane evacuation. Did I miss something? Where we these mysterious buses? From here and here.
The real disaster in New Orleans. David Aaronovitch of the London Times observes, "It isn’t the failure to act in New Orleans that is the story here, it’s the sheer, uninsured, uncared for, self-disenfranchised scale of the poverty that lies revealed. It looks like a scene from the Third World because that’s the truth. It’s a quiet disaster that ’s been going on for years." The truth is the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans has a poverty level of 36.4 percent. A quarter of households have an annual income of less than $10,000, while half live on less than $20,000. Over half of the population in the ward is categorized as “not in the labor force,” mainly because they have ceased looking for work. The truth is that even on a normal day, New Orleans is a sad city. "Sure, tourists think New Orleans is fun: you can drink and hop from strip club to strip club all night on Bourbon Street, and gamble all your money away at Harrah’s. But the city’s decline over the past three decades has left it impoverished and lacking the resources to build its economy from within. New Orleans can’t take care of itself even when it is not 80 percent underwater." The National Review is already blaming it - predictably - on the breakdown of the family. Conservatives in America are already dismissing the problem, as they have for years. But to those outside the United States, the scale of poverty in the world's richest country comes as a shock.
"It doesn't make sense to me." Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert weighs in on rebuilding New Orleans during an interview (bugmenot) by the Chigago Daily Herald. "It doesn’t make sense to me, and it’s a question that certainly we should ask. . . First of all your heart goes out to the people, the loss of their homes . . . but there are some real tough questions to ask about how you go about rebuilding this city. We help replace, we help relieve disaster . . . (Rebuilding) is certainly the decision the people of New Orleans are going to make. . . But I think federal insurance and everything goes along with it and we ought to take a second look at it. . . How do you go about rebuilding this city? What precautions do you take? . . . It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed. . . But you know we build Los Angeles and San Francisco on top of earthquake fissures and they rebuild, too. Stubbornness." Dennis Hastert was a sponsor of the legislation that cut the funding needed to upgrade New Orleans levee system to withstand category 5 hurricanes. He also failed to vote on legislation this year which would've provided additional funds for the Army Corps of Engineers.
``I don't treat my dog like that,' 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the [dead] woman in the wheelchair. ``I buried my dog.' He added: ``You can do everything for other countries but you can't do nothing for your own people. You can go overseas with the military but you can't get them down here.' People dying and left in streets waiting for aid at a New Orleans Convention Center.
St. James Infirmary, in a funereal, no lyrics, brass-band version underlies a persistent scrum of half-remembered songs about New Orleans rising in concert with the waters, lapping at the sandbags of my mind. Up front, Tom Waits (I Wish I Was in New Orleans) and Randy Newman (Lousiana 1927) are duking it out for time at the piano, elaborately filigreed chords overlapping and changing the dominant lyric at the moment of harmonic convergence, while in the background Arlo Guthrie (The City of New Orleans) warbles about a train ride. Professor Longhair and/or The Dixie Cups (Big Chief, Iko Iko) sort of amusedly fight to keep sliptime with the martial drums from Jimmy Driftwood's The Battle of New Orleans (caution: embedded quicktime) behind the whole toxic soup of sonic residue. I'm sure the stew will grow more dense over the next couple weeks. Got a New Orleans song to toss into the waters?
Katrina targets New Orleans. Mandatory evacuations have been declared, and contraflow evacuation routes are in effect near New Orleans, as Hurricane Katrina, a very wet, drenching hurricane, approaches the city from the Gulf of Mexico, where it is gaining in size and strength, with an estimated 45% chance of making landfall as a category 4 or 5 hurricane. The computer models suggest that New Orleans will sustain a direct hit from Katrina, which could be "The Big One" warned about by experts, capable of flooding the city, polluting it with industrial waste, and even flooding the pump stations, leaving it incapable of pumping out the water. The hurricane is predicted to make landfall early Monday near Port Fourchon, which handles approximately 13% of U.S. oil imports, and 27% of U.S. domestic production.
While the rest of the country seemed focused on the $40 million dollar block party in Washington, D. C., those of us down in the Big Easy were having a protest the best way we knew how, with a jazz funeral, or more specifically, a jazz funeral for democracy. What else would you expect from a party city that voted 77% for Kerry.