Bush dines at Dooky Chase's restaurant in the Treme
August 28, 2007 6:38 PM   Subscribe

President Bush touched down in New Orleans at 7:11 p.m. this evening The 84-year-old Chase sat close to the president and accepted his praise for the meal of jambalaya, stewed okra and gumbo z'herb, an all-greens gumbo that's a tradition at Chase's Holy Thursday dinners.
posted by nola (51 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Katrina, two years later. via NPR
posted by nola at 6:40 PM on August 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

"Bring me the heart of a black, I'm hungry dammit!" Bush kept on repeating, over and over, clanging knife with fork...
posted by Peter H at 6:42 PM on August 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

This was one of the most depressing things I've ever heard on NPR.
We found a spot of shade beneath a tree, and I started with what I considered a casual warm-up. "What's it like to live around here?" I asked.
"Well," he replied, "I'll be honest. Ain't a day goes by when I don't think about killing myself."

posted by ColdChef at 6:45 PM on August 28, 2007 [4 favorites]

I caught the When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts a couple days ago, interesting to watch 2 years moved on.
posted by iamabot at 6:45 PM on August 28, 2007

I don't get it. Why is this FPP worthy?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:47 PM on August 28, 2007

I don't get it. Why is this FPP worthy?

The NPR link in the second post is the meat. The FPP is just laginappe.
posted by ColdChef at 6:53 PM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

(or lagniappe, if you prefer)
posted by ColdChef at 6:55 PM on August 28, 2007

New Orleans before Katrina; New Orleans right after Katrina; New Orleans two years later: what they had and what they now have.

posted by Postroad at 7:08 PM on August 28, 2007

or lagniappe, if you prefer

Definitely lagniappe. I always enjoyed that the Times-Picayune had a Lagniappe section. Just one of many,many cool things in New Orleans.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:10 PM on August 28, 2007

given that nola has a well established history here I chose to look on the fact that nola linking to nola.com as coincidence or one of those eponysterical things you kids go on about nowadays rather than anything like a self-link
posted by edgeways at 7:20 PM on August 28, 2007

"I'll be honest. Ain't a day goes by when I don't think about killing myself."

Bush: Well, eh....um.....uhhhhhh...yesee, you gotta, yaknow, try to, uh, not think of it as a suicide but more of a, yaknow, a-a-a market correction. The market, uh, you know, breeds out, uhhh..hhh..., ineffiency and uhh, you know, it's uh natural for this kind of, uhhh, correction to uuuhhh-occur. It's like what, uhh, Darwin said about, ummm, money and uhh, how it solves, ummm, birds beaks and uhhhh things. Thats the American dream." *smirks*
posted by Avenger at 7:23 PM on August 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

I've heard some people theorize that bush put Karl Rove in charge of Katrina reconstruction in an attempt to keep the original poor population from returning -- in order to 'flip' Louisiana red.

If most of the Nola evacuees didn't return, the center of political gravity would be shifted north, and it's likely that Louisiana will electtwo republican senators and have a republican governor in 2009.

On the other hand, Katrina destroyed bush politically. So who knows.
posted by delmoi at 7:25 PM on August 28, 2007

given that nola has a well established history here I chose to look on the fact that nola linking to nola.com as coincidence or one of those eponysterical things you kids go on about nowadays rather than anything like a self-link

I really hope that's a poor attempt at sarcasm.

New Orleans was the most wonderful city I've ever spent time in, but I haven't had a chance to visit since the storm. Any interesting accounts from Mefites who have?
posted by Roman Graves at 7:31 PM on August 28, 2007

Roman Graves, I went down there to photograph and help with reconstruction a couple months after the storm. It was utterly horrible, as if the storm had happened the previous day. I really lack the words (and the pictures aren't really as effective as I thought they were) to truly describe the desperation and complete destruction. Perhaps the most poignant thing was talking to an older couple who was driving around looking for their house. When they found it they showed me where it used to be - about half a mile away. All of their possessions were strewn over several blocks, mixed with those of other families.

It was really heart-warming to see the groups of teenagers and college-aged kids who were, in my opinion, doing the most effective job, with their spontaneous camps created in the negative spaces of neighborhoods. These camps did a superb job of balancing cooperative efforts with effective leadership and resources, like establishing a "tool library" where residents could loan out a saw and hammer, as well as organizing distribution of essential cleaning supplies, disinfectants, basic food stuffs, and water.

It was, however, extremely frustrating to compare this to the FEMA camp where I stayed for a night, patrolled as it was by armed Wackenhut security, housing thousands of immigrant day laborers who would be doled out to contractors the next morning earning barely minimum wage. It's now clear that these contractors requested, and received, top dollar for the services they barely provided.

Moreover, I sat in on a meeting with the St. Bernard Parish local government authority. Remember that this is months after the storm. During this meeting, they started their discussion on what should be done in the residential areas. This was the first meeting of the kind they'd held. Why? I have no idea. Probably waiting around like all the other officials for someone to lead them, whilst volunteer college students were establishing actual networks of cooperation in real neighborhoods.

I did get a courtesy pair of FEMA flip-flops, though.
posted by odinsdream at 7:44 PM on August 28, 2007 [6 favorites]

The NPR link in the second post is the meat.

not at all. the main link shows how the Times-Picayune, like the rest of the "liberal media", shamefully bends over backwards to pretend that Bush's is a regular visit from a President, instead of the classic example of the criminal coming back to the scene of the crime.

heck of a job, Times-Picayune.

(and then one wonders if the undead Mr. Rove had ordered a special gumbo made with the putrefied flesh of Ninth Ward corpses)
posted by matteo at 7:46 PM on August 28, 2007

Hey everything's fixed now. Our beloved President has flown in, eaten something in Norleans and then flew out. Nothing else to see, let's move on. And hey ! Don't forget the terrorist are going to get us and don't forget that we are keeping you safe !

/rose tinted glasses
posted by Webbster at 7:50 PM on August 28, 2007

I go down once a year as I have for years now, to enjoy the food and music and other little things. The two times I've been down since the flooding , I've noticed some slow improvement in the more tourist realated areas. The city is however by and large a ghost of it's form self, and I can only hope, that time ,and hard work will make a differnce. Since no governor, no president, no mayor seem able to.
posted by nola at 7:56 PM on August 28, 2007

posted by nola at 7:57 PM on August 28, 2007

Roman, I live here. Not in NOLA proper, no , I fled to the 'burbs in 1992. Which is why I didn't drown like a rat in the house I once rented in Gentilly.

The people who lived there instead of me did.

Multiply that by a few thousand. Then add in a few hundred thousand who lost their homes and everything they owned that couldn't fit in a car. Now pile on the government going "Compensation? Let's think about it," and "Pumps? We thought they were pretty good pumps" and "Holy fuck these levees are weaker than we ever WAIT we didn't say that." Pile on a few hundred more statements like that, you can get the general drift.

Add in, even though I'm 15 feet above sea level in Mandeville, Allstate will only graciously deign to renew my homeowner's policy because they also insure my car. Generous of them, to hold their fangs in like that. The tales I hear from people in Lakeview are much rougher.

That's what it's like to live in New Orleans.
posted by localroger at 7:59 PM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

New Orleans Councilwoman Shelley Midura's open letter to the President of the United States

...the only direct federal assistance this city has received from you has been two community disaster loans that you are demanding be paid back even though no other city government has had to pay back a these types of loans for as long as our research can determine...
posted by ColdChef at 8:03 PM on August 28, 2007 [3 favorites]

Oh, and Kraftmatic, tomorrow is the anniversary. It will be all over the news.

For my part I have for some time wanted a bumper sticker that says "Screw 9/11 remember 8/29" but my wife won't go along.
posted by localroger at 8:04 PM on August 28, 2007

If I had a car, it'd sport that sticker, localroger.
posted by brundlefly at 8:08 PM on August 28, 2007

*dials 829 on phone for help, only to get busy signal over and over again*
posted by ColdChef at 8:10 PM on August 28, 2007 [3 favorites]

Well ColdChef in most of the world the dates would be 11/9 and 29/8, so I don't think that either of those would work so well either. It's too bad all our disasters don't come with convenient mental hooks.

I do seem to recall reading that there is a problem of people dialing 911 in countries where that ISN'T the emergency code, because so many people have watched our TV shows where it's showcased.
posted by localroger at 8:17 PM on August 28, 2007

posted by porn in the woods at 8:19 PM on August 28, 2007

Perhaps Bush and David Vitter can close down a few establishments on Bourbon Street while he's in town.
posted by hwestiii at 8:25 PM on August 28, 2007

I heard the Dear New Orleans: I'm Leaving You commentary on NPR today; it was tough to hear the disappointment in the commentator's voice. She was just now giving up after holding out hope that New Orleans would make a big comeback.

I also think I heard later in the program that the Federal government claims to have spent 180 million dollars in New Orleans since Katrina. I can't find it on the NPR page, so maybe I misheard. If they have, where was it spent? Has there been an accounting? Where can that information be found?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:27 PM on August 28, 2007

Oh my god. 9-11 plus 8-29 equals 17-40.


That's the year that Marquis de Sade was born. And then if you add them together, you got 57 which is the year that Nero became a Roman consul.

It's all starting to make sense.
posted by quin at 8:27 PM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

delmoi: "I've heard some people theorize that bush put Karl Rove in charge of Katrina reconstruction in an attempt to keep the original poor population from returning -- in order to 'flip' Louisiana red."

Gosh, if that were to happen in another country we would call it "ethnic cleansing".

Heckuva job, Slobo!
posted by Avenger at 8:47 PM on August 28, 2007

Thank you for that illuminati-ing explanation, quin
posted by Abiezer at 8:51 PM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

two years can be a long time in personal time, but from a historic sense it is an eye blink, it is going to take nearly two years to rebuild the bridge in Minneapolis, and that is if everything goes correctly. To rebuild a whole city that no matter how great it was, is in a State that has a pretty rich history of corruption is going to take a decade or more. The fact that the poor have gotten the bigger shaft is no surprise, we live in a culture that more or less assigns different values to people depending on how much material wealth they have. Hell, just look at the ongoing battle for the presidential nomination going on, the candidate that has consistently made poverty a main part of his campaign is running a long third.
posted by edgeways at 9:00 PM on August 28, 2007

I drove over to Nawluns from Jax earlier this year for the NCAA tournament. I'd spent may a time in Nawluns before Katrina and this was my first trip since after the storm. What I saw was amazing. Just coming in on I-10 I couldn't believe the entire neighborhoods and apartment complexes on the east side of town that were completely empty. Large shopping center parking lots with piles of debris laying around. I decided not to take a trip into the 9th because I didn't want to get depressed.
posted by toddbass10 at 9:18 PM on August 28, 2007

Thanks for the pointer, Benny.

I have many friends still in New Orleans. Eve Troeh, the commentator, was one. I knew about her connection with Helen Hill; about the mugging, well, that wasn't a shock.

She mentions in the radio show that she was in the Times-Pic's article Generation K - a poster child for the city - and I have to say that she became that for me. I left immediately after Katrina, but Eve was tough. She stuck it out. Nothing made me happier than to listen to her latest report on NPR, knowing that she still lived there, that some semblance of what I knew still lived there, that something essential there still lived. And maybe it's because we ran in the same circles and we saw the same side of the city, but I always felt that she got across that essential something better than any other news reporter.

Now, she's moving. It's the right decision, and I'm happy she's made that choice. But the one voice down there I knew, the one voice that I trust implicitly, is gone. I'm poorer for it, and I'm here to tell you that you're poorer for it, too.

Goodbye, Eve. Visit soon. I'll be down on Frenchmen during Halloween. Hope to see you there.
posted by suckerpunch at 9:34 PM on August 28, 2007

Storm Warning
posted by homunculus at 11:33 PM on August 28, 2007

I was in Phuket in Thailand in May 2.5 years after the tsunami that flattened the joint.
There is very little evidence of the damage remaining and the place is very busy so I don't think the argument that 2 years isn't enough time holds a lot of water.
posted by bystander at 3:58 AM on August 29, 2007

One wonders how many restaurants the White House planning folks had to call before they found one that'd serve Bush.
posted by sotonohito at 3:59 AM on August 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

So Bush flew in to celebrate the anniversary of the glorious event? Heartwarming.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:03 AM on August 29, 2007

From this BBC coverage:

"We will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild," the president said.

Well, heck, I guess those citizens are all rebuilt now, cause his ass is already gone again.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:03 AM on August 29, 2007

I don't think the argument that 2 years isn't enough time holds a lot of water.

Holding a lot of water was the problem in the first place!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:07 AM on August 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

But of course you're right, bystander, all jokes aside. It's appalling how the poorest (and consequently, of course, least influential) citizens of N.O. have been abandoned, ever since the first moments of the storm. Ever since before the storm. But I believe it's at least partly by design that the Ninth Ward in particular is still in the state it's in. I believe conservatives of the Bush/Cheney variety want the poorest of the nation dispersed and isolated across wide swathes of the country, rather than densely packed into urban areas. They don't want that many poor black people living side by side. Too incendiary, too dangerous.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:20 AM on August 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

And bringing my comments to 4 in a row in this thread, I'll just add that anyone interested in hearing my take on the whole damn mess in song form can head over to MeFi Music to hear a tune I posted there yesterday (written and recorded shortly after Katrina in 2005), called New Orleans 2005.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:25 AM on August 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

*dials 829 on phone for help, only to get busy signal over and over again*
posted by ColdChef

Get up, get, get , get down
829 is a joke in your town
Get up, get, get , get down
make 820 wear the late crown!
posted by COBRA! at 7:23 AM on August 29, 2007

This time two years ago I was long evacuated. The levees hadn’t failed yet, but hey, here’s a funny story: after they did, I was sitting up in a bar in Mississippi with my brother, and everyone was staring slack jawed at the TV, and I wasn’t realizing how quickly I was downing beers and smoking cigarettes because I was absent mindedly accepting them from friends and strangers. I didn’t know what was happening in my neighborhood.

Then my roommate called, and he told me that he had word from a bartender down the street who had stayed. He said that there was good news and bad news about our apartment. The good news: we only got two or three feet of water. The bad news: turn on CNN. So a waitress flips it to CNN, and after about two rounds of stock footage I suddenly see my house burning down, right there from that bar stool. On CNN! Crazy!

Okay, maybe funny is the wrong word.

At any rate, I came back in December. Some mornings you wake up and read the newspaper about some new corrupt politician, and this was one that you trusted, or you read about two new dead teens in Central City. Or you drive through some busted up neighborhood on the way to work, or you hear what you're afraid is a distant gunshot right after you lay down for sleep, and it's probably not but still, you wonder why in the hell you are still here, wonder if maybe it’s time to leave.

And then every afternoon in the Summer, around five, there’s a rain storm that cools off the air, if only for a while. As the rain comes down you sit on the front porch of your shotgun and talk to your neighbor, 20 feet away, sitting on the front porch of her shotgun. She's about 65 and she's drinking a daiquiri out of a styrofoam cup and she's telling you loudly, over the sound of the rain, about her new granddaughter, over in Houston. That evening you walk around the track at Audubon with a beautiful girl in a spring dress, under the oaks and spanish moss, and your ugly dog is barking at the seabirds in the trees. The setting sun is reflecting off the spires of Tulane, and I swear to god, someone starts practicing his trumpet somewhere in that park. You can't find him, never see him, but you can hear him. Later, at three in the morning, you’re listening to Kermit Ruffins and Trombone Shorty blasting away at Tipitina’s and you wonder: why in the hell does anyone live anywhere else?

I'm probably naive on those evenings, or just foolish. Blind to reality. But it’s a great city, and I think it's worth saving. At least worth not giving up on.

And c’mon. Bush arrives in the 9th ward in a helicopter? Class act, man.
posted by gordie at 8:33 AM on August 29, 2007 [10 favorites]

Thanks for linking Shelly Midura's letter ColdChef. I think that it is FPP-worthy by itself. It was first forwarded to me by a dyed-in-the-wool conservative with a "You go girl!" comment, which was unusual to say the least. He did, of course, question whether her facts accurate so the librul didn't get a totally free pass...

Come to think of it, I would love to see the letter annotated with citations so that naysayers wouldn't have yet more grist for their mill.

Also, my brother-in-law shot the photo of Bush and Leah Chase in the T-P article.
posted by turbodog at 10:26 AM on August 29, 2007

That was beautiful, gordie.

I just got back from a service call in Biloxi. Didn't know I'd be doing that on the anniversary, but I drove back on US 90. Got to try out the spiffy new nosebleed bridge at Bay St. Louis.

What is really striking is that after two years, you can tell where the money is. A few homeowners -- very few -- are rebuilding. More businesses are. And there are several brand new high rise condo developments nearing completion, surrounded by fields of slabs that used to be neighborhoods.
posted by localroger at 11:32 AM on August 29, 2007

I'd almost be willing to put money on the possibility that one of the food preparers in the chain that led to Bush's meal had some fun with the fixings....

"How's that gumbo taste Mr. President? (snerk)"
posted by JHarris at 11:40 AM on August 29, 2007

I had been tenuously making plans to move there before the storm. Some days I feel guilty that I didn't follow through with them. That maybe folks like me should have thrown themselves into the city to help re-energize and populate it, instead of backing away in fear.
posted by Roman Graves at 11:46 AM on August 29, 2007

Just got notice via email, a couple of hours ago, of this: Video from investigative journalist Greg Palast: Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans. (Loading might take a minute...)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:29 PM on August 29, 2007

Katrina All the Time
posted by homunculus at 2:23 PM on August 31, 2007

Nicely done, gordie. Man, I miss home.
posted by brundlefly at 1:56 AM on September 1, 2007

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