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Day 776: New Orleans, What’s Going On?

in carnival, government, louisiana, new orleans, recovery, we are not ok

Just in case VatulBlog gives you the impression that there is not a lot going on in New Orleans or that I’m not overly concerned about it, please set aside these notions. The slow pace of recovery is increasingly worrisome, while the upcoming election is a daily cause for concern and contemplation. Add to that almost every Indian-American’s pleasure to see one of their “own kind” win the Louisiana gubernatorial race and you have quite the bubbling crockpot here. All is not thorns and burns, however, but glue and sequins what with the city gearing up for super-early Mardi Gras.

Governor’s race: Nothing in Louisiana will change if one of Jindal’s opponents wins the position, but Jindal isn’t the answer, either. A word to all brown convenience store owners in the area: Because you put his campaign signs on your storefronts does not mean Jindal gives a hoot about you. Just a heads up. In fact, only last year, George Allen lost his re-election bid by referring to an Indian-American as a “macaca.” Now a macaca refers to people who took the pain to come to Louisiana to protest the Jena 6 goings-on as “outside agitators,” echoing a term used by southern white pro-segregationists back in the middle of the 20th century. Oh, and who are you in Iraq if not an outside agitator? Shame on you for setting civil rights back by half a century, jerk. To apply Dangerblond’s apt sentiment for our times to the current state of Iraq and race relations, “I always thought the point of these movies was that the United States is on the right side of this dividing line.”

Additionally, Jindal’s cold shoulder towards the debates and questions concerning New Orleans is very palpable. All said, I may have to abstain from voting in this election as I did in the 2003 gubernatorial race. This Gambit editorial nails my concerns about Jindal, but also gets the fact that his victory is guaranteed thanks to the dismal opposition.

Bipartisan Dreaming: D and I both wonder if there’s something telling about Mitch Landrieu’s decision not to run for governor. My vote for lieutenant governor emphatically goes to him.

Local Races: I am lost when it comes to City Council At Large (I foresee a toss-up inside the voting booth, anyone got four-sided coins?), Senate District 5 (please tell me more) and Judge of Criminal District Court (can’t decide between Laurie White and Gary Wainwright). House District 93 is easy – Karen Carter again.

Rebuilding New Orleans: A few days ago, I met and spoke with a recruiter for the University of New Orleans whose mother is still displaced in St. Louis, MO. “With the Army Corps of Engineers and our current city government in charge, what do you expect?” I asked. The recruiter then said something that sent shivers down my spine, “They’re doing it on purpose. There’s no other explanation for the recovery being this slow.” His words shook me only because I’m starting to believe them myself. Here’s a smorgasbord of recent blog posts on what causes one to flinch and why:

* Oyster: New Orleans, Proud To Call It Hell
* A.M. In The Morning: Not Buying Bush’s Buyout Plan
* People Get Ready: “I don’t want to create an environment where all public officials are automatically perceived to be corrupt.”
* Our mayor says the new Inspector General cannot have his own lawyer, and has to pick one from the city cadre. Whoa. Dangerblond: “The attorney can spend a few hours going in and out of coffee shops ducking his own subpoena. Eventually, he’ll have to see himself in the mirror, and he’ll have to accept service.”
* We’re going to need a lot more than Inspector General Clouseau Cerasoli to bring “honesty” and “accountability” to this town’s administration.

Carnival: This season, D and I are heavily involved in:

Krewe du Vieux – Our subkrewe theme is C.R.A.P.S. Mutinies. Costumes will be revealed on parade day. Until then, krewe, costume and float meetings and work rule our lives. Ronald Lewis, president of the Big 9 Social Aid and Pleasure Club, director of the House of Dance and Feathers (another link), and Lower Ninth Ward activist has accepted the invitation to be the king of Krewe du Vieux this year. All hail King Ronald! Tell your friends and come out to see us on January 19th!

Krewe of King Arthur – It is my pleasure to announce that our float lieutenant, Ms. Sherry Watters, will preside as Queen Guinevere with Patrick Clementine, another dedicated float lieutenant, as King Arthur. Congratulations, Patrick and Sherry!

Mardi Gras Day – His for St. Anne’s and mine for Chartreuse. It’s going to be cold this year, so I can’t wait for a cape, gloves, warm bustier, boots and a full-face mask.

Can you believe it’s the middle of October already?

6 comments… add one
  • Hi Maitri, thanks again for a great post.
    I’ve been so wrapped up with Burma lately that I haven’t been around to check in with the NOLA crowd.
    I sign on there as backhandpath.

    How would y’all like to have a NOLA NewsLadder, based on the Burma newsladder template?
    Go check it out as it’s fairly self explanatory.
    Let me know what you think.

  • Thanks for letting me know about the newsladder, Bourgeois. It is pretty self-explanatory but will need a large number of local bloggers and writers constantly submittine stories to keep it current. It can be one of the NOLA Blogger “newspapers” since some people want that. (I highly endorse diversity of opinion with as many news sources as possible.)

  • That realization of intent changed forever, how I look at my country. I don’t know if it was day 4 or day 5 of the flood, but somewhere along there something clicked and I realized it was intentional, that if the government wanted to be there to tend those in such horrific need, well, they would be, that the fact that they weren’t was proof positive of their choice not to be. And so it goes, to this day. I’m afraid that your friend at UNO is right and that it extends into much more than just N.O. The War on Terror provides what Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism”, creating private war contractors, our “new start-ups”. The War on Drugs funds the privatization of the prison system (our emerging prison industrial complex) and creates an atmosphere that leads to… well, Central City (yesterday it was Dryads in the morning and Danneel in the afternoon). I prefer to listen to the wisdom of the “outside agitators” because I no longer trust those in charge. Peace darlin’.

  • Sherri Hutton

    I agree that Dangerblond is very insightful about the race for Criminal Court Judge, Section A. I urge you to join us in supporting Laurie White for this position. The overhaul of the collapsed criminal justice system in Orleans Parish is the most important component in the myriad of factors that are neccesary for our recovery. Section A has a huge backlog. We need someone with a strong work ethic, who is able to move the cases along, command the respect neccesary to whip everyone into shape, while not forgeting that the whole point is to see that justice is served for victims and criminals. I am convinced Laurie White has what it takes to get the job done because I saw her in action when I clerked for her while I was in law school. She is hard working, inherently honest, intelligent, tireless, and tough but fair. She expects the people around her to hop to and do their jobs. She commands the respect needed to be effective as a judge. She has worked in the criminal justice system from both sides, as a District Attorney, prosecuting criminals and in private practice defending the accused. She is well known and respected by her peers. She has extensive trial experience. I have personally seen her argue an appeal at the 5th Circuit, (Federal District Court) and she was impressive. Quite simply her experience and qualifications far surpass the other candidates in the race. If elected, Laurie White will bring a new, much needed level of professionalism and expertise to that office. Her endorsements include Harry Connick, Sr. (DA prior to Eddie Jordan), Mid City Democrats, Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee, AFL- CIO, Acorn Pac, The Forum for Equality, and she was favored by the New Orleans Bar Association Judicial Poll by Two to One. I hope I have swayed you. Think it over.

  • DFSmith

    In the race for District Court Section A there are seven candidates running for the job. Not all are qualified for the bench. I believe that one candidate definitely stands head and shoulders above the rest: Laurie White.

    I’ve known Laurie since I first came to New Orleans. She is a hard-working, dedicated attorney who has had a successful practice for 20 years. What makes her the best candidate is that she is a legal expert, has been both a prosecutor and defense attorney and is determined to straighten out the mess that this court has become. Her qualifications make her the only candidate able to assess the current situation and fix it. When I heard she was running I simply asked her, “Why?” She answered, “I’m angry!” and that was enough for me.

    Personally, I know Laurie to be practical, down-to-earth and easy to approach. I believe her when she says she’ll put repeat violent offenders in jail for long sentences. I also believe her when she says that she’ll look at each case on its merits and show compassion for first-time, non-violent offenders. She’s passionate about the law and knows that a productive criminal court system is essential to the recovery. Laurie loves New Orleans and wants to make it a safer place for all of us.

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