Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Minute Bore

This will only be interesting to my mom and my sister. All others have been warned.

Painting the fireplace dark charcoal

Cabrini Dog Park Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

New Mirror in the bedroom, also painting this fireplace dark charcoal

New kitchen table and chair, more chairs as I find them

And last but most importantly, the new bar, cookbook, and chopping block stand

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

THe Perfect Ending to the Year

I almost died Monday morning. . . . maybe I exaggerate. On Sunday evening I drank some yummy Uncle Carrie Hot Toddy's, made with freshly grown oranges, Meyers Rum, lemon, and local honey topped with a nice cinnamon stick because I was feeling a cold approaching. But that did nothing for me when I woke at 430 to go duck hunting, sorry CH. I didn't make it out to the blind in Kaplan since I woke feeling dead. I had a terrible fever and spent most of the day unconscious with Geogia snuggling up next to me on my grandmothers couch. I tried to work which resulted in writing I want no part of. My mom said I came in and out of sleep on the couch talkin out my head during the Saints game. I did however wake with 3 minutes left to the game. Clearheadedly (is that a word? and am I ever?) watching Brees break Marino's record. So at least I didn't miss that.

Tuesday was a little better, but I forced myself to drive 2.5 hours sneezing and trying to make the feeling in my left ear come back. I drove home from New Iberia and then gargled salt water. Disgusting. But my ear is finally kind of starting to feel like its normal size. Today was much better. I could actually sit up for more than a couple hours at a time.

This morning when Georgia was barking at something outside while I had her tied to the front porch, I spoke with my neighbor from across the street who asked, "you went and ate wit ya people out dere, yeah?" Yes, I ate with my people this weekend.

It's almost perfect that I'm ending the year scrambling to finish a report while feeling terribly sick and missing out on some potential vacation time. My biggest motivation to getting this all finished is that when I do I can start the costume making.

BTW, I just learned about the Death Clock. It says the day I will die is May 3, 2079. That's fucking old. But if I smoke it will only shorten my life by two years, August 7, 2077. It's totally worth it to smoke. I really don't want to live that long. I'm hoping for mid-50's, tops. But if I become a pessimist, I can shorten my life by 50 years! This is all good to know.

Quite a strange year, in fact the past two years have been quite an adventure. Not exactly what I had in mind when I first quite my job in 2009, bought a one way ticket to Europe and realized I may need some money to stuff my face and pollute my liver once I arrived. I didn't really have a plan and I'm not sure I do now two years later. But after ten years of almost constant travel, I do feel a little more settled. I even bought a kitchen table and have my eye on a couch. I may even paint a wall in this place.

Maybe I don't know any of the big answers to my life any more clearly but I know that I'm going to keep my christmas tree up until February and make it a Mardi Gras tree. I know that I'm going to finish building a Krewe de Lune costume in the next month. I know I'm going to Chicago to celebrate my birthday with a good friend on January 19. And I know that I will not be moving anytime soon. That's good enough for me right now. Besides since when do I ever take the easy path, the bumpier the better I say!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Where Should I live in 2050?

I'm doing some research into oil industry subsidies and I just found the most depressing interview I've ever read about the state of Louisiana. Seriously, you need a bottle of wine sitting very close by if you choose to read this. Why did I move back home again? It's that terrible.

Oh and here is an article in the Washington Post about how the American Petroleum Institute(API) is lying about jobs claims. They are stating there will be 1 million new jobs created by 2018 if the federal government keeps oil subsidies in place and expands new oil drilling lease areas. No mention of the lost of family fishermen, fisheries, and tourism that will come with all those oil spills. (most updated tally: 4,000 in the Gulf of Mexico since the BP oil disaster)

And here is a blog in response to Senator Markey's questions sent to API about their jobs claims. I really love it when folks dismiss those that ask the oil industry to explain their actions, you know like what's up with the records profits while shipping jobs overseas and then telling the world that those that don't support subsidies are un-American. 

And here are some pictures of cute kittens to shake off the sadness when you think about the fact that New Orleans will be permanently underwater in 2050.

Renee Claire

Thursday, December 15, 2011

100% Success Rate

Why don't I run everyday anymore? Because seriously I am happy everytime I do. What else in life has a 100% success rate?

A couple good things today:

Facebook announced that it will invest more thoroughly in renewable energy. Meaning that one day your Facebook posts won't be powered by coal and high childhood asthma rates.

Former First Lady Laura Bush wrote a great Op-ed about the importance of Gulf coast conservation.  Because seriously folks protecting the environment has nothing to do with political ideology and you look like you might want your children to have only rivers that can be set on fire and trouble breathing when you say "I'm a Republican so I'm not an environmentalist" Of course you could just be an asshole and that too has nothing to do with political ideology.

Alright back to carefully reading 10 different corporate sustainability reports. Yeaaa!!! 

Renee Claire

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Year of the Protestor

Great photo essay on the protesting that is happening around the globe. 

Particularly love this quote:
Greek protester Marianna Roumelioti. "They say you can have freedom of speech and expression on the condition that it doesn't insult or deal with religion. Who determines that? Freedom doesn't mean these limits. It either is, or it isn't," Largueche said.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Favorite Things Gumbo

My new favorite New Orleans sight . . . the Mobile Musical Instrument Repair unit sitting in front of the newly opened co-op. A line ten deep of brass band members waiting to get their horns repaired. love it.

Liam playing the drums and harmonica to me.

My christmas tree! I'm making all my ornaments because I'm awesome . .  and I like glitter. I still have tons to do.

My desk on Monday mornings.

Georgia's skull winter sweater.

Mint Julep snowballs on a Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Louis Armstrong

I think Jay Z might be our generation's Louis Armstrong. Louis Armstrong didn't just rise above black America New Orleans in the 1920's, he played in theaters and clubs that didn't allow blacks. He broke barriers. He was called a traitor. He was called a lot of things by whites and blacks alike. But in the end he changed our country's music. forever. He was only allowed to walk in the back doors of the hottest clubs, but he founded jazz as we know it. Out of this came hip hop.

But maybe The Roots did it first, I don't know. But I don't feel like The Roots have the mainstream following that Jay Z does and that Louis Armstrong did during his time. I mean my mom thinks Jay Z is super hot. Does my mom know the Roots? I have no idea because she has never just blurted out how hot QuestLove is. 

I gave Jay Z's book Decoded to my friend Amanda's (who never fucking reads this blog!) brother for christmas last year. Her brother is super religious but mostly likes to argue. I like to give him liberal leaning books that would make him look like an asshole if he just dismissed them outright with his religious far right views without first reading into them. It's great.

Anyways, I don't think there are many artists whose books I could hand over and say read this, it may just change your closed minded view of hip hop. And then point them to a NPR Fresh Air episode then rush them to listen to The Blueprint. I feel that Louis Armstrong did the same thing.

As much as I think Jay Z is changing the way folks view hip hop these days, I think if Tupac had lived longer he would actually would have been the real deal. He would have calmed down, stopped the bullshit, grown up a bit, and changed more then just the people who go on to change the world. But he didn't. So he isn't our generation's Louis Armstrong, but Jay Z just might be.


It's SoOOoo CoLD!

Oh my goodness. The great thing about an old New Orleans house is not its installation. It's as if the weeds growing through the old floorboards were forshadowing for wintertime. It's been in the 30's and 40's for the past week, not letting up until next week sometime. I can see my breath inside. The new heater is only good for getting dressed directly in front of it.

Taking photos of food? Of course you are! Learn how not to suck.

Finally the folks in Kennedy's old district may be able to get back to their rich liberal ways and celebrate a Democratic win next year. Looks like Elizabeth Warren is up in the polls.

Some possible items for my Mardi Gras costume:
large tulle vest
Silver wig
Non-violent machine gun earrings

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

He's So Charming!

“Paul Watson is entitled to his opinions,” he said, “but it’s such a last-century view. I’m not into militancy for militancy’s sake.”

Executive Director of Greenpeace explains why poverty and climate change are connected. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's Good to be Home

My neighbor Emanuel came over to say hi tonight. He asked me if I heard what happened to him the other day. Since he wasn't currently in jail I couldn't really think of what it was. He went on to tell me that my hat was going to be on an episode of Cops real soon. Turns out a woman that walks the block stole a hat of mine not too long ago (I think I know which one but I have no idea when or where she got a hold of it) then proceeded to set him up with an undercover cop only his brother got involved in the mix and was the one that ended up arrested. Nine patrol cars blocked the street and Cops was filming the whole the time. His brother is out on bail, my hat is still missing, but hopefully all the cop action will shut down the escalating drug dealing and prostituting that has been happening on the corner. And my house (and hat) are going to be on Cops!

Huey Long was kind of awesome.

If you haven't already seen the new Muppets movie, you MUST GO SEE IT! Listen to Fresh Air's interview with Jason Seigel. My favorite part of the movie by far is when the Chef's chicken's sing Ceelo Green's Fuck You . . .  all in chicken clucks. It's similar to my own meow rendition of the very same song but with less theaterics.

I have passive aggressive tomato plants. I abandoned them when the weather turned colder, then they fucking bloom. bitches.

Off to bring Georgia to the levee.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

In case you are interested in visualizing the fantastic Republican primary race by line graph.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

oh America

I'm finally coming out of the whiskey, red wine Seattle San Fransisco haze a day left in my trip to the West coast. Doesn't mean I won't be eating a greasy bacon cheese fried egg sandwich and terrible coffee in a couple minutes.  I can't wait to go back to New Orleans where people are civilized and continue planning my Mad Max Mardi Gras costumes and dance off with Krewe Delusion. I'm thinking black tutu, Doc Martin's, long fingerless gloves, and Uma Therman wig circa Pulp Fiction but in silver.

Because freedom isn't free?

Because I love when Barney Frank yells at people. One of my favorite is in a podcast in 2009 with Planet Money when the reporter discussed his anxiety of interviewing Barney Frank then at the very end of his interview Barney screams why did you ask me a complicated question when I only have short time answer it.

Because we really fucked up the Mississippi River Delta. 

Renee Claire

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Seattle Gumbo

Gay military wedding on Archie's January cover!

I convinced Liam that listening to Trombone Shorty was much better than the Lion King on its 450,827,945,085 repeat this morning. I think we have a little brass band lover on our hands!

I think I found my kitchen table made out of reclaimed Cypress.

And I'm kind of in love with this house in mid-city.

When Liam plays the drums at 8am on a Saturday morning, he gets put on America's most wanted list.

Fugazi releases 130 shows, taped hundreds more.

Because I'm already missing New Orleans:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm Going to Seattle to Eat Some Bird

I mean I am currently in Seattle and will eat some bird on Thursday. Emanuel lives two doors over. He recently got out of jail after serving 14 years on his first offense. I haven't asked what that offense was. He walks me all around the neighborhood because he doesn't work, he just kind of hangs out. When I told him I was going to Seattle for Thanksgiving, his reaction was 'just to eat some bird? you out your head girl'. Emanuel kind of makes working from home awesome.

Rolling Stone just published a really good article on Occupy Wall St and how the GOP became the representative of the rich.

Watch out Seattle I'm bringing Hubigs pies!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Occupy Art

Maybe its the cup of red wine, but these are some pretty darn good posters.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Occupy Silence

I'm sure you are up on your Occupy events, but just in case you haven't heard of the UC Davis students pepper sprayed while sitting on the sidewalk with their heads down take a look at this.

UC Davis

Calls for the Chancellor to resign are all over the place. I haven't read what her orders were or what she had thought of the protest that has sprung up around the country before the pepper spraying so I'm not sure if her resignation would prove anything.

On Saturday two police officers were put on leave because of their actions during the protest.

On Sunday a couple dozen students held a silent protest as the Chancellor walked to her car. It's amazing and really powerful.

And it keeps going

One of my favorite parts of the Occupy movement is its satire like Occupy Sesame St. Here are some interesting photos of other moments of history where cops have pepper sprayed (not really).

If you haven't read the NYTimes article entitled, "Heaven is a place called Elizabeth Warren", you should. I love her.

Oh and this one is good too, it's not about Occupying anything but it is about eh Sierra Club's long time former Executive Director stepping down from the board because of difference of opinions. Kind of interesting.

I added sweet potatoes and miltons to my Sunday stew and then chewed on hubig pies and saw Rebirth play it up at the Po-boy festival. Not bad for an afternoon.

Renee Claire

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Duck is in the Pond

My latest adventure included holding on for dear life to a 24 foot inflatable duck in front of the Exxonmobile Houston, TX headquarters while 50 community members held signs and chanted things like 'exxonmobile what do you say, how many children have you poisoned today' And watching sweet looking older ladies with grey hair ask Exxonmobile employees face to face that same question.

Here is an article about our great action this morning.

Renee Claire

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Favorite Way to End a Conversation

If dat be dat, den dat be dat.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Culture of Violence

As you can imagine, the talk of the town is the four shootings, 14 injured, and 2 dead from halloween night. I heard it made national headlines. I heard the city has already had one large convention cancellation. I hear we are in a battle for the future of our city. I heard those that committed these crimes will be brought to justice. I heard the Department of Justice opened an office in New Orleans this past summer to help our city leaders find real solutions to our crime problem. I heard the murder rate doesn't look to be slowing. I heard these crimes were black on black.

Last night while watching the evening news on the French Quarter shooting, the reporter quickly inserted into a sentence 'black on black crime'. The insert led nowhere. It didn't make any sense and it didn't help explain the shootings in any way. It was a bit shocking. T and I were both startled by those four words. The racism in this city is so in your face I can't fathom a time where it will no longer shock me.

We all know this city has more than a crime problem. We have  poverty problem. We have an education problem. We have a food desert problem. We have a post-tramatic stress disorder problem. We have a corruption problem. Understanding the context of a shooting or even multiple shootings isn't helped by quickly and mindlessly adding the words 'black on black crime'. If the news report had then gone into Katrina displacement, poverty, education, or homelessness related to race, I could have understood why those words were used. But it stopped there. As if to say, hey its not us, its them. And don't think those exact words haven't been repeated to me over the past two days as well.

I like Mayor Landreiu. I like that he stated that these shootings are symptoms of the bigger issues we must find solutions for. What could have been a fist fight ended up killing two people and injuring 14. The folks carrying guns on the street with no ability to solve conflict non-violently can't be explained away by the color of their skin. We truly live in a culture of violence, accepted violence until it injures some tourists in the Quarter. What hasn't made national news are the two shootings that took place next to my house that night. Spain St and Louisa St. St. Ferdinand is nestled between the two but separated by three or four blocks on either side.

Shootings happen in St. Roche all the time. The crack house next to my house is still running. The same red car that was busted a couple weeks ago is still making deliveries. My neighbor, Emanuel, is probably going back to jail before his probation is up because he hasn't been able to reassimilate after 14 years behind bars over the last 8 months. He's starting to not say hi or walk with me to the park and is spending a whole lot more time with the prostitutes that work my neighborhood.

While congress is trying to save the corporations and cut the department of education and shame states into cutting social services for the most vulnerable of our country, we are facing the reality that it is this prioritization of our socitial values over the past thirty years that has raised a generation of children that find it acceptable or more appropriate to shoot their buddy over an argument than punch their face (or talk) and call it a day. Without protecting and lifting up our most vulnerable so that they are no longer our most vulnerable, we will never be able to have a functional financial system or avibrant economy. There is a very real connection between what is happening in Washington DC and what happened on Bourbon St this past Monday night.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quick Update

In case I haven't spoken to you in the past week:

I quit my job
Georgia was bit by a dog at the park and has a big lump on her throat. She will be fine.
I am bad luck for your health - I took three people/dogs to the emergency room in the past 7 days. Either I am good luck because I was there or I am the cause, not sure yet.
I need a housekeeper and a wife to organize my life.
My back problems have something to do with my nerves. Taking steroid pack, like a Z pack. No, I have not suffered any roid rage. But thanks T for your creative imagination.
J and I wallowed in the Saints lost on Sunday by having dinner at Green Goddess, drinking lots of manhattans and then smoking cigars.
I got two jobs to replace the one I quit.
I am even happier that I don't hang out on Bourbon st. I was not around the shootings last night, none of the three that left two dead and 10 wounded.
Yes, I still live within two houses of a crack house and prostitutes walk up and down my block all day/night.
I kind of love that occupy wall st is releasing their financial information daily. Raised $450,000 spent $50,000. I also love that they decided to send $20,000 to occupy oakland after they were attacked by the police.
I am flabergasted by Oakland Police raiding Occupy Oakland. How does a police department who is constantly in the news for abusive cops and have a rather justice motivated population that continues to highlight such abuse continue to function as if nobody is watching or caring? It's amazing.
T is continuing to put up with Renee World. I'm not sure what that means.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just Another Manic Thursday

that's the worst one yet . . . .

Breakfast: physical therapy where I couldn't hold 3 planks for 30 seconds each and I think my underwear and new belly bulge was showing all their glory to the entire office but I did get another shot at traction. I'm really digging traction. A little robot stretches my spine out and my back doesn't hurt anymore . . . hell yeah! Also, my ortho Dr. is fucking hot. Nola Hot Doc. Almost as steamy as DC Hot Doc, also an Orthopedic. Are all Orthopedists hot? Luckily I tend to break things and sprain things often.

Lunch: I disappoint even more people. Get told off for giving up too easily and not believing in 'the movement' enough, have someone tell me our relationship is in obvious distress maybe never to be repaired, and 'Georgia still hasn't eaten (day two).

Late Afternoon Snack: Georgia goes to Obedience class. Barks through the entire 45 minutes. I think about kicking her, but kept reminding myself that people would see me.  . . . and that it is wrong to kick puppies. it is wrong to kick puppies. 

Early Fall Dinner: A fantastic bottle of Cabernet and twizzlers. Almost as wonderful as my favorite winter time dinner - bourbon and beef jerky. Georgia finally eats. Expensive organic duck and potato kibble. Fucking yuppie.

More breaking up phone calls to make tomorrow. These will hit my pride the worst.

Renee Claire

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Dear Weekend Afternoons in New Orleans,

Thanks for the instant friendships, the cheap beer, the crazy old people with electric yellow soul patches and dancing like voodoo queens, a synchronized eruption of 'Who Dat!', naps in city park, a rearranged office space, warm homemade quiche, frequent trips to the new food co-op (only grocery store for 3 wards), Georgia catching sticks into the river at the end of the levee, Cabrini park homeless people that Georgia thinks are there for her enjoyment, and the longer than necessary conversation about how we all worked so hard by committing to stay in the same sunny spot until the sun finally set and provided us with a little shade.

You aren't too shabby.

Renee Claire

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm in the Poor House Now

Conference calls, $2 in the bank account until Friday, and left overs? It must be time to make bread with my left over greek salad and my aunt and uncles eggplants while on an early morning conference call. In a little over an hour I'll have enough bread to last over the weekend! I'm so productive!

And this morning I woke up to an NPR story of the press conference a couple of us crashed yesterday with our message loud and clear included in the story! We also got some press on it. I'm addicted to crashing other people's press conferences now. They do all the work, we pass out the truth and hold them accountable in front of their own press contacts. Works for me.

Renee Claire

ps. Trombone Shorty and the Stooges Brass band are playing for free this afternoon!! Have I ever mentioned I love this city?

pss. For the next two days instead of thinking about how I have $2 in my bank account I will be calling myself a motherfuckingcashmoneymillionaire. You have been warned. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

1 is the loneliest number . . . and FUCK YEAH!

1 is the loneliest number: Since I work from home and have no one to say 'hey have you read this?' I'm going to use ya'll as my cubicle mate. Or if I worked for an organization that cared about strategy and campaigning.

FUCK YEAH!: There are some amazing chemical reform activists around this country that have been working tirelessly to eliminate BPA. I've talked about it before, but its been a while. California just became the 11th state to ban BPA in baby bottles. Last week I received my daily email from the chemical industry's trade association ACC that state BPA is no longer being used in baby bottles. It wasn't long ago that the industry said you'll have pull BPA out my dead cold hands before we eliminate that chemical. In the years past I had mentioned over and over again about the one douchebag hired to attend city council hearings to lambast citizens concerned about having toxic chemicals in their children's bottles and sippy cups. Looks like that guy is out of job. We should send him one of those new Hallmark sorry you lost your job greeting cards with an invitation to leave the dark side.

Here is a blog about how the state by state approach worked.

Given that my job entails mostly wrangling wet blind kittens, I'm getting to do something outside my work that is much more my style. A couple of (seriously only like 2) are holding a press conference outside the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement office today. Senator Vitter and Representative Landry are having a meeting with Director Bromwich to discuss increasing the number of oil drilling permits. The agency slowed the number of permits handed out after the deepwater drilling moratorium was lifted last October 12. Almost a year to the date. We are going to talk to the press about 30 minutes before their press conference to stress that since the BP oil disaster over 3,000 oil spills have happened in the Gulf of Mexico. Little has been done to correct the problems that led to the disaster. In fact on September 16, 2011 the federal government released a report that blamed BP for the disaster (i know) listing 7 federal regulations that the company had violated and calling for stronger regulation and more consistent enforcement.

alright back to eating cold pizza and drinking my french press coffee and wrangling wet blind kittens.

Renee Claire

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello 2003

Tel:+226 79218199

Dear Friend,
                                         Greeting to you!!!

I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise as we never met before. I am the Director in charge of Auditing in Bank of Africa (B.O.A), I Hoped that you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that I am about to repose on you for the mutual benefit of our both families. I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of Twenty Two Million and Five Hundred Thousand united state dollars ($22.500 000mUSD) Immediately to your account.

The fund has been dormant (in-active) for 11 years in our Bank here without any body coming for it. I want to release the fund to you as the nearest person to our deceased customer (the owner of the account) who died a long with his supposed next of kin in air crash since on December 26, 2003. I don't want the fund to go into our Bank treasury as an abandoned fund, so this is the reason why I contacted you, so that my Bank will release the fund to you as the nearest person to the deceased customer.
Please I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret and delete it if you are not interested. Upon receipt of your reply, I will send you the application form you will fill and send to the bank for transfer of the fund into your bank account and also note that you will have 40% of the above mentioned amount if you agree to help me execute this business.And also 10% had been mapped out for you for the expense you will make in this transaction and 50% is for me. I need your informations so that Iwill send you the application form.
                                   YOUR FULL INFORMATIONS

Your Name.........
Your Home Addresses.. ....
City.. ......
Country.. ......
Home Telephone.. .....
Private Telephone.. ......
Fax No.. ......
Marital Status.. ......
Age.. ......
Occupation.. .......
Religion.. .........

waiting for your urgent response so that we will proceed immediately.

Best Regards,

+226 79218199

Best email I've gotten all day!

Renee Claire


Yes, I am ashamed that I take these pictures, but I cant stop myself.

Georgias monday morning playtime.

Exciting Friday

Besides rescuing another dog on Friday, I also flew over the Mississippi to the end of the Delta in a small private plane with a couple colleagues from Baton Rouge.

Here are the photos:

It's a strange thing to fly over an area you drive everyday. It really put the coastal erosion we are experiencing into a whole new understanding. Seeing what should be land but is now only water is shocking and to know I probably only have another 20 - 25 years left in New Orleans, makes me really sad. (Yes even after only 9 months here) When I am forced to move because my city is permantely under water, I'm not sure how I will be able to assimilate back into United States culture. May need to move to the islands.

Must work. Must work.
Renee Claire

Friday, September 16, 2011

Another Fucking Dog

This city is ridiculous. Today at the park there was a little puppy running around with a broken leg. An older man allowed his dog to attack her while people all around the park screamed at him to stop his dog. I ran from across the park to help the poor little thing. When the douche bag was leaving, the puppy continued to stumble around and then the dude mentioned to us casually that she belonged to one of the kids on the playground side. It's like conflict looks for me even when I'm just taking Georgia for a run.

I asked all these people on the other side of the park if they had a puppy on this side. Finally about 5 kids around 7 years old said yes, one even younger was in superman pajamas. I talked to them about the fight and how I thought their puppy was really hurt. I walked with them to look at her. Then after some tense time, I convinced them that she was really hurt that I should take her for the night and bring her to the vet tomorrow. Three of us coordinated the rescue mission. I gave them my phone number and name, mostly to gain their trust so I could take the dog without having to push off a handful of kids while I take their fucking dog, while another friend called Dogs of the 9th Ward, a neighborhood dog rescue group, to find a vet and another friend agreed to take the puppy in for the night. The kids were nervous about just giving me their dog, but they were the age of following what adults tell them.

When the three of us were formulating the plan someone at the park asked me 'can you just take some kids dog away from them?" I looked at the puppy with a broken leg and looked back at the kids climbing to the top of a 20 foot fence to break into the park's neighbors backyard to steal oranges and said 'yes . . . i can'

It was so weird. Everyone at the park knew that we were the adults, that you don't allow animals to be abused, but everyone was terrified. No one really wanted to do anything. But we all stood there looking at this puppy and those kids and our own dogs and each other. My two other friends and I wouldn't leave the park, even though we had packed up and put our dogs on leashes. We just couldn't leave that dog. So we didn't. I've started keeping an extra leash and food in my car, because I so often find hurt dogs in the city.

Tomorrow we are taking her to the vet and my wonderful cousin agreed to pay for the bills.

It's like these situations find me. I swear I don't look for them. I'm always in a position to fix things, to coordinate the fixing of things. It's annoying. And really expensive. But I guess that's lot I got.

Renee Clair

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Big 4-0

"Greenpeace is here to call out the naked Emperor, to point out the folly of viewing a melting Arctic as an invitation to drill for climate changing oil rather than as a warning and a provocation to invest in clean green energy sources: to invest in a green economy, which also offers real job creation possibilities."

This dude is pretty awesome. 

Doggy Daycare Delinquent

I love alliteration, but I hate when Georgia gets kicked out of doggy daycare for being too wild. When I went to pick up Georgia from Central Bark in Kenner, they told me she was no longer welcome. She was fighting through the fence with other dogs then jumping over the fence to finish the job. Barking in other pups faces while they stood in their crate when she was let out for more play time. And biting the dog next to her when they all crowded around new dogs that were walking into the area. Oh well. She's still the cutest thing I've ever seen.

I've complained to all 3 of you who read this blog about my current job. There are big giant waves of grotesqueness that fades into ripples of simple complexity. Right now I'm seeing ripples. I spent the evening in Pensacola, FL with a couple folks who run two Florida based water quality organizations. Overall it went well, but conversations highlighted the challenges our entire society is facing. Again and again the conversation returned to a new reality of not working for the greater good. We seem to hit walls on collaborative projects because we are working to find the path that doesn't work. We are no longer working towards the path or the side trials that might work. That isn't just Washington. That's New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Galveston, Mobile, Pensacola, Atlanta, and Apalachicola. All of those places facing serious environmental degradations but whose activists can't find a common path to move forward. Everyone wants what they want when they want it. Maybe Tupac could have helped us out on this.

Tuesday was the 15th anniversary of Tupac's assassination. The boy is impressed with my Tupac knowledge, both as a white girl and a girl. But seriously once you have any curiosity into why there are conspiracy theories about his death or listen to him speak about education and prison at the age of 17 or see him at Baltimore School of the Arts or listen to him speaking at a luncheon to older black Americans in Atlanta or hear what he meant by Thug Life or how he brokered a deal between gangs in LA to stop the reckless violence, you will say to yourself 'wait who is the guy? and why haven't I been listening to him all this time? and why did the media and politicians make me believe he wasn't anything but a stupid young black guy from the ghetto that shot two cops?'

And because I love him.

Renee Claire

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Because Oprah is Awesome After All

This month's O Magazine features an incredible environmental justice advocate from Port Arthur, TX, Hilton Kelly. He's amazing! I've only met him once, but truly someone who is fighting tooth and nail to protect his community from being just another poisoned poor community of color.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Former Lost Causes

This City is Destined to Break My Heart

Just found this little sweetie, though she was too skittish to get into the car with me. I did leave her some yummy breakfast. I'm trying to find somewhere to bring her, if I can grab her later in the day.

The boy told me this morning, "you can't save all of them Renee", to which I responded in activist cliche "But I can save this one!" I think with that he realized how much trouble he has gotten himself into.

Meanwhile I am fixing the window unit, Zuki tried to free from the window yesterday. And sanding down the door and door frame he tried to free from the house last week. Not to mention fixing the two cages he broke free from the week before. But the morning cuddling with two little precious pups, makes it all worthwhile.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

My House Didn't Flood During Katrina

Hi Folks,

I'm sure the news across the country is talking about the Gulf Coast being battered by Tropical Storm Lee. And on the coast and in the bayous the flooding is  . . . well . . . like it always is when it raise . . . extensive. Fortunately, my neighborhood didn't flood during Katrina and isn't flooding today. Though Zukes, the newest pittbull rescue in my home, did knock out the air con window unit paneling while I was away at brunch. He is slowly chewing up this shotgun. He's the sweetest thing on the planet, but he might have to go somewhere else. Or at least I need to get that last cage he broke out of back in working order and buy some more zipties.

I'm hosting the first 'FUBP Monthly Salon' tomorrow evening. This is part of my invitation email:

* Because 'F#*&$  You BP' has run through your head more than a hundred times over the past 17 months.
* Because you are interested in strategically and creatively confronting BP and our government for not protecting our Gulf Coast from reckless oil pollution
* Because you want to eat dinner, drink a couple beers, come up with funny songs, paint good posters, and strategize about regular creative, unique, confrontational protests on the Gulf Coast
* Because you're frustrated with all that letter writing, attending all those GCERTF/listening sessions, being pushed to a side room/corner table in a loud cafetaria/given stress balls during public hearings by our 'leaders' and playing the game set up for community involvement without any movement on an actual Regional Citizens Advisory Council and little results to show for all our hard work and time spent away from our families

Each month we will gather at my double in St. Roche to strategize interesting creative confrontations to beat the drum that no matter how much money BP is pumping into their public relations campaign nationwide, we know the oil is still here and that we are not restored and we have not recovered and we will watch BP and our state and federal governments for the long haul.

I'm hoping that this little independent side arm of radicals can help bring on some fun and effective events to help the rest of our folks who are engaging in the process and writing the letters and communicating through the correct channels of authority in this restoration process. I will keep doing those things too, but I will not sit down and ONLY play their game. I will help create our own game with our own rules, because this is about our communities and our coast and our people that BP and the rest of the extraction industry has fucked up for decades. I refuse to become a resident of Monroe. (that's what Southern Louisianians say to get people excited about finding solutions to coastline erosion, Monroe is in North Louisiana, you might as well live with the Yankees)

so FUBP!

Renee Claire

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Deepwater Horizon Oil Leak

The news circulating communities in the area is that the Deepwater Horizon well is leaking again. Oil has been seen bubbling up in the area of the site of the Gulf Coast nightmare of 2010 again. The oil found near the site is confirmed to be MC252, BP oil disaster oil. Now a couple things could be happening here.

(1) The well-head capped on July 15, 2010 is not actually capped
(2) The relief wells are not capped
(3) The huge amount of Deepwater Horizon wreckage from the two explosions that are now sitting at the bottom of the Gulf is leaking oil and gas from all the equipment that was stored on that platform
(4) Natural seepage from that canyon (MC252) is leaking as happens all along the bottom of the Gulf
(5) The capping of the well through the top kill has caused breaks along the bottom of the Gulf and the pressure from the oil and gas within canyon  MC252 is now breaking those smaller cracks open

It is highly unlikely that it is natural seepage. Ian MacDonald at Florida State University has mapped all the natural seepages in the Gulf of Mexico. The circular oil slicks being reported are within a mile of the Maconodo well, no where near the closest natural seepage.

Almost two weeks after first reports started coming in to the Natural Resource Center reports (the daily catalog of oil spill reports) BP is still denying that the oil is theirs. A reporter from the Alabama Press Register took samples and tested the oil at Louisiana State University, one of the only institutions that legally has a fingerprint of the MC252 oil. Did you know that that fingerprint is not available to just anyone?

Most likely two things are happening. (1) The wreckage is leaking and will continue to leak for decades. There are still oil spill reports from Pearl Harbor because of the wreckage sitting at the bottom of the harbor because of the attack in 1941. (2) The Top Kill method created small breaks on the Gulf floor. The pressure of the canyon is forcing gas and oil out of these breaks, creating larger cracks.

The fear that the well isn't capped has been spreading over the past week. It's not fun. It's creating anxiety to a group of people getting ready to memorial the 6th year after Hurricane Katrina tomorrow, the first Monday since that deathly Monday in 2005. Clean up crews are being hired again to go out with booms. Most of this is not being reported by the press. The national press has disappeared from this ongoing oil disaster. The well could still be leaking and I haven't seen any national press cover this. If you have, please let me know.

If this well, with so much attention on it, is still leaking, or if any of those things (except the natural seepage theory) are happening and nothing is being done to change our regulations and enforcement of offshore drilling and BP is still denying they are responsible, then every community should be preparing for their own extraction disaster because no one in the industry or government is working to prevent it. Then BP has officially won and brushed the millions of lives impacted by this disaster under the rug and the Obama Administration is sitting back knowing this spill is still happening and doing nothing. In fact thinking about allowing an even larger disaster that will impact millions more communities to happen.

The Tar Sands pipeline project Keystone XL that will travel from Canada to Texas will be another national extraction disaster. The State department just gave their approval to proceed with this project. If a spill or accident happens, which it will because the industry continues to prove it can't prevent disasters from happening, our food source and water sources will be contaminated with both oil and toxic dispersants. Hundreds of people have been arrested over the years protesting this project and this week in DC already 200 people have been arrested in acts of civil disobedience. Everyday since last Saturday 40-60 people have sat down (or stood up) in front of the white house, including Gulf Coast residents, parents and children, Native people, college hippies, gay and lesbian civil rights leaders and retired hippies. I even saw a black guy out there in handcuffs. Not unusual for Washington DC but unusual for environmental protests.

The oil and gas industry is proving everyday that it has no control over its own extraction process. Oil spills happen everyday in the Gulf of Mexico. I read those stupid NRC data reports each day. The reports mostly say unknown substance of unknown volume spilled into the Gulf. No follow up. No Clean Water Act fines given. In fact Bloomberg News found that only 1 in 100 oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico result in any fine, effectively financially incentivizing oil pollution. Remember you are eating the seafood from that body of water. Except for CH of course. Damn gluten free vegan San Francisco hippie.

On Friday Waterkeepers from Louisiana went out to the Macondo site to take oil samples. There was also another Flyover by environmental activists and volunteer pilots to get more photos of the leak. We should hear soon what they found.

Don't forget to light a candle or add an extra mediation to your practice tomorrow for all of those lost on August 29, 2005 and in the aftermath of the government's failed response to Hurricane Katrina. I will be attending a memorial second line that goes from the levees in the lower ninth to St. Bernard St in the seventh ward. The memory of Katrina isn't gone from this city, but tomorrow is a particular day of mourning for everyone impacted by the storm. The people of the Gulf Coast could use your thoughts and prayers (if you do that sort of thing). 

Happy Sunday! 

ps. And now for something that doesn't make you want to hire a face punching service.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Zuki Wants to Cuddle With You!

Zuki is a loving sweet little pitt mix that needs a home. He is one of those usual pittbulls that thinks he is a lapdog. He will crawl up on your lap while watching tv (or hulu in my case) and give you kisses. He is looking for a good home. This morning he found out he loves the beach! He loves running through the water and laying belly down on the cold sand. He also loves to walk under the trees and enjoy big Mississippi River breezes. Check out Dogs of the 9th Ward to learn more about how to adopt Zuki or any of the other lost souls in this wonderful city.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sister and brother from another mother.

Georgia and Zuki, loving the Saint Ferdinand Blanchard house afternoon naps.

Monday, August 22, 2011


In case you don't know, people from all over the country have traveled to Washington DC this week and next week to take action against a dangerous tar sands project. Already over 100 people have been arrested. 70 of those were held in Central Cell Block (where I spent my first 48 hours under arrest many many years ago too!) for over 48 hours. check out all the great people standing up (or sitting down) to protect our water, air and planet. Wish I was there! At least the air con is better in jail than it is at my house. Renee

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On My Way

2008 To Do List: (1) buy gold plated woodchipper charm necklace (2) launch face punching service (3) launch baby rental service (4) finish online boyfriend application (5) open New Orleans headquarters I can finally check off something from 2008 To Do List. That feels good. Going through some old personal emails yesterday I found this to do list from the e.m.p.i.r.e. A sarcastic-art-writing collective created by a couple friends in 2007 that quickly and regrettable dissolved for totally predictable unforseen circumstances. In an effort to create a more strategic and creative confrontational groundswelling of pressure to hold BP and the government accountable, I, along with one of my activist idols, are creating an art collective here in New Orleans. I'm going to host a regular art making party each month to create protest songs, posters, and strategies. I'm pretty excited to get this going! The boy is taking me here on Monday. You should adopt this dog:
His name is Padlock, though I think that needs to be changed. He was recently found in the Ninth Ward with a giant padlock holding a big metal link chain around his neck. The women that found him had to have it cut off by someone. He's almost two years old and he needs a home. He might come hang out with Georgia and I for a little while until that person comes along. He's pretty cute!! Renee

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Support Your Delusion

Work isn't much better, but my perspective of it all is. This work is fucking hard and I don't make much money. In fact I took a hefty pay cut to take my current gig. My rent increased and now I have to keep something alive everyday, so that increased my expenses. I have car. I pay for internet. The weather isn't as wonderful as it was in Oakland and the kale doesn't look like kale here. So what I get to spend on consuming things in order to feel better about how hard my job is has decreased. In other words all my stresses went up in one fell swoop, but the possibility of what I get to accomplish through my work is closer to the change I wish to see in the world and what I wish to be part of achieving. I also get to live in New Orleans. A place where I finally feel at home.

As I sat for about an hour in the Apple store in Metairie, I got to catch up on my New Yorker reading. In the July 11 magazine, Sheryl Sandelberg was featured. She is the Chief Operating Officer for Facebook. The article is about women in the tech industry and the low number of women in high executive levels. One section stood out for me, because I know I spend a lot of time doing it. Especially in rough times like I'm facing now.

Here is an excerpt:
On listening to a speech called Feeling Like A Fraud: "'I thought it was the best speech I'd ever heard, she recalls. 'I felt like that my whole life. ' At every stage of her time in school, Sandberg thought, I really fooled them. There was 'zero chance,' she concluded, that the men in the other room felt the same."

On women's self doubt: "Sandberg says she eventually realized that women, unlike men, encountered tradoffs between success and likability. The women had internalized self-doubt as a form of self-defense: people don't like women who boast about their achievements. The solution, she began to think, lay with the women. She blamed them more for their insecurities than she blamed men for their insensitivity or their sexism."

In early June I wrote an email to a good friend, where I stated, "i got another job offer from [another person] that quit. (s)he is starting her/his own shop at [insert awesome organization here]. (s)he said that he(r) will have room to grow it and (s)he wants to bring me on when it gets going. i have no idea, clue why these people think i can do anything, but I'm willing to support their delusion. maybe that's what i should say to people when they say nice things to me. ' i support that delusion'." I wrote all of this with a laugh of course. Because I know it's ridiculous, but it runs through my brain everyday regardless. And turns out it does for most women too.

As I get some years and experience under my belt I'm starting to realize that the things that run through my brain are often less about who I am as a person and more about the falsehoods society throws at you about who you are that I've been naive enough to fall for over the years. I know these things are true. Just like I know the work that I do is incredibly difficult and just because I struggle doesn't mean I'm not succeeding. I also know that men don't usually think of these things. They think, damn I'm hot. Damn I'm smart. Damn I'm talented. Where does that come from?

The article also mentions Sheryl's TED talk. I watched it when it first came out. It's worth a look. 
She discusses in more depth why there are so few women executives.

After an hour wait at The Apple Store i have a new keyboard, confirmation there is nothing wrong with my computer after 3 years, confirmation that Apple will refuse to do anything with my laptop after 5 years, and new speakers since my three year old laptop speakers are failing already.

hot, humid, and hazy,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Mighty Good Man

Last night I had a second date with a man I met at last week's Stooges show. He happened to be sitting next to me and we struck up a conversation. He asked if I was a teacher. He said I looked like some kind of do gooder. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I did learn that his sister was a teacher and is now an administrator in Atlanta and his mom was a social worker in 7th ward for 32 years. So maybe it wasn't a complete insult on my matronly dress.

We went to Cure, this fancy cocktail place Uptown. I'm not usually a fan of Uptown, too many Uptown people. And it's about a 15 minute drive from my house. It was really fantastic. He did good. They have a huge apertif selection. I could drink my old lady drinks without being denied my first couple choices; Campari and a good Dry Vermouth. I also sampled (more than sampled) something called Scotch and Salt. It was a great mix of scotch and a few other ingredients that made it into a salty whiskey, my favorite!

As he drove me home, after I had attempted to pay yet again, he asked if men usually let me pay and then made a joke about looking through the bill to find the exact amount that I owed. I stuttered a bit and said yes, I have had more than one man ask me to pay on the first, second, and every other date. His reply was, and you let them get away with that?  As I got out of the truck, he said you know there are real men in this world. Straight through the heart! And by that I mean sucker punched in the face.

Renee Claire

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brass Bands are Awesome. . . but So Is Justice

You know how your yoga instructor is like breath in, breath out, life is hard, breathing helps? And you are like 'fuck you perfect little bitch' and then you go home and listen to brass bands that tell actual stories that help rather than your skinny ass mother fucker at that expensive studio that keeps telling you to keep a zen fucking mind?

yeah, I totally relate.

Brass brands help with almost everything . . . and so does seeing an emerging neighborhood rap group give up too fast after being blasted by the sound engineer. Because that's what I have been doing for the past several weeks. I gave up. Too fast. And instead I should I have just said fuck you and kept on going, but I forgot that sometimes the people that are suppose to be friends just aren't. I should have known better. I should have remembered I was an American and people get out of my way! But I shouldn't have given up. (hint: you can't worry about people that say they are your friends that are just lying even if they are a huge part of your life and aren't going away any time soon) (hint2: I know you all know that, but I just remembered) (hint3: thanks for being patient with me all these years, I'm pretty naive)

So, today  (1) I hung out with someone that drove me to escalate (almost nonviolently), (2) I saw a neighborhood group give up after the second week of ONE sound engineer being an asshole, and (3) I saw a mother of 6 and the wife of an oil rig worker get arrested for demanding that BP clean up its mess. (hint4: no one from BP has been arrested for discharging 250 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico)

I also saw one of the best brass band shows of my life. It was the birthday of a former Stooges member who had been shot. It turns out I know all the words to "Fuck the Po Po" without knowing why it was written (hint 5: I'm the white girl in the all black neighborhood). Hello: I have trouble with the police, even if I am little white girl, so it wasn't a difficult weekly anthem to get behind. A member of the Stooges Brass Band was murdered by a cop in 2004. The group sings that song every week. Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of his death.

The Hi Ho Lounge is an amazing place to visit every Thursday and listening The Stooges sing Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' was a bit intense. Justin even was getting into it. (hint 6: Justin is a bit shy and often looks like he hates brass bands shows, even though I drag him there all the time and he tells me late he likes them. Justin is my cousin)

Then I got into a conversation with Titus, the dude standing next to me, we spoke on the side walk next to my car as the cop car lights flashed and I watched a man smaller than me get arrested by 6 NOLA cops. 6 dudes for a guy that was 5 foot and maybe 130lbs.  Titus and i spoke about St. Roche's and Washington DC's segragation. The fact that I'm one of the only white people on my side of St. Claude. And that the city is just not the same. Maybe for the better, Maybe not.

The bottom line of that conversation is that Katrina is alive and well. And so is the BP oil disaster. 

Cherri Foytlin was arrested Thursday August 4 by NOPD for demanding BP clean up its mess. To date, no one from BP has been arrested for discharging 250 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. 


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Corporate Campaigning

I am currently co-writing a report that is already a month over due. Yea writing reports in coalitions! One of the sections that I am writing is BP's PR Machine. I thought I share some of the articles I've come across in my research:

BP Manipulating Search Terms

BP's Latest PR Tactic

BP Turns to Political Shop for $50 Million Ad Buy to Convince You the Company Will Get This Done and Make It Right

We are also discussing writing a more detailed manual of the tactics of BP and the oil industry in the aftermath of disasters. Should be really interesting.

Also MC Shan is awesome! Renee Claire speakers this afternoon are featuring the album Down by Law!

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Good To Be Cajun

Yesterday I finally got to visit the Blanchard's. I left the Broussard, LA around 6pm last night with several pounds of fresh gulf shrimp, a jar of pepperjelly, a book titled "Remarkable Louisiana Women", a Qui Ca Saints t-shirt, go boxes full of bbq chicken wrapped in bacon, redfish, chicken sausage, smoked sausage, bbq shrimp, a new ice chest with my name written all over it, and a plan to go to an insect museum with the newest Blanchard's as well as a Saints game.

No one got into a fight, I did accidentally state that Reagan is a liberal these days, but we kept it to how wonderful New Orleans is and ate a lot of meat and drank a lot of wine and talked about Edwin Edwards, the best part of being Cajun anyway.

The RESTORE the Gulf bill was released on Thursday. This is the legislation that asks that 80% of the Clean Water Act fines return to the Gulf Coast for ecosystem and economic restoration. It doesn't include a number of points that we had been demanding like a Regional Citizens Advisory Council, which would help watchdog the energy industry on the Gulf Coast.

Qui Ca!
Renee Claire

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Will Be Buried in this Town Too

I'm slowly coming to realize that I have more commitment to New Orleans than I have ever had in any romantic relationship. Saturday morning on the way to Barataria Preserve in Lafitte (30 minutes south of New Orleans) My cousin, Georgia and I ran into the second line of the recent ancestor Big Chief Lionel Delpit. It was wonderful and full of life.

Many tribes from around the city came together to bury this young Big Chief who had been struggling with health issues for a quite a while. As his casket was put into the horse drawn hearse there was silence with fists and hats raised in the air for blocks down Franklin Ave. As the door closed and those that surrounded his body looked into the windows, the crowd began to chant Indian Red.  (notice the single black feather in the video being held during the chant). A regular heard song and chant around the city in different varieties, but was at its most meaningful in that moment. "Indian, Indian, Big Chief of the nation, wild wild creation, no, he don't bow down, down on the ground, oh I love to hear him call Indian Red . . ." When the horses began to pull away from the church, the Stooges Brass Band jumped into I'll Fly Away and the second line steppers began to celebrate. The moment of mourning silence quickly both expectantly and suddenly turned into one of the best celebrations I've been lucky enough to witness in this town. It simply showed the strength and the tenacity and the toughness of this town's people. I hope one day I can be a real  New Orleanian and all that that means. 

Turns out Georgia is not as big of a fan of brass bands as I am, though she did love all those Indian feathers passing in front of her. Thankfully she didn't bite any of the Indians! How terrible would that be!

I took a little over 100 snaps during that hour or so. Here are the uneddited photos.

I realized Saturday morning that I may never leave New Orleans again. Sure I'll take trips and visit new places, but I won't live anywhere else. This is my home now. And that feels mighty peaceful in this moment.


ps. This song gives a good idea of the funeral mentality here in the city. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It's Just the Way She Looks Today

I love this city so much I've decided to share the places that make me happy day to day. You may have noticed I've been posting photos that I take as I roam the streets. New Orleans whispers in your ears to explore her without boundaries and I often roam without intent in return.

I don't have any particular favorite places, I love the city's small curves and flavors and mistakes and colors. So I decided that instead of just writing about the chaoticness of my little trite world and what makes me angry (corporate control over our democracy and bodies and earth), I would share with you my love of those curves and flavors and mistakes and colors as well.

Also, I'd like to share with you my organization's President reminding me why I go to battle everyday, even if sometimes I get lost in my little trite world. And this one rocks too.


Renee Claire

Sunday, July 3, 2011