Thursday, January 26, 2012

Things From New Olreans

Huey Long. Flashmobs of Huey Longs to be exact, videos of Huey Long Flashmobs to be more exact.

Bounce music. Bounce music from Big Freedia to be exact. Bounce music from Big Freedia music videos that are awesome to be more exact.

Have I mentioned that this town is awesome?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

So . . . Whatcha Gonna Do?

Just got back from the New Orleans MLKjr march. I didn't actually march but I did listen to the speeches including our Mayor ask everyone "whatcha gonna do" to end the violence that is plaguing our streets right now. I like listening to Landrieu. He has the charming Southern politician thing going on. He challenged us all to help make sure that no more young New Orleans boys experience that moment the moves them from a happy child to a cold hearted killer, where they lose their dream. It was good. Folks are really on edge right now. I was sitting at Cassi's house for our irregular girls night where we drink too much the other night. We all talked about how none of us walk after dark anymore. It was a given, I said I don't walk after 8pm and that was surprising to a couple people since the sun sets around 6pm. We acknowledged that even our dogs aren't much security as we know they can easily be shot. And of course we all talked about how scared we are about being shot randomly while we sat in our homes like some many already this year have been. Landrieu reminded us that this is natural. That it doesn't have to be this way. That King gave his life for us all to be more free and that the slaves that met every Sunday in Congo Square, where the rally was held this morning, suffered but we don't have to. He reminded us that King was afraid but met his challengers anyway. It is widely known that the violence in the city continues because of the fear of retaliation both by dirty cops and those angry boys that are holding our town hostage right now.

The best part was seeing all the really young kids with their parents carry photos of Dr King, many dressed suits. And the marching band that danced to Stevie Wonder's rendition of Happy Birthday was pretty good.  Of course being hit on by a charming New Orleanian who asked if I was 22 and I must ride my bike a lot because I got those big sexy legs was also a highlight. Thanks, but that's just my regular diet of bottles of whiskey and Parkway fried shrimp po-boys.

Renee Claire

Saturday, January 14, 2012

how an editor

rewrites the article you care about.

I wrote an article that I felt proud of until I had to give an editor a high five even though I hated what he did to it. It tells the right story but fails to find the right words. Folks want to sound smart and want to tell a story and they want to be correct. And I understand those things. But I'll say it again . . . just because you work on an issue, it doesn't mean you know how to connect to folks in a way that makes them care about the same thing that you care about.

I'm not the best writer. Or the best speller. Or the best calculator operator. Or person that spells it all out in the same way that some reporter that uses the same specialized vocabulary does in their column everyday. I'm not polished. In almost anything that I do,  but that doesn't mean I don't know how to connect with folks. It just means I'm not a wonk, for the lack of better words, and I don't talk like a executive director or a senior blah blah of something. I'm never going to be so. And though I'm proud of that article, I really am proud of it, but if you know me, you know that article sounds nothing like me. I'm bored reading it. I can barely read it.

They changed everything that makes my writing unique to add some ten dollar words and not sound like I'm come from the bayou, which is my battle. It's so common that I have to talk people into publishing what I write for them. Sometimes I just give up because the battle is to annoying. (sighhhhhh) If you take out the big words and double compounded sentences, you'll see me in there somewhere. And guess the real issue is that folks are inspired. Or that folks are scared. Or that folks question what they are hearing.

Listen up.. . . the BP oil disaster. Not over. So fucking stay tuned.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Gumbo

(1) Mitt Romney's son brought back the brither last month, but did you know that his own grandfather was a accused of not being American in the 60's? I didn't know this. Governor Romney of Michigan was born in Mexico because his own father was a polygmist and had fled south to live in peace with his multiple wives. Robert F Kennedy jr released an op-ed in the Huffington Post bringing attention to Romney's son's ridiculousness. Kennedy brings this up in the days leading up to the Citizen United anniversary happening later this month. He says that the rule that only natural born citizens can be president is to prevent other countries from controling the US, but today it seems that corporations are doing that just fine.

(2) Citizen's United. There are going to be protests around the country at federal courthouses. I will be in Chicago on January 20, maybe H and I will spark our own Occupy the Courts while on holiday. 

(3) Stephen Hawkings birthday is today. And there is a new biography. I want to read it.

(4) Joan of Arc's 600th birthday was Friday. There was a parade but I had to miss it. Damn you Leaderboard!

(5) The launch of artists on a mission last week was a success! Gary and I thought only 2 or 3 people would be there, but 35 people showed up to help brainstorm a year worth of art projects to call attention to the oil industry's hold on Louisiana. Big plans, we've got big plans! Anybody know how to quilt, build oil rigs, or have a dozen or so Huey Long costumes in their attic?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

On Starting the New Year Off Right

So in 2011 New Orleans saw 199 murders (Oakland saw 110), guess we are off to finishing ahead again. On Friday night 10 folks were shot and 3 killed after a mid-city high school football game. Two more were killed early this morning. One man was killed Saturday night in New Orleans East. And a curfew to keep kids under 16 out of the french quarter because of its known 'iniquity' has folks calling racism.  But don't worry dog owners of the Big Easy all these illegal dog parks we have been taking over for 40 years will be mixed use, part children activities and part dog park. Of course only after 6 city council meetings where neighbors discussed the importance of these spaces in the wake of hurricane Katrina. People cried, people yelled, threatened folks, and some showed photos of the time and money they spent on these green spaces when the city officials abandoned them. It was really interesting to hear how important people's time at the dog park is to them. There was strong emotion about friendships made and the sense of safety when so many people are being mugged in areas where folks don't gather. I only attended one meeting, but it was really (and unnecessarily) intense, though fascinating.  Oh and if you have important city government business tomorrow, don't bother trying to handle it at City Hall. It's closed  . . for the night LSU game. 

Welcome 2012!

Friday, January 6, 2012

On Being Naive

"After all, Congress’s approval rating is now at 9 percent, which is another way of saying that everyone who’s not a lobbyist hates them and what they’re doing. The big boys are, of course, counting on us simmering down; they’re counting on us being cynical, on figuring there’s no hope or benefit in fighting city hall. But if we’re naive enough to demand a country more like the one we were promised in high school civics class, then we have a shot."

Bill McKibben talks the benefits of being naive. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nasty and Pugnacious!

Shorty is coming out with a book. Shorty is a talent agent in LA, spent 11 years behind bars for attempted murder, is a little person, runs a pit bull rescue, and has a reality television show. He is releasing a new book. It looks really good!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!


My New Year's Resolutions are as follows:

(1) Convince all of my best friends to move to New Orleans - so that we can have big family Sunday night dinners and sip on after dinner drinks on the front porch together (I'm looking at you Amanda, Erica, Cara, Elizabeth, and Hussein)
(2) Slow my roll - speeding tickets are expensive
(3) Build a more impressive home bar - it's a New Orleans requirement anyway
(4) Recommit to art making - it's been a while, I miss you sweet thing
(5) Call the police on the crack house regularly - way too much activity lately
(6) Find out if Emanuel is back in jail

The last two are associated with the 17% jump in the murder rate in 2011 in my little city ending the year with 179 murders. For a murder by murder map of the city, look here.  Four killings within two block (6 within 5 blocks) of my house this year, that about equals my Petworth, DC apartment in 2009.

I recently watched Waiting for Superman. It's a terrific documentary about the education system in the US. Pretty fucking depressing, but something that was interesting is the belief that neighborhoods create schools. Geoffrey Canada, who I've spoken about before, stated that he believes the school creates the neighborhood. I think New Orleans is a prime example of this theory. Earlier this year it was found that the high school drop out rate in New Orleans plummeted 31%. That is half of the drop out rate in pre-Katrina New Orleans. But what that 11.4% 2005 rate says is that there are a hell of lot of 20 - 25 year olds wondering the streets un/underemployed, uneducated and traumatized by watching their hometown drown six years ago and their family members and friends go to jail and/or die in the streets in numbers unheard of in other parts of the country.

14 - 18 year olds aren't exactly at the peek of their communication and anger management skills and as Louisiana is again and again at the bottom of education and poverty rankings, this 11.4% of 14 to 18 years old aren't exactly well oriented for their age. Also, it was found that most crime in the city is not linked to gang or organized crime, but instead stem from the escalation of personal disagreements.

Of course, we have a violence problem.

It's going to freeze tonight! That's good because the 70-something degree weather we had yesterday to celebrate that Saints victory was getting to the best of me. Their is an Occupy NOLA general meeting tomorrow night to develop next steps. They were kicked out after a judicial back and forth. I wonder if any of these folks want to be in a FUBP roller derby krewe with me? I'll have to ask.