Monday, October 31, 2005

Either the black mold or the absinthe has got me. Happy halloween.

Minimum Wage In New Orleans... No More

I had to rush and post this... In New Orleans, Burger King is now offering a $6,000 bonus to any new employee who signs up and works for the restaurant chain for at least a year.

This on-top of the general $10 an hour pay scale for NEW employees at most fast food locations is a good example of what has happened to the population of this city.

We have no population.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I'm Guilty Of Delusions That We're OK

I thought about making up a cute title for this post along the lines of "Because of Winn-Dixie" but it wouldn't do this story justice. So I stuck with "I'm Guilty" because it's true.

I'm guilty of hiding. I'm guilty of distracting myself. I'm guilty of not wanting to see anymore…

I must take my own advice that I gave to a few tourists from Los Angeles that I met last night. I told them that yes, I was thrilled that they were down here. That we needed to start bussing Americans through this town so that they can see it, smell it, feel it.

Everyone must remember what is still happening down here.

Even though I am going into Lakeview nearly everyday to work on the house, I'm either starting to not notice or am growing accustomed to the carnage. So it should not be a surprise to me that I was blown away when I received a phone call from Kelsey informing me that animal rescues were still taking place. I actually laughed. You've got to be kidding me right? How the hell are these animals still kicking?

Well they are.

I spent the afternoon today out in a Winn-Dixie parking lot in New Orleans East, which can only be described as a mix between a Grateful Dead camping area and a Sudanese refugee camp.

Here since the second week of the aftermath, a hard-core group of pet rescuers from around the country have been and are still operating. These people are not insane animal rightists, they are veterinarians and firemen and random people who felt the pull of Katrina and actually got off their ass to come down here and do something, anything.

Amidst the virtual squalor, flies, hundreds of pigeons and dust, this group of about fifteen people have been living in the heart of hell saving animals who have somehow survived nine weeks of flood and drought. Their dedication is startling.

Sleeping on cots as a ready meal for mosquitos, in tents or in trailers while eating MRE's, trucking in gasoline from over twenty miles away and paying for everything out of their own pockets, these people, all originally strangers to each other, have rescued over 5,000 animals - they stopped counting at 5,000.

And they are desperate for help.

They need people, money and shelter. Unbelieveably, they still are getting calls from owners asking them to rescue their dog or cat or lizard, whatever. And they are doing it.

In the holding areas for the animals which are set-up for feral and wild, or domesticated, they have countless dogs and cats of every stripe and amidst the barking of these caged dogs, Richard Crook, a firefighter from New Hudson, Michigan who has become the de facto leader, walked me through their history and their current challenges.

"Warm bodies. I need warm bodies. We peaked with about 50-60 people camped out here and making hundreds of runs a week, but now we're so few we've basically become just a holding center."

During the time I was out there, they had one group of three head out on a run for a badly hurt dog in Algiers.

"What we need is a facility. A building, anything. Hell, if it has storm damage, we'll even repair it for the owner. Just anything to get these animals out of the elements."

While talking with Richard, several phone calls came through identifying rescues and two young women walked up and volunteered their afternoon for rescues. They asked and they readily received a list of addresses and locations. The amount of work left is staggering.

If you'd like to assist this strong willed but slightly haggered group there are several options and/or needs:

• Cash Donations: They have finally set-up a website and are awaiting 501C3 classification, so it will be tax deductible.

• Warm Bodies: Call Richard direct at 248.939.0832

• A trailer fit for transporting animals.

• A building or facility anywhere in New Orleans.

• Or if you need your animal rescued… call Richard direct at 248.939.0832

Please refrain from calling him simply to express gratitude... this telephone number is only being put out for the items listed above.

These people have shocked me out of my delusional complacency, we are not fine down here. All is not well - but there are these bright pockets where, with no better way to put it and apologizing beforehand for the mellodrama... God sleeps on a cot in a Winn-Dixie parking lot caring for kittens.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Refraining from audio posting. Trying to retain what little bit of journalistic cred that i have left. Damn... What? Too late. Shoots.

St. Joes bar is open! Wwoz is back on the air.

New Orleans Was Odd Before...

Let me see if you can guess which city I'm describing...

• Fast food restaurants pay their workers $10 an hour.
• There are 3 black people and many Mexicans.
• All the parks are massive garbage dumps.
• Everyone has a food stamp card in their wallet or purse.
• We yawn when we hear that Miami hasn't had power for a whopping four days - for many of us it's good news to hear that we may have power in 6-8 weeks.
• It is inconsequential to be seen drinking at a bar around noon... wait, that's normal.
• All the radio stations are broadcast from other cities.
• The people fear becoming Charleston.
• No one wants to answer this question first: "Are you coming back?" or "Are you going to rebuild?"
• People are stunned and upset to hear that a suburb is starting to enforce speed limits.
• The potential is there to lose a major business to a dumpy city like San Antonio.
• Donald Trump wants to build malls on top of this city's hurricane protection levees.
• No one flinches when they hear that Navy Seal teams shot over two thousand criminals and dumped their bodies into the river.
• Big news in town is when some crappy chain restaurant opens.
• Half the people are thrilled while the other half of the people are pissed to have a red sticker on their house.
• No one is concerned about drinking and driving.
• The city goes from a fairly high murder rate to probably the lowest in the country in a two month span.
• The only pop-ins you get at your house are from door-to-door salesmen.
• All intersections are four way stops, progress is a blinking red or yellow light.
• After you repaint, you're considering leaving the rescue markings on your front door.
• You separate your garbage into the following piles: (1) paints, pesticides, etc. (2) Wood furniture, drywall or plaster (3) organic debris (4) other furniture, clothing, common household debris (5) refridgerators or other appliances (6) cars, trucks, lawnmowers or other machinery... yet you don't recycle cans or plastic or paper.

Trust me... there are plenty more of these and I will do further installments.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

SYC's Closing Regatta

The 156th running of Southern Yacht Club's Closing Regatta took place amidst... well heck, it took place.

I am currently working on a full article regarding the race and the spirit of New Orleans' sailing community to be published nationally, but know this... we are fighting for our city and our culture. There is a spirit here amongst New Orleanians of every stripe that leaves us laughing at the winds and at this once in five generations disaster that has come down upon us.

It may be years before we truly wash this grime off of our hands and homes, but as one local tried and succeeded in swimming the filthy channel across to the point from SYC during the party - we will manage even if we seem insane while trying.

Above: Municipal Harbor via a water taxi to the yacht club -- this is the only access to the club currently.

Above: Another shot via water taxi.

Above: The awards ceremony and a few speeches.

Above: Everyone tries to cope in their own way... for some it's virgin mimosas in martini glasses.

Monday, October 24, 2005

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

On boat.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

If you get arrested in new orleans your ass gets put straight on an amtrack to angola prison. Welcome to the wild wild delta.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Coming Home To New Orleans

After riding out Katrina and the aftermath, I desparately needed some time away to clear my head and discover that there is civilization still left out there - well it worked... unfortunately too well.

I now have a handle on how Americans are growing bored with the utter devastation and total destruction of an entire city. Unless you are down here, you CAN NOT get or understand the complete and total loss. You can not comprehend it, therefore one focuses on other things.

I urge all Americans to listen to WWL Radio either on AM 870 (which can be heard at night all the way from Santa Fe to St. Louis to Atlanta) or on the internet at

I did this as I neared Ft. Worth on my return. The situation roared back into my head as I listened to a woman balling crying about how her landlord had evicted her without contacting her or the proper agencies and told the new tenant to burn all of her belongings in the back yard. I listened to the radio announcers bemoan the total lack of housing in the city - we still have people, somethimes up to 14 individuals to a home. I listened and heard how Congress is not brining forth the cash needed to pay for anything - our city and state are now completely broke! There is NO tax base! I listened as the cream of New Orleans' is being skimmed off in order to grow other cities.

What the hell is going on here? WE NEED HELP! An entire city was destroyed. WE NEED HELP!

How can we survive if local firms are not given contracts to help rebuild and therefore they are closing up shop and firing New Orleanians who must then move to other cities to find work?

No one is thinking properly up in Washington. This is becoming a carpetbagging situation and an entire American city is losing its grip.

Notice to San Antonio from New Orleans

As the mayor and people of San Antonio feel that they are morally justified in stealing from people who are in dire need - as they are stealing the Saints from the city and people of New Orleans, I henceforth and forwith proclaim that all New Orleanians are morally justified in pissing on the Alamo or into that stinking creek they call a river whenever driving through that shitbag of a city.

Hey San Antonio... FUCK YOU you scumbags!

It is amazing to me at the overwhelming support and kindnesses that have come out of cities in Texas like Houston and Dallas, so these actions by San Antonio are simply gross... Hey Houston and Dallas, would y'all mind reigning in your little red-headed bastard of a stepchild.

San Antonio is grossly out of line.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Canyonlands, Utah

This photo on the left is a small piece of a much larger rock called Newspaper Rock. As the white men moved through to the west, a few began to carve their names and the dates above the Indian markings. I had half a mind to get drunk on tequila and carve my name and Katrina refugee into it -- but of course, I never would.

I have great stories from my time up in the Canyonlands... but now that I'm back here in New Orleans... they seem kind of gross.

I will have a post up either tonight or tomorrow explaining this and also describing the current situation down here... in the meantime, here are some photos from this part of my trip.

Above: Myself and my old friend Chris Stewart, a New Orleans expatriate who left for college and has never returned. He now works as a technical climbing guide during the season.

Above: Chris' climbing partner Dana leads up a climb called Serrator - pretty serious route.

Above: Chris about 60 feet in the air, resting his arms on a monster route called Layline or something.

Above: Chris walking up a route named Way Rambo.

Above: Me on Way Rambo traversing the crux... just pleased that after not getting above sea level in 14 years that I wasn't simply passing out. By the way, those are 8.5 climbing shoes on 10.5 feet... smarts a little bit... a little bit.

Above: Dana and Chris working on a new mongo greeting all boozed up.

Above: Between us is South Six Shooter Tower... start out by driving down an arroyo for a few miles, hike up a butte, cross an alien marscape for a mile maybe, rocket up another few thousand feet into the thinner air, and then start technical climbing the tower to the top... This shot is about a third of the way up. It took us most of a day to get up there and then back down.

Santa Fe, NM

Above: Arroyo flooding as whatever tropical system coming in off the Pacific tracked me down. This is near the Guadeloupe Mountains in Texas.

Santa Fe was mostly bars, eating fried poblanos and that whole rigamarole.

Thanks again Brad for your hospitality, and Steve, keep me updated on the law firm search -- shoot me a copy of your ad that you're going to put in the paper.

Sunday October 9th
Monday October 10th
Monday October 10th
Tuesday October 11th
Tuesday October 11th
Tuesday October 11th
Wednesday October 12th
Wednesday October 12th
Wednesday October 12th
Wednesday October 12th

Above: Brad's Adobe... probably the only home in Santa Fe to have two cars with Louisiana license plates parked out front.

Above: Normal night at the Cowgirl.

Marfa, Texas

Again Marfa was a great town filled with great people... incredible coincedence to be in town for their largest festival.

I needed those wide open spaces of west Texas.
Wednesday October 5th
Thursday October 6th
Friday October 7th
Friday October 7th

Above: That's Marfa just down the tracks a bit.

Above: Steeple of an old church right south of Marfa

Above: A band playing outside Joe's Place. The winnebago I stayed in is just off to the right.

Above: The bar owner's winnebago that I stayed in for three nights.

Above: That's Anita and Ray to my left. Anita bartends at Joe's Place which is now run by Joe's son Ray.

Above: A Prada store near Marfa... actually it's not near anything... just the road.

New Orleans... home

Well I am back.

I'm working on a few posts with some pictures from the trip if anyone is interested... also I will have a post this evening on my impressions of the city as I returned.

All saints players should refuse to play another game until tom benson commits to staying in new orleans.

San antonians are y'all really a bunch of leaches, we already know tom benson is. The nfl can go straight to hell if they allow the saints to go.

San antonio you are the slimiest people in the world if you try and steal the saints from us in our time of need.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

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Monday, October 17, 2005

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

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What do i say to people? I can best them on every story. i haven't figured out how this works just yet... ready to get.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

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Another Night

I've been down this road before I think... There will not be any Marfian lights.

This travel ends at home... laughing now... maybe that's the great discovery.

I am having nightmares. At my parents boarded up house fending off banditos with guns and homemade explosives. Very vivid.

Completely ready to hit the road again. Santa Fe has been big, if not depressing. I want the open spaces. The high desert with strangers and Mezcal, drank with lime and cayenne pepper.

One more night.

Having nightmares... Defending home.

Drinking w/ indian bit actor, domas, artist john tuddle who's in the met in nyc, and will ex-nola bar owner in santa fe.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I think i'm going to bury my old kangaroo boots in the desert around moab.

Santa Fe

Strangely depressing... I'm hanging out with my good friend Steve who's an attorney from New Orleans who is probably relocating to Santa Fe... I thought that it would be great to hang out with another New Orleanian, but it's actually not... nothing but sad tales and things to cry about...

It's amazing how the simplest things... such as talking with somebody from Santa Fe about a movie theater that's going to be opening up here can bring you down... you start thinking about say the Prytania Movie Theater on Prytania St. and then you realize that it may never open again... you start thinking when the heck will any movie theater ever open...

and you can't express this to anyone... if I can't comprehend it - and I'm living it... how the heck will they comprehend it?

I get introduced by a friend from Santa Fe that I'm staying with as a New Orleans refugee... most people say nothing... they appear to be at a loss... I get it. What can you say?

I have a great photograph of Brad's red adobe home in a neighborhood of red adobe's... there are two cars parked in front... both with Louisiana plates...

I am headed up to Moab on Thursday and have stocked up on a few books... I'm reading voraciously...

Sorry about the stoccato post... I only have 15 minutes on the Santa Fe public library computer...

My buddy Steve, may have a job lined up as an attorney for the state of New Mexico dealing with water rights... sad... sad... good for him... but my entire social circle back in New Orleans is destroyed... scattered everywhere...

Time's up -- audio post this evening.
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Monday, October 10, 2005

Numerologists, spirtualists and blue state cowboys... And me. Finished blood merdian, looked for desert solitaire, stead mccormick's the crossing

Sitting at the cowgirl on guadeloupe st in sante fe. Hard day, down. Cold and of course rainy. Audio post later.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

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Friday, October 07, 2005


This is why we should support our public libraries... free internet.

I have no idea what I've been posting at night after the bars close here in Marfa at midnight, so excuse me if I regurgitate some information.

My ideas about west Texas have changed completely. Incredibly friendly people and damn if this part of the country ain't beautiful... sorry Mexico, but I'm glad we stole this from you.

Unfortunately though the rain has followed me... tropical rain from some hurricane that hit Baja. I went out yesterday afternoon to the area where you can, if you're lucky, see the Marfa lights... middle of the day, pouring down rain... no luck, but I brought my heavy weather gear so I sat on the edge of the Chihuahuan desert... just sat in the rain.

My stay at the Thunderbird Hotel is over and now I'm moving into a winnebago behind a bar. I'm going to set up my Jazz Fest chair outside in the dirt and re-read Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian while drinking whiskey.

I think I'm going to stay until Monday.

My old friend Chris Stewart who left New Orleans back in the late 80's for the west is going to be rock climbing out in Moab, Utah next week, so I think I'm going to join him. I've climbed before in Colorado and Oregon but I was laughing with him, I told him that I haven't been above sea level in almost 15 years... I may have to be the guy who hangs out at base camp.

It's strange... I feel like I've been here for months already... I easily forget about what I've left behind... then I get on this computer and check out the blog and scroll down looking at the pictures... it comes right back at you hard, but almost like it was somebody else who was there, someone else's experiences... Distance.

Sorry that I can't post any pictures at this point and it sucks that I haven't gotten clever enough to figure out how to audio post when I'm hanging out and drinking with Mexicans. I'm working on it.

Last night I met a guy who was from outside of Jackson, Mississippi, but who moved out here to Marfa 30 years ago... two weeks ago he was down in Biloxi... to bury his brother, who drowned in Katrina. I bought him a Lone Star beer and we played a game of pool... a good ole Louisiana boy against a good ole Mississippi boy... I lost... and trust me, I don't suck at pool.

The library closes for the weekend and now that I'm out of the hotel, the only way I will be posting - I think - will be from Marfian cell phones.

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