Times-Picayune FarewellThe phone delivered a tweet with a story about The Advocate acquiring the Times-Picayune yesterday afternoon. I feel a sense of anxiety and urgency over this acquisition.
You’re Fired!They’re firing the entire staff at TP/NOLA.com. This wasn’t a merger, it’s a purchase of intellectual property and physical assets. The humans that made NOLA.com what it is are on the street. When Newhouse delivered their last big round of cutbacks at TP, I felt like something should/could be done to develop a platform in the market that offered a place for some of those laid-off writers to publish and get paid. Folks told me there was no way it would work. A discussion group on the subject failed miserably. Fortunately, Lamar developed the idea for TBB delivered big time in its first year. TP employed a lot of talented people. Many of them know New Orleans is home, in spite of this setback.
Preserving MemoriesThe “digital era” of the Times-Picayune spans over twenty years. While Da Paper struggled, management and staff found a “digital voice.” Forays into video produced good, thoughtful discussion between writers such as Tim Morris and Jarvis Deberry. The bumps in the road were large, though. The first massacre at TP was when Newhouse fired all of the “digital” staff at NOLA.com. That staff operated separately from T-P. Unifying the dot-com with the newspaper offered the organization an opportunity to take charge. All this now shifts to history. The stories of how NOLA.com grew, then shrunk, then merged with T-P connect with New Orleans’ larger stories in the early aughts and teens. T-P struggled like everyone else during Katrina. They rose above the #shitshow. We must preserve these stories and memories. I’m thinking this through, but we have to move quickly. People pack up and leave as soon as other opportunities present themselves. Work with me to preserve the stories of the last twenty years.
Don Vappie from 2011
Talking Mexican food and Irish (Channel) whiskey in YatPundit’s Pub 29-April-2019.
YatPundit’s Pub 29-April-2019
Two items today for Red Beans and Rice Monday. First, we discuss El Fogon, the Mexican restaurant in Metairie that took over the old Taco Location. Then, we talk local whiskey.
I must admit, I mourned the loss of the Taco Tico on Vets more than I should have. That wonderfully greasy fast food is part of my formative years! Iooked like the place would be demolished to make way for yet another nameless, faceless, chain place that could afford 2019 rent on Vets. I loved it when it became clear the building was merely undergoing a renovation. When El Fogon opened, Mexican food near Clearview in #themetrys went up more than a notch or two.
On my first trip, I had the Chile Relleno, “Sierra” style, with chicken and cheese. Good plate!
El Fogon offered me “Taco Tuesday” for my next visit. So, four tacos for $5. Absolutely wonderful!
I chose the enchiladas the next trip, and they rocked. While there are other places with Mexican and Tex-Mex in the city that are good, El Fogon is close, tasty, and, well, Tacos!
Since El Fogon doesn’t appear to have a liquor license, I usually order a Coke. As much as to-go orders from a good restaurant give me mixed feelings, I need to order takeaway and have a beer at home.
I saw “Irish Channel Whiskey” on a visit to 504 Craft Beer Reserve last Thanksgiving. I was DD for the boys, as LT Firstborn was home for Thanksgiving. As they picked out obscure beers to buy, I shopped. I came across “Irish Channel Whiskey” from 73 Distillers on the shelf. Made a mental note to try it. When we finished a bottle of (I think) Red Breast, we sought out the 73 Distillers Irish. Took a while to come across it again. It appeared at Martin Wine Cellar in Metairie a couple of weeks ago. So, we bought a bottle and were very pleased.
73 Distillers makes their whiskey in the Treme, at Bienville and N. Claiborne. They offer tours of the place. The owners fully leverage their location in one of New Orleans oldest neighborhoods. We’ll take the tour at some point this summer.
Slate’s Hit Parade is one of my regular podcasts
Slate’s Hit Parade
This week’s edition of Slate’s Hit Parade podcast features posthumous hits. Host Chris Molanphy’s run-down of deaths of chart-topping artists offered a good range.
The Day The Music Died
I’m glad that, when talking about “The Day The Music Died” (February 3, 1959), Molanphy gave more time to Richie Valens than he usually gets. Buddy Holly deserves all the praise. While J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) was a one-hit-wonder, that one hit, “Chantilly Lace” was fantastic. It was good to hear their music pop up in April, rather than February 3rd.
Remembering Death Days
I’m not one for remembering “death days” as much as birthdays. I prefer to remember the happy milestones. A plane crash in February isn’t how these guys ought to be remembered. Same for John Lennon being shot down. So, I get the theme of the pod. I get the business impact of death on songs on the radio and song sales. After that initial grieving period, though, I’m done with that. It’s like some of these old people who post these “remembering <insert actor/musician/celebrity> on the anniversary of their death. I’d much rather remember Lennon on the rooftop of the Apple building than dead on the sidewalk in New York.
The business of musical death
Molanphy’s personal anecdote about Prince amused me. He was in a bar in New York, and the bartenders couldn’t find Prince music to play. That’s because, like way so many of us, they relied on Spotify from a phone for the bar’s sound system. For the most part, that sort of solution, playing a streaming service, makes sense. A bartender can work up a few playlists on their preferred service, plug in the phone, and let it roll. If the crowd/mood changes, switch it up. Low-effort, amateur DJ-ing.
That’s the environment Chris was in when Prince passed. The problem the bartenders had was that Prince didn’t care for digital music and streaming services. His music is not easily available. Chris loaned the bartender his iPod. Yes, his offline device! That got the collective unconscious through the evening.
This validates my continued ownership of an MP3 player, along with hanging on to my old iPod nano and LT Firstborn’s first iPod. Now I want The Trio from Dragon’s Danger and Dragon’s Discovery to have at least one offline device!
Catch up with the pod in YatPundit’s Pub!
Mid-City New Orleans – housing is a challenge
Mid-City Condos New Orleans real estate
Are $200K Mid-City condos “affordable” for young professionals? Ilse Falk Stough, project manager for New Orleans Redevelopment Fund, think so. I agree. The company (a private equity real estate firm) plans a 21-unit building at 3100 Banks Street, in Mid-City. That’s the part of Banks between Jefferson Davis Parkway and S. Broad Street.
The developer thinks they can market this development to, as reported by NOLA dot com. Banks Street below S. Carrollton Avenue offers more opportunities such as this lot. Above S. Carrollton, the neighborhood is more gentrified. Property owners fix up multi-family dwellings, converting them into unlicensed hotels.
From movie theater to condos
The 3100 Banks Street location offered the neighborhood the Escorial Theater, from the 1910s to the 1950s. The building operated as mixed retail/commercial space until the 1990s. It burned down at that time. The property has been an empty lot since.
$200K per unit?
I’m not an expert on real estate, but my instinct says this price range is reasonable. The developer targets the right demographic. If the old calculations still hold up, the theory was, don’t take on a house note that’s more than one-third of your take-home pay. A 15-year mortgage (with a 20% down payment) on one of these condos means a monthly note around $1350. That puts the income needed to fit the one-third plan at between $55K-$60K.
Is this realistic? A quick google of “NOFD Starting Salary” comes back with $45,955. Let’s assume a brand-new firefighter needs a few years to get to the point of home ownership. A young professional in the private sector earns a higher salary than a firefighter, so yes, this is in line.
Another aspect of this discussion is single vs. couple. Certainly a two-income couple can afford the note on a $200K condo.
Condo vs. House
This is an ages-old consideration. Condo closer in the city? Die and go to the suburbs? It’s possible to get a $200K house in the burbs. Living in the city means paying more for fewer square feet. While there are fewer neighborhoods where a “young professional” finds a fixer-upper, it’s not out of the question. Therefore, the condo/city vs. suburban/front-lawn debate continues.
Mid-City New Orleans is the main neighborhood setting for Edward J. Branley’s Urban Fantasy novel, Trusted Talents. Check it out!
Talking about teens, high school, expectations, and guitars in the first segment of YatPundit’s Pub 25-April-2019.
YatPundit’s Pub 25-April-2019
I’m in-between books in a sense at the moment. I finished the Rebus novel, but not ready to do a full review of it. I started Mitch Landrieu’s book, but not into it enough to talk sensibly about it. So, there wasn’t much to go into with respect to my personal reading. I thought we’d talk about two writing themes.
Tweens entering eighth grade, particularly here in New Orleans, have interesting expectations. As they approach their senior year, however, things change. Parents foster expectations. Therefore, a dad who was on the football team in high school wants his kid to play that sport. Maybe the young man wants to wrestle, or run cross country, or (heaven forbid!) join the Debate Team! Some kids will start out doing what the parents push, move on.
Some expectations are more subtle. So, an eighth grader may start in marching band. By tenth grade, kids with a lot of talent “outgrow” the school band. They join after-school orchestras, bands, and other projects (like musical theater). Conflict arises when they do less for the school. Then there are the musicians who, while they enjoy their horn or wind instrument, want to play guitar or bass. They invest in lessons and practice, putting aside growth on the band instrument. It’s called growing up.
I’m a train nut. Y’all know that, I’m sure. As old passenger cars from the 1940s and 1950s die off, we lose a part of mid-century culture. I want to write about those railroad days. So, a story arc about a Pullman Porter in 1940-1941 interests me. Europe is already at war, but the US hasn’t made the move to actual combat. Spies and intrigue abound! I keep seeing an African-American man who wants to defend his country in a unique way.