There’s a Mayoral Recall in New Orleans.
Mayoral Recall is dumb
Residents of Orleans Parish filed a recall petition against Mayor LaToya Cantrell in August. It was a silly idea then and it continues to be a month later. Here’s the top five reasons the recall is dumb:
5. City Leadership aren’t interested
At least in public. Oh, you know full well they’re quite interested. Like most folks, they just don’t want to give the petition oxygen.
4. Horrible timing
Petitioners filed on 26-August, which means they must produce 54,000 signatures. While the grass isn’t greener for the other six months of the year, the Fall, going into Carnival, is dumb. Any and all events taking place during this period become automatically more interesting. Events that attract tourists make it more of a challenge to collect valid signatures.
3. Costs will be more than $30K
The recall effort will absolutely cost more than $30,000. That’s basically the amount at issue here. Yes, the petitioners have a lot of things to say about the mayor’s “leadership” and such, but what they’re really upset about is that her honor sat in the front of the planes she took on her European junket. Your opinion on spending city money on flight upgrades doesn’t matter at this point. Someone decided first class was the rallying cry. That means the direct outrage focuses on thirty large. If the organizers get their signatures, the city will then be forced to spend half a million on the election.
2. Most problems with the city date back decades
While there are many things a city chief executive or manager can do to screw things up in a couple of years, those are relatively minimal. Pumping stations? The electric grid? NOPD? All of these items were a mess when Cantrell took office. Shit, they were a mess for Morial. That’s why the pro-recall types needed a specific incident that they could hang directly on Cantrell. This is why almost all of the city’s elected officials are silent on the recall. They don’t want to kick the hornet’s nest. They know this is a “there but for the grace of god” situation. It might not be air travel upgrades, but there’s something worth $30K in everyone’s past.
1. It’s racist
The motivation behind the Cantrell effort is absolutely racist. How dare a Black woman fly first class? Imagine having to sit next to her?! Horrors! Racism is what brings Whyte New Orleans out to vote.
New Orleans is a minority-majority city/parish. This drives the larger whyte population in suburban parishes insane. We’re talking about whyte people who simply loathe the notion of Black people in charge. If there’s an opportunity for the whyte folks to increase their control in the city doesn’t come around every day.
So, let’s rile up the whyte people! We’ll bring along some Black folks who don’t agree with the flight reservations, either. While whyte legislators squeeze the city regularly, this would be an internal foothold. And yes, I know how this sounds. This nonsense is for real.
It’s too late to completely stop the recall process. It’s possible to remind folks of why it’s dumb until next February.
Audubon Place is a “private” street in Uptown New Orleans, but it’s so much more to the city.
Audubon Place and its residents
The area of New Orleans now referred to as the University District stands in between Faubourg Bouligny and the old City of Carrollton. The city reserved a large amount of land for a public park. The Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884 drew attention to this part of town. Additonally, Tulane University moved uptown in 1884. New Orleanians looked past Napoleon Avenue. With Tulane’s property lines now defined, developers built streets and sold lots just off campus.
In the 1890s, George Blackwelder created a single-street development on the western side of Tulane. He allocated 28 large lots along Audubon Place. The development required builders construct large single-family homes with high values. With city approval, the neighborhood association took Audubon Place private in the early 1900s.
The notion of a gated street with one way in, one way out appealed to wealthy New Orleanians. The late Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans (both Pelicans, BTW, the NBA team, and his abortive attempt to buy a minor-league baseball club), lived on Audubon Place. His widow still owns the house. John Georges, owner of Imperial Trading, the Times-Picayune, and Galatoire’s Restaurant, also lives on Audubon Place.
The most notable home on the street is 2 Audubon Place. Samuel Zemurray, founder and first president of United Fruit Company, built a magnificent home on the left side of the main gate, facing St. Charles Avenue. Zemurray later donated the mansion to Tulane. The university uses the home as the official residence of their president.
More than 28 lots
So, Audubon Place isn’t the only street where rich people live. After the Cotton Exposition at Audubon Park, other wealthy residents bought into the neighborhood just to the east of the park. Streets such as Henry Clay, Webster, State, and Nashville sport large houses owned by wealthy families. This continues up to Faubourg Bouligny and into the Garden District. Drive through these neighborhoods during Carnival season, and you’ll see the flags of the School of Design and the Mystick Krewe of Comus from a number of these homes. Those flags indicated that a member of the family was/is a past king of either parade.
These rich New Orleanians are the city’s business elite. They also donate large sums to the campaign funds of Orleans Parish politicians. While they don’t all live in Audubon Place, that 1900s gate and those 28 lots represent the class and their way of thinking.
Blue Angels obey orders, even from Trump.
Blue Angels obey orders.
It’s really a simple concept. The National Command Authority says do it, you salute and do it. Members of our Forces do this daily. The Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron of the US Navy/USMC, along with the USAF Thunderbirds, get it. My son gets it, which is why the USS Topeka is out somewhere in the Pacific Ocean rather than docked next to a pier on Guam.
Flyovers are fun. The B-52s and F-16s that gave us a local treat last week. They offer a chance to step out the front door and look up. That’s advice I regularly suggest to what I call the “Blue Twitterati,” the folks on Da Twittah who rarely look up from their phones for anything.
Are the flyovers appropriate? At a time when these morons at the White House demonstrate absolute incompetence in the face of a pandemic, it’s not hard to figure out Donnie’s motives. Ascribing those motives to aviators, pilots, and their support teams is unfair.
Misuse of the military
Is Donnie Smallhands misusing the military? I look at the flyover of the Blue Angels tomorrow differently than the Angry Liberals Who Are Angry. People need more and deserve more than Pence and Kushner provide from government. Donnie’s people block experts from briefing Congress. They know their response to the pandemic is crap.
So, let’s have some military excitement!
Thing is, we’d have military excitement anyway. Air shows and public appearances are part of the mission of the demonstration teams. They can’t perform those parts of their mission during the pandemic. While air shows are outside, they’re not good social-distancing environments. Large gatherings and all that. Public appearances? Blue Angels follow orders – they can perhaps join school classes and other groups on Zoom. But their main mission, demonstrate the aviation capabilities of their respective service branches, well, that’s not happening on a Zoom session.
Let the aviators fly. Let the USAF pilots do what they do so well. Demonstrate those capabilities.
Lack of Liberal understanding
Do we need masks? PPE for healthcare professionals and first responders? Absolutely. Is a demonstration team flyover going to stop those things? Not in the least. What’s hindering our battle against COVID-19 is not Naval Aviation. It’s idiot Republicans who don’t mind watching people get sick and die. Hanging that on men and women obeying orders is wrong-headed. It indicates how badly liberals understand the military. That’s ironic, because so many Democrats actually serve their nation.
Disclaimer: My son is a Naval Officer (submarines), and I got to ride “Fat Albert” in 2012. I’m biased here.
Support restaurants by ordering takeout or delivery
“Flattening the curve” is a legitimate thing. Stay away from people. Don’t gather in groups. Switch to remote. It all makes sense, and hopefully will keep a lot of people from dying. Of course, the businesses that rely on crowds, such as restaurants and bars, take a big hit when they can’t open. Revenue dries up, workers don’t work, and we all hope a couple of weeks is all that’s necessary.
There’s not much we can do about bars and clubs. We go to them to socialize, and, well, that’s what we’re distancing right now. Musicians are going to live-casting on various platforms. That’s a start. For many of us, it’s not just the crafty cocktail we crave, but time with our friends. Hopefully this all will improve.
Dining out is an important social event for New Orleanians. We go out to eat for the experience of going out to eat, not because we’re on the way to a show or something else. this makes it all a struggle.
While it’s difficult to support bars right now, we can support restaurants. Many places changed their model to delivery and/or takeout. Order your meal, run in, get it, and get out again. Less than ten people, not breathing on anyone, and you’re in your car most of the time. Socialize from a distance, maybe Skype or Facetime your meal with a friend.
Is Takeout a problem?
Yesterday, I shared the above post from Chef CDB at Revel Cafe and Bar to several groups on the Book of Zucker. The post is not all that different from the ones I shared from other restaurants. In one of the larger NOLA-focused groups, a woman commented, coming for the concept of takeout dining. While her comments were at a high level, she directed her venom at a single restaurant.
Well, that didn’t sit well with me. Chris is a good man, a talented chef, and an old soul. He and his place don’t deserve that sort of attack. I reported the comment to the group’s admin team, and it was quickly removed.
Stop this shit
If you see others coming for restaurants, please consider nipping it in the bud. Our friends, family, and neighbors work in the service industry. We want them to have jobs to return to when this passes.
Hashtag #rexcomus has been overrun by assholes
Hashtag #RexComus evolves into something awful
Live-tweeting the “Meeting of the Courts” as WYES broadcast of the bal masque of the Rex Organization isn established #NOLATwitter tradition for the last few years, The combination of the event’s television hosts and the activities at the ball make for fun Twitter fodder.
Rex Ball, Rex meets Comus
The “Meeting of the Courts” happens on Mardi Gras Night. The balls began at 9pm, back in the days when the Mystick Krewe of Comus paraded. Comus currently only presents their ball. The organization stopped parading in the 1990s. The tradition of the meeting dates to 1882, when Rex was ten years old.
As Carnival approaches its end, Comus extends an invitation to the King of Carnival and his court to join him at the senior krewe’s ball. Rex makes his farewells to his ball and heads to the Comus soiree. The two monarchs, along with their queens, perform a Grand March. After that march, general dancing continues. While they march at Comus, Rex ball-goers continue their party.
So much fodder for satire and humor here! It’s as if the Meeting was created for Twitter. Local folks on Da Twittah comment on all aspects of the event. From Peggy Scott Laborde’s gaffes to Errol Laborde (her husband) being more of a curmudgeon than the Curmudgeon Class of #NOLAtwitter, to the antics of the two carnival organizations, local folks are merciless in mockery.
Anger is not a good look
Over the years, hashtag #rexcomus became a place of anger rather than mockery. The event offers an opportunity for folks who are angry at Trump and conservatives to lash out. What was once satire is now flooded with bitter remarks.
I empathize with people who are not OK since Trump became President. It’s back to the old adage that liberals have no sense of humor. It also doesn’t help that Senator Sanders’ stature within the Democratic Party’s race for a nominee is falling. That exacerbates the anger among what I call “nonpartisan liberals.” They hate All Things Democratic Party. Unfortunately, they use hashtag #rexcomus as an outlet.
Nothing is permanent
I like to think that most of these angry people will slink away after this fall’s election, should a Democrat defeat Trump. The nonpartisan liberals usually only come out for the Presidential election cycle. We saw this in 2018, when many red Congressional districts went blue, thanks to the hard work of mainstream Democrats. I anticipate a better, funnier, less-angry hashtag #rexcomus in 2021.
Chris Roberts suicide deserves the benefit of the doubt from us.
Chris Roberts, dead at 42
Chris Roberts died yesterday, down off Engineer’s Road in Plaquemine Parish. From Da Paper:
The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into Roberts’ death, which an agency spokesman described as an apparent suicide. The spokesman declined to elaborate.
A law enforcement source with knowledge of the situation said Roberts’ parents had reported him missing to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office earlier Wednesday. The Sheriff’s Office tracked his cellphone to a wooded area off Engineers Road in Belle Chasse, near the Jefferson Parish line, and found his body there.
Roberts resigned his seat on the Jefferson Parish Council last year, under the shadow of an extensive federal indictment. He served on the Council for fifteen years. Before his Council service, Roberts sat on the Jefferson Parish School Board. For those unfamiliar with the workings of the Jefferson Parish Council, the body consists of five district and two at-large members. Since so much of Jefferson Parish is unincorporated, the district members function as the “mayors” of their respective neighborhoods. When a district member decides an issue, the others usually respect their decision and vote as they do. Therefore, politicians like Roberts carry a lot of influence.
Until they’re indicted by feds, that is.
Fall from grace
In 2018, the Department of Justice dropped a pallet of bricks on Roberts, with an extensive indictment filing. Again, from Vargas at Da Paper:
Most of the counts related to his work managing a Terrytown-based landscaping company from which he allegedly used money for personal purchases. Roberts was also accused of hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in income over a seven-year period, and only filing amended tax returns accounting for the income after he learned of the federal inquiry.
The indictment painted a picture of Roberts as a profligate spender who used business and campaign funds to purchase a $16,000 engagement ring and spent thousands more at area casinos.
Then, to make matters worse:
In October, federal prosecutors added 10 new wire fraud counts to the indictment, ramping up the pressure on him. The new indictment also accused Roberts of improperly spending business funds.
So, the whole notion of deputies finding this guy dead in the woods, likely by his own hand, doesn’t sound far-fetched. When I read the initial tweets, it sounded like a classic case of, get your affairs in order and take care of your problems.
Benefit of the doubt
Chris Roberts presented himself as an arrogant asshole on social media. His attacks on Mike Yennni were bush league. His supporters say he worked hard for his district. The feds say he’s a thief. Suffering from depression was never part of Roberts’ public persona. That doesn’t mean it didn’t exist! So many people struggle with depression, and it does indeed claim them. I can see the weight of his world crashing in on him taking that toll.
“Doing the right thing for the family” isn’t the same these days. People do time for white-collar crime regularly. They come back from prison and often do right by the community. It’s not like a guy like Roberts faced hard time for his crimes.
Influence of family and friends
People coping with depression need a support network. If someone doesn’t feel that support, their depression can deepen. That can lead to suicide attempts as a cry for help. Or worse, you go out to the woods and end it. It’s certainly unclear how much support for his condition Roberts got from friends and family. It’s too late for Roberts, but it’s not too late for those you care for. Check your people.
Iran background reading includes The Shia Revival by Vali Nasr
Iran background reading
Remember when The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was the go-to for folks looking to keep up with current events? Thirteen years later, the dynamics have changed. While the sources expanded, the process of learning about interesting nonfiction has not.
I watched Stewart interview scholar Vali Nasr in 2006. Nasr appeared on the show as part of his book tour for The Shia Revival, his book about Shia Islam, Iran, and Iraq. It was fascinating! I learned a lot about Shia Islam, and even more about how Persians think.
Nasr’s stories of how Iranians think kept my interest. Since 1979, way too many Americans view Iran as some evil monolith. That’s changed over the years. The Iran-Iraq war killed so many on both sides. Watching in horror from the US wasn’t a spectator sport, it was a nightmare. Both countries reeled from that war for a decade. Still, there was no real need for Iran background reading.
I didn’t think much about Iran in the 80s-90s. That changed, post 9/11, when the focus on radical Islamists grew. In the early aughts, we heard and read more about Iraq, naturally. As we did, the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam entered our discourse. Nasr’s book offered excellent Iran background reading. The author opened a door into the monolith.
That bit of Iran background reading sparked ideas in my head. When I wrote a story about dragon eggs, the notion of an “ancient Persian trading concern” popped into the thought stream. I discovered that legends hidden cities in the desert extend to Iran. I learned, like on so many other subjects, monoliths are not black-and-white. There’s the government, there’s culture and religion, and there are the people who walk the tightrope through these.
Keep up with Vali Nasr
I plan to re-read The Shia Revival next week. Additionally, I followed Nasr on Twitter. So, while following him, I also added a couple of people recommended by Da Twittah who connect to him. Check him out. I’ll share some excerpts from the book in your new Zuckerd00d group, YatPundit’s Pub.
Let’s Talk New Orleans Episode 1
Let’s Talk New Orleans Episode 1
The inaugural episode drops here on YatPundit. We’re setting up a site for the pod this weekend. In the meantime, have a listen here.
We talk German history and food in New Orleans. German-speaking folks have come to New Orleans since the 1720s and are a major influence on the city’s culture. From John Law’s expeditions to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans, through the Colonial period, to the establishment of St. Mary’s Assumption Parish, the German influence remained strong. Listen to Ed and Jessie discuss this wonderful history.
Naturally, it was lunch at a German restaurant that got Jessie and Ed started on Germans in New Orleans. Bratz Y’all is a restaurant on Piety Street in the Bywater. Jessie’s been several times, and this was Ed’s first visit. The restaurant is next door to Pizza Delicious, a popular Bywater joint with a metro-wide following.
We started with a salted pretzel and the Bavarian Caraway Brie dip. So good!
Jessie ordered a special off the chalkboard, “The Big German” — a huge brat with sauerkraut.
Ed got the Hunter’s Schnitzel. Impressive! There will be a YatCuisine post on schnitzel now. This was incredibly good.
There was beer drunk as well. Overall, this was a wonderful lunch. We always try to have lunch once a month and catch up. Even when you’re back-and-forth on Da Twittah all the time,
Worth the trip
Bratz Y’all is very much worth the trip down to the Bywater. The ride there and back is a history lesson in itself!
Tell us what you think!
Please give us your feedback on the pod! Tweet at us, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A letter about wearing bras leads to #DearPrudence thoughts
The latest ep of Dear Prudence, Slate’s advice podcast and column, included a letter written by a woman asking advice about wearing bras. The letter and conversation between the host and his guest had me fascinated.
The “Dear Prudence” column goes back to the early days (if not the beginning) of Slate.com. I love it and always have. Prudence redefined advice columns. The column departed from traditional “Dear Abby” letters. They considered sex, serious relationship issues, and workplace thoughts. Over the years, several writers assumed the role of Prudence. Daniel Ortberg is the current incarnation of Prudence.
The column remains. It also morphed into a podcast, like so many things have. Danny brings a fascinating perspective to the conversation. His guests read letters and share their takes on the questions. Many are queer, another dimension that makes the pod so good.
So, Prudie and her guest this week, Tonya Mosley of KQED, read a letter about a woman who likes to take off her bra when she gets home. While that’s quite common, the problem comes in when company come over, after she’s lost the bra. Her husband wants her to put a bra back on. She doesn’t want to. The vibe from the letter indicates hubby thinks wife is inconsiderate to guests.
Prudie and Mosley roasted the husband. Danny (Prudie) is transitioning. He hated underwire bras. They both agreed that men who have never worn a bra don’t get this at all.
I have questions!
First, for y’all: would you put your bra back on?
Second: who has company over that would give shit? It’s evening. You escape reality in your home. Off comes the bra. If you knew guests were coming, would you have taken the bra off in the first place? This woman’s answer is, clearly, fuck yes.
What do you think?
It’s another Lit Thursday edition of YatPundit’s Pub 30-May-2019.
YatPundit’s Pub 30-May-2019
Two literary-themed brews on tap in YatPundit’s Pub 30-May-2019. First, we’ll talk about Memorial Day as a writing theme/prompt. Then we’ll review a novel, The Carousel Carver, by Perdita Buchan.
Memorial Day in New Orleans
While other parts of the country continue school well into June, Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the end of the K-12 school year in South Louisiana. There are two reasons for this. First, we start school early here. Up in New England, folks spend the “Indian Summer” days squeezing the last little bit of relaxation and daylight out of the summer season. They grudgingly go back to school after Labor Day. Many schools here used to start after Labor Day. They learned that kids fare better taking the hot days on the chin at the beginning of the year. By the end of May, they’re done. Done with a D. The other reason we end school in May is hurricanes. We build “storm days” into the schedule by starting in August. If things go badly, well, then we stretch into June. Otherwise, time gets built in.
So, by the end of May, families are ready for a vacation, even if it’s a quick run to the coast, to Florida, or to Disney. Let’s look at writing potential in that.
The Carousel Carver
A couple of months back, I received a message from a friend. He asked me if I’d read the galleys of a new novel from his friend’s publishing company. I said sure. The novel was The Carousel Carver, by Ms. Perdita Buchan. I figured, skim it, get a feel for it, say something nice. Well, that was the plan. I read the book and enjoyed it. While it’s not my regular reading fare, The Carousel Carver was a fun read. It’s a period piece, starting in Philly in 1912, following the main character to the Jersey Shore in the lead-up to World War II. I enjoyed it very much.
- Hardcover: 143 pages
- Publisher: Plexus Publishing, Inc. (May 14, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1940091047
- ISBN-13: 978-1940091044
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces