It’s time for a bit of post-Ida catblogging. Delphine is an indoor-outdoor cat who owns my friend Sheila and her hubby Jason who took this picture. This gap between their fence and the fallen one of their neighbors is Delphine’s temporary hunting blind. Squirrels, beware.
The last word goes to David Byrne and Cole Porter:
When I was a kid, the sporting green (SF Chronicle sports page) was full of talk of the San Francisco Giants annual June swoon. It happened like clockwork for 4 or 5 years in a row.
Looking back, I wonder if it was caused by playing home games at chilly Candlestick Park then road games in stadia where it was summer. Beats the hell outta me. In the immortal words of an old song:
But it’s a long, long while
From May to December
And the days grow short
When you reach September
I’m having my own swoon this year but in September, not June. Hence the quote from Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson’s September Song. Cue Ella’s version:
September 2021 has been a brutal month. I’ve spent the last week fighting with FedEx over my new computer, which has been sweltering in place for a week. FedEx plays fast and loose with the facts; it took me days to learn that “in transit” means in a trailer. Never say I didn’t teach you anything.
I’ve been a squeaky wheel, pressuring HP to pressure FedEx, which they finally did yesterday. Then a minor miracle happened: it’s supposed to be delivered sometime today. Hopefully, the PC wasn’t damaged by sweltering in a trailer across the lake.
Mine is not the only FedEx horror story here in Debrisville. A friend waited 18 days for a delivery. When I heard that alarm bells went off and I my inner lawyer emerged ready to do battle.
The whole inner lawyer thing is exhausting. I’d rather live peacefully but you gotta do what you gotta do when you gotta do it. I tried, however, not to get in the gotta with FedEx although I’m FedUp with their FuckUps. I just want this to end. I plan to avoid them whenever possible in the future. FedEx can go fuck itself.
People seem to think my head injury is the worst thing that happened to me this month. It was not. It only hurt for a few days. The blood gusher, the stapling, and the unstapling were eventful but not painful because of my high threshold of pain.
I’ve spent too much of September angry: at Entergy, at Mayor Teedy, at the fates over the death of a friend, and at FedEx. Anger is debilitating and has wrecked my sleep pattern. I’m hoping to get back to normal at some point in the near future.
The good news is that however rough it’s been I have it easy compared to others in Hurricane Ida’s path. The Gret Stet of Louisiana is full of destroyed houses, downed trees, damaged roofs, and leaky ceilings. I don’t have much to complain about in comparison to those folks but venting feels good. So vent I must and vent I do. Uh oh, that made me sound like Yogurt in Spaceballs…
I’m hoping to put my inner lawyer back in stasis now that things are a bit less bad except for that whole pesky pandemic thing. I wrote this personal essay in hopes of ending my September swoon. It’s cheaper than therapy, after all.
The last word goes to Lou Reed:
UPDATE: The PC arrived. It looks okay. Will set it up tomorrow per the suggestion of several people who know more about such things than I.
I have many things on my mind, so it’s time to dial back my role as your Hurricane Ida correspondent and write about some of the other weird shit happening in the news. I do have a few storm related items so we’ll begin there.
You may have noticed that the fundraising sticky atop the blog is gone. The Bayou Project has met its original goal, but they’re still raising money if you want to donate. Thanks to everyone who supported this kickass cause.
One thing people don’t know about me is that I have an excellent sense of smell. That’s why the Debrisville Post Ida Stank has bugged me so much. The phrase gag me with a spoon comes to mind.
I also have an inordinately high threshold of pain, which is why my head injury hasn’t bothered me much except on Bloody Monday. When I was a little leaguer, a batted ball broke my nose. My coach told my father, “This is the first kid I’ve seen that happen to who didn’t cry.” So it goes.
In more Teedy trash talk, the mayor has rolled out a new strategy. She’s deploying what she calls a Mardi Gras style pickup, which involves dump trucks and police escorts. Sounds better than takeout trash.
Mayor Teedy immediately undermined her policy by claiming that cops were needed because garbagemen had been threatened by hostile citizens. Say what?
This tweet from a State Rep describes what has happened across the city when the garbage trucks appear:
I don’t know what y’all are seeing…but when I saw garbage trucks in my neighborhood yesterday evening, the residents were treating the workers like the heroes they are. Praising them and offering them water, etc.
Let’s move on to some national potpourri to cover the smell of rotting shrimp shells.
The Woodward-Costa book is causing a sensation. The bit about Liar Liar Pence On Fire calling J Danforth Quayle for advice is hilarious as is Trump’s response:
“I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this,” and later said: “You’ve betrayed us. I made you. You were nothing.”
Neener, neener, neener. He forgot to threaten to hold his breath until he turned blue.
By my reckoning, that’s toddler tantrum eleventy-billion by the Impeached Insult Comedian.
And now a musical interlude inspired by the Trump tantrum:
Republicans suddenly believe in civilian control of the military. Why? General Milley went all-out to prevent war with China and military involvement in a Trump coup. Better to be Jiggs Casey than James Mattoon Scott. Those are Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster’s characters in Seven Days In May.
In the past, GOPers were outraged when Truman fired Gen. MacArthur, Carter fired Gen. Singlaub, and Obama fired Gen. McChrystal for insubordination and malakatude. How dare a Democratic president exercise the powers of their office?
There are Democrats who think President Biden should “drop the hammer” on recalcitrant senators Manchin and Sinema. Such a hammer does not exist in a 50-50 senate.
Speaking of hammers, I feel a musical interlude coming on:
At our Wednesday event there were a lot of calls for Biden to drop the hammer on Manchin and Sinema to get a vote on the latest version of the For the People Act. As I said at the event, my great worry is that he’s not dropping the hammer because he knows it won’t work. If a leader says something has to happen and then it doesn’t happen the leader is much off worse than he started. The thing he wanted to happen didn’t happen in any case.
We keep hearing about LBJ and how he knew how to bring the power of the presidency to bear. But wow … this is just bad history. How did LBJ get people to fall in line? In the 89th Congress, which was sworn in in January 1965, the Democrats held 68 senate seats. Just think about that for a second. 68 seats! Sure, there were a bunch of pro-segregation Dixiecrats. But LBJ had plenty of votes to spare. And there were only relatively few of them who opposed him in the way an opposition party might.
Repeat after me: 50-50 senate.
Joe Biden has forgotten more about the senate than most people will ever know.
With a 50-50 senate it’s all carrot and no stick.
It’s time to circle back to the post title. It’s been a brutal few weeks for me: the hurricane, my Ida related malady, losing my friend Will, and my bloody pratfall. Having said that, I’m doing okay: “Oh, you don’t know the shape I’m in.”
TFC, of course, stands for This Fucking City. We’re having another TFC moment after Hurricane Ida. I’ll get to the other T word in a minute.
We’re once again talking trash. The garbage piles up after a storm in Debrisville. Since there wasn’t a mandatory evacuation, the majority of New Orleanians are home. That, in turn, puts a stress on city services, which are poorly run on a good day. There are no good days in September of 2021.
Yesterday, the Cantrell administration proposed self-service trash takeout to supplement pickup by the hoppers and such. I am not making this up.
The proposal was greeted with derision because trash pickup was erratic at best before the storm. It even inspired a tirade from a popular morning news anchor:
I am one of the many folks who has not seen trash picked up since BEFORE Ida. This was an issue before the storm. UNACCEPTABLE!
N.O. residents can dispose of garbage at 2829 Elysian Fields.
Ms. Turk isn’t down for takeout trash, y’all. She’s experienced the Debrisville Post Ida Stank firsthand. Holy rancid rubbish, Batman.
Time to talk about the other T word: Teedy.
I’ve warmed to the notion of calling Mayor Latoya Cantrell Teedy. That’s black New Orleans slang for an auntie. Typically, a loud, bossy, and brassy auntie. Dr. A’s best local friend is a raging Teedy. If I called her that she’d yell at me thereby proving her Teediness.
The mayor is good at scolding people as is your average Teedy. It works for her. She even likes the nickname:
That’s not Teedy. She has a neck. Mayor Cantrell does not.
Trust me, I’m not endorsing her for reelection. If she had a well-known opponent, the trash issue is the sort of thing that loses elections for big city mayors. Unfortunately, Teedy’s challengers are all nobodies or weirdos. Besides, New Orleans reelected C Ray Nagin after Katrina and the Federal Flood. More on that shiny-headed boob in a moment.
Having praised her with faint damns, I have something good to say about Mayor Teedy. Until her trial by trash, she’s been good in a crisis. She’s a COVID hawk, so am I. And she stayed in the city after the storm unlike one of her predecessors.
C Ray Nagin spent a lot of time at his Dallas condo after Katrina. He was MIA as mayor for most of his second term. Even if it fails the smell test, Mayor Teedy is trying to do something about her trash trouble. C Ray would have jokingly suggested, “Y’all take your trash to New Orleans East. You already do it, man. That’s a joke, man.”
Hey man, trash isn’t funny, man. Go shine your head, asshole. Oops, I wrote that dialogue, but he could have said it, man. C Ray said man a lot, man.
Mocking Mayor Nagin was a vital part of the Spirit of ’05. My pal Liprap called him The Walking Id. She spoke the truth, man.
Life in New Orleans has always been hard. We’re used to this shit. That’s why I revived the Debrisville nickname. That’s why I call it TFC: This Fucking City.
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.
You know what that means, Talking Heads get the last word:
That concludes this tale of takeout trash in TFC: This Fucking City.
That was probably TMI for social media but there’s never enough I for First Draft. I rarely play straight man here but am willing to do so on the Tweeter Tube. My friends may be cruel, but they’re funny. Click on this link for more merriment at my expense. My Twitter handle is Shecky, but I feel more like Rodney Dangerfield right now.
Here’s what happened. It was the stupidest accident I’ve ever had and I’m a lifelong klutz. We soaked our trash bin to remove the Debrisville Post Ida Stank from it. I flipped open the lid, then tried to lean it over to pour out the schmutz. That’s when wet grass acted as a banana peel, and I did a pratfall. My head bashed into the rim of the open bin. That’s where things got bloody.
My forehead turned into a gusher reminiscent of the scene in Giant where James Dean strikes oil on Rock Hudson’s ranch.
Since I was doing dirty work, I was wearing an old t-shirt, which I turned into a tourniquet of sorts. Still, the blood flowed like the Monty Python parody of Sam Peckinpah:
I called not Elizabeth Taylor but Dr. A who took me to an Urgent Care joint to get stapled. I already needed a tetanus shot after stepping on a roofing screw at the cemetery cleanup in honor of my late friend Will. That’s what I get for doing yard work.
I’m at the stage of life where everything reminds me of a story. This is an odd one. Long ago and far away, I worked as a paralegal on a massive anti-trust case. All the users of cement were suing all the cement companies. I was firmly on the plaintiffs’ side.
I worked on the document production at Kaiser Cement HQ in Oakland. In the pre-digital age that meant micro-filming documents. I’d sort through the paperwork and select stuff for them to shoot. It was dull, laborious work. FYI, Shapiro worked at the home office as a coder. We go back farther than either of us is willing to admit.
You’re probably wondering where this is leading. Me too.
I spent a lot of time assessing expense accounts; some valid, others dubious. There was one sales rep who used a lot of staples. I dubbed him 12-staple McGahey. I’m not quite sure if that was the name but he was a Scotsman.
I’m certainly not a Scotsman but one could call me 6-staple Adrastos right now. I cannot wait for the stapling to end and for the scabbing to commence.
A closing message in the spirit of Karloff as interpreted by Phil Hartman:
It’s been 15 days since Hurricane Ida slammed into Southeast Louisiana, but it remains the focus of my attention; such as it is. I’m still tired, fatigued, and exhausted. The storm is much less serious for New Orleans than Katrina, but I’m sixteen years older. It’s less clear if I’m wiser for the extra years and pounds. So it goes.
My focus has been hyper local since Ida struck. I haven’t been following the national political news as closely as usual. I know that the MSM is still wrong about Afghanistan and that Joe Manchin is still an attention whore and drama queen. I’ll get back up to snuff soon enough but I haven’t missed pondering the posturing of the Sinematic senator or the Turtle’s machinations.
Many of us had to throw food away because of the epic loss of power. That, in turn, resulted in the Debrisville Post Ida Stank. Whether or not your trash has been collected or not, the stench is there. It’s giving us Katrina veterans flashbacks to the stinky fridges that dotted our cityscape in 2005 such as this one:
Cajun Tomb, 2005.
This Zappa song says it all:
In addition to the stank of ’05, the spirit of ’05 is alive and well. My do-gooder friend Carolyn is busy helping people. Not bad for a former teevee news reporter whose Twitter handle is @NewsCarolyn. She recently bought a house in St. Bernard Parish aka Da Parish. I’ve been trying to get her to change her handle to @YatCarolyn to no avail. If you’re wondering what a Yat is click here.
One thing that’s entirely different from 2005 is the presence of social media. I used Twitter as a club with which to beat the local utility, Entergy. They’re the cartoon villain of this crisis. I enlisted the help of councilmembers Joe Giarusso and Jay Banks in my dispute with Entergy over their sloppy work in my hood. Thanks, gentlemen.
The featured image is the before picture of the 700 block of Valence Street, here’s an after picture:
It looks better now but I wanted to stick it to Entergy.
The drowned city of 2005 was a man-made event, which is why we call it the Federal Flood. Hurricane Ida was a wind-driven event that’s an example of Mother Nature at her bitchiest. New Orleans is fairly hard hit BUT the epicenter was in St. John, Lafourche, and Terrebonne parishes.
Many New Orleans eateries used to carry an item called the “wop salad.” I took the pulse of my community and found only one place in the metro area that still calls it that. It’s Rocky and Carlo’s in Chalmette. It’s in St. Bernard Parish which once had a councilman named Joey DiFatta. That’s apropos of nothing but I miss him. It’s doubtful that the Chalmatians feel the same way.
I realize that quote is of marginal relevance, but this is a potpourri post in malodorous drag. I usually loathe the smell of potpourri, but it beats the hell out of the Debrisville Post Ida Stank. Ugh just ugh.
Since I mentioned Valence Street and the bayou, the last word goes to my former 13th Ward homies, the Neville Brothers:
I’ve meant to do this for several days but I’ve never been so tired in my life. Heat exhaustion and grief are a powerful combination.
It also took time to find a group that’s doing direct on-the-ground relief in one of the hardest hit areas, Terrebonne Parish. They were recommended to me by several friends with ties to the bayou parishes.
This go fund me is through the Helio Foundation. It is being run by people who live in Terrebonne Parish. Directors Johnathan Foret & Reagan Creppel have been social workers for our people and are on the ground with Dirk Guidry helping people stationed at the Ward 7 in Chauvin, LA. They are from the area and understand the needs of their people.
The national media coverage of Hurricane Ida has dried up. That’s why it’s important to support the bayou fund. If you want to join me in contributing, please click here.
It’s been a longer and stranger trip than expected. We’re fine. Our house is fine. The cat is fine. We evacuated to friends in the suburbs who have a whole house generator. We arrived acquaintances and left good friends. Thanks, Brenda and Mike.
We have the Gret Stet trifecta: power, internet, and cable.
The city is beaten up but it’s not Katrina bad.
I am beat, beat, beat today. I’ll fill in some details either later today or tomorrow. All I wanna do is see Erika Jayne tell Sutton to STFU on RHBH. Sorry for the acronyms but I am tired, tired, tired,
I’d like to thank the First Draft team for keeping the lights on when I didn’t have any myself. Tommy T, Michael F, Shapiro, and Cassandra not only rock, they rule.
Finally, my old friend Ethan Brown reminded me that I coined the term Debrisville after Katrina and the Federal Flood. In fact, my maiden First Draft post was called Greetings From Debrisville. It’s high time for a revival. Hence the post title.