Category Archives: New Orleans

The Shape I’m In

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:

TFC: This Fucking City.

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:

Josh Marshall has a thing or two to say about hammers:

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.”

The Band gets the last word:

TFC: Teedy’s Trash Trouble

The Root Beer Blues, 2005 photograph by Dr. A.

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:

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.

The Stapling

I love old horror movies. I’ve always been a Vincent Price kinda guy, but I now find myself identifying with Boris Karloff. Here’s why:

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:

FIRE BAD!

Wet grass bad too.

The last word goes to the Staples Singers:

The Debrisville Post Ida Stank Blues

The 700 block of Valence St.

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.

A reminder that First Draft is supporting the Bayou Fund in its effort to help the people of Terrebonne Parish. Click here if you too believe that Our Fate Is Your Fate

The people of Southeast Louisiana got a break from our grim current reality by watching our beloved New Orleans Saints obliterate the Green Bay Packers 38-3. Sorry Athenae. Scout, and Doc.

Jeopardy host wannabe Aaron Rodgers played an abysmal game. He looked rustier than the Entergy towers that fell during Ida. I had a bit of fun at his expense after he threw some interceptions:

No love for the second tweet? People have already forgotten Mike Richards pulling a Dick Cheney and selecting himself as Alex Trebek’s successor. The malakatude, it burns.

Speaking of Jeopardy and Da Parish this quote comes from a 2017 post entitled First Draft Potpourri For $400, Alex:

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 See The Light

I had hoped to come roaring back with tales of my Hurricane Ida experiences. Most involve heat, sweat, and tedium. I’ve also been sick with a combination of heat exhaustion and a mild case of CO poisoning. My back fence neighbor’s full house generator is too close to our bedroom. It’s both noisy and noxious.

I spent the beginning of the week angry at Entergy and my back fence neighbor. Then I heard that my friend Will Samuels had died of cancer at the age of 52. He was a larger than life character who was a glass 3/4 full optimist. My rage died down upon thinking of his wife Jennifer and young daughter Livia. We’re good friends and I had only seen them once in the last year and a half because of the pandemic.

I know what what Will would have said about my incandescent rage: “I thought you were a get even not mad kinda guy.”

I try to be.

We cleaned up the cemetery at which Will be laid to rest this morning. I saw many friends who I haven’t seen since before the lockdown. It’s a reminder of how much we’ve lost during the pandemic. It’s a sign of how much I love the Samuels family that I did what amounted to yard work today. I don’t usually do yard work but did it to honor Will. He would have found it hilarious.

Here’s a picture from happier times on the parade route near Adrastos World Headquarters:

Jennifer, Livia, Will, Adrastos, and Greg.

Dr. A and I were helped by many people during Ida’s aftermath. We helped a few ourselves. It’s what New Orleanians do.

We’re masking up and attending Will’s memorial service tomorrow morning. I hope it will lead to my writing more but I’m also having computer problems. It was a struggle just to write this post. Oy just oy.

When I heard that my power had finally been restored, I thought of an old song by my Bay Area homies. The last word goes to Hot Tuna:

Adrastos Update

From Adrastos:

Dr A, Claire, and I are fine. Just hot and sweaty. There was minimal damage to our house but the power is still out. Absent a return of power, we’ll be going to some friends in the Shreveport area tomorrow.

I’ll have more to say by Saturday.

That is all.

The Spirit Of ’05 Revisited

Root Beer Blues. Photograph by Dr. A.

In 2018, I decided to do something different on the Katrinaversary. As Hurricane Ida arrives in the Gret Stet of Louisiana, I’m posting it again on the 16th anniversary of the storm that changed my life:

I hate to go Dickensian on your asses but the period after Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood was indeed the best of times and the worst of times. My Katrina experience was nothing compared to many people but it has stayed with me in a way that few life experiences have.

Each Katrinaversary gets a bit less painful. Today almost feels like an ordinary day but I still have the survivor’s guilt I wrote about lwhen parts of New Orleans flooded on my birthday:

It’s a common malady for those of us who live in what has come to be known as “the sliver by the river.” We did not flood in 2005, so I do not like arguing with those who did. It makes me uncomfortable and uncharacteristically deferential. In the year immediately after the storm, I  cringed every time I had to tell *our* Katrina story to those worse off since we were so lucky. We did have $20K worth of damage and were in exile for 7 weeks but that was nothing compared to what so many others went through. Hence my survivor’s guilt and this weekend’s survivor’s guilt flashback. I re-posted my account of Dr. A and my sneaking into the city at First Draft in 2015. Here’s the link.

As bad as that period was for all concerned, there was an esprit de corps that I miss. Everyone was in the same leaky boat so we helped one another out. Spontaneous and random acts of kindness were commonplace. I recall a day when we helped our neighbors duct tape their dead refrigerators and drag them to the curb. It was dirty, stinky work but it felt good to help.

Cajun Tomb. Photograph by Dr. A.

The Spirit of ’05 endured for several years, which looking back is remarkable. It could not last forever but those were heady days. I wish we could recapture the camaraderie but crisis brings out both the best and worst in people. And when the crisis ends, everything changes.  I met many people after the storm, made some enduring friendships and others that were more fleeting. But I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything, it has made me who I am now.

The lasting impact of the storm on my life is that I started blogging. I never expected to still be at it thirteen years after the day that everything changed, but here I am. I landed at First Draft because of Scout Prime who not only wrote about her experiences helping in New Orleans after the storm, but came up with the idea for the Rising Tide conference. My friendships with Scout and Athenae are two that have endured over the years. Thanks for letting me tell jokes here, y’all.

Speaking of enduring friendships, here’s an apt tweet from my dear friend Julie:

In past years, the blog has stayed dark for the entire Katrinaversary thereby allowing this solemn image to dominate:

I decided it was time for a change. I also wanted to mention my empathy for the people of Puerto Rico where  2,975 American citizens died as a result of Hurricane Maria. It’s what happens when you have bad leadership: in our case it was the Bush-Cheney gang, with Maria it’s the Trump-Pence regime; both of whom lost the popular vote, then lost the thread when it came to hurricane relief. It’s what happens when you give power to people who hate government. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

The Spirit of ’05 is a touchstone for all that’s good about human nature. It’s still lurking in a city that has changed radically since the storm and its aftermath. Here’s how I put it in a post five days before the 10th Katrinaversary:

After the water receded, there was a second inundation of people flooding into the city. Some were do-gooders, some were hipsters seeking the next trend, still others were here to make a buck. Very few of them understood the essence of New Orleans and what makes the city and its inhabitants tick. Many of them, especially on social media, have come up with an orthodoxy of what it means to be a New Orleanian. That has come to be known as copping a NOLAier than thou attitude, a swell phrase that was coined by Karen Dalton Beninato.  Some of the NOLAier than thou set seem to have spent way too much time watching Treme. Instead of a Cabaret, life is apparently a second line, old chum.

On the 13th anniversary, we continue to struggle with what happened that August day. There’s still a special feeling among those of who went through it together. If only we could fully recapture the Spirit of ’05.

The last word goes to Peter Gabriel with a song that’s been on my mind and in my head thirteen times over:

Just What I Needed

It had been a quiet hurricane season thus far in South Louisiana. That seems to have ended today. It’s still too early to tell as the hurricane hunters will be flying into the system this afternoon. That’s when the cone of uncertainty will replace the spaghetti models. It’s just what I needed. Oy just oy.

This is the one time of the year that I’m less hard on the New Orleans freak out set. The 16th Katrinaversary looms on Sunday so trigger isn’t just Roy Rogers’ horse right now.

 - Find & Share on GIPHY

Does that GIF qualify as a wakeup call? Maybe so.

I usually loathe colorized images but Trigger stepping out on Roy was irresistible. I hope Dale Evans didn’t mind…

No media bashing from me today. Michael F has taken care of that. What’s not to love about his Liberty Valence inspired title?

In New Orleans pandemic news, the mayor’s crackdown has borne fruit. More and more people are getting vaccinated because of the mandate. The Saints are down with it too. They had a fake home game that required either vaxx proof or a recent PCR test. I approve as I did of Jameis Winston’s performance in the fake game. It looks as if he’ll be the Saints QB. Hopefully, he’ll live down the idea that he has a million-dollar arm and five-dollar head. Stay tuned.

I’d like to hit a few high points in the news Odds & Sods style.

Get Kraken: US District Judge Linda Parker brought the hammer down on Sidney Powell and her pack of lying Trumper lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker for the Eastern District of Michigan referred the team of lawyers — who sought to overturn the election in courts through a series bogus claims — for suspension or disbarment while granting requests for sanctions.

Parker also ordered the “Kraken” team — which included Trump-aligned lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood — to pay for legal fees for the city of Detroit and state of Michigan, and referred them for “at least twelve (12) hours of continuing legal education in the subjects of pleading standards (at least six hours total) and election law (at least six hours total).”

Parker wrote in the ruling that the “Kraken” lawyers had tried to create a “haze of confusion, commotion, and chaos” around the election.

“And this case was never about fraud — it was about undermining the People’s faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so,” Parker wrote.

Judge Parker is my new hero. These are cracking sanctions given to the Kraken shysters. Their various state bar associations will be forced to have disbarment hearings after a referral from a federal judge. This is some serious shit.

It’s time to get cracking on another segment but first a word from Nick Lowe:

They don’t call him the Jesus of Cool for nothing, y’all.

Tantrum Of The Day: It goes to the Impeached Insult Comedian who flipped out over subpoenas issued by the House Dipshit Insurrection Committee. Here’s another Garbage Pail Kid for your kollection:

I guess that was the North Korea edition.

Herschel Herschel Herschel: Herschel Walker remains the greatest player in Georgia Bulldog football history. But he hasn’t lived in the Peach State for decades. His wife is under investigation for voter fraud but Herschel is still running for Raphael Warnock’s senate seat.

Not only is Herschel running as a Black Republican, he’s running as the blackest sort of Republican: a Trumper. He used to work for the Kaiser of Chaos before the USFL was fired:

It will be interesting to see how Herschel’s GOP opponents handle what could be called his Eve-Sybil issue:

The book, “Breaking Free,” … explores his diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder, once known as multiple personality disorder, a condition he said he developed to combat the bullying he faced as an overweight child with a speech disorder.

Since then, however, reports have documented the violent threats he leveled in 2005 against his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, which led to a judge granting her a protective order. She has said she felt “there was somebody there that was evil” when he threatened her.

Finally, I’ve long pronounced Walker’s first name with a Jersey accent as in Hoy-shell, Hoy-shell, Hoy-shell. He did play for the New Jersey Generals, after all.

The post title refers to the possible approach of possible Hurricane Ida. I had an Aunt Ida on my mother’s side. I didn’t know her well. My only memory of her is that she worked for Marlin Perkins the Wild Kingdom guy.

Beware of the Idas of August.

The last word goes to the Cars performing Just What I Needed at Live Aid:

 

The Katrina-Kabul Connection

One reason I’m feeling so cantankerous of late is that it’s August. Everyone in New Orleans gets tetchy at this time of year as the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent Federal Flood approaches. It’s been 16 years since the most important moment of my life. You might not be reading this if not for that epic disaster. It’s why I became an internet writer or blogger as we used to call ourselves.

I’m struck by the similarity of the MSM’s coverage of Katrina’s aftermath and the collapse of the Afghan government. The words that come to mind are shrill, hyperbolic, and over the top. To watch CNN after the storm was to believe there was widespread looting, arson, and mayhem. The looped footage typically included people clinging to rooftops, stealing teevees, and images of the Beer Looter Dude. Over and over again.

In August and September of 2005, the MSM floated unsupported rumors of murders at evacuation sites such as the Super Dome and Convention Center. Over and over again.

I recall watching a reporter do a standup in front of some burning houses and proclaiming that the “Garden District is on fire.” It was not. The burning houses were on Napoleon Avenue, which is not in the Garden District. The looped footage and misattribution continued. Over and over again.

There *was* chaos in New Orleans after Katrina and the Federal Flood but it was not as widespread as the MSM coverage would have you believe. That coverage inspired my skepticism of all on-the-fly live reporting from a disaster area or war zone.

In 2021, the MSM is whipping up hysteria over events in Afghanistan by looping footage of children being lifted over razor wire and desperate people hanging onto airplanes. Over and over again.

There *is* some chaos after the fall of Kabul. Losing armies tend to collapse at the end of a losing war. Make no mistake about it: the side we backed lost this war. Much of the MSM, however, seems disinterested in reporting items such as this:

As always, Chris Wallace is willing to sail against the prevailing winds of his own network.

As for the lemmings of the MSM, they prefer headlines like the “Calamity Plane” headline in the feature image. It’s a good pun but an inaccurate headline.

Continue reading

Righteous Indigination

I’ve been angry all week. It’s not the ranting, raving, and yelling kind of anger. It’s more of a slow burn over the egregious stupidity and malakatude in the news. I dislike feeling this angry, I prefer to be detached from the news of the day, ice it down with sarcasm, and dismiss it with mockery. I used to compare my style with Athenae’s by calling her fire and me ice. I’m feeling fiery this week, but at least it’s with righteous indignation.

I remain vexed and worse by the MSM coverage of Afghanistan:

In its desperation to nail Biden, the DC MSM has neglected to mention the creeps who got us into the Afghan mess:

Cable news is full of former Bush officials attacking the withdrawal. The worst are the Never Trumpers who are showing their true colors by waving their neo-con freak flags. Imagine if Biden had stayed with the small force bequeathed to him by Trump. The Taliban was still likely to make their move and 2,500 soldiers could not have defeated them. That would have led to a genuine bloodbath.

Speaking of former President* Pennywise, there’s a conspiracy theory that he set a trap for Biden with last year’s deal with the Taliban. While it may have turned into a trap, I’m skeptical that it was planned. For one thing, Trump never looks more than a week down the road. For another, he expected to win the election and still believes he did. I think he could pass a polygraph test about the “rigged election.” Believe me.

One more tweet from someone else on how Democrats *should* be reacting:

I for one refuse to give an inch and be reasonable. Any withdrawal was going to be messy. It’s what happens when you lose a war.

Stick to your guns, Mr. President. The war was wrong to begin with. It’s time for it to end.

Also inspiring my righteous indignation are the Covid deniers and mask warriors. Anyone surprised?

Freedom, man.

Yesterday, a friend reported about going to his local CVS. It was jam packed with people buying a new home COVID test in order to comply with the city’s vaccination/test mandate. The tests are five bucks a pop and only valid for 72 hours. It would be much easier and cheaper to get jabbed but that would violate their rights or some such shit.

Freedom, man.

I wrote about wingnut preacher Tony Spell for Bayou Brief last year. He flooded a state education board meeting with his unmasked parishioners forcing them to stop debating whether or not school kids should mask up. Governor Edwards thinks so and so do all rational people. Freedom. man.

We’re all sick and tired of being sick and tired of the anti-mask and anti-vaxx crowd. The burden of everything COVID related is being placed on those of us doing the right thing. I hate wearing a mask, but I do it. Adults do things they don’t like because they’re the right thing to do. Something the Covid deniers will never understand. Hence my righteous indignation.

Freedom, man.

The last word goes to Ron Sexsmith with a song whose title is a play on the word indignation.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Summertime Blues

Two Boats by Henri Matisse.

I’m keeping the nautical theme this week. That harbor water looks cool as well as cooling. Anything to beat the August heat in New Orleans. Merci, Monsieur Matisse.

Dr. A is visiting family in Richmond, Virginia. She’s braver than I am and flew. She double masked on the flight and seems to have survived nicely. My goal during her absence is to convince young Claire Trevor to become a lap cat. Last night, she sat on an end table by the couch and nearly jumped in my lap. Close but no cigar. Stay tuned.

I did something last Monday that I never do on First Draft. I complained about restaurant service in a post about the difficulty of living in TFC: This Fucking City. It’s important to me since I come from a restaurant family. I suspect you’ve heard of Greek diners. My folks never ran one, but my extended family is honeycombed with restauranteurs.

In this case, a public complaint resulted in burying the hatchet (cleaver?) with the eatery in question:

Stay tuned.

This week’s theme song was written in 1958 by Eddie Cochran and his manager Jerry Capeheart. It’s been covered many times but I’m sticking to three versions. We begin with the Cochran original followed by Brian Setzer who played Eddie in the 1987 Richie Valens biopic La Bamba,

As far as I’m concerned, the definitive version of Summertime Blues is by The Who. It’s long been a highlight of their live shows, especially when John Entwistle was still with us.

We’ll continue our search for a cure for the summertime blues after the jump.

Continue reading

Book Review: My Father When Young

This Tisserand tome was my birthday present from Dr. A. Thanks, babe.

Michael Tisserand is the author of The Kingdom Of Zydeco, Sugarcane Alley, and Krazy: George Herriman In Black and White as well as a charter member of the NOLA Twitter Pun Community. He’s better known at First Draft as the Parade Route Book Signer. I might as well share the historic Twitter exchange:

Sometimes Twitter can be fun.

Michael’s latest book is a collaboration with his late father Jerry Tisserand. An alternate title for My Father When Young could be What I Did During The Lockdown.

After his father’s funeral in 2008, Michael brought a bunch of boxes home to New Orleans, which he didn’t open until the pandemic. One box contained a treasure trove of slides:

“I pulled a few slides at random and held them to the light. Then a few more. At first, I didn’t understand what I was seeing. Then I realized: the photos had been taken by someone I never knew—my father when young.”

Michael had no idea that Jerry’s hobby had been photography. Tisserand the Elder stopped snapping pictures when he became a family man. Not only was Jerry a photography buff, he had an uncanny eye for a compelling image.

I recall when Michael first started posting his father’s pictures on his Facebook feed. I believe my initial reaction was: Damn, these are good. Others encouraged him to do something special with his father’s treasure trove. A book was born.

The most startling revelation to the son was that the father had visited New Orleans during Carnival 1959. Jerry’s pictures of the French Quarter on that long ago Mardi Gras day document a lost world. He also inadvertently stumbled into members of one of the first gay carnival krewes, Yuga. Jerry’s pictures of gay Mardi Gras don’t judge, they document. That’s the essence of good street photography.

The book is divided into three parts. The first, Taking Leave features pictures taken when Jerry was in the Army and stationed in Europe. My favorite European snapshot was taken in Barcelona and is called Children and Pigeons. Its centerpiece is a toddler dressed in a white church dress. I hate pigeons but I love this picture.

The second part of My Father When Young documents Jerry Tisserand’s return home to Evansville Indiana, which he called E-Town. I have conjoined favorites: pictures called Lighter and Smoke. They depict some Hoosier ladies lighting up cigars. I’m not a fan of cigar smoke but I am a fan of these images. They remind me of this Cole Porter song:

Anything Goes fits the third part of My Father When Young as well. I mentioned Jerry Tisserand’s Mardi Gras trip earlier. It’s the grand finale of the book in a segment named for a Professor Longhair song: Go To The Mardi Gras.

My favorite Mardi Gras photo is called Searching For A Zulu Coconut. In part, because it shows how much smaller Zulu’s floats were in 1959. The guy begging for what remains Zulu’s signature throw isn’t stretching or jumping, he’s hoping to be handed a prized coconut. I like smaller-scale Carnival. It’s one reason I’m in Krewe du Vieux.

My Father When Young is a work of love. Michael’s introduction tells the story of the father he knew and the gifted photographer he discovered. That makes Michael a lucky man. I’ve had friends who learned less salubrious things when they went through their parents’ possessions. Instead, Michael learned that, for a brief moment, his father was the Robert Frank of E-Town.

I mentioned that My Father When Young was a birthday present from Dr. A. That led to another exchange with the author:

He also threatened to make me recreate the book cover when it’s re-autographed. I couldn’t do a headstand when I was young and thin let alone now. Never gonna happen, my friend.

It’s time to grade Michael’s lockdown homework. I give My Father When Young 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A. Well done, sir.

You’re probably expecting the last word to go to Ringo Starr with George Harrison’s Photograph. I like to keep my readers off balance, so the last word goes to Gary Louris with the opening track of his new album, Jump For Joy. Its alternate title could be: What I Did During The Lockdown. Well done, sir.

Life In TFC: The Summer Of Our Discontent

I’m paraphrasing, not misquoting Shakespeare’s Richard III. The Stratford Man never lived through a New Orleans summer, so what did he know from seasonality? The TFC, of course, stands for This Fucking City my acerbic nickname for my city at its worst.

After Katrina and the Federal Flood, I called New Orleans Debrisville. Perhaps I should call it Diseaseville as the Delta variant has struck hard. This time, cases among children are on the rise.

I went to bed cranky last night and awakened even crankier. Yesterday was not a good day for residents of New Orleans or for me personally.

On the personal front, Dr. A and I dined out with a friend whose birthday is near mine. We went to a highly regarded and nationally known local eatery, Toups’ Meatery. I’d even rooted for Chef-Owner Isaac Toups when he competed on Top Chef.

The food was good, the service was slow and haphazard, but we were patient and polite. We’d ordered a three-course meal and at the 2 hour mark had not received dessert. Our first complaint was met with a sneer by our server who proceeded to ignore us. Our second complaint to the manager produced results but by then we’d been seated for 2 hours and 15 minutes. I’m a patient person but not that patient, especially since other diners received prompt service. I was angry, so I did not enjoy my dessert.

It was my second time at Toups’ Meatery: the first went well, the second was hell. The third time will not be the charm because it won’t happen. As the restauranteur Danny Meyer has said, “The first time you go for the food. The second time for the hospitality.” BTW, Meyer is requiring staff and indoor diners at his restaurants to provide proof of vaccination. Smart man.

It felt good to vent. Thanks for listening. On to more significant matters.

The big New Orleans news yesterday was the second cancellation of Jazz Fest 2021. I’d regarded the fall rescheduling as an act of hubris. Even then the Delta variant was at work in the UK, India, and elsewhere. The re-cancellation seemed inevitable, but I won’t say “I told you so” because I have friends among the players, vendors, and others who work Jazz Fest. They’re taking another hit after TFC and Jazz Fest bigwigs gave them false hope by moving the event to the fall. Wishing and hoping ain’t getting as the old saying goes.

Jazz Fest honcho Quint Davis tried to make it “too big to fail” by scheduling a Rolling Stones day. Again. The first was supposed to be in 2019, but it was cancelled due to Mick Jagger’s health problems. It would be funny if it didn’t affect the livelihoods of people I care about, but it does so it’s not funny.

This latest blow to the local culture and economy was greeted with anger and dismay by New Orleanians on social media. I share their anger at the selfishness and stupidity of the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers. They’re why we can’t have nice things as the saying goes. Life in TFC has always been tough, tough, tough, but this is ridiculous.

A case study in Gret Stet COVID era malakatude occurred across Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany Parish. It’s the richest and most Republican parish in Louisiana. One would expect prosperous people to be well-educated and receptive to science and medicine. For years, Gret Stet GOPers told us that all the good people of Louisiana are Republicans. The Trump regime blew that notion to smithereens.

Last week’s school board meeting was a clusterfuck. The Mask Warriors insisted that mandatory masking was a communistic infringement on their freedom, man. Trust me, if this were a communist country, they would have disappeared after their fatuous protests. Freedom, man.

This sort of idiotic protest is happening across the South and in Red States generally. They seem to believe the COVID BIG LIE that it’s no big whoop, just a worse form of the flu. If that’s the case, why are there 617K+ COVID related deaths?

I’ll call it what it is: the freedom to die and infect others. Freedom, man isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So much for being pro-life.

A reminder to all the stubborn and stupid people out there:

FYI, I dislike wearing a mask, but I do it to protect myself and others from the virus. It’s a simple act that saves lives, so the discomfort is worth it.

These are tough times, they do not need to be made tougher by rampant stupidity and selfishness. The Delta wave was going to happen, but it didn’t need to be this bad. That’s why I used the image from Samuel Fuller’s Underworld USA. We’re being mugged by a reality that other choose to ignore. Shame on them.

That concludes this rant about the Summer of our Discontent In TFC. The last word goes to the Rolling Stones with a song I quoted earlier. She-doo-be.

Ryne Hancock: Do The Right Thing, Cleveland

Towards the end of June, I was a guest of a local rapper by the name of E.D. Nix, who was celebrating the release of his brand-new album “Blvck Economics”.

Midway through the rooftop party, I looked off in the direction of Municipal Auditorium, a hulking white elephant that is located in the Treme, one of the oldest black neighborhoods in the United States. The more I took in the view from the 925 Common building, I thought about the ancestors that paved the way for us to have a rooftop party to celebrate black excellence.

As soon as local comedian Mark Caesar finished speaking, I took to the mic and gave a small speech.

“We are standing here on the shoulders of those who came before us,” I said, “Our paths to this point in time was created by the footprints of our ancestors.”

Less than two weeks after that rooftop party speech, I told that same story to Jay Banks, who represents the New Orleans City Council district I live in, on my podcast.

“Each day that I go to work,” he told me during our conversation, “I know I’m standing on the shoulders of those who came before me.”

In the black community, respecting our elders is something that is ingrained in us from birth. That’s not to say to blindly agree with everything our elders do or say but respect the work they put in to put us as a community into a better position.

In the case of the primary race between Nina Turner and Shontel Brown, it’s a battle of a chaos agent against a rising star in the Democratic Party in the state of Ohio.

Despite the fact I believe in a lot of the stuff Nina Turner says (as I did with Bernie), I feel that constantly operating from a point of rage as well not finding a middle ground much less knowing how to compromise is something that would turn me off as a voter.

Not to mention the fact that the rallies, save for that Dr. Cornel West character that shows up out of hibernation every four or five years, look as unseasoned and bland as a cookout in a lily-white Chicago suburb when the congressional district that Nina wants to represent is 53% black.

It’s as if Nina wants to basically cut off the noses of black voters because in her mind, they’re the establishment and what’s wrong with the Democratic Party.

With Shontel Brown, you see a positive vibe and a reasonable message that can attract the main voting base of the Democratic Party; older black voters and of course, black women.

It’s why Brown, not Turner, earned the blessings of elders like Joyce Beatty and Jim Clyburn.

In the eyes of Clyburn and Beatty, they see themselves in Brown. They know she’s going to continue their legacy in Washington.

That being said, Cleveland, do the right thing. Vote for someone that isn’t going to Washington to be some chaos agent and give bulletin board material for the GOP.

Vote Shontel.

Malaka Of The Week: Beth Mizell

The Gret Stet lege made history this week, holding the first ever veto override special session. Both houses are required to override with a 2/3 vote. The session was a flop: the lege did not override any of Gov. Edwards’ vetoes. It was a great relief because of two measures: a “freedom, man” concealed carry bill and a ban on transgender folks in school sports. The sponsor of the latter bill was State Senator Beth Mizell. And that is why she is malaka of the week.

I have a confession: I don’t follow the doings at the state lege as closely as a pundit should. They do some crazy shit, and I don’t want my blood pressure to spike. I did, however, follow the Veto Session. That would have made a good pseudonym for Vito Spatafore when he was outed and fled to New Hampshire in the final season of The Sopranos.

Back to the Gret Stet lege.

Mizell is a Republican who hails from Franklinton. It’s a small town in rural Washington Parish. Even though it’s only 70 miles away from New Orleans, it might as well be a thousand miles. Some call those folks rednecks, I prefer the term peckerwoods. It’s more evocative.

Mizell was the original sponsor of the hateful and unnecessary anti-trans bill. The senate overrode Gov. Edwards’ veto, but the house did not. I guess they had a fleeting moment of sanity.

Mizell claimed that transgender folks in sports was the most important issue for the people of the Gret Stet of Louisiana. I have my doubts that these claims are true:

“If you have not heard the voices of the large majority of people in this state by emails, by phone calls, by personal visits, there’s no words I can give you,”

I have a word for this: malakatude. Bigotry is another word that comes to mind.

It remains weird to live in such a blue city in such a red state. The lege is full of people who hate New Orleans. One reason they hate us is our diversity and tolerance of those who are different. Sounds pretty darn Christian to me but bible thumpers like Malaka Mizell don’t see it that way. It’s what happens when you live on a steady diet of red meat…

Mizell is term-limited and will leave the senate on January 8, 2024. I have no idea if she plans to run for another office. It’s one of those things that I don’t care about.

Mizell has promised to push her despicable bill in the next legislative session. That means we’ll have to fight this stupid battle all over again thanks to Mizell’s malakatude.

I’m not sure if Mizell is praying in the featured image or if she’s hanging her head in shame. I hope it’s the latter: she and her cohort have much to be ashamed of. And that is why Louisiana State Senator Beth Mizell is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Dwight Yoakam:

The Daily Grind In #TFC

New Orleans has never been an easy place to live. That’s why I long ago dubbed it #TFC: This Fucking City. We have great local food and culture, but city government is from hunger. Our problems never seem to go away but instead morph into something else.

You’ve all heard about Katrina and the Federal Flood but in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, it was hard to live here because of crack cocaine fueled crime and blatant police corruption. The two elements collided tragically in the Len Davis case. Davis was an NOPD officer whose side hustle was as a drug kingpin. Nice work if you can get it. Davis was brought down after orchestrating a hit on an informant, Kim Groves.

1995 was the year New Orleans experienced an epic flood the likes of which used to only accompany tropical systems. At the time, we viewed it as a once-in-a-lifetime freak event. I’m nostalgic for those innocent days.

The summer of 2021 has been free of tropical systems thus far in New Orleans. It’s been, however, among the wettest on record. I’m not just talking about our classic weather summer pattern of rain every afternoon. I’m talking about torrential rain that floods the streets and seeps into houses and businesses. It happens far too often for comfort.

It’s gotten to the point that we don’t go anywhere without checking the weather. We lost a car in a flood a few years back and would prefer to avoid a repeat performance. Being this weather-aware is a grind, the daily grind referred to in the post title. #TFC

It’s obvious that climate change is the culprit in the rise of flood-level rainfall. It’s a global, not a local phenomenon. It’s happening in places you don’t think of as flood prone such as Germany.

Hopefully, federal funds are on the way to help us with our water-based infrastructure problems. Then we’ll have to worry about the city government’s propensity to piss money away and do sloppy construction work. A good example is what happened to FEMA money earmarked to renovate the Municipal Auditorium. See my last Bayou Brief column.

Some public works programs have backfired in #TFC. The French Quarter is high ground and rarely experienced street flooding until some street work was done in the 2010’s; at least I think that’s why it floods nowadays. It’s hard to get a straight answer out of City Hall. #TFC

We’re experiencing a new wave of COVID cases. The Delta variant is striking hard. The local vaccination rate is a bit north of 60% but the statewide rate is dismal. Plus we have drive-in tourists from hot spots such as Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. I did a meme thing about that earlier this year:

I’m expecting that that the city will go back to the future with some sensible mitigation measures such as mask requirements. The Cantrell administration has been surprisingly competent on COVID related issues. That’s gotten them into trouble with those who value money over human life. We have those too in #TFC.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not an Apocalypse NO post.  I love New Orleans and more likely than not will die here. I prefer that that happen later rather than sooner. Get jabbed, mask up and stop spiking the ball, y’all. This is some serious shit.

Knowing that there’s no perfect place to live, I have a healthy love-hate relationship with #TFC. I appreciate its plusses and cope with its minuses. I even think the daily grind will eventually be less onerous; at least I hope so.

The last word goes to honorary New Orleanians Little Feat:

 

The Neutral Ground

The Lost Cause has long been a topic of interest here at First Draft. Shapiro wrote about it last Friday and it was a staple of my posting when the New Orleans monuments controversy was at its peak.

It’s back on my mind after watching CJ Hunt’s fine POV documentary, The Neutral Ground; so much so that I created a category for Lost Cause posts in case y’all feel like reading them. I had fun doing so last night. I’m not sure if that’s pathetic or egomaniacal. You decide.

CJ Hunt works for The Daily Show as a field producer. I haven’t seen much of his previous work but here’s his LinkedIn blurb:

Comedian and filmmaker living in NYC. He’s a field producer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He has been a staff writer for A&E’s Black and White, and a field producer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede. CJ is a regular host of The Moth. Co-creator of Sunken City, an original series hailed as ‘the New Portlandia’ & featured on Indiewire’s list of web series that “could be the next ‘Broad City’.” CJ has rebranded the confederate flag for Jezebel, condensed the saga of school desegregation into a 3-page children’s book for FunnyOrDie, and created videos featured on Paper Magazine, Upworthy, Bustle, and Racialicious.

Hunt lived in New Orleans for a time, which inspired The Neutral Ground. His Daily Show background is evident in his approach to this material. There was a lot of absurdity surrounding the monuments controversy and a director who has done stand-up comedy is the right man for the job. He also does a good job as the film’s protagonist/presenter.

Watching The Neutral Ground reminded me of a funny story about the monuments flap. A friend, who has since died, was a howling liberal on every subject except the monuments. He belonged to one of those old New Orleans families who had been here since Bienville, the founder of the city. He got into a fight on my Facebook feed about monuments removal. The anti-monuments person called my late friend an “Uptown Garden District snob.”

His reply was classic, “Wrong. I’m a downtown Marigny snob.”

In either event, he was proud of being a snob.

Back to CJ Hunt’s documentary. Since I’m a New Orleanian, I’m going to focus on those aspects of the film although Hunt discusses monuments issues in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His side trip to Charlottesville during the infamous 2017 Lost Causer riot feels like a horror movie.

Hunt gets most things right about New Orleans, which is rare for a short-term resident. It shows that he did his homework. He even survived interviewing bombastic former mayor Mitch Landrieu and bombastic activist Malcolm Suber. I’m acquainted with Malcolm. He’s not one of my favorite people but he’s right on the monuments.

One of my favorite moments was when Hunt did the Civil War recreationist thing. He hung out with some hardcore Lost Causers one of whom is called Butterbean. I am not making this up. Initially, the bearded and bombastic Butterbean was impressed with Hunt’s open-mindedness, but his idea of reciprocity was going to Jazz Fest. Hunt didn’t tell Butterbean that his namesake isn’t served at the Fairgrounds.

I like Hunt’s serio-comic approach to the subject matter. It strikes the right tone. He also nailed the history of the white supremacy monuments in New Orleans and elsewhere.

Continue reading

Bayou Brief: The House That Chep Built

My latest Bayou Brief column is online. Here’s the whole damn tag line: 13th Ward Ramblings on former Mayor Chep Morrison, and Mayor Cantrell’s proposal to relocate New Orleans City Hall to Treme.

I name checked Louis Armstrong and Back of Town in The House That Chep Built. That’s why Satchmo gets the last word:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Carry On

Albino Sword Swallower At A Carnival by Diane Arbus.

The featured image is a photograph by Diane Arbus who was an extremely interesting and deeply weird photographer. Her motto was: “Take pictures of what you fear.” Words to live by.

I’d amend that to say: Deal with what you fear. I’m trying to do that in my own life. I’ve long had a fear of heights and a bridge phobia, which has intensified as I’ve aged. The bridge phobia is particularly unfortunate as I’ve always lived in places where bridges are a fact of life. I just white-knuckle it and muddle through. What else can I do?

My phobias also explain why I’m taking it slow in regard to the COVID after times. I may be fully vaccinated but many are nor. It’s why I’m proceeding with caution. I did, however, eat in a restaurant on our anniversary. A small triumph for trying times. Oh well, what the hell.

Before moving on to our theme song, some Diane Arbus trivia. She was married to actor Allan Arbus who is best known as army shrink Sidney Freedman on MASH. Allan was also a close friend of Montgomery Clift. The late Patricia Bosworth wrote excellent biographies of both Monty Clift and Diane Arbus. If you like tragic tales of talented people who died too young, they should be up your alley.

Stephen Stills wrote this week’s theme song for CSNY’s 1970 album Deja Vu. As the opening track, it gets things off to a rousing start and remains a staple of his set lists. I’d say CSN’s set lists but Crosby’s malakatude has made a reunion impossible. Imagine pissing off the most mild-mannered of rock stars, Graham Nash.

We have two versions of Carry On for your listening pleasure:  the studio original and a raucous live version featuring shouty, off-key vocals and sensational guitar playing by Stills and Young.

Ready to visit Disambiguation City?  JJ Cale wrote and recorded *his* Carry On in 1981:

Now that we’ve had deja vu and worn shades, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

Wicked Rain

We had another bout of heavy rain overnight. We only had minor street flooding but the folks in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles took it in the neck. I feel terrible for Lake Charles: they were slammed by Hurricane Laura last summer and now this.

Weather paranoia makes sustained thought difficult, so I thought I’d throw some random shit against the wall and see how much of it sticks. But first a musical interlude:

In the Middle East, the death dance between Hamas and the Netanyahu government has resumed. The carnage on the Gaza Strip has been terrible. The political results in Israel have been terrible in their own way.  Bibi appeared to be on his way out until he wagged the dog, which led to the cancellation of coalition talks that would have installed a new prime minister.

Netanyahu has convinced a substantial slice of his country’s electorate that only he can keep them safe thereby proving that Americans are not the only people who can be conned by an unscrupulous leader. As long as Netanyahu is in power, the cycle of violence will continue.

In Congress, KMac continues to have a spine of aspic. He was for a 1/6 commission before he was against it. I have the feeling that he got an angry call from Mar-a-Doorn, which changed his mind such as it is.

In a recent post, Josh Marshall nailed KMac: “McCarthy’s empire is built on subservience and militant toadying to the former President.”

Militant Toadying would be a great band name. They could play this King Crimson song as a tribute to KMac’s fecklessness:

A title change is in order as well. How about this? Forked Tongues In Aspic. I aspic the truth about KMac…

News on the COVID front continues to improve. It’s amazing what a difference having competent grown-ups in charge makes.

I remain cautious and still wear a mask when out and about and am still leery of large groups of people. I may be completely vaccinated but I can still catch the virus from some cretinous peckerwood who declined to get jabbed. The illness would be less severe, but I haven’t gotten sick since March of 2020 and I like it that way. I usually catch something every December. A holiday ritual I can do without.

In Gret Stet news, former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer died at the age of 77. He was an eclectic politician who started off as a conservative Democrat but changed parties while in office. His finest moment as Governor was when he vetoed a radical anti-abortion bill. He was also surprisingly good on environmental issues for an oil state politico. I told you he was an eclectic politician.

Roemer’s 1987 campaign was a classic. He started off as a decided underdog but tapped into voter anger with the corrupt incumbent, Edwin Edwards. This ad helped put him over the top:

Unfortunately for Roemer, wily Edwin laid a trap for him by withdrawing from the race before the runoff, leaving Roemer with 33% of the vote. Not much of a mandate to “scrub the budget.” A phrase Buddy repeated ad-nauseam during his governorship.

Roemer’s re-election campaign laid an egg and he finished third behind Edwards and David Duke in the primary. He would have beaten either in a runoff. Oh well, what the hell.

The last word goes to Dr. John: