Category Archives: New Orleans

Saturday Odds & Sods: Dirty Boulevard

Elevated Columbus Avenue, New York by Gifford Beal.

Lou Reed wrote this week’s theme song for his 1989 album, New York. I’m on the record as thinking Reed was a better musician than a human being. New York is a good example of this dichotomy. It’s one of his best albums complete with catchy songs and razor-sharp insights.

We have two versions of Dirty Boulevard for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live version with David Bowie.

The spelling of boulevard in listings of the song is erratic. Sometimes it’s spelled out, other times it’s abbreviated. That concludes this abbreviated comment on abbreviation.

Let’s try and clean up before jumping to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Circle Back

Blue Night by Edward Hopper.

Today is supposed to be the Krewe du Vieux parade. It was cancelled because of the pandemic. The timing was good for me: last year was the worst Carnival season I’ve had since coming to New Orleans in 1987. I wrote about some aspects it in a piece called The Cursed Carnival?

Shorter Adrastos: I needed a year off from Carnival so I’m not as unhappy with the situation as most people are. Some of the Krewe du Vieux sub-krewes including Spank are presenting art installations instead of marching. Since I wasn’t feeling it, I did not participate. So it goes.

John Hiatt wrote this week’s theme song for his 2003 album Beneath This Gruff Exterior. It’s one of his fatherhood songs as it describes taking his daughter to college. It also rocks much harder than the cradle ever should.

We have two versions of Circle Back for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live version. Both feature Sonny Landreth and the Goners.

I mentioned Hiatt’s fatherhood songs. Here are two more:

Now that we’ve rocked the cradle, let’s jump to the break before we get too dizzy.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: You Must Go

Room In New York by Edward Hopper.

The cold weather is still with us in New Orleans. I’m getting more use than expected out of the light flannel shirts I bought on sale at the end of last winter. I call them my Fogerty shirts after a certain singer-songwriter you might have heard of.

The big local controversy involves the Houma based grocery chain Rouses. They came to New Orleans after Katrina. I’ve known for four years that former CEO Donny Rouse Senior is a Trumper. I processed the information back then and continued shopping there. Why? The employees at the nearby Tchoupitoulas store are so damn nice; many of them know Dr. A and me by sight and some by name.

It came out that Rouse Senior attended the Twelfth Night Trump rally. Despite claims to the contrary, there’s no evidence that he took part in storming the Capitol. A boycott movement has arisen, which I get. What I don’t get is how so many people didn’t already know about his politics. It was no secret.

I’m still where I was four years ago because 90-95% of Rouses employees in New Orleans are Black. They’re the ones who will suffer from a boycott, not the Rouse family who have stores in redder parts of the Gret Stet. Rouse Senior’s politics are terrible, but he’s retired. Additionally, the other major grocery chains are GOP donors. Boycotting Rouses to support Wal-Mart makes no sense whatsoever. I guess this means that I’m not woke. That’s okay because the idea of being woke puts me to sleep.

John Hiatt wrote this week’s theme song for his 1995 album Walk On. It’s one of the biggest-selling albums of his career.

You Must Go is the second track on the album. I’m using it to send a message to President* Pennywise: “there’s a place, you must go.”

Another reason I love You Must Go is that Jayhawks Mark Olson and Gary Louris sing back-up vocals. We’ll get to them later.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the Hiatt original and a recent cover by his daughter, Lilly.

I’m not quite ready to let go. What about you: Are you ready to go? Asia sure was:

One more go song, make that Go-Go’s:

My get up and go seems to have gotten up and went or some such shit. Maybe jumping to the break will revive me. Let’s go.

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Guest Post: A Yat In Queen Isabella’s Court

Life throws you curveballs sometimes. Yesterday, I gave longtime reader and online friend Paul McMahon aka Paul McRambles a shout-out in my Trump Green Acres reboot post. We had a tweet exchange, which resulted in my offering to post some of his writing if it met my admittedly low standards. This piece passed with flying colors whatever the hell that means.

Paul is a fellow old-ish fart. He’s about to embark on a great new adventure by moving from New Orleans to Seville, Spain.

-Adrastos

 A Yat In Queen Isabella’s Court by Paul McMahon

I’m a Yat. For the uninitiated, a Yat is a New Orleans colloquialism that pokes fun at our accent, and our unique vocabulary. A common form of greeting to a neighbor in NO is to say, “Hey, where you at?”, which begs the notion that since that person is in your line of sight, you obviously know exactly where they are located. In an effort at conserving energy, this entreaty is often shortened to the monosyllabic, “Y’at”. Native New Orleanians are therefore commonly, and proudly, referred to as Yats. Future submissions by yours truly will elucidate on other quaint New Orleans’ contributions to Webster’s, such as “neutral ground” and “makin’ groceries”.

Yats are an endangered species this day. What makes New Orleans unique amongst its sister cities in the lower 48 is its fight against the tide of modernism. If nothing else, we are a homage to the art of antiquities. We relish our century plus old housing stock; our neighborhood bars and restaurants are the lynchpin of our daily lives; our favorite mode of public transportation is a streetcar. But these things are under attack in post-Katrina NO, and the rate at which they are disappearing from our lives has accelerated in the wake of Covid-19. In the aftermath of the federal flood (NO residents often refer to Katrina as being this, since it was the failure of the federally built levee system that caused the massive loss of property and lives), people from across the country came to NO in the valiant effort to help us rebuild. While their selfless acts of heroism are still wildly applauded, many have chosen to stay in this city and have also sought to change the very fiber of what they were trying to salvage. Corner bars, music clubs and restaurants are now besieged by numerous attacks from neighborhood groups, using city ordinances restricting noise, trash, and parking as their weapons. Streetcars routes are being challenged since the new New Orleanians claim that they add to traffic snarls, due to their relatively slow speed, and numerous stops. Hey, the poor who rely upon it as a form of public transit, can always walk…

Even our world-renowned cuisine is not safe. Po-Boy shops (the iconic NO gift to the sandwich world) are fewer in number and are being replaced by that paean to world dominance, the Starbucks store. Gumbo is now being “reconstructed” by the surge of nouveau chefs who have infested our area, with such novelty ingredients as kale, and environmentally sourced salmon, in lieu of okra and oysters.

Even our housing stock is under attack. Many of our venerable neighborhoods are now inhabited by a form of nouveau rich, who turn a blind eye, and a non-response, when we pass them on the sidewalks and ask, “Y’at”. Their infestation has further accelerated the rise in local property taxes, given their willingness to pay top dollar for our houses, and the domino impact that has on tax assessments on the surrounding abodes. Our own monthly housing note increased by over $600, due to such a re-assessment.

Yeah, I know, I’m the archetypical old man, sitting in a rocking chair on my front porch, and yelling at the youngsters to get the fuck off my lawn. Well, I don’t have a lawn. But I do have a sense of something that has grabbed my city by its neck and is not going to release its grip until it has strangled out all of the uniqueness of this city and resurrected it in the new version 2.0 of Portland, Austin, Aspen, or whatever other yuppie hell they can conceive.

So, what is a poor, or Yat, boy to do?!? Well, we loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly………Seville, that is. Yep, we are moving to Spain. Ms. Pmac, the pups, and me have our visas, and a lease on an apartment in the heart of the city. Unlike me, Ms. Pmac managed to amass a huge savings and has gifted me with the opportunity to retire now, instead of fulfilling my life goal of still generating a W-2 by working as a greeter at Wal-Mart at the age of 85.

Why did we pick Seville to suffer from our presence? We spent a month in Spain 2019, and fell in love with the country, especially Seville. The pace of life, the friendliness, the embrace by the locals of its history all reminded us of……. New Orleans?!?

Only my wife and I would decide to start life anew in our 60s, by traveling halfway across the planet to find what we once had. But it’s an adventure. And a life of retirement that consists of slippers and a pipe are not what I have ever yearned for, even in old New Orleans.

Adios for now, amigos. I’ll keep you apprised as to what unfolds. I’m nervous and excited. And, for me, that is what life should be.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Help On The Way

New York Movie by Edward Hopper.

It’s a been a cold week in New Orleans. Not Minnesota cold but our hundred-year-old raised house is designed to stay coolish in the pre-AC era, not stay warm in the winter. It’s drafty but we love it anyway.

It’s runoff election day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. I discussed the DA’s race at Bayou Brief but there’s also a local ballot measure that would mess up our public library system, which is one of the few things that works well in New Orleans. I’m voting NO and if you’re in the Crescent City, you should too. If you don’t believe me, read this piece by my friend Kevin Allman.

This week’s theme song was written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter for the Dead’s 1975 album, Blues For Allah. The attached instrumental Slipknot came out of a jam by the whole damn band.

I selected Help On The Way to remind our readers that the Trump regime will only be in power for 46 more days. Help is on the way, y’all.

What’s a Grateful Dead theme song without a live version? It’s not only helpful, it rolls away the dew too:

I’m in a helpful mood right now, so here are songs by The Beatles and Joni Mitchell that should help elevate your mood:

Now that I’ve extended a helping hand, let’s jump to the break.

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Guest Post: The Price Of Reading The Room Is Free

My friend Ryne Hancock is back. He brings his feud with what used to be called “limousine liberals” to First Draft. They’re the same people Athenae calls purity ponies. In this instance, they’re mostly white middle to upper middle class post-Katrina transplants who live in downtown New Orleans. Their elitism bugs the living shit out of Ryne who is a young Black man from Memphis, Tennessee.

It’s time for me to step aside and present Ryne’s  righteous rant.

-Adrastos

The Price Of Reading The Room Is Free by Ryne Hancock

For months, one of the people that lived in my complex was a cougar that arrived from the Florida Panhandle. Tan and somewhat attractive, I figured she would be a cool person to be neighbors with, as opposed to the old black guy that constantly talks to himself in my building.

Instead it was anything but.

From the moment she arrived she complained about everything. In fact, when the hotels were filled with evacuees from Lake Charles, she complained about their attitudes.

There was also the time she got a job working at Tulane University and immediately demanded that she get better hours three weeks into getting the job.

The powers that be at the university then rewarded her with a 5 pm-2 am shift.

This line of thinking could be applied to people like the Justice Democrats and Sunshine Movement.

Much like my former neighbor, they use all their energy to complain when things don’t go their way, especially when all throughout the process they refused to get on board with endorsing Biden as well as run purity tests on everyone that didn’t conform to their beliefs.

They’re that relative who complains about you serving Chek soft drinks instead of Coca Cola. That relative who gets mad with people drinking Miller Lite and not craft beers.

“Oh you’re not drinking craft beer? How very poor of you!!!”

Criticize their God and Savior Bernie Sanders and the DSA, whose local chapter is basically 80% of the comedy community in New Orleans, and you get a lot of terms such as “sellout” & “corporate democrat” hurled your way.

And god help you if you criticize AOC, which if we’re being real, is basically every annoying gentrifier in the Maringy or Bywater, you’re labeled as a racist or even worse, a misogynist.

That’s the whole sum of the Justice Democrats and Sunshine Movement.

Instead of reading the room and picking justified fights (translation: the GOP) they’re taking credit for delivering the White House to Biden and managing to shitcan on Biden.

“We voted for you so do our bidding,” they’re screaming from the mountaintops.

First, you didn’t do shit. Your little performative progressive movement shitcanned on Biden & Kamala. And when it became apparent, he was going to be the nominee, you became brave by saying “Settle For Biden”.

Secondly, black women, the most loyal base in the Democratic Party, delivered the White House to Biden, not a bunch of latte-sipping performative allies that are focused more on making headlines than actually picking justifiable fights.

And lastly, if it weren’t for your movement, Mississippi would have been governed by Jim Hood. Alabama would have been governed by Walt Maddox. Florida could have had Andrew Gillium as governor.

But because of your movement and the buzzwords that come with it, those states have shoddy executive leadership.

Don’t get me wrong, the Democratic Party does need some fixing. It’s not perfect.

But the constant shitcanning a party that you allegedly belong to is not going to help your movement or this country in the long run.

Election Day In The 13th Ward

I slept in this morning. I can’t remember the last time I slept past 8. Since we fell back that means it was 9:18 to my body when I awoke. My insomnia has been back with a vengeance during the pandemic. This has got to be an omen of sorts. If nothing else, it leads to a swell musical interlude:

I did something else this morning: I voted. I’ve always liked the ritual of election day, especially in the 13th Ward. I prefer to walk 4 blocks to St. Katharine Drexel School to cast my ballot. Early voting is fine for other people. It breaks my election day ritual.

Hurricane Zeta nearly fucked up my ritual. There were widespread power outages in New Orleans. The Gret Stet used to have non-partisan Secretaries of State who wanted everyone to vote but now we have a GOP political hack named Kyle Ardoin. He refused to fund generators for powerless polling places. Fortunately, Entergy came to the rescue. Kyle Ardoin is such an asshole that he forced me to praise the utility company. He can go fuck himself.

It was a long-ass ballot. As I said last week at the Bayou Brief, there was too much on the ballot. This time, I even voted in a few judgeship races. I took great pleasure in voting against the Trashanova’s candidate. If you’re puzzled by that reference, click here.

Many people are worried about what Trump and his followers will do after they lose the election. I am not. Most Trumpers are as cowardly as their dear leader. They’re into performative politics, which I’m on the record as despising. Those guys who tote automatic weapons do it for show. They’d pee themselves if they had to use them. And the much ballyhooed traffic incidents of last weekend are just as cowardly: the Trumpers never left their vehicles. It’s all a reality show to them.

Could there be isolated violent incidents? Yes.

Will there be systematic violent incidents? Hell no. Planning and organizing are not natural to Trumpers. They’re better at moaning and whining.

Repeat after me: Trumpers are pussies. They should grab themselves.

A word about Joe Biden. He may not be the most eloquent nominee of my lifetime: Barack Obama and Bill Clinton take that prize. What Joe has in spades is passion and sincerity. When he goes after the Impeached Insult Comedian, he means every word, which reminds me of another old song:

I know, everything reminds me of an old song. It’s my affliction, what can I tell ya?

Election nights at Adrastos World HQ usually involve pizza. This year, one of our local pizza joints has added Detroit Pizza to its menu. It’s somewhere between New York and Chicago pizza crust-wise and it’s baked in a square pan. This year it will function as a tribute to voters in the swing state of Michigan.

I plan to make an early and relatively brief appearance at the Zoom Crack Van thingamabob. While I’m not as geeky as Steve Kornacki, I like to watch the returns closely. The last time I went to an election party was in 2008. I watched the returns while everyone else socialized. So it goes.

A quick programming note: I’m skipping Album Cover Art Wednesday this week. I’ll be up watching returns until some ungodly hour.  I’m paying special attention to Texas, Georgia, and Arizona.

Perhaps this should be my new motto:

For the kids out there, it’s a variation on “Cut off my legs and call me Shorty.” I obviously watch too many old movies.

The last word is dedicated to all the nervous Democrats out there. We got this. Mister Spock agrees:

Zeta, Man

Zeta’s Eye Over the 13th Ward photo by Dr. A.

Hurricane Zeta was the fifth named storm to make landfall in the Gret Stet of Louisiana this year. That set a record that we could do without. 2020, man.

Zeta was a weird system. Conditions were NOT favorable for development, but it blew up anyway. My favorite local teevee meteorologist was alternately vexed, puzzled, and apologetic about his forecast. No worries, Chris. 2020, man.

Winds in New Orleans peaked somewhere between 65 and 75 MPH. It was scary at points but since Claire Trevor lived through the big blow in Key Largo, she slept through Zeta. She *was* the hero of that movie: she slipped Bogie the rod that he used to vanquish Johnny Rocco. 1948, man.

We were lucky. We lost cable but not power. It’s a minor miracle. In 2012, we lost power for 7 days after Hurricane Isaac blew through town. As a result, I missed seeing Clint Eastwood talk to the chair at the Republican convention. 2012, man.

Adding to the oddity of Zetapalooza, the first cold front of the season is rolling through town. That makes it easier on those who lost power. We sweated like Bogie in the greenhouse scene in The Big Sleep after Isaac. 1946, man.

Zeta was a fast-moving storm system. The worst lasted only for a few hours. Since it was a direct hit, I experienced the eerie beauty of the eye for the first time. It was genuinely surreal. It was like a Magritte painting only without the bowler hats or are they derbies? That’s a question for another time.

The friend and Spank krewe mate who I call Nurse Candace wrote something lovely on my FB feed about *her* experience with the eye of Zeta: “The most poignant contrast of Nature’s fury and tranquility that I’ve ever experienced.”

The Zeta eye sky also reminded me of one of my favorite John Hiatt ballads. That’s why he gets the last word:

 

Too Much Is On The Ballot/Hurricane Zeta Update

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. It’s my reflections on the upcoming election with a local emphasis. Here’s the tagline:

13th Ward ramblings on the 2020 election, Orleans Parish style. Sidney Torres is NOT on the ballot; he just acts like he is.

In other news, Hurricane Zeta strengthened in the wee small hours of the morning. After half-a-dozen games of hurricane dodge ball it appears headed our way. I’m not sure how this will impact my blogging, but I expect to lose power as this is a wind event. Anything I’m able to schedule this morning will appear but it’s unclear if there will be a Saturday Odds & Sods this week. Only the Shadow knows and we’re not speaking.

We just moved our porch furniture inside. Claire Trevor digs it. I thought she’d be unnerved by the extra clutter, but she just sniffed it and moved on. Cats are much tougher than humans.

I’ll try and check in later today. I *was* planning to write about why the 2020 presidential election is NOT 2016 but I need to remove any possible projectiles from our back yard. The good news is that Zeta is moving fast. It’s always better when an uninvited and unwelcome guest does not linger.

Believe it or not, we’re having a cold front tomorrow after Zeta zips through. 2020, man.

The last word goes to John Fogerty:

I wouldn’t advise walking in this or any other hurricane, y’all.

Guest Post: Ryne Hancock On Elections Past & Present

Guest blogger Ryne Hancock tells us how he spent Election Night in 2016. It was in a club in New Orleans with a bunch of comedians. The evening was anything but funny.

-Adrastos

Don’t Let “They” & Complacency Win by Ryne Hancock

Long before Chris Trew’s creepy behavior sank him and his comedy club on St. Claude, a group of local comedians, including myself, gathered to watch the results of the 2016 election.

Adding to the intrigue was the fact that we were celebrating Kaitlin Marone’s appearance on the ballot for United States Senate, something that was commemorated with a sign from Jessica Hong that read “We Didn’t Do It!!!!”

From the onset, I figured that the sign was about Marone’s campaign (as I recall she got over 4,000 votes) and not the presidential election. Like most of everyone and their dog, I figured Clinton would eke out a narrow victory in the electoral college with maybe 280 or so votes and we wouldn’t have to be annoyed by that orange turd.

Then shit happened.

What was supposed to be a celebration became a tragic day for democracy. Instead of electing the most qualified person ever to the highest office in the land, this country decided to elect a dribbling idiot.

You can sift through all the reasons why the orange idiot won, most notably the bullshit about both candidates being the same or the fact that the most qualified candidate ever didn’t represent true white womanhood, but the facts remain bare for all to see.

We as a country got too comfortable with the fact that the 2016 election was in the bag.

This time around, we can’t get tired.

We can’t get complacent.

It’s just like what I told a friend of mine that owns a business on Magazine Street.

“They want you to be tired. They want you to give up. Don’t fucking get tired. It’s weary now but morning will come. It eventually comes.”

That’s my message to you guys that haven’t voted yet.

Don’t let “they” win.

Because that’s what “they” want.

Stay in line, mail your ballots, run the fucking score up to fight for the soul of this country.

Because in the end, the morning comes.

And my lord, what a morning it will be.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Wang Dang Doodle

Brownstones by Jacob Lawrence.

We’re not playing hurricane dodgeball this week in New Orleans. It had to happen. In fact, we’re experiencing what some observers insist on calling a “cold front” but I call a cool front. As always, it’s likely to lead to an orgy of overdressing by locals desperate to wear non-summer clothes. My coats will remain in the closet. I might, however, be daring and wear a long-sleeved shirt. That’s as rad as I’m gonna get for now. It will be back in the eighties next week.

Willie Dixon wrote Wang Dang Doodle some time in 1959 or 1960. The chronology is almost as fuzzy as with this week’s Friday Cocktail Hour tune. Here’s how the songwriter described what the title of  this rollicking song means:

 In his autobiography, Dixon explained that the phrase “wang dang doodle” “meant a good time, especially if the guy came in from the South. A wang dang meant having a ball and a lot of dancing, they called it a rocking style so that’s what it meant to wang dang doodle”

We have four versions of Wang Dang Doodle for your listening pleasure: the original recording by Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor’s hit version, the Pointer Sisters, and the good old Grateful Dead who performed the song 96+ times. All night long, all night long.

Now that we’ve pitched a wang dang doodle, let’s jump to the break.

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Tweet Of The Day: Mama Told Me To Not Come

My friend James Karst worked at the Picayune for many years. One of his specialties is digging up obscure items from the newspaper’s morgue. This one is a doozy:

In case you can’t read Linda Coney’s letter in the tweet, here it is in all its dubious glory:

So much for Judge Coney’s claim to be open-minded about Roe v. Wade. She learned her views at her mother’s knee.

I’m not going to belabor the obvious pun in the post title other than quoting the song: “That ain’t the way to have fun, son.”

Instead, I’ll give the last word to Three Dog Night. Wilson Pickett, and the man who wrote the song, Randy Newman.

Three Dog Night put Not To Come in parenthesis. I’m sticking with Randy Newman’s take. He wrote the damn song, dammit.

FYI, Newman never released the song as a single hence the omission in the featured image. Mama told me to add that.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Winds Of Fear

Hodding Carter was a distinguished journalist. He was a Southern liberal when it was dangerous to be one.

I did not know that he’d ever written a novel but sometimes you strike gold when you go down an internet rabbit hole.

Trivia Time: The author’s son Hodding Carter III was the State Department spokesman during the Carter administration.

New Orleans Trivia Time: The author was married to Betty Werlein of New Orleans. People of a certain age will remember the much loved Canal Street music store, Werlein’s. It’s now the home of The Palace Cafe.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Delta Lady

Hummingbirds by Walter Anderson.

It’s been an unduly stressful week in New Orleans. For the sixth time this hurricane season, we were in the cone of uncertainty. My friend Chef Chris DeBarr calls it “hurricane dodgeball.”

Hurricane Delta obeyed what could be called Adrastos’ First Rule Of Hurricane Forecasting: If there’s a bull’s eye on New Orleans 4 or 5 days before a storm hits, it will not come here. It happened again. It’s pure luck but it beats the hell outta the alternative. Delta is following an eerily similar path to Hurricane Laura, alas. Best wishes to everyone in Southwestern Louisiana.

All is not gloom and doom in the New Orleans area. In suburban Pearl River, a man saw a Catholic priest having sex with two women. In the church. On the altar. The scene was being recorded. Instead of beating off like a proper pervert, the peeper called the cops. One could call this an altercation. But were they doing it dog collar style?

This story is funny because it involves consenting adults, which makes it an anomaly for the Catholic church. It turns out the women were rough trade. There’s been a raging dispute as to the plural spelling of dominatrix. Some say dominatrices but I’m sticking with dominatrixes because X is a funnier letter than C.

I’m feeling terse this week, so this will be a relatively short Saturday Odds & Sods. We will dispense with our second act altogether. I’m worn out from all the presidential* acting up so one less act sounds good to me.

This week’s theme song was written by Leon Russell in 1969. It was first recorded by Joe Cocker but I’m still putting Leon’s version first. I don’t want to trip over his beard or some such shit. Of course, both Leon and Joe are no longer with us.

We have three versions of Delta Lady for your listening pleasure: Leon Russell, Joe Cocker live with Leon Russell, and a mostly instrumental version by the great Rick Wakeman. It’s unclear if his cape attended the session.

One reason for the avian Walter Anderson featured image is that Leon Russell also wrote a song called Hummingbird:

Let’s fly or hover to the break. There may be pollen on the other side. Achoo.

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Guest Post: Hard Sympathy

Good morning. Tommy T is on the disabled list with a serious health problem. It is not, however, caused by reading the Freepers so we don’t have to. Here’s hoping our beloved friend and colleague gets well soon. That’s as mushy as I get, y’all.

Today’s guest blogger is my young friend Ryne Hancock. He’s the guy who inspired my Bad Karma post last week, which led to his first First Draft shout-out. I also owe him because his bike was stolen in front of my house a few years ago. Sorry about that.

Ryne is a native Memphian who moved to New Orleans right before the 10th Katrinaversary. Don’t worry, he’s not a carpetblogger. He’s done a little bit of everything since he arrived in New Orleans but what he does best is tell stories.

Cheers,

Adrastos

Hard Sympathy by Ryne Hancock

For three years, I had to deal with the ups and downs of having a crackhead for a landlord on Washington Avenue in Central City.

During the first two years I lived on Washington Avenue, things were pretty calm. Mainly because my landlord was in Mississippi for six months and I didn’t have to deal with extras from “Tales From the Crypt” knocking on the door all times of the night looking for him.

However, around the end of Mardi Gras 2019, my landlord told me that he was headed to some rehab in Jefferson Parish. I found the timing odd because it was the first of the month, which was when he got his lump sum (as well as my rent money) from Social Security.

That was when I learned that he owed money to damn near everyone in the neighborhood and was looking for a way to abandon his responsibilities.

The same night the Blues clinched their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 49 years, I received a call from my landlord, who was hiding at someone’s house on Seventh Street near Dryades.

Because of a phone conversation I had with someone, I was being evicted. Not because of late rent or my habits as a tenant, but a phone conversation. To my landlord, rent money was a sign of loyalty and the context of my phone conversation to him was an act of betrayal.

A couple of weeks later, while I was in bed at my friend’s house in the Bywater, my former landlord called me from a South Carolina number.

“Hey man,” he told me, “all my stuff got stolen in Alabama.”

After I hung up with him, I thought to myself, this guy wanted me gone two weeks prior and owed everyone money. Now he wants me to help him.

You hate to see people suffering, but it’s hard to conjure any type of sympathy for a person that did a lot of people wrong.

That same line of thinking applies for Donald Trump.

Despite the fact that Trump will go down as the worst president in American history, which means James Buchanan & Herbert Hoover are off the hook, it’s a shame that he has this deadly disease. Nobody should have to suffer through that.

But when you for starters, downplayed the seriousness of this disease and said that it was just like the flu, you indirectly signed the death certificate of over 200,000 people. 200,000 people that needlessly died. Sure, there was a travel ban, but that was as useless as those thin cable bike locks.

There was no type of pandemic education or anything that could help save lives because you decided to decimate the pandemic response team.

Ya know, the people that you needed in your corner?

Apart from the countless things that you’ve bungled during this pandemic, you had a man die after one of your rallies from the covid. But because he was black you didn’t even attempt to send your condolences or even acknowledge him at the Republican National Convention.

To you, Herman Cain was collateral damage, an ugly sofa that was in your way in the living room. If you had something that is known as compassion, you would have stepped back and stopped doing large scale rallies. You could have held virtual fundraisers, socially distanced outdoor rallies, things that slow the spread of this disease.

In other words, an example for our country like my bartender crush at my office on Magazine Street was an example for customers.

But you didn’t do that.

You took a cavalier approach to this pandemic, which for the most part most of your cult and party went along with.

Instead of turning the corner as you publicly said time and time again, the actions of your cult and yours for that matter has made things worse.

As I write this, the number of people dead is more than the population of Jackson, Mississippi (pop:173,514), Evansville, Indiana (117,429), & Clarksville, Tennessee (132,929).

The amount of dead could fill two Tiger Stadiums, six Wrigley Fields, and about eight or nine Fenway Parks.

It’s a shame that you and your cronies have this disease. I don’t wish ill on you or anyone for that matter.

But feigning sympathy for you?

Nah.

It is what it is.

That’s my attitude towards you because you decided to be a knucklehead. That you decided to not listen to science and people who know a whole lot more than you.

I would hope that this would humble you.

But knowing you, you won’t change. It’s just not in you.

Saturday Odds & Sods: For What It’s Worth

Flying Eyeball by Rick Griffin.

Some call it fake fall, I call it a tease. Whatever you call it, the weather has been mild and temperate all week. I’m not going to say more about it because I don’t want to jinx it.

The city of New Orleans is entering Phase 3.1. They’re loosening more pandemic-related restrictions since we did not have a major post Labor Day spike. I thought we would, but I was wrong. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last. Punditting is risky business. I’m still not going inside bars or restaurants but I’m hoping more of them will be able to survive. Let my people go-cup. You’ll have to read 2020 Fatigue at Bayou Brief to get the reference.

Stephen Stills wrote this week’s theme song in 1966. It’s the protest song’s protest song. It was originally written about clashes between hippies and cops on the Sunset Strip, but it’s become a universal protest song. It’s still relevant in 2020.

We have four versions of For What It’s Worth for your listening pleasure: the Buffalo Springfield original; CSN live with Tom Petty; Keb Mo, and Billy Porter with Stephen Stills from this year’s DNC.

Now that battle lines have been drawn, let’s jump to the break.

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Bayou Brief: 2020 Fatigue

My latest 13th Ward Rambler column for Bayou Brief  is online. In it, I concede that I’m as tired of 2020 as everyone else. I tried not to blame the year but it got the best of me. What can I tell ya? I’m only human.

Here’s the tagline:

“13th Ward Ramblings on bad years in American history, Metry woman’s nomination to SCOTUS, Jeff Landry, the Gret Stet Senate race, and the NOLA go-cup controversy.”

Let my people go-cup. Confused? This image may or may not clarify matters:

Via Howard H on Pinterest.

Thus spake the Krewe du Vieux sub-krewe of Mishigas in 2014. It wasn’t a great year, but it beat the hell outta 2020.

To understand the go-cup shtick, you’ll have to read the column. Go figure.

Saturday Odds & Sods: You Won’t See Me

Masks by James Ensor.

It’s been cool all week in New Orleans. It’s unclear if Fall has fallen or it’s a cruel hoax. My money is on the latter. The heat doesn’t usually break here until sometime in October. The good news is that we’re not under threat of a tropical system. It feels odd not to be checking the spaghetti tracks every few hours but that’s another autumnal augury. End of obligatory weather-related opening passage.

This week’s theme song comes from one of my favorite Beatles albums, Rubber Soul. It was one of the first albums I ever owned. When my father saw the cover he said, “Those are the ugliest women I ever saw.”

To this day I’m uncertain whether or not Lou was joking. The only one who would have made an ugly woman was the drummer. Sorry, Ringo.

You Won’t See Me is a Macca song, but it’s credited to Lennon & McCartney as were all the pair’s songs. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We have three versions of You Won’t See Me for your listening pleasure: The Beatles original, and covers by Bryan Ferry and Canadian songbird, Anne Murray.

I never expected to post an Anne Murray song at First Draft, but I might as well go big and post her monster hit from 1970:

Let’s spread our tiny wings and fly away to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Wasted On The Way

Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso.

New Orleans dodged a wet and windy bullet earlier this week. Hurricane Sally dumped two feet of rain in some areas on the Florida-Alabama border. I don’t guilty for being relieved. If I were Poseidon, I’d send all tropical systems out to sea. I do, however, feel bad for folks in the affected areas. They got slammed by that evil bitch Sally. Blow ill wind, blow.

I had put this feature to bed and tucked it in when I learned of Justice Ginsburg’s death. I wish everyone would dial their predictions back. It’s unclear what impact RBG’s death will have on the election. I also wish that those who admire Justice Ginsburg would show more respect for her passing, especially since it’s Rosh Hashanah. There was, however, a moment of unintentional levity when the crowd outside the Supreme Court started singing Amazing Grace. It’s a Christian hymn, y’all. I’ll have more on Ginsburg’s passing on Monday.

In some ways, this week’s theme song matches the featured image. Three Musicians = Crosby, Stills & Nash. Graham Nash wrote Wasted On The Way for CSN’s  1982 Daylight Again album. Eagle Timothy B. Schmitt added harmony vocals making that Four Musicians. So much for the Picasso analogy. Oh well, it was imperfect to begin with.

We have two versions of Wasted On The Way for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live version without Timothy B. Schmitt. Go, Team Picasso.

Stills’ intro to the live version is poignant. I rarely do poignant but sometimes the mood strikes me.

Before we jump to the break, a Neil Young song from the Buffalo Springfield days:

Holy Wall Of Sound-style production, Batman.

Time to take the plunge. See you on the other side.

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Bayou Brief: Stuck On Stupid

My Bayou Brief column is usually published every other Wednesday. That changed this week because of Hurricane Sally. I was concerned that many of our readers would lose power and internet connection. Instead, Sally decided to visit Alabama and Florida. My condolences to everyone in the impacted areas.

Here’s the tag line for this week’s column, Stuck On Stupid: “13th Ward Ramblings on the Louisiana Democratic Party, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and wayward wingnut pundit Dan Fagan.”

The part about Gret Stet Dems has received the most attention but my favorite bit is about former Picvocate pundit Dan Fagan. That’s Fagan with an A, not an Fagin with an I like this guy: