Say it ‘Aints So! Oh The Insanity.

February 8, 2010

The Saints are the Super Bowl Champions.

You know the sound at a sporting event when everyone goes nuts? Well, walking towards downtown, you could hear the French Quarter from two miles away. And there was no “moment,” to instigate it. There was no focal point. It was just the noise and sounds of a city beside itself with joy. It was beautiful.

Getting closer, the street party was in full effect. This is the scene about a mile from the Quarter.

When we got to Canal Street, it was a mass of humanity. And it was just getting started. They were just closing Canal Street  — for the first time in the history of the City — while we hopped inside a store and grabbed a six-pack of beer (the plastic cup rule was out the window).

Once in the Quarter, after randomly running into two groups of people we knew, we all took the time to soak it in and enjoy the view of a packed street of jubilant fans. Strangers high fiving and hugging, people dancing in the streets, Mardi Gras and Saints music blasting.  Imagine you and 200,000 of your closest friends having a block party. This was Fat Tuesday times ten (complete with the public urination).

And of course, once someone’s cameras (WVUE, I think) were rolling on the balcony, they were pelted with beads while the crowd struck up the familiar chant of Who Dat?

Earlier, and with better quality, NOLA.com captured about three blocks further down. You can see the packed street about 30 seconds in.

It was amazing. I’m sorry I left at about 1 a.m. If not for the fact that I’d have to walk four miles, I could have stayed until daybreak.

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That Was Bizarre

October 30, 2009

I turned right onto Audubon Place, a very narrow one-way (well, it’s two ways with a giant median/”neutral ground” down the middle) with parked cars on the right side.

Before I turned, I waited for some chick on a bike to clear the intersection. Then I came to a stop, while someone driving down the street had stopped and was talking through their open window to someone sitting in a parked car on the side of the street.

Naturally, it was a Cadillac. Anytime someone’s stopping the flow of traffic or going to be a Cadillac or Buick, or some other old person’s American made car.

As I grew a little frustrated, I then noticed that between me and the Caddy was the chick on the bike. Sitting there, pissed off like I was… like she was a CAR.

Hello. You’re on a bike. Just ride on the neutral ground/median around the freaking car. You’re not bound to roads. In fact, you really shouldn’t be riding down the middle of the street like a car when you’re not a car.

After about 90 seconds, the Caddy pulled up and pulled over and I resumed my drive home… only to realize that my 20 mph speed on this street was still WAY too freaking fast for the FREAKING BIKE in front of me.

Which led me to ponder… who is the most stupid person of those two? The parked Caddy driver, blocking traffic like a self-absorbed A-hole. Or the crazy chick who thinks she’s driving a car when she’s on a freaking bike?


5-0

October 6, 2009

I just asked CLM if she wanted to go to Coldstone for ice cream and she declined (that’s not newsworthy, women reject me all the time). She said she couldn’t because she’s moving.

I assume she means packing, because it was 9:15 at night. And you don’t move at 9:15 at night. That’s how you end up explaining things to the police. Trust me. I’m the voice of experience on this one.

When I was in Dayton, I moved from one apartment in a complex to another. And I moved on an October evening in the fall. The A’s and Yankees were playing in the ALDS that night and I was carrying loads of things from one apartment to the other between innings. Needless to say, I soon had a flashlight in my face because someone called the police.

Looking back, I saw that flashlight a lot in Dayton, and it’s kind of funny that I’d have the police all in my face in Ohio about half a dozen times, and exactly none since moving to MurderOrleans. That instance in Ohio was the first of I believe five times someone called the police on me:

The second, I got a new car stereo for my birthday and was attempting the install myself. I was on a tight schedule because I was driving to New York in the morning and wanted to have tunes for the ride. So there I was, popping out a car stereo at 12:30 am.

The third time, I was sitting on my porch smoking a cigar at around 11, the night my neice was born. When a cop approached because there was an attempted break in somewhere in the complex, and the victim said “they went that way.” The cop questioned me breifly, but left me alone when I asked “was the perpetrator smoking a $26 Davidoff R-Series Churchill Cigar?”

The cop said “I don’ believe so no.”
I said “This is a $32 cigar. Which should be only smoked when celebrating new members of the family. There could have been a pile of Plasma TVs in the middle of the parking lot, and I’m wouldn’t put this thing down.”

Number four was probably the silliest. I was at my friend’s house and we were talking about baseball and how we loved hitting. Needless to say, we were standing over his coffee table pantomiming our swings. He noticed my lefty swing and my righty swing were different. I didn’t know they were. So he asked if I ever swung in front of a mirror. After driving home, I was smoking a cigar, and standing outside my window, looking at the reflection, swinging from each side of the plate to see a difference (my lefty swing was dropping the back elbow A LOT). And someone called the police because they thought I was going to break in.
I told the officer “If I was going to break in, I’d have done it by now. I’m just looking at my swing in the window.”
I don’t know if he would have believed me, but the batting gloves might have helped.

And there was one more time, where the cops came to my door to tell me that someone had broken into my car. They apprehended two teenagers who went down a row of cars in the parking lot taking all the change and CDs, in the grocery store 50 yards away, dumping their haul into the coin star. I was irate because to take my CDs, they snapped off my visor instead of removing the CDs individually or taking the CD holder. The CDs were all MP3 discs (and a lot of gospel). I’d have let them have them if they wanted them.

I’m pretty sure that any of those activities in New Orleans wouldn’t make a single person bat an eyelash, let alone call the cops. As Renny from Big Brother 10 said: “Honey, I’m from New Orleans. I see people dressed like aliens every day.”


Understanding The NOLA Hurricane Season

August 17, 2009

Since my friend shared an enlightening post to help her friends understand Hurricane Season, I thought I’d chime in on the subject.

Hurricane’s happen all the time. But we’re a little different in New Orleans for a variety of reasons. It makes it more dangerous to be here during a Hurricane than anywhere else. But no one possibly could have predicted that. (oh wait. Well, ok. So scientists knew, but not back in like 1878. Oh wait again).

Based on my massive experience of hurricanes here (in three years), here’s how the hurricane season goes down.

Phase One: Blissful Ignorance

DefCon 5. Situation normal. TV tells us they’ll keep us informed this Hurricane season. If you go to the NWC Hurricane page, it’s got a couple red blobs, but nothing with a name.

Phase Two: Awareness

Our current phase. Now we have names, but don’t really care/know them yet. You take a quick gander at the map and projected cone and say one of two things:

A: “Ah, that’s going up the East Coast, we’re fine” (like, Bill*) and return to Blissful Ignorance. -OR-

B: “That could come at us…but we’ll worry about it when it gets to the Gulf.” (like, Ana*)

(*-Since we’re in phase two, I had to look those up)

Phase Three: There’s Some Shit Brewing In The Gulf

Self-explanatory. This is when you check out the NWC website in the morning and see which of these three reactions you should be having.

A: “Ah, that’s going up Florida, we’re fine” (Return to Blissful Ignorance) -OR-

B: “Ah, that’ll keep going to Texas.” (Wear a raincoat, as the return to Blissful Ignorance will be damp) -OR-

C: “_______ is coming right for us. How bad is it?”

Phase Four: Where Everybody Knows Your Name.

Things get kind of eerie around this time. The key difference between Phase Four and the previous phases is the name aspect. It’s no longer a thing, it’s a person. You’re shopping and you hear people whispering about him/her. TV commercial breaks begin/end with “Tracking _____ on NewsCenter 7” or “The latest on ______, tonight at 10”

If someone from another planet visited last year at this time, they would think were a primitive village who lives in fear of an angry tyrannical king/god named Gustav.

Practically speaking, you monitor any changes to projected path (there’s still like a 300-mile window in which the thing will move) to determine how much you should panic.

In the past, this is when Categories come into play. In our post-Katrina world, this season could be an interesting test case. As a New Yorker, having watched with baited breath and fingers crossed praying that the Industrial Canal levee would hold as water topped over it, I am still in “GTFO” mode. I don’t plan on sticking around to see the difference between a Category One and Category Four. I’ve see a Three/Four (safely from Birmingham, because I GTFO’d), and I’ve seen what a 4/5 did. In the past, people stayed for 1-3. We’ll see if we return to that.

The other part of Phase Four that makes the title apt is that with that eeriness, comes a general communal sense. The personification of the storm means the storm acts as a mutual friend which severs the separation of strangers in the city. You talk to people you don’t know as if they were acquaintances of yours solely because you both know Gustav is up to something. People you don’t know ask if you’re going to evacuate or not, where you’re going to spend the next few days, do you live in a flood area, etc. Conversations end with “Be safe” or “God Bless you.” It’s a lot like Disneyland.

Well, if everyone was expecting Godzilla to come stomp on Disneyland in two days. (Which is why I think Hurricanes should be named after Monsters/Horror Movie Characters). Some people plan on staying and fighting. Others are obligated to. Some are going to flee. Others take the opportunity to go hog-wild in Disneyland unattended by looting/pillaging/debaucherizing.

It’s very surreal and unique.

Phase Five: GTFO’ing / Leaving Before ContraFlow

For reasons I have not adequately been able to determine, the worst part about the Hurricane isn’t the wind, rain, flying objects, flooding, looting or societal breakdown. It’s ContraFlow.

No, ContraFlow is not the cool weapon where you can fire three-ways when playing Contra

No, ContraFlow is not the cool weapon where you can fire three-ways when playing Contra

ContraFlow is when all the streets of New Orleans immediately turn from normal roads into one-way avenues away from city center. In theory it is a genius idea to help people get out of the city: Instead of two/three lanes on I-10 going out from NOLA, we have four/six. And yet, somehow, doubling the amount of roads out of the city does not lead to a faster evacuation. It leads to DEATH.

From what I can ascertain, the problem with hurricanes is that with the limited amount of roads out of town, everyone tries to leave at once at the last possible minute. That leads to everyone in the city congregating bumper-to-bumper, getting in accidents and running out of gas on narrow interstates over swamps/lakes. Which would be really convenient for our angry, vengeful tyrant king/god to come along and destroy us.

Because getting caught in ContraFlow is a death sentence, half the city tries to leave before ContraFlow. Which basically just extends the gridlock by a day and a half, as they are all trying to leave at once with only half the lanes of ContraFlow.

The whole thing turns into that scene from Swingers in which they discuss when to call a woman after you get her number. Industry Standard is two days (ContraFlow), but everyone knows that, so you have to wait at least three days (pre-ContraFlow). And now that everyone knows that, and are all on a three-day time, it’s really best to go four days. But that’s kinda really crowded now, too. So, long story short: Six days.

I’d think that eventually everyone is leaving 2-4 days before ContraFlow, no one would actually be leaving once ContraFlow starts, and you could be the only person with six lanes to yourself, flying out of dodge at the last second. But that doesn’t work either, because there’s always people who are very stupid and stubborn.

You probably COULD time it just right, where you left a few hours before ContraFlow, and got to the opening of ContraFlow at the exact moment they opened the other lanes. If you’re first, you’re golden. But the odds of that happening are slim. And you can’t really risk miss-timing it.

Phase Six: Watch on TV from a safe destination and hope your possessions survive.

Lather, rinse, repeat.


BAM!

August 8, 2009

Well, it took three years, but I finally went to an Emril restaurant in New Orleans.

Like most trendy, fine dining options, I expected it to be over-priced and under-whelming. Any place that cares about the presentation of food usually is. I don’t need presentation. I need good eats. I don’t care what it looks like. Some of my all-time favorite dining options look like a plate of garbage. Actually, it’s named after a plate of garbage.

The fact that they kept refilling our water glasses from seven dollar bottles of Evian water confirmed the over-priced.

As a non-seafood eater in New Orleans, my options are usually limited. So I was pleased to find this on the dinner entree menu:

Grilled Rib Eye with German Style Fingerling Potato Salad, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Coarse Grain Mustard Cream and Roasted Leeks.

The presentation was good. So I expected to be under-whelmed. But let me tell you, this was freaking delicious. The potato salad was simply sliced fingerling potatoes with the mustard cream and bacon flavor. Freaking delicious. I’m going to try and replicate it.

I also discovered that the Abita Brewery has more than just their 17 styles of beer. They also have a root beer, which replaced IBC as my new favorite root beer.

Naturally, it took a visit from my brother, niece, sister in law and her family to get me to do something touristy. But hey, another item of things to do in New Orleans has been crossed off my list.  That’s approximately four down, 97 to go.


This is How it Starts!

April 8, 2009

This is how it starts.

The Zombie Apocalypse very well may be upon us:

http://www.nola.com/news/?/base/news-1/1239081731120020.xml&coll=1


Sitting on St. Charles

January 24, 2009

Something I need to add to my Life’s To Do List: I really (and I mean really) want to witness live and in person, a street car hitting an automobile.

I don’t know why I want to see it. I’m just assuming it’s awesome: A massive, iron street car plowing into some idiot’s car.

Some day...

Some day...

Now, that might sound cruel, but they don’t go fast enough to really injure. They just crush the crap out of your car. And remember that the street cars are on tracks, so you have to be pretty stupid to get drilled.

Then again, if anyone has ever tried to turn left in New Orleans, you know how hard it is, so that’s why it’s happens with relative frequency.

One day, I’m just going to take a lawn chair to St. Charles Avenue, fire up a cigar and just wait for it. I imagine the crunching sound is quite awesome.

And I do realize that having documented this desire, I’ve probably ensured that if I ever do get to witness it, I’ll probably be inside the vehicle getting hit.