History and recent renovation information of LeBuef Plantation here. (Click photos to embiggen.)
Archive for the ‘Louisiana’ Category
Folks in New Orleans really get into Halloween, decorating everything in celebrating the big holiday of fall. Many homes parallel the decorations on homes during the Christmas season. One of the more infamous homes that celebrates the end of October can be found along St. Charles Avenue near Audubon Park. Here they are, the New Orleans skeleton gang!
Fall is truly the best time to be in New Orleans – Happy Halloween everyone!
Bucktown was established over a hundred years ago as a fishing village along the 17th street canal. Bucktown has been somewhat of an enigma, straddling the boundary of New Orleans and Jefferson parish unlike anywhere else in the well defined city, with both sides peacefully claiming the village as part of their own. A variety of entertainment venues hugged the lake in Bucktown with brothels, bars, restaurants and dance halls coexisting alongside the boats. Mother nature however has not been very kind to Bucktown, virtually flattening it 6 times, with the most recent being Katrina.
After the storm, the fleet of fishing boats and trawlers formerly docked along the canal were relocated to the Bonnabel boat launch, after the Army Corps of Engineers took over the mouth of the canal to install a new pumping station. So finally with the money from the storm and the impetus to build, the Bucktown Marina came to life after the initial proposal to build it in the 1960′s. To celebrate, the Bucktown Bash was held today, complete with bands, food, kids activities and the Blessing of the Fleet at noon. Here are a few pictures…
The Marina sign
There was a $5.00 entry fee, and temporary fencing was erected
There were vendors and booths selling tickets for food and drinks
The crowd got thicker as the afternoon progressed
There was a kite building tent that the kids were enjoying
About a dozen vendors were selling food, drinks, beer, daquiris and snowballs
The boats were decked out for the blessing of the fleet in 4th of July bunting
The Navy brass band was having fun
The Bucktown Allstars had the crowd on their feet dancing
Happy 4th of July!
Nearly four years ago, a young boy by the name of Jeremy Galmon was shot and killed after a second line had passed by, a casualty of people using bullets to settle arguments.
The fundraising for Jeremy’s family was held only a few blocks from my home, sponsored by members of the community and by Young Men of Olympia Social & Pleasure Club, who had sponsored the parade on the day that the boy was caught in the crossfire. The city was in an uproar over this latest victim of gun violence here, and the finger-pointing at the parade as a cause of the violence was happening in too much earnest. Casting blame on the second-line was far too easy to do at the time, but the bands were out in force, and people were driving by the Goodwork Network to give funding to the Galmon family and to deliver the message that second-lining was not a cause, but strove to be a solution in a number of ways. It was there that I met Deborah Cotton for the first time, working right alongside the organizers, enjoying the Baby Boyz Brass Band, the Roots of Music in one of its earliest incarnations, and assisting with style and grace.
I knew the name from her book Notes From New Orleans, which was one of the first post-8/29/2005 chronicles I’d read – I feel to this day that it is still unjustly overlooked as a smart, occasionally sassy, and heartfelt window into that time. I then found that she was contributing to Nola.com under the name Big Red Cotton via a blog there entitled Notes On New Orleans (I wonder where that title came from?), where her amazing voice and perspective jumped off the web browser and stood out among all that hot mess. She’d made it a point to immerse herself in the second line culture and invited me out to do so sometime.
I’ll tell everyone a secret: for quite a while, I wanted to write like Deb. Her frankness about how many people were on some sort of antidepressant to deal with the aftermath of the levee breaches helped make me bolder about admitting that I was on them and will most likely be on them for the rest of my life. There’s one post of mine that’s directly inspired by her examples: a multimedia account of a visit to another fundraiser, the Dinerral Shavers Educational Fund, filled with brass bands, love, laughter, and even some “Halftime,” anticipating the Saints’ Super Bowl win later that same month. I was happy to see her posting at the Gambit’s Blog of New Orleans, and touted her extensive online archive of second line YouTubes when I could.
Life gets crazy, and 2010 flew by, then 2011, 2012. I saw Deb again at a Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities program, then at Rising Tide 6, but I wasn’t able to take advantage of that opportunity to dance with her as she took in another of the second lines she so loved. Once I heard she was among the 19 shot by someone lying in wait for the procession to come by this past Sunday, my heart was in my throat. She’d worked so hard for so many years to show that this was a welcoming part of New Orleans culture, and one kid with a gun had struck that down, taking her with it…
She and a few others are still recovering from their injuries. The suspect(s) in the shooting is(are) still at large. And, for whatever reason, I find myself thinking about James.
James is no one specific. In Notes From New Orleans, Deb wrote about wanting a James to come along, and referred to him in one of her most recent tweets. James isn’t someone who can come and take her away from it all completely, but he can certainly make it all bearable for quite a while. James will know just what makes Deb tick, and will respond to her in all the right ways when she’s low, bringing her out of whatever doldrums she’s in. James is a supportive, seductive dream of a black man who hasn’t arrived in her life…but I wonder…
New Orleans may not have been perfect, and it may have lashed out at her, but it has sustained her all these years. She’s believed in it for so long, worked so hard for it, that I couldn’t help but think that one of the greatest tributes to her toils was Ronal Serpas making the point that the second line was not to blame for the shootings – and most everyone agreeing with that assessment. Jeffrey the yaller blogger is correct in saying “no one has done more to cover and celebrate this generation of NOLA street culture.” Deb treated it so well that if it were a person, I’m sure it would be a James.
It’s now time for us all to do what a James would do – support Deb and those others hurt in the shootings.
The Gambit is working with the Tipitina’s Foundation on a fundraiser for them all. Go here and stay alert for further details.
Deb kick-started New Orleans Good Good shortly before Sunday’s parade. Sign up for updates on her condition and details on fundraising. It would also be great, if you are in a position to do so, to sponsor some advertising on the site and keep her work going.
A blood drive effort for shooting victims is being scheduled for May 22, from 2-7 PM. At least 25 donors are needed for the blood drive. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and to volunteer.
Cross-posted at Humid City
At its April 2013 Board meeting, the French Quarter Management District presented a draft copy of a flyer titled, “Do You Know It’s Illegal To: French Quarter Businesses” detailing the existing laws and ordinances applicable to businesses operating in the French Quarter (complete with citations!). This document, although still in draft form pending verification and final approval, is an eye-opening compendium of the existing ordinances and laws applying to businesses — and particularly “Alcohol Beverage Outlets” (ABOs or bars) operating in the Vieux Carré.
(For example: it’s illegal to “Allow an employee or any other person on the premises of a Class A ABO, including a doorway, to expose unclothed or in attire any portion of the cleft of the buttocks OR a female breast below the top of the areola. Law differs for live entertainers while onstage. La. R.S. 26:290 (B)(1) & (2), (D), (E); Sec. 110-157, 434, 435″ — who knew?!)
In April 2012, the French Quarter Management District also produced a similar — albeit more generalized — flyer detailing the ordinances and laws relative to individuals/citizens/residents: “Do You Know It’s Illegal To: ILLEGAL In the French Quarter.” This document is also reportedly currently being updated with minor revisions.
While both of these documents are interesting, it’s common knowledge that our City Administration’s emphasis on enforcement of such ordinances and laws is inconsistent at best. This could be, in part, because Louisiana law currently limits the amount of fines assessed at the municipal level to a maximum of just $500.
Present law mandates the maximum penalty to be imposed for violation of any parish ordinance is $500 and imprisonment of 30 days in the parish jail.
Proposed law provides for the city of New Orleans to establish a maximum penalty for violations of any parish ordinance as codified in the city code of ordinances at $5,000 and imprisonment of six months in the parish jail.
Effective August 1, 2013.
If SB 140 is passed and our City’s Administration figures out that there’s a possible new revenue stream from stepping up enforcement efforts, these odd little laws that are already on the books might become surprisingly — and possibly unexpectedly — significant. The passage of this bill will likely mean that our city’s officials will pursue more aggressive — and lucrative — fines for numerous violations that are currently possibly considered to be too costly to routinely enforce.
While I am generally in favor of this proposed bill, I am also concerned that it could have unforeseen consequences… particularly when one considers the enforcement efforts that have already been identified as “priority” issues by our elected officials.
Keep in mind, too, that the impact of this proposed bill will affect all of Orleans Parish — not just the French Quarter. Heads up, everybody!
Despite the fact that the Quarters were shrouded in fog and mist…
…revelers were fueling up and getting their groove on for the day
And the time had come to get the party started!
I can’t imagine living my life without the ability to have some fun on Mardi Gras day – the party helps us remember not to take life so seriously.
Hope everyone had a fabulous time – until next year, or the next big event!
I’m from Massachusetts, so I’m familiar with the long, wet, cold winters. The driving during this time of year used to be horrific. We lived on a hill and not a winter would pass where we were out on the street during a snowstorm trying to help push cars up the hill in the stormy and icy conditions.
Driving in icy conditions looks like this:
Southeast Louisiana winters are gentle, but they are not without their hazards. I spent 30 years driving to and from work in New Orleans East in near zero visibility due to the fog. This time of year is the worst for the fog.
Since I retired in October I haven’t even ventured out of bed before 7. But Saturday I got up early and noticed how thick the fog was around our house. So I grabbed the camera and went outside to play.
I used to dread this time of the year. It was the beginning of reminders of everything that I had lost – family, my parents, some of my friends – and made me feel incredibly lonely as others went into detail about their holiday plans: the visitors they were receiving, the big dinners they were preparing, or funny little stories about the family holiday gift exchange. This year, though, the holidays have a new meaning for me. It isn’t the beginning of a downward cycle where I spend the entire holiday season wishing my parents were still alive and beating myself up because my daughter is growing up without having a huge extended family. There is no going to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, no big family Christmas celebration, and when it comes to holidays, it is always just the three of us. As irrational as this is, at one time, I thought this made meant I had failed as a mother. I realize that my parents dying was out of my control, but to not be able to give those types of childhood memories to Emily, well, that made me feel quite sad.
This year, though, things are different. I felt the tides change when I saw the first holiday commercial and I didn’t feel resentment towards the family of actors surrounding the holiday table. The commercials didn’t make me cringe. I didn’t excuse myself to my bedroom to cry. Instead of just going through the motions of preparing the house for the holidays, my head filled with ideas on what we could do to make the home festive. Emily drew designs. I brought out the remaining beads from Emily Gras. We got crazy with the glue gun. We watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Wizard of Oz. We talked about new traditions we wanted to start for our little family. I didn’t turn the radio off when Christmas music came on.
I think it is easy to get caught up on our list of things we don’t have and wish for. The holidays seem to punctuate these things with rows of exclamation marks and blinking neon signs. Whether it is a different house, a new car, a better wardrobe, a smaller waist, more money, a better job, or in my case, family, those wishes can sometimes control us. They can dictate whether we are going to be happy or sad, whether we are going to embrace life or simply exist, whether we offer kindness to others or simply reject all of those around us. I think sometimes it is easier to think about all those things we wish we were, wish we had, or regret letting go than it is to take a look around, breathe our lives in, and find the goodness that does exist, even when our wish lists are long and it seems like challenges meet us at every bend in the road.
I’ve decided that I’m done with list of wishful thinking and rows and columns of regret. This holiday season is going to be one of gratitude and one of paying love forward. The time to welcome the holiday and create our own traditions and to celebrate without longing, regret, and sadness is long overdue. The smile on my face this holiday season won’t be plastic and fake, painted on my face only for the benefit of my daughter. This holiday, the smile will be real, and it will come from having real joy.
So, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I sit and reflect on the everyday things – the things we often take for granted while traveling back in time to live in our pasts or traveling years into our futures.
I think about the smile of my daughter when she is very excited, the obstacles she has tackled, the incredible imagination and big ideas that live inside of her head, and the thoughtfulness, kindness and love that live inside of her heart. I am thankful.
I think of my mister taking a leap by changing occupations when Hurricane Isaac thought it would get the best of us, working early and long days, always offering me support and encouragement with fierce loyalty, and understanding all of my nerdy affections, even joining in on a few. I am thankful.
I think of my friends who understand me, laugh at my jokes even when they aren’t funny, and who look out for me. I am thankful.
And I think of New Orleans. The way you live and laugh .The way you sing and dance. The passion you hold. The way you accept and love and make things right. The very soul, that damn beautiful spark, that makes this place, this glorious place, the only place that ever felt like home. You’ve taught us so much, New Orleans. You’ve given us the place in this world we needed, the perfect place to bloom where we are planted and to grow. I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.
David Lummis’s second installation of The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans was recently published. Whereas the first part, reviewed here, was more a “lighthearted and irreverent and even campy” (as Lummis himself describes it) romp in and around the French Quarter, Part 2 is a more serious work. A more serious tone, a more serious topic. And a more true voice, I suspect, of Lummis. And for that, a far richer gift to the reader. Lummis lays bare his soul as he writes of the tormented soul-searching done by the last son of an old-school blue-blood New Orleans family, and the struggle of those who love him to keep him from losing himself in the process.
As Katrina approaches New Orleans, B. Sammy Singleton is on the search for his missing friend, Catfish Beaucoeur. Sammy, in a role similar to Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, is the narrator but not the star of CSCNO2. In his frenetic search for Catfish, Sammy encounters Lee Ann, Catfish’s oldest friend. And when it is clear Catfish is well and truly missing, Lee Ann decides it’s time for Sammy to know what Lee Ann herself knows to be the truth of Catfish’s tortured past.
And in this manner, Lummis takes us to 1970s New Orleans and pre-Civil War Louisiana. And the curses that were cast in the long-ago past and the long spidery legs that still stretch and scratch into the present.
Although it is Catfish that is the subject of the novel and for whom the reader will root, it is Lee Ann for whom the reader will relate: Her struggle to love, and be loved, in an imperfect way but in a way as pure as imaginable. Even when she knows it is utterly and completely hopeless.
Upon one reunion of the teen-aged Catfish and Lee Ann, with Catfish recalcitrant as always for having had to leave Lee Ann to fight his own darkness alone, Carfist extracts a vow from Lee Ann never to give up on him. Here’s Lummis’s description of Lee Ann’s coming-of-age moment:
And with that vow, Lee Ann felt herself letting go of all she knew she should do, not for Castfish, but for Lee Ann. And it was as if she were taking leave. And as she sat in the Firebird and listened to Catfish read “Old Glory” out loud, she saw the Lee Ann who knew better, the Lee Ann with the Lucky Strike rasp, open the car door and stride out onto the water. And as she watched herself go, this wiser Lee Ann kept on walking out onto that vast pool of night until she reached the center of Lake Pontchartrain, where she stopped and turned back as tiny waves lapped her calves. It was pitch dark in the Firebird and she was a long way from shore, but she could see Catfish plain as day, his eyelashes, the spray of freckles on the back of his hand. She could feel him too, his essence, his beating heart. Negating the distance, he was bigger than life, while the little girl to his right was scarcely a silhouette. From her marine outpost, Lee Ann waved but the little girl wasn’t looking, so she whistled, then called out. No response. The windows were closed and the words hit the windshield and flapped outward like Halloween crows. Her only chance of getting through to the girl, Lee Ann knew, was to return to dry land, but with the first step she comprehended her ability to walk on water was, like most things, imagined, and that all she could do to keep from sinking was to stay where she was, dead center on the lake. So this she did as Catfish started the car, and the headlights broadcast over the water, and the Firebird backed away from the curb and crawled along the shoreline, then winked red and disappeared.
This is not a cliff-hanger story-plot-twist of a novel. Rather, it’s one of strong character development among real-life afflictions and the struggle for regular folks to face life on its darkest days and push to get through to fight another day. And to love others enough to help them push on as well when they fail to find the strength on their own. CSCNO2 is at times lyrical, at times heart-breaking; and it is part historical fiction. But at all times, it is an attempt to explain who we are by where we—be it an individual, a family, a city, a society—have been. It is genuine and palpable. Written with a deftness so that the reader understands the love, and struggle thereto, Sammy and Lee Ann have for Catfish, and, more, to understand the demons that haunt Catfish. Even if the solution to exorcising those demons is not so obvious.
And best of all, it’s not the end of our journey. Part 3 is yet to come.
Part of living in Southeast Louisiana is accepting that you will, on a fairly regular basis, have to make the choice of whether to evacuate for an impending hurricane or ride it out at home. Every storm is unique with its own very unique qualities and it’s really a game of semi-education and gut calculating that goes into the deciding. Sometimes the evacuation is worse than the storm as it was for me for Hurricane Gustav. Sometimes the evacuation is a piece of cake but the storm is devastating as it was for me for Hurricane Katrina. It’s really a roll of the dice, kismet, karma or just plain bad or good luck. There’s no making sense of it so don’t even try.
We are still in the midst of the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, a storm that has defied all of the expert’s accumulated knowledge about how a hurricane should act. The word used over and over about it was/is “confusing”. Personally, I’ve made it through the storm with little material damage – just a whole lot of debris to clean up and it’s looking like several days without power. I’ll take it. I’ve seen much, much worse. Despite the group angst of this hurricane falling on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it appears New Orleans has made it through just fine from what I’m reading on Twitter and FaceBook and hearing on my little battery operated radio. (I’m able to write this thanks to hooking up briefly to our generator.)
Other parishes around New Orleans have not been so lucky. Two of our bloggers, Amy and Judy B, live in Slidell where there has been massive flooding and I’m very worried for them. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.