It's a year later, and Ray Nagin can't fix a hole in his head
The first Rising Tide conference this weekend ended with local bloggers assisting the Arabi Wrecking Krewe in gutting 84-year-old Cora Foster's Hollygrove house which had floodwater up to the ceilings.
Ms. Foster is herself a pianist, organist and choir teacher. She was raised in a family, and in a neighborhood, that fostered musical training. Some of her uncles were Sam Dutrey (Preservation Hall clarinet player), Honore Dutrey (played with Louis Armstrong in the seminal King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band), Buddy Bolden (who's playing inspired King Oliver and Louis Armstrong), and Jelly Roll Morton (who contributed significantly to the dissemination of jazz to other cities). Here's an interesting history of New Orleans jazz written in the 1930's.
Thanks to Ray in New Orleans for organizing the housegutting project, as well as Your Right Hand Thief oyster, Morwen, Maitri, Lisa, Dangerblond, and other bloggers interested in the well being of New Orleans, for organizing and participating in the Rising Tide conference. Another special thank you to Dangerblond, the hostest with the mostest, who has an incredible collection of Lenin busts and costumes, for entertaining the contingent of bloggers with an evening social on Saturday.
I was reminded by Dangerblond's Lenin bust art collection about an idea I've had for years. Russia has been struggling to determine what it should do with the embalmed corpse of Vladimir Lenin. I have an answer: Take Lenin on a world tour of major cities like the King Tut exhibit. Charge admission. Harkening back to the Soviet Union's bread lines, people would stand in line for hours wearing bleak gray or brown trenchcoats to see the revolutionary's corpse in repose. As another blogger suggested, visitors could be given a loaf of hard bread. No, I'm not joking. I think this would be a fantastic idea. Anyone want to fund the Lenin Tour?
I arrived late to the conference, so I didn't absorb much. One thought, however, stands out. Irish Channel community activist Ed McGinness mentioned his concern that, despite a lot of frustration with the UNOP process, Concordia, and Steven "Bungler" Bingler in particular, the UNOP process is "the only game in town," and it has to move forward. He said we have to make it work somehow.
I agree. I think Bungler should be asked to step aside to make way for a planner with a bit more competence.
Quoting someone else, McGinness said that politicians are more powerless than we might think. We have to empower them to champion our issues. He was suggesting that citizens and neighborhood organizations need to identify the issues they want addressed, and give politicians the power to represent them.
While I appreciate the sentiment, some politicians are plain incompetent, or pay lip service to community issues while getting paid off to work for other interests.
At the bar after the conference, Lisa and Ashley engaged in a bit of post-Katrina blues scheming by browsing listings for New Zealand real estate. If things don't work out in New Orleans, maybe we could just transplant a new New Orleans community in NZ?
Finally, find out why Carl Brauner is glad Hurricane Katrina happened, and why Rebecca Solnit thinks New Orleans might be ready for a revolution, by listening to the latest Community Gumbo.
Ray Nagin: Every New Orleanian ought to get a turn at bitch slapping you. Shut the fuck up asshole!
Sunday music: Mahler's 8th Symphony.
8/28/06 update: Oh -- how could I forget to mention this! One of the most entertaining Rising Tide bar conversations was one where K. and Becky joked about adding porn to the whole blog/neighborhood community activist mission. Bloggers could tap members of the neighborhood for content, and finance their rebuilding from the proceeds of online purchases. Then, we could tell the federal government, "No thanks. We don't need your money." A uniquely New Orleans solution if I ever heard one!
Tags: Hurricane Katrina | Katrina | New Orleans | Louisiana | America's Wetland | We Are Not OK | Rebuild New Orleans | Katrina Dissidents | Failure Is Not An Option | Ray Nagin | Hurricane Katrina One Year Anniversary | UNOP | Unified New Orleans Plan | Steven Bingler | Concordia