(This archived content from a previous blog is being added for posterity, 25Jan2011. Ed.)

I have 30 min to check out and another 3 hours after that to catch a cab for the airport. My wife is furiously cramming things in her bags, (and my bags), while I am all packed and ready to roll. ;)

Anyway, more saddening news from the food front. Tony Moran’s, where I proposed to my wife and a notoriously fine place to get great food and great service, was so awful last night I can barely even bring myself to repeat the events. As my wife said, “It just goes to show that not everyone can work the food service industry.” Without the proper talent and attitude, you just won’t cut it. It should be said that they must breed something into the folk who live here or transplant here that makes them showmen/women as well as valuable and gifted service folk. The New New Orleanians seem to be far more opportunistic than those we have grown to know and love, (many of whom did not return).

Speaking of opportunity, we understand that there are charter buses being used to ferry people into the still ravaged portions of the city for ‘devastation tours’. I’m disguted and appalled to hear tell of that story. If you want to head in and help demolish a home or clean up the city park, please feel free. Just don’t take the $30 bus ride in to take pictures from the windows. Ugh!

On a happier note, we finally made it to Cafe du Monde after being here 5 days and the Cafe au Lait and Beingets are as tasty as ever. The place was a mob scene, my main man is still blowing horn out front and the zippy asian wait staff are as courteous, fast and hard to understand as ever.

Well, this is it for N’Awlins until we come back in October. One last trip into the Quarter for etufee and we’re gone. A bientot mon belle ville!

 

(This archived content from a previous blog is being added for posterity, 25Jan2011. Ed.)

Or as the locals speak it, N’Awlins! Through a fortuitous series of events, both my wife and I had conferences in N’Awlins this week. Mine Mon-Wed, her’s Wed-Fri. So here we are in the city we got engaged and married in on a fully paid business trip. Mmmm, free travel, room and board, mmmm.

This is the first chance we’ve had to come down since Katrina. While in some ways things seem fairly normal. I haven’t seen any dead bodies or flooded streets. Still, the town also affectionately known as Ghost Town USA is eerily changed. The energy is radically different. There’s an almost palpable empty feeling hanging in certain areas. Many stores in the French Quarter are now vacant, something unheard of before Katrina. We spoke with several shop owners, (fortunately some of our favorites are still here), and they had plenty to say about the situation. Some benefitted from the tragedy in that businesses which paked up and left created vacancies to fill on major thoroughfares like Decatur and Royal.

One example is <a href=”http://www.roadkill13.com” target=”lwpop”>Road Kill</a>, a clothing shop specializing in Goth & Biker Trash style clothing, (Dragonfly, Lucky 13, Demonia, etc). They were able to punch a hole through the back of their original store through to a vacancy on Decatur. Ordinarily this would’ve been very expensive, but the depressed economy has made it a lessee’s market. Still, the owner admitted that they were all hanging on by their fingernails, but hopeful that things would work out. He’s forced to live in one of his warehouses as his home was under 6 feet of water and is basically ruined.

Another thing of note is how some shops have remained open and in theme, but with new names/owners. <a href=”http://www.wickedorleans.com” target=”lwpop”>Wicked Orleans</a>, formerly Gargoyles, is pretty much the same shop as before, (another Goth/Rockabilly clothing shop). The owners spoke of their experiences during the storm, such as being unable to return until late October and still having no electricity until mid November. Even they said that despite being die hard New Orleanians, thet if such a storm were to occur again that they might pack it in and leave the city for good.

Kistchy tourist shops are loaded to the gills with T-Shirts proclaiming everything from <strong>FEMA: Find Every Mexican Available</strong> and <strong>Make Levees, Not War</strong> to <strong>U.S Out of Louisiana: If at first you don’t secede, try try again</strong>. I understand that there were a number of very anti-Bush and anti-Nagin shirts as well, but they were removed after gov’t pressure was applied, indicating that such sentiments posed an risk of inciting civil disobedience. Well Mr. Bush and Mr. Nagin, if the shirt fucking fits…

Many of the common side streets in and out of the quarter, such a Iberville where it crosses Dectur toward the riverfront and aquarium, are seemingly dicey once the populace starts moving about and outright frightening at night. I’m not a timid nor small man. At 6 foot + and well into the 200 pound range, I rarely feel intimidated. I’ve <em>never</em> felt intimidated or fearful here in my home away from home until now. The people with jobs are all as cordial and friendly as they’ve ever been. The panhandlers of pre-Katrina are much fewer in number while the desperately haunted look on the increased number of remaining street wanderers is enough to make one look for another avenue to stroll about. It is the first time I have ever felt fear, disdain and sympathy at war in the same emotional space.

We really haven’t ventured outside the quarter. In fact, we’ve taken a number of evening cab rides back to our hotel where in days past we would walk everywhere, from <a href=”http://www.snugjazz.com/” target=”lwpop”>Snug Harbor</a> on Frenchman to <a href=”http://neworleans.citysearch.com/profile/4428937/new_orleans_la/funky_butt_temporarily_closed.html” target=”lwpop”>The Funky Butt</a> on Rampart to <a href=”http://www.hob.com/venues/clubvenues/neworleans/” target=”lwpop”>The House of Blues</a> on Decatur. Never a care for time of day or amount of traffic. I can say with certainty that those days are no longer this day. Maybe again, but not now.

On a lighter note my Etufee-a-day meal program is still in full swing, (sadly, Pere Antoine which was always my first etufee on every trip is nowhere near par from before and that tradition may be coming to an end). Lunch at Napolean House was still fabulous as was dinner at Dickie Brennan’s. Most of my meals have been via the conference and I’m happy to say that the same reason we chose to cater our wedding in N’Awlins holds true for conference food. There are no bad meals in this town. Etufee and Tiramisu in a buffet style lunch? Hot damn, y’all!

While I may have ranted about some bad things, the city is STILL the best eating and best music on the planet. This town needs everyone’s help to get back on it’s feet. Come down, spend some money and help this historical icon come back to life. Just don’t walk the streets alone.

<strong>Laissez les bon temps roulent ENCORE!</strong>

 

(This archived content from a previous blog is being added for posterity, 25Jan2011. Ed.)

Ever wake up and wonder where all of the time went? When you were young, time seemed to drag on forever. Sitting in class, watching the clock tick away, begging for that recess bell to hurry up and clamour. When did that change? Somewhere along the line, the clock became the enemy. My alarm clock blares at me as soon as my head has hit the pillow. The time between when I rise and when I have to leave the house is a mere blur. My work day is over before it begins, leaving me just as behind on my multitude of tasks as I was when I came in. My quality time at home with my wife before bed seems but the blink of an eye. And thus it starts all over again.

One of my great loves, aside from my wife and my Harley who are my greatest loves, is <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miniature_wargaming”>miniature tabletop war gaming</a>. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m a dork, so sue me. Strangely, for an unorganized person, (some would say chaos incarnate), gaming is all about lists. Crafting the perfect army list, assembling a shopping list, creating an assembly check list, a painting check list, a list of everyone I beat down with it, a list of grudges against those to whom I have lost. It’s all about the list and I love making the lists. Of course, amidst the lists is the real work of assembling, painting and playing. That’s where I seem to have the most trouble. No sooner to I start one series of lists and I suddenly have some new idea. Not wanting to forget about it, I commence to making that list and thus the mobius wheel begins circling.

While marriage, home and job eats up a healthy chunk of my time, my wife is very understanding about my hobby needs. Sadly, there just never seems to be enough hours in the day. January 13th I decided that I was going to paint up an army and head to the first ever <a href=”http://gt.us.games-workshop.com/2007/cities/lasvegas.htm”>Las Vegas Warhammer 40K Grand Tournament</a>. I normally shy away from the Games Day and Grand Tournament scene, but the first ever Vegas GT seems like something too good to pass up. Here we are almost 2 months later and while I have everything I need in terms of purchasing, I have only barely managed a couple test paints. How in the hell am I supposed to get 100+ models painted by June 1st?

On top of that, the <a href=”http://forums.relicnews.com/forumdisplay.php?f=101″>RelicNews Forums</a> are having their spring painting contest, (which I will <a href=”?page_id=6″>of course be hosting</a> as usual). I figured that would be a good excuse to get something painted and participate with my crew. Ugh, I haven’t even been able to take a picture of the unpainted fig(s) I plan to paint!

Wish me luck finding a few extra minutes in the day.

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