People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Krewe d’Etat 2007

Posted by schroeder915 on February 19, 2007

This is the Krewe d’Etat bulletin handed out by marchers:

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I’ll post the few photos I took before the batteries died in this post later. I have a couple of connections to get the comic book thrown by the Krewe of Muses — I saw a copy — it’s what I now consider the best throw ever.

Posted in Carnival, Mardi Gras, New Orleans | Leave a Comment »

Our stoned mayor

Posted by schroeder915 on February 18, 2007

If I can be audited by the government, and I can be required to submit information about where and how I earn my money, then certainly public officials responsible for guiding public policy and investment dollars in a city with 200,000 damaged homes ought to be required to do so … oh, my bad. No-C Ray Nagin isn’t guiding public policy or investment dollars, so there really isn’t any opportunity for malfeasance. Maybe the worst mayor ever should just stick to countertops.

Looking for some new marble countertops for the bathroom? The mayor just might have a deal for you.

State records list Nagin and his two sons, Jeremy and Jarin, as the investors in Stone Age Granite & Marble. An employee said Friday by phone that the store relocated several months ago to its new Earhart Boulevard address from another location.

Stone Age LLC was incorporated in January 2005, but the degree to which the mayor and his sons are involved in the enterprise is a mystery.

Asked for comment on the venture, Nagin replied by e-mail Friday that the questions were “out of bounds.”

He said he would have no comment “on my personal investments that are totally outside of any city responsibilities.”

Any attorneys or accountants want to make a request to see Nagin’s books?

Related: AFO Investments.

Posted in Katrina Dissidents, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever | 4 Comments »

Chaos Breaks Wind

Posted by schroeder915 on February 16, 2007

The Knights of Chaos 2007 parade theme: Chaos Breaks Wind. There are also photos of the Krewe of Muses. Among the highlights, Rabouin High School’s new marching band.

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The deck of Chaos cards used as throws this year:

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Posted in Carnival, Eddie Jordan, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Ray Nagin | 1 Comment »

Krewe of Barkus 2007

Posted by schroeder915 on February 14, 2007

The tornado(s) that ripped through New Orleans were unexpected. I had to get up early on Tuesday to go into the Black Pearl neighborhood at Uptown Square. There was considerable destruction there — car windows burst out, trees sheared and their tops slammed into cars, a church with it’s entire facade and windows blown out, a lot of new utility poles damaged and leaning on houses. When, later, I did a loop up St. Charles Avenue and Carrollton Avenue, I discovered that the destruction was far worse than what I’d already seen. The whole facade of the KIPPS school was torn off exposing classrooms inside, roofs blown off, windows blown out, live oaks shredded — it looked like the mess left after Hurricane Katrina (without the flooding). And then the tornado went through Gentilly and Pontchartrain Park. State Farm alone was saying yesterday that they expected about 5000 to 10,000 claims from the storm. These people need some serious help.

It might be inappropriate to follow with a delayed parade post, but this is New Orleans after all, and we refuse to be bowed by mother nature. Here are some Krewe of Barkus photos. As with Krewe du Vieux, I think the satire, floats, and costumes were better last year. A friend speculated that the effort put in this year might reflect this past year’s exhaustion and stress from the recovery effort.

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Volunteers recently updated the Citizen Crime Watch Web site. It now contains assorted property and persons crimes for 2007. This resource could provide an extremely vital service to the community if the criminal justice system started supplying the raw 911 calls for service data and data from other systems. I encourage bloggers to advertise widely the call for criminal justice agencies to cooperate with grassroots development efforts by providing their data so that we can acquire a greater awareness about the safety of our neighborhoods, and identify ways to improve the criminal justice system. The crime mapping and reporting initiatives underway by volunteers aren’t just a novelty — they’re essential resources that belong to the community, and that belong in the community, where crime problems are lived with on a daily basis, and where confidence in the criminal justice system has eroded. Communities need to be empowered to own the solutions to their problems for the community policing idea to work — but they also need to have the data in hand to hold their public officials accountable when the criminal justice system isn’t backing them up.

I’m trying to get caught up on a number of tasks, but time permitting, I soon hope to post some reflections on the testimony of NOPD Superintendent Warren Riley and District Attorney Eddie Jordan at the City Council criminal justice committee hearing this past Monday.

Posted in Carnival, Crime, Crime Mapping, GIS, Mardi Gras, New Orleans | 5 Comments »

“Where’s Schroeder?”

Posted by schroeder915 on February 8, 2007

So asked an anonymous commenter who only referred to himself as “Where’s Schroeder.”

Sorry folks. The anticipation is killing me too. There’s so much going on right now, but so little time. I do, in fact, have a lot to report since my absence.

I’ll start right here — I want this thing enlarged poster size to hang on my wall …

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And here …

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The first image is a drawing made by Nagendra at a Saturday meetup of neighborhood activists. The diagram represents the new linkages between neighborhoods which began to form after Hurricane Katrina. Circles represent the nodes, or cells, of neighborhoods. Lines between the nodes are the arbitrary political boundaries drawn by politicians long before Hurricane Katrina because, Nagendra said, that was the only way they said they could govern. After Hurricane Katrina, those boundaries were washed away. Now, citizens are talking to and collaborating with whomever they chose. Linkages are forming with residents who live in distant neighborhoods based upon common needs. This was best demonstrated by the 5000-strong march on City Hall against violence, in which every neighborhood was represented — every race, every class, every age.

The second image is a prototype online crime mapping, reporting, alert, and analysis system. The public needs to start making noise for the raw 911 calls for service data to be made available to citizens at the same time the NOPD gets the data, in order to further develop this resource as a timely service for the community. Later, the demand for other criminal justice records can be made to complete an understanding about what’s happening in the criminal justice system, and to give citizens more powerful tools to demand greater accountability. There will be a brainstorming meeting to determine where to take this initiative in the future, Mon. 2/12, 7 p.m., Sound Cafe, 2700 Chartes St. (RSVP briandenzer@yahoo.com in case the venue changes).

I’m still debugging my effort to move PGR to a final home on my own Web host. This will be coming soon, and then I’ll finally put back all the sidebar links which used to be on the old Blogger PGR.

Posted in Crime, Crime Mapping, GIS, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans | 6 Comments »

Krewe du Vieux 2007

Posted by schroeder915 on February 4, 2007

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It’s the first parade of the Carnival season, as well as the most profane, roasting any public official reviled by New Orleans residents. More photos.

The parade was moving way too fast to get clear photos, or to even read some of the political roasts on floats and costumes. Last year’s parade was possibly the best Krewe du Vieux ever. I hollered at Ashley, but he was moving too fast as well. I didn’t get a glimpse of any other nefarious characters.

I apologize for falling behind on posts. There’s just a lot going on lately, including a project to completely migrate PGR off of WordPress.com to my own host.

My hope today: that Payton Manning and the Colts do to Chicago fans what Chicago fans did to New Orleans fans — finish what the Great Chicago Fire started (compare how New Orleanians treat visiting fans here).

Related: Community Gumbo podcast — Saints pride displayed in Lakeview.

Posted in Carnival, Dollar Bill, Kathleen Blanco, Katrina Dissidents, Krewe du Vieux, New Orleans, Political Corruption, Recall Nagin, The Saints, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever | 19 Comments »

We all every one of us must come home again

Posted by schroeder915 on January 30, 2007

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Posted in Arts, New Orleans, Social Justice | 13 Comments »

Quiett declined to comment

Posted by schroeder915 on January 29, 2007

Good work Gordon Russell:

As former Mayor Marc Morial’s communications director, Denise Estopinal earned $47,460. Her counterpart in the Nagin administration, Ceeon Quiett, makes $122,025 — the same salary as Nagin.

Whether the pay increases Nagin implemented have resulted in a stampede of new talent at City Hall is hard to say. Quiett declined to comment for this story.

I’m all for giving city workers raises up to the value of their work, but I’m also all for holding them accountable for doing their jobs. Has there been a 100 percent increase in the CAO’s performance since 1999 — an effective doubling of value and productivity? A 157 percent increase in communications? What about Mayor no-C Ray Nagin? He ought to be docked 100 percent of his pay!

I should also mention that the city is critically impaired in its ability to recruit and retain professionals, because other than highly-paid people in the mayor’s immediate circle, there have been no significant changes in payscales and job descriptions which are over thirty years old. Visit the Civil Service office sometime and see what they have to offer. If you’re a programmer who’s been to school for four years or more, and you’re holding a lot of debt, you’re not going to take a job working for the city. The same goes for other professional services needed in a city bureaucracy, plus the additional burdens of the disaster New Orleans is trying to recover from. I’d have to say an electrical inspector right now is worth more than that piece of crap mayor.

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Don’t all scream at the same time! Quiett down!

Posted in Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever | 10 Comments »

Public housing attorney threatened

Posted by schroeder915 on January 29, 2007

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A legal firm representing the federal government issued a gag order against a local attorney who represents public housing residents in New Orleans. The aptly-named firm, “Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann,” ordered Loyola Poverty Law Center attorney Bill Quigley “to immediately cease and desist” from making statements which violate the “Louisiana Rules of Professional Responsibility,” and to “take immediate action to have this recording, the so-called ‘documentary’,” removed from Web sites hosting the audio recording.

I find the selective application of Louisiana’s ethics rules a fascinating curiosity. I was shocked, in the first place, to discover that Louisiana even has professional ethics rules. In any event, it’s truly open to debate whether Quiqley’s statement “that HUD and HANO have been lying to the public” is true or false. Maybe the veracity of their statements really is a matter that should be tested in a court of law.

Posted in Affordable Housing, Government Corruption, Katrina Dissidents, Media, New Orleans, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever | 6 Comments »

Carnival in Washington

Posted by schroeder915 on January 25, 2007

George W. Bush spent half of his time in the State of the Union address defending his plan to send more Americans into the crosshairs of an Iraq civil war, but had not a single word of sympathy, encouragement, or support for New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast, still suffering from the ravages of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the federal levee engineering disaster which destroyed New Orleans. He narcissistically delights at the thought of himself as a war president. Were it not for 9/11, he’d have been an ineffective, unpopular president (as he is now, but he would have been denied a second term). Let’s remember how little he’s accomplished in the domestic arena other than tax cuts, which pick our childrens’ pockets tomorrow to enrich the super wealthy today. The “war against terrah” has been so grotesquely mismanaged and exploited for other agendas that even as Bush is talking about surging American troop levels in Iraq, the Taliban and Al Qaeda — who really did attack Americans on American soil — are surging again in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The only answer Bush has for the mismanaged occupation of Iraq is more of the same — more troops in the wrong arena for the wrong cause. In a vain attempt to create democracy from the muzzle of a gun — what Bush himself once derided as “nation-building” — Bush is breeding more animosity and more insurgents. He has never fully engaged the international community — the Arab world in particular — in sharing the responsibility for the outcome in Iraq. His sole interest is securing control of the world’s second largest petroleum reserves under Iraq for his oil company friends. Bush’s “coalition of the willing” has always been a farce — a mere shadow of the international support his father achieved. George W. Bush is creating a giant Sunni-Shia Hydra. There may be no good answer to solving that problem, but his effort to stabilize Iraq by killing more Iraqis will only create more insurgents, kill more Iraqis, and kill more Americans. Meanwhile, by ignoring Americans still suffering from the worst federal engineering disaster here at home, a great American city — a great world city — is being destabilized.

More than 200,000 people remain displaced from New Orleans. Their homes sit idle while they wait for insurance, wait for Road Home grants — neither of which are sufficient compensation to rebuild their homes — wait for streets to be repaired, wait for water and sewer lines to be repaired, wait for street lights to be repaired, wait for the criminal justice system to be repaired, wait for schools to be repaired, wait for hospitals to be repaired, wait … wait … wait. Tens of billions of dollars spent on cleanup amounted to nothing after Bush’s friends grabbed the money. When it was all over, all that remained was $8 billion in CDBG grants for homeowners — a sum of money that George W. Bush has been spending in Iraq every four weeks for nearly four years. Meanwhile, a great American city — a great world city — has been allowed to die. Scores of thousands of more Americans across the Gulf Coast remain without hope.

It’s time for a march on Washington. I propose February 24th — the first Saturday after Mardi Gras — a perfect occasion to take the carnival revolution from the streets of New Orleans to streets of Washington. We’ll need trucks and flatbed trailers to load up with soggy, moldy furniture from houses still not gutted a year and a half after the federal levees broke. We’re going to haul the debris to Washington and dump it on Pennsylvania Avenue as a gesture of our contempt for a president who had nothing to say in the most important report he is required to provide to Congress about the well-being of our nation and her citizens. I’m calling on Americans across the nation who care about New Orleans, who care about the Gulf Coast, who care about the lives of American soldiers and their families, who care about the pressing global environmental issues that need to be addressed right now, who care about an eroding middle class, who care about America and the world being created in George W. Bush’s image. Let us Americans, all of us, march on Washington to tell George W. Bush and Congress that we don’t want their war in Iraq any more. Let’s march on Washington to tell George W. Bush and Congress that we won’t stomach the deaths of any more Americans from oil wars; we won’t stomach the deaths of any more Americans from environmental disasters; we won’t stomach the deaths of any more Americans from bloated bureaucracies and engineering failures. We demand honesty. We demand transparency. We demand accountability. We demand real solutions for the coming environmental challenges. We demand coastal restoration, and Category 5 protection from hurricanes and rising sea levels.

We are Americans. We demand an adequate answer from our elected officials when Americans are in need!

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Posted in Category 5 Storm Protection, Coastal Restoration, Failure is not an option, Global Warming, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, Katrina Dissidents, Louisiana, Most Revolting President Ever, New Orleans, Rebuild New Orleans, Wetlands Restoration, Worst President Ever | 37 Comments »