Too Soon?

27 March 2008

copeland.gifWhen I’m dead, people who think I’m a prick are hereby permitted (encouraged even) to continue to think I’m a prick. Just like Al Copeland.

No, I never met the guy, and now I never will, but I think he’s a prick, and I will continue to do so until I learn that I shouldn’t. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

I agree with Chris Rose that his love of life is to be admired (although I disagree that AC’s town was New Orleans; Metairie is not New Orleans). But I can’t forgive how he let his businesses scar the landscape, not to mention what they serve has done for people’s perceptions of New Orleans cuisine.

I admit to having been amused during slow points in past Hornets games watching Al and his band of thugs sitting courtside with their tight faces, preternaturally black hair, and snug $500 silk shirts. But those resources should have gone into removing the blight at Napoleon and St. Charles that has sat boarded up since 2005. Unforgivable. And that’s to say nothing of his eyesores further toward Lee Circle.

The brawl at Morton’s, the traffic at his Metairie house, the multiple silico-spouses–that stuff I can handle. But benefiting from a generous bankruptcy agreement while not fixing his properties is something I can’t handle. So forgive me for not jumping on the “he was one of a kind” praise of the guy.

Paul Prudhomme, now that’s a restaurant guy who deserves our praise.

Easter in New Orleans

26 March 2008


Originally uploaded by HammHawk

Ah, just like back in Topeka when I was a kid.

Deadly Rice

25 March 2008

Within a couple of days of each other, I’ve read two columns on something so obvious I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it before:  John McCain should Pick Condoleezza Rice as his running mate.

I’ll let them make the case, but Cokie & Steven Roberts do a good job, as does Hendrik Hertzberg.

Frankly, I don’t think the GOP establishment will let him do it, but it scares me, so it may be a good idea.

T-Mac was right

21 March 2008

As my friend Gary put it:

McGrady said something bad would happen if he came to New Orleans.  How about 25 points in the 2nd half?

This team is never out of it.  On a night when we couldn’t hit an outside shot for anything, tenacious defense and some sweet driving plays got the job done.  Can’t wait for Saturday against the Celtics.  Once again, #1 in the West vs. #1 in the East, and I like our chances!

Even though I didn’t take him up on it, Chef-Who-Dat wins the big prize (a drink, probably) for his idea of going as T-Mac’s security detail.  I liked it but didn’t have time to get it together.

But we did sit in front of some young punks who decided they were Rockets fans.  And they were obnoxious as hell about it.  E and I spent the first half leaning forward to distance ourselves as much as possible from within a packed arena.  I don’t mind visiting fans, but mocking the Hornets’ initial ineptitude was a bit much (especially from some pimply prick with a McGrady jersey over his green polo with the collar turned up).  E doesn’t like me to confront punks like that (“They’re just kids”) so my only response was a stage whisper to her:  “When it’s your first time at a big league game, you get a little excited.”  And of course they were gone by the time we took that game over.

Disputed carjacking

20 March 2008

Got the following letter in my neighborhood association listserv.  Let me be clear that I don’t have any idea what happened here.  Honestly, I’d rather believe the student is lying, but the letter seems pretty compelling, and it’s not like our cops have never been wrong before.  So check it out and see what you think:

Subject: crime report- Please help me and forward this to everyone you know

Statement: March 19, 2008

I am the Tulane student who was recently kidnapped at gunpoint. That night  I left the Tulane campus where I had been studying until after 1 a.m.  I drove to my boyfriend’s house on Lowerline Street. After I got out of my car, I was jumped by a man holding a gun.  He was black and wore a hoodie sweatshirt. His hair was braided or dreadlocked. I did not know him. He aimed a gun at my head and told me to get into my car and drive. I begged him to instead take my purse or other belongings, but please let me go.  He said no, he was taking me, and said something like “everyone has their day”. He instructed me to take two lefts and drive down Broadway –towards Claiborne. I continued to beg him to take my belongings if he would let me out.  He said we would stop at an ATM, but later changed his mind. Since he did not seem interested in taking my valuables, I concluded that if I did not get away before we reached the highway, I would probably be raped and maybe killed.

I wondered if I should crash my car to get away. I started driving out of control.  At the intersection of Broadway and Freret, the kidnapper told me to climb over the seat into the back of the car.  Instead I bolted from the car and ran to the one other vehicle at the intersection. There was no question I would rather risk being shot in the back than stay with this man. I banged on the window of the other vehicle screaming: I am going to die … that’s my car … the man has a gun.  The occupants of the other car let me in. They were two Loyola students.  My kidnapper drove off in my car with all my belongings and my little dog.  It was these two Loyola students who saved my life.  Easily they could have driven away not wanting to risk their own lives to help me. I am so grateful.

To the best of my ability, I have cooperated with the New Orleans police department. I missed all my classes during the last week before spring break. Over the course of three interviews and numerous phone calls, I told the police everything I could think of that might help solve this crime. The day after the incident I spent hours talking with the detective, including telling him about some shady people who in the past were associated with my current boyfriend (bad white folks).  I am not sure if this connection had anything to do with my kidnapping, and I did not like getting my boyfriend involved, but I realized the need to pursue every possible lead even if this could put some one I care about in a bad light, and by association, put me in a bad light as well. I took the police to my boyfriend and asked him to reveal everything about those past associations even if not easy to do. These associations are not people I have known or was ever involved with.

On March 16th the police called and again asked me to come to the police station.  The detective said he wanted me to look at photos that may be of the kidnapper which photos he said had been taken at various establishments in the same area.  He also told me a similar crime occurred the previous night on Cohn Street. When I arrived at the police station I asked the detective about this other incident. He said it happened on Cohn Street up by Carrolton.  He said that  it also involved the  abduction of a girl, and that this other victim also escaped from a vehicle.  

After I accompanied the detective into the interrogation room, he told me he had something to tell me: that they think I am not telling the truth. The Detective said that they got an anonymous call through crimestoppers. He said the person who called in said I made up the story. I asked why would I do such a thing? He said they thought the situation was staged.  He acted like I must know the kidnapper. I was incredulous and angry. I insisted I did not make up this horrifying event, and later asked to take a lie detector test to prove I did not know my kidnapper and to prove the validity of the event I recounted. I was shocked to think he could imagine that I studied at school until after 1 a.m. then in the middle of the night staged some get away scene in front of one vehicle occupied by people I did not know.

The Detective said something like maybe you are mad at your school, or your parents, or your boyfriend, or maybe you knew the person and were there getting drugs and something went wrong in the deal. I responded that I love my school, family, and friends, and that I was not buying drugs, and I did not know the person who attacked me.

At some point one of the policemen started laughing. I asked how he could laugh and not take my kidnapping case seriously. He said they do take this case seriously and someone is going to prison and it may be me if I am not telling them everything I knew, or not being accurate. On Monday night I had been in danger of losing my life. Now I had to defend my integrity against my supposed advocates.

The detective said he made up the story about the kidnapping on Cohen Street to get me in to the police station. I said I had come in each other time when requested, why would I not come in this time. He later acknowledged that was true and assured me he felt I was cooperating with his investigation. I asked whether it was illegal what they were doing –that is,  telling me lies about another incident, as if to frighten me more. The detective responded something to the effect that it is not illegal for the police to tell stories: “being sneaky is our job.”

I asked the detective about the person who made the anonymous call who said I was making up this story.  I figured the call was made by someone connected to my kidnapper. The detective said that I could not find out, it was an anonymous call. I wondered if this call really happened or if it was another made up story that the police were using as part of their investigation.

I also asked the detective about the statements of the two Loyola students who witnessed my escape and rescued me. The detective said he had not interviewed them yet but that he was going to do it soon. I definitely was upset that, now six days after the kidnapping, he had not yet interviewed the only witnesses to this crime. Later that night I called the detective back and he said he had just interviewed these two girls and that their statement of events was almost word for word the same as mine.

The detective also told me that the anonymous caller said that I had also said the police are inept and stupid.   I have not said this, but now that the police are accusing me of being the bad guy and had not yet interviewed the two witnesses to the crime, clearly the case is not being pursued aggressively.

On March 17th I understand that NOPD held a press conference attacking my credibility. The person who held the press conference has never spoken with me.  I am in shock. How could anyone think that someone would lie about being kidnapped? And why would two Loyola students who I do not know corroborate my story? 

I continue to hear more accusations against me: like that I filed the police report for attention, that I am crying wolf, that I was probably involved in buying drugs from this guy, that I should not have been out alone late at night, that I should not be associating with friends who were, even in the past, associated with bad people or drug people. 

This abduction was the scariest thing that ever happened in my life. Now those who should be working to find the person who abducted me, are instead picking apart every word I said and when I said it, as if I had made up this entire incident.  When, in my distress, I called my detective to ask about the press conference that discredited me, he said that the statements about my case were being orchestrated by his superiors, that it was not his doing. He acknowledged I had been cooperating. I asked if he would make a public statement in support of me. He said he could not, that this would be against department policy.

I now keep wondering why the authorities announced in the press conference something about my breaking off communication and not cooperating. I voluntarily met with the police the night before the press conference and was on the phone with the detective the day of the press conference. I trusted the police. I never thought I, the victim, would need to hire an attorney to defend me. Now it seems almost as if the authorities want to put forth a justification for arresting me. Can this situation become more frightening?

Granted with all the unresolved violent crimes in the university area, the authorities have an incentive to down play what happened to me to curb the level of fear in our community. I can understand that motivation. And one anonymous call seems to have provided NOPD with the opportunity to discount my account of the incident.  Now I  understand why victims of violent crimes so often do not report the incident — out of fear of being abused by the legal process, as is now happening to me.

Please email this to every person you can. I am emailing this individually to last names.

PHD Comic on Tulane/Katrina

20 March 2008

Not, like, “haha” funny, but damn good.

h/t Billy

Stewart on Obama-Wright

20 March 2008

And so, at 11:00 am on a Tuesday, a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race as though they were adults.

Not his funniest bit, but he shows that we have a potential philosopher king, and the bit is still worth a look.

We’re all still in college

20 March 2008

I was listening to a recent This American Life, the theme of which was returning to childhood.  One woman was reminiscing on her time at Tufts when a couple of guys put together an absurd act in which one of them rode on the shoulders of the other and proclaimed himself to be Giant Man.  The got a cult following, as you might imagine, and her wistful tone was notable.  One thing she said struck me:

When you’re a student, it still feels like something exciting might happen at any moment.  Life feels full of all this potential.  But when you get out of school, that potential just doesn’t seem to be there.

I thought to myself, “Man, I feel like that she did in college, and I feel it all the time.”  Living in New Orleans does mean that the potential is there for something exciting to happen at any moment.   I’m not sure if our similarity to a just-beyond-adolescence age is necessarily a good thing (we certainly could have taken more time to hold the Corps accountable before the storm), but I think it speaks to why I love my city.  I like that characters like Giant Man are around all the time, especially during our many costuming opportunities.  Predictability is good for some things, but it can get boring too.  Indeed, something exciting is always right around the corner.

“Was”??? WTF?

19 March 2008

Check out the headline.  And I’m going to personally throttle anyone who refers to “treasure” as a stake of war.  I do think that we should consider money in making such decisions (we could sure use some of that treasure here), but the euphemism is nauseating, and McCain is the most frequent utterer.  Ugh.

Stuff I’ve been meaning to post…

19 March 2008

Dilbert & Religion:

Thank you for taking time out from feeding the poor to complain about comic strips. I know Jesus would have played it the same way.

–Scott Adams (Dilbert)

I don’t typically read Scott Adams’s blog, but this post is great.

Obama & McCain: I’m really bummed I didn’t get around to ordering a green O’Bama shirt in time for St. Pat’s (maybe they’ll be cheaper now), but his speech today, I believe, will be remembered long after he’s gone. Folks, this could be a real turning point in the nation’s dealings with race. It may lose him the election by causing subtly racist moderates to finally have their reason to jump ship, but it’ll force a bunch of folks to face some ugly truths.

Incidentally, if you weren’t scared enough of McCain before (I’ve been guilty as considering him a relatively minor threat, but I thought the same about W way back when, so I’m guilty), consider that he actively solicited the support of John Hagee, who said this:

All hurricanes are acts of God because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that.

In that interview, he goes on to say that there was to be a parade with homosexual sex at unprecedented levels. The lack of rationality that goes into these kinds of statements (like, what about Rita? No storm hits a god-fearing region?) just blows me away, so to speak. What a prick.

HomeStretch: Like some respected not-really-lent-type others, I’ve been on the wagon for Lent. E did this a few years ago, but I decided to join her this time. It sucks, but I’ve learned some things. More on that later. Believe me, this level of masochism deserves its own post. If you see someone puking on Chris Owens Sunday, that’ll be me.

T-Mac Watch: Tomorrow E and I are going to watch the Hornets kick the Rockets’ asses and end that streak and take over 1st in the West. Big prize to anyone who helps me incorporate my hatred of McGrady into a concise sign. Remember these words:

If I don’t feel like it’s going to be safe, if I’m on that team, I will think about not going.

That was the first thing I thought about [regarding the game being held in New Orleans next season]. I thought about how much safety and security there’s going to be for the players. I don’t think it’s the right city right now. Safety has to come first.

BTW, I’ve never personally seen a player take over a game the way Chris Paul did last night. G & I thought we were toast, and we were already lamenting how we gave away a game to a mediocre team (even if 2 KU players are on the team), when Paul became superman and decided he WOULD NOT LET US LOSE. So tomorrow we play to end the streak and take over 1st in the West and in the division. I’m drooling.

BTW2, I’ve been elated to see JuJu come alive and get some game, becoming a crowd favorite in the process. I think he’s going to be an impact player, and I hope we can keep him. Also, props to Bonzi, who I’d been critical of before last night. Jeez, I love the Hornets. Keep supporting them folks! I need them here for my fix!

Super-Duper Sunday: Man, was the weather great, and our “dead city” showed its unique spirit and a great time. Too many pix here.

Family: How old do you get before your family starts giving guilt trips about your personal weaknesses? Just wondering.

More later.

Update:  I didn’t realize Houston played Boston tonight.  Not sure if I should root against Houston (I guess I will, for NO’s sake and for KU’s Paul Pierce), or for Houston (have I mentioned I hate Tracy McGrady) so we can end their streak instead of Beantown.