Friday, December 30, 2005


Okay, so my New Orleans post wasn't my last of the year, but I just had to write about the appearance of Tropical Storm Zeta. I had a feeling that this record setting season wouldn't be stopped by the calendar or history. Zeta poses no threat to land but I just wanted to get a post out about it for the record considering I figured that another storm would probably form in December.

New Orleans: Four Months Later

In what will probably be my last post of 2005, I thought I would return to a story that consumed a lot my posts since late August and that is the subject of Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath. Yesterday was exactly four months since Katrina hit New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This week, Roxi and I made a trip to New Orleans to visit Roxi's friend Jenny who had just moved to New Orleans two months before Katrina and returned to her insurance job a mere two weeks after the storm. She has been in New Orleans ever since and we made the trip to see her on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Prior to making the two hour drive east from Lafayette, we were told what to expect by friends who had already visited New Orleans. Nothing could prepare me for what we actually saw though. As we approached New Orleans on I-10 through the suburb of Metarie, the first thing that was noticeable were the blue tarps on so many roofs. Most houses had wind and water damage to their roofs and they have been covered and patched with blue tarps until they can be repaired. Also there was several buildings with significant structural damages.

As we continued into the city and approached downtown, you could see a difference in color of the roof of the Superdome where the large holes have now been patched. Driving into the city, many of the windows of the larger buildings are still covered by plywood as the panes of glass are slowly being replaced. Other buildings have tarps covering holes that were opened by the storm.

We drove to the Uptown area of the city near the Garden District and found things to be fairly normal but there was still a lot of damage and far fewer people around than usual. The restaurants are beginning to reopen, but with limited hours and menus. We stayed around that part of town for the evening. The most striking thing about the night was the lack of people out and the sense of emptiness of the city. The mandatory curfew had only been lifted a few days before our visit so apparently there were more people out and about, but this was not the New Orleans that I knew.

Another eerie feeling was driving around the area at night. Many parts of the city still do not have power and so for several miles, no stoplights are working. They have been replaced by temporary stop signs making just about every intersection a four-way stop. They are very easy to miss in the darkness as are the enormous potholes that have formed in the roads.

The next morning, we headed towards the French Quarter to have an early lunch but due to the limited restaurant hours, we didn't end up finding an open restaurant until around noon. Like the Garden District, the French Quarter is relatively unharmed but many of the business owners have not yet returned so there was again a lack of activity in the area. The French Market was open but the number of vendor tables was very small by comparison to what I am used to. Eventually we found food and then made a drive to the 9th Ward.

As most people now know, the 9th Ward is one of the poorest areas of town and many people didn't evacuate before the storm. After the flooding started, those who had remained were forced to take refuge on their rooftops while awaiting rescue by helicopter. When we drove into the 9th Ward, it was like a ghost town. The weeds have grown up since the city has been drained but other than that, there is very little life there. Some people have returned to clear out their homes of trash but many houses probably haven't been entered since they were searched for bodies in the month after the storm. The houses and cars bear the water marks of flooding. In our drive through the area, it appeared that water ranged from three to six feet.

After having seen enough of the devastation in the 9th Ward, we headed for Lake Pontchartrain and the Lakeview area. We made our way up to the south shore of the lake to see the remains of the burned marina and the boats that are still stacked like a pile of toys. It is truly amazing that none of the boats have been moved in the four months since the storm. We then made our way into Lakeview which has a street that literally runs parallel to the 17th Street Canal. What I thought was devastation in the 9th Ward paled in comparison to what we saw in Lakeview.

The water levels in the Lakeview area must have easily reach nine or ten feet judging by the marks on the homes. The homes that are still standing have been completely gutted of all furniture and interior walls. But those were the lucky ones. Many houses were partially or totally collapsed. There were also lots adjacent to the levee that were clear of everything but dirt and broken trees.

As we drove down the road running along the levee, there were many people driving through to see the damage. Residents had put up signs asking that no more pictures be taken, but I don't feel that anyone can be blamed for recording the aftermath of this unprecedented event. Finally we reached the area where the levee actually failed. There are still crews of workers there to reinforce the patch. We decided not to get out and walk up to the levee but many people were standing on part of it and taking pictures although it was nothing more than piles of dirt and rocks behind steel plates. It is truly amazing that this kind of catastrophe had never occurred before considering the amount of water that has been held behind that levee of dirt and concrete for so long.

People use the word "awesome" so much it has kind of lost it's meaning, but the destruction that Roxi and I saw in New Orleans is what the word awesome was coined for. It was staggering to us that we could drive so far around the city and see the same scene almost everywhere we went. The current estimate is that 20% of the population has returned to the city and that is probably true, but that 20% is probably concentrated in less than 10% of the city. I don't know how long it will take for the city to be cleaned up and I know that it won't ever be the same, but judging by it's condition four months after Katrina, it would not surprise me if it takes more than a decade for New Orleans to return to a level of activity similar to comparable sized cities.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Day of Milestones

I am back in Lafayette, LA after a long afternoon/evening of driving with Roxi from Nashville. Roxi came to visit me about ten days ago and then we drove home together yesterday.

It's Christmas Eve eve, but this day has significance for several reasons. Tonight is my ten year high school reunion. I can't believe that it has already been (a little over) ten years since I first left Lafayette and went to college. I've seen most of my classmates many times over the past few years but it will be nice to see a lot of them together for the first time in a decade.

Secondly, tonight is the night that my old band, the Hek-Atomic Cherries, has played a reunion show for the past two years. But we won't be playing a show tonight. Earlier this year, Steve, Charles and I decided that the Cherries would take this Christmas off so that Steve and I could enjoy our relatively short stays in Lafayette rather than be consumed with practicing and preparing for a show. Charles, a Lafayette resident, will be playing with his other band Thunderpants tonight along with the Black Rats and the Pine Leaf Boys.

Finally, and most importantly, tonight is the one year anniversary of my reacquaintance with Roxi at last year's show. My life has been different from that for the last year and I wouldn't want to have it any other way.

So to you and yours, enjoy this eve of Christmas Eve and I wish you good milestones as well.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Return of Futurama?!

The news of a possible return of Futurama is huge as far as I'm concerned. When it first aired, it was viewed as a little step-brother of The Simpsons, but it didn't take me long to fall in love with it and find that it actually stands up better than the Simpsons has over time. In fact, I can honestly say that it is a far superior show. There have been rumors of a Futurama return since Family Guy has made such a big comeback, but this is the first article that I have read that really sounds promising. Here's to hoping for at least a movie!

Wanted: 70 Toilet Flushers for Lafayette Cajundome

For my first blog post in ten days, I felt it appropriate to do a quick one about this story from my hometown of Lafayette, LA. Apparently, the Cajundome, which had been used for Hurricane Katrina and Rita refugees, is about to be reopen for concerts and such. In preparation, a toilet test is being conducted to ensure that the more than 200 toilets are working properly. This will involve the 70 volunteers to spend 15 to 20 minutes flushing the toilets in case there is anything in the pipes that doesn't belong there. Of course the only reason they have to test them out is that they have already found some "questionable articles" in the pipes. You'll have to read the short article to find out the details of the brick wrapped in a towel.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

R.I.P Richard Pryor

We will miss you.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


John Lennon
Oct. 9, 1940 - Dec. 8, 1980

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Chappelle's Show Back For Limited Engagement

CNN is reporting that Chappelle's Show will be back in April with four new episodes. The episodes will be culled from material that Dave Chappelle was producing in May when he mysteriously walked out on the show and disappeared. Of course a week later he came out of hiding and explained his reasons for walking out on the production. Since that time, he has returned to stand-up comedy but there had been no comment from him on the future of his show. This news of new episodes did not come from Chappelle either, but rather from the president of Comedy Central. I guess that they feel like they should get something out of the $50 million dollars they paid him before he quit. These episodes better be funny cause they took a pretty bad financial hit on this deal. At $12.5 million per episode, this has to be a record for the most money ever spent to produce a half-hour sketch comedy show. They are going to have to sell a lot of DVDs to make that money back!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Su Doku

I realized a little while ago that I have missed some days posting over the last week. I stated to think about why and realized that it is because I have become engrossed in Su Doku. It is an online game that Roxi told me about last week and ever since I started playing, I find myself trying to solve new puzzles whenever I have spare time. I would describe the rules but the game page does a much better job at it. I will say this: beware anyone who likes games of logic and problem solving. Su Doku will control you if you let it. Now back to the game!!!

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I just finished listening to a CD that my friend Stacy sent me of her cousin's band Drizzit. I have to say that I too am not what you would call a "metal head," but it was a decent record with pretty good production. All-in-all not too bad for a full length debut album. I especially liked the vocalist's style. Many times I was reminded of Mike Patton's vocals with Faith No More and Mr. Bungle. Check out the samples on their website and if you are in a metal mood, buy yourself a copy of "American True Metal" and support independent artists. They will also be playing a show on January 6 at Pop's in Sauget, IL. Be there and raise your devil horns high!

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Yesterday, Tropical Storm Epsilon was upgraded to hurricane status making it the fourteenth named storm of the year. More importantly, it achieved hurricane status two days after the end of hurricane season. Although I predicted that a hurricane would form in December, I don't exactly count Epsilon as it has been brewing since the last days of November. At present, Epsilon won't likely make landfall but it is still quite a feat that it developed in the Atlantic and has sufficiently strengthened so late in the year.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Ever wondered why ESPN sucks now?

The hilarious Every Day Should Be Saturday has compiled a list of the 52 reasons why ESPN/ABC/Disney sucks when it comes to sports coverage. I agree completely especially to any of the grievances against Chris Berman. I've always thought that guy was a real tool.

One of us...One of us...

A new study indicates that 6-10% of the Internet users in the United States are addicted to the web to the level of personal destruction. Some would say that I am addicted but the fact that I still posses basic social skills is evidence to the contrary. If you want to see what real Internet addicts are like, go to any message board on any subject on the Internet. I've often wondered what the source of income is for message board posters. It would stand to reason that they would all be out of work due to their unhealthy obsessions. It's a wonder they can even scrounge together the money to pay for their broadband connections.