Saturday, September 29, 2007

Day 242

One of the many Third-World problems with living in New Orleans is the lack of a substantial bookstore. We have one or two small independents in town. The Borders and Barnes & Noble are in Metairie or across the river. Therefore, you have to have at least an hour free to go get a book. And the only place in Orleans Parish that you can get the New Yorker is at Whole Foods.

Today, I need a computer book for Microsoft Publisher. You cannot purchase this in the City of New Orleans.

This problem, of no real retail areas also means our city bleeds sales tax revenue to Jefferson Parish. It was announced yesterday that Macy's is opening two stores. One in Kenner, the other in Metairie. The business/retail communities have no real desire to invest in New Orleans. One reason is that they have to deal with citizern backlash against big box stores and the bohemians who hate corporations. The Anti-Starbucks factor. Then there is the fact that the pool of employees in the inner city for these jobs are scarce, unreliable, ignorant and too rough around the edges to sustain a retail business in the city of New Orleans.

The bulk of our street level shopping in New Orleans consists of; laundromats, ghetto car washes, corner stores which sell liquor, fast food outlets, check cashing businesses and Urban Wear clothing stores, tax preparation chains a disproportionate amount of African American nail outlets/beauty supply.

Some people try to spend money in Orleans Parish, you know, buy local. Well, I am actually doing my best not to spend money in the city whenever possible as a sort of boycott.

I will be battling traffic in the burbs after work today to get a book for a project for a neighborhood association . . . in other words, propping up unsustainable communities . . . Not only do I not get paid, it costs me money. This is one of the last things I am doing before I leave to live to move somewhere that is already self-sustaining rather than self-destructing.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Day 249

Today I had a number of reasons to leave to report; from the Possum infestation in Uptown and Riverbend areas, or the fact that the police department has 100 boxes of backlogged files that have not been entered into their computers since Katrina meaning it takes months for citizens to get police reports for incidents . . . and means our conviction of criminals is basically a lost cause which means this town is a haven for criminals. So, considering that, this report of crime won out in the end:

Brian Begue Atty at law was attacked from behind from by an assailant, choked, thrown to the ground and robbed in broad daylight at Frenchmen and Dauphine at roughly 4:30 pm. All residents of the Marigny and Bywater need to BE AWARE of the potential of such attacks on themselves.

The most common methods are the "pincher attack" where you are approached by assailants from two directions similtaneously.

My friend E. loaded up a truck and moved last month after this attack in the next neighborhood over from the Marigny/Frenchmen St. incident.

And on July 7 I was the victim of a violent crime. A guy attacked me in front of my apartment in Bywater, held me in a headlock, threatened my life repeatedly, then forced me into my car and tried to drive off with me in it. Luckily, I escaped. But I've been taking the past couple weeks away from New Orleans to...well, I don't know. I guess to figure things out. But there isn't a lot of figuring out this kind of thing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What Are You Still Doing Here?

A lot of my friends who have lived in New Orleans most of their lives have always had this love/hate relationship with the City. I never really understood the hate part until lately. One day someone said to me, "Why are you still here?" From that day forward, I started thinking hard about that statement. The equation is rather absurd. Now I am tying up loose ends and getting out. The thing is, people around here make countless excuses about why it is sooo fucking charming. I have a much less romantic perspective of New Orleans these days.

After Katrina we have been watching things spiral back to their previous welfare state along with painful embarrassment that Mayor Nagin has become in the past year. I now understand my friends' complete disgust. Add to the politics/race problem, the poverty and ignorance, all the new bullshit we have to put up with after Katrina and it's just a losing and possibly deadly proposition to put your convictions and allegiance behind New Orleans.

I will begin this blog with an email from my friend who is also planning on an exit in 250 Days. The $800 Sewerage and Water bill he got recently (for his apartment which he shares with one room mate) has pushed him over the edge. He has lived here almost his entire life.

Thanks. Much appreciated. I'll let you know. The only thing is that, with what I feel about work, and with all this crap with Sewerage and Water Board, I really, really, NEED to leave the area (to preserve my sanity, if nothing else). I'll talk to you later......