Tuesday, July 31, 2007
What's wrong with this picture? The elderly man in the video (a Roman Catholic Priest) is the one getting into trouble with the civil and ecclesiastical overlords of all our morals in Australia (of all places).
I don't know, maybe I really have turned into just another old stoop-sitting fart - but I think I'm on his side.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Damnit, I was hoping to have added enough posts to move a certain photograph to the archives before he caught onto me.
Hola, pequeño pájaro.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
No, not a dog, a Clydesdale - a great muscular horse slogging a great big old wagon.
Cobalt Blue is inexorably making its way toward a coherent production.
Shannon Williams and Devin Michael are growing stronger and more confident with every run-through.
I should have smothered them in their cribs.
Because I still suck compared to them.
But there's something that's just occurred to me tonight.
I've noticed that, as long as these two leads get stronger and stronger, more and more people are less and less likely to pay me any mind.
So the better they are, the better I'm gonna look.
It's become a win-win situation.
How can I go wrong?
Life is beginning to clear up and look better.
How could I have doubted my good fortune?
The rest of the article is here.
A surgeon general's report in 2006 that called on Americans to help tackle global health problems has been kept from the public by a Bush political appointee [William R. Steiger] without any background or expertise in medicine or public health, chiefly because the report did not promote the administration's policy accomplishments, according to current and former public health officials.The report described the link between poverty and poor health, urged the U.S. government to help combat widespread diseases as a key aim of its foreign policy, and called on corporations to help improve health conditions in the countries where they operate. A copy of the report was obtained by the Washington Post.
This morning, vomiting and diarrhea - consecutive, not concurrent, thank God.
This afternoon, rehearsal from 3:00 until.
Run-down exhaustion all around.
Louie Crowder did mention to us that he is in the process of writing a full-length play he hopes to open in the Spring. He asked if I would consider directing it. I thought that was nice.
At least, some good might come out of Cobalt Blue for me.
Excuse me now, I have to come up with a bio for the program.
And my Lower G-I Tract is starting to quake again.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I put in six hours of rehearsal yesterday for the first act of Cobalt Blue. A few more of those and we might have a show. We accomplished a lot. The two leads, Shannon Williams and Devin Michael, are taking control of their performances and are catching fire.
As for me, I still don't know my lines, and I'm boring.
It's ridiculous. It's a Judy Dench part, for God's sake. The two principals act all over the place for a long time, then I come onstage, say a few lines, listen to the other actors for another long time, say a few more lines that ought to get a couple of laughs and maybe a little applause, listen again, then mutter a few random sentences. Lights out. Curtain. Finis.
It works out to less than eight minutes' worth of lines. But I still don't have a grip. And I'm beginning to remember why I quit doing this bullshit so many years ago.
Friday, July 27, 2007
I've got the name all picked out.
Wait till they hear Blue Moon off-key and really fast!
We are so gonna do us some chicks!
n.1. Something that nourishes; sustenance.2. The act of bringing up.3. Biology The sum of environmental influences and conditions acting on an organism.tr.v. nur·tured, nur·tur·ing, nur·tures1. To nourish; feed.2. To educate; train.3. To help grow or develop; cultivate: nurture a student's talent.
Bobby does that with the plants he grows in our courtyard and patio, as you can see from some of the photos I've posted. He also does it to me.
I try to do it for the people I care about, and certainly with the people I work with. Well, they're basically the same.
That's how we pass things on, like, you know, knowledge gained and lessons learned.
At rehearsal last night, we got up on our feet without books for the first time. We approached the edge of the abyss and took our leap of faith - and plummeted. We so sucked last night. We are probably so fucked as a production.
And there was no rightful nurturer for us.
But you know what? Young people are dying in Iraq. Here in New Orleans we're building a new city. And all over the world doctors and nurses are caring for those in need.
Everything in its place.
Who needs a hug? I got wide arms.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
After enduring a nearly endless harangue from some computer-generated telephonic receptionist, I managed to punch "0" and got said anthropoid to transfer me to a live wire.
A Valley-girl live wire, that is. Now get this. She proceeds to explain to me that Amazon.com did indeed ship my copy of Harry Potter and the Whatever to me last week. UPS records show that it was delivered to me at 2:28 PM on Saturday, July 21st. However, what that means, the little Valley girl explained, is that they, like, you know, delivered the books, like, all of them that had been shipped by Amazon, to all the local U S Post Offices where all the people lived who had, like, ordered copies of, you know, the books. So I should call my Post Office, okay? Thank you for calling, have a great afternoon, buh-bye.
(D'you think that's why Eudora Welty lived at the P. O.?)
Honey, since Hurricane Katrina, I don't think I have a local Post Office, so I wouldn't know where to turn.
Maybe, instead, I'll just, like, contact my friendly local banker and, you know, like, cancel the transaction that paid Amazon.com all that money for that little book that traveled a murkier journey than Harry Potter ever did. Okay?
I know there are many of you who believe the world we live in today was fashioned many years ago by George Orwell in his book, 1984. I would beg to differ with you, however, and say, instead, that it was imagined even earlier than that by Lewis Carroll.
Debts will be paid.
Heads will roll down the cobbled streets of the Vieux Carre.
Okay, buckled-asphalt streets. But heads will roll.
It is a verdict likely to cause great consternation to lonely prisoners throughout the US penal system. A prisoner in Florida has been found guilty of indecent exposure for masturbating alone in his cell.I don't know about you, but I'd say that was cruel and unusual punishment.
Terry Lee Alexander, 20, of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, was sentenced to a further 60 days in jail on top of the 10-year term he is currently serving for armed robbery, the Miami Herald reported yesterday.
He was prosecuted after a female sheriff's office deputy witnessed him performing the sex act in his cell in Broward County, Florida, last November. ...
The only witness in the case, Broward sheriff's office deputy Coryus Veal, testified that Alexander did not try to conceal what he was doing as most prisoners did.
She witnessed the act while working in a glass-enclosed master control room, 30 metres (100ft) from Alexander's cell. There was no videotape evidence of the offence.
The prisoner's lawyer, Kathleen McHugh, failed to get him cleared on the grounds that a cell was a private place and what Alexander was doing was perfectly normal.
"Did other inmates start masturbating because of Mr Alexander?" Ms McHugh asked Ms Veal. "Did you call a Swat team?"
"I wish I had," the deputy replied.
Ms Veal, who has charged seven other inmates with the same offence, said she was not against masturbation, but she objected to Alexander performing it so blatantly. She told the court that most inmates masturbated in bed, under the blankets.
The deputy said it was the third time she had caught Alexander masturbating, and she had had enough.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
It turns out Shannon and Lisa were unable to rehearse last night because they, too, were too sick with god-awful colds. Shannon is still too ill to work tonight.
So there were three of us who came down with the mutant virus. Hmm. What - or whom - do we three have in common?
Monday, July 23, 2007
Yesterday, when I asked for a little prayer, I meant a little something to sort of help me wrap my mind and memory around the lines I have to say in Cobalt Blue. I didn't mean a debilitating illness that would strike me down, leaving me a sweat-drenched wreck, alternating between hot and cold.
That's what's come to pass. My simple cold has morphed into a mutant strain of expanding concrete mucous pulsating against the creaking walls of my sinuses. My chest has become an old cast-iron pot containing a swirling, boiling soup of congestion.
What have you done to me?
I'm dyin' here, but I want to live. Attention must be paid.
Okay. I'm better now. The delirium is passing.
But no more prayers, all right?
Sunday, July 22, 2007
This afternoon, I've read several blogs I often visit and have already discovered who dies by the end. Yup, thanks.
I'm still waiting for my copy from Amazon. I've always gotten the previous editions by mail on the same day as the release date. But not this year, no. Our French Quarter mailman is a playuh who usually delivers after dark, except for Saturdays when he's most often busy boppin' booty.
So I'll have to wait until, at least, tomorrow.
But even then I won't be able to touch it because of where I am in the rehearsal process for Cobalt Blue - namely, the learning-how-to-walk stage when you're about to step out for the first time without a script. The first off-book rehearsal is scheduled for tomorrow night. For those of you who don't know what that's like, it's like when the momma bird pushes the chick out of the nest, and he lands on his ass twelve feet down, right next to the feral cat and the Rotweiler that have been lying in wait for him for weeks.
I am so not ready. Say a little prayer.
By the way, the official name for the play is Cobalt Blue; Disaster Number 1604, Parts 1 and 2. Just thought it was time I mentioned that.
I would also like to mention I am coming down with a cold; and I fully intend to find out who laid it on to me.
You might be able to run from me, but you'll only die tired.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Oregonians called Peter DeFazio’s office, worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack.
As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure “bubbleroom” in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents.
On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED. ...
Norm Ornstein, a legal scholar who studies government continuity at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said he “cannot think of one good reason” to deny access to a member of Congress who serves on the Homeland Security Committee.
“I find it inexplicable and probably reflective of the usual, knee-jerk overextension of executive power that we see from this White House,” Ornstein said.
This is the first time DeFazio has been denied access to documents. DeFazio has asked Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to help him access the documents.
“Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right,” DeFazio said.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Governor Kathleen Blanco has signed into law new tax credits for the proposed "Broadway South" program. ...
The new tax credits provide incentives on infrastructure construction and renovation, production costs, transportation, payroll taxes and training programs.
Blanco's office previously expressed concerns about some of the vagueness of the legislation and the potentially high cost to the state that is difficult to estimate. But, a spokeswoman says the governor determined the positives outweighed the negatives.
Corporate welfare. Gotta love it.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has suppressed warnings from its own Gulf coast field workers since the middle of 2006 about suspected health problems that may be linked to elevated levels of formaldehyde gas released in FEMA-provided trailers, lawmakers said today. ...I'd say they want us dead. The rest of the WaPo article is here.
[A] FEMA attorney on June 15 advised, "[d]o not initiate any testing until we give the OK. . . . Once you get results and should they indicate some problem, the clock is running on our duty to respond to them." ...
Nearly 5,000 pages of documents turned over to the committee "expose an official policy of premeditated ignorance," Waxman charged. "Senior officials in Washington didn't want to know what they already knew, because they didn't want the legal and moral responsibility to do what they knew had to be done."
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
That impression may be the result of the humongous size of my head. It comes from the Mouton genes on my dad's side of the family.
But it's such a nice word, leonine.
My 48th-birthday-for-the-9th-time-around was a wild success.
Willa seems shocked at what was being done to my butt,
but he was actually doing it.
Ernst, Lester, Bobby, Robert, and Shep.
Steve Kubik, amidst the flowers.
Carlos Gonzalez and I flank Norma Desmond ...
um ... dMc ...
um ... Don McCoy.
Shep, Lester, Robert, Bill, and Timm.
Kidder, Shep, and Lester with a loose bobble-head.
Bobby and Robert frame Steve and Lester.
Mandi with the dudes, Keith Launey and Carlos.
Willamina holding court. He took good care of me.
Yours truly with Shannon Williams, one of the leads in Cobalt Blue.
Me with Lisa Davis, Don, and Shannon.
I'm wearing out by this time.
Charlotte and Sam.
Charlotte is crazy about me for some reason.
But then Charlotte has lousy taste in men.
Sam is real cool in a very hot way.
You know it, baby.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Hey, the last eight were so good, why tinker with a winning formula?
And don't worry about gifts. I have all I need (I'm not talking to you, Dave - I want those DVD's).
The gifts I already have are:
- A tight family of brothers and their wives and kids - and their kids' kids.
- Warm friends I love.
- Internet buds who lift my spirits.
- As much food as I want to eat.
- An age-old roof over my head.
- And Bobby.
Monday, July 16, 2007
I said to him, "I didn't know he was a gravedigger."
He said, "I know. It's not in the script, but I'm telling you now. He's a really cool gravedigger who attracts people to him because of his 'cool'. Then he turns on them when he has to get down to business."
Now, I see a slight problem here. What's my point of reference? I don't know any charismatic gravediggers. I don't know any gravediggers. I don't even know how they go about doing what they do. I don't imagine they still dig with shovels, do they?
I know a mortician-by-day who's a drag queen-by-night, a big, loud, big, big drag queen (although she doesn't attract me in the least). But that's not the same thing, and it doesn't really reflect on my character. At least, not in the script. But then, that gravedigger concept wasn't in there, either.
What is "cool", anyway? How exactly do I play "cool"? And how do I "get down to business"?
And if I'm playing a gravedigger, why am I wearing a suit - which is what he wants me to wear?
All I know is that I'm going to really have to work hard to figure out a whole new way to totally burgle this show from the other actors.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
I decided to catch this burgeoning Plumeria, one of two in our back patio. It's about to bloom for the first time.
On the other side of that wall, of course, lurks Angelina Jolie, who is always peering over when she's in town. The poor dear has it bad for me.
My heart is taken, Angelina. Our love can never be. Go away.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
I'd never go back to 28, though. He won't want to either when he gets to be 48 (for as many years as he wants to be, like me).
We talked for a couple of hours about acting and plays and roles he'd like to do. We also talked about the Saints and big-boned women, and we laughed a lot. A hell of a lot.
He'll be seeing me act in a couple of weeks. The first time he's seen me doing that. You know, I don't think he was even born when I last walked on a stage. He'll be a tough critic, too, the little son of a bitch. He knows too much - like all 28 year-olds. But, hey, if you're gonna walk with giants, you have to keep an eye on where they're gonna put their feet.
Basically, I just had a really good time. I hope I don't grow into one of those old people who're always chasing the kids off the stoop. So far, I like kids. They're creative.
I won't change. Nah.
Friday, July 13, 2007
An important day is rolling around this coming Tuesday, and I expect the best from it. There should be lots of familiar faces coming by to offer obeisance and heartfelt affection. And cash. There needs to be lots of cash. Not as much as I could roll in back when I was a tender twenty-something striding stud-ily up and down Dauphine Street in the gray glow of early dusk, but a couple of handfuls, at least.
Rehearsals for Cobalt Blue are still going well, although I wish I felt comfortable enough - and arrogant enough (like so many actors I know) - to offer directorial suggestions to our playwright. The two young actors in the leads are quite good, but they don't know how to approach and reach certain moments in the play. However, I'm too humble to breach protocol; and, besides, I'm coming off looking really good in my part.
It's now 9:18, and Bobby is still asleep. So peace prevails in my little hovel in the Quarter. I think I'll get another coffee and watch a little porn.
Life is good, and so is being me.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Kerwin Mathews, a dark-haired, tall and strikingly handsome swashbuckling movie actor of the 1950s who is best known for his starring role in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, and particularly for that film’s roiling sword fight with a skeleton, died July 5 at his home in San Francisco.This was a movie I saw as a kid on a Saturday afternoon at the old Rice Theater in Crowley, LA. It was one of those works that helped shape my imagination, such as it is.
He was 81.The death was confirmed by his partner of 46 years, Tom Nicoll.
Bob's been on my ass all week to get me to memorize my lines from Cobalt Blue. I can't get through to him that memorization works best when it's a collaborative effort among the members of the cast where we all just sit around and run the lines over and over.
And what was rehearsal like last night? We all just sat around a table and ran our lines over and over - at the request of the other actors, mind you. With this play, it just makes sense that we do it this way.
So, fuck off, Bobby.
After we were done, I was too wired to go home, so I hit the Latrine and spent some quality time with the two Daves, Li'l Dave and Big Dave, Protector-of-Li'l-Dave.
It was Li'l Dave's last night in the city. He leaves today for Chicago, New York, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. After last night, I hope he can stand up today.
I'll miss you, kid. Stay away from Dutch boys on the beaches and come home soon, safe and strong. I love ya, babe.
In a manly way, of course.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
And, yes, David Vitter was lurking outside my gate.
They're flowers, fool. Not hookers. Go home.
Got ... to get a ... life ...
... Or get laid.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
"Yeah, they did. Everybody was jumping over the bar."
"I'd never do that to get a drink. I'd just poke my finger at you like a gun."
"That would be a joke."
"Then I'd whip out my dick."
"That would be the punchline."
Jeanette Maier, known as the Canal Street Madam, claimed Tuesday that Sen. David Vitter visited her Mid-City brothel beginning in the mid-1990s.Don't we all, dear Madam, don't we all? And there's even more salacious information here.
According to Maier, Vitter would pay $300 an hour for services."He seems to be one of the nicest men and most honorable men I've ever met," Maier said. "I think that he was smart by going to a brothel, whether for talking or whatever. Then, he goes home and he's with his family, and he loves them -- he doesn't want to leave them -- and he just needs someone to listen to."
Back on top.
“Christ ‘established here on earth’ only one church,” the document said. The other communities “cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense” because they do not have apostolic succession — the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ’s original apostles.That oughta show the Fundies and the Muslims and the Jews!
Some observations about Take Me Out in San Francisco:
Some things I liked better in theirs, some in ours (e.g. our jailhouse violence was much better; I preferred the more outward affection we showed between Kippy and Darren)
The actors were well polished (already a month or more into the run). I could tell Kippy fumbled a couple lines, ad-libbed some extra lines.
They had a nice set with lockers, simulated showers like us (lined up right against the front row seats!) with a little fog.
Their Shane Mungitt was a mangy redneck mutt; he looked good, but I think there will never be a Shane like Hotstream.
Kippy was cast well too as an affable mid-westerner. He delivered the monologues slower.
Their Mason was either great or too much - depending on what you want - he was played as this totally flamboyant over the top queen - which would have made David Cuthbert cringe and scream if you follow his sentiments about Steve being too fey.
Their Darren Leming was cool and cocky like he should be.
One of their Spanish guys was faking the Spanish. The other was genuine and very good.
I didn't care for their Davey Battle much - he seemed much older than Darren.
Their Kawabata was excellent with the Japanese, and looked muscular enough to pull it off well.
Our Toddys and Jasons were clearly better, but their Toddy did a funny stunt teasing Darren in the first nude scene by bouncing his wiener around playfully - as in you can look but don't you dare touch.
They pitched toward the audience. They did the soap bit in the shower, and had the special FX bat-ball hits.
The theater had stadium raked seats, maybe 150 - sold out on Saturday night I went. One intermission.
I met the Director and most of the cast.
I was SO ready for their Kippy to get run over by a cable car.
And in case you must know - some were bigger, some were smaller.
MADRID, Spain (AP) -- A group of women wants equality in Pamplona's San Fermin bull running festival - they are demanding cow runs.
"If the boys run ahead of the bulls, we (women) have to run with the cows. It's pure logic," said a tongue-in-cheek petition on a Spanish student Web site, http://www.estudiln.net . ...
The anonymous group asked people to pass along the "Cows Want to Run" message to friends through their cell phones.
"Cows, like bulls have four legs too, and a natural instinct to run," the statement said.
No one at the Web site or at Pamplona town hall was immediately available for comment Tuesday. ...
"A cow-run would fill a fundamental void: what do we women do at 8 in the morning when the boys are risking their lives?" the manifesto asked. "A little exercise after so much alcohol and food would do us no harm."
It said the introduction of a cow-run "would make our festival greater and place Pamplona at the vanguard of traditional fiestas with total equality between males and females, men and women."
Well, all I have to say is, you give the women what they want and this is what you're gonna get:
Monday, July 9, 2007
... Too much.
... Or, at least, not enough for him to throw me out.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
I need to kill the little son of a bitch, but the fly swatter is in the other room; and If I go for it, he will know it and disappear until I put it back and go to another room. Then he will seek me out and make sweet love to my eyes, my nose, and ears.
Listen, Floyd, it's only a matter of time. Your days are numbered. You picked the wrong man to fuck with at the wrong time in his life. You're dead meat, do you hear me, Floyd?
Dead ... meat.
On the corner of Royal and Barracks Streets, I came upon the fabled Friday wreckage site where the demolished street lamp/pay phone combo lay askew after being toppled by the tortured encounter of two SUV's.
For your perusal, a metaphor for our decline and fall:
All I'm sayin' is I'm too old and too good at what I do to submit my work to the judgment and control of a third-rate hack.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
"Wow, there's nobody here."
"They'll be here soon."
"Why? What's up?"
"Nothing. But they've got your scent and should be rushing in any minute now."
Friday, July 6, 2007
I love the high life, dontcha know.
PS, don't ask to see them. I won't be posting them here.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
What, you weren't waiting for that?
I auditioned last night for an original play called Cobalt Blue by a young writer named Louie Crowder (who will also be directing it). The play is a poetic fantasy about life and death in New Orleans in the early months following Hurricane Katrina. The part I conned myself into is short and sweet, so I should be able to memorize the lines. It's also an upstage-center kind of role, so I should be noticeable. In a good - ensemble - way, I mean, of course.
Face it, I'm tired of directing incredible actors and coaxing beautifully-nuanced performances out of them only to be elbowed aside by audiences rushing the stage after a show to meet and greet and hit on them because they're so hot.
I'm only human. I want to be hot, too.
Christ, I'm going to be such a wreck by the time this thing is over.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Sunday, July 1, 2007
The government's repairs to New Orleans' hurricane-damaged levees may put the French Quarter in greater danger than it was before Hurricane Katrina, a weakness planners said couldn't be helped, at least for now."Couldn't be helped"?
Experts say the stronger levees and flood walls could funnel storm water into the cul-de-sac of the Industrial Canal, only 2 miles from Bourbon Street, and overwhelm the waterway's 12-foot-high concrete flood walls that shield some of the city's most cherished neighborhoods.
The only things separating Creole bungalows and St. Louis Cathedral from a hurricane's storm surge are those barriers, similar in design to the walls that broke during Katrina.
"A system is much like a chain. We have strengthened some of the lengths, and those areas are now better protected," said Robert Bea, a lead investigator of an independent National Science Foundation team that examined Katrina's levee failures.
"When the chain is challenged by high water again, it will break at those weak links, and they are now next to some of the oldest neighborhoods, including the French Quarter, Marigny, and all of those areas west of the cul-de-sac."
In other words, they fixed what was broken so it could happen somewhere else.
Yep, you read right. See, the original settlers seemed to know something about potential flooding and how to build in the light of that knowledge. Or leaders in their wisdom are now looking to reverse that commonsensical kind of thinking and exhibit their superior intellect.
Officials from the Army Corps of Engineers knew the levee repairs would heighten the risk to the French Quarter. One commander even called it the system's "Achilles' heel."
To curb the danger, the corps reinforced the existing barriers. But engineers didn't have enough time or money to entirely replace the flood walls with higher, stronger ones.
Bea and other independent experts say those steps were insufficient.
"It wasn't, 'Get all the repairs done and then look at the rest of the system,'" said Ed Link, a University of Maryland engineer and a top adviser on the reconstruction work. "It was all being done in parallel."
The system, he said, is stronger now, but "it's misinformation to infer that it's an unintended consequence."
The possibility of a heightened risk came as a surprise to many residents of the French Quarter and districts such as New Marigny, where jazz great Jelly Roll Morton once lived.
"Is that what they're saying? Oh, boy, that's not good," said Nathan Chapman, president of Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates Inc., an advocacy group that defends the quality of life in the French Quarter. "It's not on enough people's radar."
Adolph Bynum was unconvinced about the potential new threat to his restoration of an 1840 Creole cottage damaged by Katrina's winds in Treme, a charming neighborhood next to the French Quarter where plantation owners once housed their black mistresses.
"If the cottage floods or Treme floods, so will the French Quarter. If that happens, everything is flooded," Bynum said.
The city's oldest neighborhoods were settled long ago because they were the only dry ground in a wilderness of swamp. When Katrina struck, flooding only reached the outer limit of the French Quarter, creeping into places such as St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the site of voodoo priestess Marie Laveau's tomb.
With their open-air markets, flamboyant artists, baroque churches and carefree lifestyle, the neighborhoods next to the Industrial Canal are some of the city's most prized real estate and give New Orleans its old-world soul.So what? seems to be the prevailing attitude.
As for the new threat posed by the Industrial Canal, corps officials argue that there are other low and weak spots along the channel that might be the first to go, taking pressure off of the section near the French Quarter.Oh, well, thanks, that's cool. Contemporary logic at its best. Sort of like moving the homeless from one neighborhood to another. Solves the problem.
Corps officials also say that if water spilled over the walls near the Quarter, or even breached them, low-lying neighborhoods would flood first.
But Army engineers don't plan on taking any chances. They may eventually add steel plates to raise and armor the walls, block storm surge with sunken barges, and install flood gates.
However, there is no plan to beef up the protection for this year's hurricane season.
Cecil Soileau, a corps consultant and former corps engineer who designed many of the levees, said alarm over the threat to the Quarter is overblown.
"We've had people in the past saying Jackson Square would be inundated with 26 feet of water and only the steeple of the cathedral would be sticking up," Soileau said. "And I don't think that's a realistic situation."
Right. And nobody expected to lose 75% of the city to flood waters that breached the levees that were supposed to hold.
I know I'm not important, and I don't amount to a hill of beans, but I think this is unacceptable.
But you know what? I'm not ready to believe them when they say the new repairs are any better than what was there before.
Toddling home Thursday night, I happened to run into Michael at En Vie, a coffee shop on the corner near where I live. I stopped to slur hello, and Michael introduced me to this squat bear of a man sitting with him. That man was Beau O'Reilly. Since I had seen the show on its opening night, I told him how much I had enjoyed his script. He was very nice about it and thanked me.
He saw me again last night when I went to videotape the final performance. He remembered meeting me, and we chatted again.
What's running through my mind this morning is thinking about his utter niceness, his lack of airs, and his audible delight while watching one of his plays being performed here in a bar on Saint Claude Avenue in what's left of the city of New Orleans.
And I'm recalling other playwrights I've encountered.
Several years ago, Edward Albee came to town to direct one of his own plays at the Contemporary Arts Center. I never met him, but I would see him late in the afternoons when I'd be walking home from work. While I'd be trudging down, he'd be schlepping up Royal Street on his way to the CAC for rehearsals. He looked for all the world like just another working stiff.
Recently, I worked on a beautiful play, Nighthawks, by Evan Guilford-Blake. He couldn't have been nicer or more courteous to us in the company. He forgave the opening night glitches and enjoyed himself immensely while he was here. He has since sent us more scripts of his for consideration for future productions.
Late last year, I met Doric Wilson, who was in town for the premiere of his play, Now She Dances. When I said to him how much I'd enjoyed his play, he asked me, "Can you tell me what it means?"
He wasn't testing me. He seemed to genuinely want to know. He turned out be a humorous, courtly gentleman.
These are all people of remarkable accomplishment. They tell the stories that we perform and audiences come to see and experience.
It seems to me that these people and others like them, whose eyes are so fixed on a world beyond us, are the ones who walk so close to the ground in this one.
I like them.