Friday, August 31, 2007

FEMA

FEMA To Katrina Victims: It's Payback Time
Agency Pursues Survivors For Repayment Of Hundreds Of Millions In Aid
In the wake of Katrina, FEMA released emergency funds to more than 700,000 households. Auditors later said the agency had overpaid by nearly a half-billion dollars, providing assistance to people who, they claim, didn't deserve it.

So FEMA sent out about 150,000 letters demanding its money back. Letters often filled with confusing accusations like "app has not proved occupancy" and cryptic coding like "awhm." Any questions? Call the FEMA helpline.

"And they call this helpline and get very little information, and very little detail in terms of why they are in this position now," says attorney Ranie Thompson.

Thompson says her clients are among the thousands of people lost in a process she calls broken, one that's built on the presumption of guilt.

"They don't have transportation. They're struggling with health care issues," she says. "And you want them to pay you $20,000. You've go to be kidding me."

A CBS News investigation has found that FEMA call center workers were under extraordinary pressure to move as many cases as possible. Clark Browne was a case worker at a FEMA call center in Hyattsville, Md.

"They had quotas," Browne says.

"They had quotas? In the call center? What kind of quotas are we talking about here?" Keteyian asks.

"Twenty cases a day. Some of those cases got messed up because people were rushing," says Browne.

"Aren't you there to help people?" asks Keteyian. "What did the people calling in get?"

"Exactly," Browne says. "It was like a dog chasing their tail, going around in circles."

Other current FEMA case workers, who asked not to be identified, told CBS News that managers encourage the idea that "victims are just a number," while workers who try to spend more time on complex cases are told, "we are not supposed to put out that effort."

As in the past, FEMA refused to speak with Keteyian on camera and didn't even issue a statement, citing ongoing litigation - litigation that has forced FEMA to temporarily halt its efforts to extract money from Katrina survivors.

Sheila Moore and her attorney spent a year and a-half fighting FEMA before the agency admitted she no longer owed $14,000. The reason? Someone had simply misspelled her name on her application for aid.
What does FEMA stand for again?

Two More to Go - Days, That Is

Disowning Senator Craig

From The New York Times:
The Republican Party is in quite a rush to keelhaul Senator Larry Craig for his run-in with the vice squad in an airport men’s room. Disclosure of the senator’s guilty plea to disorderly conduct set off a frenzy to demand an investigation by the Senate’s somnolent Ethics Committee and to strip Mr. Craig of his committee seniority. Some of the senator’s peers simply demanded that he resign.

No similar leadership chorus for judgment has been heard about any number of other scandalous revelations on the party’s plate.

There’s the F.B.I.’s inquiry into whether Senator Ted Stevens swung a quid-pro-quo deal for a government contractor who eventually renovated his Alaska home. There’s also Senator David Vitter’s presence on the client list of a Washington brothel. Mr. Vitter, a social conservative, pleaded guilty to “sin” (heterosexual) and no leadership call ensued for a thorough in-house ethics inquiry. Certainly, no Republican called for the resignation of Mr. Vitter, who comes from Louisiana, which has a Democratic governor who would then replace him. Mr. Craig is from a safe state with a Republican governor. ...

Underlying the hurry to disown the senator, of course, is the party’s brutal agenda of trumpeting the gay-marriage issue. To the extent Senator Craig, a stalwart in the family values caucus, might morph into a blatant hypocrite before the voters’ eyes, he reflects on the party’s record in demonizing homosexuality. The rush to cast him out betrays the party’s intolerance, which is on display for the public in all of its ugliness. But it also betrays their political uneasiness as the next election approaches.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Doctor Is In

More from Fiore.

I Think We're Dead

video

A tip of the hat to Z. Hillman via R. Stephenson.

Senator Larry Craig's Guide to Mensroom Etiquette

With Southern Decadence coming up on us this weekend, and lots of folks flying in, this video primer is both timely and appropriate.

A tip of the hat to The Fat Lady.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In NOLA, Spirit of Katrina Still Lives, but So Do People

Dave Zirin writes:
It is remarkable that a city can be both torn asunder and also find a measure of salvation in the same name: Katrina. To the people I spoke with, Katrina is a noun, an adjective and even a verb. But one thing it isn't is simply a hurricane. When locals talk about Katrina, they are very conscious of the fact that the hurricane itself barely dented this proud city.

Katrina means the breaking of the levees. Katrina means loss of their homes. It's the politicians so fatally slow with aid. It's the spike in violent crime. It's the ever-rising suicide rate. It's the aged who have died of desperation.

Katrina is something ephemeral, a sadness seeped into the humidity. It gets in your clothes, your eyes, your hair. It's everywhere, even if you aren't staring at a house with a black X, with a number underneath, denoting a death at the hands of levees. ...

But as spiritual as post-Katrina New Orleans feels, the ravages of the city are something that residents know were man-made. The people of New Orleans are the last ones to need a lecture about how horribly unnatural this disaster was. It wasn't an act of God. It was the product of a whole set of priorities that put their city last. Bumper stickers are everywhere that read, "Make Levees Not War." People have signs in their front yards telling the Army Corps of Engineers to take their eminent domain and back off their houses.

Make no mistake, there is anger and a sense of desperation among the city's poor. Sometimes it's inward, as the mental health and suicide studies show. Often it is outward, as the violent crime demonstrates. That feeling of being abandoned by this country and this criminal administration, of being left to die on a roof, remains. And yet, they still, so very inconveniently, continue to live, love and, most importantly, struggle and agitate. Everyone in this country should travel to New Orleans and be among a people supposed to perish, who act like they just didn't get the memo.

08/29/2005

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Of Course, at Decadence, You Might See Something to Make Your Hair Stand on End

A Little Distress

No, not about the second anniversary of Katrina and the Federal Flood. That'll come later.

I'm in a bit of a funk about last night.

Bobby and I were invited to attend a preview performance for members of New Orleans' service industry (read "bartenders") of a musical revue set to open this weekend. It was a truncated thing, with only a few numbers performed, equal to about half the runtime of the full show.

But what was really sad about the night was to hear some of the backstage stories afterwards, following the performance. Depressing and distressing. I'm glad all I did was take a few photographs.

Streetcars To Be Shut Down For Bush's Arrival

Yahoo! News:
Don't plan on taking a streetcar Tuesday night.

The Canal Street Line will be shut down from 7 to 10 p.m. as President George W. Bush arrives in New Orleans.

The president is touring the Gulf Coast for the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans Regional Transit Authority spokeswoman Rosalind Cook said the White House requested that the streetcars be shut down during Bush's arrival.

I guess somebody figured a potential assassin might try to make his getaway on one of those things.

Restroom Etiquete

From Dangerblond:
What is it with guys, particularly Republican elected officials, trying to pick up undercover cops in public restrooms? This is just so wrong on so many levels. Leave alone the fact that it is fucking gross to be blowing some guy in a dirty public restroom, I don’t care how much your wife doesn’t understand you. Grow up and get a room, for god’s sake.

In the latest case, we have a United States senator handing the guy his card and asking, “what do you think about that?” I think if you want to have anonymous sex, giving the guy your card kind of defeats the purpose. ...

Read the rest. It's hilarious.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Oh. My. God.

Dave. Dave, wake up. Wake up. Did you know about this?

Oswald is the Pope. He claims he is not the most Christian Pope. He drinks, smokes, and sleeps around with the ladies. But things get worse when the Rapture occurs and almost everyone is left behind. The doors of hell have opened and demons poured fourth. After a horrible war a truce was reached. This is the world Oswald now lives in. But there is a problem and God needs a little help from the Pope.

Saint Michael has been captured by Lucifer. If Oswald rescues him he gets a pass into Heaven (his only chance of entry). Oswald is helped with a new build and a sidekick named Jesus Christ. With the forces of hell lined up against him, the Pope must face many hardships and battles. Can a sinning pope and a spaced-out savior stop the plans of Lucifer and save the day? You will have to read the book to find out.
H/T to Athenae at First Draft.

Is It Real or Is It ... ?


Come Back, Shane!

Heartbroken Bush Runs After Departing Roves Car

The Onion

Heartbroken Bush Runs After Departing Rove's Car

WASHINGTON, DC—"Why can't I go with him? When is he coming back?" a tearful President Bush asked advisers as Karl Rove's sedan disappeared over the horizon.

Gonzales Resigns as Attorney General

Was it something we said?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Where Anyone Can Change from This to That and Back Again - or Not


And Sugar Plum Fairies

You'll Spy Queens, Creole and Wicked


Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy

A Must-Read

More wisdom from Jurassicpork:
We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
Sorry. Bush and his ilk are playing through my brain today like some dumb song off the radio.

The New Orleans Brand

From Mark Fiore - Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We Interrupt Our Regularly-Scheduled Programming ...


... To bring you this message:
President Bush will be in New Orleans on Wednesday to observe the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the White House has announced.

It provided no details of the president's itinerary. ...

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said that Bush continues to follow through "on his commitment to help local citizens rebuild their lives and communities on the Gulf Coast."
For more hilarity, click here.

And do read the comments from the local citizenry.

You Get to Be as Beautiful as You Know You Can Be

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

They Wrote the Book on It

White House Manual Details How to Deal With Protesters.

You're in Good Hands with Gonzo

Bad Judgment:
Asking Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to be the arbiter of the quality of legal representation for death row inmates is a little like asking the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys to pick the starting lineup for the Washington Redskins, just before the two teams are set to play. It's a bad idea, even if the Dallas coach were the most honorable person in the land. Yet that's the situation created by a little-noticed change in death penalty law, with obviously higher stakes and with an attorney general who has been less than trustworthy.

Under a provision of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act, states may ask the attorney general to approve their programs for providing lawyers to death row inmates who appeal their convictions in federal courts. As the Los Angeles Times first reported last week, states whose programs are certified by the attorney general will then have the right to fast-track those appeals. After exhausting their appeals, inmates would have six months to file federal habeas corpus petitions; they now have one year, although that deadline is often ignored or extended. ...

Congress should rewrite the law to restore the courts as the first and final arbiters. No attorney general should be making these decisions -- especially not Mr. Gonzales, who as legal counsel to then-Gov. George W. Bush of Texas gave notoriously short shrift to death row inmates seeking clemency from the governor.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nina Berman - from The New York Times

One of the more shocking photographs to emerge from the current Iraq war was taken last year in a rural farm town in the American Midwest. It’s a studio portrait by the New York photographer Nina Berman of a young Illinois couple on their wedding day.
For more, check out the photographer's homepage.

God's in His Heaven, All's Right with the World

The T-P reviewer is going to meander his way down from his sooty stone tower tonight to interview the cast and makers of the nudie musical.

Of course, in the past, he has despised us Marigny boys - both To Do Productions and the Marigny Theatre - for daring to stage Take Me Out. In his exalted view, we weren't worthy to tackle that play, although the playwright and his publisher certainly didn't mind.

He complained about too many plays opening on the same weekend we premiered Tenn Times Three (The Fat Man's Wife, Adam and Eve on a Ferry, and And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens) during the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival.

He had a disdainful regard for Nighthawks which was the first full-length play to win the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival.

But he swooned over the physicality of the playwright of Cobalt Blue. His review reflected his tastes.

Tonight he talks to the people who are presenting, and performing in, the nudie musical revue.

Wanna bet on the outcome?

God, if only I were younger and more purposely manipulative.

And if I cared.

I'm Having Daydreams about Night Things - NOT

I'm having nightmares. These have been plaguing me for at least a week now. Every time I fall asleep, I wake from the same-themed nightmare.

People come clamoring to me for help, and I find myself overwhelmed.

This morning, the dream involved former coworkers who came to me after a performance of a play in which I was covering a very intense role. They pleaded with me to come up with a comic-strip to illustrate the steps one takes in the job-finding and unemployment processes of the Department of Labor. They needed this as a means to show our basically-illiterate public how things work.

I kept trying desperately to turn them down, even though I did come up with the idea of a little steam-engine locomotive that would travel the rails making stops at each step of the way where he would take on an additional car that signified that particular step. For instance, the first car would be the registration-for-work car. The second would be the skills-assessment car. And so on.

They cajoled me with cakes, big, sloppy, icing-troweled cakes. I pleaded with them to leave me alone. I began to demand that they leave me alone. I finally had a complete psychotic breakdown as a result of their constant pressure.

Then I woke up.

I think the dreams mean I may be coming into some money.

Monday, August 20, 2007

From Multi Medium

Cause And Effect.

Bob Is Mad at Me

Yeah, again.

I went out for a little while last night, and on my way home I stopped at Verti Marte to get a bite to eat. I phoned him from there and asked if he would like anything. He said he wanted an order of French fries.

The thing is, I couldn't get anyone to take my order. I waited ten minutes, and no one would wait on me. Oh, they smiled at me, but then they passed me by.

I figured, okay, the hell with it. I bought some chips and dip and toddled home.

Well, you'd think I'd dumped him by the side of some road in New Orleans East late at night, and he'd had to make his sodden way home. He got really pissed, carrying on about how I don't do anything for him, he does everything for me. and this is the thanks he gets. Never mind that he had a few pounds of crawfish and crabs in the refrigerator that I'd bought for him earlier that day. Forget about the mimosa's he drank that I'd paid for at Cowpokes that afternoon. And ignore the fact that since I retired, his pension has become negligible while mine is being used to support the both of us.

He didn't go to bed hungry. He made himself some grilled cheese sandwiches before he went upstairs. This morning I cleaned up the mess he'd left in the kitchen.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm still crazy about the big ole lug.

But sometimes true love just ain't purty.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

These Things Just Pop into My Head

Sometimes I worry that instant coffee tastes the way coffee was meant to taste.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Gratuitous Portrait Post

Visitors

SiteMeter tells me that at 4:43:49 PM this afternoon, someone from FEMA up in DC stopped by to take a look-see at ole Bigezbear's place.

Just kiddin', guys. Just kiddin'.

No, seriously, just kiddin'.

W T F?

Police disable a suspected pipe bomb in the Marigny.

Not Just a Pretty Face

We'll see.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who has called homeownership "the foundation of the American dream," said Friday he will get rid of personal assets tied to lenders who have foreclosed on Hurricane Katrina victims.

"I will not have my family's money involved in these firms that are foreclosing on people in New Orleans," he told The Associated Press.
Sounds good to me.

I Don't Understand This

Am I missing something?
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow plans to leave his job before the end of the Bush administration in January 2009 because of financial concerns, a spokeswoman for President Bush said Friday.

Snow, who has cancer, plans to stay "as long as he can," White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said, and "will not resign before Labor Day."

Snow, 52, a former television commentator for News Corp.'s Fox News, makes $168,000 a year as White House press secretary. He is married and has three children.
Does he not have insurance? Or what?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Born to Be Screwed, or I'se Happy to Be Yo' Bitch, Baby

Wednesday night I shot some more publicity photos for the nudie musical set to open at the end of the month. I should have known better.

The first time I worked with the group, S/he-Who-Requires-Senseless-Obeisance and her PR Wench Flunky had planned the poses, all based on photos of other productions collected from the Internet. No real problem. I didn't much care.

I didn't much care, that is, until, at the direction of the show's producer, I placed one of those shots on the company's website. S/he-Shit hit the fan and wrote a scathing email, demanding the picture be removed, that it was intended for the T-P's reviewer - and his eyes alone, and now that was all wasted since it had been seen, and that I was never to be allowed to do anything without her/his prior consent ever again.

Just to spite her, I took a dump without telling her beforehand. I'm a rebel.

I'm pretty sanguine about all that now although, at the time, I was enraged and threatened to do nothing else ever again with my friend's production company.

I'm a great pouter and an even better injured party.

Anyway, I find myself back at the theatre again a few nights ago, expecting to do headshots of the performers and some actions photos of them doing their numbers. So I was surprised when, after doing the headshots, PR Wench Flunky starts posing the "boys". I look over to my producer friend who just looks back at me with a helpless and hopeless expression on his face.

This time, I did speak up in order to correct her poses since they were resulting in some of the "boys" being hidden by exposed thighs or by shadows thrown by other "boys" who were being placed in the foregrounds. I also had to mention that when the boys held their little hats aloft like in the finale to A Chorus Line, it would look better if they held them in such a way that the glitter showed instead of the holes that sat on their heads.

I left with the promise that I would have contact sheets and CD's ready for them by the folowing night.

The next afternoon, I'm awakened from my nap by PR Wench Flunky, asking can I be a doll and get her the contacts and the CD earlier than agreed upon since that was too late for her to get the pictures printed and begin making press kits.

I asked her, "What? What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to take them to one or the other of the places I use to print my photos so I can get some press kits ready."

I'm not on my toes so soon after waking from a nap. I'm usually confused for a few minutes, so I agreed to meet her on the street and hand her the product through the window of her SUV like I was selling her crack.

Later, I brought the producer's packet to the theatre where I casually mentioned what had transpired earlier.

I mean, I was doing this work gratis. If they were going to be paying someone to make the prints, I would have liked the opportunity to compete with the big boys. I'm sure I could have done the same work for less. After all, taking a raw picture and turning it into a photograph is the real work, and I had already done that. The printing itself is a mechanical process requiring nothing more than equipment.

Turns out the producer didn't know anything about these press kits or the fact that he was going to be paying for the printing.

My bad.

Just for the hell of it, here's an example of how I took a particular shot and turned it into a photograph. It's not Irving Penn, but it does illustrate my point.

Let's see how long before I get in trouble again.

Wait a Minute

Did I read this right? Regarding Jose Padilla's recent conviction, Jurassicpork writes.
"... the best piece of evidence they had was a five page al Qaida application that federal prosecutors claimed contained his fingerprints."
There's an application you have to fill out to be a terrorist? Are you expected to dress up in a nice suit and tie for the interview?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

From Your Right Hand Thief

There's no "post" here.

Remembering Robin

Murder victim's sister holds out hope his case will be solved.
Less than half of the city’s murders in 2007 were solved, the New Orleans Police Department said Wednesday. As the department prepared to release its official crime stats for the first half of the year on Thursday, detectives have their work cut out for them when it comes to cracking homicide cases.

But for the sister of one murder victim, the waiting game is painful.

“This was not a random act of violence, this was by someone that knew Robin,” said Monica Malta, whose brother, Robin, was murdered inside his Marigny home on June 11.

Detectives said Malta had been the victim of a brutal beating. More than two months later, little else remains known.

Robin Malta believed the investigation got off to a slow start, but said she recently found more confidence that the case being solved.

“I think things will be taking a better turn,” she said, “the case has been reassigned, and we're very hopeful things will be looking up for us.”

New Orleans Police were also working to solve many more cases. According to Marlon Defillo, New Orleans Assistant Police Superintendent, only 55 of the 121 murders in 2007 have been solved – that’s a 46% success rate.

46% ...

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Final Word, I Promise

Patrick Shannon is one of the two theatrical reviewers for Ambush Magazine. His review of Cobalt Blue is online tonight.

Here are a few of his thoughts.
The Marigny Theatre and Gods and Gators Theatre Company have an excellent production on stage with its world premiere of Playwright/Director Louie Crowder’s two related, post-hurricane-Katrina-themed one acts under the title of Cobalt Blue, Disaster Number 1604, Parts 1 & 2.

Handsome, young, and well educated Playwright and Director Louie Crowder has an interest in and knowledge of esoterica, the occult, voodoo, myths, magic and religious sects. He puts this interest to work in his well written dramas without excess. Just enough to make his audience wonder; just enough to keep them on track with the elements of mystery. ...

The theme of water bringing both good and evil is suggested as the waters of Hurricane Katrina enveloped the city of New Orleans and brought mostly suffering and evil to the town, with perhaps something hopeful rising from the depths and aftermath. Like the Sea Goddess, Maya, played with her usual firm and convincing high degree of talent by Ms. Davis, a lovely red headed mermaid in deep sea blue, a sea change has come to New Orleans.

Simple low budget stage dressings (cardboard boxes, tacky furniture and other detritus) and lighting handled by Steve Patrick and Timm Holt add to the ambience of the look of hurricane destruction without distracting from the fine script of these plays. Mr. Crowder’s words and unique theatrical meanderings through the world of spiritual mysteries shine brightly in this production. We have a new and original voice among us that may well be classified in the company of R. J. Tsarov, our town’s only other uniquely original, most talented and visionary local playwright.

He is also very kind and encouraging to us who were in the cast.

Betrayed

On Monday, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten outlined a kickback scheme dating back to late 2001 in which Thomas and a close associate profited from a city parking contract.

The factual basis, a presentation of the facts against the defendant, has been agreed to by both Thomas and federal prosecutors.

In pleading guilty to one count of bribery of a public official, Thomas acknowledged the following:

That in late 2001 or early 2002, he met with Stanford "Pampy" Barre, who told Thomas he was. concerned that incoming Mayor Ray Nagin would select another company for a longstanding city parking contract. Common Street Ventures, a company owned by Barre, held a share of a contract to operate three city-owned parking lots on the downriver end of the French Quarter during former Mayor Marc Morial's tenure from 1994-2002.

Barre solicited Thomas to help him maintain his contract with the French Market Corporation, a city agency that is run by mayoral appointees.

Barre believed Thomas, the longest-serving City Council member and a member of the French Market Corporation board, could "delay, at least temporarily, the termination of Barre's parking contract with FMC," the factual basis said.

Barre paid Thomas $10,000 at the conclusion of their initial meeting. He later paid Thomas an additional $5,000.

Thomas agreed to help Barre if his close personal associate, Joseph Jourdain, got a cut of some of the parking proceeds. The deal was struck.

Thomas later gave Jourdain contact information for Barre and told Jourdain he needed to meet Barre.

In a meeting at his office, Barre, upon explaining how he received revenue from the parking lots, told Jourdain he would "kickback to him one-third of what he received from his parking proceeds."

Barre gave Jourdain a check in the amount of $1,487.33. Jourdain deposited it into his bank account.

Barre gave Jourdain three additional checks (for $1,723.33, $1,666.85 and $4,295.91) at separate meetings in March, May and July of 2002, the factual basis said.

Each time, Jourdain would receive a phone call from Barre's office informing him the checks were ready.

Amid the meetings with Barre, Jourdain received a phone call from Thomas asking him to meet.

Thomas told Jourdain he needed $1,000. Within a day, Jourdain gave Thomas $1,000 in cash.

The two met three other times in 2002, according to Jourdain. At each meeting Jourdain gave Thomas cash payments of $1,000, for a total of $3,000 to $4,000 in kickbacks.

To read Mr. Thomas' apology, click here.

Happy Endings

Well, Cobalt Blue has closed its run, and closed it well. Today is a day I rest and wallow.

I've viewed the video we made, and I've enjoyed the show as a whole. There is one caveat, however. I've come to the conclusion that, as a director, there is one so-called actor from this show whom I would never cast.

Me.

I may have been good when I was young and thin and pretty, but this old body today is no longer a fit instrument.

Or maybe I'm really just not my own type.

From The Rude Pundit

White House to Louisiana: You Don't Need No Stinkin' Levees.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What a Weekend

Bob and I finished cleaning up the run-away ivy in the back patio yesterday in the heat of the middle of the day. His idea. For him, that's early morning since he doesn't get out of bed before 10:30. So be it. I've learned how to handle his heat exhaustion, and I usually manage to get him down off his ladders and into the air-conditioning before he reaches stroke level. By the time it was time to go to the theatre, he was feeling rested enough to tackle another night of filming Cobalt Blue for posterity.

The first play of the two-fer, When There Came a Knock on the Door, went reasonably well. I felt good about it. Intermission, then we begin Cobalt Blue, the second play of the evening. About a good third into the act, everything goes black and silent. No power. Several neighborhoods in the city of New Orleans went dark. It's two years since Katrina, and we're still enduring blackouts. There was an awkward moment of confusion and silence from the actors; but then they went on and performed the play in its entirety, lit only by emergency lights and a couple of handy candles our playwright placed on the apron of the stage.

The audience loved it and remained for the rest of it.

Of course, only a fool would have walked out and onto the streets of the Faubourg Marigny in the dark. But so what? They stayed.

Afterwards, we went over to the Quarter, which was still lit - in more ways than one - and made our way to the Latrine where, lo and behold, Dave was celebrating his birthday with High Lifes and rum (don't ask) and a couple of dollar bills pinned to his shirt.

I confess I was sad to see only a few G. Washingtons. I really thought he could have done better than that. But he was having a good time anyway. A very good time. Like a really awesome time. By the time Bobby and I left the bar for home, he was a damp, limp hand towel slung across a table in the back room. Happy birthday, kid. You had a great one. I'll tell you all about it when you're sober.

This morning, I woke up to the news that one of our City Council Members-at-Large will be pleading guilty to skimming money off a city contract tomorrow morning and resigning his position shortly thereafter. I kind of admired Oliver Thomas and am disappointed to find out these allegations are apparently true. He could have been a contender. Fuck. There are no leaders in this city's government. The only people with constructive ideas about rebuilding our town are the people who will not be listened to by the powers that be.

I also woke up to an infection in my right eye. It's all red and runny, and it burns and stings. There's probably a tumor the size of a grapefruit growing behind it, and I'll end up dead in a couple of days.

Why does everything happen to me?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

But Enough about Me

You have got to get over to Dave's place to experience his most recent Haitian adventure. It'll give you a clear understanding of the kind of regard in which I hold the little guy.

Start here, then continue forward.

After you've finished, take a little side trip here and drop a few coins for a good cause.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Speaking of Blow Jobs and Knives in the Back

What did I say a few days ago? Oh, yeah, I remember:
The other thing I'm happy to report has to do with the feedback Louie is getting. Our illustrious Times-Picayune reviewer attended opening night and was totally smitten with Louie. He spent about half-an-hour after the performance talking to him about the play, his past and future plays, his eyes - those limpid lakes of esoteroticism - his hands - his strong, thick, carpenter's hands - his thighs. [Sigh] ...

Of course, you can't ever forget these same people can look you lovingly in the eye while blowing you blind and simultaneously stabbing you in the back the whole time.
He did love Louie. Or was he just hungry?

I turn out to be a "well-dressed stranger" (actually, that's quite a deep and perceptive assessment of my talents since anyone who knows me knows I would never be considered "well dressed" in life - ah, but on stage, I soar) who "capably completes the cast".

By God, I wish Stark Young were still alive and writing.

Other than that, I'm just glad I don't read my own reviews.

Hello, Minneapolis

It sure didn't take him long.
A week after a deadly bridge collapse in Minneapolis, President Bush dismissed today raising the federal gasoline tax to repair the nation's bridges at least until Congress changes the way it spends highway money.

"The way it seems to have worked is that each member on that (Transportation) committee gets to set his or her own priorities first," Bush said. "That's not the right way to prioritize the people's money. Before we raise taxes, which could affect economic growth, I would strongly urge the Congress to examine how they set priorities."

About $24 billion, or 8 percent of the last $286 billion highway bill, was devoted to highway and bridge projects singled out by lawmakers. The balance is distributed through grants to states, which decide how it will be spent. Federal money accounts for about 45 percent of all infrastructure spending.

The Democratic chairman of the House Transportation Committee proposed a 5-cent increase in the 18.3 cents-a-gallon federal gasoline tax to establish a new trust fund for repairing or replacing structurally deficient highway bridges.

More than 70,000 of the nation's bridges are rated structurally deficient, including the bridge that collapsed over the Mississippi River last Wednesday. The American Society of Civil Engineers says repairing them all would require spending at least $9.4 billion a year for 20 years. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., says his tax-increase proposal would raise about $25 billion over three years.
Before I retired, I once worked for a state-level cabinet secretary who always use to tell people, "Don't bring me a problem without a solution." What's yours, George?

And how long before we start hearing the query, "Why would anybody want to live in Minneapolis where this can happen?"

Just sayin'.

Gimme a Break

Poor Papa Bush. It really hurts when people say cruel things about his beloved son. (Yeah, I laughed even as I wrote it)
First Father: Tough Times on Sidelines - New York Times

These are distressing days for the Bush family patriarch, only the second former president in American history, after John Adams, to see his son take the White House. At 83, he finds it tough to watch his son get criticized from the sidelines; often, he likens himself to a Little League father whose kid is having a rough game. And like the proud and angry Little League dad who cannot help but yell at the umpire, sometimes he just cannot help getting involved.
"...he likens himself to a Little League father whose kid is having a rough game." Little League? How crass, how insensitive, how fucking blind and stupid.

People are dead and others are cruelly maimed because of the actions of this deluded fool's son. The Constitution is in tatters. Nothing good has come to this country as a result of this presidency, and the old man's feelings are hurt.

What the hell kind of father were you, Mr. Bush?

Sweaty Priest Arrested for Naked Jog

Kee-rist, if you're a priest, you can't do nothing in this day and age without getting nabbed by the cops. Come on, people, give the Church a break!

Breitbart.tv » Sweaty Priest Arrested for Naked Jog at High School Track

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Gay-Pride Fatigue?

Small Town Holds Annual Gay Shame Parade

The Onion

Small Town Holds Annual Gay Shame Parade

GRAND PLAINS, NE—A family deals with the anguish of realizing their son is a sinner in one of this year's most popular floats.

What to Do When You Have No Engagements

I haven't been near the theatre since Sunday night - and that was only to review lines, change into costume, then change back into street clothes when we should have begun performing because only two people had arrived to see the play. I would have had four days and three nights away from the venue anyway since shows only run on weekends here. But each time it happens - the break from performing - the void is palpable.

I'm lost and lonely. I should get a job to carry me through these empty times.

Hell, I can't even keep a straight face writing that shit.

Monday morning, I got in a real good walk around the Quarter. By the time I got back home, I felt as if I'd sweated out the inner poisons and was rejuvenated. Not bad for such a hot day.

Later that afternoon, Bobby and I started in on trimming the ivy growing out of control in the back patio - thus blocking Angelina's view of me during my early-morning naked coffee klatsches.

Yesterday, I had a wonderful Bon Voyage lunch with Steve before he begins two months of traveling, culminating in a long and lazy visit to Paris. France, that is, not Texas. We ate Mexican. I do love me some Mexican. I'd forgotten how remarkable an effect two frozen midday Margaritas can have on one. Makes you feel real good, expansive and generous, happy with your lot, and horny as all hell.

I was awakened from my post-lunch nap by the arrival of little Harry Potter. Yep, Amazon sent me a replacement for the original shipment that someone else had - allegedly - claimed ... hell, swiped.

Once awake, I went onto StageClique.com and, because I was feeling all warm inside, I added my photography credit to a certain little upcoming show featuring a bevy of - alleged - boys [sic] singing naked. I mean, I did shoot the pictures that are being used for publicity. By last night, surprisingly, my StageClique credit had been removed. Not nice. And at my age, with what - allegedly - little time I have left, neither am I. I'll be researching this.

Since the day was advancing from the noontime heat to the evening drear, Bobby and I worked some more on clearing up the run-away ivy. It won't be long, Angelina, my sweet. It won't be long now.

And today is looking to turn out all copacetic

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Quote of the Day - From the Left

Takin' the CYA high (low?) road.
“A state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the nation’s citizens.” - retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
Um, pardon me, Sandy (you don't mind if I call you Sandy, do you? Whatever.) but didn't you help put him where he is today?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Today's Top Keyword

45.16% percent of today's visitors found this blog by entering the keywords:
Louie Crowder
If all of you people know about Louie Crowder, why don't you come see his damn play?

Just sayin'.

A "Bobby" Dangling Conversation

"Okay."

"What?"

"Okay."

"Okay, what? What do you mean, okay?"

"I'm out of the bathroom."

Oh, okay."

"Okay."

How 'Bout Dem Saints?

The Saints opened their pre-season in the Hall of Fame Game against the Steelers last night. The same time our performance of Cobalt Blue was to get underway.

Long story short, cancellation. Us, not them.

We'd have had an audience of two - both of them friends of mine. Don't feel bad for them. We cushioned the cancellation with free tickets to our show next weekend and tickets to the upcoming To Do production of Naked Boys Singing.

People of New Orleans, our show is short. The game was on TV. You could have seen us and then had plenty of time to spare to watch the Saints go down 20-7. You can have more than one food group on your plate at any given time, you know.

Expand your horizons.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

How Thoughtless of Me

This is Louie Crowder, the author, producer, and director of Cobalt Blue.

3 for 3

Yeah, here's more on Cobalt Blue.

No, I mean, here's more on me. I'm steadily growing more confident each night of our run. Last night, my comfort level on stage was nearly - what? - up to something like 89%. I hit all my lines - in order - and with feeling. I think I still have it, whatever it is.

Fuck, yeah, I do.

That's a good thing, too, because I don't know yet what the next year is going to be bringing me in terms of directing at the Marigny. I've encouraged opening up the place to other directors, if for no other reason than that I won't have to find myself working on projects I don't really care about or that I'm wrong for.

The acting gig means I will have another outlet available for those stretches when I won't have anything else to do.

Besides, I'm getting off on all the love coming my way. Perfect strangers come up to me now to tell me how much they enjoyed the show - and me - and, oh, my, can I feel your biceps, you have such strong arms, I'll bet anyone would be so safe wrapped up in you.

You know how it goes.

This is one of the reasons I wanted to see if I could still act. I mean, when I was directing, these same people would be elbowing me aside to get to my actors. Now I'm beginning to feel the love.

It's an awesome thing to be able to look someone long in the eye, smile, and say, "No, not you."

The other thing I'm happy to report has to do with the feedback Louie is getting. Our illustrious Times-Picayune reviewer attended opening night and was totally smitten with Louie. He spent about half-an-hour after the performance talking to him about the play, his past and future plays, his eyes - those limpid lakes of esoteroticism - his hands - his strong, thick, carpenter's hands - his thighs. [Sigh]

He left Louie with the impression his review would be at least as gushing as his dribble was that night.

The Ambush reviewer and the theatre critic from Steppin' Out attended last night's performance. They also left word they had enjoyed the show.

Did I mention I was really, really good last night?

So, yeah, we're three for three in the critical league at this time.

Of course, you can't ever forget these same people can look you lovingly in the eye while blowing you blind and simultaneously stabbing you in the back the whole time.

Heigh-ho, the glamorous life.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Word of Advice

Bush surveys collapsed Minnesota bridge.
President Bush pledged today to cut red tape that could delay rebuilding a highway bridge that once arched over the Mississippi River but now lies crumbled in muddy water concealing some victims. ...

"Our message to the Twin Cities is, we want to get this bridge rebuilt as quick as possible, that we understand this is a main artery of life here -- that people count on this bridge and this highway system to get to work," Bush said as he stood next to the buckled spans, still littered with abandoned vehicles.

"There's a lot of paperwork involved with government," he said. "One of our jobs is to work with the governor and the mayor and the senators and the members of the Congress to cut through that paperwork, and to see if we can't get this bridge rebuilt in a way that not only expedites the flow of traffic, but in a way that can stand the test of time."
Dear Minneapolis, listen to me. What he's really saying is, "Bend over, baby, take a deep breath, and relax. This isn't going to hurt a bit."

Trust me, it does. He's lying. It does.

A Night of Surprises

Last night was the opening night of Cobalt Blue; and, lo and behold there was my brother Russell in the audience. Now Russell lives in Crowley, our home town, back in Southwest Louisiana, and hasn't seen me do any kind of acting since I was in college. But there he was. He had worked all day, then driven over to New Orleans only to get lost trying to find the theatre. But then, Bobby had given him directions. He finally found the place and was in the house only ten minutes into the show. He was in time to catch my entrance.

He enjoyed the play. He thought I was okay. After the performance, he asked if I wanted to go out front to the bar, Cowpokes.

I kind of hesitated and explained to him that there was going to be a drag show starting in a few minutes.

He got all excited about that until I explained that this kind of drag show didn't have anything to do with fast cars.

His reaction was, well, hell, I'm in from the country and I'm willing to expose myself to the New Orleans experience.

So out front we went, where he was immediately hit upon by one of the ... well, not the most attractive of her kind ... drag queens. My big brother just lapped it up. He was tickled when the "lady" started working him for cocktails.

Take a walk on the wild side.

I later took him to the Latrine and got him good and soused.

He spent the night with us and slept really well on my Barcalounger.

After he was up and showered, he played his guitar and sang for us before we took him to breakfast.

I'm sorry to have to say this, but my big brother beats your big brother hands down any day.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I'm Saving Up for Mine

Flying saucers go into production. It'll sure beat that dorky guy who always come trundling up the street on his damn Segway.

Abuse of Power

You can't win.

It turns out our playwright is close friends with a local voodoo priestess.

Naw, she didn't do any hoodoo on me.

What it is, though, it turns out this local voodoo priestess has a second cousin whose first husband went to high school with a guy who later became a Baptist preacher who wound up being embarrassed and defrocked after getting caught soliciting sex in a public bathroom from an over-the-hill, thirty-something hustler who turned out to really be a Kansas-county deputy sheriff who was dating, at the time, a female agent of the FBI. Long story short, they later got married and have lived happily ever after ever since. So rare in today's world.

However, that's neither here nor there. The fact is, this female FBI agent tracked me down and found me. By three o'clock yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in handcuffs in a Southwestern Airlines terminal in Topeka. By six I was back in New Orleans, being met at the Louis Armstrong International Airport by a furious pack of community theater veterans who escorted me down to the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood where they were insistent that the show, Cobalt Blue, go on.

Oh, the humiliation of that convoy driving me down Airline Highway. People were lined up on the sides of the road. What?! My story had been leaked, you see. Everybody knew.

And they were coming to the show ...

What can I say? There are times in life when you find that you have sunk so low, there are no further depths to which you can sink, so your bloated carcass starts to bubble up to the surface.

We managed to pull a performance out from somewhere last night to please a nearly full house of your typical New Orleans preview audience: actors (and you know how they can be).

Everything worked out for the best.

I have to go now. These nice people here where I'm staying have allowed me a few minutes to write this stuff for you. Now they want me to get back into my jacket so they can take me to this nice quiet room with real soft walls.

They tell me I'll be their guest for the next week-and-a-half. After that, they're going to let me go to go anywhere I'd like to go since by then the play will have ended it's run.

They're so nice to me.

SOMEBODY GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!

Do You Know What It Means ... ?

Wet Bank Guide: White House to MN: It's your own damn fault, mother fuckers!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Same Old Same Old

TIME Preview: New Orleans Still In Grave Danger As Hurricane Season Arrives
In this week’s cover story coming in Time magazine tomorrow, Michael Grunwald finds in New Orleans a "pathetic" situation: Many of the same coastal scientists and engineers who sounded alarms about the dangers to that city before Hurricane Katrina are warning that the Army Corps of Engineers is “poised to repeat its mistakes—and extend them along the entire Louisiana coast …

"If you liked Katrina, they say, you’ll love what’s coming next … As the disaster’s Aug. 29 anniversary approaches, there will be plenty of talk about the future of New Orleans … But in the long run, recovery plans won’t matter much if investors, insurers and homesick evacuees can’t trust the Corps to prevent the city from drowning again."

The cover shows a floodwall and the heading, "Special Report: Why New Orleans Still Isn't Safe." The deck reads: "Two years after Katrina, this floodwall is all that stands between New Orleans and the next hurricane. It's pathetic. How a perfect storm of big-money politics, shoddy engineering and environmental ignorance is setting up the city for another catastrophe."

“In recent years the Government Accountability Office, National Academies of Science and Pentagon inspector general have documented the agency’s bias toward approving projects that keep its 35,000 employees busy and its congressional paymasters happy.”

G. Edward Dickey, a former Corps chief of planning, tells TIME, “Nothing has changed. It’s the same engineering mentality, except now they’ll build levees even bigger.”

“Katrina wasn’t even close to the Big One,” LSU researcher Ivor van Heerden tells TIME. “We better start getting ready.”

Grunwald concludes the special report by calling for "better levees and more wetlands. Otherwise, it's going to need an obituary."
Been nice knowing y'all.

This Is Not Me

Get it? Not me. I did not post this to Craigslist.

Need Pics?


Date: 2007-08-02, 10:33AM CDT

Will take pics of you, and give them to you if you provide a disc or email address.

Looking for hot men in good shape to slowly bare it all. Bring toys and or clothing you feel hot in, and I will take pics of you including happy ending if you want.

Free this afternoon and most evenings.

This session is about you, your pics, and getting yourself off if you want. I will help, if you want, but am also cool with just taking pics.

  • Location: Marigny Triangle
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests.
Leave me alone. Stop calling me on my cell.

Besides, I'm not here. Remember? No longer in New Orleans. Gone. Absent. Called in sick. Skipped town.

I won't tell you where I am at the moment because being in a car traveling the speed limit on an interstate highway isn't being anywhere for any measurable length of time. Okay?

Okay.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Keep This Under Your Hat

Okay, what I'm going to tell you now, it's real important that you don't repeat it. Okay?

Tonight's rehearsal went very badly. No, not the rehearsal. The other actors weren't bad. I was very bad. I don't belong in this play - or any play. I don't belong on a stage. I belong in the back of a theatre, behind the audience, pacing back and forth, as actors I have directed go through their own paces on the stage up front.

So this is what I'm going to do. Tomorrow morning, I'm going to get up real early before Bob wakes up. I have a few things already packed; and before daybreak, before anybody is up and stirring, I'm just going to get into my car and drive away.

I'm not going to even tell you where I plan to go, in case somebody tries to worm it out of you. Hell, I don't even know where I'll likely end up.

I'm just going to lay low for a few months or so. Everything should have died down by then and maybe I'll be able to come back home. If not, well, that's life.

It's been, like, you know, real.

G'bye.

First Pictures from Cobalt Blue

Shannon Williams

Devin Michael

Lisa Davis

You can see more photographs from this production here.
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