I was out of town for a wedding for the season finalé of Treme, but thanks to HBO Go, we were able to watch the episode from a hotel in Napa, CA. The show opened with Bayona‘s extraordinary chef, Susan Spicer, playing herself during the Kim Dickens‘ chef character’s trip to NOLA. As Dickens took her short ride on the streetcar and started welling up with homesickness, I began crying for home too. I’d only been gone 4 days. Continue reading
HBO’s Treme is back with new opening credits, some new cast members and the same great music. The story has moved forward to 14 months after Katrina left the region in ruin. I guess I’m glad people are seeing how little was done to step in and help the city, to hear that 85% of the remaining residents were on medication for depression and related disorders. Though it’s a downer to watch it play out again, it’s nice to know how far the city will come in the years leading to the present. Continue reading
Like so many others in this region, I am loathe to relay any information that would make someone avoid tourism or our amazing seafood, but it’s been a year since 11 men died, 200 million gallons of oil and at least 2 million gallons of dispersant were dumped into the Gulf and it’s time to face some facts. Tar balls still wash up on the beaches everyday. The marshes are a mess. Unprecedented numbers of dolphins and sea turtles are dying. Fish have lesions. Fisherman are out of work. Businesses shut down. Less than 20% of the BP billions set aside for the affected have made their way to less than half of the 500,000 claimants. But, 97% of the 100,000 quick pay claims have been paid – one time payments of $5,000 to $25,000 in exchange for agreeing not to sue BP.
I wish I could say that the oil is gone, the Gulf’s problems are behind us. But that’s a lie.
New oil washes up everyday along the coast. Old uncleaned oil continues to eat away at our marshes and wetlands making the coast even more susceptible to hurricane damage in addition to affecting our food supply and ruining a way of life. According to Garret Graves, director of the Louisiana governor’s office of coastal activities, “Right now, we still have more than a hundred miles that is still active with oil on it.” Continue reading
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, located in the heart of New Orleans alongside the mighty Mississippi used to be one of the preeminent aquariums in the world with over 10,000 fish of over 500 species. Then Katrina came. Nearly all the animals died with the exception of the white alligator, the birds, a 250 pound sea turtle, the otters and the penguins. Apparently, a few police officers checked in daily to feed the animals and I heard a story about one policeman who brought ice for the penguins everyday. Continue reading
Last week, I met a chef at a catering company who’d moved here from Boston, Massachusetts to serve the BP workers. It raised a lot of questions for me. Why would you need to bring catering into a city famous for its cuisine and plethora of amazing chefs and cooks? If he was brought here by BP, is he being paid a per diem? Do they provide his housing costs? Just how much more does it cost to bring a chef from out of state than just throw a stick and hit a great chef here? Who does this benefit? Why not pump the money into our local economy? Continue reading
The final cap was placed on the Macondo Well today, the well that gushed over 205 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico due to BP’s incompetency and greed (sure, there’s plenty of blame to go around – MMS, Transocean, etc., but let’s keep it simple). The well has been capped with a memorial featuring an 11 point star to represent the 11 dead men working on the rig at the time of the explosion April 20th.
I’m trying to wrap my head around the point of an underwater memorial. Continue reading
Wednesday was the last concert of the Harvest the Music series.
There’s free music all over town all year round but I will miss the 5 pm concerts until the Wednesday at the Square concerts benefitting the Young Leadership Council resume in March. Continue reading
The city of New Orleans is debating whether to move Halloween to make way for the Saints game that Sunday. Beyond figuring out how to watch a game and trick-or-treat at the same time, we’d never figure out how to wear our Saints’ gear and a costume at once.
Silly? Maybe. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my country, about how divided we’ve let ourselves become over everything from red and blue states to which creature to like in the Twilight series. Maybe a city willing to move what’s become a children’s holiday to make way for a football game seems backward somehow, but this city understands something that the country seems to have forgotten – united we stand, divided, we fall. Continue reading
The well has finally been permanently shut down as of September 19th. I finally believe it. Took longer than letting the Super Bowl victory settle in as a reality.
But the reality is NOT that 75 % of the oil is gone. (For the record, the spill was estimated at 206 million gallons so 154.5 million gallons disappeared? It sure as heck wasn’t cleaned up) Our local industries and people are NOT back to work. BP has NOT made the victims “whole.” To the contrary, BP seems to be spending considerable time and energy avoiding their self-proclaimed obligations. Continue reading