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Another Email From NOLA
marquin got shot in the hands about 2 weeks ago, got him antibiotics, he didnít take them, hands got infected. i hauled him back to childrenís hospital, and they havenít let him out yet. shawn (donít know if you remember him) took 13 bullets on the corner of dorgenois and st. anne last week. heís on life support. jamal [shot in January] is out and limping around.
The New Page
In 1994 I moved to New Orleans. In 1997 I began writing emails to a few friends around the country about my life as a blue-collar working white boy in a mostly black New Orleans ghetto. The ghetto was represented by the 2600 block of Dumaine.
In 2000 one of the email recipients in New York introduced me to a brilliant webmaster who was hosting his own website and I was invited to begin posting here. The email recipient came up with the name email from NOLA. In that same year I bought a burnt out abandoned crackshack on Rocheblave, six blocks from the Dumaine house, and began a learn as you go renovation.
In 2003 I was offered a soft gig in Virginia caretaking a Shennadoah weekend property for a childhood buddy. The next three winters I found reasons to spend them mostly in New Orleans, last winter, stretching from October to June, so that I could look after my Rocheblave house and do a few necessary post-Katrina repairs.
The Dumaine house is still occupied by a friend who has remained all these years very involved as a freelance mentor and tutor to neighborhood children. She was boat-lifted from the house last September and evacuated to the west coast before returning recently in hope of receiving Road Home grant money to fill the gap left by being screwed by her insurance company.
The Dumaine neighborhood was always a little rougher than average. An average that to many of you would itself seem unacceptable. And while murderers did live and recreate on the block, the block itself was more or less murder-free for the last 13 years. So it is unusual but unfortunately true to say that in the last two months two young men have died by gunshot in the street in front of the house. And one other near the Dorgenois corner.
It is this type of drama that made up parts of the original emails from NOLA (of which only a few samples are posted here) but I don't myself have exposure to such drama now, nor do I live in New Orleans. So I've been working on a new page with a different name which you can access at--
Or perhaps I could offer you an actual link to get there.
M, not that this would be all that unusual but I haven't heard from you since you moved back to the block, I guess you got rid of the Oregon cell phone. Hope you are all right. Sorry the craziness is starting again. It was really quiet for awhile after the flood. Drop me a line sometime if you get the chance.
Better Late Than Never
Elloie suspended by La. high court
Russia, Fresh Spinach, And The French Canadian
I don't know enough about avante garde film to make valid comparisons but after watching Dziga Vertov's Man With the Movie Camera last night I'm going out on a limb to say he rose the bar pretty high 75 years ago. If only for its documentation of 1920s Russian images it is a must see. It is a silent film and I don't know if the sound track is original to the time period (or added later) but if it is original to the film, the bar goes up a couple more notches.
I seem to have rather convenient access to a bucket load of fresh music these days and the Outkast (Idlewild) album is fresher than a bag of raw spinach (according to the FDA).
Twenty-eight years ago I was standing on the side of highway 290west, aimed towards California, but only at the time just outside Austin, TX., and this French Canadian kid with a deep south Georgia accent approached from a distant store up the hill. He had just shop-lifted some snacks and these he shared with me. We hiked all the way to Los Angeles together. After a week or so he headed north up the coast and I headed back east, to Texas. I ran into him some months later, in Austin, and he suggested a high risk caper that would finance a trip to Europe, but success was not in our cards and we got busted for some misdemeanor foolishness and spent two or three days in the Dallas jail, and after that, again went our separate ways.
High On Ladders And Bocce
Jimmy the pool guy came by early this morning to get the final word on important pool matters and said he had just seen a guy on early morning exercise TV who reminded him of me. I said, oh no, not that awful energetic, long haired, buff, exercise guy? No, the guy has short hair, he said. And he does yoga. Said it was just the way the guy moved and his demeanor that was reminiscent of what I had always hoped was inimitable. I will look into this imitator even though as often as not it is through TV viewing that your illusions are shattered.
It has been overcast and rainy out here for three days but that doesn't keep me from climbing the 28 foot extension ladder and bleach cleaning the bighouse facia and soffit. I really need a 32 foot ladder to reach a couple of areas but instead of acquiring another expensive ladder I have saved the Mt. Prosperous bank account hundreds and hundreds of dollars by simply adding those four feet to the existing ladder, sticking it in the bed of the 4wheel drive utility vehicle and then leaning it up against the 150 year-old brick underneath the higher paintable wooden faced gables.
Not wanting to overwhelm the property with too much of my "work smart, not hard" ethic, I took off the rest of that ladder set up day and studied and practiced the formal rules for bocce (for there is now a proper bocce court), then set out to master the game and beat all comers, or just that one blithely acerbic NYker, who had recently, some weeks previous, won top prize at the Mt. P bocce doubles freestyle tournament, even though that championship is under review due to what was a fairly obvious and very cloudy score keeping by said opponent and his pony-tailed partner who couldn't be bothered with the details of his cloudy-headed teammates' scoring acumen. I am not a poor loser in general, but I will at the very least be demanding a rematch at some point in the future when all four members can be made to face the reality that a slightly tarnished win, a win that is shown in the books with an asterisk by it, is not the type of win you want on your resume.
As that inaugural evening of bocce on proper court wore on and I frankly became weighted down by the embarrassing heft of my bocce mastery, the blithely acerbic NYker snuck in a win to tarnish my opening day prowess. If it is true you learn most in life from your defeats, the NYker could prove to be a dangerous opponent in the future.
The clouds are low today, the Shenandoah hills erased, and there is fog in the hollows. As for me, I will continue to eradicate mildew with my bleach-filled garden sprayer, and possibly spot-prime the gutters I scraped yesterday.
A man out here recently known for his philandering with a much younger girl (girl then confessing the deeds on a Sunday in front of the entire Baptist congregation), has a wife who in the past has done periodic cleaning of the bighouse, but I just received grapevine news that the man has in the last few days been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and I am hesitant to contact his wife for menial house cleaning, so I am doing it myself.
Picking up rubber bands in the kids room I hear the words of Mrs. BC upon last leaving--you boys better pick up all those rubber bands before we leave. If Jim has to pick those up he's going to be plenty mad and will by all rights be forced to put your little heads in a bench vise and turn turn turn he will until your little heads pop like ripe cherry tomatoes. That may not be a direct quote.
The bighouse is not inaccurately named so this detail cleaning is taking some time. I am vacuuming and wiping all ledges, above doors, windows, along sashes and window sills, across 6 fireplace mantels and sucking spider and cobwebs from corners and sucking up bugs and dead wasps (which is unusually gratifying), toothbrushing gunk marks on the wood floors, and shop vacuuming the fireplaces free of creosote droppings. Mopping, washing sheets and towels, and searching out mouse doo-doo wherever it may lie.
My insurance on the New Orleans house has lapsed because obviously one year after devastation the mail system is still not operating flawlessly and 17 days is not enough lead time for mailing in a renewal check for an amount obscenely more expensive than last year. I have left a voicemail with my agent. Why she or someone else is not in the office on a Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. I have no speculation. I did finally take care of that back taxes thing, with much help from L, and also received reimbursement from that bitch realtor/lawyer who was supposed to take care of it 6 years ago, with escrow funds.
Just went down to my PO box and my renewal notice was in the mail, so that was some pretty damn fast response time. I called my agent, she was in the office, and said, forget that earlier message.
Parked in front the Post Office and that guy who rides his lawn mower around town and along the highway was walking out of the cafe and giving me the look while I perused my insurance documents. He wasn't going to be ignored so when I looked up and pretended like I was seeing him for the first time he motioned for me to roll down my window and he then bummed a ride to the Co-op for chainsaw parts.
I called Geico and got the Jeep and trailer covered. Now I think I need to drive into Culpeper, drop off that trailer license plate at the DMV because I forgot to do it last week when that ad man was driving me there, running every stop sign in town, until he got corrected by smokey bear. I think I'll get new tires for the Jeep and then drive into Remington and see if that guy can mill me some siding to replace that which is rotted on the bighouse because evidently whatever they used on this house doesn't exist at any of the local lumber yards (a slightly modified version of german clapboard).
I really need to get on the stick though because I still have to get back here and finish cleaning this big house, before the cocktail hour
List Of Lists
An advertising man and a real estate man came to the farm over the labor day weekend and I'm not saying which one and I'm certainly not saying it was the one that owns the farm, but one of them set off a package of firecrackers in the house, right under the bedroom I have been sleeping in. And in which I was sleeping at the time, so that the first two blasts echoing well beyond their intended outdoor potential because they weren't set off outdoors but instead as I keep mentioning, indoors, in the acoustically triumphant foyer of a 150 year old house, well, they, those first two blasts made me wake up in New Orleans, which is quite a bit of instantaneous transporting, but then I was awake and realized it was just firecrackers as the final 18 blasts did that audible dance very unlike gunfire. I did not at first know they had set them off indoors, right below my room, until a minute or two later and all that noxious firecracker smoke started seeping into the quarters where I had been perchancing to dream. I do not know how giants of business behave in your part of the world but out here it is becoming increasingly obvious that you can't really know a thing about human potential until after the last act is written. Until each and every individual giant of business has explored their inner insanity.
It has been suggested by more than a few that as a way to address the unique lack of structure to my life out here that I keep lists. Lists of accomplished tasks and lists of tasks to be done and lists of materials to acquire. I could also make a list of lists.
Yesterday, a day I don't feel I was overly ambitious, I got up and unloaded the dishwasher and loaded the dishwasher. I went out and clipped the dead hydrangea blossoms. Clipped or dead-headed the daisies. Turned off the new sprinkler system which did not seem to be accessing its computerized potential of knowing that it was raining, and has been raining off and on for several days. I checked the pool skimmer and found no baby marmots floating. Added some chemicals, skimmed off a few floating leaves. Trimmed off the tops of the seven foot tall round bushes in the center island out front and raked into piles those trimmings. I had a mid-morning business meeting with the guy who mows the 5 acres of lawn and sent him off with promises of future lawn cutting profit. I tested Mr. BC's new fly rod for a few minutes on the pond. Had late breakfast of hanger steak, lentils, and swiss chard. After breakfast had a brief business meeting with the advertising man's wife about local real estate potential. Then I went out and removed the 12 purple martin apartments from their pole and loaded them into jeep for storage in the barn because there are no resident martins yet and the pole will have to be moved elsewhere, away from the soon to be constructed outdoor fireplace and bocce court. I think the pole took a little knock from the backhoe and is bent so I'll let those worker guys extract it. I trimmed back the bushes from the side of the house by the pecan and walnut trees and set up the ladder and ran the extension cord and put on my dust mask and set to ready my Makita disc sander and then it started raining. I went inside and installed the new toilet paper holder and toilet handle in one of the bathrooms.
My lovely guests left--and I peripherally count as my accomplishment--without blowing off their fingers or sinking a barbless fly hook into their lips or initiating a lawsuit for slipping on the bath mat. I located and removed from premises some mouse doo-doo.
As it has been a guest-laden couple of weeks I paused and luxuriated in the solitude while gazing at wispy white clouds moving across the green mountains surrounding me 360.
A car comes up the drive and it is my tennis pro friend just stopping by to chat. Who gives a damn if I'm all chatted out? Followed shortly thereafter by my hay-cutting friend who needs a new kidney, and in his own right is quite the chatterer. They left and I watched some tennis for awhile until Mr. BC's brother shows up with his French girlfriend. He brought me a 300gb hard drive just because they were on sale and he is wonderful and thoughtful human being. He did not set off fireworks in the house but he did bite the tip off what could have been but wasn't a deadly hot pepper. At least he didn't intentionally step in a pit of fire and then accidently fall in nearly frozen pool water, which I'm not saying he ever did anymore than I'm saying his brother set off fireworks in the house. I shared a couple of roma tomatoes dipped in sea salt with the French girlfriend, then said, ok, its time for yall to get the hell out of here, and forced on them a bottle of champagne and some pistachios, for the road.
So Much Of Everything
So much of everything regarding writing is about timing and place unless you are disciplined and or professional which I'm not and don't consider necessarily bad but it could be and can explain the lack of writing here. Don't think I'm writing behind your back even though I am in some fashion but it's really none of your business at this point in time. Stay tuned or don't, you have to be comfortable with your own decisions.
hey, i wanted to thank you again for the paint job. if you send me a receipt i can at least try to get you some of the insurance money. that seems fair to me.
iíll go back to new orleans probably end of september. the whole notion fills me with dread, but i wonít be eligible for grant money unless iím living on the premises.
bad news: lance got himself shot and killed last weekend in houston. i thought youíd want to know.
New Orleans Murders Itself
Saturday, July 29, 2006
--4 found shot dead on street in Treme
Four people were killed Friday night in a shooting in the Treme neighborhood.
Friday, July 28, 2006
--N.O. man slain while changing tire
A 21-year-old New Orleans man was shot to death Thursday morning as he changed a tire on his car outside his eastern New Orleans apartment complex, police said.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
--2 held in killing of N.O. barber
Police on Tuesday night arrested a pair of roommates suspected of murdering a popular Bywater barber early last week. The pair burst into a trailer next to Clifton Barnes' barber shop and demanded cash before killing him, the New Orleans Police Department said.
--Drugs detected in 4 people killed in June
Each of the victims in a quadruple slaying last month near Slidell tested positive for at least three drugs, reinforcing detectives' assertions that narcotics played a key role in the "execution-style" killings, St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan said Wednesday.
--Woman found dead of gunshot
The body of an unidentified woman was found Wednesday in the 4500 block of Paris Avenue, New Orleans police said.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
--Police seek identity of man shot to death on street
New Orleans authorities are seeking help in identifying a man who was found shot to death Sunday night in a 6th Ward neighborhood.
Monday, July 24, 2006
--Man, 40, is found shot dead in N.O.
New Orleans police are investigating the shooting death of 40-year-old man whose body was found at his eastern New Orleans home Sunday.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
--Marrero man shot to death in SUV
New Orleans police are investigating the killing early Saturday of a 36-year-old Marrero man who was shot several times while riding in a sport utility vehicle at Calliope and Tchoupitoulas streets, near the Crescent City Connection.
--Teen wanted in crime spree arrested
New Orleans police early Saturday arrested a 17-year-old wanted on six counts of attempted murder and a string of other crimes.