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Morning Notes
I was looking down on an amateur in a Red Ferrari in the center lane, in New York City, as we went nowhere in a cab in the Village, late on a beautiful summer night, maybe school’s out fever, the streets were raucous, people checking in from all the boroughs, and it wasn’t raining.

Today someone commented you don’t look like you rested much on your vacation. I had too much to do, things to bump into, ideas to formulate, super heroes to entertain. I can rest later. Like today at work when the boss isn’t looking.

But really my boss has been very good to me over the years, and lately has been taking it very easy; all the other trades look at us suspiciously when we pack it in at 1:30.

I found a couple of fist-sized bruises on the inside of my leg, just above the knee, further testament to the possible rewards of being a klutz. I can get the stitches out of my face today, or Thursday.

Last night I flirted with a woman, and she with me, at the Canal and Carrollton grocery store buffet at which I often eat. It started when she pleaded for me to give up the last of the cabbage, let her have it, of course, why wouldn’t I let her have it. At the checkout she tried to buy my dinner but I stuck to the autonomy of my current formulation. It seems clear though, that there is the beginning of a shift in that alignment.
- jimlouis 6-10-2003 3:08 pm [link] [add a comment]

Fall Down, Go Boom
Ok, let's see how this goes. It now seems pretty definite that two months from now I'm starting a new life on the East Coast, basing out of a guest house on a country estate situated just above the town of Washington, Virginia, an hour west of DC. This area, while not a ghetto, will I hope offer enough stimulation to make the move seem worthwhile. And that's that.

Ok, this next thing. Last night, in a basement guestroom in a DC suburb, I fell down went boom. I wish I could embellish the truth but lies require so much maintenance and I don't have the energy for all that. Three a.m., coming back from a whiz, I leaned forward and reached out for the foot of the bed, but my hand, instead of gaining firm purchase gained nothing at all, I was farther away than I thought, and my face crashed into the square, tubular steel edge of the bed's footboard. The room was pitch black but I saw the white light of concussion, and was soon tasting liquid copper in my mouth. Blood. In the end there really wasn't so much of it but I was scared and panicky and only wanted to not bleed on new carpet, sheets, pillows, etc., so I went back to the bathroom in blackness, wet a towel, and got back in bed to staunch the flow. I thought I had rearranged my nose in spectacular fashion and the first few moments of intense pain I wasted in the world of vanity. Of all my parts that need swelling my nose is not one of them. After about an hour the pain subsided and I got up the courage to go back to the bathroom and light it up. Oh, not so bad, maybe just split the edge of the nostril where it meets the upper lip and there was also a moderately obvious but not so severe gash running along below the cheekbone at what would be the smile line if I had been smiling, which I wasn't. The gash seem a little deep at the bottom end but not that severe. I did a little Martha Stewarting to the beach towel, wow cold water really does wash out blood, and exchanged it for a handier wash cloth. I went back to bed. Between five and six I think I actually slept and about seven I was up telling my friend about the boo boo, got any anti-bacterial goo? His wife wanted me to go to an area walk-in clinic but I wasn't all that hip to that idea and when she said at least a butterfly bandage (the gash is opening every time you talk, she said) I thought that sounded like a good idea. She later finessed me to accepting the clinic idea, and my friend dropped me on his way to dropping one of his kids at school. I could tell with the first needle injected into the wound that the doctor was pretty good so I layed back and enjoyed the ride. Twenty-five stitches later he said well that's about it and for good measure started swabbing the blood boogers from my nostril. When he said oh there's a cut in here too I acted all surprised even though I kind of knew there was. He started injecting that wound with anesthesia and then started sewing a little too soon but I didn't want him to slow down so when he saw me wince and asked was everything Ok I asked him how many more would it be and he said four or five so I said just go ahead. The rest didn't hurt as much as the first. Thirty total. You can cover the whole wound, except for the nostril part, with one standard band-aid, if you don't mind the adhesive part covering half the wound, which obviously the nurse didn't, because that's what she used.

Sometime tomorrow, 6/4, me and my stitches will take the train up to NY to see friends there. I'll mostly keep a band-aid on it but the doc wants me to air it out as much as possible so for those of you who have to look at it, sorry.
- jimlouis 6-04-2003 6:38 am [link] [5 comments]

Shorty And Esnard
I forgot this until now. A billboard in Vidor, Texas that I saw last week driving from Austin to my home in New Orleans. It said: “Terrorists, don’t mess with Texas, remember the Alamo.” What’s my point you may ask? I swear I don’t have one, but, the Alamo is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Vidor. If terrorists knew what the lesser of Vidor’s citizens were capable of the message could be shortened to: Don’t mess with Vidorians.

The trio of wild dogs that had inhabited this neighborhood for a few weeks were not around when I got back from my trip. The second night back I was on the side landing digging a rare summer phenomenon of cool, dry air and Shorty was in her spot. That same spot from which she was photographed (above left.) She looks so frail, but I’m not feeding her. I don’t want to be her pusher. If she would let me coax her inside I would let her have a go at that mouse which sneaked in recently. I might add that the mouse would have never had a chance if the wild dogs hadn’t temporarily scared all the cats away.

I saw Kitten the other day. She is still cute, but looks to have lost some of that weight of affluence. I don’t know what has happened to BigHead.

Still a fair amount of killing going on in New Orleans. Judge Elloie is being criticized again for his lenient bonding policies for violent criminals. I don’t know all the details but I think it may be time for Elloie to retire. His name is synonymous with bad judgement. Two of his suspected murderers out on lenient bonds were involved this past week in an inner-city joust/shootout–two moving cars approaching each other on Washington Ave. in Central City began shooting at each other and succeeding in wounding two pedestrians and killing another. The dead girl had recently attended her junior prom.

Yesterday I was out on the side landing, daydreaming at dusk, and out from under the house bolted this black shadow of stealth and speed, which then attached itself to the trunk of an Elderberry tree growing alongside the house. Shorty. With a Chameleon in her mouth. That could be nutritious I opined. But she’s not as hungry as she looks because she did that cat thing, dropping and pouncing on the terrified lizard repeatedly, until I grew bored and went inside.

I passed by Dumaine a minute ago. Nobody around. Except for the card players set up in front of the decrepit burned out shell that was once, before the Civil War, known as Esnard Villa.
- jimlouis 5-31-2003 4:01 am [link] [add a comment]

Slim's Opportunities
Last day of a week of work as the high end housepainter of English Turn. Then dammit I have to take another week of vacation to DC and NY. I am going through a stage where I will be pretending to have endless options. Someone is offering the possibility to work for a few months in a somewhat high end country setting near the Appalachian trail in Washington, VA. So it would be email from WAVA for awhile. I already passed up an opportunity to work on the coast of France this year. I don't think I can afford to pass up many more juicy opportunities. There is some limit to their availability, the opportunities. I would have to take care of some stuff on the Rocheblave house I have been putting off for over a year so it will be interesting to see what happens to Slim. Can he get off his lazy ass? Don't be afraid, Slim, ride that wave. Opportunities ARE endless for those who aren't afraid to choose.
- jimlouis 5-30-2003 3:13 pm [link] [add a comment]

Caution And Sports
I was two over, in the 6th Ward, a few days ago, and I was talking to a young man I have known for some years. He said he was hanging around looking for the person who stole his bag. “It had a .38 in it,” he said.

This young man was not of the criminal element, is positioned in such a way that he will likely rise far above his rather difficult environment, and had purchased the gun because things were “getting kind of crazy” in the town in which he spends part of his time. I took an invisible big deep breath and wondered, with no visible expression, just how much crazier could things be than they are in this neighborhood he grew up in?

“I got the papers for it,” he said.

“Really?” I said.

“Yes,” he said.

“I know you don’t want to do this anymore than I would want to but you really have the call the cops about this.”

“I know, but...”

“Yeah well, maybe you wouldn’t want to have them show up right here on this street but you could go down to the station or...”

“I have some friends on the force I could call,” he said.

“Please call know...if it gets used in a crime and traced back to don’t need that...there’s nothing good about that.”

“I’ll call,” he said.

We then talked about sports for awhile. He likes Carmello Anthony over Lebron James. I tend to agree
- jimlouis 5-29-2003 5:34 am [link] [8 comments]

Kids, Babes, Trucks, Pizza
I seem to have a slight kink in my back from slinging my two-year-old nephew around like a sack of potatoes. Lucky for me a friend offered a possible solution in the form of a short-acting, alpha2-adrenergic receptor agonist.

I've been remiss in the visiting of my Austin brother, wife, and four kids. The kids age three months to seven years and are a lot of fun and more polite and reasonably well-behaved than I would have expected, being as how I tend to start off thinking about most things from a "expect the worst" perspective.

I was out with sister-in-law shopping at one of those popular chain stores with obnoxious theme songs and she let me buy each of the kids a piece of clothing (since I've been kind of a slouch buying them anything in the past.) I got the five-year-old girl this cute little dress and she tried it on immediately after we got home. When her mother asked her how she liked it she said, with no irony whatsoever, "oh, I love it, I can't take my eyes off of it." This despite the fact that she was concentrating on her Play-Do factory and/or giant "make me up" Barbee head at the time (the giant Barbee head is testament to how great a father my brother is as he has nurtured a life long fear of certain realistic dolls, mannequins, ventriloquist dummies, etc.)

So, not only did I survive two days at my brother's small house inhabited by four small children, but I relished it.

Back at Jose's last night I had pretty much not done anything towards my effort to have Jose help me find a new used truck so I was telling my friend R. Blond Bomber, who was returning my call, that I would probably have to at least put new tires on my beat little Toyota before driving it back to New Orleans. When I got off the phone Jose said let's go look at a truck, and let me tell you, you have never seen a master at work until you have seen Jose practice the art of the deal. This evening we are meeting the guy and buying a really clean, slightly dented 94 Mazda B4000 extended cab pickup with 66k miles and only one owner, for $2,400.

The Mexican food here in Austin, Tx., predictably, is great, certain aspects of the local scenery, even better, and tonite I get to eat at a pizza place I often long for, Conan's, at 29th and Guadalupe.

I should come here more often.
- jimlouis 5-22-2003 6:37 pm [link] [7 comments]

Disrepaired States
Yesterday with friends I went out to check on my Austin area real estate holding which I haven't checked on for several years and it was still there, the raw isolated land with shack, except shack was no more, having imploded into a pile of wood and nails and tarpaper.

It looks as if someone maybe needed my rafters and after they came and took them the house just collapsed in on itself. I had occasionally over the years worried about squatters, even though the shack was moving towards a state of irreparable disrepair for years and was almost unliveable, and had seen myself cleaning up the property by burning down the shack on a rainy day. So to see the shack no more was not as much of a letdown as you might expect. I still have all that remaining wood to clean up even though it looks like the ever-growing forest, and time, were well on their way to cleaning it up in that slow way that archaelogists notice when they are out noticing things.

Once, after I had been gone for a few years, a welcome squatter, a beautiful, troubled spirit, with more talents than she could properly manage, died of a heroin overdose in that shack, and I hope at least to someday honor her last living moments and the woods that surrounded her by cleansing the area, and erecting a small memorial. Margo, please RIP.
- jimlouis 5-19-2003 8:52 pm [link] [add a comment]

Good Gide
In Austin, free from my usual New Orleans dinosauric internet connection speed, am humming along on Jose's DSL, getting to know better the site from which I base, hello everybody, and so far checking out all of the links suggested by jimslog have stuck longest at Russ Kick's Memory Hole and from there like this best: "Listen to those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who have found it."
> Andre Gide
- jimlouis 5-18-2003 9:08 pm [link] [2 comments]

Cheap Talk
I’m pretty well packed I think, have left various written messages and beer money for my house-sitter, have changed the batteries in the smoke alarms, have screwed the windows and back door shut, have set bear traps around the house, have put some fluids in the car and emptied piles of trash and roaches out of it, am trying my best not to think about the viability of my tires and the fact that 500 miles is a long trip in a car that won’t go faster than 60 mph, am not worrying about the lack of air-conditioning headed for a city that hit 96 degrees yesterday, don’t even want to think about the number of redneck communities my long-haired self will be driving through in a car with a right tail light that won’t stay lit, with a left head light that points upward, and which hasn’t seen a valid inspection sticker for two years. The failing brakes are something that concerns me least of all having years ago zig-zagged cross country almost six thousand miles in a car with only the emergency brake.

I am drinking Guinness Stout in preparation because I am traveling to the city where a Rastafarian learned me about Guinness Stout as a nutritional supplement. I won’t drive drunk, so, I won’t be leaving soon.

I can’t remember when last I was in Austin but it’s been awhile. I’m going to tell you this in advance: the Mexican food will be simply delicious, the people there will try to intoxicate me, the memories may overwhelm me.

Well, in New Orleans (pop. 477,000) yesterday, there were three murders. Our police chief, whom I support, and others of his ilk have addressed this problem by suggesting that we, as members of a caring community, must get more involved and report crimes as we see them happen. There is talk of witness protection-type programs to protect those who show the courage to stand up against violent criminals. Alas, talk is cheap, and the day to day reality is harsh. For example, two of yesterday’s killings are described in today’s Times Picayune: “Shortly after she testified Thursday before a grand jury as an eyewitness to her younger brother’s killing in March, a New Orleans woman and her longtime companion were gunned down outside their home in the 2800 block of Pauger Street.”

Pauger Street, that’s the 7th Ward, not far from the Fairgrounds, and the killings occurred at 12 noon as the couple returned from the courthouse. The gunman stood in front of their car and shot through the windshield, then walked around and shot repeatedly at the couple before fleeing in a waiting getaway car. The dead boyfriend was an activist. These type of killings are hard to forget and perhaps are explanation as to why the final four words of most murder reports in the paper are–no motives, no suspects.

Well, so, there’s never a lack of perspective here.
- jimlouis 5-17-2003 5:15 am [link] [4 comments]

Vertical Halo
When I stopped shooting at that trio of dogs–the two German Shepard siblings are just big puppies really–the neighborhood became devoid of cats.

The chained up dogs of my neighbors don’t even bark anymore when the trio, the black and brown Shepards and the long red haired mutt, show up periodically throughout the evening to forage for things they missed on the previous one hundred visits. I heard a cat yowling the other night but that’s as close as I’ve come to seeing a cat in this neighborhood for three weeks. The cats are alive, I believe, most of them anyway, and not being seen during difficult times is how they survive difficult times.

The Pentecostals recently hauled in some river sand to finish out the leveling of the vacant lot next door. Then it was windy without rain for many days and the sand blew into drifts up along the fence of the auto title establishment. Its like Padre Island, or Cap Ferret (if you’re the type to suffer regrets), without the water. Or sure, like the Sahara, or the Mojave, or like those dunes inside the missle testing grounds of White Sands, NM., where I trespassed in sleep one night of my youth. Except, come to think of it, not exactly like that because this sand next door is kind of yellow, or beige, and that sand in NM is, that’s right, you guessed it–white.

I’m watching the Spurs/Laker game. Yesterday I was on Dumaine talking to a former Los Angelian who doesn’t care for the Lakers, except Kobe, and she said Shaq looks too much like Baby Huey. He looks just like him, she said. For the life of me I can’t quite conjure up who is Baby Huey. And yesterday when I had the chance to get the answer to that I did not seek the answer.

That trio of dogs will lounge on the waterless beach next door. It was them in that state of repose that caused me to quit shooting at them. They looked so harmless, and why shouldn’t they get to claim that lot for themselves?

The chained up watchdogs are barking so I get up to see what, what, what, maybe it’s the free and feral trio, but no, it’s just some boys trying to ride their bikes through the sand. It’s very hard to ride a bike through deep, soft sand, so the boys get off and push their bikes.

Last night the trio had to dodge small flying boulders as some crack headed cat lovers across the street threw bricks in their direction as hard as they could (um, okay fellas, those bricks are coming real close to my car, uh fellas?)

Sometimes at work, if I’m alone, I will do a kind of spastic ballet to stretch my muscles. I am not all that limber. Last week I’m doing this move, like a very untalented ballerina on the exercise bar, stretching my torso sideways, with my arm curling over my head as a vertical halo and the same side leg off the ground attempting to stretch beyond it’s limit. I can tell, even without a mirror, that this is not a pretty picture. Then I remember where I am, turn around, and see out the open window two burly construction guys sitting in their car outside, parked head on to my window like I’m the drive in movie. One of them is reading a newspaper, but the other one isn’t.
- jimlouis 5-16-2003 5:29 am [link] [5 comments]

NO Road Block
I came to a road block this morning, midway up the on- ramp for the Earhart Expressway, near Clearview. Regrettably, it appeared as if it was time to pay the vig on my relatively good borrowed luck, driving around with a 10 day temporary break tag (inspection sticker) that’s almost two years old. And just a week away from driving the car to Austin, where it will probably stay if I can find something better. I had my seatbelt on, which looks good at a roadblock, and I was getting my papers and license together as the two cars in front of me were being motioned off to the side of the road. Their papers obviously were not in order. There’s three cop cars on one side of the ramp and two on the other. I idled forward a little just as the cops are turning away from me, acting as if I did not exist. There was the glimmer of good fortune in this, and even when the cops did appear to be looking right at me, still they did not like me for anything, and so clearly I am one of the freebirds of today’s random process. I kept moving on up that ramp and onto the Expressway, driving the exact 50 mph speed limit, a mature, perhaps even borderline senior citizen with my papers still in hand.

I say senior citizen because getting up early on a Saturday to shop at the Walmart Supercenter in Harahan strikes me as, well, elderly behavior. But the AC on the car is busted and if I wait too late in the day the driving conditions and heat can contribute to a road rage-like mentality that results in nothing less than boorish behavior–the least of which would be my fervent wishing of bad things on perfectly, or not so perfectly, innocent people.

But yeah, I’m a Walmart shopper. Where else can you go and get a tube of toothpaste, a battery operated box of Glucosamine Chondroitin, and a USB cable any time of the day or night, all at a low, low price?

Later, my neighbor comes knocking. Behind him I can see a long black Mercedes Sedan blocking my driveway. I’m ignoring whatever it is he is saying while squinting at the tinted windows, hoping to catch movement inside. “Who the hell that belong too?” I insisted he tell me. “Oh that’s me, that’s what I’m saying, my boss left it and I was wondering if you could follow me up the Bayou a bit and then bring me home?” I have to tell this neighbor exactly what I’m thinking which is–“That sucks.” I do it anyway though.

Right before we get back here he’s telling me about this renovation outfit he used to be part of and this job they did at St. Philip and Dorgenois. I know exactly what he’s talking about and I ease him around a little before telling him just what I think. “Well what the hell happened with that?” It was a defunct turn of the century police station located on one of the deadliest corners in the 6th Ward. The idea was to turn it into a youth center with a neighborhood cop shop inside. It was a good location for such a place and was a beautiful red brick building with limestone trim before they ruined it by painting it a color like coffee with two creams. They got city backing and money and still f***ed it up. First long delays–which at the time I had read in the paper were due simply to the fact that the firm doing the renovation did not realize how difficult it would be. Then when they finally finished it, there was no management plan in effect and so whatever the hell goes on inside that building now is having little positive impact on that corner. And no cops moved inside. “Yeah man, that’s my old neighborhood and I had high hopes for that deal but that was a total bust. No impact whatsoever on that neighborhood. In fact, two weeks before the John Mac school shooting a few blocks up the street, a 16-year-old kid shot a cab driver right in front of that building. And ya’ll stole the job away from a woman with better vision, but unfortunately fewer contacts at City Hall.” This guy has heard me vent before and I doubt he took it personally but between this guy’s bungling of the community center and the Pentecostals scorched earth method of neighborhood improvement (the torn down dancehall was once briefly slated to be an Aids Hospice), I am fit to be tied. I should talk though, master renovator/bater/slacker that I am. Lucky for him we were in my driveway now so I just went inside and waited for my nephew and his wife to arrive.

Anyway, lucking through that road block this morning was a sweet way to begin the day, and starting next weekend I’m driving to Austin for a week, so I got that going for me. There’s a corner near the University in Austin where 25 years ago, in love, I etched one of my nicknames, and that of my girlfriend, in wet cement. I might see how that’s holding up, and maybe have one of those burgers with alfalfa sprouts and avocado, next door.
- jimlouis 5-11-2003 3:08 am [link] [6 comments]

Garlic And Hustlers
That hustler at the corner of Rocheblave and Bienville is trying to eye-f*** me as I wait to make the left turn on my way to Dejeans for crawfish Yeah well, eye-f*** you too, lover. Ya'll thinking this quiet little war torn block is going embrace you is wrong, wrong, and dumb.

Crawfish are boiled in big pots to which are added about 2 cups of cayenne pepper, a bunch of lemons cut in halves or quarters, some crab boil mix, salt, bunches and bunches of unshucked, unpeeled garlic, small red potatoes, corn on the cob, and turkey necks. There are lots of other things you can add.

At Dejeans, like most take out seafood outlets here, the side items are separated and priced accordingly. The red potatoes are a dollar a pound. The corn is such and such a price and being new to Dejeans this year I today for the first time realized they sell the garlic separately too. The sign said 3 for a dollar or one for fifty cents. I'm thinking that's a little pricey, 3 cloves for a dollar, but I gotta have some so I order the three. The thing is when I get home with my five pounds of crawfish, my one pound of potatoes and my three garlics I realize three did not mean cloves, but bunches. That's like 30 or 40 thoroughly cooked cloves for a dollar. I ate three or four large cloves along with the juicey crawfish, and several potatoes. You can always tell the next day when a guy has been to a crawfish boil and overdone it with the garlic. That'll be me tomorrow, sweating it out, stinking it up. Hey, why're ya'll sitting over there? Let's be friends. I could have easily eaten twenty of those cloves, but I didnt want to go completely toxic. I'm tempted to go outside and laugh at mosquitoes.
- jimlouis 5-07-2003 6:05 am [link] [1 comment]

Golfing Buzzards
Not a lot of the big name golfers come to New Orleans for the HP Classic, formerly known as the Compaq Classic, which was formerly the Entergy Classic, or something. It's out at English Turn, a gated community w/ golf course east of Algiers, in Orleans Parish. I've started a job out there painting a newly constructed home in the Parks section. I don't know how they run off the buzzards for the big golf classic but they do, I feel sure of it. There are perhaps a hundred, or probably more, large buzzards that sun themselves on the roofs of half million and million dollar homes along a very particular stretch of English Turn Blvd., and just inside the Parks. I forget, if buzzards regurgitate or defecate their waste matter, but whichever it is, they leave long white streaks of it on the roofs of a handful of select two-story homes. I did not however see a single buzzard this morning. They are not always there in the Turn but I'm sure it's not a coincidence that has them missing for the golf classic. It is a little bit obscene the money surrounding large professional sporting events. I'm not sure why the big time golfers eschew the New Orleans classic except maybe most of them want to be in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for the Byron Nelson Classic, which is like the week after, I think. And I don't know, maybe the prize money is lacking in New Orleans. This year's winner only walked away with 900,000 dollars. I am not so much a buzzard lover, and as a homeowner myself, I feel for those afflicted English Turners with multiple carrion eaters on their roofs. But also, it is with a sense of wonderment that I see this phenomenon from time to time, and invariably, it seems to make me smile just a little.
- jimlouis 5-06-2003 1:16 am [link] [add a comment]

by Antonya Nelson, in 05.05.03 New Yorker.
- jimlouis 5-04-2003 6:49 pm [link] [add a comment]

This Guy
This guy hates me as I stare back at his puffy red listen to me I mean business head with I don't give a(n) f-you eyes. He mandates and runs, leaving one more questions than one had to begin with. I am always a bit curious as to which jobsite it is he runs off to in such a hurry. Safe to say it is always the one I am not on. The shortness of his visits do though facilitate my natural inclination to ignore his sorry ass, and go about the simplistic movements of my career. For the rest of the day I imagined various scenarios in which I became jobless because I am not a team player. In all the imagined scenarios I was out the door so fast, free at last, that I could not tell if his puffy red face was wearing a self-satisfied grin, or not. In one I was given a several thousand dollar cash severance and a two-year-old Chevy truck, which is better than imagining myself forlorn, tattered, idly roaming city streets with a sack of aluminum cans slung over my shoulder, but still, come on, imagine it better, baby.
- jimlouis 5-02-2003 3:58 am [link] [2 comments]

Ghetto Jogging
I was glad that my DC area friend, my best buddy from childhood, showed up unannounced at my doorstep Saturday morning. He had jogged from Convention Center Blvd. up about twenty blocks of Canal Blvd., which is no small feat, but one I had seen him do in my imagination months previous. He survived it then and now. Saturday or Sunday mornings are probably best for it. I told him he was forever off the sissy list. That jog is a dangerous one but one that I've seen other non-urban oriented people do, and survive. I think surviving that jog without any altercation is possibly a thing that would happen as much as ninety percent of the time. The angle I'm still not accurately addressing is how the good times here roll parallel to the depravity and murder, without much of the latter bringing harm to the former. I think that is the story from here I'm trying to get but not getting right just yet. I had a great time with friends, moving around town freely and safely, drinking and eating well. But all around us people were committing the ultimate crime of killing their brothers. Not really a threat to those around them because almost exclusively the young men and occasional woman who die on the streets here die of point-blank gunshots to the head. Not that many stray bullets really and a person here who minds their own business has remarkable survival chances. Overall crime is down in NOLA, but murder is up 56 per cent. Just a reminder, old news, just a reminder, our urban youth are surgically assassinating each other at alarming rates. Still. This Jazzfest weekend set attendance lows records and you almost wish you could blame that on a fear factor affecting prominent whites--too much murder let's stay away (then of course somebody would take the problem seriously, smirk). But mostly people come here with the accurate assumption that everthing will be fine and some might even be completely unaware of how close they are to the real thing. Six murders over three days during Jazzfest. Two of them very local to Jazzfest commuters. And several more specific to the area over the previous month. I don't have a point about it, I just like lining the disparate possibilities up next to each other. As for jogging in or near the ghetto--surviving real threats may be good for the heart. Exercise some caution.
- jimlouis 4-30-2003 5:20 am [link] [6 comments]

Health Care Professionals
My friend Mark missed a plane or something and somehow found himself in Houston instead of New Orleans so he rented a bright red Mustang and drove on in. Sure it was midnight when he clomped heavy-footed up my steps waking me from deep sleep but I wasn't dreaming so what of it. He brought a girlfriend, some bedding to separate him and herself from my floor, and various assorted beverages and snacks. I told him about towels and soap and he told me which of his snacks might most appeal to me. The girlfriend named Diane is nice and referring to her first trip to the deep south and a stop at a Baton Rouge area Walmart I asked was it a Super Walmart and she said, well it was all right (drum and cymbal). She's a veterinarian so I clued her in to the spiders that live here, the chameleon under the washer/dryer and the geckos living over the kitchen sink. I alluded to giant flying cockroaches but those really must be seen to be fully appreciated. I let her know right off about wild dog bb gunning and she doesn't approve, but I don't think we are going to blows over it. I don't approve of it either, even as I do it. The thing I didn't mention is Killer's pyschiatric problem and what, I want to know, is she going to do about it. As a visiting animal health care professional I think it is her responsibility to do something about that dog's anti-social behaviour. But her and Mark are out galavanting so Killer's emotional well-being is on hold. Lucinda Williams is about to go on one of the Jazzfest stages but I'm not there, as is my custom. I could take a nap but I would probably just dream about Killer barking, barking, barking. I got another Mark, a Craig, and a Jeff coming in later, staying down by the convention center. This convention center Mark just got certified to needle away problems with acupuncture. Maybe he will help Killer.
- jimlouis 4-25-2003 2:57 am [link] [4 comments]