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Cop Loving Scum
The Sculptor does pottery too and today she gave me a belated BD present of these two really fine super-fine planter pots she made. I'm gonna hate to put dirt in them. I told her I had some time today so I should start tape and floating that little ceiling of hers. She gave me a key and I went over there after she left for work and accidently hit her dog, Sam, in the head with a four foot aluminum level. I didn't mean to hit you in the head, Sam. The rock hanging done by an ambitious electrician, was kind of shitty but hopefully my floating will be less than shitty, although I'm not sure it will be. I taped it and put on the first float today.
Then I crossed the street and started painting the inside of my Rocheblave house. The front two rooms are a kind of putty brown (which looks less crappy than I thought it would against the stained woodwork) and the bedroom is green and the hallway will be a darker green and the bathroom will be even darker green and the kitchen is staying that three year old shocking yellow orange color that would probably be ok if I hung upper cabinets (which my kitchen does not have because I am a cheap cheap bastard) and some other stuff to cover the walls so the orange yellow only peeked out instead of what it does now--kablammo, right in your face. Anyway, I'll finish it up tomorrow, except for the front room, which will only be cut in once. I will need another gallon of that putty brown color.
The bedroom is finished except for painting the baseboards and that's where I'm at now, drinking Red Stripe, luxuriating in the green. I'm not ashamed to say this, I like green.
I walked over to Betsy's and had breakfast at 6:15 this morning and Betsy should of had my interior designer because that blue is too blue. The first job I did after going back to work for bossman was finishing up a flood job and the whole inside of the house was that blue and I can't take it, I'm cracking up over that blue, totally freakin'. It's not that bad really. Yes it is. Aren't you painting the Dumaine exterior blue? Well, exteriors are a different thing, and uh, actually, the blue going on there is of the teal family. Teal! You hear me?
A woman honked at me from the Iberville corner and then pulled up in front of my driveway sometime this morning after breakfast but before I actually started doing anything, or maybe I had removed all the switch and receptacle plates and moved stuff around, away from the walls, and feeling accomplished, was just wandering around Louisville central. Say every hateful thing you want to say about me, but I like being honked at by women. I think it is politically correct.
I walked out to the street feeling the thrill of incipient adventure. The woman was about sixty, with white skin and hair colorized from the blond box. She was upset and rather animated. I was neither, as befits my station as lord of Louisville.
She wanted to know where the PIB (Public Integrity Bureau) was and I pointed to a building front one block away. She really was upset and needed to warn me about bad cops, I should know about bad cops. She had no way of knowing from my appearance that I am a cop lover. I mean, I've cussed a few, probably have some more of that in my future, and even though I am myself, as a long-haired, skinny, therefore drug addled appearing miscreant, not probably loved at first sight by most cops, still, I have only a modest patience with people who go on about cop mistreatment after they've broken some law. I know a woman who as a teenager was hanging out with some people from a minority group, and taking up for this minority group being hassled by a bad cop, was beaten quite severely with some scrap lumber, and hospitalized with potential brain damage. I've never heard this woman speak a negative word about cops in general, or for that matter, about the cop who beat the shit out her. It was to her, I think, just a bad thing that happened, and which she survived. If you think her lack of outrage is because she got her spirit beat out her I can only assure you that does not describe this woman. And uh, anyway, the bad cop was not loved by his peers and something permanent bad happened to that cop some time after the incident.
So the lady ran a red light and/or a stop sign and the cops were rude to her, threatened to take her to jail, and this same type of thing had been reported on the TV news, overzealous traffic stops, blah, blah, something has to be done. I listened politely, offering no opinions, cop-loving scum that I am.
I think I'll insert this now--I have "met" some cops I didn't really enjoy, much less loved.
Anyway, I didn't like to see the woman so upset. It upset me. Then she made an anonymous reference to Paul Hardy, hitman for some bad cops back in the nineties. Back then a woman had made a complaint to the PIB about a certain Len Davis, a cocaine warehousing cop who she had witnessed beating up a citizen, and word got back to Len, which is really bad form for the PIB, and Len asked Paul to kill her and while being recorded on an FBI tape Paul calls back saying he had done so, and he had. And he's on death row, the woman said. Yeah, I was here then, I told her. Good, she said. I guess she thought she might get whacked for complaining about overzealous traffic cops. Law abiding people on Dumaine who knew Hardy, not specifically as a hitman but as an area property owner, called him, Paul, with fondness, just to throw out there, everybody has admirers.
Right after this incident with the upset woman, I was Uptown getting paint and got stuck behind some college girls in a new convertible who were making an illegal left at Louisiana and St. Charles. What is so hard about making a U-turn and a right, for a left turn, in New Orleans? Nothing, there's nothing hard about it. Make my blood boil, petty criminals. Truly, where are the bad cops when you need them?
Work In The N.O.
There are four jobs going on concurrently that the bossman and I are working on. He's starting to trim a house in Lakeview while I prep a house for paint in Metairie and then we have the four-plex off of Clearview to punch out and the converted garage of our building contractor in River Ridge to finish up. In the evenings and on weekends I have the 1897 Victorian Dumaine house to exterior paint, the Rocheblave house to replace a moldy section of sheetrock in the return air vent and at least three rooms to repaint in the next six days and I did promise the Sculptor across the street that I would tape and float her small section of ceiling in the studio portion of her home. It's only about a two inch description of work though so it can't be all that hard. Sitting here right now doing nothing is sort of a guilty pleasure except that I don't feel guilty or for that matter all that pleased.
Yesterday like Cinderella on her knees scrubbing while the ugly step sisters are away having fun (except the shoe will never fit and my boss is not an ugly step sister) I scraped with a six foot section of trim molding the sawdust and bits of wood left by another carpenter crew so I could freely navigate the rolling scaffold, which is quite an expediting device when caulking, puttying and painting crown molding.
The builder (not the one we usually work for) came in while I did this and spying that pitiful picture of me on my knees, perhaps felt guilty and asked did I want him to clean up the place and I said if he could that would be nice, at least sweep everything to the middle of the rooms. He said he would because if I was starting to paint tomorrow all the dust would get in the paint and that would not be good. I did not say, Really? This guy has never seen my work so doesn't know that I can make his woodwork glass smooth even in a windstorm, but I like a clean work environment, so let's hope he cleaned up the place last night and moved all that unused trim molding out of the hallway.
Ok, that's it, off to the I-10.
I found a warm Guinness wrapped in a plastic grocery sack in the Dumaine foyer so I sat on the porch and drank it after priming a few dozen window sashes yesterday evening after work.
A dude I recognize but not by name comes up and starts talking to me like an old friend, which was touching on one level, and then, not really all that touching, as he rambled on with the utmost elusiveness regarding anything specific about who we knew, mutually, and I, offered up everything just shy of my bank account numbers.
He was really surprised to see me sitting there, on those steps where I used to sit, and now sit again.
He excused himself three times and walked over to the short southern fence, and saying the red sauce (spaghetti sauce) was burning in his stomach, expelled it with projectile force into the dead brown banana trees. And then between each vomiting would come back and explain the problem with red sauce in general and also specifically the red sauce he had just eaten.
He was an intelligent speaker with an occasional stutter as he pondered how to phrase his next sentence and at one point looking at the sharp Anglo edges of his bronze-black face I thought, me and this guy could be related. And when I said I had to go, and clean up, he gave me the soul shake and shoulder bump and I realized we were, related.
He walked up the sidewalk toward Dorgenois and that's when he called back and said, I was really surprised to see you sitting there. I called back, yeah, its been awhile.
500 Angry Nikes
There is a 110 year old wrought iron fence in front of the Dumaine house. The porch railing, also most likely originally wrought iron, is now white wood spindle, minus a few due to urban teenager attrition.
Before the recently added wood railing the porch was rail-less and was for many years, between 1995 and 2002 or 3, the Dumaine domain of many a child and grownup, working class and white collar, gangster and innocent.
The young thugs, who we were convinced would show some respect if we offered some (and would not kill us no matter how we treated them, if we tutored--mostly M--and mentor-ed, their little brothers and sisters), would invariably use the aged wrought iron spear tips as a push off point for their Reboks and Nikes when leveraging themselves up onto the porch. And they would plop their butts down on the tongue and groove porch and then rest their feet on the same wrought iron spear tips. "Please don't rest your feet on the railing" was always obeyed until the next time.
Two or three tips have been broken off over the years in acts of Herculean urban teenager angst.
I was ruminating on that railing this afternoon while it rained on my last ditch efforts at long put off exterior paint prep, sitting on a five gallon bucket listening to battery-powered radioed live "Jazz Tent" Jazzfest, as the prevailing winds blew sound onto the porch from the 7 block distant fai-do-do stage.
Take The Curtain
Not getting it done sitting here. You are going to need a very long extension pole to paint that Dumaine house if you persist on sitting on your air mattress watching the sun rise, on Rocheblave.
I made the walk to the Canal/Broad paper box this morning, Friday, my day off from work so I can work day. Epictetus was leaning on the box talking to himself, 16 oz. beer in brown wrapper resting on the top of the box. In all my years over here admiring the survival skills of the stoic Epictetus, I was never sure he could talk, or even had vocal chords, but today he's talking fine, if only to himself.
I said good morning to him and he responded similarly and moved away from the box so I could get a paper. I wanted to give him something, a paper or a fiver, but he didn't ask for anything so I chose not to presume his needs. I did ask him if he was doing all right and he said--still standing.
Went to Betsy's, got the special, left a 30% tip.
Chevron is moving out of New Orleans to the North Shore, taking 500 workers with them. See ya, bye, don't let the screen door hit ya on the way out.
Same goes for me though. I'm leaving in a few weeks to resume my duties in the Virginia countryside. Not because it's too hard here or because I think there is no hope for this region but because Virginia/Delaware are part of my world now, and have been for two years.
Even without electricity and gas to my house for the first four months of my stay, this has been perhaps the easiest and most relaxing seven months of my 12 years here. I know it has not been easy for many and I don't mean to make light of the great hardships suffered by many but I honestly see nothing but good here. That the city has come this far 8 months after being underwater is nothing shy of miraculous. That there is still a long way to go is obvious but the New Orleans I have lived in for these years (on Magazine, on Dumaine, on Rocheblave) was in a very real way much more disadvantaged and dysfunctional than the New Orleans I see rising from the muck.
I am eager to reacquaint with my east coast family but equally so, jealous of you getting to stay here.
Thank you to everyone that has been nice to me this trip. To my neighbors, the Sculptor, the Chauffeur, The Smiths, Mr. Clarence, FreddyB, Raheim, and to those who invited me site unseen into their homes for food and drink and on those coldest days this winter, an occasional hot shower. I tip my glass to Laureen, EditorB, Cade Roux, and Rene. And to my blood, renting Uptown while they prepare to rebuild in Lakeview, I offer you my admiration and love, which you can either accept or trade right now for a six pack of Guinness, or what's behind curtain number 1 (and the crowd yells--take the curtain, take the curtain!)
This morning I was up before the crack of dawn.
Slapping the still sleeping eminent New York Professor Doctor Wilson on his hip bone with a full bottle of water, I was made to recoil as he came awake immediately, Bowie knife in his teeth, growling. It's just me Professor Doctor, I squeaked.
While Professor Doctor performed his ablutions prior to our departing for the wilds of the Barataria Preserve, I ran off to gas up at the Chevron at Canal and Broad and get cigs at the Canal/Galvez Spur. It was hopping at the Spur this morning at five a.m. and while a confused driver backed out and blocked my ability to gain front door parking, a little dude stole my waited upon space. No biggee, I backed up and exited and parked in the adjacent lot. When I walked up the little loud-mouthed shit spewing dude was just getting ready to come back out for something and we met face to face separated by the double glass doors. I put a granite fist on each handle and opened both doors at once, pretty much piercing his inflated and constantly whining bitch ass persona, with the sharp edges of my bony, shiv-like rib cage. I went straight to the counter, got my cigs, and left, having to kill no one, and not looking back to see if the little dude wanted to kiss my ass.
We were to be on a bird hunt this morning but would end up seeing enough active alligators to distract us from our mission to observe as many as possible of the warm-blooded, egg-laying, feathered vertebrate creatures with forelimbs modified to form wings.
We entered the Jean Lafitte park illegally because it doesn't open until 8 but even a complete ninny knows birds are jumping at dawn.
There was a cacophony of bird noises in the bald cypress, water tupelo and red maple trees above us, as first morning light came on.
Later, resting on the elevated boardwalk of the Bayou Coquille section of the park and a woman and her young daughter, Kristy, approached us and asked if we were seeing anything. She meant alligators. A woman who goes out there everyday had told them she saw gators every time and I said (quite authoritatively I might add), ma'am, there are of course alligators in these waters but as a frequent visitor myself, I can tell you I have NEVER seen one out here.
Professor Doctor Wilson spoke up barely 15 seconds later and said, actually, there's one laying over on that bank.
Oh, those, I might have said, but didn't.
The woman and Kristy walked on and kept spotting alligators while Professor Doctor stuck to birds and I split my time between bird and gator watching, because I was determined to see more than Kristy.
We did enjoy watching one with a dragonfly on it's nose become aggravated and while opening its gaping, jagged, razor toothed jaw did nothing to distract the dragonfly, submerging did, and the dragonfly become gator bait.
We came back around lunch, dined on soul food with the rest of our party at Two Sisters on Derbigny, and then napped while they went off to Jazzfest again. We went out to City Park after the nap and got politely policed by a security force representative from one of the camping villages sprung up post-Katrina all along the waterways of the park. We weren't supposed to be parking near the devastated soccer fields at Boy Scout Island. We could go talk to some other out of towner about getting permission to freely use our own damn park, but I wasn't doing that, we just said we'd be leaving shortly, and we did.
What kind of birds did we see? Can't really say as I am no professor.