Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dresses for Buddy D

It was cold today. It was a cold day to bicycle through the city wearing a dress. But it had to be done.
With Krewe du Vieux last night and bicycling all around the city today, I'm pretty tired. Too tired to write. I'll let a few pics do the talking.

Here's me and Howie at Buddy D's grave:

Here we are our first stop praying to Buddy D:

Here we are at the Dome:
Then we went to Bourbon Street, and then finally home to some heat and more clothes. It's hard to bicycle in a dress. More pictures here.

Krewe du Vieux 2010

We had fun last night marching with Krewe du Vieux. It was freezing though. Freezing I tells ya.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Buddy D, Saints, Superbowl, Dresses, Bikes, Superdome, Mustaches, and Bourbon Street

Saints announcer Buddy D said he'd wear a dress if the Saints ever made it to the Superbowl. Buddy D passed away, but New Orleans, it's time, it's destiny, and it's in honor of being a Saints fan and living in New Orleans. This Sunday is the big thing that Chef Who Dat calls the "Buddy D Dress Rehearsal and 'Stache Dash.'"

Ride a bike, drink some adult beverages, wear a fake mustache, celebrate life, pray to Saints fans who passed, and join me in wearing a dress in honor of Buddy D. Here's a sneak preview of my dress to wet your appetite:

Schedule for Sunday, January 31st:
11:30 AM- Mid-City Bulldog (5135 Canal Blvd)
12:30- Depart on bikes
1:00 PM-Pay our respects to Buddy D at his gravesite (Metairie Cemetery)
2:00 PM- Mid-City Yacht Club (440 S. St. Patrick Street)
About 3:00 PM- Finn McCools (3701 Banks Street)
About 4:00 PM- Superdome
Following Superdome, bike ride down Bourbon Street

Bring a camera, you might get to see Therese crash:

Joan N. Parker, Vikings Fan

Dear Joan Parker from Minneapolis,

You're obviously upset about last Sunday's football game, so upset in fact that you wrote to the Times-Picayune to voice your disgust. You wrote that you were "appalled at how the Saints abused Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre. Tackles made after he released the ball were an obvious attempt at roughing him up, disabling him or worse." Then you correctly state that "Football is a game, not an opportunity to maim another person."

Great, and thanks for sharing. I'm reminded of that preseason game earlier this year when Favre threw an illegal crackback block at Eugene Wilson's knees, nearly ending his career. But that was totally different, as Favre's cheap shot had a major impact in the outcome of that important preseason game, unlike the actions of the Saints' defense in the NFC Championship. Furthermore, you clearly wrote Favre a similar letter and he saw the error of his ways and started playing the game with good sportsmanship as his primary goal. Also, Wilson recovered and came back to play football. Those mean Saints, by putting Favre on the ground (not just his pants) so many times, got in his head and then they had the gall to trick him and intercept his pass just like two years ago, and well, it looks like Favre was so beat up and dejected that he's likely to retire. Retire for good I mean, not like he retired from the Vikings-nemesis: the Packers. He'll need a hug, and being that he'll retire in Mississippi and not Minneapolis, I'll be sure to check in on him from time to time.

Finally, can you even imagine how much satisfaction we as Saints fans are getting from the fact that first we abused Kurt Warner and he'll soon retire? Then we did the same to Favre and he'll soon hang up his cleats. Those are two hall-of-fame quarterbacks I remind you. There certainly are plus sides to playing rough with Favre. I'm sure you'd agree with me and everyone that it is a positive that Prince won't write any more Vikings songs this season. Favre won't throw any more interceptions during the pro-bowl game, because he's too hurt from the Saints rough-housing (documented thoroughly in your letter). I hope this letter can restore your faith in the Saints. Some of them play naughty, I suppose. I blame our defensive coordinator Greg Williams. He goes after quarterbacks.

In closing, I was very upset three years ago when the Bears defeated the Saints in the NFC Championship game, and that wasn't even close. The game Sunday could have gone either way. The 12 men in the huddle, the interception, the coin toss, and then several questionable calls in overtime, if I were a Vikings fan I'd be upset too. But I'd argue that every hit against Favre was legal, and it's part of the game, and the Saints played the game of beating up the quarterback very well on Sunday.

Sincerely, Michael Homan, Saints fan

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Things I Did On My 44th Birthday

  • Woke up at 7:00 AM to the sound of Therese, Gilgamesh, and Kalypso singing Happy Birthday. Gil was holding a king cake with one candle in it. I was too tired to get up, so Gil blew it out and I went back to bed for another half hour.
  • I was wished Happy Birthday on the phone by my mom, sister, and about 1,000 people, many whom I don't know, on facebook.
  • Went to City Hall to vote early for the upcoming election. The actual election day is February 6th, but there are 9 Mardi Gras parades that day, and it's the day before the Superbowl. Vote early and vote often.
  • I bought a very fancy pink dress at the Goodwill for the upcoming Buddy D Saints Superbowl celebratory bike ride next Sunday (pics will follow). I also got a pink wig, pink purse, and a pink mustache.
  • At the department meeting Howie got me a king cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday. Earlier on my 35th birthday I was in the same room for my job interview. I told everyone today that I was much skinnier back then and I had a better attitude. My colleagues sighed and said my attitude was the same.
  • Sadly the New Orleans Saints ticket office never called to let me know I had won the ticket raffle and was one of 2,000 people who could buy two tickets for the Superbowl. But today, every time my phone rang, I got excited thinking I had a chance. But all's well. I believe the party in New Orleans will be even better than being in Miami.
  • I worked on my Krewe du Vieux outfit. The theme is "fired up" and my costume is sort of a skeleton zombie guy with flaming hair. It involves real bones and a talking staff.
  • Intrigued about espionage in New Orleans. Heard that four guys tried to tap Senator Mary Landrieu's phone, and one of the guys was James O'Keefe, the guy who dressed up as a pimp to bust ACORN. Another, Robert Flanagan, is the son of U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan of Shreveport. This is going to be juicy and fun.
  • Cooked a ham ornamented with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries.
  • Helped Gilgamesh with spelling words and multiplication.
  • Rewatched the Saints vs Vikings on the NFL network.
  • Opened presents. Kalypso got me an NFC Champions hat and Gil the matching shirt.
  • Went to bed thinking this was a pretty good birthday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Doppler Effect and Environment

In class today the topic of the Doppler Effect came up, and I asked students to explain it for those unfamiliar. A very bright student said correctly that it's when a wave frequency is altered for someone who is in motion. He said an example is how the sound of a police car changes from a higher pitched sound as it approaches to a lower pitched sound when it drives away. I found that example fascinating, because in Nebraska schools I always heard it explained in relation to train whistles. I guess there are more police sirens than train whistles in New Orleans.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Solar Panels

Tired of super high electric bills, and being that we live in sunny Louisiana, Therese and I decided to invest in solar panels. It made sense for us because with our remodeling we now have very efficient windows and spray foam insulation. After some research, we hired Anthony Reis from Solar Works. The panels were installed in early November.
We purchased 16 panels, each one a Sanyo HIT Photovoltaic Module with maximum power production rated at 210 Watts. Thus we have a 3.36 KW system. It should cover, we estimate, about 2/3 of our electric use, and we hope considerably reduce our Entergy bills which average about $200 per month. To measure their productivity we have an Enphase micro-inverter. I am able to measure each panel individually and see its historical production on my computer. We decided not to get the battery backup system, so when we lose power from tropical storms and high winds, we'll still need our generator.

The total cost for everything was $26,225. We expect to get back 30% of this in a Federal tax credit and 50% more from a Louisiana State tax credit, which means our total investment in the end will be $7,867.50. That is if all goes well with the tax filing. I'm nervous about that. I've been reading about Federal Form 5695: Residential Energy Credits and the form for Louisiana. I'll let you know how that turns out in a few months.

Then today we finally got our new electric meters from Entergy. Here is a picture of the old one:
And here is a picture of our new one, a so-called "Net Meter":

We'll basically be farming energy and selling back power to Entergy during the heavy periods of sunlight and when we're at work. Then we'll be using energy in the regular way at other times. The solar panels should pay for themselves in six years we calculate. Also, we have it set up so that if we decide to expand and add panels on the roof it should be relatively simple. We might do that next year, depending on how the federal and state tax credits work out.

Fat Male Saints Fans in Dresses for Buddy D

The biggest game in the history of the New Orleans Saints will take place this Sunday at the Superdome, and earlier I invited my friend Howie Luvzus to join me. But now I have second thoughts due to some horrifying plans that Howie devised for after the game. First some background information is necessary.

Before big games a few of us visit the grave of former Saints radio announcer Buddy Diliberto, or as we affectionately refer to him, "Buddy D." In fact, here is a picture of Howie asking Buddy D for some divine intervention with our tickets to the Eagles playoff game in 2007, a game which we won.

Buddy D. famously promised to wear a dress and parade on Bourbon Street if the Saints ever made it to the Superbowl. We're planning a huge bicycle tour from Buddy D's grave to the Superdome and then to Bourbon Street on Sunday January 31st. It is being organized by Chef Who Dat and will be like his earlier Dash for the 'Stache, but only more dresses this time. More details will follow after the Saints beat the Vikings this Sunday.

But today I learned that Howie already has his dress (it's black and gold, and size 3XXX), and that he plans to bring it to the Dome this Sunday and wear it when victory seems assured. What concerns me is that this is not the first time Howie has experimented with transgender clothing. Back in 2006 Howie got his first taste, and it wasn't pretty:

Moreover, it's supposed to rain this Sunday, so if Howie is wearing a tight dress that shrinks and becomes transparent in water, well it won't be pretty. It will probably look like a giant Thanksgiving turkey marinating in cellophane wrap. God help us all.

Update: Adrastos writes about the dress mania at First Draft.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Saints Gnome

This is my new Saints gnome. It was the best thing that I got for Christmas. It was a gift from Kalypso. I think that possessing it will bring me luck. I don't have time to write more because Kalypso and I are heading to the Superdome. The lucky gnome is standing guard near the TV and the Saints shrine.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Classy Tom Benson Doubloon

I drove to the Saints' headquarters in Metairie today to get my official Tom Benson 25th Anniversary Commemorative Medallion. As the coin says on the cover, it is minted of solid bronze. Heads is a head of none other than Tom Benson. It's a photograph glued to the front. The text states "Tom Benson (fleur de lis) 2009 (fleur de lis) 25th Anniversary (fleur de lis) 1984 (fleur de lis). It is very classy, but that goes without saying:
Tom Benson Coin Heads
Tails has a picture of the Superdome and the newly acquired Benson towers with a giant fleur de lis alien spacecraft floating in the sky.
Tom Benson Coin Tails
Did I mention that this doubloon is solid bronze (except for glued photo), and it is classy? I'm sure it is collectable, and me willing to share and all, I'd be willing to part with this classy doubloon for $5,000.

9 or 25

I bought a very nice gold Saints jersey back in 2006. I thought long and hard about which jersey to purchase, and I went with Reggie Bush, #25. Here is a picture of me wearing this jersey back in October of 2006, the first time my son Gilgamesh went to the Superdome.
I remember listening on the radio when the Saints drafted Bush. I remember seeing him score his first touchdown on a punt return. That was Kalypso's first Saints' game. But times have changed. Reggie Bush carried the ball just 3 times total in the last two meaning games against Dallas and Tampa. His yards returning punts are meager. Reggie Bush has to be the most overpaid player on the team. Many fans, including the guy who sits next to me in section 327, hate Bush. Every game this guy explains to his wife how Bush is a cancer on the team. I, on the other hand, continue to have faith. While I doubt Bush will be with the Saints two years from now, unless he settles for far less money, I still believe he could have a breakout game. Perhaps he could score three touchdowns, one on a punt return and one on a reverse. So I'll probably wear my #25 jersey. But I also have a very nice Drew Brees jersey. It's got a gold #9 on a black jersey. That's the uniform the Saints will be wearing Saturday afternoon. And thank God they won't be wearing their black pants, as everyone knows they are unlucky, and they will be wearing gold pants instead.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti as they recover from a terrible earthquake. There will be so many stories about tragedy and heroism, and rebuilding is going to take a very long time. I hope that Ed Blakely stays home and doesn't try to profit off their misfortune.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Katrina Diary

I've spent the morning cleaning my office. I found the diary I kept when the city was flooded and I was stuck in my house from August 30-September. It's long and rambling but it gives a bit of insight into what I was thinking about during the flood.

1 PM, Tuesday, August 30th, 2005
I'm alive and well and so are the two dogs, 3 birds, and the infamous Oot, the sugar glider. I'm pretty sweaty and still covered with flotsam and jetsam I acquired earlier while swimming outside. The neighborhood is covered with several feet of water.

Hurricane Katrina hit hard yesterday. It started getting bad Sunday night as the winds picked up velocity. I was able to watch the 1st episode of Rome on HBO and I was amazed that the power lasted until 4AM Monday. The phone line actually lasted 24 hours later, even when the lines were under water. The worst part of the actual hurricane was the wind. For about 4 hours the wind blew from the NE, and nearly broke our windows out several times. It was like being on a boat with the house rocking back and forth. I think our house moved or tilted a bit from the winds, as it remains out of plumb. Then about 11AM Monday the eye passed by and wind shifted directions and came from the SW. We lost the roof over the area where we had our washer and dryer and other storage stuff. But at 1 PM the worst part of the wind was over. I went outside and talked to my neighbors about how we dodged another bullet.

Then from that time forward the water gradually rose. First it hit the curb by late afternoon, then our steps by sundown, and at 1 AM this morning the water was knee deep on our first floor, so I've spent today gathering pictures from downstairs and bringing them up. I'm able to listen to the radio, but neither my cell phone nor regular phone work at this point. Once in a while a canoe or an air boat passes the front of our house. They say on the radio it might take months before we have electricity and plumbing. I also heard that people actually saw sharks swimming around the New Orleans area. I doubt that, but the thought of fishing for food intrigues me. I sort of live in a houseboat right now. When canoes pass by the house I get my guitar and on the second floor balcony serenade them with the song dueling banjoes. My dogs bark at them.

8 PM
Just by a fluke I tried my cell phone for the umpteenth time and success! I left a message on my mom's answering machine that I was OK and I spoke to my parents-in-law. I didn't have much time but I told them to encourage Therese who is still in Purvis MS to go to Omaha and enroll Kalypso and Gilgamesh in school there. They estimate that it will be January before school starts here again. Helicoptors keep flying overhead and dumping 3,000 lb sandbags on the breach in the 17th street canal.

And another shark sighting on the radio... My car is completely under water now. If it weren't I'd wait until the water dries out and then drive to either Omaha or Florida where I also have family. Reports of looting are disappointing if they are accurate. Two guys earlier swam by my house and yelled that when the water was gone they were going to break every window on this street. That was pretty scary. I feel safe with the dogs though.

Kochise is a finicky dog. He was pretty scared and freaked out with water inside our house, but tonight he finally ate for the first time. Shoot! A giant bug just freaked me out and landed on the paper on which I'm writing. Time to turn off the lanterns. My light is the only one I can see in a city formerly of 3/4 million. The dogs seem hungry. Better feed them again. I took this picture today of the front of my house:

Wednesday, August 31, 10 AM
I am thinking about leaving the city. I'd walk to Interstate 610 via Canal Blvd and then head East, me and the dogs. I'd put food all over and then let the birds and Oot go in the house. I wonder if this would work. First I've got to try to get more information from the canoe people and the radio.

4 PM
I came pretty close to leaving around 11AM. But just before I set out I realized the problems with my plan. I was going to swim/walk in the filthy water about 4 miles to the 610 and then hitchhike/walk to Baton Rouge and then rent a car or something and drive North. But I was afraid if I got to the 610 the police or National Guard would make me leave the dogs behind. These were the stories that I was hearing from the radio and from people on canoes. I truly believe that the health of my dogs is my responsibility and I couldn't do that to them.

I heard on the radio that the 3,000 lb sandbags didn't stop the flow from the levee breach and that New Orleans was still filling in with water. The next 24 hours would be critical. I'm afraid New Orleans will never recover from this catastrophe. I can see and hear about 10 helicopters at the moment. About 1/2 of these are search and rescue, and 1/2 are National Guard trying to fix the breach. I've got perhaps a month of free time so I decided to better myself while in house captivity. This will be a great opportunity for a diet and I should be able to drop several pounds. This morning I weighed 197 lbs. The dogs are freaked out. I'm trying to train them to use the upper balcony outside as a bathroom, but it isn't working well yet. They just walk to the steps, see that the house is underwater, and then find a carpet upstairs to pee on.

The water quit running today. That was a sad development. It's been so hot, and taking cold showers now and then has been a welcome relief. My upstairs bathtub is 3/4 full of water. My downstairs tub was full but the flood water is well above its rim now. I waded through this waist-deep water earlier today. It was pretty gross. I threw out all of the meat and dairy products from the freezer. I opened a package of hot dogs and fed my happy dogs. Then I went back upstairs and dried off. I cleaned my room today. Tomorrow I'll pick another room upstairs and clean that. Since this is where I'm stuck for a while I'll make the most of it. During all of my free time I worry about things. I hope my wife Therese and my kids Kalypso and Gilgamesh are OK. They are safe I'm sure. Therese has a hard time driving long distances, but I hope she makes it to her family in Omaha. It's a long drive from Mississippi to Nebraska. Maybe her dad will help her.

I read the book Saving Mr Bingle today. It's a great book about Christmas in New Orleans as well as hope and loss. Plenty of time to read these days, read and sweat. I listened to the radio much less today. I felt a similar exhaustion of media and horrible stories after 9-11. People trapped in attics, all the death, murders and rapes after this flood. It is all so depressing.

I want to call anyone SO BAD to find out what Therese and the kids are up to. I need to wait until tomorrow because of phone batteries. Who knows how long I'll be here and the longer I can keep my phone working the better for everyone. On the radio they said that some gumbo crew will be cooking hot meals tomorrow, but with the flood I won't be able to go. But in a few days, some gumbo sounds fantastic. This situation brings out the worst and the best in people. They say now on the radio that this is the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. The helicopters are everywhere and it's quite surreal. I hear Bush is in one of the helicopters. I still weigh 197 pounds. I learned some new words: "Jersey barriers," and "deuce and a half." I was not so angry to hear Bush today. But I have more respect for the people in the gumbo crew than I have for Bush. I wonder if it is a gumbo crew or a Krewe du Gumbo? It was amazing to think about Bush, Vitter, and Landrieu in the same room. I wonder what is going on in the world. They are all watching news images that I haven't seen. The water sadly is not going down at all. Earlier a boat with three people came by and asked if I needed anything, such as dog food, ice, or people food. I said no, but thanks. They said "We're just being neighborly." That was very nice. Neighbors usually aren't required to get in a boat and distribute food.

Thursday, September 1, 9:30 AM
I woke up at 3 AM and checked the water level. It was disappointing. I always go to bed thinking that when I wake up the water will be down. But alas no luck there. There are two lawn ornament pigs that I have and they along with many more things are floating around downstairs. The amazing thing is they are always together. I've seen them all over the house downstairs, traveling in tandem from the kitchen to the front door and they are always facing each other. I'm going to take a picture of it.

I went through all of the insurance information. This was in preparation for calling my parents-in-law at 5 PM today, if the phone battery holds out, and if I get a connection. Therese hopefully will be in Omaha by now and then she'll have to file a claim with Allstate. We did not apparently have flood insurance until recently, but thank God we have it now.

I hear on the radio that people near the Superdome were shooting at helicopters. Great job people of New Orleans, we're better than that. I also heard that some New Orleans police officers were filmed looting at Walmart. It's very hot outside and inside. I wish it would rain so I could take a shower.

11:45 AM
I couldn't wait until 5 PM due to boredom. I called Omaha. Things are fine. Therese's dad is flying to Jackson Saturday to meet Therese and they'll drive to Omaha. How could I get from here to Jackson? That's the big question. I'm not willing to leave the dogs and Oot, but I'd be OK with letting the birds go outside at this point. Sorry birds. I was all set to leave tomorrow at first light. I, the dogs, my computer in about 10 layers of garbage bags and duct tape, and our important documents, and the two dogs. I was going to let the birds go. They are parakeets that like to bite me. Oot, the infamous sugar glider, I put in Kalypso's room with food all over as well as bowls of water. I think he'd be set for a year if the rats and snakes don't break in and then eat him. On the door I wrote 8 signs about how there were "live poisonous snakes" inside the room. This was an old trick I learned from Ron Tappy. He said one day he drove a hearse to New Orleans and couldn't lock it, so he put up a similar sign to keep people from breaking in. Because if looters come inside, they are welcome to any food, but if they opened Kalypso's door Oot would escape. That would be sad.

4:15 PM
I met a neighbor named Shawn today. I'd never seen him before. He was floating by my house using a cooler to stay afloat. He also, it turns out, has a sugar glider and several pets. He said he tried to leave with his pets but was turned back by the police, so he returned home rather than abandoning the animals. I also noticed for the first time that the water has gone down about one inch. Hooray. But still several feet to go.

Shawn says he things the water was going to continue to go down an inch every hour. The 17th street canal breach seems to be patched he said. He also believed that in about a week the water would be gone and volunteers would bring food and water into the city. I can understand completely why the government and private rescue agencies are only helping humans, but I am going to stay with my dogs. I have enough food and water I believe for more than one month. I asked Shawn if he needed anything. He took a few beers but that was all he needed he said.

I believe that the government has failed horribly in this situation. People looted/rioted after Hurricane Andrew and they do it after Superbowl victories. The government should have been better prepared. I hear that the Red Cross and FEMA are not coming to the city now because they fear people will shoot at them. Screw the Red Cross and FEMA. I believe much of this is based on racism. Images of young unruly black men with guns. I keep hearing about these images on the radio. I don't hear any gunfire. But then again, there are the images. Nothing scares America more than young unruly African American males. I'm sick of hearing about governors, senators, and the president congratulating each other. We should have had martial law from the beginning.

25% of the energy in this country, they are saying on the radio, goes through this state. Take control of the situation dammit! It's not just security as an issue in New Orleans. I would imagine this could happen anywhere. It's police officers, and sheriffs, and the security of the entire country. Some heads better roll over this catastrophic managing of a catastrophe. How can a couple of gunshots stop the evacuation? Please evacuate families.

Last night I dreamed that a nutria was getting sexually active with Kochise, I shouted at it and as I walked away, and I noticed the nutria was actually eating the corpse of Kochise, as it had killed my dog. Help me Freud!

After much thought, I've decided to stay. This is the second day that I decided to leave and then decided to stay. Maybe I should see what the water levels are like in the morning and then decide.

I just heard Jesse Jackson is going to Xavier. Wow. He's trying to show that nobody needs to be afraid to go to New Orleans. I heard it's a way to demonstrate "sermons with legs on them." Great quotation. The media continues to focus on looting, not people drowning or dying from heat. Jackson stated that the levee that broke is the issue, not the looters. He's going to New Orleans without security guards. He mentions that image recycling is a major problem. Good for Jesse Jackson.

I went to Xavier today. I swam most of the way. I just got back. I thought it would be good to see my Xavier family there. I went to my office in the Administration building. It was in good shape. But I didn't see anyone. The students must have left a few minutes or hours before I arrived. There were mattresses, blankets, and water bottles strewn about in the classrooms. I swam over to the student center and rested on the steps. Then I made my way home. I saw a dead man in the water nearby Xavier. It was near the area where the I-10 and train bridges are at. They acted as a sieve when the water came into the city, collecting many dead bodies and other debris. I think the dead guy I saw was a large African American man who was homeless and mostly lived under these bridges. I saw several families pushing elderly relatives in things like inflatable pools and air mattresses as they waded up Carrolton Avenue towards higher water. On the interstate it seemed like certain people had staked out certain areas. It was very scary overall to see the breakdown of civilization. I made it back home exhausted. Tomorrow in the morning I have to make one of the most important decisions of my life, whether to stay or go.

On the radio there is talk of House Speaker Dennis Hastert who reportedly stated "it makes no sense to rebuild a city that's 7' below sea level." So we should spend money on Iraq, is that a better idea? When I get out of this I need to write an angry letter to Hastert. I hope Vitter and Jindal respond. This adds a negative image to an already negative portrayal of New Orleans in the media.

The Oakview Mall burned down today. I never went there. I don't like malls, but still, wish it didn't burn.

I heard the Garland Robinette interview with Ray Nagin. It got me teary eyed, especially the part at the end that mentioned that New Orleans will never be the same again. I concur, it won't be the same. Neither will I.

Friday, September 2, 7 AM
In the end I decided to stay. It was a difficult decision. I would love somehow to make it to Jackson to meet up with Therese and her dad. My main reason for staying is that there are thousands of people in hospitals and nursing homes who desperately need to be evacuated. There are starving children. They should get all the resources available to get help. They should be the priority. Me and my pets, despite the heat and the horrible stink, we'll be easily able to survive, one way or another.

I called my dad. I told him to call Therese Tuesday at 7PM at her parents' house. I called my father-in-law John also. I wanted to make sure my dad would get the message straight. I called my mom. She answered but we got disconnected and then I couldn't get a phone signal. My cell phone battery is waning. I'm down to two battery bars, whatever that means. When I call Therese I need to ask her if it will be OK to take inventory, photograph the items, and then throw them out once the water recedes. I also need to tell her why I stayed.

I can't figure out why emergency agencies were not ready for this. It's a problem that didn't need to happen. I've heard that the president remained on vacation several days after the levee breach. People are asking that if CNN can get here why can't rescuers? I've decided that my country's government doesn't care about me, and I'm trying to figure out why that is. I've thought about this for several days, and I've concluded it's because I live in New Orleans, a city that is predominantly inhabited by the disenfranchised of society. We're impoverished, and predominantly African American. Would something like this happen in Connecticut? It's hard for me to believe that it would.

I've heard that some hotels are raising prices and kicking refugees out for Labor Day Weekend. I thought this tragedy would change America. I thought we would come together and realize that acting humanely was more important that money. I was wrong.
NOTE: I decided to leave a few hours later on Friday September 2nd. Shawn came by with some people in an airboat who said they could get me and my dogs to LaPlace in a few hours. I had heard that getting to LaPlace was the key, as the government wasn't letting anyone else come into the city, and they set their gauntlet up at LaPlace. So I left with them, and I left this sign on the front door.
I wrote about my experiences leaving New Orleans here. Turns out it was very difficult to get LaPlace.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Everyone is Welcome to Come to the Dome

I'm hoping that John McCain can travel to the Superdome Saturday to watch his Cardinals face the Saints in a playoff game. He can even bring his Katrina birthday cake and his buddy John "I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans" Hagee. Should be fun.

Mardi Gras Requires Saints Victory

Therese will be joining me Saturday in the Superdome to see the Saints face the Cardinals in an NFC playoff game. In 40 years, there have been only 5 previous playoff games in the Dome. The Saints lost the first three (1987, 1991, 1992), and won the past two (2000, 2006). I think we match up pretty well against the Cardinals, and I would very much like to see the Saints play either the Cowboys or the Vikings in the Dome for the NFC Championship game. With so much of Mardi Gras this year centered on Saints-related-themes, the success of Carnival needs a Black and Gold victory.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

3 Tattoos & 3 Tattoo Brothers

I have 3 tattoos, which I would wager ranks me as the tattoo king for Theology professors. Each tattoo has marked a significant stage in my life, and the experience has always been shared with a good friend. The shared tattoo experience has, in my mind at least, solidified the friendship much like my the ritual of becoming blood brothers. My tattoo brothers are Marc LeClerc, Scott Castleman, and most recently, my sister Chris Homan.

My most recent tattoo is a fleur-de-lis on my right calf. It's more than just a Saint's fan thing. I have so many emotions tied into this city after it flooded. I think of it as my red badge of courage, or you might say cowardice if you would have heard me complaining about the pain. Tattoos hurt. Especially the outline part.
My tattoo brother during this experience was my sister Chris, who got a Chicago Cubs tattoo on her ankle/calf. She dealt with the tattoo pain better than me. The tattoo artist was Seth Kirshman from Villain's in Omaha.

Many years ago, my best guess is 1989, I got an Elvis tattoo on my right shoulder. It was a pretty bad tattoo at first. People said it looked like Geraldo Rivera. After several years it was touched up by an artist at Villain's. The color behind the fire has faded, but it still looks OK. I'm a big fan of the cult of Elvis, much more than I am a fan of the person of Elvis. My tattoo brother here was Scott Castlman, who got a panther on his shoulder. Fun fact: Scott Castleman is my only tattoo brother who is also a blood brother, an honor I share with Scott, Pat Chase, and Matt McAllister. But here's Elvis:

My very first tattoo was a dragon that I got in Memphis. Marc LeClerc and I had designs we came up with for our tattoos. We drove to Graceland. The car broke down. It must have been 1985 or so. We left the designs in the car. We called tattoo artists and found one who would be willing to pick us up from Graceland. We found one. My artist was named "Mousy." She showed me a tattoo on her boob. I think I was 19 years old, and I was impressed. Then they drove us to the bus station in Memphis and we took the bus home. Here's the dragon, now some 20 years later:

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Museums Recreating Disaster

Yesterday I went with Kalypso and Gilgamesh to the National World War II Museum. It was very well curated and overall it was a good pedagogical experience. One reason that the museum is located in New Orleans is because this is the home of Andrew Higgins, who like me was born in Nebraska, and he built his famous boats not too far from where we live now.
The highlight of the tour was Beyond All Boundaries, a film they advertised to be in 4-D. The 4th dimension it turns out involves vibrating seat cushions. Towards the end of the film they represented one of the most significant moments in human history, the dropping of the two nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This was portrayed with an initial bright light, seat cushions vibrating, and then falling fake snow painted gray to represent ashes. The film in my opinion downplayed the controversy surrounding the decision to bomb these civilian centers. We were told the bombs were dropped to save lives, as in previous behavior from Japanese soldiers and civilians clearly indicated that they would never surrender, and the required ground invasion would have killed millions more, both U.S. soldiers and Japanese civilians. It got me thinking about how all of the world's great museums chronicle and even at times celebrate war. To get over my depression about the potential for humans to act cruel I've been watching Bruno. This reminds me that people are also very funny.