Saturday, April 11, 2015

Gentrification; The Tipping Point

As this weekend has hosted both the French Chevron Quarter Festival and the opening of the St Roch Champagne Dreams Food Court, my thoughts have drifted to when this all began.

Of course, that would most likely be the introduction of White Europeans into this hemisphere....

But then, there's always a tipping point for these things.
I began to reflect on when these changes reached the point here where they simply couldn't be ignored any longer.

It was a Spring night, just before sunset, and I was standing on the sidewalk on Decatur Street, almost directly across the street from Angeli. I was with two colleagues, R. Scully to my left, and Ratty Scurvics to my right.

There was a new Mexican restaurant open on that corner, and we were meeting music friends for dinner; Dr. Fred, who owns the Rookery Studio in the Bywater, and his neighbors, John Porter and Linda Keith.

As we waited out front, the three of us couldn't help but notice an attractive blonde woman, running down the other side of the street, on the side walk. She was wearing some kind of spandex running gear, and as she cleared some cars, I noticed she was pushing along some kind of three wheeled cart in front of her.

"Is that a STROLLER?" Scully was the first to speak.

I joined in immediately.

"That's the first time I've seen somebody running down Decatur who wasn't chased by the cops or running after a drug dealer that ripped them off," I observed.

She continued on down the street, and our heads collectively swiveled to marvel at this strange site.

At last, Ratty turned back to look at us with those penetrating eyes of his. With a look of almost pleading optimism and a hopeful smile, he spoke.

"Maybe she stole the baby!"

St Roch Market; same as it ever was.

The Good: The produce vendor, whoever they are, is right inside the front doors, and the produce was not only much more affordable than the Co-op (tomatoes were $2 a pound instead of $4), but local (not Mexican) and brilliantly fresh.

The Why?: There is a fish monger, and they have wild caught fish, but it's not cheap, nor is it over priced, I guess. It's very limited, and the vendor complained about getting a 2x3 foot 'ice bin' to keep fresh fish in, with most of their space dedicated to prepared food sales.
This was the design the Market was built to serve, so it comes from the top down: A fairly expensive (considering the neighborhood) food court.
There is a butcher there, too, and the very same holds true. A tiny case for fresh meat, and a large facility to make prepared food. The butcher, however (Shank) has plans to open a full butcher shop across St Claude.

The Bad: After ten fucking years & all manner of bullshit, this is a glorified, upscale food court. How many locals want a daily stop for champagne & oysters on the half shell? I'm sure we'd all love the Absolutely Fabulous lifestyle from time to time, but seriously, another upscale bar with an extensive wine collection? I wonder if they take WIC there....
At least there is another source for produce besides MGZ's limited selection and the Co-ops Mexican Spider Camp veggies, but for fuck's sake, this looks like it was designed for Sean Cummings to show off to his rich divorcees from Manhattan.

This tomato, bought for a dollar, was nice though.
And Shanks' sausages were great.

PS:For those raving about the St Roch Market:

I'm glad you had a good time.
Really, I am.
But think about the thousands (yes thousands) of local residents who waited 10 years for that open market they could afford, and got the Champagne Crowd, sipping on their sidewalk, instead.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Where The Wild Things Aren't

Reporting from Baton Rouge South
(formerly 'New Orleans'),
just outside French Quarter Land;
This Just In:

Roving herds of Bros (called a 'Lumox') have been spotted, walking through the Marigny, really fucking nailing it, being awesome, and high fiving everything in site. While some experts suggest this is a seasonal event, it has been noted that the Spring Break (or Rut) has typically ended by this time, and they may well have taken up permanent residence here.

Recent migratory activity has brought Envies of Hipsters, Crusts of Traveling Kids, Blights of Speechless Techies, and the ever ill mannered Sneering Trustfundy.
It stands to reason that with such ongoing consumption without replenishment, an area will be domesticated to the point of mind bending boredom, the cattle will then move in and form wandering herds.

Before these new species consume everything in the ecosystem they occupy, and move on to their next pastures, they will heavily fertilize it with copious amounts of their own manure.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Please Note:

With the advent of digital technology, humans, globally, are slowly learning to replace simple words with concepts, often as visual images.
Oddly, this new beginning manifests itself first as pictures of food, cats, graphic sex and men chasing a ball.
Please be patient.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


There is an under current to everything I think, these days.
Everything I do, each step, each breath, each moment.
It comes mostly as a whispering little voice in the back of my head, that just won't stop.
I'm guessing it never will...
"We live in a nation where a man, selling loose cigarettes, can be murdered by the police, as he begs for his life, and they will walk away, unscathed."
There is a fear in that voice, but much louder is the shame.
The horrible shame.
We have let ourselves become the monster of our own nightmares.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bar Whining in New Orleans; or, Funny You Should Mention That.

All of this recent talk about banning smoking in all bars & public places in New Orleans has brought back a flood of memories from my days tending bar in the French Quarter. Memories, specifically, of all the people who didn't know how good they had it, and still cried about shit anyway.

I was behind the bar at Sin City that night, one of the tours had left, about 90 people tipping a total of 10 bucks for making each & every one of them a drink in about 15 minutes. Needless to say, I wasn't in the mood for any bullshit.

It was still pretty crowded, and I realized it was one of those nights when the surrounding city was going to send us some emissaries a bit different that our usual rock & roll, black leather crowd. At just that point, three twenty something young women careened in the door, threw themselves against the bar and demanded drinks, as they "were having a hard night". Forgoing the obvious pun, I got their IDs (after much eye rolling and heavy sighing), saw that they were all mid 20s, and began making their drinks.

The girl in the middle was very blonde, and a hair flipper. From her eyebrows, I'd have guessed she was really blonde. She was also strikingly pretty, and well built, more so that the two on either side of her, who were browner of hair, and obviously minions of this particular Cheer-ocracy. I called them her 'Support Ho's'.

They were practically fanning and fawning over the pretty girl in the middle, who was loudly whining that "so many people wanna buy me drinks! Can't they just stop?!"

The Support Ho's clucked and whimpered as though she'd lost a limb, egging her on to levels of whining I thought were reserved for Christians in Hell (it must be a big room). Finally, as I handed them their cups, I couldn't take anymore.

"Look lady," I said as I picked up their money to ring them up, "you should probably learn to enjoy the generosity & attention while you can. This shit won't last forever."

She looked directly at me, stunned.

"What... what do you mean?" she whimpered. Looking right back at her, totally dead pan, I said, "Well, I used to be a pretty young blonde girl, and look what happened to me."

As I turned to the register, she burst in to tears.
Some people are just waiting for an excuse to cry.
About anything.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

'A Day At The Store' or 'Take The Shuttle'

So I'm checking out at Mardi Gras Zone. The cashier is a young man with a large beard, wooly cap and big fur collar, sitting on a stool, talking on the phone.
"Take the shuttle. It's two dollars." he says, in to the phone.
I pile my items on the counter, and slowly, one by one, he bar-code reads them.
"No. Take the shuttle. It's two dollars." he says again, into the phone, making obvious progress, at least on that front.

Finally, I am rung up. $28.05.
I hand him a twenty and a ten.
"No. It's only two dollars. take the shuttle." he says in a convincing monotone.
Victory is no doubt within reach.
He closes the register.
I reach over the counter to get a bag, and begin bagging my groceries, as he watches each movement, sitting on his stool, with his phone to his ear.
"Take. The. Shuttle."

"My change" I say. "$1.95? My change?"
Never moving the phone, he nods, and takes a minute to figure out how to open the register. His nails are a bit long and seem polished.
Shiny, shiny nails.
He finally hands me my change, sort of dumping it into my hand. He offers a grimacey smile thing, and starts back at the phone.
"Oh, nothing. So, are you going to take the shuttle?"

As I step away, the next person in line (there are now several) is just standing there, staring at him as he talks on the phone. I leaned back towards the customer, and in a loud stage whisper, say, "Shhhh... He's on the phone!"

As I turn back to walk out, the cashier finally speaks directly to me.
In his own stage whisper, he says, "Thank you".