Monday, May 31, 2010

Your Blues are Like Mine...

Hotel Congress 5-30-10

Hotel Congress in Tuscon, Arizona

We had a 3 hr layover in Tuscon in part because the train got in too early. I decided to get off the train to walk around the station only to find on the opposing side I could hear some serious Etta James blues wafting through the air. I followed to sounds to find across the street at Hotel Congress a wonderful 4pc band wailing away on an Etta James song. The singer then broke into the song Jelly.

I was caught up in the sounds and had for a moment forget I needed to be counscious of the time to make it back to the train before leaving as it would be another 3 days if I missed it to get another one. But this balding, Hispanic man was doing mad justice to "Belly"...

So I thought I would be smart & stand on the outside so I could listen & still pay some attention to the train. It actually gave me a much better vantage point where I stood on the sidewalk. The bass player notice me, cane and all & smile which embolded me to make a request of them to "play something for New Orleans"...

The singer obliged and played an original piece he wrote called "I Loved the French Quarter" which was a pretty good with a second line rhythm. He shouted out to the audience to cheer for the woman on the other side of the fence from n'Awlins and the audience obliged. The song was so good I did a jig or 2 (well ok 3) to the rhythms & then had to force myself to leave...

Of course I misplaced the name of the group, but called the hotel this morning to find it out & waiting for the call.

Seems like everytime I go through Tuscon, something like this happens to me...

Go figure (and enjoy)...

Houston @ Night

Mexico view in El Paso...
Mural in El Pasoo Amtrak

Houston from the train since it was late at night...

Caklifornia here I come...

Cuidad Juarez,Mexico from the Amtrak US. side...

Balcony inside El Passo'sAmtrak

El Paso, Tx Amtrak building

Huey P Long bridge over the Mississippi

New Orlean Amtrak mural
Here is the beginning of my trip to California for my grandchildrens' graduations. It was an enjoyable albeit tired trip.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

G'wan Be a Nut!

The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground.

Believing in yourself no matter what

On July 24, 2004, there was a 0% chance of rain in Cincinnati. No way was it going to rain, according to the people who should know best. You know what? Despite millions of dollars worth of sensors, computers, and forecasting systems, the weather experts were wrong. It rained, against all odds. This is not a criticism of weather people. It's just a reminder of all the people who were given 0% chance of making it by the "experts," but who succeeded anyway. Whenever accomplishments are on the line, there are always voices whispering, preaching--even shouting--that it can't be done. Sometimes, that voice is coming from inside our own heads. If you're having doubts about your abilities, just remember: How many times have the naysayers been proven wrong? No matter what anyone says--no matter what you might believe--it can be done. The nut can become a tree. There's always a chance of rain.

I Like it Like that....-ABC26 News segment "Presidents & Promises

I loved this quote from what ABC News 26 aired yesterday from whats they called "the Ambassador of Optimism from a teenager & Lower 9th Ward resident in a segment they did on the oil spill in Southern La and how the assistance compares to what & what was not done in speed after Katrina.

The young man said: " They want New Orleans gone, but we are not gonna let it happen like that ya heah me..."~ Troy Tgner . segment entitled "Presidents & Promises" The segment is only four & one-half minutes long. Please see it in its entirety...

He was not saying the "they" were the residents of Southern La. want New Orleans gone by no mean, only that with all that has happen, we... all Louisianians are not gonna let "it" happen, no matter what befalls us.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Head in the Clouds...

All of these were shot on Napoleon Avenue in the Park. The sky caught my eye through the trees.

This shot was from my backdoor enjoying the sun going down...

From my usual wandering around town...

Monday, May 17, 2010

N.O Food & Farm Network~Who Would have Thunk it?

Who would have thunk it?

Me with an organic garden

All thanks to the New Orleans Food & Farm Network who have been huge advocates of people grown their own healthy foods.

For me, since I am somewhat limited in mobility until post surgery, mine were put in containers so I can actually sit & sown, weed & plant....
Right now I have tomatoes, green peppers, eggplants growing... I am seeing the tops of my watermelons, cantaloupe, African Daisies & Echincea rearing up. I will be starting the Thai basil cucumbers, green beans, okra & artichokes before departure as to have something nice to come back to...

When I return I will get the berries going and a host of other things.

Who would have thought I would have an organic garden? I read today there are in many places over a half a million or more people without access to a supermarket to buy healthy food but that have instead a cornerstone of a convenience store, fried fast food, a liquor store instead. So it is not by accident that there is a correlation with obesity and other nutrition related issues.

Here in New Orleans the New Orleans Food & Farm Network has been going out aiding people to start growing their own food. They assist as in my case with start up container gardens with basic soil, mulch, help to start a compost, seeds and seedling + labor.

Then you take it from there as to what else you want to, er, bring to the table.

I had not had a veggie garden since I was a child although in the last couple of years I started back to planting flowers. Now I have expanded.. My hope is to take what I do not need & will be donating to a local food bank that aids young women with children & the homeless.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Way to Grow: This is the Way & How You Do it...

I am delighted to learn that this Thursday the New Orleans Food & Farm Network will be bringing a host of volunteers in to plant. I will have container gardens chocked full of herbs veggie, fruit and floweras to boot. I am delighted as it will be my 1st vegetable garden since I was a child although I have been growing flowers for the last few years. They have been providing immeasureable service to people as the city as been moving along toward being more green.

From their website:

"The New Orleans Food & Farm Network believes everyone should have access to fresh, healthy, and sustainably produced food for the long-term health of our environment, economy, and communities. We work with individuals, organizations, growers and communities to help make fresh, healthy food more accessible to everyone. We do this by:Celebrating and supporting "what's right" in our local food systemBringing people together to identify gaps in access to fresh foodsCreating, with our partners, neighborhood and city-wide food projects that fill those gaps for all members of the community.

Find out more about how we work through:
Advocacy & Networking

Building Good Food Neighborhoods

Educating & Supporting Our Communities"

New Orleans Food & Farm Network
P.O. Box 13185 New Orleans, LA 70185-3185

We have mad community gardens all over the city with more popping up. And I am delighted to be able to choose what veggies, herbs & fruit I want. I will tend to it which the side benefit with be movement, burn calories & food that taste like food. Of course the artist in me will find a way to create some art on the containers to enhance the produce...

I like their proactive weigh of ensuring that all have equal access to safe & healthy food.

Check out their website and if you are not here, perhaps you can create it in your own neighborhood.

I plan to with my extra food to donate it to a local food bank.

"Each one reach one, teach one"

Also from their website (Please pass it forward):

The Oil Spill and How You Can Help
"Dear Friends of NOFFN

NOFFN is helping provide volunteers to support those in the affected areas of the oil spill. We are committed to supporting the fishers, their families and all the residents of coastal Louisiana. Currently, NOFFN is providing volunteer support to
Second Harvest to prepare food boxes for those in the affected area. The first boxes will be delivered today. We also strongly urge you to donate much needed food to Second Harvest in support of emergency food assistance. Sign up with Brendan at 504 864 2009 or to be placed on our volunteer list. You will be notified as volunteer opportunities become available. Please consider a donation of food as well as your volunteer support. Every donation counts and you will make a difference! Please contact me at any time: 504 864 2009 ext 1 or

Annually, Second Harvest serves approximately 262,800 people, including 82,000 children and 40,000 seniors, through 235 nonprofit and faith-based agencies across 23 south Louisiana parishes. In any given week, nearly 42,000 people access emergency food services through Second Harvest Food Bank member agencies.This is a critical time for food donations. Second Harvest Food Bank is working to ensure that families along coastal Louisiana whose livelihood may be impacted by the devastating effects of the explosion and oil spill will not go hungry. Moreover, Second Harvest is preparing for the increased need for emergency food assistance during the summer months when families in need are faced with replacing meals for children who are out of school.

Suggested food donations include:
peanut butter
soups / stews
canned fruits / vegetables
canned meats (chicken, beef, ham)
tuna fish
hot cereals (grits, oatmeal)
shelf stable milk
baby items

Food donations may be delivered to Second Harvest Food Bank at 700 Edwards Avenue in the Elmwood warehouse district area, Monday through Friday from 8am – 3:30pm. Food donations may also be brought to local Rouses Supermarkets and placed in red collection barrels as part of the Rouses Stop Hunger Program.

Way to Grow!NOFFN!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Where I Once Wuz...

Once upon a time I used to live in this house. It was then and still now one of the most favorite places I lived in. In the early 1900 during segregation, it was a Jewish Tennis Club. And still have very good bones.

En route to the library I made a point to stop in and introduce myself to the most recent owners who are in process of remodeling it. It is even now a lovely place and evokes many fond memories. I promised the owners to return with pictures of what it used to look like before the storm when I had tons of murals in all the rooms.

I even stopped in to see many of my neighbors who had return and living on the block since Katrina. Across the street half the block burned down from a gas leak, but Ms Virgil now 80 sat on her porch this morning and told me how the houses was in the 1940's having been a school up until the 1960's. Ms. Virgil funny sharp and smart as a whip filled me in on a lot of the history not only of that time but of her own childhood one of 18 children in St. Landry Parish. I did indeed promised her I would come back to see her and the other elderly sisters-friends who stand guard over another time since I live almost shotgun from them on another street.

That time I will be smart enough to record them since I am working on a project for the New Orleans African American Museum in Treme. Another place and another time needs recording and their lives kept.

One day it will be me that someone will record, so I besta get to practing now...

The daisies I photograph on my way home. Its a good Monday...

Monday, May 3, 2010

I couldn't have said it better...

As we are in the news still again because of the oil spill I thought it was apropos to read this in the Times Picayune this morning: "You can try to drown us... You can pour oil all over us, but the soul of this city (New Orleans) lives on in its music"~ Quint Davis producer of Jazzfest.

I like to add to the passion of his statement, the music, the arts, it's movement/ the rhythm & muse, it's vibrancy, it's can do will not laid down and die attitude,the people, the jive & thrive will always be there. It continues and as we get up still yet another day and do what needs to be done.

Today we usher in a new mayor,Mitch Landrieu and wish the best and good rest for the one who has departed, C. Ray Nagin.

I happen to like them both and I am only sadden in the sense of some who all the way to the last day chose to vilify and make Mr. Nagin and whipping boy for what they perceive all the wrongs that were laid at his feet.

No one can deny one irrefutable fact.. He stayed... As a freshman Mayor in one of the most awesome catastrophic events in the history of this nation... There are very few among us who name is Moses who could have done any better with what was thrust upon him 3 years into his tenure.

And while I do indeed admire the new Mayor especially all he has done for musicians in his tenure as the Lt Govenor for Louisiana, I hope people will give him the break they should have given to Nagin, to let him be about his business. I trust he will also give homage to C. Ray Nagin as time goes by for all that he worked hard to do.

Some are already building him to to be the Drew Brees mayor...

I expect him to be mortal, to make errors, change the plans, throw out a couple of Hail Mary's but at the end of the day simply be a decent man who is working hard for this town who has been & seen much.
(Top to Bottom):
A House I stumble on as we were circling Louis Armstron Park and need to read the signange.

Strolling around my neighborhood and loved the daisies in the sunlight!

The park near my home.. You have seen this both in Spike Lee's "When the Levees Brok" and Brad Pitts "The Curious Life & Times of Benjamin Button"...

May 2, 2010~

These are images I've recently took in the city as I took a guest around to see and drink in all that IS New Orleans. Some of the pictures include some of the Make it Right Houses in the Lower 9th Ward as well as a forlorn house on the same street adjacent to the bridge & the levees. The signage is from a church I've been shooting since Oct 2005: