I’ve been slammed with work lately. The opening of The National WWII Museum expansion is just a few weeks away and it’s ridiculously busy here. Here’s a laundry list of what I’ve been doing and thinking about for the past few weeks and months, when I’ve actually found any time for a life outside of work:
Baby preparations! My lovely wife and I are expecting our first child in April. Each week brings a new interesting development. I love my expanding family so much.The 2009 New Orleans Saints, who are playing the best football in franchise history. I hope this lasts all the way to the Superbowl.
DEPT of CHANGES, a new project I’m working on with Erik Kiesewetter.
Sara Roahen, whose excellent treatise on Red Beans & Rice “Rising to the Occasion” has inspired a rebirth in my obsession with cooking that storied dish. If you’re a friend of mine you should get in touch to come over for dinner one Monday night. I’m making the best beans of my life right now.
Broadcast and The Focus Group - #1 : Witch Cults, a collaboration between the British graphic designer Julian House and the band Broadcast. The EP that this video is tied to has been on heavy rotation in my life throughout this season of the witch.
Fellini Satyricon: I revisited this film a few weeks ago and it absolutely blew me away. Roman decadence through the modernist lens of Fellini’s ego at its height.
Each time I listen to Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion it gets better. This is my favorite album of the year and one of the decade’s best.
My mom gave me the Times-Picayune recipe collection Cooking Up a Storm for Christmas last year and I’m just now getting to it. It contains a wide variety of great recipes for New Orleans classics. My favorite recipe is for McKenzie's Oyster Patties. I'm going to try them for Thanksgiving. As a side-note my stepfather gets a great acknowledgement, he worked with the authors to retrieve files from Katrina damaged hard-drives.
The last of my work with Annunciation Interactive went live over the past few weeks:
Finally, a note of congratulations to my friend Stephen G. Rhodes, who recently had openings at Vilma Gold London, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi Berlin, Metro Pictures New York and the Frieze Art Fair. That’s on top of earlier shows this year at the New Museum and Misako & Rosen Tokyo. I’m looking forward to watching some Tigers / Saints football with him when he comes home in a few weeks.
Man, that was the hardest game yet. The Saints snatched victory right from their own hands. This week the Defense, Offensive line and RBs looked pretty good but Brees, Henderson, and especially Olindo Mare looked pathetic at times. Special stinky award goes to Sean Payton, whose horrific play calling is climbing to epic levels of badness.
These Saints are looking pretty bad, but at times their potential still shines through. If Payton wises up and starts using Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and Aaron Stecker in tandem we might actually get something started.
There's always next week and then there's always next year. Looking out onto all of the empty seats today I think I'll definitely be able to increase the number of season tickets I hold after this season. We'll also end up with a decent draft pick; maybe we can use it on a Kicker that can actually make field goals.
Faub.org is a neighborhood for creative New Orleanians. I've been involved with the group since it's inception in February 2007. Faub.org recently launched a temporary site, while the full site, that seemslikeitstakingforever, gets finished. Check out some of the work on there, pretty amazing stuff. The temporary site was designed by Erik Kiesewetter and Ness Higson.
We're throwing a launch party sometime next month. Details TBD.
When you go to Heaven after you die, tell St. Peter you're a Saints fan. He'll say, 'C'mon in, I don't care what else you done, you suffered enough.' -- Buddy D, "The Point After," 10-03-04
This is an open prayer to the Patron Saint of Saints, Buddy D, and the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, St. Jude. Please intercede on behalf of all Saints fans in New Orleans and living in exile, to turn the season around. I don't know how this terrible start has happened but please get our players back on track.
At this point I don't know what else us Saints fans can do.
P.S. Saints players, please snap out of it. What's going on guys?
Five New Orleans Recovery District schools were awarded "Quick Start" status today, which means that construction for entirely new schools will begin before the end of the year resulting in 5 brand new state of the art schools by the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.
Langston Hughes Academy, the first turnaround school our client Nola 180 has opened, is one of the five schools to receive the status. If you don't know the story of John Alford and Nola 180 yet, I highly recommend you read this profile at Echoing Green.
This is the new face of New Orleans; young, energetic, and service & purpose driven. We're lucky to have folks like John working to make our city a better place.
Where is our political leadership? Why is this city being forgotten?
While the ineptitude in City Hall, Baton Rouge and Washington continues, the NGOs are doing the only good and important work down here. Here's a list of some of the ones I've been working to help over the past two years:
It's been totally obvious to me throughout these two years that we would have to take things into our own hands in order to get the job done. But without serious governmental infrastructure like responsible governance, a judicial system that works, a strong police force and working hospitals we are all but lost.
We're doing our part, why isn't our government?
image from Suspect Device
That's right, you heard me. Shanna and I are moving to Old Metairie in September. The double homicide less than two blocks from our house a few weeks ago and the brutal murder at Pal's two nights later were the straws that broke our backs. We're retreating to the edges of this battle.
There's also this map of crime within a mile of our current home from January 1st - August 1st, 2007:
That pink square in the center is our block. Anyone have any questions about why we are moving?
August is the worst month of Summer in New Orleans. It's blisteringly hot, today's heat index is 107, the humidity is relentless and Tropical weather is really picking up steam. As we speak there are two systems in the Atlantic, one is already a depression, becoming a Tropical Storm and one threatens to become a depression imminently.
Corruption has also reared its ugly head in our dilapidated city again. Councilman at Large Oliver Thomas today pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and has resigned his office. This scandal really hurts, perhaps more than all the others combined. It hurts not only because I admired Thomas' political positions and his passion and dedication to the city, but mostly because if this man is guilty it shows a depth of corruption that is endemic in our culture. The palm greasing and "hookups" are everyday normal to our Creole society but it doesn't work in the larger system of (read Federal) law, and unfortunately I think our political leaders will never give it up. I wonder who old Oliver will flip on, who is the next to go?
This city is all about ups and downs right now, and they come at you with such speed and frequency that I oftentimes feel physically ill. Right now I'm feeling pretty skeptical about our future.
August in New Orleans always gives me a serious case of the Spleen.
A list of things that are helping me through the month: