Better With M Super Bowl Launch

Last Thursday,NS and I attended the ‘M&Ms Better With M Dinner’ at the Foundry (thank you Charlotte).   It was a star-studded event which celebrated the launch of their brand new marketing campaign ‘Better With M.’  Proceeds from the event went to New Orleans Habitat for Humanity.

No marketing campaign was needed to get me through the door, they had me at M&Ms.

I love me some M&Ms!

The three-course, chocolate infused dinner was created by New Orleans own Chef John Besh and for the entertainment…Vanessa Williams!

What a treat!

The event was spectacular!

As soon as you entered, there was a beautiful table set with gift bags of m&ms with your name on it. On the other side of the tag was the name of a street in New Orleans.  NS and I were on Frenchman St.  Later on, we learned that, the street was actually the table where we would be seated.

Nude posing M&Ms...too funny.

Nude posing M&Ms…too funny.

Cocktails were flowing in typical NOLA fashion (food and drinks everywhere) and the Grammy-award winning Rebirth Brass Band kept everyone grooving.  I usually take pics of the food but those hors d’oeuvres didn’t stand a chance.

NS was in heaven as they were serving Glenfiddich 21-year-old Scotch. I even imbibed a cocktail or two.

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Rebirth Brass Band

Rebirth Brass Band

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I didn’t get the chance to take pics of too many celebrities. I did catch Neil Patrick Harris walking in though,

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and I met Chef John Besh  as he was walking around the room, talking to everyone. He is such a sweet man!

I eye-spyed Chef Arron Sanchez (my husband in my next life) walking around and well, there was no way I was letting that moment of opportunity get away.

Chef John Besh,NS and Chef Aaron Sanchez

Chef John Besh,NS and Chef Aaron Sanchez

After cocktails, we were all ushered into the dining area.

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our table

our table

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1st course.

1st course.

2nd course.

2nd course.

 

Unfortunately, I have no pic of the desert, but it was delicious!  As soon as the wait staff began to bring out the deserts, Vanessa Williams hit the stage.

She looks incredible and her voice is flawless!

That woman can SANG!

van williams

photo credit m&ms

photo credit m&ms

Her daughter Jillian was also there as one of the background singers.  I was floored by Vanessa’s performance. I always knew she had a beautiful voice, but I had no idea that she would put on such a great show.

For her last act, she changed her outfit and then sang her hit ‘Work To Do.’

vanessa willaims

She put a spin on it and did a Salsa that would put these young’uns to shame!

Way to go Vanessa! If you ever hit the road, count me there!

The city is really being hammered with festivities. We began with a week-end of parades, followed by the Super Bowl and now we’re back to parading with the Krewe of Druids and the Mystic Krewe of Nyx kicking it off Wednesday night.

I wouldn’t change it for anything.

The good times are rolling in full force,

and everything  has been much better

with M.

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Back in the Saddle Again….Hurricane Issac Journey

Well, I’m back!!!

Whew, that Issac was something else!

He moved so slowwwwww, it seemed like it took him forever to pass.

The storm began Tuesday night around 6ish and the wind was furious!

Issac was the first hurricane that I stayed in the house for since Katrina (we evacuated for Gustav) so, I had no idea how our rebuild would handle the storm with us in it.

As the heavy feeder bands came in, my lights began to flicker and then…

I lost power in half of the house.

We had no idea what was going on. NS checked the breakers and they were fine so we were prepared to ride out the storm with half of the house up and running. Dish network surprisingly did not cut off. We were thankful for that.

Around 9 p.m. the wind really started going crazy and that’s when we lost all power.  All of my neighbors still had power though so  we knew that whatever it was, it was affecting only our house.  We turned the radio to WWL AM 870 and hit hurricane mode.

Around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning we began getting the worst of it. My family was knocked the hell out.

The worrywart in me got up to see how much water the street had.

NO WATER!!!

But the wind  was blowing stuff everywhere….knocking down trees and stuff.

My neighbors lost power around 6 a.m.  I spent the rest of Wednesday listening to the radio and letting the storm pass.  This was thee slowest category 1 hurricane ever! It passed through at a whopping 6 miles per hour…dumping rain and heavy winds. We took a beating from him.

Thursday morning everyone was on a hunt for ice.  I woke the kids up early so they could come with us…just in case we were only allowed 1 or 2 bags per person.  I knew Rouses would open so we headed to there to begin our fight for ice. We were among the first to arrive and the guard told me that they were only letting a few people at a time in. I told NS to let us out because I saw some folks walking towards the door. We beat them in and headed for the ice. There wasn’t any limit so I grabbed 8 bags  and then headed down the aisles for other necessities.

THANK YOU ROUSES!

Rouses was the first store to open after Katrina and they were the first to open up after Issac. I will always be a loyal customer to them for that.

Driving around the city was a bit tricky because a lot of trees and electrical poles were down. They also had water in some parts of the city.

Trees down in Pontchartrain Park

Press and L.C.Simon near SUNO

I don’t know how this person thought he/she could drive through that.

Driving through City Park we had this tree on the road.

When we made it to the other side of the tree, this is what we saw.

This is the reason we cut down all the trees around our house.

After we managed to get a few things we needed, we headed back home and tried to find the coolest part of the house. The wind was still going pretty good and while Issac was pretty much finished with us, we were thankful for the wind. We opened windows and doors so the breeze could flow through.

YellowJacket’s dad called around 2 p.m. to tell us he had power. I packed her up and brought her over there.  The rest of us would have to tough it out.

My dogs were panting like crazy. We kept feeding them ice chips and putting ice in their bowls to melt so they could have cold water to drink but, they were catching hell just like we were.

Later that night we all took a cool shower and prepared for what would be our third night without power. Except NS, naturally he had to take a HOT shower!

Early Friday morning, I heard on the radio that water,ice and MRE’s would be handed out at various locations beginning at 6 a.m. I woke up NS and we headed to the Read Blvd and Lake Forest Blvd. location. We arrived at 5:50 a.m. and were the 8th car in line.  By the time 6 a.m. hit ,the line was through the parking lot and down Lake Forest Blvd.

Waiting on supplies

Getting ready to receive supplies.

While driving around the city, NS and I noticed camps of bucket trucks everywhere! There were about 30 trucks located at Lowes on Read Blvd. and entire camp located at Bundy Road and I-10 Service Road at the old Walmart/Sam’s location.

You would think that these trucks would all be on the road giving folks power but, the parking lot was wall-to-wall trucks. People across the greater New Orleans area are also noticing the same thing and began to call the radio station to complain. Their complaints were valid because there’s no reason to have an entire camps of bucket trucks sitting in New Orleans East, St. Bernard Parish and Jefferson Parish.

By Friday, they should have been on the streets.

Later that afternoon my dad got a phone call from my cousin and he tells my dad “congratulations! You have power!” My dad tells him that we are still without power. My cousin states that he’s staring at Entergy’s map and they have us green on the map for power. My dad gives the phone to me so I can talk to my cousin and find out exactly what’s happening.

Entergy did have us green on the map so, I walk down to my neighbor’s house to see if they have power because I already know, I have an issue with the power at my house.

My neighbors didn’t have it either. I explain what my cousin saw and my neighbors and I call Entergy for them to correct the map so, they wouldn’t think we’re good to go and we aren’t.

My neighbor’s son (who was the only other person back here with us  right after Katrina) says, “Ali, I’m going in Katrina mode again.”

Right after Katrina, if we needed a street light fixed,debris moved,etc. we’d find someone already working in the area and get them to come over to our block to help us out.

Well, he went around the corner and there was a man in a bucket truck working on a line and another man in a service truck. He explained the situation to the two workers and the one in the service truck came over to give the street a look.  He tells me that I need a bucket truck to get my feed connected but, he saw no reason the street couldn’t be on. He got on the walkie-talkie and in less than 5 minutes…THE ENTIRE STREET WAS LIT… EXCEPT FOR ME.

I WANTED TO CRY.

He told me that a bucket truck would there  tonight or tomorrow morning.

We had to endure another night without power and for some reason, it felt even hotter….that’s because my entire neighborhood was up and running and I was still sweating it out!

I woke up at 3:00 Saturday morning and began to wonder how much a whole house generator would hit me for.

Next hurricane season, I plan to have one.

About 7:3o a.m. NS and I were heading out the door when we heard  a truck coming down the block. We opened the door and saw an Entergy bucket truck heading our way. We asked the guy if he was coming for us and he said yes.

YAY!!!

He got out of his truck  and came over to talk to us.  He told us that he was trying to get over here last night but, he had to bring the out-of -state workers back to the camp and they were slow so, he couldn’t make it back.

NS and I noticed a suburban truck with him and asked him who they were.

He told us they were security.

0_O

Yeah, he said it’s THAT bad. Folks are hot and miserable and are beginning to take it out on the workers.

WOW!

Once he got in the bucket, it took him about 15 minutes and at exactly 8:19 a.m. Saturday morning…we returned to the grid.

You are so beautiful to me!!!

We thanked him for his help and gave him bottles of water to make it through the day.

Those two electricians  rock big time because we were NOT on their ticket but, they came over anyway.

I know the powers that be folks told us hot as hell folks not to bother the workers but, my neighbor and I have never played by those rules.

We’re the type of people who would rather beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.

Hurricane Issac through us all for a loop.

It’s been almost a week and a lot of people are still without power.

It’s more than just being “uncomfortable”…people are suffering in this heat.

In addition to that, some of our brothers and sisters in other parishes were flooded out and are suffering as well.

It’s time for Entergy to do their job and get everyone on the grid.

Because when you’re driving around hot and miserable and you stumble upon this,

Camp of trucks at Bundy and I-10- service road.

it’s kinda hard to convince the public that there’s a reason for ALL these trucks to be sitting around at 11:00 a.m.

Manic Monday…Hunkering Down With Issac Randoms

It’s getting kinda hectic. Hurricane Issac is heading this way, hopefully it’ll drop to a Cat 1 or Tropical Storm before he hits land.

 

While I was typing this, I just heard Bob Breck call it Tropical Storm Issac.

I hope he stays that way.

This weekend I had to help a nursing facility get ready for evacuation and ended up pulling a 23 hour shift Sunday….0_O

Don’t know how I did that. Hadn’t work that many hours in one shift in a long time.

The only reason I didn’t work longer is because you can’t work 24 straight hours.

I was wired but when I got home, I dropped like a brick.

To the nurses that kept making coffee for me…Y’ALL ROCK!!

Right after I left the facility, I headed to Walmart to get my hunker down hurricane food and other necessities.

They had about 30 of us early birders waiting for them to open up at 6 a.m.  Even if the power goes out, I’ll still be able to cook because I have a gas stove so, we’re good to go.

We also have a big behind grill on standby.

*Entergy please don’t let the power stay off too long*

I checked my street to make sure all of the drains are clear of debris…gotta make sure the water can run  off the street easily.

Well, we’re about the test out these new pumps at 17th street Canal. I had to pass there today..said a lil prayer that they do their thang when I did.

I think we’re ready…shit, if we can’t handle this…it’s time for me to cash in my NOLA chip.

The pumps did fine for  Hurricane Gustav…we’re ready.

I wonder if I’m the only one who keeps forgetting that this thing is coming around the Katrina Anniversary.

A lot of transplant folks are getting real nervous.

Most folks are hunkering down unless they live in a low-lying area.

They’re closing the intracoastal canal (MR GO) for the first time with Issac.

I don’t think Issac is a true test for it because the storm isn’t strong enough to really test it but,it’ll give us a good peek at how it’ll do.

C and D batteries are gone out of every store in the area.

Someone real reliable told me that  Lowes has a truck arriving at 4 a.m tomorrow morning with batteries.

I’ll be there waiting for the doors to open.

Can never have enough batteries.

Tomorrow night is gonna be hectic.

My daughter is nervous.

She still suffers with Katrina issues.

She’ll be sleeping in the room on her areobed with us tomorrow as the storm passes.

If I fall off the grid, that means I have no electricity.

I’ll get back on as soon as Entergy graces us with electricity again.

Catch y’all on the other side of this storm.

Everyone be safe out there!

 

 

 

A Unique Wake for a Unique Person

The City of New Orleans has lost one of its icons.

“Uncle” Lionel Batiste passed away July 8, 2012.

Mr. Batiste, or ” Unc”  as he was affectionately known, was a jazz and blues musician.

A member of the Treme Brass Band, he loved New Orleans

and New Orleans loved him right back.

I won’t write too much about his legacy.

Anyone wanting to know about this marvelous man can find some info here.

When Uncle Lionel was waked, he wasn’t exactly lying in state like most high-profile folks.

Mr. Batiste went out in quite a unique way…

even for a city that thrives on uniqueness.

Mr. Batiste was waked standing up while propped up against a faux street lamp.

musicians paying respect to Uncle Lionel.

Keith Spera of the Times-Picayune wrote:

In a send-off as unique as the man himself, Mr. Batiste wasn’t lying in his cypress casket. Instead, his body was propped against a faux street lamp, standing, decked out in his signature man-about-town finery.

He wore a cream sport coat, beige slacks, tasseled loafers, ornate necktie and matching pocket square, bowler hat and sunglasses. His bass drum and his Treme Brass Band uniform were positioned nearby.

His hands rested atop his omnipresent cane. The gold watch spanning his left palm was his trademark, representing his desire to always have “time on my hands.”

His head was cocked slightly to the left. He appeared ready to step from behind the velvet rope and saunter off to Frenchmen Street, where he reveled in dancing and drinking beer.

“He looks better today than when I saw him the Thursday before he died,” said Storyville Stompers tuba player Woody Penouilh.

“Heaven is agreeing with him.”

Rest In Peace Uncle Lionel.

Or better yet…

give’em one heck of a second line on the other side.

 

Warning NOPD: Not My Sons!

The following post was written by FB friend, Atty Tracie Washington. My son has also been harassed by NOPD while walking home from the park after playing a round of basketball (walking while black.)

We ain’t standing for it Chief!

WARNING NOPD: Not My Sons!

by Tracie Washington on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 1:32pm

My friends Richard and Hilda McCline needed a couple of guys to help them move boxes from the American Can to storage.  So on Thursday, Jacob picked-up Donald (my No. 3 son) and they worked from a little after 11a until 2p.  On the way home, they stopped at the light at Carrollton and Tulane alongside a marked NOPD vehicle.  When the light changed, both cars proceeded through the intersection and, immediately thereafter the police officers turned on their sirens.  Jacob pulled over.

Jacob and Donald sat perfectly still (as they have been advised OVER AND OVER again), as they watched these officers, clad in those Black swat uniforms, jump out of their vehicle, jerk open the driver’s side and passenger car doors, and begin really gruff interrogations.

License and Registration

Where’s your I.D.?  (Jacob hands over his driver’s license.) 

Why don’t you have identification?  Donald responds that Jacob had just picked him up and because he (Donald) knew he wouldn’t be driving, he didn’t take his license.

Is this your car?  Jacob responds yes, it’s owned by my mom, but it’s my car to drive. 

What are you doing?  Jacob responds that they were doing a job for one of his mom’s friends. 

Where are you coming from? The American Can. 

What kind of job were you doing for these friends?  Jacob tells them about the McCline move to Georgia and them needing assistance with moving the boxes to storage.

You boys in school?  Yes, I attend Grinnell College.  Yes, I attend Millsaps College. (each pointing to their gym shorts with the school names and logos on them; serendipity that they were wearing their college shorts that morning)

The officers looked through the backseat of the car, walked to the back of the car and then to their patrol car, waited about 30 seconds and returned with this “warning” — Just make sure you always wear your seatbelts.

Jacob and Donald had been wearing their seatbelts the entire time!

Everyone in the City of New Orleans knows these NOPD Special Ops Jump-Out Boys spend their days harassing young black men, hoping to pull over someone, open the doors to detect drugs, and then “justify” an illegal search under the guise that they smelled marijuana. 

News Flash NOPD – You illegally stopped the wrong 19 year old.  And because you don’t know whose son you may be stopping illegally, why not just end the illegal stops.  ‘Cause see, when I’m done with these particular jokers, they will wish they had chosen a different profession.  Sarah Pallin could take lessons from this mamma-Grizzly.  Orange is not on my color wheel, but I will wear it proudly if NOPD thugs harm son.  I’m just sayin’ …..

I’m scared every time my son is home from college.  Not because of the New Orleans streets; Jacob knows how to avoid our “normal” thugs.  I’m scared because I can’t tell him to avoid the “badge-wearing” thugs, and in New Orleans they harass and kill Black men with impunity and often without repercussions.

Jacob returns to Grinnell the day after my dad, Dr. Louis X. Washington, Sr., turns 75.  I suppose I should find some comfort in the fact that my dad has survived 75 years of New Orleans.  I don’t.

I’ll sleep well again beginning August 11, 2012.

My sons: No. 1 Jacob (Grinnell); No. 3 Donald (Millsaps); No. 2 Deaunt (Stillman); No. 4 Kyle (Xavier); and No. 5 Kolin (U Southern Mississippi).

 

 

Your Tax Dollars At Work

So Bobby Jindal thinks it’s a good idea to upgrade the Superdome rather than use the money to help  people who are still trying to rebuild their homes.

 

 

 

Recovery money redirected to Superdome upgrades

April 19, 2012, 5:06 p.m. CDT
AP

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Jindal administration has gotten permission to redirect federal hurricane recovery money from housing aid programs to Superdome upgrades.

Federal approval was discussed Thursday in the Senate Finance Committee and was confirmed by Christina Stephens, a spokeswoman for the governor’s Division of Administration.

Nearly $7 million is being moved from recovery programs, including fisheries assistance, small business loans and housing aid, to another program that will help pay for improvements to the Superdome, where the New Orleans Saints play.

The proposal needed approval from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the spending of the billions of dollars in block grant aid allocated to Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from New Orleans, had asked for the money shift to be scrapped, saying the plan was ill-advised because people still are struggling to rebuild more than six years after Katrina.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s commissioner of administration, Paul Rainwater, said the Disaster Recovery Unit was shifting unused dollars returned after several parishes said they weren’t needed for the programs to which they had been divvied up.

The money is being sent to a local government infrastructure program, and from there, will be used for Superdome repairs and improvements that didn’t qualify for FEMA aid after Katrina. More than $40 million from the fund already has been used on the domed stadium.

WWWWHHHHHHAAAAATTTTTTTT??????!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Nice try Cedric but, those folks don’t give a damn about “the people”…it’s all about “the green”.

So America, don’t be bitchin’ and moaning to folks in this area saying ” y’all got all of that money to rebuild and what did you do with it”   cuz you see where it’s going right here.

Nobody thought to see who else needed help rebuilding so they could receive the funds huh?

I’m sure there are a LOT of folks still struggling.

I was just in the lower 9 a few days ago…how about putting some money there Jindal?!

This is some crazy shit…just crazy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s Got To Be A Morning After.

After last night, that song seems REALLY appropriate.

Yesterday started out really great.   The hubby and I went to Randazzo’s as planned to get our king cake and as usual, the line was running out of the door.

People were buying king cakes by the car load,

I didn’t catch the guy in the red car loading his king cakes  but, he had more than the guy in the pic.

By the time we made it inside, they only had a few left. All of the LSU and Alabama king cakes were sold out by 10 a.m.

I was able to get mine, and it was soooo good! Didn’t last long in this house though…

I got the baby so, I have to buy another one.

After we left there, we picked YellowJacket up from school.  The kids were let out early due to all of the traffic expected uptown. While we were driving home, we saw a lot of tourists riding the street car. The city seemed as if it was divided by colors…red on the street car uptown, purple on the streetcar downtown.

Except in the French Quarters…it was a sea of purple and red there.

We made it to the quarters around 1:30 and was finally able to find a parking lot with a few spots left.   The energy was crazy there!

Everywhere we went, someone would start chanting,

ROOOOOLLLLLL TIIIIDDDDEEE!

and someone would answer with,

TIGER BAIT! TIGER BAIT!

We tried to get something to eat at Tujagues but, not only was it crowded, they had an abbreviated menu. The menu didn’t really have much on it so, we left and made it down to old faithful…Deanies on Iberville.

That was my first time eating at the one in the quarters. The food tastes better there than the one in Bucktown.

Don’t know why but, it does.

Would you guys believe that, we were in the heart of the quarters and didn’t get one drink?  How’d THAT happen?

New Orleanians in the French Quarters walking around and didn’t get one drink,

not even beer.

That’s because I’m more of a foodie.

I don’t have  to have a drink but,

you’ll never catch me in the French Quarters without hitting a restaurant.

I’m glad we had fun before the game because,it was all over after that.

Congratulations to all of the Alabama fans!

We’re gonna lick our wounds for a minute but,

LSU football team, hold ya’ head up!

Your true fans still love and support you.