Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Gentilly Shopping Center

Pizza Anyone?
Only wild animals here

As noted below, these posts are backwards because blogger thinks differently than I do. Keep reading all today's posts and I hope you enjoy them.

Pictures of Gentilly

There are a few signs of recovery, this is a new house in Gentilly
This Catholic high school is not reopening. Holy Cross High School wants to buy the property, tear down the buildings and start from scratch; however there is a church on the site that they are having trouble getting permits to tear down.
This house near the church/school property is vacant, as is much of the neighborhood.
I guess these people don't want to flood again.
This church, St. Francis X Cabrini, was designed by the same company that designed the Superdome. The Archdiocese wants to sell the property to Holy Cross High School, but Holy Cross cannot use FEMA money to demolish architecturally significant buildings, and someone filed something to get this church so declared.

Forgive me, but these posts are out of order because blogger thinks differently than I do. These photos are from Gentilly, an area of the city that was probably developed after WWII. It has suburban-style houses, mostly slab on grade rather than raised, and the houses have yards. Before the storm it was a mixed neighborhood, becoming more African-American all the time. I'd say it was working/middle class. At this time there doesn't seem to be a lot going on. More houses look empty than like they are being worked on. There aren't a lot of FEMA trailers. The story with the church/school is that Holy Cross, which is now in the Lower Ninth Ward wants to move. They had a lot of meetings and finally chose this site over one in the suburbs, probably at the urging of the Archdiocese. It was seen as something to anchor this neighborhood. At this time the church is probably salvageable, though I understand the roof had been a maintenance headache for years. At this time the parishioners are "clustered" with neighboring parishes. The idea is that as people return and there is need for more churches, more will be opened. The parishioners of St. Francis Cabrini voted to sell the property but some people took offense at the idea of tearing down the church and filed papers to get it declared architecturally significant. Since FEMA won't pay to demolish such buildings, everything is on hold until that is sorted out.

More Lakeview shots

An unkept yard showing an absent owner

You can still see the water line on the white house

This is a new modular home.
New houses are being build up high, and older houses are being raised.

Out with the old, in with the new

Four feet up is the new in thing.

This looks like an old house that is being raised

Modular is seen as the wave of the future.

More About Katrina

This house in Lakeview doesn't look like much has been done to it since the storm.

You can still see the search markings on the house

This house is for sale, as are many in the neighborhood. It has been gutted but not fixed. It will probably be torn down.

I drove today to two parts of town. The first was Lakeview. It is an area developed after WWII and it had a lot of relatively small houses occupied by old people. As the old people died, the houses were being bought by young professional families, torn down, and replaced with large new homes. It was one of the wealthiest areas of the city.

Katrina Recovery

The tear down sign is on a now-empty lot.

Below is a FEMA trailer. I don't know how long this has been there, but a family on my block was in one for over a year.

To the left is a series of empty lots caused by tear-downs.

People from other places ask me about the recovery from Katrina. Some almost sound like they think we are still underwater; others sound like "Isn't that over yet??". Neither one is right. I live in Jefferson Parish. If you remember the pictures after the storm of the 17th Street Canal--one that was breached--you may remember one shot showing water on one side of the canal, and dry streets on the other. Later there was a shot showing lights on one side, dark on the other. I live on the dry, light side. The Katrina problems in this area had to do with shingles blown off roofs, fences blown down, tree limbs in windows and floods from rainwater. The flooding on this side of the canal happened because the pumps were turned off during the storm because the operators were evacuated. Lots of houses got a few inches of water in them, water that went down pretty quickly, but which caused more damage than is normal during a flood because no one was around to clean up the mess. However, people in this area are pretty much middle or upper class homeowners with good insurance policies. The insurance companies came in after the storm, adjusted the claims, paid them, and paid supplements as it became obvious it was costing more than normal to effect repairs. Basically people had to take out the floors, the baseboards, the door moldings, the interior doors, and four feet of sheetrock. They lost a lot of furniture, though expensive furniture was generally salvageable if it wasn't upolstered. In short, most people's insurance settlements were big enough to do the work and they weren't in a position of having to replace everything they owned. A few weeks ago the parish government started putting notices on FEMA trailers telling people that unless they got special permission, the trailers needed to be removed by March 1. Permission will be granted to anyone who can show they are still working on thier house; they are trying to make sure people aren't renting out those trailers and they are trying to encourage people to get this over with. People are tired of looking at those trailers in their neighborhoods and most people are done with them.

Contrast this with the other side of the canal. People there got six feet of lake (salt) water in their homes, and it stayed for weeks. By the time they got home, none of their possessions were salvageable (at least none on the first floor). While there were plenty of well-insured folk over there, there were also people who skimped on it as money was tight and they didn't live in an area that flooded. There were also some who inherited homes, and just flat didn't have the money for insurance. Many of those who had their homes insured to what they considered full value at the time found that thier insurance payments (even if for policy limits)weren't enough to rebuild in the current market. Also they had to make decisions about whether a bulldozer was an integral part of their recovery plan. For these reasons and more, recovery on that side of the canal is much slower.

I drove over there today and I'm going to share some pictures with you.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Star for Me

I weighed in today at Weight Watchers, and despite Mardi Gras and despite being in trial for two days and having to eat lunch at a restaurant I lost over two pounds. I'm sure the hour long walk/runs I did Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday helped and the fact that I ordered grilled shrimp salad rather than prime rib at the restaurant did too. Weight Watchers gives out star stickers at five pound increments and I'm now up to fifteen pounds. Five more and I'll be back where I was before I got pregnant with the baby (almost four years ago).

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Know Your Stuff

Many people here will tell you that one of the biggest pains after Katrina was compiling the contents list for the insurance company. You never realize how much stuff you have or what it is worth until you try to fill out that list for the insurance company--or have to replace it without insurance because you forgot to list it.

Resource Shelf, a blog about web resources, gives a link to some free home inventory software. I really ought to download it and use it.

I'm Not Giving Up Sweets

Usually I give up sweets during Lent, sort of. What I mean by that is that I say before Lent that I'm going to give up sweets, so I eat a lot of them during carnival season. Then about two days into Lent I decide it isn't going to work, so I just blow it off. Unfortunately the pounds don't just blow off.

As noted on earlier posts, I joined Weight Watchers in January. So far I've lost 13 pounds---and still have a lot to go. I was in the drugstore yesterday eyeing the left-over Valentine's candy (since I have to start behaving today)and then decided that I'm NOT giving up sweets this year. I'm on a sensible diet that allows me to eat a wide variety of foods, but which has me spending a lot of time thinking about food. I don't need more food emphasis in my life now, and I sure don't need to have to make up for a week of foolishness (I know that Valentine candy isn't all that good anyway). So this year I'm not giving up sweets.

What am I doing? Well, in some ways I feel like I'm on a long-term fast with WW (no I'm not hungry, I just can't have what I want when I want it)so I don't feel at all called to deal with food in any other ways. Almsgiving--how much and to whom? I just got the bill for my son's tuition next year, and a request for an extra $300 in donations. Prayer--that's probably what I need. I think I'll start with the daily mass readings. I also need to go to confession. I often try to make daily mass during lent, but I just don't think that's going to work this year--too many other responsibilities.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Truth about Mardi Gras

So much of the country has this image of Mardi Gras from MTV. That image consists largely of drunk tourists flashing usually unseen (in public) body parts to others for cheap trinkets. It is followed by gay men dressed in skimpy costumes that one would normally associate with women. While those things are a part of Mardi Gras, for most of us who live in the New Orleans area, Mardi Gras is nothing like that. It is a chance to get together with friends, to spend the day with family. Our parades are centerpieces of the party; not the only reason for being there. People gather hours before the parade, bring their lunches and their drinks (and in some cases their potties as well). It is a giant block party to which the whole city is invited. Yes, there is alcohol, just like there is at most parties; but like at most parties, those responsible for children and driving generally watch what they drink. Kids are perched on top of ladders so they can see, not get stepped on, and be kept under control. Moms and Dad and kids all beg for beads, stuffed toys and doubloons (aluminum coins with the krewe (club that puts on the parade) emblem on one side and parade theme for that year on the other. Some folks boil seafood, others buy pizza from the street vendors, but for the most part, people are friendly, relaxed and enjoying a good time with friends and family--and exposing usually unseen body parts in those areas will bring you unwanted attention from the police, not more beads. Happy Mardi Gras everyone.


I love to read, but I've often said I must not like to read the right stuff because I hated the large majority of the books I was forced to read for English. Today on Susan's blog I saw this, and she said if you want to use it, consider yourself tagged, so here goes.

A List of Books: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, underline the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk* the ones you’ve never heard of. I'm going to add @@ (roll eyes) for those you read but wish you hadn't.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
xxx2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)xxx
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)*
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) *
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)*
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)*
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)*
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald) *
18. The Stand (Stephen King)*
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
XXX20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)XX
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)*
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)*
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
XXXX27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)XXXX
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
XXXXX29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)XXXX
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)*
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)*
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)*
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)*
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)*
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)*
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)*
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
XXXXX46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)XXXX
XXXX47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)XXXXX
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
XXXXX49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)XXXXXX
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)*
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)*
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence) *
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger) *
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)@@
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
XXXXX63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)XCXXXXX
XXXXX64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)xxxXx
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)*
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)*
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
XXXX69. Les Miserables (Hugo)XXXX
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)*
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)*
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)*
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)*
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)*
XXXX82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)XXXX
XCXXXX83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)XXXXXX
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)*
XXXXX85. Emma (Jane Austen)XXXXXX
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)*
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)*
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)*
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)*
XXXXX92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)XXXXXX
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)*
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)*
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)*
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

If you want to play on your own blog, consider yourself tagged.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Wanna Cook?

At Weight Watchers this morning someone suggested the Recipiezaar website. I've been playing on it on and off all day. It is a site on which you can post recipies, menues or cookbooks. When you post a recipe, it figures the nutritional information, like the label on packaged food. You can read and search other people's recipes and write reviews. Think of it as flikr for food.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Elena tagged me with a meme, so here goes:

Aprons – Y/N?

Don't own one.

Baking – Favorite thing to bake:


Clothesline – Y/N?

Not now, the tree it was tied to blew down in the hurricane and I haven't had time to use it anyway. I do like the way sheets feel and smell when they are hung outside to dry, but otherwise I pretty much have used the dryer.

Donuts – Have you ever made them?
Only beignets.

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day:

Can't think of anything, we pretty much share housework around here

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?


Garbage Disposal – Y/N?
Yes but my dh says when it breaks it isn't going to be replaced. He has hated it since I got the first one.

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
The internet
(sounds like a good answer so I'll copy it.)

Ironing – Love it or hate it?
Neither, but I don't do it often.

Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?
Yes, in the kitchen, under the phone.

Kitchen: Design & Decorating?
Light wood cabinets, grey "ceramic" vinyl floor, green pattern formica counters, peachish paint. Black/almond appliances.

Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking?


Mop - Y/N?

Nylons - Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
Throw them away--they usually need it about the time they need washing.

Oven - Do you use the window, or open the door to check?
I open the door--but when I bought my stove I insisted on a window, because I missed that from my mom's---but I don't use it.

Pizza - What do you put on yours?
Pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers or I like the spinach, artichoke, feta and tomato

Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?

A what??

Recipe card box - Y/N?

Style of house -
Basic suburban 1970's ranch

Tablecloths and napkins - Y/N?
Only for special occassions

Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland?
toxic waste!

Vacuum - How many times per week?
Depends on how often I make the kids do it. At least once a week.

Wash - How many loads of laundry do you do a week?
Very few, dh does most of it.

X’s - Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off?
Only at work, and only when I'm on an organizational fit.

Yard - Who does what?
Son cuts, husband trims.

Zzz’s - What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed? Picking up.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Parade Time

My daughter's school band marched in our neighborhood Mardi Gras Parade today. Other than being a little chilly, it was great parade weather (in other words, it wasn't raining), and this is a pretty short route (only about 2 miles as compared to the 5 mile routes of the "real" parades.

10 Down....

and a lot more to go, but I'm concentrating on the 10 down. I weighed in at WW this morning and my total was just over 10 lbs.

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