Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mardi Gras day approaches

Have I mentioned that my friend Sara Gran is leaving? Like many people here who actually have options, she and her boyfriend/hubby have decided to move on. It is hard to sit around waiting, trying to decide whether to fight, or write, or look for work, or volunteer, or write, or look for another place to live, or worry about being shot, or consider buying a place, or look for a job, or change the locks, or meet with the Mayor in order to be told that "We are all just pawns in a bigger game." And so people move on.

Meanwhile, I spent Friday running pre-holiday errands: the bank, the bills, groceries, drug store, dog food. Anything I might need in the next week. What people who haven't ever experienced Mardi Gras may not realize is this: it is an actual holiday. The banks shut down. There is no mail. And the traffic is awful. So you have to have your supplies ready.

It has been too cold to go to any parades so far, but I hope to make it to something eventually. Tuesday morning the St. Anne parade starts a few blocks away as residents march into the Quarter. But like everything else in New Orleans, there are now factions involved: those who want to begin at the traditional point on Clouet in Bywater, and those who want to reroute the parade with a Marigny starting point. Again, the fact that every effort in the city becomes ego driven rather than anything else is exhausting.

Anyone have a job for me out there??

Friday, February 16, 2007

Silence Is Violence meets with Nagin and Riley

Yesterday morning I went to City Hall with Baty Landis, Helen Gillet and Nakita Shavers to meet with police chief Riley and Mayor Nagin to followup on concerns that were brought forward with last month's march. I'm too rushed to give an anecdotal account of our visit (check back later for that) but in the meantime, you can find some highlights here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The tornadoes hit New Orleans

Last night, around 3:30am, several tornadoes touched down in New Orleans. The dogs and I are fine--the damage was mostly Uptown and on the Westbank, and it is pretty shocking, particularly around Maple and Carollton, where homes were completely ripped open. Nagin, who has been utterly silent in response to the continued murders in the city since the march last month, did manage to talk to the press regarding last night's storm damage. He basically says: We're all in this together. New Orleans is resilient, blah blah blah. It is bewildering that he understands, at least in a superficial way, the need for the mayor to respond to a storm and to assure the citizens that he is aware and concerned. Yet, when I teenager gets shot by another teen who got the gun from his mother, Nagin doesn't consider that the community needs any guidance.

Things were a little quiter here, but it still sounded like nothing else. The sky was crackling like gunfire, Brando was pacing through the house, and Sula managed to settle down, even though she's the one who always has trouble with these things.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon at the City Council's crime meeting with Riley and DA Jordan. I'll post more about it later, although at this point it doesn't seem to be the most important thing to do...

A boy and his dog

A boy and his dog, originally uploaded by kfoz.

Actually, this boy had three dogs with him. This little puppy, an adolescent, and then a daddy dog. The three dogs went to join the crowd lining the parade route, a black lab began snarling viciously at them. And the crowd turned to look and blamed the pit bulls.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Two families meet at Barkus

Two families meet at Barkus, originally uploaded by kfoz.

As you can see, these pit bulls are terrible with children.

The kids belong to the white dog. More kids and their dogs to come...

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?, originally uploaded by kfoz.

The Barkus dog parade took place yesterday in the French Quarter, and I couldn't resist stopping by. I parked along a street in Treme and was immediately joined by a group of huge pit bulls who were also on their way to the parade. I ended up spending a lot of time taking pictures of the many pits and their families. More to follow...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

This is what separation anxiety looks like

Recently it has come to my attention that most people don't know what separation anxiety really is--including many people who work with animals. This video is a good example, and yet, it is actually fairly mild compared to some dogs I know...

Of course, all dogs would rather not be left alone. But for some it goes into an intense, hysterical reaction--as you'll see in the video.

For a while, my dog Brando would become hysterical if I even just went into the bathroom. He still cries sometimes when I go into another room.

"That's not normal," an animal "expert" recently told when I described some of the typical behavior of a dog with chronic separation anxiety. No, it is not.

(This video is not of one of my dogs.)