Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wetland Photos

Crossing onto the Louisiana coast:

The mouth of the river:

This is my most important photo. This is the lifeblood of Louisiana. This is the very point at which the Mississippi hits the Gulf. It's the Southwest Pass.

Near the "Wagon's Wheel":

The "Wagon's Wheel" in Google Earth

The Lower Mississippi:

Some other random photos:

Sorry it took a while to get things up. Part of the problem is I've been scanning these photo's at 1200 dpi. Those files are way too big to deal with. 150 dpi scans much more quickly and is much easier to deal with.

UPDATE- The set of Flickr.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Emergency Preparedness

My initial bug-out bag

I've wanted to write this post ever since I first started the countdown clock. It's all about emergency preparedness. Now everyone is getting in on the act.

Emergency preparedness can save your life. I read Zombie Squad regularly. Here's an article from the St. Louis Dispatch about them.

One of their biggest tips is to have a "bug-out bag" ready to go at all times. I put one together out of stuff I pretty much had lying around. The keys are food, water, clothing, and shelter for 72 hours. Here are some of the items in my bag:
* extra clothes
* dry towel in a ziploc bag
* blue tarp
* MRE's/bottled water
* Duck tape (gotta have it)
* A loose dryer sheet (to keep everything smelling nice while in long term storage)
* knife
* matches
* radio (USCG band- the only thing that worked during Katrina)
* Louisiana emergency map
* Toilet Paper (probably the most important item)

There are some other items in there, but that will give you an idea. Nothing in there was too expensive (besides the radio). The MRE's could easily be substituted with a couple of Snickers bars and cans of chili. The key is to have it packed and ready to go AT ALL TIMES! Don't go in there to get something because you're too lazy to go to the store. I plan on getting an ALICE pack of Ebay soon (less than $50!) and building a better one, but this one is adequate for now.

A bug out bag is to be used when you have to leave without much packing, like a last-minute evacuation. Or, say, your house is on fire and you've got to get out fast. Or you decided to ride out the storm, but the levee broke and you've now got to run. The possibilities are endless.

Here are some of my lessons learned from Katrina. Hope it helps. Please leave your tips and help others get ready:
* Keep some Tony's handy. It helps spice up bland food and give you a taste of home. Chickory coffee is also great, but Wal-Mart (a post-K lifesaver) carries Community.
* FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING THAT IS HOLY, STAY OFF THE INTERSTATES! We evacuated to North Mississippi using little farm-to-market roads. Just a mile or so away, people were stuck in a giant parking lot. You need a good map (or someone who really knows the area) to do this, though.
* Leaving early is nice. Leaving at night will help you avoid the crowds. But, you can still get out at the last minute. Don't stay just because you think it's too late to leave. I had one friend who didn't make it out of the city until the outer bands were pelting the city. She even had to evacuate east, but she still made it.
* Family/close family friends are key. Even distant cousins will do. Much better than a hotel or FEMA shelter. We stayed with the best man at my parents wedding. It was especially fortuitous because he had founded a small telecommunications company that was later bought up. His house was an excellent base of operations. Multiple lines, free long distance, wireless internet, fax, etc.
* Use the internet to contact people. Phones are unreliable. The internet was invented to withstand a full-blown nuclear exchange between the US and Ruskies.
* Get a free email account with Gmail or the like. Tulane, in their infinite wisdom, took down their email server 48 hours before Katrina hit and didn't get it back up for a MONTH! That was ridiculous. Fortunately, the students and faculty were smart enough to work around that act.

Anyway, that's all I can think of now. I'll add stuff as I think of it. I'm interested in what y'all have to say.

Trip to Mars

Well, not that Mars. I'm talking about the Mars Platform. It's a big platform about 190 miles south of New Orleans. It's a hive of activity. I had some work to do out there. I stayed out there for 2 days and on the return flight, I brought a disposable camera along. Here are some of the photos I took.

This trip, I flew back in a Eurocopter EC-135. It's a tiny little helo that's mainly used for emergencies (medical, supplies, people, etc.). I usually fly in on one of the big helos (like the Bell 214). I like the Bell 214. It's so stable it feels like the earth is being lifted up with the helicopter. It's so big, it holds 17 passengers and the only reason it's not more is FAA regulations require a stewardess for any more. Because of it's size, it's my favorite helicopter to fly out on. The Eurocopter, not so much. It's not that bad, but you do get a little queasy. I also made the situation worse by waiting on the helicopter in the galley (sort of like hanging out in Galatoire's kitchen before going on a Tilt-a-whirl). Not fun.

Strapped in and ready for takeoff.

More of that great view. It was a little hazy that day, so you can't see the horizon like you normally can.

Algae on the water. I'm not 100% sure, but I think this is red algae in the Dead Zone. If someone can confirm this for me, I'd appreciate it.

The Shelf. After a while, the waters get shallow. That's when you hit the shelf. It's the shallow water closer to shore. The water just changes color instantly. I'm not sure how much of the color change is due to the depth and how much is attributable to silt from the Mississippi River, but it's amazing to see the water change so quickly.

The second half of the images will come shortly. If you want to see higher quality photos, please check this link out. Also, now that I've got things sort of figured out, the rest of the photos shouldn't take nearly as long.

UPDATE- Fixed it. Now, I just hope it stays fixed.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sorry about not posting

Been busy. Got called offshore on very short notice. I took a camera with me on the helicopter, though, so I'll post a bunch of photos of the wetlands when I get around to scanning them.

In the meantime, here's a good article:
Obama, the Reagan of the Dems. Very good. I've had the same feeling myself. Written by a conservative blogger who respects Obama, surprisingly enough.

UPDATE- Here's a sample of the photos I took.

The View

Monday, May 21, 2007

Our Mugabe

I was reading this article about Mugabe and couldn't help but think about the parallels to Nagin. Some thought he was a 'bidness man.' Guess what, That's a forgery. He's run the city into ruinous debt. The "Suck Index" measures factors that are not just bad, but are at the bottom of the barrel. And, (if you read the end of Clancy DuBose's article), THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE WHO APPROVE OF NAGIN!!! 15% of whites and 51% (! I want to cry !) of blacks still APPROVE of the job he's doing. NOOOOO!!!

Some odds and ends to tack on:
Touching story about a death of a Katrina Exile. Written up in the Times-Pic. You've got to wonder how many stories like this are out there.

Blakely to New Orleans: STOP FUCKING! via NolaFugees.

Louisiana Learns Highest Bid doesn't always Win. There are more important things, like education, a reasonable taxation system, and low electricity prices that are also factors. They're spending HUGE amounts of money to build their plant in a less accessible part of Alabama, but it's a better business decision in the long run. I've heard Blanco was trying to pull this deal off to give her a chance to throw her hat back into the ring for reelection. Oops.

Harry gets it right. About bias, "templates," and Katrina coverage. Read through some of the comments, too. I've started to really notice the bias in the mainstream media (whatever term you like). Not necessarily liberal or conservative. Just bias. There are certain stories that just get left out. Details that get twisted... There are too many stories to start giving examples. The bias in the media (along with refusing to underwrite shitty programming of 100 out of 120 channels I get) will be a big reason why I'll probably ditch cable in a few months.

Anyway, that's it for now. Soon, I'll do a crime mapping update. I had a nasty summer cold recently, so I didn't feel like doing much. I'll see about getting caught up. There's so much crime, it's hard to keep up. I told you the summer was going to be when crime spiked. It always does.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Goodbye TV, Hello Broadband

Article in Wired. I've been thinking about doing this for the past few days. The Wire has only 1 season left. Jericho was cut by CBS (which apparently stands for "Cut the Best Shows"). Sopranos has only 1 season left. Battlestar is still around, but I can always get that on iTunes. I'd also get a chance to tell Cox to take a hike. If they misbehave, I can switch broadband providers (something I can't do with cable).

Anybody done this or thought of this recently??? I'd love to hear what you think.

A couple of random articles:
They're coming back! New Orleans criminals returning from Houston.

Unlikely allies in the fight to secure our borders. In a nutshell, the only think stopping Al Qaeda from bringing in the bomb is the drug cartels.

Saving Dartmouth. If you want to save Tulane from CORRUPTION (let's call it what it is, folks), this is how you do it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is Nagin black?

(second half of this post) Now that would make for an interesting debate

Blakely is at it again

Before, we were just buffoons...

... And now we need birth control.

I think Blakely is trying to get himself fired. He knows he's in a no-win situation and the only way he can salvage his ego and his reputation is by getting fired and blaming Nagin.

Let's force him to stick around and do his job instead of destroying what little respect this city has left.

Copper Thief!

Be on the lookout for this man:

in the Broadmoor neighborhood. Especially near Walmsley. He's a copper thief. Read the link for the details.


Gun store raided. This has been going on for YEARS! Elliots was notorious for stuff like this.

When I was 18, I purchased a Marlin 981T .22 Rifle from Elliots. The place was SO SHADY! There was an obvious straw sale of an AK-47 (semi-auto, I assumed, but you never know) going on right next to me. I resolved that day never to set foot in Elliot's again.

I hope these dealers get the book thrown at them, because they've been getting away with murder for years...


Sample in Time from The Assault on Reason by Al Gore.

A must read. Excellent writing and, more importantly, a true demonstration of statesmanship.

Our Coast to Fix - or Lose

By John M. Barry, author of Rising Tide. Great article and a must-read. Forward it to as many out of towners as you can.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

How bad is it?

Every New Orleanian has to endure countless hardships. It's hard to describe to out of towners all the little slings and arrows. It's sort of like death-by-a-thousand-cuts.

How bad is the blight problem? It's bad by Iraqi standards. Read the comments by an Iraqi blogger.

How bad is the crime? It's so bad, it's killing New Orleans. The murder rate is 10 times the national average.

What's worse than the crime? Incompetence in City Hall. UNO has been doing this survey since 1988 (!) and for the first time, they've found something WORSE than the thugs: Clarence R. Nagin and company (with special guest stars, "the Amazing Cynthias"). Out of every problem (crime, high cost of living, low quality of life) City Hall was the worse problem.

UPDATE- New Orleans drowning in Crime. He says a few unusual things, but it's mostly on-point.

Monday, May 7, 2007


New Orleans: An endangered species?

Going the Way of the Condor

As scary as this sounds, this very thought crossed my mind. What if it's just our time to go? Our number has finally come up?

Depressing thought of the day.



They don't just happen in New Orleans.

Looting happen after most disasters. NOPD aren't the only crooked cops.

Just a reminder.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Another Fest!

So, I was just sitting around thinking and I realized Cinco De Mayo is just around the corner. Given the ever-increasing Hispanic population of New Orleans, I bet it's going to get bigger and bigger as the years progress. Just imagine an unending stream of festivals from Mardi Gras to St Patty's Day to Spring Break to French Quarter Fest to Jazz Fest to Cinco De Mayo.

Now THAT would be in the spirit of New Orleans!

BTW- Where are the big Cinco De Mayo celebrations? The only place I've ever been is the Bruno's block party on Maple. Got any tips?

UPDATE- City's List of Recovery Priorities for the Legislative Session. Didn't want to write a new post for that one thing. It's an important thing to read. Don't worry; it's short.