Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blog Bye Bye (for now at least)

I have enjoyed writing on this blog and hearing from friends and acquaintances who have followed it. I remain passionate and committed to the issues that made me begin this blog. Fortunately, my commitment has helped me land a job opportunity that is now consuming my time and energy.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 24, 2009

In the mean time!!:

2theadvocate.com | News | Corps: MRGO is now closed — Baton Rouge, LA

Done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be back soon!!!

Sooooo I finished the bar today, and although it was difficult I feel very good overall. I'm sorry for not posting frequently, but the bar really dominated my life.

Now I'm going to go to Costa Rica for about a week (woo hoo!) and when I come back I'm going to post regularly!! See you then!

I can't believe I'm done!

!!
(!)
(:-) !)

Friday, June 19, 2009

I think this is good news:

Jindal asks group to stop pushing him for president | News for New Orleans, Louisiana | Top Stories | News and Weather for New Orleans | wwltv.com

Governor Jindal needs to concentrate on LA, and I was afraid he might not have been as focused on us as on the national spotlight. But this is a very welcome sign that my suspicion was wrong.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Neat! Listen to the US Senate's Update on Louisiana Coast and Flood Protection.

.: U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works :: Hearings :.

... Not that I have listened... yet...

This studying-for-the-bar-exam thing is actually pretty intense. :(

V Vehicle Plant- creation of Environmentally-Friendly Vehicles- coming to Monroe, Louisiana!

Updated, 4:12 p.m.: New V Vehicle plant in Monroe; breaking down the incentives | thenewsstar.com | The News Star

Yay for Monroe! And for Louisiana for getting to be part of the future of the auto industry!!

Baton Rouge economy rated among best in U.S. — Baton Rouge, LA

2theadvocate.com | News | BR economy rated among best in U.S. — Baton Rouge, LA

Introducing: LouisianaClassicalMusic.com



My fiance and his friends have begun an exciting new project to bring information about classical music events and musicians in Louisiana to the public through a new and beautiful website: LouisianaClassicalMusic.com. This project is co-sponsored by Irazu Music and Drift Web Design. Our friends over at Drift did a terrific job of designing a beautiful and versatile website that will be available for contributions from a variety of musicians and has great potential to be an important resource for all those interested in "classical music" in Louisiana.

Please check it out! and forward it to any music buffs you know. You can subscribe to the content to get all the latest news. If you or anyone you know is interested in helping write articles, add events, or create any other content-- sign up on the website!

One of the premises behind the website is that if "classical music" is made more accessible to people (like me) who did not grow up studying it, then many more lives can be enriched by a whole area of art that many people have not explored. "Classical music" is really a terribly vague phrase for a huge tent of music that includes everything from popular film-inspired works, to baroque, to the actual classical era composers we love like Mozart, to romantic music, to impressionism, to cutting edge improvisational and abstract works including electronic influences. There's something for everyone-- and much of it is just as accessible and gutturally enjoyable as your favorite pop artist's last album.

Please, take it from me, one who assumed she would always be bored at concerts: "classical music" is not just for well-to-do art patrons (although they have traditionally funded much of society's high art)-- it's for everyone. Some of it may not be "your thing" but you'll be surprised at how much of it you'll love if you try it out! And love of great music fits, of course, perfectly into the Louisiana cultural atmosphere. Did you know that New Orleans, Louisiana used to be one of the premier places in the world to hear opera? There is no reason why Louisiana can't continue to foster and expand appreciation for a broad spectrum of musical diversity-- keeping "classical" in that number with blues, Cajun, country, rap, folk, zydeco, and all that jazz...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Group ranks New Orleans 10th hottest city for young talent

2theadvocate.com | Business | N.O. on hot-cities list for young workers — Baton Rouge, LA

Good article

Experts say urgent action needed to save Terrebonne, Lafourche | DailyComet.com | The Thibodaux Daily Comet | Thibodaux, LA

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Look over the Corps Report and give your feedback!

Comments sought on coast report | DailyComet.com | The Thibodaux Daily Comet | Thibodaux, LA

This article has links the Corps of Engineer's report for Congress and also tells you how you can leave your feedback. The period for comment has begun!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

LSU law grads receive degrees - NOLA.com

LSU law grads receive degrees - NOLA.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Let the AG's office make contingency fee contracts!

Caldwell again delays action on contingency fee bill - Louisiana Politics | State Legislature News - NOLA.com

Contigency fee contracts-- which state that lawyers will only get paid if their case is successful-- with outsider firms will allow the State Attorney General's office to vigorously defend the state's interest while still subsisting on their limited budget. Private industry has lots of money to pit dazzling litigation teams against the AG's office in suits where the state's talented lawyers are understaffed and overworked.

Critics argue that allowing contingency fees for outside firms encourage plaintiffs to drum up lawsuits, but this is only speculation. The office still has the responsibility to do what is prudent for the state-- and that includes the state's industries that no Louisiana agency wants to damage unnecessarily. Legislation that provides for review of contingency fees, competitive bidding, and judicial discretion to limit the fees should result in a more rigorous protection of the state's- and therefore the people's-- interests and rights. The current jurisprudence makes it so that without specific authorization, the AG can't use contingency fee contracts- under the theory that this is somehow alienating state property. This argument doesn't seem fully convincing to me, because without enough manpower and resources to give the best showing in court that we can, the state will certainly lose out on some amount of recovery that would otherwise be state property.

Right now, if the state wants to bring any substantial private company into court-- or even just to defend against a lawsuit brought by one-- the fight can hardly be called fair. Unless we are going to quadruple the AG's budget, private firms willing to bet on the success of the case are the only viable solution.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And it's over...

By "it" I mean both law school and the MRGO trial. I'm back! Check it out:

MR-GO flooding suit in judge's hands - NOLA.com

Monday, May 04, 2009

Monday No-Funday

Exam tomorrow, but this was too good to NOT share.
Blue crawfish escapes fate of ordinary comrades

See you soon!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

MRGO Litigation


Five plaintiffs are suing the Corps of Engineers theorizing that Mississippi River Gulf Outlet exacerbated flooding in the New Orleans area by acting as a funnel for the storm surge and killing surrounding wetlands. The Corps is immune from suit in its capacity as flood protection builder, but these plaintiffs are trying to sue the Corps in its navigation maintenance capacity.

This suit is a big deal, as there are hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs in the area that could join. The trial will be going on in the coming weeks. You can follow it at Nola.com, or in even more detail at this blog:

slabbed. (Look for MRGO posts)

There was no Sunday Funday, because there was no Sunday Fun-- only law school finals preparation. :(

Saturday, April 18, 2009

And what will we be getting for our money...

At a time when so much of the country is struggling financially, the East Baton Rouge parish public school system will go into next year with a 130 million dollar boost- 50 some odd from a surplus and more than 80 million from the federal stimulus package.

On it's face, an investment of money into education seems like a good thing. But such a large amount of money above the normal- seems to me like a great big opportunity for waste. (Without a system to figure out how to best spend that money, etc.) Anyways, I guess I'll just try and pay attention next year and keep some tabs...

2theadvocate.com | Education | Stimulus to aid EBR schools — Baton Rouge, LA

Where will we find the money?

Money to restore Louisiana coastline is cresting but won't last

This is very disconcerting. I had thought offshore revenues would have a greater impact sooner.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Woo hoo! Jindal makes plans to pump sediment!

Coastal loss solution as clear as mud « The CityBusiness Blog

Monday, April 13, 2009

Coming soon: a thoughtful review of the draft "NOLA master plan"

In the meantime, check it out for yourself.

New Orleans Master Plan and CZO | Home Page

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Funday: Bread Pudding Poboy

First off, happy Easter!!

Yesterday the family and I had a long, exhausting trek around the metro area looking for wedding venues. After all of that, we deserved some good food. So we went to Ye Olde College Inn-- it's in a new building (next door to the old location). In case you haven't been, this is a great, inexpensive New Orleans establishment that is a wonderful idea for out-of-towners. Especially now, in the new building, which is charming and covered in paintings and other relics of New Orleans' past.

Anyways, I had the veal and brown gravy, which was delicious. But I split it with Mom because Dad told me that there was a dessert that I really needed to try.

And then... wow. The "Bread pudding poboy" at College Inn is not really a poboy but two lightly fried slices of bread pudding with rum sauce in the middle. The outer crust is reminicent of beignets and the inside is that perfect bread pudding texture. Amazing. Five stars.

And apparently it won "best in show" at the Po-boy festival last November.
Po-Boy festival winners announced - Judy Walker: New Orleans Times-Picayune Food - NOLA.com

Friday, April 10, 2009

Beautiful Post: My Love Letter to New Orleans

My Love Letter To New Orleans - The Causemopolitan

Reading: Ivor van Heerden, who pointed fingers in Hurricane Katrina levee failures, fired by LSU

Ivor van Heerden, who pointed fingers in Hurricane Katrina levee failures, fired by LSU - Breaking News from New Orleans - Times-Picayune - NOLA.com

I think the people of this state deserve an explanation.

More: I understand that some say he is a troublemaker- I only know what I have read about him in the papers. Young, new to the scene and semi-naive, I am not in the position to guess how much merit the university's decision has. That's why I would like an explanation!

The university said it does not involve his performance. If that's true, it's a shame he didn't have tenure. Even if everything he said didn't turn out in the end to be correct, it is still good to have people who can educate themselves and then speak what they believe is the truth. I have never believed that finger-pointing can solve problems in the coastal zone. On the other hand, if we don't recognize and learn from past mistakes, we repeat those mistakes. That's why we need at least a few brave souls who will tell us honestly what they think went wrong. Those are my two cents.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I know I'm happy. (And busy!!!)

Louisiana ranked fifth 'happiest' state in the nation - Money

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday Funday, Part 2: How professors really grade...

Many thanks to our good-hearted profs who participated in revealing the TRUTH. lol.



PS: The Tulane Summit was great!

Sunday Funday: Attorneys at LawN

I'm very proud to present this video, which was created by my extremely talented and hilarious classmates at LSU Law, for your Sunday Funday viewing enjoyment.

(this is what happens when you combine creativity, a great sense of humor, and acute senioritis)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Check it out: Chicago Toilets contribute to Gulf 'Dead Zone'

City Room™ - Science - How Chicago Toilets Lead to Gulf 'Dead Zone'

This piece from Chicago Public Radio is great!! Upriver pollution wreaks so much havoc on Louisiana's environment as the Mississippi River drains almost all of the central U.S.'s waste right into our precious ecology. One of the many negative effects is the Dead Zone in the Gulf- an area of water the size of New Jersey that is pretty much unable to sustain life. Serious national legislation is needed and overdue on this issue. It's wonderful to see that awareness may be rising up there!

Thanks to Frank Truesdale's Infotrawl at Louisiana Coast Post for this great catch!

The Three Main Goals of this Blog and an Invitation for You

1. This blog is borne out of my love for Louisiana and my passion to ensure its bright future- particularly when it comes to coastal restoration and hurricane protection. Every single morning I dive into a variety of Louisiana news and commentary sources, and then at work I spend hours pouring over coastal law and policy documents. The people who love me can tell you that my brain is an obsessive information-collecting-machine and random-idea-generator. That's why Think Big Easy's first main goal is to share this flow of information and ideas so that it might help someone to "Think Big"-- and gain a larger perspective on Louisiana issues that will hopefully spur informed decision-making and creativity.

2. In the same vein, I know that I do not have the full perspective on anything. This is why my second main goal for this blog is to generate discussion. Please if you have something to add, any kind of update, any helpful link, or can see that I'm missing something, jump in and spit it out! Comments are enabled and encouraged. Slap your blog or website down, and I'll visit it and comment.

Caveat: criticism is welcome but nasty attacks will be deleted. I'm especially referring to political comments that are more inflammatory than thoughtful. Blame it on me, because I personally can be very sensitive. I appreciate that some people think that stuff is funny- but I don't and it distracts me from the point the writer is making. A little example off the top of my head: ripping on Jindal or Obama's budgets as irresponsible (with reasoning) would be perfectly fine and welcomed. But referring to Governor Jindal as Piyush or President Obama as B. Hussein Obama would not be OK. Not trying to offend you, just pointing out that I want a polite and wimp-friendly blog.

3. Finally, this blog's last main purpose is to celebrate Louisiana's culture, successes, and people. This means posting about artists, food, successful businesses, good news, or any other thing that explains our love for Louisiana and our willingness to work for its future. I do not believe that Louisiana is the only worthwhile place in the world to live, but it certainly is one of my favorite places because of our wonderful people and rich culture.

My Invitation to You: Thanks for reading this far! In line with the above three goals, if you have any ideas, a voice to add to any issue, see any interesting articles that are skipped over here, know a business, person or organization doing great things here in LA, would like to write a guest post, know a way to improve ThinkBigEasy.com or just found a neat youtube video or source that relates to the purposes of this blog, please share! I read all of my comments and may also be contacted through email on my blogger profile. And please pass this blog to along to anyone who might be interested! I'm new to the serious blogger community, but I'm in this for the long haul.

Thanks again!
jo

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Reading: Houma "metro area" has lowest unemployment at 3.5%.

Local jobless rate still lowest in U.S. | HoumaToday.com | The Courier | Houma, LA

It's an economy powered by the offshore oil and gas industry, among others.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Northern LA legislators say "the coast is toast!"

Northern legislators form “Yankee caucus,” will file “the coast is toast” amendment shifting coastline to BR! | lacoastpost.com

Don't miss my comment at the end of the article!!!

Reading: LA tech industry growing fast!

Baton Rouge Business Report

Nola.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wow! Reading: Hundreds of killer whales seen in Gulf of Mexico

Hundreds of killer whales seen in Gulf of Mexico | HoumaToday.com | The Courier | Houma, LA

Monday, March 30, 2009

Reading: Elmwood warehouse to become largest film studio east of Mississippi River - Breaking News from New Orleans - Times-Picayune - NOLA.com

This is less than five minutes away from the house where I grew up! Goooood catch.

Elmwood warehouse to become largest film studio east of Mississippi River - Breaking News from New Orleans - Times-Picayune - NOLA.com

This weekend: The Tulane Environmental Law Summit!

I am very excited about this weekend! The Tulane Environmental Law Society has put together an unbelievable lineup of speakers, activities and panels for this weekend's Summit. From Mike Tidwell, renowned author of Bayou Farewell (an absolute must-read if you haven't already) and others, to great panels on pressing issues like the future of LA's oil and gas & the dead zone in the Gulf, to important speakers such as the president of Global Green and the newly appointed (New Orleanian) head of the EPA.

A list of the summit's attendees would read like a "Who's Who" in Louisiana environmental law, with everyone from important coastal scientists like Dr. John Day, to (hopefully!) the new head of the Louisiana Governor's Office of Coastal Activities, Garret Graves. And I know for a fact that many amazing lawyers and others will be in attendance that don't even have their names on the program. Also, I hear that the play put on by the Tulane Law Students is one of the most surprising highlights!!!

Best of all, the Summit is now free for ALL law students! Even for us Tigers, who will bring a small but proud contingent to represent our school and support our Tulane counterparts. Thanks for all you guys' hard work!! I'm super excited!

Finally, isn't their fleur de lis graphic amazing? Check out all info about the summit here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Funday: Trombone Shorty

In case you didn't know, Trombone Shorty is the future of New Orleans music. And the freaking MAN. Real name Troy Andrews, this guy is an incredible trombonist, trumpeteer, and entertainer. He and his band fuse New Orleans jazz sounds with the new hip hop, funk and many other genres.

(video introduction)


The first time I saw him was outside at Satchmo Fest (free outdoors festival in New Orleans). First I was at another stage, enjoying a brass band. But my Dad walked over to Trombone Shorty's stage for a couple of minutes, and then came back to us insisting that we move to his stage. Of course I'm rolling my eyes, like what can be better than a traditional New Orleans brass band?

Well, no offense to any awesome brass band, but Trombone Shorty is probably the best live act I have ever seen. I have never seen a crowd so pumped. People were jumping and dancing. Did I mention it was during the day in the dead of summer in New Orleans (late July) and we were standing in the sun? Beads of sweat were pouring down everyone's faces and people of all ages were jumping up and down like maniacs. The following clips do not begin to convey- but I must try- the incredible showmanship, musicianship, and energy that Trombone Shorty brings to his live performances. This guy is just 23 and he is already being hailed by Marsalis-es and the like and is performing all over the world at prestigious festivals and with first class acts.

He is making New Orleans music for a new generation. Keep your eye on him.
Here's his site. Enjoy the clips.

Outdoor concert.


Doing a jazz solo


w/ Bonerama


Jump!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Don't Miss This: The Edge of the Earth, Baton Rouge TONIGHT!

More info here. I'll be there.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A good article to kick off the weekend!

New Orleans, On the Rise, Is Getting Its Brews Back - NYTimes.com

Prayers go up to North Dakota and down to Lafourche and them...

My heart is with the people of Fargo and surrounding areas, as they fight the rising red river in the cold.

...and also with the people of Lafourche who awoke to flooding and everyone in LA who suffered wind damage from the recent severe thunderstorms. Including our friends who had a tree fall on their house in Baton Rouge.

Red River rises well above flood stage, forces evacuations in Fargo, N.D. - Breaking News from New Orleans - Times-Picayune - NOLA.com

Good works in LA: The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra's conservatory program

Check out my fiance and some of his friends in the Baton Rouge Advocate yesterday:


What? You can't read the article from there? Well, here it is online. And here's a picture. You can see our friend Isabel helping a student in the front, and you can see Raul halfway cut off in the background by that same student.


Raul, Isabel, Joanna, and other graduate student friends of mine at LSU and other city musicians work in tandem with Ron Berhimgham, the artistic director of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, to bring violin lessons to a select group of students at Children's Charter in Baton Rouge. The students meet three times a week for two hours each session to pluck and learn. In just the course of this school year, these students have made enormous progress.

The project is, as the article indicates, modeled off of an extremely successful program that now exists in Venezuela. Bringing music to students of this age encourages brain development in logic and math as well as the development of discipline, team work, leadership, commitment, and all that other good stuff. Plus, putting instruments in the hands of Louisianians is always a good idea, as history shows.

As I understand it, the idea of this Baton Rouge project was always to slowly transition from mostly public funding to mostly private sponsors, while expanding the "conservatory" concept to more instruments and more schools. However, due to the economic situation, it appears that the transition will have to occur more quickly. So if you know any generous Baton Rouge-ians, either businesses or individuals, who would like to sponsor the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra conservatory program, send them here and encourage them to talk to Ron Bermingham.

To Ron and all my friends- I am so proud of you guys and all of the hard work you have done to make this possible!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Right on FOXnews! Treehuggers are GOOD for New Orleans!

A little national news shout-out for the volunteer "hippies" getting dirty to replant the marsh.

FOXNews.com - Tree Hugging to Help Rebuild New Orleans Isn't So Bad After All - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News

Reading: Global Warming could HELP the wetlands...

huh. Did not see this article coming.

Global warming could help the wetlands -- at least, temporarily | HoumaToday.com | The Courier | Houma, LA

Voodoo Experience and Gulf Restoration Network teamed up for the coast...

And produced this great video where musicians and others speak out. You should spread it around!



Source: Gulf Restoration Network blog

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tough Choices Profile #1: Lafitte

On Tuesday, the Corps of Engineers held a public meeting for review of particular alignments for the hurricane levee system being considered. I assume this refers to the 100 year levee system but the T-P's article doesn't specify. Most of the possible levee alignments leave the town of Lafitte outside of the major levee system, although a smaller levee could always be created for them. On Tuesday nearly 200 of Lafitte's 8000 residents showed up to a Corps meeting clamoring to be included within the levee system.

For your reference, here is Lafitte.


View Larger Map

As you can see, Lafitte is far below the metropolitan area (which ends basically where it says "Marrero"). Lafitte, a town in Jefferson Parish that is named after Jean Lafitte- a pirate who fought valiantly for the US in the Battle of New Orleans- is known for it's great fishing, seafood, and culture. Unfortunately, we can not afford to put Lafitte- and every other such community- behind a massive flood system. And here's why:

Truth be told, not just Lafitte but all of Southern Louisiana is very vulnerable to erosion, subsidence, flooding and hurricanes. It will always be an unnatural battle to try to create security from flooding when you live on a Delta so close to the coast. Most people agree, however, that despite the risk, the benefits of preserving coastal Louisiana make the flood protection projects and coastal restoration efforts "worth it."

I tend to subscribe to Oliver Houck's (Tulane Environmental Law Professor) basic vision for New Orleans and coastal Louisiana. We should build levees that are relatively small in geographic range and focused on specific population concentrations. But we should also realize that although levees are powerful tools, they have serious downfalls. (Check out my post on the Limitations of Levees). Extending the major levee system to outlying towns such as Lafitte only makes the whole region more vulnerable and the system more difficult to maintain. Fortunately, they are not the only gun in our arsenal to protect us from hurricanes. We must pour our efforts into preserving the coastal wetlands, which act as a powerful buffer for storms.

Now, you tell a community of hard-working people with centuries-old culture that they can't be part of a big levee system. It's hard, I know it. But these are the tough choices that must be made. Much of the opportunity to make these tough choices has been missed, as leaders failed to make comprehensive plans for metro New Orleans and other areas in the wake of Katrina and Rita. We can't afford to miss more opportunities to make coastal Louisiana sustainable.

So what is Lafitte's future? Hopefully, it's a rich one. If we as a state decide that communities like Lafitte are important for economic and cultural reasons, then we should advocate various protections for the people who live there-- accepting that they bear a higher risk than us and do necessary work in industries such as seafood and oil and gas that couldn't be done further north. That means supporting good land use planning and small flood projects- possibly including smaller "ring" levees. And it means supporting these communities if they do flood-- supporting them financially, helping them to rebuild smarter, and giving them options for relocation. Of course all of this must go hand in hand with massive coastal restoration efforts if we are to have any chance of long-term security whatsoever.

Those are my two proverbial cents on this heart-wrenching issue. Your commentary is encouraged!

The Limitations of Levees

Many well-meaning advocates of Southern Louisiana push for massive levee projects expanding across Louisiana far out to protect small towns way down on the coast. I agree that we need some big levees, especially around already concentrated populations in lower risk areas. However, any discussions of levees should include considerations of their downfalls.

1) Levees are very expensive to build and also very expensive to maintain. A poorly built or maintained levee- as we saw in Katrina- is like not having levee at all! The larger the levee, the harder the fall if it is compromised at any one point.

2) Levees encourage development. The more "protection" we build in flood-prone areas, the more we actually encourage people to move there and to build their lives there on a sense of false security. This is probably not wise in extremely marshy, low-lying areas so close to the Gulf. Undeveloped coastal areas should probably stay that way, supporting only the existing population necessary to do the work of coastal industries.

3) Levees kill wetlands. The more levees you put down, the more cut off outside wetlands are from river water and sediment that builds them. As wetlands die, communities are closer and closer to open ocean and no protection other than the levee from storms.

and

4) Levees harm wetland ecology! Shrimp and other yummy seafood need to go from salty water nurseries to more freshwater areas in their lifespan. If you prevent this by building a levee across wetlands, you endanger all of that good seafood that keeps the people of coastal Louisiana enjoying life there in the first place.

You can't have it all-- you can't save the wetlands, build a huge levee system surrounding every small town, and live like you did before Katrina. Even if it could be done, Congress isn't going to fund it in the forseeable future; the American taxpayer won't tolerate it. You have to find a realistic balance.

If even conservative estimates are correct, the Cajun coast is most certainly going to suffer some loss in this coming century. The solution to preserving this culture is not to build a giant wall around every house that has been built. No, the solution is for strong-willed leaders to make the smart, tough decisions that achieve the most sustainability possible for the entire region.

Yesterday I asked an expert in land-use planning the following question: "Where will we get the political capital to make these tough choices? How can we grow the spine to tell tax-paying, hard-working people that their area is just too risky or that a huge levee is not the answer?"

That expert's answer? "Well, that's the big question."

My suspicion is that we if ever get that political capital, it will be through persistent education of our communities. So spread the word.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Know about LA's great outdoors? Take this quiz!

Times Picayune, March 22

It's a great quiz that checks your knowledge of coastal issues and fishies and other good stuff.

If you make over 85% you get to add -eaux to your last name.
BEWARE: if you get under 75%, you become a Texan...

(Nothing against Texas. I love Texas. But nowhere near as much as Texans love Texas.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pragmatic Activism for the Wetlands: Thank you King Milling

R. King Milling is the president of Whitney National Bank in Louisiana and a prominent businessman regionally. Now he has been awarded the Loving Cup, a century-old award given by the Times-Picayune for unselfish community service, because of his tireless dedication to coastal restoration.

Milling should serve as an example to us all- especially to business people and others who do not work in coastal restoration. Read the praise in the article below heaped on him by major voices on coastal restoration like Sidney Coffee and Mark Davis. Then listen to his own reasons for his activism:

"I just loooooove plants, especially in our marshes! I think we should sacrifice capitalist interests for them no matter what the costs to our community."

Just kidding. These are his pragmatic words:

"This is not just about the environment. It's about culture, commerce and survival."
and
"It doesn't take a genius to understand the infrastructure is at risk, the future is at risk. That's what we will lose if we don't do anything. I think that used to shock some people, but it doesn't anymore."

King Milling is not a tree hugger. He is a banker- certainly not interested in losing money. He knows how urgent this issue is for everyone in Louisiana. It doesn't matter if you work in retail, the service industry, education, technology, health care, shipping, oil and gas, seafood, agriculture-- any industry-- we should all know that the health of our coast is our primary measure of the safety of our population and the security of any business from at least Baton Rouge on south. Every year, we sit closer and closer to the open ocean. There may still be controversy over climate change, but there isn't over coastal loss here: we've lost a Delaware amount of land. Now we can either be sitting ducks, or we can all work tirelessly to lessen the risk. Anytime you need a reminder of what that risk is, go here. Or ask King Milling.

Coastal restoration advocate King Milling wins T-P Loving Cup - Breaking News from New Orleans - Times-Picayune - NOLA.com

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reading: Corps v. Citizens over MRGO

Trial Set for Army Corp of Engineers Over Katrina Liability - Law Blog at WSJ

Sunday Funday

Bloggin' tomorrow, but in the meantime...

On the Sunday respite from your Lenten penance, enjoy some oldtime footage of Mardi Gras in the '40s:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good Deal (Perhaps): Expanded New Orleans Homebuying Assistance

At least 75% of the work force is now eligible for homebuying assistance in New Orleans through the city's Finance Authority.

The program can be used by people who make up to 20% more than the median New Orleanian's income to buy a first home or renovate their current one. For a two person household, that's $57,000. Man, maybe I should look into property....

Anyways, up to $65,000 of 0% interest soft-second mortgage and $10,000 of closing cost assistance are available to applicants out of a $27 million dollar pot.

One slightly huge caveat:

Each one of the "Housing Opportunity Zones"- where most of the assistance will be given- flooded during Katrina, at least to my knowledge. On the map I see areas in Mid City, Lakeview, New Orleans East, and off the Earhart Expressway, just to name a few.

Some areas took in only a little water, but others were severely flooded. This concerns me, as does any encouragement of development in floodzones without serious land use guidelines.

Of course, in areas with only moderate flooding, elevation of homes is completely feasible-- not to mention the traditional & smart way of building in NOLA!

If anyone wants to clarify- here are the zones.

Thanks to KL for passing on the link!

Sources: New Orleans City Business; Finance Authority of New Orleans

Friday, March 20, 2009

Attn: Brad Pitt, Re: New Orleans accents

What Brad Pitt should have studied for Benjamin Button, instead of just taking on a silly Southern accent:




Circa 1983 goodness. LOL when she wants to "talk propah" she will. Same wit' mah mama.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Codofil TV Spots

Very cute commercials promoting French in Louisiana. Cajun french was squelched in Louisiana. My Granny tells stories about how they weren't allowed to speak it in school- they would be whipped (lighlty, I assume) by their teachers.



LIfe From The Bottom Of The Boot: CODIFIL TV Spots

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Biotechnology and Coastal Restoration: Can we have Chia Wetlands?

I am taking a biotechnology law course right now in law school, and I have often daydreamed- while we're talking about splicing plant dna for agriculture or human dna for medical treatments- that biotechnology might be applied in the coastal restoration context.

Why can't we have a Chia-wetland? I've learned that wetlands have a much higher ratio of vegetation to soil than most land, so just depositing sediment without active growth isn't as helpful. So I started imagining that someone could create Chia wetlands of modified native plants that would grow and take root quickly to supplement our sediment depositing. Very rough model:


Well it turns out, my idea wasn't a new one. The article below shows that the folks at the LSU Ag school have been researching it. However, the article I found is from 2003 and I haven't been able to turn up anymore sources. Anyone have any clues on whether this is still being looked into or is just a dead end?

Using Biotechnology for Coastal Restoration - 2003 | Louisiana Agriculture Magazine | Communications | LSU AgCenter

Recession Proof Louisiana...

Christian Moises with New Orleans City Business explores the claim that the New Orleans metro area- and LA in general- are recession proof. Apparently our state was the only one to post unemployment DROPS from December to January. Unfortunately the article can only offer speculation as to why:

"One theory could be that companies had to downsize after Katrina and have been working with skeleton crews ever since, so the only options are to either stay flat or add employees.

Another could be that — contrary to popular belief — doing business in New Orleans is a good thing and companies are willing to invest and commit to the region."

I personally don't know enough to even speculate-- anyone want to speculate for me? Or add another source to the table that might clarify?

New Orleans CityBusiness -- The Business Newspaper of Metropolitan New Orleans

Monday, March 16, 2009

LA is a bigfoot!

We’re number one! Louisiana has the biggest industrial carbon footprint. | lacoastpost.com

Although people might look down on us and our big carbon footprint, Louisiana does the dirty work for the rest of this nation.

I guess it could be worse....

China’s Yangtze delta wetlands disappearing much faster than Louisiana’s! | lacoastpost.com

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Power of Social Networking to Save the World* | Drift Web Design

Hilarious case for social networking from my friends at Drift Web Design. Twitter and Facebook thwart a zombie takeover!!

The Power of Social Networking to Save the World* | Drift Web Design

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

a worthy cause

My friend Andrea is riding in the "Tour de Lis" to raise money for cancer research. If you have a little change you can support her here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Legislators!! Aren't we going to regulate eugenics?!?

All this fuss over abortion and stem cells, but clinics in the US are now offering sex, hair color and eye color selection services! This means picking one embryo over another and "discarding" the other choices. To me this is the ultimate "playing god" and hearkens back to Hitler and his desires for the Aryan race.

Is it so different if it's only individuals and not a nation that can pick what type of child is better the way I choose a compute or a car? Is anyone else distressed by this?

BBC NEWS | Health | Designer baby row over US clinic

Sunday, February 22, 2009

CSE gig- Mardi Gras Mambo

From the Dragon's Den on Friday. Arrangement not actually by Mozart, but by Raul Gomez. Just so you know. Enjoy and Happy Mardi Gras!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Democrats don't complain that the stimulus forgets Gulf Coast

I think it's a little hypocritical that the same voices that used Katrina to blast Bush at every opportune moment are not clamoring to help us now. Am I wrong?

2theadvocate.com | News | Democrats strike different tone on Katrina — Baton Rouge, LA

Good call DNR!

The LA Department of Natural Resources has drafted a regulation that will require beneficial use of dredged material. This means that when companies want to do a project in the coastal zone- assuming this regulation goes into effect- they will have to use the marsh mud they dig up in a way that helps with coastal protection and restoration!

Now if only the Corps of Engineers will follow suit, we'll really be getting somewhere!

2theadvocate.com | News | DNR issues dredge rule — Baton Rouge, LA

CSE makes the Times-Picayune!

String ensemble plays at unexpected venues - NOLA.com

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CSE this Friday at 7 in NOLA!

Come to the Dragon's Den- on Esplanade by Frenchman- this Friday at 7. The Contemporary String Ensemble is putting on a free show (donations accepted) featuring compositions by several composers here in LA- including a composition by my good friend Ronaldo Cadeu. The below video features him performing a very creative solo piece of his which I love called "Orange Things Inside My Head."

Nah-don't go to the Friday night parade. Save your strength for Endymion and enjoy a different kind of cultural experience!

Monday, February 09, 2009

It's only pork if it's not for your state, isn't it?

Stimulus Watch: Keeping an Eye on Economic Recovery Spending

Just helping you stay well-informed. And cynical.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Art (?), New Orleans Style

Chris Rose: Goodbye Prospect.1, hello Prospect.none - Chris Rose - The Times-Picayune - NOLA.com

Another great Chris Rose article.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Look what you missed...

Raul and Ronaldo jam for the CSE at the upper room of the Blue Nile this past Tuesday.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Flooding markers- A good idea to help us remember.

2theadvocate.com | News | Levee panel backs markers denoting Katrina flooding levels — Baton Rouge, LA

Sometimes I feel like people are thinking as if Katrina never happened. Maybe these markers will help people remember and guide their decision-making and priorities.