Random Flotsam 5: Bad, Bad Breaks

Mar 3, 2012 by

No, the title of this post isn’t ’cause anything else happened to my 97% healed ankle, although it looks like one of my tenants cracked a bone when watching parades the Friday night before Mardi Gras. Stuff just keeps happening that makes my bum ankle throb is all…

I saw some people at a local playground who noticed my son’s t-shirt emblazoned with his school’s name and symbol on the front and asked me where his school’s temporary campus was located. I told them it was at a lakefront location, and they looked relieved. Turns out this couple had pulled their young daughter out of the school shortly after her acceptance into a pre-K program because the school was less than communicative to its newest students’ families about the school’s new location, repeatedly telling the families to “check the school website.” These particular parents I spoke to are currently paying for their child’s education someplace else much nearer their home. Not that they don’t regret the decision – they’d heard a lot of good things about the school – but they didn’t like being brushed off like that concerning pertinent information about where their child was going to go.

A discussion of the problem of sending one’s children to quality schools in New Orleans that won’t break parents’ finances ensued. “Only thing that even makes people’s kids’ chances of getting into the better public schools here is the high turnover, since there aren’t many good, high-paying jobs keeping a lot of people here long term,” I said.

“Funny you should say that…” the mother said. The family is moving. Very soon. Pursuing a much better job offer. Sigh.

No one thought anything could overshadow Drew Brees’ ongoing contract negotiationsuntil the bounties on opposite teams’ players’ heads came along. Sure, other teams do it, but this will come down hard on the Saints since one of the seasons in which there was a price on players resulted in the 2010 Lombardi Gras. At least Gregg Williams is out of our hair. Makes me wonder, though…Perhaps, if New Orleans citizens put similar bounties out on crooked politicians and business leaders who aren’t doing much for the community, it would help improve education, bring better jobs here, and reduce the murder rate?

Although it’s receding from my memory as I get older, I thought back to when I was eighteen and away at college. No, I wasn’t drinking like a fish – I was working my tail off at school, it was illegal for me to be drinking, anyhow, and besides, I didn’t get a driver’s license until I was twenty (that’s a whole ‘nother story right there that I’ll get back to). Plenty of other kids were imbibing, though, judging from the recycle bins in the trash rooms of the dorms, and I was hanging out at local bars myself despite – not in the hopes of passing for twenty-one and getting a cocktail under a bartender’s radar, but because there was still good music and good times to be had without the alcohol. Hell, the resident assistant of our floor took us to one of the bars during orientation because her father was a regular performer there – which became the biggest in-joke for those of us who became Thursday night regulars at the place. If only our parents knew we were hanging at a bar every week! We weren’t at the place to get blitzed, but to have fun and take in some Irish music laced with some Tom Lehrer or other ironic folk classics – and the bartenders knew that.

What I described above occurred in a northeastern city. What I see the New Orleans city council proposing to vote on at the end of the month would take one of the things that makes New Orleans even better than folk music in a northeastern Irish bar – its plethora of great music venues, most of them open to 18 and over – and drive potential music lovers, musicians and patrons out. Bartenders and bouncers would be doubly pressured if the measure passes to make an 18-, 19-, or 20-year-old’s presence “on or around” a bar or a liquor store grounds for revoking a place’s liquor license – what kind of boundaries are we speaking of for “around?” Within how many inches, feet, or yards? And has it really been proven that this kind of a measure can lower any crime rate?┬áIf the concerns are for underage drinkers being out on the roads, I’ve had at least two people say to lower the drinking age back to 18 and raise the driving age to 21. Don’t know how legally feasible that is, but I do know that for the first time in a long while, the numbers of young people with driver’s licenses are actually decreasing. It could be the internet, the higher cost of gasoline and overall car maintenance, or just young people making the decision to take more public transportation and live in places where they can get around on foot or by bike to get to where they need to go…but the rush for young kids to drive is not as big a deal as it used to be.

Local musicians and music lovers are speaking out. Bantam Foxes has links to how you can write to City Council at the bottom of this important post. Matt Rosenthal of BarryFest has an important plea to City Council here.

Finally, BP and the lawyers of individuals affected by the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo blowout have settled. If the piddly amounts to plaintiffs hold, the victims of the oil disaster just got royally screwed. At least we still have a chance of getting damages from the Army Corps of Engineers from breached levees during the events of 8/29/2005. Perhaps we can funnel some of that money to affected Gulf Coast residents…