Hope for New Orleans!!!

Karen Gadbois, my old bowling buddy from when I lived in Rhode Island, is now New Orlean’s UBER ACTIVIST — driving the powers that be crazy by doing things like checking to see if they actually did what they said they would do. All this has gotten her written up in the NYT and WSJ and named New Orleanean of the Year by the Times-Picayune. Now there is a move afoot to draft her to run for mayor. YOU GO GIRL!!!


Someday I’ll be able to tell everyone about the time I forgot to tip the mayor …

You need a speechwriter, girl, keep me in mind!


You must read this!

My friend Karen (Queen of All Media) Gadbois tells a fine story and amazingly well in this posting from Squandered Heritage called The House on New Orleans Street

For about the past month I have obsessed and worried and wondered about the house on New Orleans Street.

From the outside it is a perfect rendition of the vernacular song of a Corner Store. The tension between the overhang and the house made you wonder if the awning was pulling at the house and telling it that it was time to come down, or was the house letting the awning just have a little break from the decades of work it had done providing shade.

Lionel told me that they used to have beaucoup candy in that store, but I think that candy existed in his imagination of what the store should have had, or could have had. The kind of stuff you want it to have if you are 8 years old and you live across the street.

It just gets better and it includes pictures of the house and Lionel.

Karen, if I didn’t like you so much I’d hate you!

Some people are paid to be journalists and some people just are journalists

My old bowling buddy Karen Gadbois is featured in a glowing article in the NYT today. Amid Ruined New Orleans Neighborhoods, a Gadfly Buzzes. (Don’t be put off by the uber scary picture of her. If you know her you know that she’s about to start grinning like a fool.)

Karen lives in New Orleans and writes the truly excellent blog Squandered Heritage. What she does is listen to words of various pols and bureaucrats about what they say is being done to repair New Orleans and then goes to look and see if it is actually being done. Then she writes up any differences between promise and reality.

It has set off a bomb that has exploded in slow motion here in the past three weeks, largely thanks to Ms. Gadbois: the federally financed program to gut and repair the storm-damaged homes of the poor and elderly, on which the city spent $1.8 million, has been exposed as — at least partly — a sham.

That’s journalism. It reminds me of the great I.F. Stone who covered Congress by staying away from Washington as much as possible. He read transcripts of committee meetings and the fine print of legislation and budgets and found the facts there.

Back in the age of mastodons, Karen and I worked together at a bar called Leo’s. She was a waitress and I was an incredibly surly bartender. She was and is an artist and I was about to re-enter journalism after taking a year off to write a widely unpublished novel. Since then I’ve spent a couple of decades getting paid to be a journalist. I do not knock my own accomplishments when I say I wish I had accomplished half of what she has accomplished with her blog.