Hurricane Ida has hit and is now gone, thank you. Despite its rude visit and departure, Louisiana residents are restless. Some have evacuated to points everywhere. Others remain back home. All of them long for they way things were before the storm.
Those who have remained are surviving the smothering heat. If they are very lucky, they have some gas in their tanks. Gas for cars and trucks is woefully lacking. Drivers face very long lines taking hours to get to the pump. Some gas stations have become danger zones. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto has coined pump misbehaving, as "gas holes". So, why would a state, almost literally drowning in oil, gas and refineries be so lacking at the gas pump?
Late on a hot July night in a neighborhood off Downman Road in New Orleans, a man was shot in the head. After being taken to the hospital, he succumbed to his injuries. It was another grisly statistic in a city known for its high rate of violence.
Sadly, the shooting was barely mentioned in local media, just another murder victim in a violent city. As usual, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) provided few details. These regular incidents of crime spark little outrage from the public numbed by the never-ending violence.
Cajun cuisine has always been unique, delightfully spicy, and thoroughly enjoyable for those that live or visit South Louisiana. But for many years, it was always a local thing. That all changed with the arrival of Chef Paul Prudhomme in the 1980s. He became an internationally known superstar chef who brought the taste of Cajun and creole cooking worldwide.
Republicans just a few weeks ago were scouring major cities across the country to find a new location for their national convention, scheduled for mid-August. The GOP had originally planned to congregate in Charlotte North Carolina, but the governor set extremely strict standards for any type of large gathering. President Trump seems dead set on going to a more friendly environment. New Orleans was initially in the running.
There is a huge financial stake involved, with some 40,000 conventioneers projected to be attendance at wherever the location may be. The economic impact is estimated to be well over $200 million. Such conventions prove to be a huge financial generator for hotels, restaurants, cab drivers, bars and a whole host of local of entertainment options the fuel the local economy of any convention city.
New Orleans is a city that has a 65% majority African American population. In addition, the two most important positions in the city are held by African Americans: Mayor and Police Chief. There are also African Americans in powerful positions throughout the city administration, the city council, the school board, the business community, and other influential organizations.
As a youngster, I loved Tulane University. I grew up in the shadows of the massive Tulane Stadium on campus and enjoyed attending many football games with my family. I participated in their basketball camp, worked tirelessly as a ball boy for the baseball team and loved playing pick-up football and basketball games with friends at various sites on the campus.
Unfortunately, the Tulane University of yesteryear is long gone. Today, it is a hyper progressive university stuffed with card carrying liberals serving as administrators, professors, and students. Conservatives need not apply or even attempt to break through the liberal stranglehold.
It looks like it’s time to get out the soap powder in Louisiana and the rest of the nation. In protests all over the country, there is a growing call for the banishment of whatever tattered remnants are left from the aftermath of the Civil War. Not just flags, but monuments, names, Dukes of Hazzard, Aunt Jemima syrup, Uncle Ben’s rice, Gone with the Wind, they all gotta go. The cultural cleansing in the Bayou state has begun.
Early this morning another man was killed on the streets of New Orleans. It was barely mentioned in local media, just another murder victim and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) provided few details. These regular incidents of crime spark little outrage from the public.
In contrast, last week, protesters marched throughout the city promoting the abolishment of the NOPD and the agenda of Black Lives Matter. The tragic death of George Floyd sparked national outrage. There are needed discussions that must be held regarding police reform, but it should not overlook the good work that most police officers do daily.
Is the New Orleans area and Louisiana, as a state, entering a new phase of coronavirus protections and risks, too quickly? Are we emphasizing our health and safety needs more than we should? Are we abandoning the very real risks of the aged, the unhealthy and those prone to get sick or worse, die? Or, shouldn’t we recognize the irreparable harm to our institutions, our economy and our way of life?
A few days ago, I discussed these general issues with Arnie Fielkow during a Facebook Live event. I looked forward to the interview because it is not everybody who has held the positions of President of the New Orleans Saints, the New Orleans City Council, the National Basketball Retired Players Association and now, the Greater New Orleans Jewish Federation. I thought he would bring an articulate, divergent and interesting perspective to the controversy. After all, looking at the issue from the vantage point of an NFL team executive would be different from the perspective of a top public servant or a head of a major not-profit organization.