View Full Version : Where y'at

May 13th, 2017, 11:09 PM
This thread is dedicated to my place of birth N'awlins.
To the good and bad things - the funny and not so funny.

I'll start with something that gives me mixed feelings.
The removal of a couple of confederate monuments.
It's quite a thing for a lot of people. Unfortunately I'm not in town to experience it live. I'm sure it would be interesting. We discussed it in school back last year since the plans for the removal are quite old already but nobody really expectde it to really happen back then.

Some rather random news coverage (http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/05/confederate_monuments_national.html)

And another article about this issue. (http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/05/the_souths_confederate-monumen.html)

I'm not sure whether the removal of a few statues will do anything about the way we see history.

May 17th, 2017, 10:49 PM
I know a guy who used to live down there. He still goes down every year for Mardi Gras.

History is history, you can't change it. We ought to be encourage conversation and learning from our history, including aspects of it you might personally disagree with. After all, knowledge of history is power, which is why dictators so often suppress that knowledge.

That's all I got to say. I personally have never been to New Orleans, but its one of those places that seem interesting enough to visit eventually.

May 18th, 2017, 09:57 PM
I know a guy who used to live down there. He still goes down every year for Mardi Gras.

History is history, you can't change it. We ought to be encourage conversation and learning from our history, including aspects of it you might personally disagree with. After all, knowledge of history is power, which is why dictators so often suppress that knowledge.

That's all I got to say. I personally have never been to New Orleans, but its one of those places that seem interesting enough to visit eventually.

You can't change history dat's absolutely right. For this reason the removal sparked such an outrage. I'm not sure if taking them down will change people's view on history or anything. And if we remove all monuments of people who wronged someone we would have to remove our Andrew Jackson, too. Which would be sad for aesthetic reasons cuz it's a real cool monument and tourists seem to like it, too.

What really shocked me about the whole thing is that the workers that do the
removal were threatened. So the companies had to stay anonymous and the workers hid their faces. There's massive police around and all. Dat's my what the actual fuck thing about it.
I mean it's just statues how could you threaten to shoot someone over it?
What's wrong with those people?

And well since we have tons of tourists every year I guess New Orleans is a nice enough place to visit. I get told by older people that post Katrina New Orleans isn't anymore like it used to be - I dunno much about the city before it due to my age - but guess it's still interesting enough. Especially if you like half-naked drunk people, high crime rates and transgender prostitutes...no just kiddin it's an interesting place.

July 8th, 2017, 09:51 PM
An opinion and answer at our local paper discussing a possible causes for increasing violence issues.

We will discuss this problem in our debate group and we will use this as a Base.

New Orleans Opinions

Leaving traumatized Katrina kids on their own was a recipe for tragedy:

By Guest columnist

Opinion by the Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger

When you prepare to bake a cake, you assemble the ingredients the recipe calls for, you blend them together in the way the recipe says, and in the end, having followed the recipe, you have a cake. That's the way recipes work: there's ingredients, there's a process, and then there's a predictable and repeatable result.

In New Orleans, we have in abundance the ingredients and processes necessary for the predictable and repeatable result of tragic loss. We have an entire generation of poor black children who witnessed and experienced unspeakable horrors during Hurricane Katrina and the federal flood.

The Unitarian-Universalists met in New Orleans only to have two staffers violently robbed.

In the 12 years since, there has been little to no special mental and emotional care provided to these traumatized youngsters. Indeed, the state ensured there could be no easily accessible care for such children by closing the only public juvenile hospital in New Orleans after the disaster. So many of our young people are suffering from conditions that could be treated if only treatment were available -- but now it's been 12 years of coping with enormous trauma virtually on their own.

Local, state and federal officials conspired with developers to tear down the main source of subsidized, and thus affordable, housing in New Orleans. Whole neighborhoods were wiped out in the name of renewal and the "new New Orleans." As if the destruction of homes and the fabric of neighborhoods were not enough, those same leaders crushed the public school system, fired the predominantly black unionized local experienced school teachers, bringing in inadequately trained teachers who were not from the city, with almost no knowledge of New Orleans history and culture. These new charter schools participate actively in the school-to-prison pipeline, ousting students that are considered too much trouble to deal with.

Many local black families are still fractured from Katrina. Some young people ran away from family living in evacuation situations and came home to a devastated New Orleans, some even living in abandoned houses. Some families lost not only homes, but jobs, and were unable to support all the members. Some families are still, even today, spread out unwillingly across several states, unable to come home. Some of the young people have ended up in Covenant House as a home of last resort, as did DuJuan Paul, Nicholas Polgowski, Joshua Simmons and Rashaad Piper (who were 6, 6, 6 and 8 during Katrina).

Rodney couldn't leave his grandmother's side without breaking down. "I couldn't make a move without him," she said.

So what do we get when we carefully mix these ingredients together? What is the entirely predictable and repeatable result when we stir together trauma, lack of appropriate and consistent treatment, loss of homes, neighborhoods, schools and family support systems? What do we expect? We have created, as if by intention, a recipe for tragedy, in which traumatized young people act out their trauma on others; in which hurt people hurt people. It is as predictable as making a cake.

Having brought together all the ingredients and baked them, many New Orleanians now want to place all the blame and responsibility on the cake.

My Unitarian Universalist faith teaches me restorative justice. Restorative justice requires that we as a community, as a society, bear some of the responsibility. We cannot treat human beings, and especially not young human beings, as disposable. We cannot, in the words of author Bryan Stevenson, treat people as if they are only the sum total of the worst thing they ever did. (Stevenson was the Ware Lecturer at the recent Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly in New Orleans on Saturday (June 24).)

Whatever acts are committed by young adults who were the children of Katrina, we as a community owe them something. They should not escape all retributive justice for what they do, but they should also receive restorative justice, some way of breaking the cycle, some way of eventually being restored to a loving supportive community, some way of having a real and useful life. We should not abandon them a second time.

As the Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray, installed as president of the UUA at the General Assembly in New Orleans on June 25, wrote in her first Pastoral Letter: "No one is outside the circle of love."

The Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger is Unitarian Universalist Community Minister with the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal.

New Orleans Opinions

Katrina trauma is no excuse for violent behavior: Letter
Updated on July 7, 2017 at 6:16 PMPosted on July 7, 2017 at 6:02 PM
Surveillance video shows two men attacked by what appear to be four suspects during a robbery in the 200 block of Bienville Street in the French Quarter on Saturday night, June 24, 2017. One of the victims remained in critical condition at a hospital as of around 4 p.m.

The Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger crafted one excuse in her June 30 opinion column for the actions of the young men who are accused of beating the Boston tourists, but it should not be seen as a one-size-fits-all explanation for such behavior.

First, people must remember that the title "Katrina Kids" is not wholly owned by one segment of the New Orleans population, nor one race. The experiences of ALL the children who lived in the city in late 2005 were both traumatic and life changing: from being rescued off roof tops to spending 20-plus hours in a car trying to evacuate; from spending days in a shelter, to living a nomadic life in various homes and apartments for several months, to a year or more. Every one of these children carries the burden of these memories, but that is not an excuse for violent, criminal behavior.

To broadly claim that all post-Katrina efforts by government officials only fueled a recipe for mayhem and lawlessness is both irresponsible and illogical. A gross lack of personal and parental responsibilities also played a part in this particular situation. If Rev. Morel-Ensminger believes we should return to the substandard housing and schools of 2005 to solve such issues, I believe she would get few supporters.

Karen Kersting

July 8th, 2017, 10:11 PM
An other article for background information.

My friends and me are all part of the "Katrina kids" and all had experienceso like described in the article.
Some of my friends can speak about it quite openly. I am usually open and okay with talking about things but in this case I dunno. I have never shared my personal experiences with anyone.

Growing past Katrina: How a storm reshaped a boyhood

By Rebecca Catalanello, NOLA.com

Rodney Lomax is outside throwing a ball in the street with his cousin.

He's in his upstairs bedroom staring at his smart phone and reaching up with his left hand to twirl his short hair into nubs.

He's in math class, rocking back in his chair and chewing on gum before begging the teacher to let him explain how he got the answer to an algebraic equation.

"Can I do this?" he asks her. "I already did it."

Rodney Lomax is 13. He is a neighborhood football running back, an online basketball champ, a wannabe videographer, and a kid who likes to "clown" -- his word.

Ten years ago, when Rodney was 3 years old, a man in a boat rescued him and his relatives from the crowded second floor of his grandmother's home in Central City. The boat steered them through floodwaters until they reached the Claiborne Avenue overpass at Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Rodney Lomax lived five days on that interstate bridge, kicking a soccer ball in the shadow of the Superdome while the city around him was in chaos. His aunt told him he was camping, that the stars were their lights. His grandmother commanded him to keep away from the bridge railing.

Rhonda Lomax didn't want her grandson -- or any of the kids age 6 months to 12 years old who were with her -- to peer over the side and see floating bodies by. And when Rhonda returned from wading through the floodwaters herself, she never mentioned the one she stepped on along the way. Her heart raced, she made it to the bridge and she silently rubbed her legs down with alcohol and kept an eye on Rodney and the other little ones, never saying a word that might frighten them.

"They kept me grounded," says Rhonda, now 62, of the children.

Rodney says he has no memory of Hurricane Katrina or that time on the bridge. He'd rather talk about NBA2k15, the basketball video game he plays into the wee hours, and the videos he uploads to YouTube to show off his gaming skills.

But his grandmother, whom he calls "Mommy," remembers the day near Christmas 2005 when she was sure she couldn't ignore what seemed to be symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in her grandson.

They had made it to California after Rhonda's uncle tracked them down at an evacuation shelter in Pine Bluff, Ark., and bought them plane tickets so they could come live with him.

But even with that safety, Rodney couldn't leave his grandmother's side without breaking down. He would follow her to the bathroom and sit outside the door while she showered. If she left to buy groceries, he would cry and seek assurances she would come back.

"I couldn't make a move without him," she said.

Rodney was invited to paint windows with his cousins for Christmas decorations. When all the other children grabbed bright colors, Rodney reached for black and filled the pane with darkness.

"Everything he saw was black," Rhonda remembers. "He said all he saw was darkness."

Rhonda found a therapist for Rodney.

He is still in treatment today.

'He went from A all the way down to Z'

Rodney is, in some respects, a rarity. Here's why.

Of the more than 160,000 children displaced after Katrina, approximately 36 percent showed signs of serious emotional disturbances four years afterward, according to research. That's nearly five times the national rate.

Forty-five percent of parents surveyed in a study of 1,079 Katrina-affected households said then that their children were experiencing emotional or psychological problems they did not exhibit prior to the storm.

But of the parents who said they believed their children needed professional mental health help after Katrina, more than half said their children were not getting it.

Rhonda said the change she witnessed in young Rodney was dramatic and unavoidable. Between his sudden fear of abandonment and his interest in talking about what he had seen, it couldn't be ignored.

"It was just like he went from A all the way down to Z, just from the storm," she said.

Compounding his exposure to trauma, she thinks, was the fact that months before the storm he walked out onto the stoop that leads to her second-story door and saw a cousin lying in the street, shot dead just near their home.

There is little research examining how Katrina-related trauma affected different age groups of children. Of the children displaced by the storm about 46,025 were under age 5 and 33 percent of them poor.

But the research that does exist suggests that children who were already exposed to traumatic events were particularly vulnerable when Katrina stripped away all other predictability and security in their lives.

Dr. Denise Shervington, a psychiatrist and president and CEO of the Institute of Women & Ethics Studies in New Orleans, said that because language is key to enabling children deal with traumatic experiences, these youngest storm victims were especially vulnerable in some cases.

"Usually, at 2 or 3, a young person is not going to have the language memory and so their brains are not fully developed," Shervington said. "It's hard for them to use their language to talk about what happened to them ... You might be more impacted because you might not have the usual method of talking about trauma."

Rhonda said young Rodney was fully verbal at the time of the flood. And though he says today that he doesn't remember the experience, he did speak up of the things he witnessed during the flood and subsequent evacuation, Rhonda said.

Every now and then he would pipe up with a memory or a description of something.

Photojournalist Kathleen Flynn, now of Nola.com | The Times-Picayune, captured Rodney at age 8 in 2010 describing the details he then remembered.

"It was a hot day, lots of people were dying and I saw the water coming," he said then. "Then you saw many dead bodies and stuff. It was awful. The airplane came and got us and dropped down food."

But Rhonda said he stopped talking about it by around 2012, after her mother and aunt both died. Little Rodney was close with both of them and Rhonda thinks maybe his grief over their deaths edged out the dark memories from 2005.

Support makes a difference

The biscuits are warming in the oven as Rhonda slides the bacon from the pan and drops eggs into the hot grease.

"Rodney!" she calls from the kitchen.

She stirs the bubbling grits.

"Rodney!" she calls again. The teenager spent his summer nights with his hands on video gaming controls, playing online basketball until the sun prepared to rise. He started preferring to spend his days indoors instead of outdoors after a tense run-in at the neighborhood basketball court. "Keeps me out of trouble," he said. But now, going back to school means waking up before dawn.

Rhonda and Rodney have been inseparable since he was an infant. Rhonda gained custody of him early and despite her own health issues -- diabetes and sickle cell -- watches over him with laughter and smiles and the gentle hands of a mother.

By many, the measures child psychologists and sociologists point to, Rodney's path is not easy.

Every day, he waits for the bus on the corner across from a vacant corner store building spray painted with a tribute.

"RIP Sug," it reads.

"My cousin was shot there," he explains.

He has infrequent contact with his mother. And his father has been in and out of jail. "He has a good heart," Rodney says. "He just makes bad choices."

But since he was an infant, his uncle Robert Lomax, 43, has provided a stabilizing force, offering hugs and playful rough-housing, dollars and instruction. Robert pops in many mornings before work to tell his nephew to have a good day. He attends his football games and gives him rides when he needs it.

"Never had to spank him," Rhonda says. "All I had to do is call Robert. From the day he was born, his uncle loved him to death."

It's these constant, supportive relationships that child experts say can make all the difference in a child's ability to thrive following a trauma like Katrina -- and even in the face of other traumatic experiences and tension.

David Abramson, director of New York University's Program on Population Impact, Recovery and Resiliency, led research looking at children from more than 1,000 households affected by Katrina.

He said the common thought at the time was that a child's prior mental health and social adversity would be the biggest predictors of their own mental health following a trauma like Katrina. But their study, "Children as Bellweathers of Recovery: Dysfunctional Systems and the Effects of Parents, Households and Neighborhoods on Serious Emotional Disturbance in Children After Hurricane Katrina," found otherwise.

"It was certainly the parents and what was going on in the household had the greatest impact on a child's mental health," he said.

Rodney says now that he liked his time in Oceanside, Calif., after Rhonda's uncle, a retired Marine, invited them into his home. He started school there and eventually his artwork began to include bright colors again.

"It was really fun out there," Rodney says. "I wish I could have stayed."

When Rhonda, Rodney and her mother returned from California in 2007 after her uncle died, Rhonda was able to enroll her grandson at Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics and Science School. He has never left. And in the blur of his summer online gaming, even Rodney admitted he was looking forward to going back to school.

He said he wanted to make people laugh.

'Anchors' provide post-storm stability

Alice Fothergill, a sociologist at the University of Vermont and co-author of the book "Children of Katrina" paired up with Colorado State University sociologist Lori Peek to study the lives of hundreds of children following Katrina.

Together, they found that the children who were in the city at the time of the storm experienced more profound symptoms of trauma than those who were able to get out with their families. And ultimately, the children's post-disaster trajectories tended to take one of three paths: declining, equilibrium or fluctuating.

Those whose post-Katrina lives got worse saw simultaneous and ongoing disruption in family life, health care, schooling and friendships. Those who reached equilibrium were able to do so after quickly finding stability due in part to their families' access to financial, social and cultural resources.

The fluctuating child experienced moments of stability following moments of instability. They may have been doing well with housing, for example, but were struggling in family relationships.

But the biggest key, said Fothergill, in these children's lives were having one or more anchor relationships -- grandmothers, aunts, uncles and others who provided support.

"We found that for a lot of the kids, it was that anchor -- people who were in their lives before and they were there after. And (those adults) didn't have an easy go of it, but that child did not decline completely because of that anchor," Fothergill said. "(Rodney) has that uncle and his grandmother. He's got those things. Those are big things."

Rodney's future

Rhonda knows her grandson growing, and Robert is always reminding her that his nephew is not a young boy any more.

Still, she longs to be there for Rodney for as long as possible. She has had several health scares over the last three years that required hospitalization. This summer her blood sugar went so high that she was admitted for two days.

Other relatives came over and watched Rodney while she recovered. When asked if he worried, he nods his head.

"What would happen to him," she thinks out loud, "if something happens to me. I know Robert is going to be there for him. I have no doubt in my mind that Robert is going to be there of him."

"You know I got him," Robert reassures.

She thinks about it all the time. She is overcome when she talks about it.

Rhonda said she's proud of her grandson and the gains he's made. She saw him begin to come out of his shell at school after a few years back in New Orleans, to relax and be himself.

"He's much better than he was," she said. "He was a heck of a mess at one time."

But she still worries. Every now and then he has his moments, she says. He's moody or agitated. He lashes out verbally or raises his voice.

"I don't know what brings it on," she says.

His school days now are filled with school and flag football practice and neighborhood football practice, with virtually no down time.

She wants him to graduate high school and to go to college. She wants to see him grow into a man who is comfortable sharing his concerns without letting them bottle up. She thinks his ongoing therapy is helping prepare him for a better emotional life.

Rodney doesn't know what will happen after eighth grade. He wants to do well. He dreams of going to what he calls a "good high school." And when you ask him right now about what that good high school is, he names Jesuit High School.

His adult life is more abstract. He wants a career in sports, he says. He wants to put more videos on YouTube. And, oh, he needs equipment to edit video.

He turns to his uncle and tilts his head toward his shoulder in a pleading motion like teenagers do.

"Can I get a laptop?"

"No," Robert answers.


Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at [email protected] or 504-717-7701.

July 29th, 2017, 08:30 PM
Just some personal observations today about the beauty of my city.

I have been working a couple of very early shifts (usually shouldn't work this ours due to my age but they are low on staff and I agreed) and since there are no busses at this time I just walk to work. It's no more than 45 min walk so okay to do it.
Well not only okay but pretty amazing actually.

At this time. especially of the day there are hardly any people out in the streets. Just some workers who do early morning cleaning or delivery work.
All the drunk tourists are back in their beds and it's just the locals who lived here forever who are out.
Everyone is in a good mood even strangers whish each other a good morning.

It's so peaceful and you for once see the real city. You can just breath the spirit of it.

Guess I would miss out on something amazing if I had a car...so don't using cars has benefits in so many ways.

August 6th, 2017, 11:11 PM

Strangely beautiful isn't it?
Just another natural disaster. Floodings happen all the time here. Nothing to
special really. Just the frequency maybe this year but hey it's nature and nature doesn't follow any rules.

So no need to worry about anything righ? Climate change that increases the frequency of natural disasters does not exist. It's just a hoax made up by stupid scientists to well dunno why really...but must be. Why else would our current government tell us it's a hoax?

So the water is going down but the next storm is forming already...but since it looks even beautiful here with everything drowning why would anyone care.

October 1st, 2017, 11:30 PM
I have been watching the Saint's London game with some of the residents of the retirement home today.
It's been soo good to see a win, lol.

Course there were some inevitable discussions about the anthem protesting thing.
The Saints had kept the protest not as open as last time but still...did it.
I honestly don't have much of an opinion about it...since it was just all blown out of proportion by some silly tweets of our beloved President. For me it's been just is way of distracting people from his failure at the health care thing once again. So yeah.

What I felt surprising was that nearly all of those old people...a great deal of the veterans..don't see anything disrespectful in the protest as we are all made to believe by the media.

One of the guys asked what we did at our football game in HS in response to Trump's tweets as one principal in Bossier City threatened to throw all protesters from the team.
And he found it hilarious that we had decided that all of us colored stood while the only two white players took the knee in front of us.

Anyway,it was a really great thing to watch the game with those people. I always enjoy doing it as we have the greatest team and fans in the NFL anyway, lol.

It was our cities team and the atmosphere when the city celebrated them that made me play football myself in the first place.
Sure I never will do any real great football...I still wonder how I make it on our HS team anyway since I'm "so tiny" as everyone keeps telling me.

Still I love the game and our city's team and I love the experience of watching a game with other people.

December 8th, 2017, 11:12 PM

Of course we just had some ugly sleet instead of the real snow the others got but uh well....Snow would just have caused a complete chaos.

March 24th, 2018, 11:06 PM
I took part in the March for our Lives in the city today.

I wasn't a real protester I was there for the Red Cross, but since I wanted to go anyway I volunteered

Our city is a bit different than the rest of the South when it comes to liberal ideas but nevertheless gun owning is deep rooted here.
Still with all the gun violence present in our city more and more people understand that
humans are more important than guns.

It's interesting how many teachers, students and parents are against arming teachers. I always felt this was a nonsense idea and I'm so glad people around me think the same.

This all gives me hopes that our future generations will develop more common sense and replace the outdated views.

We don't live in the 18th century anymore and maybe conservative will learn that one day, too.