paint the town black & gold

since the whole who dat controversy got resolved (whew! and, oh yeah, f dat, nfl!) earlier this week, saints mania in new orleans has been simmering on, say, a medium flame. not that it ever went away or anything – there’s still been nothing but saints coverage on the tv and radio channels, and most folks i know have carefully planned their wardrobe to sport different black and gold outfits every day of the week – but ya know, it’s been the beginning of the work week and folks are trying to get stuff done before giving in to all the madness this weekend. so it’s been a bit of the calm before the storm.

but today i think we hit that magical point of no return – the saints-in-the-superbowl frenzy has started its climb to absolute fever pitch, which, i imagine, will be reached somewhere between saturday night and sunday evening when the game starts. until, of course, after the game, when we win. then the lid gets completely blown off this sucker!

i generally gauge these things by my online orders, which stepped up again today after a little lull. the day after the saints won the nfc championship (and for a few days after), i sold more than usual of my black and gold items in my etsy shop. and today, it started up again. several orders this morning, and a few others pending. good thing i made four more who dat signs earlier in the week when the weather was good, and printed up some more skull de lis shirts today. and add to that the fact that i’ve been in three football-saints-superbowl related etsy treasuries in the past two days. (i hardly ever make it into any treasuries.)

so yeah. turning up the flame, indeed. which makes sense, since it’s thursday and almost the weekend. i hope the sales continue, cuz this little spurt couldn’t come at a better time for me, financially.

i’ve had a busy work week. my big project was turning four salvaged-out-of-the-trash vintage ice cream parlor chairs (above) into cute gold-with-black-fleur-de-lis chairs, perfect for someone’s superbowl party somewhere. (or wouldn’t these look great in some cute boutique or restaurant?) it was a lot of work, as they had been spray painted flat black by their previous owner (not a good choice for all metal chairs that are probably destined to be outdoor furniture), and painting the twisted metal chair backs and legs of these things was a fun challenge. but i think they turned out beautifully after a few coats of lacquer. they are currently listed on craigslist, so hopefully they will find a new owner soon. please feel free to pass the craigslist link around to your friends or anyone you think might be interested.

meanwhile, we are having a mayoral election on saturday, lest it be forgotten amidst all the football craziness. still being broke, i have sadly not been able to make any contributions to my candidate’s campaign, but if you are less financially strapped and care one iota about the future of this city – even if you don’t live here – please consider making a donation to him in this homestretch time. he could really use it. all i’ve managed to accomplish on his behalf is a lot of tweeting and posting on facebook, and this homemade yard sign:

figured i’d stick with the black and gold theme, instead of traditional campaign blue and white, cuz really, who’s gonna read anything but black and gold on a sign this week? i figured it was the best chance of having anyone notice it. wish i would have gotten around to making more of them, but i never could find a good supply of illegal business signs to appropriate. so yeah, don’t forget to VOTE on saturday if you are registered in orleans parish.

tonight is the last televised mayoral debate. tomorrow, the mardi gras parades begin. fae is in a parade on the west bank on saturday morning (with the big easy rollergirls). a good friend from college will be in town saturday afternoon through monday, and i’d like to get a chance to hang out with him. there’s a saints superbowl second line and pep rally going on in the french market on saturday afternoon. and then there’s all the pre-game hysteria on sunday. i fully imagine there will be people tailgating downtown, even though the game isn’t being played here. i kinda want to ride around and see the sights sunday morning/early afternoon. and then my tribe starts to assemble over at ponce de leon stadium around 3pm. it’s non-stop from here on out, people.

so just enjoy it all. savor these moments, cuz it surely is a magical time here. i still can’t believe it – the saints are in the superbowl!

stay tuned for more reports from the black and gold city.

who dat!!!

saturday’s mayoral forum

mayoral forum

i’m a little late in posting this, as saints-fever kinda took over on sunday and i forgot to finish this post. but i’m gonna post it anyways, since there doesn’t seem to be any other coverage of this forum i can find online.

saturday, i attended my first mayoral forum.

i’ve followed many of them either on tv, on radio or via twitter, but this was the first one i managed to actually get to in person. entitled working families candidate forum, it was sponsored by several area non-profits, including: stand with dignity, the new orleans workers’ center for racial justice, and members of first grace united methodist church, where it was held.

the topics ranged from homelessness, affordable housing, local hiring, day laborers’ wage theft, nopd priorities, racial and economic equity and others.

only four candidates were in attendance: nadine ramsey, james perry, rob couhig and troy henry. mitch landrieu and john georges did not attend. (surprise, surprise.)

the first half of the forum was in a question and answer format, with questions coming from various community members and answers limited to two minutes each by the candidates. the production of the forum was kind of low-tech, with candidates having to share one microphone between them, and a spanish-language interpreter sitting in the pews translating rather loudly, which was distracting and made it hard to hear. (i’m supportive of the fact that there was a translator, but there needed to be a better way to do that so everyone could actually hear what was going on.)

i can’t say i heard anything new from any of the candidates, frankly; at this point in time, those who have been following the campaign season and forums/debates have pretty much heard it all from the candidates. the audience seemed almost asleep throughout the first half of it, with only james perry getting any applause or reaction out of the audience. when the format changed to a yes/no answer format, the crowd seemed to wake up and started clapping for every answer by every candidate that they agreed with.

my overall impression was that there wasn’t any clear “winner” amongst the candidates. certainly perry was well-known by many there, as the head of new orleans’s fair housing organization, and his answers were largely in line with what the audience was hoping to hear. surprisingly at least to me, so were nadine ramsey’s, and many of troy henry’s, as well. and while rob couhig should at least be commended for showing up – his republican core values not very much in line with this audience’s – much of what he said could probably be categorized in the “pandering” department.

henry and couhig also spent a lot of time taking swipes at landrieu in particular for not being there, and a few were lobbed in georges’ direction as well (particularly about him having to pay volunteers to wave signs on street corners). couhig repeated a few times his favorite attack on landrieu, about how the taxpayers are footing the bill, paying his salary as lieutenant governor, so he can run for mayor. and even perry called them both out for being absent, when a question about race and equity was asked, saying that dialogues like this one were the first step to changing many issues that plague our city and that landrieu and georges should have been there to partake.

all in all, it seems it was one of the tamer mayoral forums that has happened. and as best as i can tell, there was no substantial coverage of it in the mainstream media, probably due to the fact that it happened on saturday afternoon, before the big saints playoff game. but i’m glad i went, and i hope i can make it to a few more before the election.

as for my personal opinion, i remain committed to the feeling that james perry best represents my own personal political views and vision for the future of the city, and i am satisfied he has enough managerial experience to pull off the position of mayor. i am not someone who believes you necessarily have to have political experience to be in politics, and frankly, i find the concept that he is not a career-politician refreshing. i do still have questions about how he thinks he can accomplish some of his goals, but i am willing to trust he can find a way and see what happens. i will absolutely be voting for perry in the election on february 6th. should it come to a run-off between landrieu and anyone but perry, i will vote for landrieu. but if it’s perry vs. landrieu, i will likely stick with perry. i don’t dislike mitch as a person, but i do think his lifetime in politics is more of a con than a pro, and i generally do not support the concept of political dynasties, even if they are democrats.

as for the other candidates, from the first time i saw troy henry speak, he seemed smarmy to me – and it’s only gotten worse through the campaign. it has been my experience in my lifetime that i am a very good judge of character and am almost always right when i have a gut feeling about someone, particularly negatively, and henry just gives me that “stay away from him” vibe. i don’t really need to say anything about rob couhig, except that he is a republican and that that is enough reason for me not to vote for him. he seems like a nice enough guy, but no. and please don’t even get me started on john georges; there are a million reasons why i don’t like him, but my one and only personal interaction with him was enough to cement the gut feelings i already had. (he basically “squatted” in my booth at the elysian fleas market in december with his body guards, and aggressively inserted himself in the middle of a transaction fae and i were trying to make, selling one of my handmade goods to a customer, to try to talk us into voting for him. he literally got up in fae’s face to try to engage her, even after she said she would not be voting for him. arrogant, ignorant and rude is how i would describe him based on that one interaction alone.) as for ramsey, i will say that i actually agreed with much of what she said at the forum on saturday, but her constant god and jesus references and reliance on faith-based communities for everything is just not for me. nothing inherently wrong with it, but too much jesus for me.

i’m sure i’ll have more to say on the mayoral race before the election, but this is a good start. and don’t forget, you can vote early until saturday if you are worried about not being able to vote on election day, what with all the mardi gras and super bowl hysteria.

thoughts on the mayor’s race, pt. 1

those who follow me on twitter, facebook or read my more private livejournal (or just know me and talk to me regularly) will recall that i participated in a focus group last week on the issues in the mayor’s race. as i am currently/constantly underemployed, i jump at any chance to make additional money, and a daily look at craigslist has yielded a few focus group/market research type gigs in the past few months. so yes, i was paid to do this. but i don’t think that affected my – or any participant’s – answers, honestly. it was pretty straightforward.

today in new orleans city business, the results of that focus group research were published in an article, with a download link to the full report. in all, 40 randomly selected voters and “opinion makers” were brought together in four different sessions last week, and many commonalities existed between the four groups. the overall theme of the report, based on participants’ responses, is that mayoral candidates are not talking enough, and in enough detail, about the issues that voters think are most important, and are not matching voters’ passion about this election in their presentations at various forums and debates. you can read the article and download the full report for more detail about what folks feel and think – it’s pretty interesting.

for my own part, i tended to agree with the groupthink on most things, which is surprising, as i don’t usually. my particular session’s demographics were evenly divided between white and black, male and female, and with diverse respresentation from various city council districts as well as age. the james perry cheerleader in me often wanted to stand up and disagree with others’ answers to some questions asked, or cite planks of his platform, but we were asked not to refer to specific candidates but instead to speak generally about all of them and the tenor of the campaign thus far. they were trying to get at the issues and our general opinions. so i tried to be as objective as i could, and reel in my pompoms. (i did chat some of the participants up on our way out, however, about james’ merits as a candidate, just for the record.)

the realization that i had was this: that even though i could argue that james and even other candidates have, at times, offered some details for their various campaign platforms and many of the issues cited in the focus group research, or have exhibited a passion that i feel is appropriate to the magnitude of this election at this point in new orleans’ history, the reality is, the rest of the folks in the room weren’t hearing it. and weren’t feeling it. only one out of ten voters (me) was hearing some of what they want to hear in this campaign. so even if james or others think they are getting their message across, something is being lost between point a, the candidates, and point b, the voters.

what to do about? i don’t know. but hopefully something will change in the remaining 18 days before the election. i can only pray that one of my top two candidates – james or mitch – wins, and the electorate realizes what a mistake it would be to vote john georges or troy henry into office.

interesting related links:

james perry’s campaign a success or failure?

dr. john’s endorsement goes to james perry