Three Offers

After a couple weeks of little to no activity, we got three offers on our house yesterday.

There’s a long way to go to actually close the deal, of course. So I’m not throwing any parties, but I can’t deny that my mind is athrob with a steady pulse of excitement. We might just pull this off after all.

So I’m celebrating with music, of course. Here’s a mix of long, (mostly) mellow rhythms which seem appropriate to my mood. Only ten tracks, but over two hours of music, by Psychick Warriors ov Gaia, Grasspig, Steve Reich and others.

Anyway, enjoy. And keep your fingers crossed for us.


We’re finally getting a couple days of cooler, drier air, so it’s time to break out the autumnal tunes.

I think just about everybody in New Orleans is in a better mood today. It won’t last, but we’ll enjoy it while it’s here.

What passes for autumn in the subtropics really doesn’t compare to what I grew up with in the Midwest. I got reacquainted with the season when we were evacuated for Katrina. You know, stuff like this:

Reflected Trees

You just don’t get displays like that down here. Our friend James, born and raised in New Orleans, visited us there in Bloomington and was absolutely blown away by the fall foliage. He’d never seen that in forty-plus years of life.

I miss it more each year. But I will not miss snow flurries in November.

Music for Work

This is what I like to listen to in my office. Not too distracting but with enough of an edge it doesn’t put me to sleep.

This is about an hour and a half of music by Alio Die, Winquist Virtanen, Bomis Prendin, and others. Some of this stuff creeps out my co-workers — tell me what you think.


Does this image of the Ten Commandments ring any bells?


Well, if you know me, it should look vaguely familiar. Those are my teeth. It’s a remix by a Flickr user “zeevveez” in Jerusalem which uses a photo I took of my own teeth just over four years ago:

My Teeth

That’s what I love about Creative Commons, the license under which I published that toothy photo. It allows such collaborations, some of which are quite surprising. I never dreamed my teeth would be so honored.

Update: My far-flung collaborator has posted a blog entry about the image. Unfortunately for me it’s in Hebrew. I ran it through Google Translator but I still can’t make heads or tails of it.


Just in case you thought we were getting too sappy around here. Twelve anti-love songs by B.B. King, The Plastic Cheeses, Moon Cakes, and others. About 40 minutes of fun.

Actually we had a fun anniversary celebration last night. Our old friend Amanda was in town with her husband Michael (whom we’d never met before) and we had a fine dinner at Cafe Minh. Their wedding anniversary is today so it was doubly festive. But sometime during the night Xy’s menses came a raging back for the first time since her pregnancy — yowch. Thus the theme of this mix may be all too appropriate.

Semisweet Sixteen

Xy and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary today. This might be a good time to revisit our infamous puppet-show wedding. Or if you’re in the mood for music rather than video, here’s sixteen tracks for sixteen years together — mixed with a minimum of saccharine because, like the song says, true love is not nice. Including music by Bad Manners, Ghostface Killah and Hot 8 Brass Band.

Happy anniversary, baby. (Strangely enough, there is no traditional gift for the 16th anniversary, but I got her a purse she wanted, and a bracelet with some owls on it.)

Staying Positive

Here’s a mix of twenty-one tracks to inspire and uplift, occasionally veering into the cornball but mostly keeping it real, including music by Oneida, Ella Fitzgerald and Desmond Dekker.

When I look back over the last few years, there’s sure plenty to get down about: floods, murder, war, personal hardships aplenty for my family and friends. Yet through it all I have continually returned to a more or less positive mindset that amazes even me. Maybe it’s genetic, or maybe it’s the way I was raised. I’ve had many differences with my father over the years, but one fundamental thing we agree on is the value of staying positive. Dad’s actually quite devoted to the philosophy articulated by Norman Vincent Peale in The Power of Positive Thinking. I’ve never actually read the book, but that hasn’t stopped me from forming an opinion. Peale’s philosophy seems too Pollyanna-ish, and indeed that’s my main criticism of my father — that he doesn’t seem to me to take seriously the pain and negative aspects inherent in this existence. For my part, I try not to shrink from harsh realities; I still nourish a great deal of anger over injustice in society, and the universe seems to me a basically absurd place. But I agree with Camus: “Crushing truths perish from being acknowledged.” At the end of the day, I share my father’s conviction that it’s important to stay positive. I really don’t have any other choice.

Autumnal Equinox

Here’s a mix of fourteen tracks for the equinox, about an hour of music, a mystical blend of jazz, electronica, a little hip-hop and some raging heavy metal (sorry Beth) including music by John Coltrane, Death Cab for Cutie and Heaven Shall Burn.

I kind of feel sorry for the autumnal equinox. Of all the four corners of the year, it seems to get the short shrift. It just doesn’t conjure the same excitement as the vernal equinox or either of the solstices. Not sure why.

When a certain theology professor wished me a happy equinox yesterday, I pointed out that he was about 30 hours early. He wondered how this was possible, and I pointed him to an old entry on this very blog. His reply?

I’ll just continue to mark the solstices and the equinoxes with the 21st. You’ll be the only person who will know that I’m living a lie, at least on some days.

So much for scholarly integrity! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go sacrifice a goat.

Nineteen Months

Dear Persephone,

Since I see you every day I sometimes don’t notice the incremental changes. You still just look so tiny to me, and even after carrying you for blocks, you still seem so light. But I know you’re growing, because you can now open the top drawers in the kitchen, which you couldn’t do a month ago. You can even snatch things off the counter top if they’re sitting right on the edge.

You’re finally developing some fear. That may not sound like a good thing, but I guess it’s healthy. The fearlessness of a toddler can be quite terrifying to a parent. You get scared sometimes of loud noises like thunder. And you’re kind of frightened — but also kind of intrigued — by the stuffed LSU tigers at the grocery store. I’ll admit they are quite fierce looking.

You’re pretty conversant in various animal sounds. When asked what a tiger (or lion) says, you reply with the world’s cutest roar, lifting your hands in a claw-like gesture. We’ve also taught you to show your defiance to the big cats in the words of Ludwig Bemelmans:

To the tiger in the zoo,
Madeline just said, “Poo poo!”

Your fascination with tigers and lions is outmatched by your obsession with owls. You’ve learned to say the word, owl, and you love to look at pictures of owls in your books, and you get very excited when you see an owl anywhere. Perhaps you’ll be an owl this Hallowe’en if we can get a costume together.

The latest word you’ve learned is boy. Your mother thinks that’s a sign of trouble ahead.

You still love to read, and to have books read to you.


But the real story of the past month regards your sleep habits.

You never slept through the night in the first year and a half of your life. There was a good long period where you slept each night in your crib for a while, but you would usually wake at some point and end up spending the rest of the night in our bed. After our summer travels, things got even wackier, and you were soon spending all night, every night, in our bed. Sometimes you had some pretty disturbed sleep — confusional arousals, I think they’re called. Lately you were doing better, only waking once or twice in the night and wanting a feeding from your mother, who mostly slept on the couch to minimize this. Still, we were all feeling rather sleep-deprived.

Then our real estate agent handed me a book which (dare I say it?) seems to have changed our lives. That book has the rather uninspired title of Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems, by Dr. Richard Ferber. I gather he is somewhat famous for this.

There is a practical method outlined in this book. I also appreciated the theoretical backdrop that makes sense of it all. It was interesting to learn about sleep, in adults and children. Once you understand some of the basics of the sleep cycle, Ferber’s method seems perfectly logical. We all wake partially several times throughout the night, and we usually fall right back to sleep without waking fully. These partial wakings have a survival value; we use them to check that everything’s alright. So it’s important for a child to learn to fall asleep in the same circumstances she will experience when waking during the night. In other words, it’s important to establish the proper sleep associations.

Our problem was we had never let you learn to fall asleep on your own. We always put you to sleep, usually with a bottle and rocking and so forth. We put you in your crib, or our bed, only when you were fully asleep. We didn’t know any other way to do it. If you woke up in the crib all alone, it was a bit of a shock, since you went to sleep under entirely different circumstances, so you would wake more fully by reflex, or so the theory goes.

Over the past two and a half weeks, we’ve learned a whole new way of doing things. We’ve established a set routine of bedtime rituals so you know what to expect. The core of the Ferber’s method involves progressive waiting — simply checking back with you for progressively longer periods until you fall asleep. The first couple nights were rough. You cried for a while. It was hard to leave you crying in your crib, even for a few minutes at a time. But we did it.

Once you fell asleep, you slept through the night for the very first time in your life. Since then you’ve continued to sleep through the night more than half the time. So I would say it’s been phenomenally successful. After about a week, we hit a rough patch, but now things seem to have stabilized. Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night and cry; I go into your room and comfort you and start the progressive waiting technique. Usually you get back to sleep pretty quickly, and I don’t even have to check back a second time.

As for me, I wasn’t sleeping so well at first, as I would lie in bed and strain my ears wondering if any random noise I heard was you waking up. But I’m learning too. I think we are all sleeping better these days.

Sleep Chart

Yes, I’ve been keeping a little chart of your sleep as per Ferber’s recommendation. What can I say? Your father’s a wannabe science nerd. It actually has been very helpful in seeing the patterns that emerge and not just relying on memory.

Just a week ago you were showing some mild anxieties around bedtime. I’d tell you that it was time for bed, and you’d protest a bit, saying “no,” maybe even crying a little. But we kept at it, and now you’ve to have gotten over that. In fact you actually seem to look forward to going to bed when you’re tired. You point to your crib and smile at me. You don’t cry when I put you in the crib. You lie down and go to sleep.

You’ve been showing less and less interest in the bottle I feed you just before bedtime, often pushing it away after consuming very little. So last night we did away with the bottle entirely, and you went to sleep as usual. Another milestone.

The remaining problem is that you tend to wake up a little too early. You’re capable of a good eleven hours’ sleep, which is the average amount for a child your age, but you sometimes wake up after about nine hours. That means you’re missing out on that last patch of deep sleep just before you wake up. But this morning (after being woken up at 5:20 a.m. by the garbage truck) you slept until 7:00 a.m., so maybe this will sort itself out eventually.

This letter’s already pretty long, but there’s one more thing I have to add: You are simply a joy to be around. Your mother and I are so happy to have you in our lives. We love you to pieces.

Short Notice

Just got this via e-mail. Here’s an opportunity for some New Orleanians to go to Washington DC in support of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act. Short notice but this is something I believe in. I wish I could go! But I can’t. Maybe you can? Please spread the word, because the bus leaves soon.


The Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign is loading two buses with supporters for two days of high level meetings with Congress and the Administration. It is a perfect opportunity to let folks in Washington know what is happening in your community and presenting them with a human rights-based solution from residents and community leaders, the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, to create 100,000 jobs rebuilding and sustaining Gulf Coast communities. You all are the reason a policy like this could work, your innovative organizations, knowledge, ideas, and we need you to let Congress know your ready to rebuild if they can give you a mandate to support it!

Already we have meetings with five key Members of Congress with jurisdiction over HR 2269, leaders of federal agencies like Army Corps and EPA, key advisers at DHS, heads of Obama’s Faith and Neighborhood offices, the administration’s point on Gulf Coast recovery, a cabinet member and dozens of congressional staffers, with more to come. Also we have a big Congressional Briefing with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus, jointly hosted by Rep. James Clyburn, the House Majority Whip and the Congressional Leadership’s point person on Gulf Coast recovery issues.

We have spots for 50 additional people. Please call Scott Myers Lipton ASAP at 1 510 508 5382 to participate. If you or any of your members or colleagues can come we’d love to have you. It will also be an opportunity to meet advocates from leading DC based human rights, faith-based and environmental organizations. We hope our supporters will attend if they can and participate in this momentous opportunity for promoting just Gulf Coast recovery.

Transportation, hotel, and most of your meals (were asking folks to bring food for while on the bus) will be covered. It is first come first serve while seats are available. If you can’t come, please think about making a call or two to colleagues and friends. We need numbers to make an impact, and it will be huge opportunity for advancing resident-led recovery priorities.

Here is an overview of the itinerary.

We will be picking folks up September 21st, 2009 at 3:30pm at:

Grace Episcopal Church

5700 Canal Street

New Orleans


Walmart Supercenter

3615 Sangani Blvd

Diberville, MS 39540-8770

Buses will arrive in Washington, DC the morning of September 22nd;

On September 22nd at noon, participants will attend our CBC/CHC/CAPAC briefing (see flyer) and have an opportunity to eat lunch and mingle with staff of key Congressional leaders, and learn more about HR 2269.

From 2-5:30P participants will break off into teams for meetings with Congressional and Administration officials, including an interagency meeting of HUD, DHS, HHS, Commerce, and White House Offices. Teams will each have an experienced volunteer who works in DC from one of our DC based supporting organizations.

The evening of September 22nd, participants will stay at the Quality Inn and Suites, Alexandra, VA 8849 Richmond Hwy , Alexandria, VA, US, 22309 | Phone: (703) 780-0300

September 23rd, the bus will depart in the morning from Alexandria to Washington DC, and participants will meet with congressional and Administration officials from 10am-5pm.

On September 23rd the bus will depart from DC arriving in Biloxi and New Orleans at about 1pm.

If you can go, please call Scott at 510-508-5382 or Jeffrey at 202-257-9048.

House Sellin’ Mix

Our open house is today, and we hope plenty of prospective buyers will show up. Our old friend Brian Rice recommended that we should have some “soothing, but hip, music playing low in the background.” So here is a mix I call “Soothing but Hip,” eleven tracks of long sweet mellowness, including music by Brian Eno, Douglas Irvine and John Zorn.

We won’t be home during the open house. That’s our Realtor’s gig. But I left this playing on a loop while we made ourselves scarce. If you’re feeling in the mood for some relaxing ambient sounds, give it a try. I think it runs about three hours.

Animal Panic

For no particular reason, here’s a mix of 18 tracks with a vaguely animalistic theme. It’s an hour of music, aggressively eclectic — some might say obnoxiously so — from madrigal to metal, from rock to reggae, from the goofy to the sublime, from Thurl Ravenscroft to Blue Öyster Cult to Quincy Jones.

The animal theme is pretty thin. The only thing these tracks really have in common is I love them all.

Warning: at least one track should probably not be played loudly at work. But it’s the weekend, right? Annoy your neighbors and give your co-workers a break.

My Favorite Punks

I got so much positive feedback on my last mix (well, it doesn’t take much to encourage me) that I thought I’d give it another shot. Here are 34 tracks of raucous, dirty, offensive, strident, silly, snotty, and fun punk rock, about an hour and a half of music by 45 Grave, Against Me!, Poison Girls and many others.

I love them all with a mad passion. This is my absolute favorite punk music. I limited the mix to one track per artist, with one exception. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.


Our inspection period is just about over. We’ve found a number of deficiencies which we are asking the seller to correct:

  • There are structural issues under the house. A lot of sills and joists need to be replaced or, in some cases, repaired.
  • There’s a flat roof over the addition in the rear of the house where water is pooling. It needs to be replaced. There are also some minor fixes needed to some flashing and shingles on the main roof.
  • Because of the above-noted problem with the roof, there’s some water damage in the kitchen, so some sheetrock and possibly some cabinetry needs to be replaced.
  • The jacuzzi in the master bedroom doesn’t work and needs to be made operable. Jacuzzi, pfft. It’s just a glorified tub, and it’s not even big enough for me to fully extend my (admittedly long) legs.
  • There’s some knob and tube wiring. I believe it’s inactive and not connected to anything, but we’d like that verified.
  • The furnace is not connected to the gas line.
  • There’s no dryer vent.
  • The attic stair doesn’t fold up properly.
  • The knob on the downstairs bathtub is broken and needs to be replaced.
  • The sewer to street connection looks like it may have an issue, so we are asking the seller to either replace the pipe all the way to the street or prove that no problem exists.

Whew. That’s a lot, huh? As far as the big items go — structure and roof — I just can’t see buying the house unless those are remedied.

Of course we would not have spotted any of these if we hadn’t shelled out for a professional inspection by a structural engineer. I decided to take that step only after our termite inspector advised us that he saw structural issues when he crawled under the house — and at the same times I was noticing just how wavy the floor was. There’s so much more we could have inspected but one has to draw the line somewhere.

We got a lead inspection, of course. We found some lead paint inside and out, but almost all of it (save for one inch-wide strip) was pretty well covered up by latex paint. Most of the house is covered with vinyl siding; I don’t like vinyl, but it’s better from the lead perspective. Most of the windows are vinyl, which is good because when they are opened or closed there won’t be friction on a lead-paint surface creating dust. Swabs taken throughout the house indicated a very low level of lead dust. Our inspection also found a worrisomely high level of lead in the soil under the deck in back, but the good news that’s the only bare soil around. The yard, front and back, is covered with new sod.

Anyway, we are submitting our list of deficiencies to the seller. Now we wait and see what he says.

Universal Love

I don’t know why but I’m feeling the love today. So here’s some music: Sixteen tracks on the theme of Universal Love. It’s an hour-long eclectic mix that starts poppy, gets funky and ends silly. Music by Galactic, Diana Ross, Golden Ball and more… (8tracks terms of service forbid a complete track listing.)

Enjoy! One love, y’all.

Dear Mr. Bissell

Bissell Homecare, Inc.
PO Box 3606
Grand Rapids MI 49501

For the attention of Mark J. Bissell, President & CEO

Dear Mr. Bissell,

We recently purchased a Lift-Off Revolution Remanufactured 3760R vacuum cleaner produced by your company. During its second use, the stretch hose came detached from the hose grip, rendering the whole apparatus inoperable. It seemed a minor repair, and being somewhat handy with mechanical devices, I attempted to reattach the hose grip but found myself absolutely flummoxed.

Eventually I admitted my failure and called your Consumer Services hotline. The representative with whom I spoke offered to sell me a Liftoff Twist’N Snap Hose Replacement for twelve dollars. I asked if the vacuum was not covered under some sort of warranty, since we’d had it less than a week.

Her response? She waived the shipping fee.

Eager to get our vacuum cleaner working again, I authorized payment with my credit card, and the replacement hose has since been shipped to our home, and I am twelve dollars poorer. Not to worry, the sum will not bankrupt me.

However, after getting off the phone, I took a few minutes to scrutinize the User’s Guide. That is where I found the very nice personal message from you, sir, with the story of how your great-grandfather invented the floor sweeper in 1876. This same message touts your 90 day warranty, so I assume that you, at least, are aware of this provision.

Turning to the back of our User’s Guide, I found the 90 Day Limited Warranty spelled out in greater detail. It is probably not necessary to quote this passage, but indulge me: “Bissell Homecare, Inc. will repair or replace (with new or remanufactured components or products), at Bissell’s option, free of charge from the date of purchase by the original purchaser, for 90 Days any defective or malfunctioning part.”

Given the clarity of this statement, I can only wonder why I was charged for the hose. Is this a nefarious scheme to prey upon the illiterate who cannot read and thus would not know of your warranty? I know times are tough, but I do not think your great-grandfather would approve of this way of doing business.

cc: Customer Services

iTunes 9

I don’t have much use for most of the new features in iTunes 9 (released yesterday) but there’s one thing I like: Apple has added nested AND/OR functionality to smart playlists. Very nice. In fact I’d upgrade for this feature alone.

On the Market

Our House

Well, it’s official. Our house is on the market. There’s a “For Sale” sign in front.

For Sale

We’ve been very happy here. It’s hard to think that our home for the last seven years might soon belong to someone else. But here’s hoping. If you’re interested call our Realtor, Shannon Sharpe Briand, at (504) 616-7000.

It’s listing for $179,000, which is not bad for a house over 2,000 square feet. In fact, it’s a bargain, for the right buyer. We’ve made an offer on another house; this sale has to happen to swing the deal. So it is priced to sell.

Did I mention it’s got new plumbing, and new wiring, and a huge shower with three heads, and the lower floor is essentially all new?

For a little extra help, our friend James got us some St. Joseph medallions. They were sold out of statues. Tough market for sellers, I guess.


We buried them in our front yard.


Yes, it’s a tough market for sellers, but I am hopeful this house will move. For one thing, homer prices in the surrounding area took a hit recently, but in our zip code they actually are on the rise. And for another thing, there’s some sort of federal stimulus for first-time buyers ($8,000 I think) which expires in November. So our timing is auspicious.

This blog, or at least the homepage, will probably go offline while the house is on the market, so don’t be surprised if you find a real estate ad here soon.

Buying It Back

There’s an article in today’s paper on a subject near and dear to my heart. I’m even quoted herein. My comments follow.

Greenway Ahead

by Lolis Eric Elie, The Times-Picayune
Saturday September 05, 2009, 10:42 PM

In a move that could help create the first new public park in New Orleans in two decades, the Trust for Public Land has obtained rights to buy the site of the ill-fated Louisiana Institute of Film Technology.

Rusty Costanza / The Times-PicayuneHikers walk through an overgrown area of the Lafitte Corridor in 2008 during an annual outing.

The city needed the trust’s help with the Lafitte Greenway parcel because federal money the city is relying on to buy the property won’t be available for several months.

“The city’s Office of Recovery Management called the Trust for Public Land and asked us to help them with the acquisition of this property. That’s exactly what we do, ” said Larry Schmidt, director of the trust’s New Orleans office.

“We help cities, states, the National Park Service and agencies like that acquire property. We do the appraisals, the survey work and we acquire the title and hold it while the city’s funding is being assembled, ” he said.

The 18-acre strip, now held by a mortgage company, is part of a mostly city-owned three-mile tract that follows along an unused railway bed beginning near Basin Street Station, continuing along Lafitte Street across North Carrollton Avenue and ending near Canal Boulevard.

The area includes the Sojourner Truth Community Center, a gas station at Lafitte and Broad streets where public employees fill their cars, and the old brake tag station at Lafitte and Jefferson Davis Parkway.

“All these facilities will be repurposed to serve the greenway corridor, ” said Dubravka Gilic, director of strategic planning for the city recovery office.

Daniel Samuels, an architect, is a founding member of Friends of Lafitte Corridor, a three-year-old community group that has been the most visible advocate for creation of the corridor. He said the idea of turning this area into public space is not new.

“City planning documents have recognized the potential of that corridor going all the way back to the 1976 Claiborne Avenue Design Team Study done by Cliff James and Rudy Lombard, to successive phases of the New Orleans New Century Master Plan, which was started in the 1990s, ” Samuels said.

The old LIFT site, one block wide, is the widest part of the three-mile stretch. The rail bed corridor becomes extremely narrow as it runs alongside such privately owned buildings as the Rouses Supermarket and Bohn Ford buildings on Carrollton.

The purchase by the Trust for Public Land will ensure that a city deal could be sealed quickly and that the land would be dedicated to public purposes. The trust expects to sell the land back to the city by the end of the year.

Eliot Kamenitz / The Times-PicayuneLarry Schmidt, director of the New Orleans Office of the Trust for Public Land stands on some of the 18 acres at Lafitte and North Galvez streets that will form the first leg of the parkway.

The city has dedicated $11.6 million of its federal Community Development Block Grant money to the greenway project, Gilic said. Of that total, $4 million is reserved for purchasing the former LIFT site and the remainder will be devoted to designing and building the corridor, she said.

Friends of Lafitte Corridor hopes that the entire space will be developed, not just the plot where the film institute was supposed to be.

“The main thing that I have always kept in mind with this project is that it needs to be a safe, contiguous path, a trail, ” said Bart Everson, president of Friends of Lafitte Corridor. “But if it can have park-like amenities along it then that is value added.”

The Design Workshop, a firm in Austin, Texas, will spearhead the design effort, working with local partners that include Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, an architecture firm, and Bright Moments, a public relations firm.

Before the area was a railway bed it was the Carondelet Canal, linking Lake Pontchartrain to the French Quarter via Bayou St. John.

“We have encouraged our designers to coordinate with the Sewerage & Water Board to make all the efforts to re-introduce the water back into this space, ” Gilic said. “That will definitely be one of the elements of this project.”

Gilic said the designers will conduct five rounds of workshops designed to gain public input into the development.

The property the trust will buy consists of two adjacent parcels that LIFT bought in 2006. Slightly more than half was owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad, while the rest was owned by the city.

LIFT abruptly collapsed two years ago when federal investigators started looking into its dealings. In April, LIFT director Malcolm Petal was sentenced to five years in federal prison for conspiring to bribe a former state official, Mark Smith, in exchange for Louisiana film-industry tax credits. Last month, Smith was sentenced to two years in federal prison for his role in the scheme.

. . . . . . .

Lolis Eric Elie can be reached at [email protected] or 504.826.3330.

Thanks Lolis. OK, it’s me again. Just several points I’d like to add.

  1. This land transaction takes FOLC full circle. We were initially galvanized by news the city was selling this land to LIFT, back in February 2006.
  2. I’m not sure why there’s the emphasis on “park.” I don’t know if TPL has strings attached to this deal where the city has to make it a park. I’m not sure quite what to think of that. I’m in favor (obviously) of a greenway, but that’s not necessarily the same thing as a park, though a park would certainly be compatible. But I know of at least one organization that wants to build a school there, which I think is an intriguing possibility. Most of all, I’d like the greenway to be recognized in the public mind as a source of economic revitalization, not just green space.
  3. And why did TPL have to get involved? Was it because of cashflow issues, as the article suggests? The ordinance by which the city authorized the sale of this land stipulated that the city would have the first right of refusal to buy this land back if the film studio should fall through. But I believe this land was sold at LIFT’s bankruptcy auction, to the highest bidder. What happened to the city’s first right of refusal?

    And therein lies the story behind this story, which to my knowledge no journalist has taken up. Back in May 2006, the City Council passed an amendment (Ordinance #22,241) to the original act of sale (Ordinance #22,197). There’s a lot of obfuscatory legalese in these documents, but when sifted it seems that the only purpose of this amendment was to waive the city’s right of refusal for most of the city-owned acres, all but the so-called “paper streets.” The language is crafted in such a way that I’ll wager most of the council didn’t understand the city was giving up anything. The only conceivable purpose of this little legislative sleight-of-hand would be, presumably, to help LIFT with their financing. LIFT of course has since been implicated in other matters of influence-peddling. So was this another dirty deal? I sure wish a journalist would look into this.

    Oh, the sponsor of that amendment? A certain councilman, voted out in 2006 but looking to make a comeback in 2010. So it would be nice to know if my understanding is accurate or if I’m way out in left field.

  4. Oh, and the city has now allocated $11.6 million for the greenway? Hot dog. The things I learn reading the paper!

P.S.: I just noticed the graphic is wrong. And since it’s attributed to Friends of Lafitte Corridor, I’m inclined to correct it. The parcel being purchased by the city is wider than what’s shown. It actually extends the full width from Lafitte Street to St. Louis. The tract become considerably wider as it approaches Claiborne.