Skip to main content

Ain't That A Shame?

I was lying on my love seat this Sunday, recuperating from setting up a veggie garden for my mother-in-law and other sundry family errands, and I saw a PBS special on Antoine “Fats” Domino and his performance at Tipitina’s, post-Hurricane Katrina. Commentators, including New Orleans musical greats Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas, talked about how devastated he was by and after Katrina, to the point that he couldn’t bring himself to perform at the first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival after Katrina. This from a man who decided he was no longer going to tour and leave the city he loved so dearly. When he took the stage at Tipitina’s, it shook me out of my afternoon malaise to the point that I was not only rooting for Fats, I got up and did the dance my mom, SWIE, used to do whenever a Fats Domino song came on – the stroll. Or at least my version of it.

My mom loved her some Fats Domino. Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm!

After he performed “Blueberry Hill” and “Walking,” I believe, I was at a loss as to what else he had to perform. Little did I know that, prior to Lennon and McCartney and other songwriting duos of the 60’s, Domino and his writing partner, David Bartholomew, were the most successful songwriting duo in the U.S. I pulled out my BlackBerry and Googled Fats Domino. When I saw his song catalog, I thought, “Well, damn! If I had that many hits, I wouldn’t tour any more either.”

It got me thinking about New Orleans, or, as my college classmates from the area called it, “N’awlins.” I visited once over 11 years ago for a weekend to attend a conference. To this day, I have never eaten as well as I did there. I can’t even tell you what I saw or where I ate, but I remember I ate real good, back-to-back meals mind you, so much so that I ditched the conference in search of the next good meal. I literally ate my way through New Orleans. I could have starred in my own movie: The Thing from California That Ate New Orleans.

If you eat a bad meal in New Orleans, you’re either a fool or just stupid. There’s just no excuse for bad food in New Orleans when just about everybody there can throw down in the kitchen.

When I started thinking about New Orleans and all that it has given us – jazz, zydeco, Mahalia Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, the Marsalis family, Harry Connick, Jr., the Neville Brothers, beignets, CafĂ© du Monde, Galatoire’s, Dooky Chase, po’ boys and more – I thought: Where is New Orleans’ bailout?

I mean really. I have never owned a GM or Chrysler car. I have never banked at Goldman Sachs and the like. I have never bought insurance from AIG. If these corporate behemoths survive, I won’t know the difference.

But I have savored the sights, sounds, and tastes of New Orleans. If New Orleans were swept off the map, that WOULD matter to me. If I had a vote as to where my federal tax dollars would be going, they would be going to New Orleans. And not just to rebuild it, but to protect it. This city existed before this country was even a country. It deserves to be respected and protected.

I remember watching a “60 Minutes” broadcast in which the rebuilding of New Orleans was discussed. They examined another city that lies below sea level, Rotterdam, and the technology used to protect it – a surge protection barrier that closes off the city and, I’ve read, is strong enough to withstand a 1 in 10,000 chance surge, a high level of protection. Why can’t we do that with New Orleans?

We could, if we had the will.

To borrow from a Fats Domino song, ain’t that a shame?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…

My Prayer and Mantra for 2017 -- Do Not Waste Time on People and Things That Don't Matter

In this era of fake news, fake political candidates, and fake people all around, my prayer and mantra for 2017 is simple:  Do not waste time on people and things that don't matter.

In 2016, I spent too much time and money on things and people who didn't matter.  I allowed myself to become distracted by stuff that, for me and Black Man Not Blogging, didn't really matter for our happiness.  These distractions not only didn't improve the quality of our life together; they decreased it with additional and unnecessary stress.

The good news is that, for the most part, we're okay.  Yeah, Trump and his ilk really suck, but instead of a lot of hand wringing and commiserating, I'm going to do the one thing my late mother She Who  Is Exalted (SWIE) did better than anyone I know:  Play the hand you've been dealt.  My mother was a black female without a college education and with six kids, so playing the hand she was dealt was her survival skill.  Now it will be mine.

S…

Hillary Clinton Can Stop Trump -- If She Releases Her Electors

Hillary Clinton isn't going to be President of the United States.  At least not yet.  And not in 2017.

But she can possibly stop Donald Trump from being President by releasing her pledged electors  in the Electoral College to vote for a compromise Republican candidate.

This is part of the strategy of the Hamilton Electors, members of the Electoral College who see that Donald Trump is not qualified to be President.  They argue that the Electoral College's role is not to rubber-stamp the popular vote -- which, in this case, would belong to Clinton -- but to serve as a check on the popular vote to make sure that no one who is unfit assumes the office of President.

According to the Hamilton Electors, named for Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (Yes, he of the very popular musical for which I can't get tickets) Hamilton stated that the Electoral College's test for fitness to be the President was as follows (and I'm quoting):

Election of a Qualified Person: As Hamilton s…