Tag Archives: New Orleans

Dispatches for Lambda Literary from Saints and Sinners

In case you missed my little dispatches from New Orleans, here are the matching links to Lambda Literary Foundation’s marvelous blog. The final dispatch, albeit after the fact, should be up by Monday.

Day 1: The Oil Spill

Day 2: Opening Night Party

Day 3: Peeling the Grape

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At last… a book!

I’m in the process of tweaking galleys for my new chapbook, This Pagan Heaven. Given the odd birthing of this book, it makes perfect sense that I’m still deciding on a title and (even at this stage) fine-tuning a couple of poems that may or may not make the final cut.


Thanks to everyone who has already offered congratulations and inquired as to when they can buy the book. So many of you are poets whose work I admire and whose criticism I respect. Check back soon for updates!

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Jim Kemp, Welcome to the Blogosphere!

My dad, the incomparable Jim Kemp, has finally created a blog of his own. I’m jumping the gun by announcing Press Past, where I’m sure Dad’s cogent political analysis and half-century (yes) of Old School journalistic experience will inform, enlighten, and entertain you.

If you know me, you know that I’m my dad’s number-one fan. However, you must understand that his fans are legion. He has the respect and affection of countless people in the business and I’m sure they’ll be delighted to see him issuing his missives from retirement-land after a long silence.

My dad has always been a friend to women, minorities, students, and single parents in the business, long before it was fashionable or legally required, because it was the right thing to do. He is an endless source of hilarious tales–all true–that he tells like no one else can. He’s a good guy and a great dad/husband/grandpa. Check out his blog!

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RIP Ashley Morris, The Best Mayor New Orleans Never Had

If you know what SFMF and FYYFF mean, you may know that Ashley Morris passed away the other day.

He made a lot of grieving, rage-filled New Orleanians laugh. That in itself makes him a hero. A sample:



Ronnie Virgets had a great chapter in his book Say Cap entitled Sinn Fein, which means ourselves alone. That’s probably how we’re gonna get outta this mess, by ourselves. I’m not banking on anyone to do anything, because that’s part of the White House stragetizeing: wait us out until we’re bankrupt from mortgages and rent and no jobs, and then buy us out and create vinyl-sided McMansions. I think that they’re forgetting how hard-headed we are, and how we won’t bow down. They ain’t gettin’ nuttin’ from us. Especially Mardi Gras.

Da Paper has an outstanding piece by Brian Thevenot on how They view carnival. For example:

a writer for The Daily Telegraph in London described people watching last week’s Krewe du Vieux parade as being mostly “New Orleans residents, fueled by Hurricane cocktails and marijuana smoked openly in the presence of tolerant New Orleans policemen.”

Yeah, right. We all drink hurricanes and even my mother-in-law flashes her tits for beads, which she wears year round, when we aren’t busy being alcoholics and collecting welfare, and generally slacking.

Fuck you, Daily Telegraph. Go drink your gin and tonic with your stiff upper lip, and have a soccer riot killing hundreds and eat your organ meat and avoid the dentist and act hostile toward Pakistanis and Indians.

Oooohhhhh….shoe on dat udder foot, ain’t it?

Look, bitches. We know how to do Carnival. Us and Rio. We see what happens when You try to do it. You fail, miserably, because YOU DON’T GET IT.

The bastion of journalistic integrity, the Chicago Tribune stated that the city is starkly segregated.

Pot, kettle; kettle, pot.

Chicago is a fucking demonic cesspool of racism. Da whites live in da north; da blacks live in da south; da Mexicans live in da west.

So let it be written; so let it be done.

Fuck you Chicago Tribune. We are NEW ORLEANS. SINN FEIN. So just shut the fuck up and put more salt on the roads. And don’t you dare write one fucking word about how ourpoliticians are corrupt.

I can tell you this: I don’t know a single person in New Orleans, regardless of race, age, or sex, who don’t all want the same thing for Mardi Gras: A Zulu Coconut.

Sinn Fein, baby.

My biggest problem with Carnival, now that the excrable Krewe of America is gone, is probably Orpheus, with the Hollywood factor, and all the non-locals riding. And Steven Seagal? WTF are you thinking, Harry?

Sinn Fein, baby.

Without a doubt, the best marching band today was the MAX band, consisting of kids from St. Augustine’s, St. Mary’s, and Xavier Prep. These kids had 5 weeks to learn their book of 26 songs, and they rocked the llama’s ass.

Sinn Fein.

The third battle’s got a great dish on the New Orleans Flag, and why you’re seeing so many of them lately. I’ll tell you why, because we are no longer Americans.

We are New Orleanians.

I’ve always said that from about Panama City to Lafayette, and about 50 miles inland (not including Tallahassee or Baton Rouge) should be one state. I mean, do the people of New Orleans have diddley in common with the people of Bossier City? Do the people of Mobile have anything in common with the people of Montgomery? Do the people of Port St. Joe have anything in common with the snobs of Boca Raton? Hell no. But the coast, the coast has always been special. We all pretty much get it, although now Pensacola is more a military retiree home, and they’re trying to impose their Ohio values on people that just want to drink beer and fish.

Sinn Fein.

Gulf Sails calls for armoring the levees systems of this region with the skulls of these… twits.

Poppy has more rantings against Them, and she nails Them good.

Markus has compiled a list of K blogs, and there are a few that I don’t have in the linkeroos off to the left. I have since added the Building Big Easy, as there’s a wealth of info there, not just architectural.

As far as architecture goes, well, I’m with the Dutch helping us on that levee thing, but not really on architecture. I don’t want zigzag houses. I want them to look like New Orleans. Sinn Fein, bitch.

And I want to see Hastert when he comes to NOLA. He’s the fucking fuck that said the US shouldn’t rebuild NOLA. I want a shitstorm to attack his district. I want floods, tornadoes, fire and brimstone, locusts, earthquakes, dogs and cats living together, drout, famine, and mormons to attack this mutherfucker’s district. Cocksucker. I want to see him looking at people going through their belongings in the 9th ward, and him tell me to my face that the levees should not be rebuilt. I want his family to endure living in shit for 6 months. Better yet, I want him to look Leah Chase or Fats Domino in the face and tell them to move to a place with higher ground.

Finally, let’s look at the root of blame. We all know Brownie was a fucking clueless deer in the headlights, in way over his head. Well, here’s the etymology, courtesy of Cade Roux.

Joe Allbaugh was named director of FEMA. Allbaugh named Brownie. Who named Allbaugh? Well, evidently, ambassadorships are not the sole prize of political operative scoundrels any more.

The buck stops where, W?

Let’s close with a marvelous quote from the aforementioned Brian Thevenot article:

Nineteenth century writer Lafcadio Hearn wrote a letter to a friend in Cincinnati about two years after he arrived in New Orleans in 1877, during a grim period in which thousands died from yellow fever. He summed up his situation this way:

“Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become only a study for archaeologists. Its condition is so bad that when I write about it, as I intend to do soon, nobody will believe I am telling the truth. But it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio.”

Sinn Fein.


Condolences to his wife Hana and family, and to good mutual friend Ray Shea, whose flag is flying here in Ashley’s honor.

Sinn Fein. Indeed. May Ashley Morris second-line over FEMA, the White House, the Corps, and every crooked contractor and insurance adjuster and real estate-development whore, unleashing a hellacious hailstorm of Zulu coconuts down on the heads of all such evildoers.



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Katrina: The Untold Story

Was just poking around on YouTube and found this. That’s me balling. I still ball. A lot.When I’m not channeling Sally Struthers, I’m reading Chris Rose, Michael Tisserand, and all the rest of the New Orleans krewe. There’s a piece on Rose in the current CJR if you’re not familiar with his particular brand of genius.

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New Orleans Protest at City Hall

Okay. Does New Orleans want WASPs in multimillion-dollar KB Home condos to replace the projects built to “clear the slums” known as Storyville, the birthplace of jazz? (Don’t answer that.)

The dilemma is framed as “clean up the drug dealers” versus “save our historic communities.” There is truth in both claims. In neither case has a solution been found.

What I think needs to happen is that some sort of mediated summit–one with teeth–needs to be held between representatives of residents, developers, and maybe Habitat for Humanity. HANO is a non-profit agency; it should use this status to broker such a summit.

Then, residents could teach developers about the history of their communities, their needs and challenges, and their proposals for change, and developers could bid competitively to address these needs in planning a new design. Donors and foundations could pay for building costs. Residents and Habitat (or Habitat-like secular crews) could contribute sweat equity. Repeat offenders with multiple drug-dealing convictions would be turned down. And residents could rent to own if they so chose.

Call it reparations, if you like. It’s the least this country can do for the working poor of New Orleans, without whom there would be no jazz, no Mardi Gras Indians, and no food worth eating.

Coming up: I’ll post an old story I wrote ca. 1989 about the Desire project and the slick calls for “slum clearance” at that time, which was just history repeating itself even then.

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