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March 19, 2009

Five minutes after I got to work this morning, Boss Lady gave me the bad news. Olivia’s husband died last night. He had bone cancer, the kind you don’t recover from. He went into the hospital in December and essentially never came out. I didn’t know Michael well, only met him a couple times. But Olivia feels like a member of the family, and so Michael is also family be extension. On top of it all I think Olivia has the flu or something right now. She’s been seriously ill for the last week. So this is a lot to deal with.

However, I couldn’t spend much time thinking about it this morning, because after a cup of coffee and checking my e-mail, I had to run off to the Ruby Slipper. I was meeting a group of students from the New School, a university in New York. They had come to spend their spring break in New Orleans, studying the recovery. I learned just before meeting them that they’d been caught in the middle of a gun battle yesterday. The news report on Fox 8 was pretty hair-raising; a witness said there were 50-60 rounds fired and compared it to a war zone. The students I met at the Ruby Slipper, though part of the same group, were not the ones caught in the gunfire. They also were quick to point out the news reports were overblown. It was not 50-60 rounds, more like five or six. Their teacher chalked the exaggeration up to biased reporting by Fox News. (I was skeptical of this casual analysis. I believe that Fox 8 is an independent affiliate and I haven’t noticed them sharing the bias for which Fox News is famous. Then again, come to think of it, Bob Breck is an outspoken skeptic of global warming… Hmmm. Maybe I need to rethink this.) They also said that’s why they refused to talk to the media about it, which I thought was interesting.

Over brunch, we talked about education and neighborhood organizing in post-Katrina New Orleans. Claudia Barker of New Orleans Outreach was there to guide the first discussion, and Jennifer Weishaupt of Mid-City Neighbrohhod Organization led the second. Karen Gadfly Gadbois and David Thaddeus Baker were also there on behalf of the Urban Conservancy and Stay Local. David and I follow each other on Twitter but had never met before in real life.

Brunch was delicious. I got the Eggs Blackstone, a variation on Eggs Benedict.

Noonish, I got my turn. I led the group on a meandering walk from the Ruby Slipper to the site formerly known as Lindy Boggs Medical Center (where they recoiled in horror at the deep water in the old emergency room) and on to the end of Bayou St. John to gaze up and down the Lafitte Corridor. Unfortunately they were not properly shod for traipsing up the corridor itself, which is still a little rough even though the sheriff had the underbrush cut back. Flip-flops and sandals are not good for such terrain. Even standing on the concrete bike path on Jeff Davis, one student got attacked by fire ants. I felt bad for her. We walked up Orleans Avenue and then Toulouse and finally cut over on Scott back to the corridor, emerging on Carrollton between Rouse’s and the Home Depot.

All the while, I was outlining the story of Friends of Lafitte Corridor and the greenway project. Hopefully they got something out of it. We ended at Massey’s for a photo-op.

I went back to the office and dealt with various random loose ends for the rest of the afternoon.

On the way home from work I noticed I was feeling a mild but undeniable surge of energy, a slightly manic edge to everything. As crazy as it seems I’ve noticed these surges seem to reliably coalesce around the solstices and equinoxes.

It struck me that I think of my blog as a journal but I don’t really write that way here, and I wondered if I shouldn’t give it a try.

The new neighbor girls across the street have been running around barefoot, and they both managed to cut their feet. Xy gave them first aid. They said their parents were asleep. I urged them to wear shoes.

For dinner we had artichokes and grilled ribs. Persephone is continuing to take more and more steps. I decided today that she has finally passed some indistinct threshold and we might as well say she’s walking.

Xy had a lot of work to do, so I bathed the girl and put her to bed. Once she was asleep I shaved my beard and head to mark the impending vernal equinox, which is tomorrow morning at 6:44 AM. I decided I’m bring the mohawk back. Not the fauxhawk, mind you. I’m talking about the real deal. Pictures tomorrow if I can manage it.

Published inJournal


  1. Garvey Garvey

    B, can you point to any peer-review, published studies on media bias at Fox, or is this simply taken as a leftist article of faith?

    Sometimes bad reporting is just bad reporting.

  2. Aw hell, Garvey, I just put the Fox News reference in there to bait you. It worked!

    But seriously, I don’t feel I need a peer-reviewed study to confirm that Fox News has a conservative bias. I can also spot rampant Democratic boosterism on MSNBC. Can’t you? I see headlines everyday and at a glance it’s easy to compare and see the different spin from different organizations.

    If you look around, I think you’ll find any number of respectable studies that bear this out. For example, from our alma mater, consider Mike Conway’s study: Villains, Victims, and the Virtuous in the “No-Spin Zone” published in Journalism Studies, Vol. 8, No 2, 2007.

    There are more. But it’s not my intention to debate this issue. I really did include the reference to Fox News with the thought that it would draw a response from you, Garvey. You’re very reliable!

  3. jamie jamie

    @ garvey

    below you’ll find a peer-reviewed article supporting your point, “Sometimes bad reporting is just bad reporting.” this u of maryland study found viewers of fox news have, on average, more inaccurate understandings of current events than the general population. that does NOT prove political bias. and if fox news is simply doing bad reporting, it’s good to know they’re consistent.

  4. Garvey Garvey

    I know you did, and I didn’t let you down. (Nor do I refute bias in all outlets–just jerkin’ yer chain.)

  5. Eric Paul Eric Paul

    I’m very sorry to hear of the passing of Olivia’s husband. I never met the man myself, but I’d always found her a remarkable person full of humor and joy. I remember when I played for her last year during the coming Christmas break and she wept at my piece “Last Laid to Rest”, it really touched me that she was so moved. I didn’t know then that her partner was in hospital. If you can send me her e-mail address (mine is I’d like to offer my condolences.

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