Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mardi Gras A.K., Part I

The Carnival season is starting, and high time. As you would expect, this year we have a great opportunity for a little dark humor. I wish I could take credit for these, but they're not mine. They come from an interview Angus Lind did with a member (code named Deep Float) of one of the less sane Mardi Gras organizations called Krewe du Vieux for the Times-Picayune, February 10 edition. Many apologies, but the blog creator is having one of its "what do you mean, create a paragraph?" days. Just read 'em: 1. It's not a parade route, it's a projected path. The final destination of the parade is its landfall. 2. FEMA's just another word for nothing left to lose. 3. The parade theme is "C'est Levee!", a pun on "C'est la vie!" Couple that with "C'est la guerre" transformed into "C'est la mer," and you end up with "That's life, that's war" turned into "That's the levee, that's the sea." 4. Every float will probably break down along the parade route, and FEMA will be there two months later to fix them. They're designed for only a Category 2 parade. 5. Katrina gave new meaning to the terms "open house" and "waterfront property." 6. Life's a breach, and sometimes you just have to go with the contraflow. Some themes for parade floats: 7. A Day at the Breach. 8. Fridge over Troubled Water. 9. "Attention, K-Mart Looters." 10. A new Carnival throw: floating key chains. The next time you're swimming from your house to your car, you won't lose your keys. (Of course, your car won't move, either...) Stay tuned for more Mardi Gras After Katrina goodies...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Food, glorious food!

This morning our local Whole Foods store reopened. I had a mental list of local places I missed tremendously since the local coffee house, a favorite neighborhood grocery, and Whole Foods. Now all three of them are open. It is a glorious morning in New Orleans, headed for seventy degrees, the sun is shining, and Whole Foods is open. Yes, I had to park three blocks away. It was a wonderful day for a walk. I just had to make sure I didn't buy more than I could carry in my arms back to the car. (Sorry, the blog creator is in one of its moods today and won't let me create new paragraphs.) The store was jammed, and everybody (including me) had to tell every store employee, "We are so glad you are back!" I stuffed my basket with fruits and veggies, salad goodies, Italian chicken sausage, no-mad-cow ground beef, and other delights. (imagine a paragraph break) This store hadn't been open very long B.K. -- maybe a year or two. It is housed in a wonderful renovation of an old city bus garage called Arabella Station. The old metal building was rusted out and a neighborhood eyesore, and when Whole Foods announced it wanted to build a huge store there, guess what? The neighborhood opposition was enormous! Why? Well, the local businesses were afraid it would take up all the parking in the neighborhood. (The indoor parking lot at the back of the building holds maybe 50 or 100 cars, but unless you go early in the morning, it's always full.) And it was "too big." And, the real reason: it would cut into the business of the already established groceries in the area -- two large chain stores, two smaller neighborhood groceries, and a prepared foods shop just across the street. Well, I'm sure it did -- but I notice the other stores are still in business, even A.K. Nevertheless, Whole Foods overcame the opposition and opened the store. And it has been a boon for consumers. Sure, organic stuff costs more, and I pay more for produce there than I do at the chain supermarket three blocks away. But it's better produce! I have seen stuff for sale in the local supermarket that, if I were the produce manager, I would be embarrassed to have out there. Apples with wrinkled skins. Rotten tomatoes. That sort of thing. Whole Foods forced them to improve the quality of their produce -- and even offer an aisle of natural and organic products. So there. (imagine a paragraph break) Welcome back, Whole Foods! Every store that reopens A.K. is a cause for rejoicing, and we sure are glad to have you back in the neighborhood!