Honored Guests

So, it’s a beautiful autumn day on Jackson Square in the French Quarter. The press photographers gather outside of 520 Saint Peters Street waiting for the front-page shot. France’s President Emmanuel Macron steps out onto the second-floor wrought iron balcony festooned with the red, white and blue flags of our nations. Photos taken from behind him are views of the square and the historic Saint Louis Cathedral. The press is surrounded by street performers, musicians and artists with their paintings hanging on an iron fence topped by fleur de dis.

(Scratching record sound effect)
Nope, not this visit.
This is the first French President to visit France’s former colony in 45 years. In 1976 we were visited by leader Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and by Charles de Gaulle in 1941. Wouldn’t it be great if we could offer the best view and accommodations to our special guest of such a prestige? The City of New Orleans did have such a place. It’s since been converted into “Teedy’s Boom-Boom Room.”

Just 10 years ago myself and a good friend, Robert Hotalen, were painting contractors hired by the Upper Pontalba property management to renovate that very apartment. We considered it to be quite a privilege, not just to be hired to work on a historic 1850s era structure, but also this particular apartment.

We gushed over the assignment and asked the property manager many questions. His response from what i remember:
“The mayor doesn’t actually live here, it’s primary purpose is to be a guest residence for visiting dignitaries and VIPs. The mayor may host parties here for special events or hold meet and greats.”
“Hold campaign fund-raisers and the like?”
“Oh no. He wouldn’t be permitted to use it for that since its a city owned property. It’s only for city affairs and special visitors.”

It’s not like Macron would be there for long. It would function like a base of operations during his brief visit. A secure location for him and his entourage. From the standpoint of security, it’s ideal. One main front entrance, a small courtyard only shared with the adjacent 522 Saint Peters Street location. The stairway only shared by two other apartments with full-time residents.

A short walk down Lower Decatur Street, (OK, maybe beef up the security on that route) to visit one of the few remaining statues in the city. A gift from France in 1972, the statue of Joan of Arc is still an impressive landmark. “Joany on a pony” as we locals like to affectionately refer to her. Show the people of France that we do still have it and mostly graffiti free. A majestic monument to transgenderism. Again, a magnificent photo opportunity for both the press and the city.

Maybe followed by a stroll up to the river, a city skyline as a backdrop to answer reporter’s questions and more pictures. A short walk back to the Pontalba apartment to return important phone calls and state business. Perhaps an overnight stay or probably just a quick shit and shower before he hops in a limo to the airport to jet back to Frogland.

New Orleans needs all of the positive press it can get at this point. Most images hash tagged #Neworleans lately have been those from blurry security camera stills of hooded figures pointing firearms at crowds. It’s a tourism downer to be known as the deadliest city in America. It’s about optics, something our mayor has no clue as to the meaning of.

Back when I was painting the 12-foot-high walls I imagined what the finished room would look like. Adorned with valuable fine art on loan from collections, antique furniture that wouldn’t see daily use, only for very special guests. I hate to think how it must look now. I envision bean-bag chairs and a day-glow poster of Snoop Dog hanging over the marble fireplace. The apartment probably smells like the VIP room at a strip club by now.

Maybe the city can book him a room at the Four Seasons on Bourbon Street. After all, it’s where the old French Opera House use to stand before it burned down. President Macron can stroll Bourbon Street for the international press. Toss a few Euros to the bucket kids, toss a couple more Euros to the dude who knew where he got his shoes. We’ll even comp him a Fishbowl drink.

The local press giggling at Macron’s security getting jumpy at the sounds of gunfire from Rampart Street by people who never even heard of Macron. Thanks Latoya. We really wish to be seen as a world class city, not a worldstar city. A chance to polish the image of the city in eyes of the world and you blew it like, well, you know, a cop.

Banks Street Bar

Did the Banks Street Bar new owner really fire every employee? Sounds like it. That sucks, but there are plenty of other jobs out there. Good luck to you all.

“The new owner is an asshole!”
Well, ok. That happens sometimes, sounds like a bit of fortune being put into a position to have to move onto better things. Lots of good employers out there looking for good help.

“He lives in a mansion and pays his employees shit!”
Ok, another reason to move on. If he has difficulty keeping good staff, he will have no choice but to increase wages. Supply and demand apply to human resources as well.

The business was sold and the new owner decided to clean house and start with fresh staff. Sometimes it’s easier to start with new staff and reorganize than trying to correct issues. Is it a mistake? Time will tell. His money, his choice.

Most employers would rather hire someone with little or no experience and train them in how to do things than hire someone with “years of experience.” If you buy a business, the old staff will be reluctant to any changes, falling back on: “But this is how we always do it.”

An inexperienced applicant with a good attitude will more likely get the position than the industry veteran who is sure that he knows how everything should be run. Perhaps the new owner has a slightly higher standard of performance than the previous.

Someone who buys an established business is purchasing the name, location, equipment and the like. They are not buying the staff. The last I checked the buying and selling of workers was illegal in most states.

Sorry you are looking for a new job. You are not entitled to that job or any other. Their business, their choice of who to employ. Every job is just a contract. “You do this, I’ll pay you that.” Either one of you break the terms of the contract, the other can walk away.

I’m laughing at the comments on social media. I can picture all of them as co-workers. The ones who make it a point to take a shit on company time and boast about it. “I got one over on the boss! 20 minutes on the bowl playing with my phone.” While your co-workers had to pick up the slack. So much for the worker’s collective.

We’ve all worked with such people. Those who steal from the boss and justify it with, “He doesn’t pay me what I am worth.” Those who spit in customers’ food and back-stab co-workers at the drop of a hat. Often, it’s easier to just tear down and build new than to try repairing what’s there.

An employer owes you nothing more than the agreed upon pay on schedule.

Fuck Europe

I had a bit of a discussion on social media concerning high speed rail development in the United States. I pointed out the short comings of the high speed system under construction in California. Billions of cost over runs and impracticality of route plans. It will never be completed. A gentleman in Australia deflected the debate to the United States defense budget. Ok, let’s go there Mr. Lefty. 

I 100% agree with you. Let’s decrease the U.S. defense budget by at least 50% to start. Abandon all of our European bases, bring the troops home. Fuck Europe, Putin can have those Dark Age ingrates. Judging by the politics of Europe, those EU peasants love taxation and tyranny.  

Had we known, we could have pulled out of Europe in the 1950’s and let Stalin have you. Our bad, we meddled. In the past 70 years or so, it seems South Korea was the only success story from U.S. intervention. Ask an elderly South Korean how things turned out for them. If you disagree with that notion, then you probably got your history degree from a bad 1970’s TV sit-com.  

Americans drop loads of cash to travel over there to see your dusty old buildings and you treat them like shit. Every person I know who have gone to your rickety old continent have said there were a few cool things, but the people are snobby and condescending. Especially the French. Even the rest of Europe really don’t like the French. There is plenty of cool shit to see on our continent, keep those U.S. dollars on our own damn soil. We’ll produce less carbon by traveling domestically too. 

Let Putin have you, his empire can spread from sea to shining sea just like ours. However if he fucks with us, we’ll turn Moscow into a sun. We’ll pull out of NATO and the United Nations and you lot can fight it out with swords and pitchforks again. It will be God’s choice of who wins and rules over you just like times of old. 

We just gave Ukraine $45 billion that we didn’t really have until we printed it. Along with the other billions we scatter across the globe to keep U.S. puppets in office. Let’s say that’s $50 billion dollars we pissed away this year on people that don’t even like us and we have to buy drinks for just to get them to talk to us. A sad and pathetic foreign policy.  

If we are going to print out money, keep it here. $50 billion divided up among 50 states would have been a billion for each state to fix their own infrastructure. So every state can now have a pork barrel high speed train that carries a dozen passengers a day.  

Combine your own militaries. Put Great Britain in charge of the Navy, it’s the one thing they seem to get right. Even when the Limies lose they strut around boasting about how gallantly lost. Don’t let them have anything to do with the mess halls. Let the Italians handle catering. Anyone who has ever dined with an Italian family will tell you, you won’t go hungry.  

Don’t let the French near the food no matter how much they insist. It will be in tiny portions and will be way over budget. Or tanks, don’t let the French have anything to do with the tanks. They will end up with one forward gear and three reverse. What can France add to the conflict? The same as always, the battlefield.  

The Swedes can build the aircraft. They will be just like their cars, reliable but ugly. Sorry England, the days of the Spitfire and Harrier jet are over. The Frogs are still trying to figure out how to put reverse on a Mirage jet.  

Let the Germans handle the army and tanks. Yea I know, not the greatest win record. This will be a grudge match. The Krauts can produce their infamous over-engineered tanks. With the rest of Europe on their side , they stand a better chance. Just check the calendar this time guys.  

Leftists always use the same tropes: “Waa, we spend three times as much on defense than the other countries. Waa, Europe has free healthcare, and we don’t.” Yea, no shit. Americans have spent trillions over the decades keeping other countries’ asses safe while we get reduced to a second world standard of living.  

Let Russians, or the Moors or Mongols invade you, it will be just like the good old days for you Medieval fucktards. Our fat American asses will be eating burgers and watching it all unfold on TV. 

Next time I will present arguments for the invasion of Canada.