The Quarter Rat’s TOP 20 Memes of 2020

(All memes by Eric T. Styles)
The only folks who loved the “Year of the Rat, 2020” were those of us who created memes. Here are the Top 20 Memes from TheQuarterRat.com.

20. We could only find 19 memes, NEXT!

19. I posted this in February before Mardi Gras ’20 as a warning. Back then it was all in the back of our minds about the potential for an outbreak from Corona but no one even dared to utter it. I caught a few comments from “No way! Really think they are?” to “Well, what are we supposed to do? Cancel Mardi Gras? NEVER!”

18. We got to see how the mayor handled hurricanes and natural disasters.

17. It took 10 months to recover three bodies from the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, which occurred in October 2019. Months after the tragedy, a leg of one of the victims dangling from the rubble could be seen from Canal Street. Mayor Cantrell was outraged that a photo was taken of the leg and posted on social media. We were outraged that there was a leg sticking out months later to photograph.

16. Bourbon Street hadn’t been this empty or clean in over 300 years. An eerie silent street with windows boarded up. I was told that it was busier in the days after Katrina than during the shut down. A couple of friends messaged me and asked if I needed help to actually paint this on Bourbon. As tempting as it was, in my older age wisdom I decided not to. Such public messages are only tolerated if it’s approved by the establishment to promote their agenda.

15. If anyone exemplifies a political “Karen” it’s our Mayor.

14. The George Floyd protests came to our city. Thousands went out to protest in various parts of New Orleans over the course of a week. With the exception of a few protesters getting pepper sprayed by cops on the bridge, they were all peaceful. No charges were brought against any city official for the deaths of three and injured dozens of construction workers. Selective outrage.

13. LaToya Cantrell thought that this summer was a great time for a photo-shoot to update her pictures on social media. Like somehow a resting bitch face would instill a sense of confidence in a community locked in their homes from a pandemic and collapsing local economy. I didn’t think the original City Hall background did her justice.

12. Admit it guys, who hasn’t at least once.

11. Ah yes, nothing like the classic memes.

10. The Hard Rock Hotel became a great example of incompetence from the city and it’s hired contractors. “How can we fuck up a collapsed building?” “I know! We’ll set it on fire!”

9. The Quarter Rat publisher kept after me to make a temperature gun meme. I think this one is now my favorite from 2020.

8. Remember when Mayor Cantrell went off on a reporter during a press conference about opening up businesses?

7. For those of you familiar with the humble beginnings of The Quarter Rat Magazine, you would agree that no one would ever dream that it had much potential to ever be taken seriously. In 2020 this web site has shown otherwise. The talent and professionalism of Dave Minsky has shown the QR as an emerging reliable source of news information. City officials now actually take the call without saying “The WHAT?” Don’t get me wrong, self-improvement is a lifelong journey and we still have a lot of work to do. Thanks for keeping the faith.

6. In the spirit of wokeness, DIXIE beer has decided to change it’s name (we know there’s a misspelled word in there; that’s the pint).

5. We couldn’t help noticing that those who pushed for a longer shut down seem also to be the same fucks always bitching about their jobs, getting fired a lot and are, coincidentally, Bernie Sanders supporters. Just saying.

4. Best. Headline. Ever. We may never be able to top this.

And the follow up meme.

3. When it comes to making memes, sometimes things just click.

2. The intent for us is not to make light of deaths of those construction workers. Our condolences go out to their families and loved ones. We do how ever wish to see justice, and want to see those responsible for deaths due to incompetence to be held accountable.

1. As if 2020 hadn’t been scary enough for us, NOLA had the distinction of being threatened by two hurricanes simultaneously. This meme got way more likes and shares than anything else posted. It just shows where all of your heads are at.

What will 2021 hold for us? I’m not optimistic. I think a year from now we will be looking back on 2020 as “The good old days.”

Knock Knock

I’m just a janitor in a dive bar who heard sirens. We in the Quarter generally ignore it as background noise. When I saw emergency vehicles race past the windows going in the opposite direction of the one way on Toulouse Street, I stuck my head out. The next block was taped off due to the stand-off on Dauphine Street. I strolled down, found crime tape marked US MARSHALS draped across the street and unmarked vehicles.

Standing at the tape was a tradesman with a tool bag on the sidewalk next to him. He told me he was trying to go to work but his work truck was in the middle of this unfolding drama. He was the first to tell me about an armed man barricaded in a house and in a stand-off with law enforcement. We watched the US Marshals in full tactical gear pace back and forth with long guns.

I gathered details from both media and the locals standing in front of dive bars. I spoke to several who were familiar with the house and occupants. Apparently, in the weeks prior there had been conflict and drama among roommates. One person (who wished to remain anonymous) said they knew Eddy Roche and claimed to have allegedly snorted drugs with him on several occasions. Recently, according to this individual, Mr. Roche had become very erratic in behavior and had been seen flashing a .22-caliber pistol. A second individual, who was acquainted with one of the roommates, also noted Roche’s behavior had become so unpredictable that the roommates had to move out.

Roche

I was later contacted by a third individual who worked on that block and who stated that he was not surprised that Roche made the news. Those on the block were suspicious of the residence being a location for drug deals. People in and out daily, only staying for a few minutes at a time.

The NOPD narrative is: A contractor thinking the unit was empty, entered and was confronted by Roche who fired several shots at the contractor. The contractor was not struck by gunfire, fled and called the police.  NOPD arrived, the suspect discarded his weapon and retreated to the house and barricaded himself inside.

The “contractor” angle smelled like bullshit. As much work as the structure needed, the tradesman I interviewed said he never saw anyone doing work there before. Was the landlord aware of the conflicts between roommates?

I have other questions: Did he confirm sending a contractor to the location with a key? Was he sent to do work or to evict? Why did the property owner assume the apartment was empty? Did he contact the tenants prior? Having worked as a house painter in rental properties, I never assumed any unit was empty upon first entering. You always knock loud and announce yourself.

I know a Quarter resident who bartends at night and sleeps during the day. She was awoken one afternoon to the sound of mens’ voices in her living room. They were greeted by a naked woman pointing a gun at them screaming “Who the fuck are you and how did you get in?” It was a case of a property manager not making the proper arrangements with the tenant. The manager had relied on a morning text message to the sleeping bartender: “We’ll be over in a few hours to look at the leak in the roof,” and didn’t wait on a confirmation reply.

Something about this part of the story sounds shaky to me. As many times as I have been questioned by cops over the years, I would like to ask the NOPD a few. Did you speak to the property owner to confirm the authenticity of the contractor’s story? Why did he tell the contractor the unit was empty when there may have been at least three occupants? Any sign that this incident might have escalated from a drug deal gone bad?

I went over the next day to take some photos of the house from Dauphine Street from the stand-off. On the stoop was a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of “DC comic Bombshells” and a package of tampons. Wassup with dat?

A jigsaw puzzle and tampons found on the stoop of the house involved the police standoff in ithe 500 block of Dauphine Street Friday. Photo by Eric T. Styles.

These are the questions that have been bouncing around my head as I sweep the floors of a dive bar.

Dr. Sick: Take care of the creative people in your community

(Graphic by Eric T. Styles)
Seventeen years ago, I quit my last full-time job and became an entertainer, artist and occasional jack-of-all-trades. I’ve had very little training in any field except for music, so any side hustle has been incredibly short-lived, less than two months. My chosen industry just did the big math for 2020 losses. Pollstar had predicted a roughly $12 Billion fiscal year and just announced that since the cancellation of concerts since March, we were an estimated $10 Billion short of that prediction.

Billion. $12 Billion. How much of that would have gone to me? Four figures at most. You see, most of my performances aren’t known by PollStar. The bigger dollars that I make are at novelty festivals, like Tales of the Cocktail, or corporate events that want a specific style of music that requires a director’s touch.

Then, of course, there’s playing with Squirrel Nut Zippers and my bands in New Orleans. I know the Zippers are listed on Pollstar’s database (but most of my shows are not). That is how MOST concerts in the U.S. are. Just because you’re listed in the paper for playing at a dive bar, doesn’t mean that you are listed on the national database of concerts; and just because you’re not playing at an arena doesn’t mean that your bills didn’t get paid by live performances. And, shout out to my burlesque dancer family, I can almost guarantee there are only a handful of acts listed on Pollstar, namely Dita Von Tease or anything happening at a corporate venue like House of Blues or theaters, or in Vegas.

But I digress. For the sake of this math, let’s stay within live music performances. Now, a lot of people might think that 12 billion is an inflated figure, but I don’t think that it reflects the blue-collar musicians in the U.S. who, day in and day out, perform in bars and clubs, in the streets and the subways, playing shitty cover band gigs in Bourbon Street (Nola) or 6th Street (Atx) or Broadway (Nashville) or weddings, WHATEVER, just to fund their own music career and pay their bills and still be able to look in the mirror and say “I’m a professional musician, nothing more.” I’d hope that there’s another billion unaccounted for, even if the vast majority of players have to share the table scraps of an incredibly corrupt industry.

“If that’s how you feel, why don’t you quit and get a real job?”

I have rehearsed so many excuses for why I am not qualified for gainful employment in any conventional manner. But I guess the real fact is, when I look in the mirror, I know I’m not supposed to do anything else but make noise and invite people together to be affected by it, for better or worse. I would’ve been the caveman banging rocks and sticks together at the fire pit to bring the hunter gatherers back to camp and to shew the predators. And I’d have been domesticated much like the wolves. Table scraps then, table scraps now. But the only place I’ve ever felt comfortable in this world is behind an instrument.

As this year is coming to a close, we can see the finish line for this hundred year plague. Modern science has moved rapidly in a way it never has before, and although things will be different than before, relative normalcy will return relatively shortly.

I expect the Internet will be treated much the same as the market of yesteryear or the street corner. People playing their guitars and singing their songs trying to make ends meet, and then someone with deep pockets deciding whether they are allowed to make money and survive or not. With public performance, there seems to be a prohibition or bureaucratic red tape.

What I mean is, if you wanna play in the street, it’s either illegal or you need a permit or something like that. That way the rich make money off of the artist class. I can already see Mark Zuckerberg starting to censor people for performances on the platform that he started, and the other platforms that he’s purchased. Basically the same thing as a cop harassing someone for playing harmonica at a bus stop for tips. New Normal. Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.

Whatever happens next, make sure to take care of the creative people in your community. We can be a hyper-sensitive ilk, prone to anxiety and depression. But it’s through those anti rose-colored lenses that we can occasionally interpret the world in a way that draws members of society subconsciously towards undeniable truths of the human condition. That’s a fancy way of saying for instance, “Hank Williams had his problems, but when he sang about them it made me feel like I wasn’t alone”

That said, I’m going to do a couple more online shows this year. Next Friday my band will be held hostage by the Consortium of Genius, 8 p.m. Then I think I’ll do my one man version of Nightmare Before Christmas in the days leading up to said holiday.

I feel very fortunate for all of the support I’ve gotten from friends, family and fans, and I hope I’ve helped y’all relax into this necessary temporary isolation, which I suppose in a way is the exact opposite what my caveman artists and ancestors are prone to do. On one hand, they inspired people to congregate, whereas I’ve attempted to inspire social distance. On the other hand, the caveman and I have the common goal of keeping our community alive, and I plan to continue along that path until it’s my turn to rest.

If you made it this far, thanks for letting me rant. Now let’s all wash our hands while singing the chorus to Jolene twice.

Dr. Sick’s Sextette will perform live on Escape from the Secret Lab, a live and interactive online musical game show, at 8 p.m. CST on Friday, Dec. 18. For more information, visit the event page.

Dr. Sick is a burlesque manager and a member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. He can be reached at fiddlekiller.com, by email fiddlekiller@gmail.com, on Facebook and Instagram @fiddlekiller. This post was slightly edited for clarity and the original version can be found here.

Making groceries

So Rouses Market is closed for renovations until December 21. I had put off shopping last week until last Monday only to find it just closed. They were wheeling out displays, coolers etc. The place was totally gutted. Even with everything out of there, it still looks small.

I waited until Monday because I hate going in there on the weekend with the fucking tourists. There is one tiny shopping cart in the entire store that is used by the staff when stocking shelves. Numerous times, I have had to squeeze past a tourist couples who managed to find the cart empty and decided that they should use it to hold their three items as they stroll up and down every narrow isle browsing. Looking at the “genuine Cajun seasonings” or picking up and putting down the bags of Hurricane mix while us locals are shopping with baskets. Great, they decided to bring the cart with two sandwiches and a bag of chips to the fucking check out isle. Oh look, four people and two baby strollers came in to buy one bottle of wine. Please, take your time.

I love the employees, Tony, Miss Treva, Xavier, Mandy, they all make it like visiting friends. Great staff. Most of the customers make me hate shopping there. One time, I had to squeeze by a cliché hipster in front of the beer section. He was annoying just to look at. The perfectly trimmed beard, those stupid black framed glasses that probably didn’t even have lenses in them, silly tight pants and a T-shirt with a logo for something that he didn’t even know to what. One flash art tattooed arm against his stomach with the other elbow resting on it as he stroked his beard. He was intensely studying the ridiculous array of beers.

I went down to grab cold cuts and bread and walked back, he was still there scowling deep in thought. I continued to dart up and down the isles I needed to grabbing my basics. As I doubled back around he was still there in front of the beer in the same pose.  “WTF DUDE? You act like you’re picking out an engagement ring or something.” I grabbed the last of my standard dietary staples and stood in line.

Who should get in line behind me? Harry Hipster. I had to look at what strange brew he finally decided upon. “PBR? REALLY?! I spent less time picking out the last car I bought. You stood there for at least eight minutes, obstructing shoppers as you read the label of every pretentious pickled trout flavored lager only to pick up a six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. I hate you and everyone like you.”

Another time I had a basket packed to the top as I grabbed pack of cheese. This scruffy looking white guy strolls up next to me and flashes his Louisiana Purchase card and whispers “Fifty cent on the dollar.” I responded “No thanks,” and started to stroll off. He followed: “Come on man, you’ll be getting all of that stuff for half price.”  “No,” I said. “Why not man, don’t you want to save a few bucks?” “No, because it’s theft.” Indignantly he snapped: “It ain’t stolen, it’s mine. I need the cash.” I just walked off. I wasn’t even going to try explain to the morally bankrupt commie why it was wrong.

I wonder if this renovation was just a typical corporate makeover or is it to improve “social distancing.” If it is COVID-19 related that means an isle or two will have to be removed, thus reducing the selection of products. For a small store, they managed to squeeze in most anything a non-food snob could ask for. If they are going to reduce anything let it be the fucking beer selection. They had twelve feet of beers and only eight feet of fresh produce.

Until it re-opens ,we in the Quarter will have to shop for our groceries at CVS or Walgreens, which is essentially like grocery shopping at vending machines. Perhaps Toulouse Grocery, with their stoic staff.

Just no clue

The patron Saint of being unaware.

We have seen countless examples around the country of clueless Governors, Mayors and political hacks being oblivious to public optics. Locking down cities, closing businesses and placing Draconian regulations on the general public all the while exempting themselves from the very rules they institute. Hypocrites? Perhaps they just lack the self awareness that they are not above those that they govern.

Mayor Cantrell posted the following on Twitter:

An alter holding a prayer candle with her photo on it “Phase 2, What did I say?” What kind of an arrogant mindset would think that this was appropriate? I’m only barely religious and never have been a Catholic, but I was shocked by this. If it was given to her as a gag gift, fine. Just keep it in your kitchen as a chuckle for friends and family. To place it on a shrine surrounded by crosses and a relief of the Last Supper and post it on social media is totally oblivious the optics.

I recognize that the leftist Democrats hold things like religion and God in contempt. It’s all open to ridicule. Except for Islam which they are quick to defend. You know, the religion that oppresses women and still openly practices slavery.

Previous posts of hers have shown her view of New Orleans to be homogeneous city of just the African-American culture. No recognition of the dozen or so other cultures that are woven together that make up the city. Catholicism is a major influence in this community. To place herself in the same position as Saints shows not just narcissism, but insensitivity to the beliefs of others. Whether she intended to mock a major religion or not, that is how it came across.

The tweet was deleted after a few of us commented on how clueless she seemed to be concerning the beliefs of others.

Take a look at how she proposed to handle Mardi Gras 2021. To have the floats be set up stationary and small groups to be allowed to approach the floats (while remaining six feet apart) while those on the floats hand them throws. They could not be called “float riders” since they would be stationary and also standing at a safe distance. Also no alcohol. Add to that ingenious plan the arrow stickers on Bourbon Street intended to keep opposing foot traffic on opposite sides of the street. Has she even been to a parade or walked Bourbon Street?

Mayors in every major city around America are showing what power crazed tyrants they want to be. Evidently being a political tyrant isn’t enough, now they have to strive to be a deity. I get a kick out of some of her sycophantic followers on social media praising her lock down and chastising those of us who want the city to re-open. “Do you want people to die?” Well, Latoya can just wave her hand and bring them back to life I now assume.

Mayor Cantrell, if you really want to be viewed as a religious figure, might I suggest Shiva the destroyer.

LaShiva the Destroyer

The Latoya Phase 2 candle is available on MY HOOD EXCHANGE for only $18.50