You are just so Punk

So did you go down and get the COVID jab? Did the needle go through your “BORN TO DIE” tattoo? I bet you were wearing your favorite “SUICIDAL TENDENCIES” sleeveless T-shirt too. You look so anti-establishment with that anarchy symbol on your state-mandated face mask.

Nothing to do Nowhere to go
I wanna be vax’nated
I can’t go to the airport

And I can’t get on a plane
Worry worry worry
now here I go insane
I like to point my fingers
Fauci controls my brain

Oh no oh ho oh oh

Please don’t try to come across as a tough rock and roller who is a rebelliousness and fearless individual while simultaneously lecturing others on the importance of being vaccinated and wearing a mask. “Because our government and mainstream media says we have to. I don’t want to die!”

You’re not being very Punk, you’re being very very Karen.

I hung out with a few punks back in the early 1990’s. I was drawn to the “anti-establishment” narrative of the culture, but soon saw through the facade. A group of rebels is an oxymoron. “We’re rebels, you can tell because we all dress like this and listen to this music.” Rejecting establishment norms of status and conformity by creating their own society of status and conformity. Explain to me again how you are different to the YUPPIES?

While I’m at it, let me go off on the smelly hippies too. For nearly six goddamned decades, I have been getting lectured by all of you concerning healthy living. Healthy eating and meditation boosts your immune system. Then the vegans go off on how they are healthier than mere mortals because they don’t consume animals. Meat and dairy are bad for the immune system, so you should be OK then.

You’re all about organic foods and holistic medicine, so I bet you wouldn’t take the jab in a million years. Big pharmaceuticals are the bad guys, correct? Price fixing, price gouging, dangerous side effects, addiction to products, high profits, lab animal research, CEOs earning tens of millions and pulling strings in Washington D.C. Just such evil men controlling the industry.

But wait, did someone say FREE vaccine?

Let’s scroll down your social media posts, “capitalism bad,”tax the rich,” “Fuck Trump,” a kitten meme, oh look here! “I just got my first shot from Pfizer, I feel safer already!” Virtue signaling, propaganda and an endorsement of a billion dollar corporation all in the same post. Facebook is so proud of you. By the way hippy, I’m wearing a mask and staying six feet away from you not because of COVID, but because you smell.

I’m not saying that all of you are a bunch of pussies, but the vaccine really should come in a douche version too. Just saying.

Word of the day…

I have a bad gut feeling about this storm.
Given the “looks intentional” cluster fuck still unfolding in Afghanistan, I sure the hell hope we don’t need any Federal help after the storm. I don’t think anyone in Washington DC have any American’s best interest at heart. I mean, they wouldn’t leave us stranded, would they?


“But why would they intentionally not come to New Orleans’ aid after the storm?”

DISTRACTION. This storm is a stroke of luck for anyone in power who wanted to distract from one cluster fuck to another. This time they can blame climate change for a disaster instead of being blamed for it. It would be a welcomed change to the headlines and trending topics. Americans stuck on roofs plays better than Americans stuck in Kabul.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell announced on Friday that there was no time for evacuations and we need to shelter in place.

I know that no matter what happens or how this turns out, Joe Biden won’t let us down.

Pop Tarts are racist

(Art by Eric T. Styles)
Breakfast pastries have been a symbol of White supremacy and colonialism since honkies first learned to bake. Brought to America by imperialistic Europeans and forced upon itndigenous Americans early in the morning.

Just look at the names of breakfast baked goods: the Danish, the English muffin, French croissant and toast, Belgian waffles. The names reek of the stench from these European invaders.

The contemporary morning toaster pastry that has come to symbolize “American systematic racism and white supremacy” is the incarnation of the suburban atrocity we call “Pop Tarts.”

First off: The word “tart” is offensive to sex workers and should not be allowed. Combined with the word “POP” it implies indifference to violence against sex workers. Just educate yourself and be a better person.

A spokesman from the “French Quarter Think Tank on Stuff” points out the inherent racism that is baked into Pop Tarts. In a condescending tone of virtue he states the following:

“The blatant and overt racism of Pop Tarts has to be addressed. Look at the flavors, only white people would like the bland selection of flavors. vanilla creme and blueberry? No non-White person would eat that. If the Pop Tart people really wanted to bring equity to breakfast, they would offer flavors like barbecue and hot sauce. That would go a long way to bringing healing to this nation.”

The spokesperson really cranked cringe up to eleven by continuing:
“It’s also wrong to assume that minority communities have access to toasters, many don’t. If they do, their electric may have been shut off from non payment and they are forced to eat the Pop Tart cold.”

We hung up on him at that point.

I am literally shaking right now.

How everyone in the French Quarter could die

(Art by Eric T. Styles)
There are hundreds of ways that any one of us could die in the French Quarter. Let’s take a look at one way we could all die together.

Solar flares or an electromagnetic pulse. It’s estimated a large scale event could kill millions in the months following a massive solar flare and mass ejection towards the Earth. The large loss of life would occur in every major city effected. A large solar flare such as the one that took place in 1856 known as the Carrington Event would devastate our modern electronic dependent modern world.

Similarly, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) could be produced by a massive nuclear explosion high in the atmosphere above the continental United States by such nations as China or Russia. Such a blast would be delivered by new hyper-sonic weapons that the U.S. currently have no defense system to prevent. Given global tensions today, this is not so far fetched.

Either event would result in our electrical grid being shut down not for days, but possibly years. Replacing large transformers without an operating infrastructure would be near impossible. A strong enough blast would have the ability to fry nearly every electronic device. Everything from transportation to communication devices would instantly become useless.

Cities would take the brunt of the disaster. No electric means no fuel, no transportation for food deliveries or water distribution. You thought Katrina was bad? There won’t be any hope for outside assistance since every major city and town will be in the same situation. What little government and military still functioning will be looking after their own.

Let’s imagine the event’s effect on the French Quarter. To make it even more interesting we’ll have it happen on a busy holiday weekend like Labor Day. Every hotel booked, Bourbon Street filled with drunken tourists in the middle of the day.

THE FIRST FEW HOURS:
There won’t be any warning. Just a “boop” as power goes out and all trucks and cars stall in their place. Most all vehicles made after 1990 have a computer in them. The worst part for all of us will be the total absence of any information. No TV or radio broadcasts, no Emergency alerts on our devices, just darkness literally and figuratively. People today flip out if they can’t get a wi-fi signal or their device runs out of battery life. Imagine if every device just turned off and wouldn’t even power on.

Crowded bars and restaurants go dark, the music stops and a collective panic sets in when we all look down at our blank screens. If caused by man in an upper atmosphere blast, we might hear a distant rumble a few minutes after when the sound wave reaches us. Any critical thinker would realize that this isn’t a simple power outage that may resume operation in a few hours. Battery powered devices turning off and all traffic stalling in place would be the ominous sign something bigger has happened.

Imagine being a manager of a crowded club. Both guests and employees would become increasingly panicked. Forget closing out the tabs, no registers, no ATMs, no credit card machines. Push the guests out and lock the doors. Employees will want to go home, let them. They will be worried about their loved ones and you will be too. It will be a long hot walk home, grab some water for the journey.

Where will the tourist go? Back to their dark and excessively hot hotel rooms? Loiter in the streets nursing their last drinks? Gather and spread rumors? Was it was China? Russia? UFOs? If you think that they are demanding and high maintenance in the best of times, imagine them all in an emergency. The looting will start before it’s even nighttime. Tourists and locals alike will push themselves into Rouses, the drug stores and any shop with food and liquor. The collapse of order will happen with in hours.

NOPD
It’s possible that New Orleans city government may have a communication system hardened and protected enough from such a event to stay in contact with state government, which in turn would have lines to the federal agencies. It would still take hours before the full scale of the disaster would become apparent. The only reliable transportation available to NOPD would their horses. Inter-departmental communications would probably not be sophisticated enough to function after the blast.

It would be optimistic to expect the police to place their own personal concerns for family after that of the city. Is it reasonable to expect the law enforcement to maintain order without vehicles, communication in complete and total darkness while they are thinking about their own families in other parts of the city? If any remain on duty, they will be used to protect the wealthy areas and important institutions like the banks and casino.

Don’t expect to see the National Guard riding in to save the day anytime soon. Those who do actually report for duty will be put to work in Baton Rouge. No trucks with MREs and water, no crowd control, no relief.

By midnight most every shutter has been pried open and every bar and restaurant has been ransacked by tourists and a few locals. Don’t be an idiot by sitting out on your balcony with a warm beer and your last bag of chips rubber-necking at the unfolding chaos below you. You will be seen as a “have” by the “have-nots.”

Were you a big fan of ridiculous zombie apocalypse films? Always fantasized about how cool the anarchy would be? Good news, it’s here, the bad news is that you will be one of the zombies soon. Remember those AR-15s with a 30-round magazine that “No one needs?” I bet you wish you had a couple of them now.

Before dawn of the next day, someone will start a fire. Forget NOFD, their trucks don’t run and most went home to protect their families. After a night of smashing of windows, periodic gunfire and constant yelling the smell of smoke will drift across the French Quarter. Unlike previous fires that ravaged the Quarter in the past, there will be no bucket brigades or effort to extinguish the flames. Large swaths will burn for days with the slightest breeze from the river.

Other parts of the city are not fairing much better. The collapse was hastened in the French Quarter by the presence of thousands of tourists. Uptown where all of the highly educated elites live they too are suffering. Most probably don’t have more than two days worth of food in their large homes. The university professor with a doctorate in political theory is outraged that Uber Eats isn’t delivering during The Battle of Armageddon.

Perhaps it’s time to get out of the French Quarter. You and your friends gather up what little supplies that you have left and hop on your bicycles. You have to pedal through a few neighborhoods to find the promised land. Without cars operating, suddenly bicycles are a very valuable possession. You will head north. Without a phone with GPS it’s next to impossible for you to tell directions, you’ll follow the road signs. You bicycled across the Netherlands, Louisiana will be a piece of cake.

You have a Glock, so you are not concerned. You fired it a couple of times at the firing range and have watched all of the John Wick films so you have a few tricks up your sleeve. Confronted by a group of men, you pull your gun and before you can utter a clever threat you get shot in the back a few times. As you bleed out you get to watch your girlfriend being gang raped. How’s that action hero fantasy working out for you?

If you are fortunate enough to escape the city limits, a long hot ride through the suburbs awaits for you. You come across a looted supermarket. Unsurprisingly all of the vegetarian and soy products are untouched. You gather what you can carry and pedal on until you find a spot to camp for the night. Those hundreds of hours playing the video game “Fallout” have paid off, you got the skills. Perhaps you should have grabbed a can opener and bug spray back at the store.

All of you talk about finding a farm where you can start a commune. None of you have any farming experience, never hunted or fished and really don’t like physical labor. The farmers that are there can do all of that. You have other talents to lend to the new community. One of you has a college degree in women’s studies. They will be the school teacher for the farmer’s kids. They’ll teach the kids reading, math and critical race theory.

You can play the guitar. With no electronic media, the farmers with love you as you sit under a tree playing the few songs you know but they don’t while they work in the hot sun for 12 hours a day to feed everyone. The rural farmers will be so thankful that you sophisticated city folk have arrived to make their lives better.

You spot the first farm house, it’s huge. A barn, large vegetable garden, corn field and chickens. This will be your new home. As you pedal up the long dirt driveway, two men armed with long guns greet you. They seem a little scary, but with your superior intellect you can manipulate them into taking all of you in as one of their own. Perhaps you may even become the leader of the community like Mao.

The farmer who is unsure what has happened, with the loss of all electricity and electronics and only wild speculation as to what the outside world is going through. He sees a group of oily, dirty 20-somethings with purple hair, face piercings and tattoos trespass onto his property. His family nervously wait inside and are also heavily armed as he and his brother go outside to speak to the strangers.

Before you can finish your well-thought-out speech about fairness and entitlement, they point the barrels in your faces and tell you to turn around. Maybe if you start crying it will soften them up, it always worked with your parents. Or maybe not. You threaten to call the cops but stop mid sentence and turn around to pedal on to the next farm up the road. Perhaps the next farm won’t be Trump supporters.

All of you stop along the country road for a good cry and plot to come back that night to steal vegetables that you are so rightfully entitled to. The next day your dead bodies are fed to the hogs.

The End.

City Hall in Treme

When I came to New Orleans more than a decade ago and first drove by the present City Hall, I guffawed. The boring lackluster modern design of it should be expected for municipal buildings built in 1957. The pebble concrete exterior is darkened with decades of mold and dirt. A yearly pressure wash was never in the budget, apparently. Add to that the incredibly tacky and poorly installed neon signage that crowns it, which equals cringe-level architecture. The city is forced to lease additional space in nearby buildings to accommodate workers. Perhaps it is time for a new City Hall.

A few large vacant buildings could be renovated to house the city government. The phallic shaped eyesore Plaza Tower, located at 1001 Howard Ave., comes to mind.

Recently, shards of the neglected facade that have come crashing to the ground only highlighted the urgency to do something with the building. This month, proposals have been brought forth for high end condos and hotel space. Hopefully it will come to fruition, unlike previous proposals. It’s in the best location, not far from the existing municipal buildings.

Purchase use the old Charity Hospital and renovate that. The building is not only structurally sound, but a beautiful example of Art Deco design built in 1939. Sure it would be costly to renovate it to current standards, but it would be preserving a historically significant structure that is important to the appeal of New Orleans.

The mayor is proposing to move City Hall to the vacant Municipal Auditorium in Treme next to Congo Square. The square was sanctioned as a location for enslaved Africans to congregate in 1817 and was considered by many in the Afro-Caribbean community as a “sacred place.” If New Orleans is the birth place of jazz music, then Congo Square would be the birthing table. The significance of the site cannot be overstated.

There is a strong opposition from the Treme community with concerns of the municipal building changing the essence of Congo Square and Armstrong park area, as well as the neighborhood over all, should it be converted into City Hall’s new location. Nearly 1,000 parking spaces would be added, including a five-story, 700-space parking garage.

There have been comparisons made to the construction of the I-10 overpass that runs over Claiborne Avenue in 1966. The overpass destroyed a tree lined commercial district in the predominately black neighborhood. Opposition to the project had no political clout to prevent it. There is still bitterness in Treme over what was lost to progress and to deaf ears.

The proposal has gotten a lot of push back on social media from residents’ objection to the idea. Latoya Cantrell has tried to smokescreen the controversy by pointing to other infrastructure projects involving a few street repairs and the Sewerage and Water Board working with Entergy to update the power sources for the pumping stations.

The Municipal Auditorium was built in 1930 and had many uses over the decades, from concerts to basketball and hockey games. It was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has been vacant ever since. The 7,800 seat auditorium is just that, an auditorium. The amount of re-design and modification to turn the large open space into a multi floor efficient office space would be staggering. It could be done, but at the cost of destroying the interior beauty.

Certainly one appeal to the city is 40 million dollars that FEMA had earmarked for the building following Katrina. It wouldn’t cover the entire cost of renovation but would be a nice offset. Local governments love that federal money.

Cantrell’s proposal has brought a heated backlash from the Treme community over the impact on the area. Cantrell’s response was that Congo Square will not be touched. There is no dispute the overall area will be impacted by additional traffic and parking.

In this day and age we should also consider that moving City Hall there will change it from a cultural space to a political space. Expect to see protests and rallies to spill over into adjacent areas. Congo Square and Armstrong park could easily turn into “Occupy” camp ground if enough outside protesters were bused in. Sounds far-fetched? Look at such public spaces in many cities around the nation.

The mayor relied on her favorite political catch phrase: “Time to re-think the use.” The same jargon she applied to the idea of turning streets in the French Quarter into pedestrian malls.

If you are dating someone and they say “It’s time to re-think our relationship,” just leave. It’s never a positive term. Whoever may be running against her in the next election should use the campaign slogan: “It’s time to re-think our leadership.”

Eric T. Styles is a Quarter rat and loves to hear your feedback. Email him at styles@thequarterrat.com.