Friday, September 23, 2005

The Cheese Case

Ok, a rite of passage for all good New Orleanians has/will become cleaning out the refrigerator. That is, unless the fridge in question has 200lbs of fresh, gourmet, unpasteurized cheese in a cooler that had been out of power for a month. I can not impress on you all exactly how uniquely rancid this thing smelled. And it leaked. The rich bleus on the bottom shelf liquefied and leaked out. Without a doubt the worst smell I have ever smelled. Here are pictures to document the most horrific thing I have ever done in my entire life. Click on any picture for a larger, more "in depth" image.

"Raw" Material

The %$#*@# thing leaked all over the place. No that's not water, that's melted, liquefied cheese and, yes, we destroyed the affected wine. I don't even want to tell you what was growing and crawling inside those boxes.

The adventure begins, please God make it quick.

Hey, who ordered the Bleu cheese? Nice beet red face Jon. How are those dry heaves treating you?

Oh my, this disgusting thing is empty (there were no pictures of the rest of the progress because the photographer couldn't bear the smell and had to bail.

Thankfully we are near the end of this terrible thing.

And Jon gets some well needed fresh air.

More Mold Info

This was a posted as a comment on an earlier post, but I thought it important enough to bring it to the forefront:

i am an architect and would like to clear up something about mold issues: one this is run of the mill mold, not the toxic mold of media sensation. toxic mold is usually seen where very cold things (such as A/C ducts) are in contact with hot areas, and almost always in new (post 1970), tightly sealed buildings. the type of mold we will see is easily controlled with bleach and ventilation. as far as coliform bacteria, there is less danger as the city dries up (but get your shots before you come back!). as bad as it looks and smells, the houses around cork and bottle are quite salvageable. with a few major exceptions, new orleans is a matter of repair, not rebuilding. charleston saved many similarly inundated buildings after hugo; this will be a much bigger operation, but it must be done unless we want to be jackson, ms. just get used to the smell of bleach.

the national trust has a useful guideline booklet here:

i hope this helps keep hope alive.

until the next tasting,

Meg and Her Red Cape

Meg is great. If you know Meg you no doubt agree with me, if you haven’t the first idea who Meg is just trust me on this one. She is great. Meg is the only realistic idealist I know, she slyly draws you into deep conversations, always brings up points you’d never consider and she is a downright pleasure to be around. Meg believes in New Orleans and puts that practice to work. In fact she makes her living on that thought. Even before the Hurricane, she wanted the city of New Orleans to be a fully renovated glory of its former self, she longs for the history of days long gone, but she also understands we live in the real world. She is an urban pioneer, renovates historically significant homes next door to crack houses and refuses to let the adversity of city living make her quit. Her front door, inner door and living room wall is marked by an errant bullet from a neighborhood barroom brawl which claimed a life under her living room window. The bullet holes still stand as some sort of testament to her internal fortitude and devotion to the living history of New Orleans and she has NO PLAN to move out. Some people would say Meg is crazy. I think she is cool. I get it. I get what makes her tick. She’s a hard lady to knock down.

I drove Meg through the city Monday and let her visit her Treme home. I quit counting the “Oh my’s” the “Oh no’s” and the plain old gasps. We drove the blocks in Treme and Mid City and Meg’s head was on a swivel, not knowing which direction to look in next. Somehow, though, you knew this wasn't stopping her. She knew EVERY house in her neighborhood and almost spoke to them as if they were people. She loves her neighborhood and she loves New Orleans. When we were driving back to Baton Rouge on Monday and the threat of Hurricane Rita was becoming obvious instead of saying “Woe is us” Meg got on the horn with a Climatologist buddy of hers and figured out what this storm was going to do and how to prepare for it.

The other day I received an email from a distraught friend who has been exiled to Chicago lamenting the fact that there will be no more New Orleans. I disagree. I disagree because New Orleans has Meg. Meg for one will be back with a broom and a mop and a hammer and a smile. New Orleans is a very lucky city to have so many of the Megs of the world living in it and loving it. Take comfort in that fact. So long as everyone has a bit of Meg in them this city will be fine. And, no, it won’t become a modern suburban nightmare. It will look like New Orleans. That’s if Meg has anything to do with it

Formatting Change

Sorry about the errors in formatting you've seen in IE over the last few days. I do everything in the greatest webrowser ever inveted - MOZILLA FIREFOX - which isn't nearly as fragile as Internet Explorer. My wife pointed out to me that the page looked wrong in Explorer, I've fixed that and I apologize if any of you were having trouble reading it.

Mold = Bad News

My buddy Marc Pagani sent me this link of the damage Mold can do to a house. While my heart goes out to this family in these pictures, I hold out hope that the century old construction Cypress houses a good number of us in the Bayou St. John area live in will hold up better than this newly constructed apartment in Metairie.


GREAT Photo Fundraiser Idea

Photographers Jenny Bagert and Herman Leonard invite you to participate in a fundraiser featuring a Special Edition of New Orleans Photographs by Herman Leonard & Jenny Bagert. Proceeds will be contributed to the victims of hurricane Katrina.

Six images have been selected.
Each image is a limited edition of 250, 11” x 14” giclee prints.
$325 per print
Please see the attachment for details.

We are confident that New Orleans will be our home again. Please help us make this happen for as many as possible.

All our best,
Herman Leonard
Jenny Bagert

(Jon adds: These prices, especially for the Leonard work, are a STEAL! If you have a mental image of Jazz in your mind chances are it was from a photograph you saw that was taken by Herman Leonard. He is THE great Jazz photographer. Jenny Bagert works with Mr. Leonard and although her style touches his it is still a style uniquely her own. In 35 years someone will be writing that Jenny Bagert is THE great New Orleans Music photographer. Buy a Bagert Photo, ask her to make a Katrina comment on the matte and in a couple of decades your artwork will be priceless)

Some Palmayra Street Questions Answered

My name is John Weilbaecher and I wanted to respond to an older post that you had. Adam Wilson and Megan Finn were asking about Palmyra and S. Gayoso. I am (was?) renovating a house near that corner and I have received a report from my adjuster. He said that the water was about 3 ft. high inside the house (which is up on piers so about 6-8ft total in the area) and it is now completely covered in mold (to the point that it cannot be entered for an extended period of time without some sort of breathing apparatus). He had no trouble entering as the authorities (National Guard or whomever) had opened houses to conduct survivor/body searches. I am sure that they are aware of the relative safety of the neighborhood so it would probably not surprise them to learn that the adjuster was fired upon during his inspection. I am sure this is not very comforting right now but this is my understanding of the situation. The worst part of the whole experience for me so far is not knowing what happened to my house one way or the other so perhaps this takes care of some of the uncertainty. You can put them in touch with me if they want to contact me.

Best Regards,

John Weilbaecher

PJ's Coffee Shop Hangout in Hammond

Hey again Jon,

Just wanted to let you know that there seem to be a fair amount of New Orleans "refugees" in this area. I'm in PJ's in downtown Hammond and have met quite a few homegrown folk. It's nice to talk to neighbors!!

Anyone around these parts might want to stop by sometime. The coffee is typical PJ's but the place seems friendly and has excellent wireless. It's not FairGrinds (MY coffee hangout at home) but it'll do til I can get back.

Also, to mention again, anyone interested in my pictures from Leda and Verna Courts, as well as the area around FairGrinds on Ponce de Leon, and some Banks St. in MidCity, is welcome to email me at I will be happy to send a link to access the albums. I've attached a some random pics for you as well.

Missing home terribly,


More Great Mid-City Pictures

Here is an extensive gallery from a rescue worker, a friend of my stepsisters'. Starts out in Lakeview, but lots of mid city photos towards the end.

Still thinking about trying to get in this weekend. That thing's headed to Galveston.

Mitchell Powers