reminder that TFC stands for This Fucking City. I say that every time something goes haywire in New Orleans. It reflects the proper relationship between a New Orleanian and this city: love-hate like Robert Mitchum’s hand tattoos in Night of the Hunter

I guess I watched too many old movies since my last column. I’ll try not to riff on them too much but you already knew I was a film buff from my Louisiana movie list.

In this column, I’ll take a look at The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of TFC as we start a new decade. Life in TFC often feels like a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. I know I promised to skip the movie references but sometimes I cannot help myself. Besides, this is one is in the title, so I’m entitled to use it…

Before I lose my audience completely, let’s start off with The Good.

Carnival Time: You may recall that I love Carnival. I didn’t hit the streets on Twelfth Night, but I was there in spirit. It used to be a relatively quiet evening with only the Phunny Phorty Phellows rolling but several other groups have joined in the festivities in the last decade. I like the fact that neither Joan of Arc nor Champs Elysse rumbles on the Uptown route. We need some calm before the parade storm.

Dr. A and I live not far off the Uptown parade route in a top-secret 13th Ward location. Parade proximity was one of the reasons we bought where we did. Our hood has gentrified since Katrina and the Federal Flood so there’s always some newbie who is shocked, shocked that we’re inside the parade box. Uh oh, I feel another classic film reference coming on:

One Twelfth Night event I missed this year was the grand re-opening of the King Cake Hub whose proprietors Will and Jennifer Samuels are good friends of mine. They sell King Cakes from a wide variety of bakeries all in one location. 

The King Cake Hub has a cool location at The Mortuary on Canal Street, which serves as a haunted house in the fall and used to be a genuine mortuary. Perhaps these King Cake babies should be dressed as wee ghosts, beats the hell out of corpses. I hereby apologize for that tasteless joke about tasty King Cakes. The Pelicans mascot objects:

King Cake Hub honcho Will Samuels is something of a promotional genius. He’s the Bill Veeck of King Cake. Veeck was the flashy baseball mogul who operated the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns, and Chicago White Sox back in the day. He was famous for promotiona linnovations such as exploding scoreboards, bat days, and, most outrageously, having little person Eddie Gaedel bat in a game. On a more serious note, Veeck’s Indians were the first American League team to integrate. Both Veeck and that player, Larry Doby, are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. I’m not sure if Will is a Hall of Famer yet but he’s certainly a contender.

While we’re on the subject of sports ball, the next segment is a mixed bag of The Bad and The Ugly. I realize it’s out of the strict order dictated by the Sergio Leone title, but it flows. Never mess with the flow, yo.

The Sporting Scene: It’s a good thing that Twelfth Night was the day after the New Orleans Saints 26-20 playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings. For much of the second half, it looked as if the Saints would win ugly but instead it was an ugly, sloppy loss. There was another missed call by the refs, but our guys played poorly. The Vikings were the better team on the eleventh day of Christmas.

Football savant Drew Brees looked his age during this game. He committed two crucial turnovers that helped seal the Saints fate. The most frustrating thing was that the Saints coulda woulda shoulda have won ugly but blew it in the same venue the Rolling Stones did not play this song last year:

Losing ugly resulted in Saints fans drowning their sorrows with King Cake. Can one drown anything with baked goods? They have both wet and dry ingredients, after all. That’s an existential question for the ages.

The LSU Tigers will play in the national championship game next Monday in New Orleans. I think this is our year and most of the country seems to be pulling for the Tigers because of gruffly lovable head coach Ed Orgeron. I’ve already written an Ode To Coach O, here’s a highlights video:

The Bad and Ugly in this instance is that the man I call the Impeached Insult Comedian, Donald Trump, has announced plans to attend the game. He reckons that he’ll get fewer boos in a game between two red state teams: LSU and Clemson. If anyone reading this is going to the game, don’t forget to boo President* Pennywise when his name is dropped, or his orange visage appears on the Jumbotron. Boo anything that resembles an Impeached Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head. Thanks in advance.

The championship game could also be called the Tussle of the Tigers since the two teams share a nickname. Perhaps Coach O should modify his stock phrase and say “Go Tigers. LSU. not Clemson.”

We conclude this out-of-Leone-order (disorderly?) post with The Bad, which is also The Ugly.Life is complicated in TFC: This Fucking City. One could even say life here is like a Spaghetti Western, it’s bloody, saucy, and never dull.

Never Trust A Real Estate Developer: One of many reasons I opposed Donald Trump’s election was that he’s a real estate developer. In many ways the Con-Man-in-Chief is the quintessential real estate developer. They exaggerate, lie, bamboozle, swindle, and do whatever it takes to get their way.

If you live in New Orleans, you know who I’m referring to: the developers of the Hard Rock Hotel. The names are omitted to protect the guilty. The building collapsed on October 12, 2019 and they recently submitted a slow-mo demolition plan to the city. If the developer’s whims are heeded, the building will not come down until December of this year. That’s right, some 13 months after the collapse. TFC: This Fucking City.

Adding insult to injury, the developers want to demolish 3 adjacent buildings that they also own. They claim that it’s for safety but when real estate developers are involved, cynicism and caution are in order. It will give the developers a bigger footprint on the collapse site, which appears to benefit them financially. They should be punished for this disaster, not rewarded. A reminder, 3 construction workers died in the collapse. The citizens of New Orleans should not help defray the developer’s legal costs.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell has indicated support for the developer’s demolition plans. I hope she will reconsider unless and until independent engineering analysis can prove that the other buildingsmust come down for reasons of public safety, not private profit. 

The demolition timeline is absurd. It’s high time for the city to stop being played for suckers by real estate developers. There’s no good there, only the bad and the ugly. TFC: This Fucking City

Repeat after me: Never trust a real estate developer.

The last word goes to Ennio Morricone with the theme song for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

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Peter Athas
Peter Athas has been blogging as Adrastos since 2005. He is currently one of the principal bloggers at First Draft. He is a founding member of the Spank sub-krewe of Krewe du Vieux and one of the founders of the Rising Tide Conference. He apparently has a penchant for founding things. He lives in Uptown New Orleans with his wife and two cats.