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At some point last week something took out a chunk of my front grille. I think this might have been when then 18-wheeler in front of me had a blowout and sent chunks of hot rubber flying at me. I know at least one of these chunks hit my driver side mirror, knocked the mirror housing loose, and almost caused the housing to come off completely. I was so busy trying to keep the mirror housing from flying off while dodging chunks of tire that I might not have noticed the sound of the front grille getting shattered. Sheesh. I'm waiting for the day then the road just opens up completely and swallows my car whole...
I used my Christmas money to by a pair of 80GB hard drives to replace the dead drive in my desktop machine. I am using software RAID, so now I have some redundancy in the case of another failure. As a result, the webcam is back up. I have a little bit of money left over, so I am toying with the idea of getting a few cheap wireless cams to put around other parts of the house. Looks for more cams soon perhaps...
As of 10:30 this morning, riders can now ride the St. Charles Ave. streetcar line from it's terminus at Canal St. to Lee Circle. See the TP article here. While this isn't even a quarter of the distance of the original line, at least it's a start. RTA promises that the line will be extended to Napolean Ave (within walking distance of my house!) as soon as the new power rectifier under the Crescent City Connection is built. Woot!
Today, 436 days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the final broken traffic light between my house and the interstate has been repaired. Coincidentally, most of the missing street signs (and one-way signs) in my neighborhood were also replaced today. I told everyone that I was going to have a huge party at my house once all of the lights between my house and the interstate were fixed. Due to some work travel and Thanksgiving travel, I am probably going to have to delay the party for a few weeks. Look here in the coming weeks for a date.
The "Red Ladies" will return to Canal St. this Summer! FEMA coughed up $21.6 million to restore the flood-damaged red Von Dullen cars that ran on the Canal Line. The first restored car should roll this summer with each additional car rolling out every two months. See the Times-Picayune story here. This news, combined with the RTA's announcement that part of the St. Charles line will be open by Christmas is some of the best stuff about NOLA's recovery I've heard in a long time.
Shortly after Katrina flooded NOLA, many people began talking about how there would be a silver lining to the whole mess: the school system would be rebuilt from the ground up, housing projects would be turned into mixed-income utopias, the corrupt government officials would be voted out of office, etc. Well 1 year later little of this has come to be: our school system is still a mess, the crack dealers have already moved back into the section-8 apartment by my house, and good old Nagin is still Our Mayor (TM).
I knew that things would return to the status quo after the storm, but I also knew that another entirely different silver lining was coming. I knew that the Mexicans would be coming, and with them would come good, cheap Mexican restaurants and good, cheap cheese dip (something New Orleans has never had). At first there were just people selling tacos and tamales out of the backs of pickup trucks. Next came the taqueira wagons (aka Roach Coaches), the kitchens on wheels that sold tacos like the ice-cream-man sells fudgesicles. I smiled, but I knew that there was more to come. Yesterday I saw a banner atop one of the gutted shells of a business alongside I-10 in New Orleans East: "Coming soon. El (name_not_important) Mexican Restaurant". This will be just one of many. Dozens more El (name_not_important) Mexican Restaurants and Los (name_not_important) Mexican Restaurants will go up before the recovery of our city is over. Soon the streets will flow with crack cheese, and it will be good.