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The hood is well-paved with good intentions.

As I keep my blog on life support while I remain in the Afghan theater, I hope—more or less—to alternate posts with observations on life here behind the wire with more of my conventional posts, featuring photos taken from this past summer and earlier. Today’s post has been surprisingly difficult for which to gather information, …Read more…

Vestigial Judaism, Part III: Urbanization Along the Cotton Belt.

The first two parts of this lengthy exploration of southern Judaica attempted to re-acquaint the readers with what in this day and age may defy typical expectations: Jewish enclaves in small towns throughout the rural Deep South. From approximately 1850 to 1950, in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama—as well as the other southern states—immigrants from Germany, …Read more…

Brick roads don’t always lead to Oz.

While this blog post won’t win any awards for brevity (would my blog ever win such a prize?), it surely surpasses all others for the simplicity of the concept. The photo below details the sidewalk upgrade component of a traffic improvement initiative in the Southdowns neighborhood of Baton Rouge. The area represents a banner opportunity …Read more…

Making it hot to be wired, Part I: Initial Observations.

aerial cables downtown New Orleans

Low density and vast distances of sparse population have fostered a North American landscape in which much of the infrastructure remains supra-structure. Unlike much of urban Western Europe, most American and Canadian cities are pierced with wires hoisted above the sidewalks by either wood poles or, in more exurban areas, by steel pylons. Though overhead …Read more…

A view of the slump. . .from within.

New Orleans Crack hotel 002

It’s not just the domain of rambling old men in seersuckers on front porches. Everyone knows that New Orleans is sinking. The Tragically Hip even wrote a song about it. The idea of a post-apocalyptic New Orleans submerged in the Gulf of Mexico entered folk parlance long before Hurricane Katrina. But is it really doomed …Read more…

Blurred vision.

Hilton Bathroom

My apologies for the rather arid posting period. I have been at a conference that has consumed much more time than I expected, and on top of that, I have come down with a mild illness. While I promise to post more profoundly in the near future, I interrupt the dry spell with another of …Read more…

Ambiance can be bought through a few seeds.

palm fire 034

While I’ve borrowed other people’s pictures in the past as a basis for analysis, this may be the first time in which the revelation itself is not my own. I had been living in New Orleans for six months at the time a friend came down to visit. After spending the first night in the …Read more…