Aug 282012

A passer-by lends a hand as Hank Staples affixes an “Open for Business” sign to the boarded-up front of Maple Leaf Bar on Oak Street. (Robert Morris,

Employees board up the windows at Chiba, another Oak Street business planning to stay open as much as possible through the storm. (Robert Morris,

As the winds of Hurricane Isaac began picking up on Oak Street on Tuesday morning, boards may have covered the shopfront windows, but nothing could cover the owners’ spirits.

“Oak Street is open for businesses,” said Chiba owner Keith Dusko. “The 8300 block, anyway.” Continue reading »

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Aug 282012

A Magazine Street business boards up its windows Monday afternoon. (Robert Morris,

Tropical Storm Isaac’s projected track, as of 1 a.m. Tuesday. (source: National Hurricane Center)

Tropical Storm Isaac continued slowly gathering strength Monday night on its way toward south Louisiana.

As of the 1 a.m. Tuesday update from the National Hurricane Center, Isaac’s winds were still at 70 mph, just shy of hurricane force, and its path continued to center on New Orleans. Forecasters expected the winds to accelerate to hurricane speeds overnight, and for New Orleans to begin feeling its effects in earnest Tuesday morning. Continue reading »

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Aug 272012

Owen Courreges

As I write this column, there’s a storm in the Gulf.  The Tropical Storm that has us in its sights is named Isaac, after the Biblical figure on whom God ordered a hit vis-à-vis his father, Abraham, but then reneged at the last possible second because it was merely a test of faith.

Isaac, presumably, wandered away confused and rubber-legged. Continue reading »

Aug 262012

(source: National Hurricane Center)

Hurricane conditions are expected within the New Orleans metropolitan area and “preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,” forecasters warned as their computer models show Isaac’s path drawing gradually nearer to the city. Continue reading »

Aug 252012

Craig Giesecke

All of us have been watching the storm named Isaac as it bears down on Florida and possibly other parts of the Gulf South. It’s that time of year and, even though it appears so far we will not bear the brunt, such an event always makes us do a mental checklist of things available, where we’d go and all the myriad other things to face during hurricane season.

If conditions get tough enough, as they certainly did after Katrina and even after Hurricane Gustav a few years ago, a lot of folks won’t be able to immediately return to work. When this happens, part of the state’s response has been to make food stamps (the Louisiana Purchase card, it’s called these days) easily available to those who are temporarily without regular income. Such assistance was vital to so many in Katrina‘s aftermath, particularly those caught out on the road with few resources or a dwindling bank account. Continue reading »

Aug 242012

Ted Argote and his daughter, Kate, check in on the jungle carpet python (at bottom right) that has recently taken up residence in liriope in front of their Panola Street home. (Robert Morris,

Shortly after 9 a.m. Friday morning, Ted Argote returned home from dropping his wife at work, parked in front of his Panola Street home and, as he walked out the door, called out a greeting to the paisley-patterned python that has recently begun sunning itself every morning in the front yard.

“Good morning, Indiana!” Argote said, using a nickname picked in homage to Harrison Ford’s famously snake-averse archaeologist.

While the sudden appearance of the exotic jungle carpet python on Panola Street was odd, even odder still is the litany of wild animals appearing around Uptown of late, and residents’ largely nonchalant reaction to them. With a supposed boa constrictor on Burdette, parakeets in Palmer Park, a peacock on Cohn and a fashionable little kangaroo (or wallaby) spotted on upper Magazine Street, it has been hard to tell this week where the zoo stops and the neighborhoods begin. Continue reading »