Owen Courreges: Apparently New Orleans still needs Bland Landers

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Owen Courreges

Note: The author has once again suffered a mental break and lapsed into his s“Bland Landers: Advice Columnist” persona. The following is the grisly outcome.

Dear Bland,

I am a developer pitching plans for the old World Trade Center building. My proposal includes a plan for a some twisty-gondola things that go up to an observation deck, and then come back down. Remember those gondolas at the World’s Fair back in ’84? Well, it’s like those only instead of taking you across the river, it just takes you up and then back down again (kind of like an elevator, but without the utility). I guess my question is, what in the World Trade Center is wrong with me?

Regrettably,
Stupid Developer Weirdo

Dear Stupid,

The problem you face is that you’ve watched too many episodes of The Simpsons, and now you’re conflating the amusing plots of that popular animated television series with present day reality. In this instance, you seem to be channeling the “Escalator to Nowhere” that appeared at the end of episode #71, “Marge vs. the Monorail.” Obviously, that was a parody of government-driven development boondoggles; it was not intended as any kind of inspiration for your proposal. The good news is that the City of New Orleans has practically become a parody of itself in these matters, so chances are, nobody is going to notice.

Dear Bland,

My congregation’s founding pastor died last year, and now we’re in agreement that everything on Earth should be named after him. After we got through renaming the church building, the sanctuary, and the rectory, our renaming fervor was still not sated. Accordingly, we made a “deal” with a prominent local politician (let’s just call him “Mayor Mini-Moon”) to rename a section of street after our newly deceased pastor adjacent to our church. Now that deal is facing opposition. How do we convince people that this is completely aboveboard?

Confusedly,
Captain Oblivious

Dear Captain,

I was going to answer your question, but then I got lost driving on Prophet Moses S. Isaiah IV Parkway, which is apparently now a four-block section of Claiborne. When I reached the intersection with Rev. Methuselah J. White, Jr., Avenue (apparently a three-block section of Louisiana) I became confused and distracted from the excessive time it took me to read the street sign and ran into a tree. Injured but still conscious, I called an ambulance on my cell phone, but the driver got lost several times on the way. In the meantime, I bled out so much that I began seeing visions, which I took to be prophetic. I have now started a church, Our Holy Mother of Tax-Exempt Status, dubbed myself The Right Honorable Prophet Bland Montgomery Landers, and petitioned the city to name a street after me. So to answer your question, I guess we’ll find out together!

Dear Bland,

I work for the Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC). Recently, I passed a historic building undergoing some minor renovations and noticed that period-appropriate slate roof was being added together with immaculate louver shutters. There was no Certificate of Appropriateness for these items, however, so I put up a “Stop Work” order. It frustrates me to no end to see all of these obviously-appropriate and much-needed historic renovations taking place without getting my pointless, bureaucratic stamp-of-approval. Why don’t people respect my authority? MAH AUTHORITAH!

Obstinately,
Inspector Cartman

Dear Inspector,

Unfortunately, it is your injudicious use of your authority that generates disrespect for your authority. Because you view the rules as ends unto themselves and enforce them without using appropriate discretion, nobody respects you. In fact, if you look closely at your actions, you’ll see that they actually serve to defeat the goals underlying the HDLC. That said, I’m not so irrational that I expect you to fundamentally change your views and attitudes based on my drive-by advice. Accordingly, I recommend that if you’re not going to change, at least go whole hog. Authority isn’t worth having unless you abuse it. No more half-measures! The next time you see unauthorized renovations, use carefully-placed charges to blow up the offending portions. Be sure to have a pair of cool reflective sunglasses on hand and don them suavely while the non-approved repairs explode in the background.

Letters for Bland to answer should be sent to City Hall care of Mayor Mitch Landrieu. He’ll get a kick out of them.

Owen Courrèges, a New Orleans attorney and resident of the Garden District, offers his opinions for UptownMessenger.com on Mondays. He has previously written for the Reason Public Policy Foundation.

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