When my husband first bought the house in which we live, he got an energy bill that reflected the electricity use of one of the office buildings downtown rather than a house divvied up into four apartments. They were clearly off on this one, and Dan was able to call the billers on it. It helped that Dan was in grad school at the time and could take the time to handle the gross miscalculation of the electric company. Dan always has a giggle at that one.
Today, I read this:
I'm not laughing. At all.
Yes, our energy prices are higher because supposedly Entergy is taking up the slack of fewer customers returning to resume paying local utilities' fees. No, no one really believes that a Fortune 500 company such as Entergy really needs to be charging these kinds of prices. At the rate we're going here, however, I'm going to need to stock up on kerosene and hurricane lamps, work on washing clothes by hand, and look into the purchase of a generator. Nice to know that corporate America is helping push this area even further into the Third World than it already was.
I saw the headline of Chris Rose's recent column, though, and my heart sank. Because Harry Anderson was involved.
My husband asked me what I wanted to do for our anniversary this year (May 20). I instantly told him I wanted to see Harry Anderson's show in the Quarter. We went to Oswald's, the club Anderson owns on Decatur Street, and witnessed a great live show that culminated in an amazing card trick that brought down the house. For those of you who only vaguely recognize the man's name, or who only know him from his stints on Night Court and Dave's World, Harry Anderson really wanted to be a magician, and started out as such. He now has the money to do the magic thing full time. It started with his only selling magic tricks by appointment from a storefront named Sideshow. Then he opened up Oswald's and got back into performing again.
Once the storm blew through, Anderson offered up Oswald's as a town hall meeting place for neighborhood gatherings. He was another one of the Quarter's characters that loved the Quarter for its character, past and present. But now, he's giving up the ship.
Granted, the man can be a cantankerous sort. He's earned the right to speak his mind, to make his own decisions. I share his disdain and disgust at the goings-on in local government, at the slow pace of rebuilding, at the obstacles that are cropping up daily for people who just want to live here once again. See ya, Harry. I hope you like Asheville.
What made me a little sick, though, is that someone who once loved this city so, made it a point to move here after a few decades of making his fortune, and even took some steps to try to make it better is now bidding it good bye and good riddance. My initial thought was that this was bad, bad news. I guess what I was really thinking was, I wasn't born here, either. If Harry Anderson can't cut it, what's keeping me here? What's my tolerance level?
Will it be when my husband, my son, or I myself get some crippling injury or disease that requires treatment that isn't available here? Will it be another move due to a job change? Will it be when I'm old and gray and need to be stuck in a home somplace? The LAST thing I want is to be in a place like St Rita's where thirty-plus elderly and infirm people were left to drown in rising floodwater. That's where Douglas Brinkley's book got to me the most was in the accounts of flooded hospitals and homes devoid of electricity in which elderly and sick people were struggling in the heat.
Our mayor is a godawful joke (the Car 54 moniker Chris Rose gives to Nagin is from when the mayor was traveling around the country after his reelection rather than staying put and helping get things done. The mayor is back and we all still want to say, "Where ARE you???"). Since a recent city census put the population of the city at a much lower number than was originally thought, it only puts the murder rate here into even more perspective. BAD perspective.
So my home has problems.
What will be the straw that breaks my back?
For Anderson, it was Nagin's reelection. Anderson was only here for six years. He should have been around when Marc Morial was mayor. When the public school system was really reeeeeeally bad. When way more gutter punks roamed the Quarter (then again, I think Harry was assaulted by some of 'em because he bought the space that became Oswald's - it had been a hangout for the GPs.). When the really bad cops had set up shop here and hadn't yet been driven out by storm conditions and the need for self-preservation.
No this isn't the New Orleans he once knew. Hell, this isn't even the New Orleans I once knew. But there's room in my heart for what it could be. If that sounds sentimental and sappy as all get-out, so be it. I still like it here, overall. And I'm still darn curious about how it's all going to turn out.
I guess I'm one of the nuts Harry Anderson was never adequately warned about.
It's all right, Harry. I didn't vote for Nagin. Give me some credit...