Improve It. Period.

Brad Goins Thursday, September 21, 2017 Comments Off on Improve It. Period.
Improve It. Period.

The new administration of Mayor Nic Hunter has announced that the Lake Charles Transit System is conducting a survey that will be used for an evaluation of the bus system.

In his announcement of the survey, Hunter said, “We know our system can be improved and expanded, but we need to know that support for expanding the system exists.”

I’m going to respectfully defer with those statements a little bit. The system needs to be expanded whether there is support for expansion or not. The system desperately needs to be expanded.

I’ll also note that there is plenty of support for expansion. You’ll have to look for it in the lower half of the list of Lake Charles citizens as ranked by income. That’s where you’ll find massive support for expansion — “where the other half lives,” as the saying goes. Since I live where the other half lives, the saying isn’t as dramatic for me as it is for some. For half, to be precise. But it’s a good useful statement that makes the point.

My complaints about the transit system are the same as they’ve always been. And they are still as easily stated as ever:

1. There are only five bus routes.

2. The routes all quit running at 5 pm.

3. No busses run at all at any time during the weekend.

Those are the exact same complaints I had 15 years ago; they’re the exact same complaints I’ll have 15 years from now.

Still, let’s hope that this survey might be an opportunity for us to bring about some sort of positive change in the transit system. You never know. I’ve filled out my survey. I hope you’ll fill out yours also.

The survey is available at the Transit Division’s Customer Service Center, located at 1155 Ryan St., or at People can take the survey through Oct. 16.

Pop-Up Museum

The next (and also last, I believe) Pop-Up Museum for the 150th anniversary of Lake Charles will take place Sept. 16 from 11 am-1 pm at the Central Library at 301 West Claude St. in Lake Charles.

The topic this time around will be “churches and neighborhoods.” The exhibit will be made up entirely of items from library patrons who have brought along their memorabilia or artifacts of churches and neighborhoods in Lake Charles. These items will be on display during the Pop-Up Museum event. Participants can talk about the items they’ve brought with others at the event.

Those who wish to contribute to the museum can look for items related to church buildings or iconic buildings that represent a neighborhood, leaders who made a difference to a neighborhood, church bazaars or performances, block parties, trick-or-treating, best yard awards, haunted houses, neighborhoods that no longer exist, old neighborhood hangouts and so forth.

At the end of the program, the items go back home with their owners.

Library staff have worked hard on this project. They sure would appreciate your help on this final, going-out event.

If you need more information about the Pop-Up Museum, call 337-721-7116.

New Orleans & The World

New Orleans will also be celebrating an anniversary, and it’s twice as big or long or whatever the correct adjective is as Lake Charles’ anniversary.

You’re going to start seeing the build-up to the celebration of New Orleans’ 300th anniversary in 2018. A big part of that celebration will take place on Nov. 8 with the publication of the new book New Orleans & The World: 1718-2018 Tricentennial Anthology.

In more than 40 essays, leading New Orleans scholars and writers detail the ways New Orleans shaped the world, and, in turn, the impact of world events on the city’s culture, economy and people.

Contributors include Michael White (premier jazz clarinetist); Richard Campanella (author of eight histories of the city); N.O.-based black historian Keith Weldon Medley; music writer Alison Fensterstock; American Indian scholar Daniel Usner; and Freddi Williams Evans, author of a history of the city’s Congo Square, where free and enslaved African-Americans gathered to sing, dance and cook.

The book’s two forewords are by Leah Chase (AKA “the Queen of Creole Cuisine”) and Walter Isaacson, a N.O.-born journalist who started his career at London’s Sunday Times before he wound up becoming CEO of CNN. Author of eight books, he also returned to the city for a while to put in a stint at The Times-Picayune.

New Orleans & The World is said to be generously illustrated with photographs, drawings and other graphics.

The book is largely a project of the Louisiana Endowment of the Humanities. It looks as if there may not be a whole lot of information about this volume before the release date, but keep an eye on the LEH site just in case.

Copies of New Orleans & The World are $60 plus tax and shipping. Proceeds from the sale of the book will support free public programs in the city in 2018.

A Mocktail Party

How many local musical ensembles get invited to play at Carnegie Hall? At least one has been. That’s The First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir, which has been invited to perform in no less a piece than the Mozart Requiem in February at Carnegie Hall.

Folks at the church say the group doesn’t have quite enough in the way of funds yet to make this highly desirable trip. For this reason, the choir is hosting a fundraiser — the Carnegie Hall Mocktail Party and Auction, which will be held on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 5:30 pm in the church’s Paxton Hall.

Music, food and exciting auction items will abound! Childcare is provided.

The church is located at 812 Kirkman St. in Lake Charles. Tickets for the event are $15. Call 436-6656 for more information.

Not Afraid Of Nurses

It’s a truism that most people hate to stay in hospitals. As a rule, though, if folks decide they really need a hospital stay to cure what ails them, they just hunker down and try to grin and bear it.

That was the case, anyway, until one man in Bogalusa said no. Enough was enough. He made up his mind that just because he had to stay in the Our Lady of Angels hospital, that didn’t mean he had to give up his fun.

First, he invited his wife to visit him. Nothing unusual in that.

At some point during the visit, though, both husband and wife got serious about getting to the fun part.

The first nurse to visit the patient’s room after the spousal visit saw that both husband and wife were passed out and each had a hypodermic needle in, and a tourniquet around, one arm. I think it’s safe to say these are two people who aren’t afraid of nurses.

Somehow police found out about all this. In their search of the room, they found Oxycodone and Percocet and other pills, as well as baggies of powder they felt was likely to be heroin. A measuring cup and spoon were on the scene.

The patient’s plan seems to have been to lay in sufficient supplies for extended periods of fun that were commenced the moment his first bout of fun came to an end (and he regained consciousness).

The wife was arrested immediately; the husband as soon as he was well enough to leave the hospital.

For some reason, the Associated Press felt this story was worthy of national coverage. I fear the AP will not keep us informed about whether Big Daddy Fun will figure out some way to keep having his fun if he is incarcerated.

I’d Pay For This Newspaper 

Thanks to Times-Picayune editor James Karst for running the front page of a very old edition of the newspaper Huey P. Long started — The American Progress. When Huey died, Earl took over the paper, which published from 1930-40.

The newspaper had an unusual design. The main headline ran above the masthead for The American Progress. That headline — printed entirely in red — went “LONG’S STRENGTH IS DOUBLING.” The subhead — still in all capitals, but in black ink this time — was “PEOPLE IN BIG SWING TO EARL’S SUPPORT.”

The No. 2 headline — again in red ink — was “MRS. HUEY P. LONG ANNOUNCES HER 100 PCT. SUPPORT OF EARL.” Above a photo of the supportive wife was this catchy cutline: “She Is For Earl.” (This edition was probably printed during one of Earl Long’s three runs for office in the 1930s: two for lieutenant governor and one — after Huey’s death — for governor.)

While everything in The American Progress is very funny (not to mention silly), it doesn’t get us anywhere near determining why Long put out this newspaper. The reason was he didn’t like the way the regular press wrote about him. So, he started his own newspaper. The real point of this edition didn’t come ‘til the third story from the top, whose headline read “Picayune’s Secret Records Reveal Tremendous Profits.”

Under Huey, all state employees were required to subscribe to The American Progress. Copies were also mailed out to interested citizens, with circulation reaching 1.5 million at its height. Still, I doubt the newspaper had much impact. (And after all, for the most part, Huey Long was popular in the state to begin with it.)

You’ll never find another publication that’s as blatantly propagandist as this one. You will also find that even poor propaganda has more creativity and variety than Long’s did. I mean, how many dictators write long stories about how loyal their wives or sisters-in-law are? That’s the best thing they could thing of?

I remember a lazy day in the 1960s when I thumbed through None Dare Call It Treason — the most popular far right wing propaganda tract of the time. I remember coming to a sentence that stated Richard Nixon was a communist. Now that’s creativity. After 45 years, I still can’t help but smile.

The News (Special ‘People Are Freaking Out’ Edition)

“Vote in our poll and tell us: What’s your favorite side at Popeye’s” — Times-Picayune headline, Aug. 17

“All of Taylor Swift’s social media accounts are gone and people are freaking out” — Buzzfeed headline, Aug. 18

“Corn vs. flour tortillas: It’s on, Lafayette!” — Daily Advertiser headline, Sept. 1

“Mandy Moore is the ultimate morning person” — CNN headline, Sept. 5. (What’s bigger news than everything that’s come so far is that on Sept. 5, CNN did not carry a single headline related to Game of Thrones. Don’t ask me to explain it.)

“Mississippi teen dresses 3-year-old brother as IT clown” — A Sept. 1 WMCA report later posted by KPLC. The “news” angle seems to have been that the photo was “unsettling.” What’s really unsettling is when a reporter’s an hour away from deadline and still hasn’t come up with a story.

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