Posted by: Katy | June 15, 2008


There is a company that restores lighthouses and has a contest  going on right now to donate new windows and doors for a lighthouse in need of  restoration, and the New Orleans Lakefront Lighthouse is on the list! PLEASE help out and vote  for New Orleans !!

It only takes a second of your time.

Posted by: Katy | June 15, 2008


You are a daffodil.  You have a sunny disposition and are normally one of the first to show up for the party. You don’t need too much attention from the host once you get there as you are more than capable of making yourself seen and heard.

Posted by: Katy | June 8, 2008


The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say an uncommon-place thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles…

~ from On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Posted by: Katy | June 3, 2008

Full Circle

When the natural disaster that was Katrina hit and led to the manmade disaster that was the breaking of levees improperly constructed by a federal government we trusted, I watched a large scale tragedy unfold in my city.  I also witnessed personal tragedy.  My aunt (who is also my godmother and like a second mother to me) remained at the hospital where she works throughout Katrina and its aftermath.  Hers was the last hospital that remained to take in patients after the flood waters rose.  She courageously maintained her calm and served as an example to and leader of her staff even as the world around them erupted into chaos.  Even as she KNEW that her home in Lakeview, an area of the city hit particularly hard by the levee failure, was under water.  It sat under water for weeks and weeks.  After things had calmed down and she managed to get some time out of the hospital, she took a boat ride (yes, a BOAT ride) to view what remained of her home.  My family and I donned masks, vapo-rub, tennis shoes that could be thrown away, and gloves and went in once the water receded.  The force of the water had moved the refrigerator and turned it upside down.  The sofa had collided with the living room wall.  Things were scattered everywhere, in places you never thought they’d be.  So many things had rotted or smashed to bits.  I never knew how many different kinds of mold there are.  It was like entering a loaf of bread that had sat out for a year.  You were surrounded by it on every surface.  The floor was covered with mold and mud and whatever else the lake water brought in.  Did I mention the smell?  Oh, the smell!  I won’t go there.  We salvaged what we could.  Digging my gloved hands through the mud and muck on the rotting floor, I discovered my aunt’s high school graduation ring.  Other odd finds—the untouched attic had all the Christmas decorations intact.  Of course, my aunt no longer had a home to decorate for Christmas, so these remnants were more a depressing reminder than any kind of consolation.  She has spent nearly three years in two different rental apartments, struggling to find some peace, make plans to rebuild, etc.  They had to bulldoze the shell that once was her house, then fight with every organization and bureaucratic official obsessed with red tape in this city, state, and nation.  It was a really long road.  She wound up selecting a modular home ( you wouldn’t know it was “modular” when you saw it, it’s really nice).  After additional struggles with contractors, Home Depot, and the Sewerage and Water Board, moving day has finally arrived.  My aunt moves into her new home today.  Finally.  The joy she feels is palpable. 

Here are some pictures from the time the home was delivered and placed on the lot.

Posted by: Katy | June 1, 2008

Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

Today is the first day of hurricane season.  You can imagine the mood I was in as a result.  However, I was able to try to have a sense of humor about it when I received this e-mail forward from one of my friends, a lifelong New Orleanian now in his eighties.  I decided to reproduce it here.

We are again in the hurricane season. You may soon be turning on the TV and seeing a weather person pointing to some radar blob out in the Gulf of Mexico and making two basic meteorological points:

(1) There is no need to panic.

(2) We could all be killed.

Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in Louisiana. If you’re new to the area, you’re probably wondering what you need to do to prepare for the possibility that we’ll get hit by “the big one.” Based on our experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple three-step hurricane preparedness plan:


– Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at least three days.STEP 2

– Put these supplies into your car.STEP 3

– Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Halloween.Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay here in Louisiana. We’ll start with one of the most important hurricane preparedness items:


If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance. Fortunately, this insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as your home meets two basic requirements:(1) It is reasonably well-built, and

(2) It is located in Nebraska.

Unfortunately, if your home is located in South Louisiana, or any other area that might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies would prefer not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they might be required to pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why they got into the insurance business in the first place. So you’ll have to scrounge around for an insurance company, which will charge you an annual premium roughly equal to the replacement value of your house. At any moment, this company can drop you like used dental floss. Since Hurricane George, I have had an estimated 27 different home-insurance companies. This week, I’m covered by the Bob and Big Stan Insurance Company, under a policy which states that, in addition to my premium, Bob and Big Stan are entitled, on demand, to my kidneys.


Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows, all the doors, and — if it’s a major hurricane — all the toilets. There are several types of shutters, with advantages and disadvantages:Plywood shutters:

The advantage is that, because you make them yourself, they’re cheap. The disadvantage is that, because you make them yourself, they will fall off.Sheet-metal shutters:

The advantage is that these work well, once you get them all up. The disadvantage is that once you get them all up, your hands will be useless bleeding stumps, and it will be December.Roll-down shutters:

The advantages are that they’re very easy to use, and will definitely protect your house. The disadvantage is that you will have to sell your house to pay for them.“Hurricane-proof” windows:

These are the newest wrinkle in hurricane protection. They look like ordinary windows, but they can withstand hurricane winds! You can be sure of this, because the salesman says so. He lives in Nebraska.Hurricane Proofing Your Property:

As the hurricane approaches, check your yard for movable objects like barbecue grills, planters, patio furniture, visiting relatives, etc. You should, as a precaution, throw these items into your swimming pool (if you don’t have a swimming pool, you should have one built immediately). Otherwise, the hurricane winds will turn these objects into deadly missiles. EVACUATION ROUTE:

If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an evacuation route planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying area, look at your driver’s license; if it says “Louisiana,” you live in a low-lying area.) The purpose of having an evacuation route is to avoid being trapped in your home when a major storm hits. Instead, you will be trapped in a gigantic traffic jam several miles from your home, along with two hundred thousand other evacuees. So, as a bonus, you will not be lonely. HURRICANE SUPPLIES:

If you don’t evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies. Do not buy them now! Louisiana tradition requires that you wait until the last possible minute, then go to the supermarket and get into vicious fights with strangers over who get the last can of SPAM. In addition to food and water, you will need the following supplies:*

23 flashlights*

At least $167 worth of batteries that turn out, when the power goes off, to be the wrong size for the flashlights.*

Bleach. (No, I don’t know what the bleach is for. NOBODY knows what the bleach is for, but it’s traditional, so GET some!)*

A 55-gallon drum of underarm deodorant.*

A large quantity of raw chicken, to placate the alligators. (Ask anybody who went through the last storm; after the hurricane, there WILL be irate alligators.)*

$35,000 in cash or diamonds so that, after the hurricane passes, you can buy a generator from a man with no discernible teeth.Of course these are just basic precautions. As the hurricane draws near, it is vitally important that you keep abreast of the situation by turning on your television and watching TV reporters in rain slickers stand right next to the ocean and tell you over and over how vitally important it is for everybody to stay away from the ocean.

Good luck, and remember — It’s great living in The Sportsman’s Paradise!


Posted by: Katy | May 14, 2008

Austen Heroines

<p align=”center”><a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”” width=”200″ height=”300″ alt=”I am Elizabeth Bennet!” /><br /> <br />
Take the Quiz here!</a></p>

Posted by: Katy | May 2, 2008

The Backyard is Backward

By that I mean it’s grossly unfinished.  Unpolished.  Highly  unsophisticated.  Not only does it not impress, but sometimes it might even appall.  Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters wiped out the grass in my yard.  When I moved in, it was a mess of weeds that in some places came up to my chest (I’m 5’1″, so this isn’t exactly a stupendous feat, but it’s still unattractive).  My poor father.  When I tell you he has sprayed, hand weeded, dug up weeds,  macheted weeds, mowed weeds, and desperately tried to help me keep the overgrowth in check, I’m not exaggerating.  Because of financial circumstances, I was only able to sod the front yard and about a third of the back yard, so the weeds keep coming!  I don’t know when I will ever have the money to finish sodding, as I just purchased a termite contract (ouch, did that hurt the wallet) and the house REALLY needs to be repainted in the next year or whenever I can save enough money.  (Not to mention all the unexpected expenses that seem to arise when you own a home that is over eighty years old).  What is an inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing alterative to allowing one’s yard to suffer in mud and weeds?  I thought about laying down some kind of gravel or stones in places.  Here are some of the pictures that seem to convey what I’ve been thinking.  Not that MY home will ever be able to look like this.  But one can always dream. 

What do you think?  Any ideas?

Posted by: Katy | April 30, 2008

HGTV in my neighborhood


NEW ORLEANS — HGTV, a network known for inspiring home renovations and landscape projects, began filming in Broadmoor Monday.


HGTV’s Change the World, Start at Home project is focusing on homes being restored post-Katrina. A hundred volunteers with the local group Rebuilding Together are helping to rebuild a house on Tonti Street.


Among those pitching in to help is the host of the TV show Spice up my Kitchen, Lauren Lake.


“We’re going to be at the Broadmoor Community Center painting and scraping and we’re also going to be at the intersection of the Andrew Wilson School planting palm trees and really revitalizing that area,” Lake said. “We’re just excited to be here.”


Broadmoor is one of five communities nationwide chosen for the campaign.

Thank you to Stephen for forwarding me this article.


Posted by: Katy | April 28, 2008


I live in a neighborhood—heck, a city—where a security system is a necessity.  So last June, when I bought the house, I also invested in an alarm through ADT.  They give you a sign to put in the front yard and stickers to put on the windows to act as a deterrent.  I’m one of the few people on my street who has a security system.  On Friday, I discovered that someone had actually taken my sign from my yard.  That’s right—someone STOLE my security sign.  We have actually reached a point where a sign advertising an alarm system is an item worthy of theft.  Now I have to call ADT and see if they’ll give me another one.  Maybe I’ll ask for a few spares while I’m at it.  Who knows how many more times this vicious crime will occur.  I jest, but seriously—they STOLE my sign?! 

Sidenote:  The city of New Orleans mandated that we all put our trash in a certain garbage can issued by the city.  It’s this enormous green monster of a thing that I am physically incapable of pushing to the curb.  Thank God I have a male roommate who does this for me.  Anyway, someone stole the garbage can from the house next door.  The neighbors have been waiting WEEKS for a replacement.  Until then, the city is rather ambivalent about picking up their garbage.  Sometimes the garbage truck will still take it away even though it is not in the proper receptacle.  Other times, since it isn’t in the city issued trash can, they don’t haul it away.

I live in a world where garbage cans and ADT signs are hot commodities.

Posted by: Katy | April 28, 2008

Plantation Ruins

This was once one of the gables of the main house on a sugar plantation.  It was built in the Eastlake style.

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