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Apr 102017
 

Forget about those confederate monuments for just a moment. If you really want to generate some controversy in New Orleans, try talking about directions.

Case in point: the new Equity Circle installation down on Jeff Davis Parkway.

photo

Equity Circle is the newest installation on the neutral ground of Jeff Davis Parkway.

You may have seen this when passing by recently. It was constructed toward the end of last year and officially dedicated in December. It’s kind of low profile, so you really have to get out of your car to appreciate it.

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Apr 022017
 
Tree

Photo by Bart Everson

Remember how we lost a couple of the great big live oak trees on Jefferson Davis Parkway recently? They have just been replaced with bright, fresh, young saplings. Definitely the most beautiful thing I saw this morning.

Bart Everson is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband, a father and a resident of Mid-City. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana, past president of Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and a participant in New Orleans Lamplight Circle. More at BartEverson.com.

Mar 292017
 

Patrick Armstrong

Whenever I write about gun control, I like to start with this quote:

“Like most rights, the rights secured by the Second Amendment are not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th Century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. … Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Right now, some of y’all are probably grinding your teeth, wondering what weak-knee, latte-sipping left-winger would dare write such a thing. Bet you’ll be surprised to find out the author was none other than Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the most influential Constitutional constructionists to sit on the United States Supreme Court in a generation. He wrote those words for the majority decision in District of Columbia vs. Heller, considered one of the landmark Supreme Court decisions on the Second Amendment. Continue reading »

Mar 272017
 

bart-everson-headshot-2013If you’re looking to justify your gloomy worldview, there’s plenty of material at hand.

Some look to the malfeasance of the rich and powerful. Others point to shocking acts of violence in our own community.

Me? I prefer glass.

Such responsible citizens!

I’ve written before about glass recycling and the challenges it presents. Yet that was a essentially hopeful moment, inspired by the re-launch of a glass dropoff program at the ReFresh Project on Broad. Alas, the moment has passed.

I participated happily over the past six months or so, hauling our empty bottles with me when I made groceries, and dutifully placing them in the dumpster. And I felt good about that.

Full of Glass

Clearly I wasn’t alone. I noted the dumpster was often near to overflowing. Sometimes I even had to keep the glass in the trunk because there wasn’t any room for it.

Now it seems that program has been discontinued, and I find myself dispirited — but not for the simple reason you might think. Continue reading »

Mar 202017
 

Photo by Bart Everson

We colored eggs for the vernal equinox, which this year falls on the 20th of March. I’d never heard of this method of coloring the hardboiled “whites” themselves, but my daughter found a video on YouTube that showed us how. For more on the meaning of this seasonal moment, check out this excerpt from my book. Happy equinox!

Bart Everson is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband, a father and a resident of Mid-City. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana, past president of Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and a participant in New Orleans Lamplight Circle. More at BartEverson.com.

Mar 152017
 

Patrick Armstrong

On March 3, 1859, the largest slave auction in American history took place in Savannah, Georgia. The event was called “The Weeping Time” partly due to the rainy weather that attendees of the sale would later remark upon in their journals and letters, and partly due to the wailing of human families and communities torn apart by the atrocity of human chattel slavery. The event was big news at the time, even reporters from New York arrived to cover the story. But in years that followed, the story of the Weeping Time was muted by historical revision and omission in the effort to burnish the Lost Cause as something more noble than a conflict over keeping humans in bondage. While Savannah sells itself to tourists as a destination steeped in history and tradition, it did not have a historical marker to note this very real historical atrocity until 2008. Continue reading »

Mar 132017
 

bart-everson-headshot-2013

One day in September of 1995, I made a trip with my wife and a mutual friend to Cedar Bluff, a place I considered the most beautiful place in Indiana, and only fifteen minutes from our home in Bloomington. I experienced an intense re-awakening of some ideas and aspirations that had been slumbering close to my heart. Below, you can read what I wrote in my journal on that day. What’s fascinating to me is how much things have changed over the past two decades — and also how little. The very word “localism” (as an ideology, opposed to “globalism”) seemed like a novelty then.


September, 1995

The bureaucratic state and the multi-national conglomerates have made the individual irrelevant by breaking down the local community. They’ve made the local community irrelevant by isolating individuals in gilded cages.

What can be done? Big business and big government are so entrenched, so monolithic that revolutionary dreams seem like hopeless (and therefore pathetic) fantasies.

The only solution is to do to them what they’ve done to us. We must make big business and big government irrelevant to our lives as individuals and as a community. We need to develop communities that are more self-sufficient, independent, autonomous.

Continue reading »

Mar 062017
 

Photo by Bart Everson

I hear this window got broken by beads after I took this photo — second year running. I sure wish broken windows were the worst news to come out of Endymion this year, but instead we had a truck plowing into the crowd just three blocks away from this scene. I had no clue what happened at the time; in fact I was contacted by concerned friends from around the world before I even learned of the incident. Bad news travels faster than ever.

Bart Everson is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband, a father and a resident of Mid-City. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana, past president of Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and a participant in New Orleans Lamplight Circle. More at BartEverson.com.

Feb 272017
 

Carnival revelers in the streets of New Orleans, 2012.

bart-everson-headshot-2013

When I moved to New Orleans at the tail-end of the 20th century, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Despite a couple brief visits in my youth, the city was a virtual blind spot for me. I was sadly ignorant of even the most iconic aesthetics of New Orleans culture. The filigreed ironwork in the Quarter, the second-line parasol, oysters on the half shell — these were all revelations to me.

But the biggest revelation was surely Carnival. I wonder if native New Orleanians can ever truly appreciate the shock of this discovery. To encounter a new holiday at age 33 is bracing, to say the least.

And not just a new holiday — a whole new holiday season. What fun.

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Feb 232017
 

Patrick Armstrong

There’s an old political science phrase called the “tragedy of the commons.” This is a dynamic that states any public resource that can be used by everyone will be overused until it is exhausted and no longer has value. Way back in college, a professor described it in terms of cows. There was a field of grass owned by the townspeople and anyone could graze their cows there until their cows became too fat and ate all the grass. Or something. It was always a difficult concept for me to grasp when put in a bovine context, because what town has a bunch of people who own individual cows? Continue reading »