(Archive - Week of September 10, 2005)

Remembering September 11, 2001
September 11: Chronology of terror

At 8:45 a.m. Sept. 11, 2001 (all times are EDT): A hijacked passenger jet, American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston, Massachusetts, crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center, tearing a gaping hole in the building and setting it afire.

9:03 a.m.: A second hijacked airliner, United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston, crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center and explodes. Both buildings are burning.

9:17 a.m.: The Federal Aviation Administration shuts down all New York City area airports.

9:21 a.m.: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey orders all bridges and tunnels in the New York area closed.

9:30 a.m.: President Bush, speaking in Sarasota, Florida, says the country has suffered an "apparent terrorist attack."

9:40 a.m.: The FAA halts all flight operations at U.S. airports, the first time in U.S. history that air traffic nationwide has been halted.

9:43 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, sending up a huge plume of smoke. Evacuation begins immediately.

9:45 a.m.: The White House evacuates.

9:57 a.m.: Bush departs from Florida.

10:05 a.m.: The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses, plummeting into the streets below. A massive cloud of dust and debris forms and slowly drifts away from the building.

10:08 a.m.: Secret Service agents armed with automatic rifles are deployed into Lafayette Park across from the White House.

10:10 a.m.: A portion of the Pentagon collapses.

10:10 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93, also hijacked, crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh.


When the 9-11-01 disaster occurred George W. Bush was on another boondoggle out of Washington. He decided not to return to the White House to play president and the commander in chief of the armed forces.

He chose to follow the routine that he did when he was avoiding the war in Vietnam. However, he did return to Washington after a day or two after it was safe. What did he do after that?

He ordered the American troops to invade Iraq. That nation played no part in the 9-11 disaster.

The Republican Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, William H. Rehnquist, died recently, and it was Rehnquist that had the power to appoint George W. Bush the President of the United States with his 5 to 4 deciding vote.In my opinion, that was the worst mistake of his life. It was the worst mistake in America.

Our nation is in trouble <> BIG TIME.

Hurricane Katrina - NOAH'S FEEDBACK:  
Hurricane Katrina was a disaster, but the Bush gang made it worse. The incompetence of the Bush administration is typical of the way they have handled the George W. Bush Iraq War. It was days before Bush and his incompetent Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA, realized that people were dying because of their mismanagement by not immediately sending help.

The article below is what Matt Stearns and Seth Borenstein (Knight Riders Newspapers) reported on Sept. 3. Is this the most we can expect with our billions of dollars the taxpayers have paid into Homeland Security and FEMA? Bush keeps telling us that he is a man with compassion and family values. I ask him to prove it. He could start with a good-faith demonstration of REAL family values by opening up his Crawford Ranch for victims of Hurricane Katrina. There's plenty of room. It's relatively close, and it would show a willingness to do more than a symbolic kissing of babies. You could help by sending Bush an email. president@whitehouse.gov   

FOOTNOTE: On Sept. 9, Brown was removed from responsibility of his duties in the Hurricane Katrina disaster site. He was replaced by the Chief of Staff, US Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen. Again, Bush is dragging his feet. Brown, this liar and incompetent person should not have been in this high-level job to start with. We must wonder how many billions of the tax payers' dollars has gone to the wrong source while he has been in office.

It was reported that Brown was sent to his Washington office and will continue to be the head incompetent liar while being paid by the taxpayers and laughing all the way to the bank. George W. Bush, our incompetent so-called leader, needs to learn Donald Trump's favorite two words <> You're Fired. The United States of American will join the Third World Countries when Bush returns to his Crawford, Texas Ranch in 2009. I hope he sleeps well with all the deaths that occurred because of his incompetence in George W. Bush Iraq War and our disasters on the home-front.

Posted on Sept. 03, 2005

Head of FEMA has an unlikely background
By Matt Stearns and Seth Borenstein
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - From failed Republican congressional candidate to ousted "czar" of an Arabian horse association, there was little in Michael D. Brown's background to prepare him for the fury of Hurricane Katrina.

But as the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brown now faces furious criticism of the federal response to the disaster that wiped out New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast. He provoked some of it himself when he conceded that FEMA didn't know that thousands of refugees were trapped at New Orleans' convention center without food or water until officials heard it on the news.

"He's done a hell of a job, because I'm not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm," said Kate Hale, former Miami-Dade emergency management chief. "The world that this man operated in and the focus of this work does not in any way translate to this. He does not have the experience."

Brown ran for Congress in 1988 and won 27 percent of the vote against Democratic incumbent Glenn English. He spent the 1990s as judges and stewards commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. His job was to ensure that horse-show judges followed the rules and to investigate allegations against those suspected of cheating.

"I wouldn't have regarded his position in the horse industry as a platform to where he is now," said Tom Connelly, a former association president.

Brown's ticket to FEMA was Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's 2000 campaign manager and an old friend of Brown's in Oklahoma. When Bush ran for president in 2000, Brown was ending a rocky tenure at the horse association.

Brown told several association officials that if Bush were elected, he'd be in line for a good job. When Allbaugh, who managed Bush's campaign, took over FEMA in 2001, he took Brown with him as general counsel.

"He's known Joe Allbaugh for quite some time," said Andrew Lester, an Oklahoma lawyer who's been a friend of Brown's for more than 20 years. "I think they know each other from school days. I think they did some debate type of things against each other, and worked on some Republican politics together."

Brown practiced law in Enid, Okla., a city of about 45,000, during the 1980s and was counsel to a group of businesses run by a well-known Enid family. Before that, he worked for the city of Edmond, Okla., and was an aide in the state legislature.

From 1991 until 2000, Brown earned about $100,000 a year as the chief rules enforcer of the Arabian horse association.

He was known as "The Czar" for the breadth of his power and the enthusiasm with which he wielded it, said Mary Anne Grimmell, a former association president.

The suspensions Brown delivered to those suspected of cheating resulted in several lawsuits. Although the association won the suits, they were expensive to defend, and Brown became a controversial figure.

"It was positive controversy," Connelly said. "It got word out that we were serious about enforcing our rules."

But he said Brown could be "abrasive." Others were less charitable.

"He just wouldn't follow instruction," said Bill Pennington, another former association president. "Mike was bullheaded and he was gonna do it his way. Period."

At FEMA, Brown rose from general counsel to deputy director within a year. Bush named him to succeed Allbaugh in February 2003. With FEMA now part of the Department of Homeland Security, Brown's title is undersecretary for emergency preparedness and response.

Brown's old friend Lester said the progression from horse shows to hurricanes was natural.

"A lot of what he had to do was stand in the breach in difficult, controversial situations," Lester said. "Which I think would well prepare him for his work at FEMA."

Despite the withering criticism and a promised congressional investigation of FEMA's performance, Brown still has the support of his most important constituent.

In Mobile, Ala., on Friday, Bush said the response to Katrina was unsatisfactory. But he had nothing but praise for his FEMA director. "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," the president said.

Stearns reports from Washington for The Kansas City Star.

Following are excerpts of some of Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown's remarks about Hurricane Katrina:

-"The federal government did not even know about the convention center people until today (Thursday). ... And I - my heart goes out to every - even if they chose not to evacuate, my heart still goes out to them, because they now find themselves in this catastrophic disaster. Now is not the time to be blaming."

-"I think the other thing that really caught me by surprise was the fact that there were so many people, and I'm not laying blame, but either chose not to evacuate or could not evacuate. And as we began to do the evacuations from the Superdome, all of a sudden, literally thousands of other people started showing up in other places, and we were not prepared for that. We were, we were surprised by that."

-"We pre-positioned all the manpower and equipment that we could prior to the storm making landfall. And I think once the storm made landfall, it was still at a Category 5, and the devastation became so widespread that it moved further inland and geographically wider than we expected. And so now we're having to work our way inward from a lot further out than we anticipated."

-An exchange with Ted Koppel on ABC's "Nightline":

Brown: "The people in the convention center are being fed; the people on the bridges are being provided with water. ..."

Koppel: "With all due respect, sir, the people, the people in the convention center are not being fed. Our reporters. ..."

Brown: "I misspoke. The people in the, the people in the Superdome. I'm sorry, you're absolutely correct. We're getting the supplies to the convention center now. But the people in the Superdome have been being fed, that supply chain has been working, and that has been moving along and those evacuations have been continuous."

-On CNN: "I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans."

-"Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans - virtually a city that has been destroyed - that things are going relatively well."

-"I've had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot or, you know, they're banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I've had no reports of that."

New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina
Founded by Sieur de Bienville 1718
(The Big Easy - Let the Good Times Roll)

Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Natchez Indians lived in what is now the New Orleans area before Europeans arrived. In 1682, the French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, sailed down the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes region. He claimed the entire Mississippi Valley for France.

Sieur de Bienville founded New Orleans in 1718. In 1722, he made it the capital of the French colony of Louisiana, which covered the central third of the present-day United States.

In 1762, King Louis XV of France gave Louisiana to his cousin, King Charles III of Spain. The French Orleanians disliked the first Spanish governor of Louisiana, Antonio de Ulloa, and drove him from the city in 1768. But in 1769, soldiers arrived from Spain and restored Spanish rule in New Orleans.

City Overview

New Orleans is the jewel of the southern US state of Louisiana, sparkling just above the mouth of the mighty Mississippi River where it meets the Gulf of Mexico. The heart of the city lies between the river and Lake Pontchartrain and, from this approximately 13km (8-mile) core, the suburbs of Greater New Orleans spread out into the surrounding expanse of drained swampland. The river's shape, as it curves around the central district, gave rise to the city's nickname, "Crescent City", although, New Orleans is more likely to be known as the "Big Easy", a clue to the city's laid back and genial atmosphere.

New Orleans was founded in 1718, at the swampy foot of France's huge Louisiana territory, and named after the Duc d'Orleans. Despite hurricanes, mosquitoes, disease and floods, settlers came and the city prospered. In 1762, the territory was secretly ceded to Spain. France regained it in 1800, only to sell it to the United States three years later in the Louisiana Purchase. Drawn by the rich plantations and thriving port, the Americans came seeking their fortunes. During the 19th century, New Orleans boomed with trade from the cotton and sugar plantations and, by 1860, was the wealthiest city in the country.

After the Civil War (1861-65), the region's slave-based agricultural economy declined. Today, the Port of New Orleans, the second largest in the country, is the mainstay of the city's economy, along with the petrochemical and aerospace industries, and tourism. New Orleans, with its unique atmosphere, is one of the most popular US destinations, particularly during its magnificent Mardi Gras celebration in late February/March.

Its oldest district, the French Quarter (Vieux Carr), has a wealth of architecture that portrays its colourful history. Most of the original buildings were destroyed in the fire of 1788 and the graceful houses with ornate wrought-iron balconies are actually Spanish in style. In fact, New Orleans has 17 National Historic Districts, with more than 35,000 listed buildings.

The easiest way to get orientated in New Orleans is to divide it into two main sections, Uptown and Downtown, with Lee Circle as the boundary. Above Lee Circle are the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. The Warehouse Arts District and Central Business District (CBD) border Lee Circle. Below Lee Circle are Uptown, the Garden District and Audubon Park. When asking directions, the river, not the compass, should be the guide. Locals seldom refer to north or east but rather to Uptown (up river) or Downtown (down river), lakeside or riverside.

"The Big Easy" is also a reference to a pace necessitated by climate. The subtropical weather is generally hot and humid from mid-March to October, although winter can be chilly and damp. The city can get a lot of rain, climaxing in intense summer afternoon thunderstorms. This is the time to indulge in New Orleans famous gastronomy, with such local specialties as gumbo, crawfish, red beans and rice, oysters, a muffaletta sandwich (deli meats, cheese on Italian bread smothered with an olive mixture), or simply a beignet (square doughnuts doused with powdered sugar) and a cup of strong chicory-flavored coffee.

The mixing of French, Spanish, African and American cultures over the centuries has created a unique environment, blending the genteel elegance of the colonial Creoles, the music and cuisine of the peasant Cajuns, the exuberance of Mardi Gras, a touch of voodoo and a big dollop of Dixieland jazz. The timelessness of New Orleans can be heard in the clattering of the streetcars, the distant whistles of the riverboats, a busker playing a saxophone or the soft sounds of jazz through an open window. As they say in New Orleans, "Laissez les bons temps rouler" - let the good times roll!

New Orleans French Quarter

The French Quarter is New Orleans' most popular neighborhood.

One of the best-preserved historical neighborhoods in America, the French Quarter has such a strong and lasting Spanish and French influence that you may really feel like you're visiting a foreign country. Occupying the same six by thirteen block area laid out in 1722, it's the only intact French Colonial and Spanish settlement remaining in the United States.

Don't miss my pages on French Quarter balconies and French Quarter history. Both pages include many pictures of historic buildings. My Steamboat Tour page has several good pictures of Jackson Square and the French Quarter Mississippi riverfront taken from a sternwheeler on the river. Click the French Quarter map image to the right to open an enlarged version (html or pdf) in a second window for easy reference.

The New Orleans motto: "Laissez les bon temps rouler or Let the good times roll" is exemplified by Bourbon Street's almost 24 hour party atmosphere. Bourbon Street in the French Quarter is the best-known party street in New Orleans.

Bourbon Street is lined with bars, jazz clubs, hotels, restaurants, "gentlemen's clubs" and boutiques. Jazz, blues, and rock 'n' roll flow out open windows to the street. People dance and drink in the street outside bars as if they too had spilled out the open windows.

The party goes on most of the day and all night. Weekends and during Mardi Gras it's frequently difficult to make your way through the crowds on Bourbon.

Don't get a hotel room on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter if you want to sleep at night too noisy. But do get a room on the second floor with a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street if you want to watch the passing parade from above.

The unwritten rule here is drink and be merry. Drinking on the street is legal actively encouraged even as long as your drink is in a plastic cup. The police are very quick to deal with disorderly behavior so Laissez les bon temps rouler but don't lose control.

Both Bourbon Street and Royal Street in the French Quarter are pedestrian malls for most of the day.

Delivery trucks are allowed on Bourbon in the morning which is what kept me from getting as much of Bourbon Street in the above panorama as I wanted. Two trucks drove up and blocked the view of the rest of the street before I could finish.

Jackson Square is usually full of musicians, fortune tellers, artists, jugglers and other tourist amusements. Cars are never allowed on the square.

St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest continuously active cathedral in the United States formed the center of the original settlement and dominates Jackson Square. Originally built in 1724 it had to be rebuilt twice after a fire and then following a hurricane.

The Cabildo just to the left of St. Louis Cathedral at 701 Chartres Street, now a Louisiana State museum, is the site of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase.

The Presbyt re just to the right of St. Louis Cathedral at 751 St. Chartres Street, is now a Mardi Gras Museum.

The statue of Andrew Jackson in the center of Jackson square recognizes his defeat of the British at New Orleans in 1814. His military success helped Andrew Jackson became the seventh President of the United States in 1832.

Artillery Park, formerly Founders Park, sits between Jackson Square and the Moon Walk with a good view of the French Quarter. The canon is a model of one used in the Civil War.

Downriver from Jackson Square and Artillery Park the historic French Market on Decatur Street dates to 1791 and is the oldest farmer's market in the U.S.

The 24-hour French Market includes both the farmers market and a flea market where you can find everything from dinner ingredients to T-shirts and other souvenirs to snacks (gater on a stick anyone). Good place to bargain. Unfortunately the fresh produce section seems to get smaller every year.

The golden bronze statue of Joan of Arc on Decatur Street near the entrance to the French Market is an exact copy of the famous 1880 Emmanuel Fremiet equestrian statue of Joan located at Place des Pyramides, Paris another copy resides in Philadelphia.

This statue of Joan of Arc was presented to the City of New Orleans as a gift from the people of France by President Charles de Gaulle during a state visit in 1959.

The Moonwalk, named for Mayor Moon Landrieu is on the Mississippi River side of Artillery Park. Sit on the steps and dangle your feet in the muddy Mississippi or watch the steamboats, ocean going barges and other river traffic float by.

Upriver from the Moonwalk you'll find Waldenberg Park, Canal Place, The Jackson Brewery and New Orleans Riverwalk.

Just beyond the Riverwalk mall and just outside the French Quarter is the Morial Convention Center.

Although the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair was a financial failure it did result in a major transformation of the riverfront, changing it from an area of railroads, warehouses and port activity that blocked residents and visitors view of the Mississippi into a large riverside park, festive marketplace and convention center.

Five acre Woldenberg Park at the edge of the Mississippi includes many pleasant landscaped walkways with river views, fountains, a sculpture garden and stages for live music. Aquarium of the America's is also here with more than a million gallons of exhibits, including Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico exhibits, Amazon rain forest, Caribbean Sea environment and the world's largest jellyfish collection.

The Riverfront Streetcar runs from the Old U.S. Mint to the Riverwalk.

The French Quarter's is bordered by the Mississippi River, Canal Street, North Rampart Street and Esplanade Avenue.

The French Quarter's upriver boarder is Canal Street where a streetcar line is presently under construction on the neutral ground. (After the Louisiana Purchase when Americans arrived in masse, there were frequent skirmishes between the Americans uptown and the Creoles in the Vieux Carr. Canal Street became the neutral ground.)

New Orleans business is centered on Canal Street. Harrah's Casino is located at the foot of Canal Street just across Decatur Street from the Riverwalk entrance.

North Rampart Street forms the lakeside boarder of the French Quarter.

Esplanade Avenue with its wide neutral ground and ancient oaks defines the downriver boarder of the French Quarter.

Jazz History

One might say that jazz is the Americanization of the New Orleans music developed by the Creoles, occuring at a time when ragtime, blues, spirituals, marches, and popular "tin pan alley" music were converging.

Jazz was a style of playing which drew from all of the above and presented an idiommatic model based on a concept of collective, rather than solo, improvisation. Ultimately, New Orleans players such as Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet developed a new approach which emphasized solos, but they both began their careers working in the collective format, evident in the early recordings by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (1917 ff.), Kid Ory's Sunshine Orchestra (1921), the New Orleans Rhythm Kings (1922, 1923) and King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (1923).

Pictured above is the King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, ca. 1923. L-R: Honore Dutrey, Baby Dodds, Louis Armstrong, Oliver, Lil Hardin, Bill Johnson, Johnny Dodds.

Armstrong's impact became apparent with the popularity of his Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings (1925-28), redirecting everyone's imagination toward inspired solos. Meanwhile, in New Orleans, community connections such as "jazz funerals" in which brass bands performed at funerals held by benevolent associations continued to underline the role of jazz as a part of everyday life.

Jazz may have been a luxury (entertainment) in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, but in New Orleans it was a necessity--a part of the fabric of life in the neighborhoods. And it still is. Information and picture is from the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University.

New Orleans Jazz Greats
In addition to "Satchmo" Armstong, the Dodds brothers and the other musicians mentioned in the previous paragraph, New Orleans has produced a long list of amazing jazz heros. From the great New Orleans pianist-composer Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton (1890-1941) and Zutty Singleton (1897-1975) to current masters like Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, Branford and Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr., the Crescent City continues to turn out major jazz talent.

You can hear Dixieland Jazz at the world famous Preservation Hall in the French Quarter and listen to Al Hirt play at his club on Bourbon Street or Pete Fountain in the Hilton Hotel on the Mississippi River at the foot of Canal Boulevard. The list of jazz musicians and clubs in New Orleans is endless and to visit the city without enjoying its music would be missing out of one of the truly great experiences of a lifetime.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
If you love jazz, gospel, cajun, zydeco, rythm and blues or just about any type of music, a great time to visit New Orleans is during the last week of April and the first week of May. This is the time the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is held. Second only in size and fame to Mardi Gras, in a city that hosts a great number of parties, the Jazz Fest has become both a major international musical and cultural event.

The festival takes place at the New Orleans Fairgrounds horse racing track and includes not only performances by hundreds of top musicians, but an enormous display and offering of South Louisiana and New Orleans crafts and food. If anything is able to rival jazz and the music of New Orleans in popularity, its the incredible selection of creole, cajun and crescent city cuisine.


Battle of New Orleans
Narrative by Jimmy Driftwood:

"After the Battle of New Orleans, which Andrew Jackson won on January the 8th eighteen and fifteen, the boys played the fiddle again that night, only they changed the name of it from the battle of a place in Ireland to the Eighth of January Years passed and in about nineteen and forty-five an Arkansas school teacher slowed the tune down and put words to it and that song is The Battle Of New Orleans and I will try to sing it for you. (*Note -- two minor revisions were made for classroom use)

Well, in eighteen and fourteen we took a little trip along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.

We took a little bacon and we took a little beans,
And we caught the bloody British near the town of New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin. There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago. We fired once more and they began to runnin' down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, I see'd Mars Jackson walkin down the street talkin? to a pirate by the name of Jean Lafayette [pronounced La-feet.

He gave Jean a drink that he brung from Tennessee and the pirate said he?d help us drive the British in the sea.

The French said Andrew, you'd better run, for Packingham's a comin, with a bullet in his gun.

Old Hickory said he didn't give a dang, he's gonna whip the britches off of Colonel Packingham.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin. There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.

We fired once more and they began to runnin' down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, we looked down the river and we see'd the British come, and there must have been a hundred of 'em beatin' on the drum.

They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring while we stood by our cotton bales and didn't say a thing.

Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise if we didn't fire a musket til we looked 'em in the eyes.

We held our fire til we see'd their faces well, then we opened up with squirrel guns and really gave a yell.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin. There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.

We fired once more and they began to runnin' down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, we fired our cannon til the barrel melted down, so we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.

We filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind, and when they tetched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.

We'll march back home but we'll never be content till we make Old Hickory the people's President.

And every time we think about the bacon and the beans, we'll think about the fun we had way down in New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin,
But there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.

We fired once more and they began to runnin' down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.

They ran so fast the hounds couldn't catch 'em down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
But there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.

We fired once more and they began to runnin' down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico."


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