Friday, October 15, 2010

Revisiting "The Storm."

I've been hard at work this past week going through my backlog of post Katrina pictures of New Orleans. I have a large collection of images that I have been carefully sorting and selecting the best ones for digital editing into photo artwork. I have utilized my own photography and the photography of others for this purpose. Of course I wanted images that illustrated the heartbreak, but I also wanted to include images that were both unique and hopeful. I believe I have been successful. Several of these were taken by my man Bart Everson in early 2006. He has graciously provided me with a creative commons license to edit these into art work and post them for public consumption as I see fit. Thanks!

                            213 N. Salcedo St Mid City. An utterly devastated shotgun house.
 The Bush Mobile-Folk art sculpture using flood-damaged car on the banks of Bayou St. John
 Mirabeau Avenue near the failed London Avenue Canal flood wall
 Flood ruined car on Mid City neutral ground with perfectly apt graffiti.
 My Mid City hangout-The Rock 'n' Bowl...what's better than bowling, beer and live music?
I took this shot in April 2010.
Cinco De Mayo 2006-Snooks Eaglin at Rock'n'Bowl.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Glasses

 I'm nearsighted. Eyeglasses have been part of my daily life since I was in fourth grade. At age 17 I finally realized my vision had deteriorated to the point that I needed corrective lenses 100% of the time. Since then I have purchased eyeglasses through my optometrist, at major mall outlets and at local eyeglass retailers with widely varying degrees of quality, performance and retail price.

I was an early adopter of the internet. I wholeheartedly embraced internet commerce in the mid nineties. I've purchased music, books, electronics and clothing online-all with excellent results. In spite of my embrace of internet commerce I have been hesitant to utilize the internet for eyeglasses. This has been due to a desire to see how the frames looked on my face and to evaluate the quality of the finished product before I make a purchase decision. Time and again I visited online glasses retailers enchanted by the low prices but I still continued to purchase glasses through my usual outlets. That was before the recession. I'm one of the lucky ones because I am still working full time; albeit for a much lower salary.

Recently, I broke my newest pair of stylish glasses that I purchased from a major mall retailer. I couldn't afford to replace them as the warranty had expired. I ended up wearing a much more durable (and cheaper) pair I purchased from a big box store optical department 12 years ago. At this point my wife told me to check out Glasses USA. I figured I had nothing to lose so I typed the URL into my browser. Immediately I was surprised to find a significant selection of stylish eyeglass frames. Typically discount online eyeglass retailers have a limited selection of generic looking frames that practically scream, "CHEAP!"  The contemporary and stylish selection at Glasses USA was a refreshing change. There was a considerable selection of well known designer styles available at bargain prices as well.

The biggest objection for me has been that I want to see what the eyeglasses look like on my face. Glasses USA overcame this objection by creating a way to do this virtually. Through the "Virtual Mirror" feature I was able to upload a head shot from my webcam (you can also use a digital picture) and methodically try each frame shape on to ascertain the best shape and color for my face. I tried several styles and settled on the contemporary semi-rimless style "Playground Black" which sells for a base price of $39 with standard single vision lenses.

Glasses USA gives you multiple lens and lens coating options at a very competitive pricing. I opted for thin lenses for an extra $49 and all three coatings (scratch, UV and reflective) for an additional $17.85. There were also options for Transitions lenses and a polarized sunglasses lens option and a color tinted lens option. The total for my pair came to a very reasonable $105.65 with free standard shipping. I entered the prescription information from my most recent eye exam and sent in my order.

A few days later my new glasses arrived.  I unpacked them and gave them a thorough examination. I determined the glasses felt substantial and are clearly very good quality. The prescription was accurate and the finished glasses fit my face perfectly and look sharp. Glasses USA also provided a high quality padded hard case and lens cloth with my order. This unexpected extra completed an excellent experience. I highly recommend Glasses USA. The experience from beginning to end was smooth and easy. I particularly liked the easy to navigate website, Virtual Mirror feature and most of all the value. Thanks Glasses USA!

A surprising encounter!

So the most unusual thing happens to me Saturday night/Sun morning. I've just finished all my shift ending paperwork about 2AM after the usual incredibly busy Saturday night and I'm walking to the front of the Fort Oglethorpe, GA Steak-n-Shake by the cash registers. As I walk up I slide my New Orleans Saints super bowl champs black and gold fleur-de-lis cap on my head. At the counter is a short, thin late 20-something black man immaculately dressed in a collared black shirt. I notice a colorful hand carved wooden rosary around his neck. He indicates he likes my hat and asks me if I'm from New Orleans. I indicate that in a manner of speaking yes I am-I spent many good years residing in the city-most recently in the 15th Ward in Algiers. He leans over the counter, grabs my hand with gusto, shakes it, and proceeds to tell me that he is a lifelong Algiers Point resident and that he came to Chattanooga/N GA after the storm. So we shot the shit for a long while...turns out we have a mutual connection to some of the same people and of course know all the businesses in the neighborhood. He was surprised to learn that L.B. Landry high had been closed and was being rebuilt. He went to Walker High out on General Meyer. He bemoaned the fact that violent crime has migrated to the West Bank due to the displaced east bank residents moving. He said he wants to go home desperately...but feels that the place he knew isn't there anymore. I feel the same way. I still want to return...because I believe that people who speak the language and understand the culture must return to prevent the culture withering away. The Quarter has already become sort of a Disneyland version of itself in places. The gentrified bullshit that is so common elsewhere infecting the rest of New Orleans would exacerbate the most real tragedy, which is the loss of the working class native who says hello to you on every corner and utters those melodious (to me) words, "Adrian, My man! Wheah Y'at?!
You can't buy that with federal dollars.