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I disagree. I think he was pretty on target for most of his criticisms.

You're reading too much into the buffoons comment. He's not referring to all New Orleanians.

He hit the nail on the head on politicians exploiting the "Right of Return" for political advantage.

He he forgets important details (like we do also have a port to help unload those T-shirts), but he got a pretty good lay of the land. If that helps him avoid getting outmaneuvered, all the better.


He's trivializing our heritage and trying to make more out of racial divide than there is...because Nagin tells him that it's all racial here.

For him, "success" means that we are at our Pre-federal-flood population in 10 years. Doing what, he does not care, as long as there are nice shiny new buildings.


Go perfesser go! I am tired of lame excuses being made for this guy. He hasn't had an original or cogent comment since he arrived here, and we are all expected to bow down before his wisdom? Give me a break.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm willing to send out a whole bunch of "Buffoon" t-shirts to everybody, a la "V for Vendetta". We can storm the Bastille in 'em.

Scott Harney

I don't know. His humongous ego and strutting bugs me, but a lot of what he says is right. I think this guy knows Nagin is a buffoon and that's one of the people he was referring to.
I think if you read between the lines, it's clear that this guy and Nagin are not exactly pals.

After all, he also said this (link )
He also found a patchwork of residents who had returned home bursting with ambition but lacking support to rebuild their neighborhoods.

"Rather than being welcomed back, they were sort of filtering back into their city with a feeling that they had been neglected and that no one was there to help them, and rebuilding their homes on their own, literally on their own with almost no government assistance at all," Blakely said.

He's no fan of suburban gated communities either so typical in the great elsewhere:


One thing's for sure: if he gets chased out with torches and pitchforks, he'll be proven absolutely correct.

Also, I don't disagree with anyone about his Goodyear blimp-sized ego.

I'm surprised nobody has brought up the Sunni/Shiite comment yet.


Right on target, Clay. The firestorm over an "outsider" daring to point out that there happen to be "buffoons" here who frustrate people (and whom most bloggers rely on for 80% of their material, by the way) only serves to reinforce accusations of provincialism. Interesting that some of the bloggers who've made their hay essentially pointing out the "buffoonery" of local officials, businessmen, civic leaders, etc. would happen to be "outsiders" themselves.


I'm trying to square the "we don't need newcomers" angle with the "we desperately need doctors and architects" one, and I can't get the math right.

I think Blakely was not far off. He's enormously pompous and he phrased things in a way unbecoming of his position, but race IS a huge issue here, our business elite IS backwards and insular, and we DO have a higher than average rate of buffoonery.

He's taking shots because of who he is. If he was a bicycle mechanic from the Bywater saying those things in his blog we'd all be saying "fuck yeah" and inviting him to our parties.


It shouldn't be considered a great leap in logic to suggest the racial disconnect in New Orleans is huge.

Not like it is in other cities where blacks and whites don't have to work together and the white are the majority and the blacks don't get a say, here we have to do it together. and it doesn't seem to be working very well.

We don't work together. We spend all our time trying to get the right COLOR candidate in rather than the right candidate period.

Because people desire progress doesn't mean they are going to start listening to Kenny G and demanding bars close at midnight. Because new citizens are moving in doesn't mean vanillazation (my word, not OED). San Francisco and Seattle both flourished with their distinct personalities intact. people don't come to the city to change it. they come because they see what's there and want it tochange them.

But what the hell are we talking about? Why are we afraid of undesirables coming here when we can't even keep the caring citizens we have right?

It may not be an absolute but, many of the world's greatest cities flourished during periods of growth. This one has been in a steady population decline since the '60s, culminating in the exodus of 200,000 in 2005.

I would love to go back to the '60s and make decisions that would alter the course of the next few decades. The fact of the matter is change is upon New Orleans, whether we want it or not.

And how can someone not feel like the smartest guy in the room working with City Hall?


The mook is either incredibly bright by allowing his sentence to be parsed so many ways, or incredibly dull by allowing his sentence to be parsed so many ways.

Judging by what else has come out of his mouth, I'm thinking he's more like Les Nessman: blunt, rounded at the free end, dull.

As I said in my post "We know the elite and the politicians are idiots -- we have irrefutable truth: they hired you."

Many people feel that I am a buffoon because I went into academia and gave up a $100 an hour (in 1995) consulting gig. I may be among the buffoons to which the Tsar refers, as he has certainly managed to squeeze a lot of bucks out of us...and many others.

He has no measurable performance metrics, so he can say his job is "done" whenever he wants it to be done. He won't answer questions, so he's above reproach...this is not the kind of person we need.

We've been screwed so hard for so long by a complete absence of information or misinformation, we need somebody who will answer our questions simply and distinctly.

Ray, I'm not saying we don't need newcomers, I'm saying that this guy evidently hasn't even tried to understand our culture. It's easy to dismiss the typical New Orleanian as lazy, but we know that they just have different priorities. We do need newcomers, and we need evacuees to come back.

We do have a higher than average rate of buffoonery, but my impression of his "we don't have time for this stuff" remark is that "we don't have time" to run things by neighborhood organizations or preservation committees. Oakland isn't exactly teeming with them, and it is evident he hasn't really encountered preservationists before.


"He's taking shots because of who he is. If he was a bicycle mechanic from the Bywater saying those things in his blog we'd all be saying "fuck yeah" and inviting him to our parties."



It's nice to know he has time to churn out wisdom whenever he's not busy implicating the city in massive federal fraud over population numbers. After all, it was advanced at a seminar, must be true.



Varg and others: my comments about vanillazation are directly related to some of the comments he makes where it is obvious he has done no research whatsoever about what makes us unique.

I'd like to see him at my laundromat, at my bars, at my restaurants, at my kids school -- then have him give me that Sunni-Shia drivel.

Yeah, Seattle is unique, but everyone got priced out and live in Bellevue. SF is unique, but most people got priced out to Bakersfield. NOLA is unique, and I hope people don't all get priced out to wherever.


Ray, if he was an *anything* in the Bywater, he wouldn't be saying all this crap. He lives in the garden district, so he can continue to be isolated.


Because the Garden District isn't part of New Orleans?


Obviously I'm with Ashley here.

I find it interesting how quickly folks are to rush in and defend a man who is promoting a vaguely defined scheme to confiscate property from flooded New Orleanians and then borrow money against that property to fund more giveaways and loans to developers.

But I guess this kind of trickle-down scheme is perfectly fine because... why? Because some of us once got the wrong order at Burger King and Blakely's unbridled assholery makes us feel more comfortable with our intolerance of shoddy fast food service.

I admit that it might be my knee-jerk abhorrence of authority that makes me extra-sensitive to Blakely's act. But I still think the rampant hero worship is misguided.


Varg, for one who frequently shouts isolationism because he lives on the other side of the river, you especially should know that it would probably be best if Tsar Blakely lived in a non-tourist part of town. Like the Bywater.


In the meantime, this is all splitting hairs. While we're all debating about name-calling (AGAIN - the "biotch" follies comes to mind), there's still a lot of work that needs to be done. All this is simply proving that words DO hurt.


Put a Band-Aid on it, people, and work together toward recovery. Really.


The only reason I am prone to defend him is because he at least has a plan. The leadership in New Orleans is so inept that anyone with vision will be embraced over a lack thereof. But rather than embrace the plan and put forth input and tweak it as it unfolds, we are wanting to throw the baby out with the bathwater. in favor of what? More time to wait for another plan. This is a desperate moment in New Orleans history and we don't have time to idle in neutral discussing what needs to be done. Forward motion needs to be initiated and we will fix it as it goes.


His 17 circles seem to appease most everyone. I'm not trying to run his ass out on a rail, I want the mook to be accountable to someone for something.

Still, it doesn't look like he's ever encountered either preservation councils or neighborhood councils.

"I’m meeting some who are moving here, and they don’t have time for this stuff" to me means that he doesn't have time for people that want to save old buildings, or require a traffic assessment before building a Mega Lo Mart in the middle of a neighborhood.

17 circles...good earn the next 2/3 of your salary. And start by answering questions and knowing when to STFU.

And Varg, "Forward motion needs to be initiated and we will fix it as it goes" doesn't always work. Might I direct you to

Once heritage is gone, it's gone forever.


They'll want their Target with a big-ass parking lot, their Starbucks, their doughnuts, their TGIFs, their Kenny G, their bars that close at midnight, their ban on go cups, their well behaved crowds that clap on one and three, and their vanillization of the whole fucking city.

I think you're making some big assumptions here. NOLA can keep her character while accepting new residents. Especially if those new residents aren't of the "vanilla" persuasion, but rather more "caramel" in their preference.

Just because someone appears and makes radical suggestions (which, I might add, appear to be on-point with regard to the deficiencies in culture and government in NOLA) doesn't mean that he/she wants to tear down Broadway Grocery and put in a Starbucks.

The Buddha Belly isn't going anywhere. Neither is The Boot. Even with new residents, do you think they're going to insist on Bennigan's when The Grocery is right down the street?

Hell, if they want neon and vanilla, Veterans Blvd is right over there. The nobody's going to demolish Dorignac's to put in a Super Target. Nobody's going to bulldoze the Swamp Room to put in an Applebee's.

I understand your alarm over the hypothetical loss of local culture, but I think your fears are--at this point--unfounded.


I understand the immeasurable loss of heritage New Orleans is experiencing right now. Believe me I do. And maybe because I have only lived here for four years I am more willing to let certain things go. I accept any arguments made to that point (and I know I will hear them because I have been hearing them the whole time I have lived here). But I am not letting things go because I don't care.

A large swath of heritage was washed away and it won't return. We can try to reconstruct what we can from the ruins but some of it is just gone. The lives lost should be a clear indicator that the culture here has changed forever. Those people were contributors and to have them wiped away has an effect that can't be erased through preservation societies.

The culture of the city was forged in the past by fires and floods and it became what it was in spite (or becuase) of them.


Brian, I get your points, but who the fuck knows what der Tsar is thinking since he won't answer any questions???


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