Tag Archives: New Orleans

No Place to Run, No Place to Hide

Greenville       Talking to ACORN’s head organizer in France from one of the organization’s offices in Lyon was something of an other-worldly experience.  He was cancelling a train trip to Paris and had only hours to get back to his home in Grenoble.  The President of France has ordered a fifteen-day period where all residents were expected to stay at home except for essential trips to the grocery store.  The real period of containment he explained is forty-five days, when restrictions will be in force.  We joked that he was finally going to have the organizers take the time to become good at phone banking and phone recruitment, which previously had continually fallen off the to-do-list.

Seven counties in Northern California are under stay-at-home restrictions now except for essential personnel.  My cousin called from San Jose to check-in while we were walking Lucha along the Mississippi River.  She runs the finances for a private school.  She has no choice but to go in during the period to do some tasks even though she can make payroll remotely.  Construction projects at her school that were due to be finished in a month are now up in the air.  Her husband works for Apple and has already been telecommuting for the last two weeks.  Apple has suspended all construction contracts in the same way that they have shuttered their stores around the world.

One of mi companera’s cousins was in New Orleans and in the midst of signing on to do some painting at our building, he hightailed it out of town on a possible job offer in the Twin Cities, because he had heard the city might be quarantined and travel in and out restricted.  We thought that was a pretty wild rumor last week until a friend of our daughter’s with another friend in the fire department told her that perhaps today there would be travel restrictions proposed for the city within forty-eight hours.  We might scoff, but when another friend had warned her that our coffeehouse and all other restaurants, bars, and more would be closed except for takeout at 3pm yesterday, it turned out we could have set our watches to the announcement by the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor shutting the state down in the face of the epidemic.

Managing three radio stations hop skipping between New Orleans, Greenville, and Little Rock, ironically, I find myself classified as essential personnel. Radio goes to our people and jumps over the digital divide, highlighting another way that lower income families and especially their children will be slammed in this pandemic.  Regardless, my daughter’s concerns are paramount, so I’ll make sure they’re battened down so that they can run seamlessly 24-7 to get out the warnings, spread the news, and give people comfort and support, then I’ll Hank Snow it back to Dodge.

As my son and I sat in our kitchen in the early evening trying to make a plan to provide takeout at Fair Grinds Coffeehouses for several hours a day, his face was dark with the clouds of worry and stress.  As he left, he turned to me and said, “I don’t like any of this!”


Please enjoy deFrance – Keep The Night On It

Thanks to WAMF.


In the Eye of the Pandemic Storm

New Orleans        We all feel like we’re caught in the eye of the pandemic storm, but our collective empathy doesn’t necessarily make us feel safer and more secure.

New Orleans’ Mayor LaToya Cantrell, almost as an aside, mentions that our public health officials are worried that, relative to our size, the covid-19 epidemic seems to be more firmly rooted and expanding exponentially in the city.  We’ve now had two deaths, neither of which were travelers, so this is a community issue.  The first was a resident of a developmentally disabled home, similar to those that our union represents throughout Louisiana.

Mardi Gras drew more than one-million people from all over the world at the point several weeks ago when it was “what me worry” on the 25th of February and the height of when carriers would have been here by the legion.  A 19-day incubation period has been mentioned.  Follow the calendar, and it’s right on time.

Our daughter and her cohort are convinced that they could all be carriers.  They costumed.  They hosted.  She now WhatsApps us regularly and shouts at us from the street to the porch.  She has a friend in Detroit in the ICU with the virus.  Another is a nurse in New York City.  Another is literally working in the coronavirus ward of a major local hospital and mentions that the ratio of staff to patients here is four-to-one compared to other cities with unionized nurses where it’s two-to-one.

The Mayor over the weekend moved to close restaurants at 9PM and bars at midnight, which in many cases is just when they are revving up.  She wants to reduce capacity by 50%.  She forbids congregating.  She instructs us to tell people to go home after they do their business.  We’re supposed to have the staff take their temperature every few hours, but five stores have all sold out.  None of us are prepared to live in these times of virus or in life disrupted for what could be several months.

I say us because Fair Grinds Coffeehouses operate under a restaurant license, so our son was there at six in the morning reorganizing the tables, posting the notice we wrote last night about our procedures, and taking inventory.  The best information mixed with the rumor mill is that New Orleans is likely today or within days to follow the New York and European guidance and shut everything down to takeout and delivery, so we have to prepare for the worst case and limited hours.   Our workforce would be limited, but according to the Department of Labor eligible for unemployment.  Tough times for all of us.

ACORN organizations here and throughout the world are adapting to phone and social media organizing.  Where we have robodialers, we’ll be rocking.  Where we can schedule pickups for new members in the workplace and communities where we work, we’re on it.

There’s no good place to be right now.  Home hearkens.


Please enjoy  Indigo Girls – Change My Heart

Thanks to WAMF.