Thursday, November 30, 2006

Life in New Orleans

Repaired Truck Body, Baton Rouge LA 11/2006
from the series Baton Rouge Blues
all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner

Survey looks at life in N.O.

One-third queried consider leaving

Advocate New Orleans bureau
Published: Nov 29, 2006

NEW ORLEANS — Against the backdrop of “For Sale’’ signs dotting yards across Orleans and Jefferson parishes, a new survey of 400 residents living in those parishes revealed Tuesday that a third of them may be leaving the area within the next two years.

The results of the “Keeping People’’ quality-of-life poll conducted last month by University of New Orleans political scientist and UNO Survey Research Center director Susan Howell indicate that a third of the surveyed residents in both parishes are either “very likely’’ or “somewhat likely’’ to leave in that period.

Seventeen percent of the residents in both parishes said they are “very likely’’ to leave while 15 percent in both parishes said they are “somewhat likely’’ to leave.

Sixty-seven percent of the Orleans residents and 65 percent of the Jeffersonians said they were “not very likely’’ to leave. The remainder said they did not know.

“If we consider only those who say ‘very likely’, it represents the potential for a large out-migration in the near future,’’ Howell said during a news conference at UNO.

Orleans residents cited crime, government inaction, lack of available housing and broken infrastructure as the biggest problems facing the parish and their main reasons for wanting to leave, while Jefferson residents listed crime, government inaction, levees/flood control and lack of available housing as the chief problems facing their parish and their reasons for leaving.
“After seeing the devastation in Orleans, Jefferson residents are aware that they are at risk from flooding in a future hurricane,’’ Howell said. “Completion of flood prevention projects, raising levees, and public information about these projects will give residents confidence to stay.’’

Howell’s team interviewed the Orleans and Jefferson residents from Oct. 19-24 using a random digit-dialing procedure that does not capture cellular telephones. Forty-five percent of the Orleans residents surveyed were black; 24 percent of the Jeffersonians polled were black. The survey had a sampling error of 7 percent in both parishes.

Howell cautioned that the respondents were not evacuees. Rather, they are the people in the “best’’ living conditions because they are in a house or apartment that is renovated enough to have a land-based phone, she said. They are presumably not in trailers.
Asked if her team could have gone door-to-door to interview trailer occupants, Howell smiled and said, “With a lot of money, sure.’’

Howell conducted a similar survey of 204 Orleans residents and 266 Jefferson residents in the spring. Those residents were not asked if they were considering leaving the area.
But they were asked in both surveys about their overall satisfaction with life in their respective parish.

The satisfaction level in Jefferson was 89 percent in April and 87 percent last month, while the level in Orleans was 48 percent in April and 53 percent last month.

“Satisfaction with life in Orleans is lower than in Jefferson, which is predictable given the flooding in Orleans. What is troubling is that there has been no improvement in satisfaction over the past seven months,’’ she said.

Howell also said there was no improvement from the spring survey to the fall survey in the indicators of mood and depression among Orleans and Jefferson residents.

“One-fifth or more of the residents of both parishes are irritable, sad, tired, feel everything is an effort, have trouble falling asleep, or cannot keep their mind on track nearly every day,’’ she said. “These indicators are important to track in the future because they are related to the likelihood of moving out of the area.’’

More than 20 percent of the recently surveyed residents also reported that their family income is still lower than it was pre-Katrina.

“These residents are, predictably, more likely to leave than those whose income is stable or has increased,’’ Howell said.

Howell’s team did find several bright spots in the survey:
Seven months ago, two-thirds of the respondents said they were worried about what would happen to them in the future.

Today, about half of the Orleans and Jefferson residents express that level of worry about their future.

She said that could be attributable to the fact that the latest survey was conducted at the end of the active part of the hurricane season.

Life has become less difficult than it was seven months ago. People are reporting greater ease in shopping for groceries, other shopping, sending and receiving mail, and getting around town.
In Orleans Parish, the number of residents saying their family income has decreased since Katrina is less than it was in April.New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s approval rating is 40 percent — 61 percent among black residents and 23 percent among white residents. Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, in spite of his controversial decision to send the parish’s pump station operators out of town during Katrina, is enjoying an approval rating of 53 percent.
By identifying the key problems that residents are facing and their evaluations of current government services and conditions, Howell said she hopes her survey will provide guidelines for public policy.

“What will happen to this report is up to the policymakers,’’ she said.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tinyvices Japan

Saints Game , Tiger Stadium , Baton Rouge LA 10/2005
all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner


exhibition: 12.16.06 - 12.24.06

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

In New Orleans, Rust in the Wheels of Justice*

Hub Cap King, New Orleans 10/2006
all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner

In New Orleans, Rust in the Wheels of Justice

Published: November 21, 2006
The Times-Picayune New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — Seventeen months ago, when Edward Augustine was arrested with what the police said were marijuana and crack cocaine in his pocket and a handgun in his waistband, he seemed like just another run-of-the-mill drug suspect: easy to prosecute, easy to lock up.

But two months later, the floodwaters rushed through the labyrinth of evidence rooms in the courthouse basement here, scattering tens of thousands of items and leaving a fetid mess. When Mr. Augustine finally came to trial in October, the authorities could no longer find the three things they needed most: the small bag of marijuana, the rocks of crack and the gun. The judge threw out the case, and Mr. Augustine walked free.

As the judge, Lynda Van Davis, put it, Mr. Augustine, 18, had lucked out. But he is not the only lucky defendant in New Orleans. As the city’s criminal justice system slowly gears back up after Hurricane Katrina, as many as 500 defendants, mostly in drug, theft and assault cases, have been freed because of problems with evidence, including difficulty in finding the witnesses who have moved away.

Law-enforcement officials say a few of those who were freed could potentially be violent, a cause for concern in a city battling a surge in drug-related killings. And some judges say that missing witnesses and damaged evidence, like spoiled DNA samples and rusted guns, will almost certainly lead to more acquittals, even in cases of murder, rape and armed robbery.
“It’s amazing that for every case I’ve walked into lately, there’s evidence missing,” said Rick Tessier, a defense lawyer.

Several judges have jettisoned cases like Mr. Augustine’s over the last few weeks. And in acquitting him, Judge Van Davis chastised prosecutors for going ahead without the drugs or the gun.

“This is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous,” she said from the bench.
But the district attorney, Eddie Jordan, responded in an interview, “We can’t just tuck our tails between our legs and run just because it’s difficult.”

Mr. Jordan said that under state law, testimony from the arresting officer, and a laboratory report that confirmed Mr. Augustine had possessed illegal drugs, should have been enough to convict him. He added that although the evidence problems might seem to be “an Achilles’ heel,” he did not think “that the overwhelming problems that some of the critics have speculated about have materialized.”

While 800 suspects have pleaded guilty to various crimes since the New Orleans courts reopened in June, only about 90 trials have been held, about a third the normal number. More than 2,000 people arrested before Hurricane Katrina are still waiting for their cases to be heard, and at least 400 of them remain in jail. And 1,500 cases have been temporarily set aside because the defendants, who were out on bond, apparently evacuated and never returned.
Court officials say other delays have come from a shortage of jurors and from limits on how many inmates can be brought to court each day. And the public defender’s office is so overwhelmed that it is recruiting law students from across the country to conduct interviews with long-neglected clients who cannot afford a lawyer.

But a growing source of delays and acquittals has been the lack of witnesses and evidence.
After Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, the evidence rooms at the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court sat in chest-high water for two and a half weeks. Only recently have court officials begun to realize the extent of the evidence problems within the old Beaux-Arts courthouse, which was closed for nine months and is still not quite back to full operations.
Warren E. Spears, the clerk in charge of the evidence rooms, said in an interview that before the storm only about 10 percent of the hundreds of thousands of items had been sealed in plastic bags. The rest were in paper bags and scrap boxes holding clothes, guns and drugs, some of which disintegrated in the swirling waters, Mr. Spears said, dumping their contents into heaps on the floor.

Clothing from murder and assault cases took “a brutal beating,” Mr. Spears said. Photo lineup cards used to identify suspects stuck together and could not be separated. Stacks of assault weapons turned to rust, he said, and holes had to be punched in duffel bags filled with rotting marijuana to let the water out.

The court hired a cleanup contractor to gather the evidence, clean off the mold and place it in plastic bags and fresh boxes. Court officials have estimated that 8 percent to 10 percent of the evidence was a total loss.

Mr. Spears added that a number of the workers spoke little English, and that he could only gesture to them as they guessed which items should be packaged together.
Water also seeped into safes, he said, rotting a great deal of paper money that had to be freeze-dried to remove the moisture.

At separate police evidence rooms nearby, some DNA samples for rape and murder cases were held for months without refrigeration, possibly ruining their usefulness, other officials said.
Given shortages in staffing, the condition of the evidence comes to light only as each case approaches trial.

The problems are starting to make life easier for the city’s defense lawyers.
Pamela R. Metzger, a member of a state board that oversees the public defender’s office, said she had learned about the evidence problems after asking Mr. Spears about a suspected crack pipe that was missing in one of her cases. Ms. Metzger, who is also a law professor at Tulane University, said she was urging the public defense lawyers, who handle the vast majority of the court’s cases, to raise more challenges about the condition of the evidence and how it had been handled.

“I think you’ll see more and more and more of that,” she said.

Mr. Jordan, the district attorney, said his office had taken the lead in dismissing 400 to 500 cases recently, mainly because crucial witnesses, like the victims or the arresting officers, had moved away.

“Many of my prosecutors had held on to those cases until the last minute in hopes that we’d be able to go to trial,” he said. “But I thought that if we had not been able to contact the victim since before the storm, then it was unlikely we’d be able to reach them now.”

Mr. Jordan also said his office had won about 60 percent of the roughly 90 trials since the courts reopened. While several judges have been tough, others recently convicted suspects on cocaine and burglary charges even though the physical evidence had been lost, he said.

Of one recent jury case, he said: “We weren’t certain we had the same gun from the crime scene. But we were able to find a gun that fit the description. And we found a photo of the original gun, and the jury found the defendant guilty as charged.”

Still, Mr. Jordan said he had recently hired a former federal prosecutor to assess the strength of the 2,000 pre-hurricane cases to see how many more should be dropped.
Mr. Tessier, the private defense lawyer, said he had recently taken on a widely publicized murder case in which his client and another man were charged with stabbing a Tulane student in 2002.

The lawyer said the files had indicated that an important piece of evidence was a shirt stained with a drop of his client’s blood. But Mr. Tessier said that neither Mr. Spears nor the New Orleans Police Department, which is temporarily storing evidence in rental trucks, had been able to find the shirt.

Katherine Mattes, another Tulane law professor, said the lost or damaged evidence could also make it harder for innocent people to shake off charges filed against them. She said, for instance, that a rusted gun might no longer fire, making it impossible to conduct new ballistic tests that might show it could not have been used in a murder.

“What people say when you describe all the evidence problems is how terrible it will be if we have people who committed crimes and can’t be prosecuted,” she said. “But it also can work the other way.”

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Shirley Kross Greiner (1921-2006)

White Wall , New Orleans , 1989 from The Reposed
all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner

Shirley Kross Greiner , of New Orleans, LA, on Thursday, November 16, 2006, at the age of 84. Survived by her lifelong husband of 63 years, Joseph Neville Greiner and three children: Joseph Neville Greiner Jr., Kathleen Marie Smetek and William Kross Greiner, as well as eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Daughter of the late Leah Bell Kross and William John Kross. She was a graduate of Newcomb College, New Orleans.

Private services and Memorial Mass were held , Friday , November 17, 2006 at the chapel of Lakelawn Park Mausoleum , New Orleans , LA. Internment in Lakelawn Park Mausoleum , New Orleans , LA.

In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations may be made to benefit City Park New Orleans , 1 Palm Drive , New Orleans, LA 70124 , by phone 504-483-9459 or email

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Lot For Sale, Donaldsonville, LA 5/2006
all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner

New Orleans' Largest Convention in One Year Underway:

The National Association of Realtors(R)

Friday November 10, 7:39 pm ET

25,000 - 30,000 Conventioneers Celebrate 'NARdi Gras' and Participate in Community Service Projects Nov. 10 - 13 During Another Milestone Event for New Orleans Tourism Industry .

Thank you National Association of Realtors for coming to New Orleans at the critical time of our economic recovery!

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Day after Yesterday*

Victorian Light, Prytania Street, New Orleans 11/2006
Marilyn Vanummelen Fournet, New Orleans 11/2006
Construction Site, New Orleans , 11/2006
Reserved For, Metairie , LA 10/2006

The Day after Yesterday* was the clever title of the fictitious novel by Paul Giamatti ’s character in the brilliant film Sideways. It’s such a confusing phrase and idea, which I realized fit with my feelings about New Orleans , more than a year after Katrina. Frankly, I don’t know what to think about what is going on or what the city will end up being! It’s the day after yesterday.

all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Beer Stein and Dureau Photogarphs, New Orleans 10/2005
Still Life with Nuts and Photographs, Dureau Studio, New Orlaens 10/2005
Oval Mirror and Brushes, Dureau Studio, New Orleans 10/2005
Fruit and Sweet Still Life, Dureau Studio , New Orleans 10/2005
Dureau's Bed Canopy, New Orleans 10/2005

Broad Strokes*

Photo frustration

Crescent City art watchers will be especially frustrated by the new "Robert Mapplethorpe and the Classical Tradition" exhibit at New York's Guggenheim Museum.

Though Mapplethorpe showed little persistent penchant for classicism, New Orleans photographer George Dureau, whose career parallels Mapplethorpe's in many ways, was and is as dedicated to classical ideals as the Krewe of Comus.

Mapplethorpe visited Dureau's Big Easy studio in the late 1970s. Should the Guggenheim curators have been aware that a less-well-known photographer, way down in New Orleans, may have inspired whatever superficially classical leanings Mapplethorpe mustered? His New Orleans visits are certainly noted in his first biography "Mapplethorpe: Assault With a Deadly Camera" by Jack Fritscher, which features Dureau's portrait of Mapplethorpe on the cover. Couldn't they have mentioned Dureau, at least in passing, in the pages of blather that pad the exhibit catalog?

But let's be fair. Big-time curators can only know what they know, right?

No thank you.

* By Times-Picayune art critic Doug MacCash , Friday , July 29, 2005

George Dureau , a well known New Orleans artist, is another example of painter - photographers and although I have never been a huge fan of his work, I think credit should be given where it's deserved! I do beleive Dureau influenced Mapplethorpe, yet George is forgotten and Robert became the star!

I made these photographs in Dureau's home/studio , not long after Katrina. I think we were all still a bit shell shocked , but it was an amazing place to visit!

all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner

Monday, November 06, 2006


Red Shoes, London 10/2006 from UK is OK
Tube Riders, London 10/2006 from UK is OK
Instant Photo Booth, London 10/2006 from UK is OK

On days like these,

I dream of places

I'd rather be.

all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Meyer's Auto Parts , New Orleans 10/2006
all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner

Talk about an understatement - ON A SLOW ROAD *, is the title of a Times-Picayune article in today’s newspaper! It was reported that $7.5 BILLION dollars has been set aside , by the Federal Government, to help homeowners hit by Katrina to rebuild. The article states that of that $7.5 BILLION, approximately $693,215 has been distributed through the State of Louisiana’s Road Home program. There are 77,281 homeowners who have applied for funds and from that 77,281 , only 18 homeowners have received funding!

* By Gwen Filosa, Staff Writer , The Times Picayune 11-5-06

Thursday, November 02, 2006

OSCHNER is more than a name

OSCHNER HOSPITAL Hallway PORTRAIT. Metairie LA 10/2006
all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner

The name Oschner is well known to anyone who has spent time in New Orleans. The Oschners are a family of doctors , with a well respect clinic and hospital named after them. The New Orleans health care systems are under tremendous stress with the closure of the State of Louisiana's main facilityin New Orleans, Charity Hospital, after hurricane Katrina flooded the place.

The Oschner Hospital is doing an amazing job under this stress! I know, because my 86 year old mother just had two heart valves replaced there, and she is still alive! Thank you folks!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


DEAD EYE AIM, New Orleans 2004/2005
all reproduction rights reserved William Greiner

"They are here on their own. They are raising themselves. And they are angry."

WANDA DALIET, a science teacher, on high school students in New Orleans living without their parents.