August 2015 Archives

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hat tip to sister mo

Dew Drop Inn


The Dew Drop Inn:
Past, Present and Future?

Robert Offner

Staring out his window onto the reconstructed Magnolia housing development, Roosevelt Randolph can't help but wonder why he's the only one left at 2836 LaSalle Street. "Everybody played here. Irma Thomas, Ray Charles, James Brown. This is a historic place [...] We can't let it go to waste," says Randolph, who's been living at the Dew Drop Inn since 1996, and is the only soul keeping it from complete vacancy.

Kenneth Jackson, owner of the famous nightclub/hotel, hasn't been able to bring the building to code since Katrina. "Katrina kicked the rug out from under my feet and I haven't been able to put it all back together yet," says Jackson.

"I watched them rebuild the whole [Magnolia] project from scratch in just two years. I'm thinking to myself, 'Why can't they do the same thing here?'" says Randolph. Underneath his bedroom is a musical legacy unfathomable to those who might walk by it today.
Dew Drop Inn, 2012 photo

An overhaul is long overdue for the Dew Drop Inn.

In 2010, the Louisiana Landmarks Society named the Dew Drop Inn an endangered New Orleans historical site. That same year the building was declared a historic landmark by the Historic District Landmarks Commission.

Jackson, an employee of New Orleans Public Schools, doesn't have the funding needed to bring the building back. He hasn't given up hope and says it's a matter of finding the right connection to jumpstart the renovation. "My ultimate goal is to get this place to the point where it can do the city some good," he says.

The building has been in Jackson's family since his grandfather, Frank Painia, bought it and, with the help of Painia's brothers, converted it from a grocery store into a nightclub, barber shop, hotel and restaurant in April 1939.

One brother was a cook, one a barber and one served as a handy man to help out around the building. By 1945 the Dew Drop Inn became the ultimate center for leisure in New Orleans. "If you got hungry you could eat, if you got too drunk you could get a room and sleep it off. When you woke up you could get your hair cut and there was also a beautician side of the barber shop, too, where ladies could get their hair done, and not to mention the night club [...] It was just the place to be back in the day," says Jackson.


Session guitar player, singer and local icon Deacon John Moore remembers much more than just music at the Dew Drop. "They had a floor show, they had an exotic dancer, or they had a magician doing magic tricks, a ventriloquist named Calhoun and Society Red," he recalls.

"A lot of these cats don't remember, but I was there when all this stuff was going on. I was there when Esquerita [a pompadoured, heavily made-up pianist whose antic behavior is said to have inspired Little Richard] played in there," says Deacon John.

It was at the Dew Drop that Allen Toussaint discovered Deacon John and hired him to play for all the early Minit Record classics, including "Mother-In-Law," "It's Raining" and "Working in the Coal Mine." He calls himself a "ghost guitar player," meaning he was never credited with being on any of the recordings he made with Toussaint.

The Dew Drop saw its glory days through the 1950s, showcasing the nation's best black performers. "When you performed at the Dew Drop then, you had some status attached to you," says Irma Thomas, who played the venue early in her career.

Since there weren't many black hotels during segregation, Painia put a lot of musicians up at his inn. "The white people thought that we were just something created from hell or something I don't know. They were just scared to death of black people--why, I don't know, 'cause we all bleed red blood and I could never understand that," says Thomas.

Painia did everything he could to keep that type of racial tension away from LaSalle Street. "As a kid I never knew about segregation until you went somewhere other than around here, 'cause it didn't happen around here at all," says Jackson.

Painia wasn't afraid to fight the law. "They actually would come in sometimes with a few paddy wagons and say, 'Come on, everybody, get in, you're all going to jail,' including my grandfather [...] 'Racial mixing' was the actual charge that they faced," explains Jackson.

The Dew Drop environment provided many touring musicians a chance to get to know each other outside of just the gig. "It was such a hub, like a home base-type situation," says Jackson. Musicians would return to the Dew Drop after their other gigs and jam together as late as they wanted.

"They had so many cats hanging out there 'cause they knew if you hung out by the Drop you might luck out on a gig," says Deacon John. With so much talent circulating between the nightclub, the hotel and the restaurant, it was a prime learning environment.

"We had a character who really helped me a lot in terms of performance and dressing and it was a female impersonator, which was Patsy Valdez," Thomas says. Long before Big Freedia, there was Patsy Vidalia. Also known as Valdez or Valdelar, Patsy was the "Toast of New Orleans" and the emcee at the Dew Drop for two decades, hosting the annual gay ball every Halloween. "He gave me a lot of information in terms of the persona on stage--just be yourself and project to your audience, talk to your audience," says Thomas.

The Dew Drop was important for more than just local artists. Robert "Bumps" Blackwell brought Little Richard to the Dew Drop during a session break at Cosimo Matassa's J&M Recording Studio, where Richard thumped out his raunchy "Tutti Frutti, good booty" for Blackwell. Blackwell called local songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie to listen to the tune and clean up the lyrics for the recording session. They went back to Matassa's and Little Richard cut his first major hit.

According to Jackson, "Little Richard to this day is a supporter because he knows that we are over here trying to get something going and he wants to back us up."

Jackson was too young to attend any of the shows but spent a large portion of his childhood at the Dew Drop helping his family. "I got a chance to know a bulk of the local entertainers: K-Doe, Earl King, Toussaint would pass through here, Fats Domino, Raymond Lewis, Chick Carbo, Chuck Carbo, Smiley Lewis, Guitar Slim [...] You name it, the list just goes on and on," he says.


As Painia's health declined in the late '60s, so did the Dew Drop. "As he got sick, the shows stopped," says Jackson. Frank Painia passed away in 1972 when Jackson was 17 years old.

"He was my grandfather and my dad all rolled into one [...] It's just the respect that I had for him that keeps me here as well as the significance of the history and the legacy of the business," he says.

Before Katrina, the hotel was the only thing keeping the Dew Drop functional. After the storm, Jackson realized much of the building had substantial termite damage, forcing him to tear down walls and take out rooms being used before the storm.

The summer before Katrina, Jackson lost the insurance on the building. "We either had to change the entire roof to one type, which was a problem the insurance company had, or pay this exorbitant premium that we couldn't reach with our income," says Jackson.

Like most issues, money has been the biggest obstacle. The city hasn't provided any type of funding, and Jackson doesn't want to sell the family building off to outside investors interested in restoring it. Glenn Gaines began a restoration project on it, gutting out most of the interior and getting the building structurally sound, but has done little since then.

Harmony Neighborhood Development is working with Jackson on resurrecting the Dew Drop but hasn't made any moves yet. According to Executive Director Una Anderson, they are early in the process.

Before anything can happen, Anderson says they first need a concrete plan. "While it is a historical place, people aren't just going to donate to the history. We need some type of physical representation of what would become of the place and what they would be donating to," she says.

Local gospel singer Jo "Cool" Davis is a huge proponent for bringing back the Dew Drop. Davis wants to see the return of the smaller club scene. "Central City is getting ready to boom," he says. "I would love to see a club like the Dew Drop come back where the musicians can play and then it can bring back your natural raw talent [...] You don't need no big old club. All you need is a nice bathroom, a bandstand and somewhere somebody can hook up."

Davis grew up in Central City near the Dew Drop. Though he was too young to go into the club, he remembers the scene in the '60s, bouncing from club to club around the neighborhood and seeing stars like Ernie K-Doe, Bobby "Blue" Bland and Bobby Marchan.

"I do believe that the Dew Drop will be back, and Kenny, he's getting ready to pass the baton to his daughters," says Davis.

Jackson's ideal recreation of the Dew Drop would be a multipurpose facility. He wants to provide an after-school section where kids can take music lessons, a theater, a place for local musicians to perform, and even a boxing ring in the back. "It really could do so much for the city. If it came back this whole area would be different," says Jackson.

For now, Roosevelt Randolph still stares out his window wondering if anything will happen with his home and Jackson still waits for somebody to give him the boost he needs to get the ball rolling.

Says Jackson, "I'm just down here battling, man, trying to get something going, but I think once it kicks off, it'll take off like wildfire."

Krugman on the Market Dive


A Moveable Glut

Paul Krugman

What caused Friday's stock plunge? What does it mean for the future? Nobody knows, and not much.

Attempts to explain daily stock movements are usually foolish: a real-time survey of the 1987 stock crash found no evidence for any of the rationalizations economists and journalists offered after the fact, finding instead that people were selling because, you guessed it, prices were falling. And the stock market is a terrible guide to the economic future: Paul Samuelson once quipped that the market had predicted nine of the last five recessions, and nothing has changed on that front.

Still, investors are clearly jittery -- with good reason. U.S. economic news has been good though not great lately, but the world as a whole still seems remarkably accident-prone. For seven years and counting we've lived in a global economy that lurches from crisis to crisis: Every time one part of the world finally seems to get back on its feet, another part stumbles. And America can't insulate itself completely from these global woes.

But why does the world economy keep stumbling?

On the surface, we seem to have had a remarkable run of bad luck. First there was the housing bust, and the banking crisis it triggered. Then, just as the worst seemed to be over, Europe went into debt crisis and double-dip recession. Europe eventually achieved a precarious stability and began growing again -- but now we're seeing big problems in China and other emerging markets, which were previously pillars of strength.

But these aren't just a series of unrelated accidents. Instead, what we're seeing is what happens when too much money is chasing too few investment opportunities.

More than a decade ago, Ben Bernanke famously argued that a ballooning U.S. trade deficit was the result, not of domestic factors, but of a "global saving glut": a huge excess of savings over investment in China and other developing nations, driven in part by policy reactions to the Asian crisis of the 1990s, which was flowing to the United States in search of returns. He worried a bit about the fact that the inflow of capital was being channeled, not into business investment, but into housing; obviously he should have worried much more. (Some of us did.) But his suggestion that the U.S. housing boom was in part caused by weakness in foreign economies still looks valid.

Of course, the boom became a bubble, which inflicted immense damage when it burst. Furthermore, that wasn't the end of the story. There was also a flood of capital from Germany and other northern European countries to Spain, Portugal, and Greece. This too turned out to be a bubble, and the bursting of that bubble in 2009-2010 precipitated the euro crisis.

And still the story wasn't over. With America and Europe no longer attractive destinations, the global glut went looking for new bubbles to inflate. It found them in emerging markets, sending currencies like Brazil's real to unsustainable heights. It couldn't last, and now we're in the middle of an emerging-market crisis that reminds some observers of Asia in the 1990s -- remember, where it all started.

Continue reading the main story

Continue reading the main story

So where does the moving finger of glut go now? Why, back to America, where a fresh inflow of foreign funds has driven the dollar way up, threatening to make our industry uncompetitive again.
Continue reading the main story
Recent Comments
David 55 minutes ago

The savings glut is a direct result of the massive transfer of wealth to the already wealthy. The 1% can only spend so much, and need to...
photonics1 57 minutes ago

As a society, we have to decide that redistribution of the wealth created by the many but inexorably siphoned off by the very few - with...
Alan 1 hour ago

As usual, the one sided comments on Krugman's article dominate.First, none of the commenters acknowledge that when the stock market goes...

See All Comments

What's causing this global glut? Probably a mix of factors. Population growth is slowing worldwide, and for all the hype about the latest technology, it doesn't seem to be creating either surging productivity or a lot of demand for business investment. The ideology of austerity, which has led to unprecedented weakness in government spending, has added to the problem. And low inflation around the world, which means low interest rates even when economies are booming, has reduced the room to cut rates when economies slump.

Whatever the precise mix of causes, what's important now is that policy makers take seriously the possibility, I'd say probability, that excess savings and persistent global weakness is the new normal.

My sense is that there's a deep-seated unwillingness, even among sophisticated officials, to accept this reality. Partly this is about special interests: Wall Street doesn't want to hear that an unstable world requires strong financial regulation, and politicians who want to kill the welfare state don't want to hear that government spending and debt aren't problems in the current environment.

But there's also, I believe, a sort of emotional prejudice against the very notion of global glut. Politicians and technocrats alike want to view themselves as serious people making hard choices -- choices like cutting popular programs and raising interest rates. They don't like being told that we're in a world where seemingly tough-minded policies will actually make things worse. But we are, and they will.

Young Blood as Fountain of Youth


Never Ceases to Amaze


John Oliver: Sex Education



"To say that racial inequality is due to hundreds of years of [slavery, colonialism, Jim Crow and urban apartheid] is merely to recount how one particular form of economic inequality came about."

What were "slavery, colonialism, Jim Crow and urban apartheid if not extreme forms of economic inequality?" historian Seth Ackerman asks in the magazine Jacobin.

Ackerman posed the question after Democratic presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton said in a recent Facebook Q&A: "We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality."

To which Ackerman responded: "If racial inequality isn't merely a symptom of economic inequality, what is it a symptom of?"

What was the point of England's colonization of Ireland if not to impose a lucrative "economic inequality" on its victims? Was the urban apartheid of Haussmann's Paris not the "symptom" of nineteenth-century economic inequality?

And what exactly do you think all those African slaves were doing in the American South?

To quote [Columbia University history professor and author] Barbara Fields:

Probably a majority of American historians think of slavery in the United States as primarily a system of race relations -- as though the chief business of slavery were the production of white supremacy rather than the production of cotton, sugar, rice and tobacco. One historian has gone so far as to call slavery 'the ultimate segregator'. He does not ask why Europeans seeking the 'ultimate' method of segregating Africans would go to the trouble and expense of transporting them across the ocean for that purpose, when they could have achieved the same end so much more simply by leaving the Africans in Africa.

No one dreams of analyzing the struggle of the English against the Irish as a problem in race relations, even though the rationale that the English developed for suppressing the 'barbarous' Irish later served nearly word for word as a rationale for suppressing Africans and indigenous American Indians. Nor does anyone dream of analyzing serfdom in Russia as primarily a problem of race relations, even though the Russian nobility invented fictions of their innate, natural superiority over the serfs as preposterous as any devised by American racists.

Some Canadian Facts


Canadian Pride

canadian flag.jpgHere is some interesting info about Canada; some you may know and some you may not. So what do we Canadians Have to be Proud of?

1. Smarties (not sold in the USA)

2. Crispy Crunch, Coffee Crisp (not sold in the USA)

3. The size of our footballs fields, one less down, and bigger balls.

4. Baseball is Canadian. The 1st game was on June 4, 1838 - Ingersoll, ON

5. Lacrosse is Canadian

6. Hockey is Canadian

7. Basketball is Canadian

8. Apple pie is Canadian

9. Mr. Dress-up beats Mr. Rogers (Now that is impressive)

10. Tim Horton's beats Dunkin' Donuts (Makes the heart swell doesn't it)

11. In the war of 1812, started by America, Canadians pushed the Americans back past their White House. Then we burned it, and most of Washington... We got bored because they ran away. Then, we came home and partied.....Go figure.

12. Canada has the largest French population that never surrendered to Germany.

13. We have the largest English population that never Ever surrendered or withdrew during any war to anyone, anywhere. EVER! (We got clobbered in the odd battle but prevailed in ALL the wars)

14. Our civil war was fought in a bar and lasted a little over an hour.

15. The only person who was arrested in our civil war was an American mercenary, he slept in and missed the whole thing. He showed up just in time to get caught.

16. A Canadian invented Standard Time. (I'm not so sure this was a good thing)

17. The Hudson Bay Company once owned over 10% of the earth's surface and is still around as the world's oldest company.

18. The average dog sled team can kill and devour a full grown human in under 3 minutes. (That's more information than I need!)

19. We know what to do with the parts of a buffalo.

20. We don't marry our kin-folk...

21. We invented ski-doos, jet-skis, Velcro, zippers, insulin, penicillin and the telephone. Also short wave radios which save countless lives each year.

22. We have ALL frozen our tongues to something metal and lived to tell about it.

23. A Canadian created Superman.

24. We have coloured money.


The handles on our beer cases are big enough to fit your hands in with mitts on.

OOOoohhhhh....Canada !!

Oh yeah... And our elections only take one day!

hat tip to pal John


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