July 21, 2009

Chapter 547: A Grim Portrait




A Portrait of Mississippi: Mississippi Human Development Report 2009
Mississippi ranks last among U.S. states on the American Human Development Index. But some groups in the state enjoy well-being levels similar to those in top-ranked Connecticut, while others experience levels of human development of the average American nearly a half century ago. The Mississippi State Conference NAACP commissioned this analysis by county, gender, and race to stimulate dialogue and action about Mississippi's disparities.

Read the Full Report (PDF - 3.3MB)
Read the Executive Summary (PDF - 980KB)



The top three county groups in the state, Rankin, Madison-Hinds, and DeSoto, are well ahead of the rest of the state in well-being with a human develop­ment level around the U.S. average.

A resident of top-ranked Rankin County lives, on average, 6 years longer than a resident of the bottom-ranked Panola-Coahoma area, is 3 times more likely to complete college, and earns over $12,000 more. Mississippians living in Panola-Coahoma have a human development level similar to that of the average American in 1975, more than thirty years ago.


Whites who are worst off in the entire state in terms of income are still better off than the vast majority of African Americans. Earnings for white Mississippians in all county groups spans from $22,000 to $38,000. For African Americans, the range is $13,000 to $25,000.

An African American baby boy born today in Mississippi can expect a shorter lifespan than the average American in 1960.


Mississippi's females have a higher Human Development Index than do males, despite the fact that they earn 33 percent less, because females live over 5 years longer and have far higher rates of school enrollment.

White men in Mississippi earn an average of $5,000 more per year than the typical American worker today, at $33,390. But white women have median personal earnings about equal to what typical Americans earned in 1980, $21,453.

Main Recommendations

Reduce infant mortality by improving health care for African American girls and women.
African American babies die in Mississippi at more than twice the rate of white babies. The death of a child is a loss like no other, and the burden of grief borne by the African American community is heavy. The solution lies in ensuring that women have access to quality medical care and that girls grow to adulthood in an environment that supports them to eat a nutritious diet, get adequate exercise, manage chronic conditions like diabetes and HIV, cope with stress, and enjoy overall mental health.

Improve the health of African American men. An African American baby boy born today in Mississippi can expect to live 68.2 years. This is a lifespan shorter than that of the average American in 1960. African American men in Mississippi die at higher rates than white men from the leading causes of death--heart disease, cancer, and stroke--as well as from other causes like homicide, accidents, diabe­tes, and HIV/AIDS. The premature loss of African American men is a source of both economic and emotional distress in African American communities.

Improve the quality of public education in Mississippi.
Mississippi has some of the worst scores in the nation on most measures of K-12 educational quality. It is difficult to imagine how the state can make economic progress when the future workforce is deprived of the opportunity to develop even basic skills, much less the higher-order skills needed to obtain better-paying jobs, such as independence of thought, communications skills, interpersonal skills, and technology literacy.

Connect at-risk boys to school. About a third of Mississippi's African American men over 25 do not have a high school diploma. And today, still greater numbers of African American boys are leaving high school without graduating. Without a high school diploma, prison becomes a far likelier destination than college. The high rate of juvenile detention in Mississippi, especially for nonviolent offenses, is a worri­some impediment to long-term ability of African American boys to become produc­tive members of society and to lead fulfilling lives of choice, freedom, and dignity.

Ensure that working families can make ends meet.
White men in Mississippi are, on average, earning about $5,000 more per year than the typical American worker today. But African American women today earn less than the typical American in 1960; African American men earn what typical Americans earned in 1970; and white women what typical Americans earned in 1980. More than one in five Mississippians lives below the poverty line; nearly seven in ten public school stu­dents qualifies for a subsidized lunch. Other states help working families meet a basic monthly budget with a state earned income tax credit, state minimum wages, affordable housing, affordable health care options, and subsidized childcare. Such policies help to create an infrastructure of opportunity for all.

July 10, 2009

Chapter 546: Encierro of San Fermin in Nueva Orleans

The first ever Encierro (bull run) of San Fermin in Nueva Orleans took place on Saturday, July 7th 2007 at 8am in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the same day the original Spanish event took place in Pamplona. Close to 200 participants arrived on that fateful day, and were promptly chased and "gored" by 14 "bulls".

The second ever Encierro took place Saturday July 12, 2008, only this time we had 33 "bulls", over 600 runners, 30 Rolling Elvi, and hundreds of spectators!

The Encierro of 2009 is scheduled for Saturday July 11, 2009 at precisely 8am.

The event will replicate and pay homage to the world famous Encierro of Pamplona, Spain, aka The Running of the Bulls, only our bulls are members of New Orleans' all-female flat-track derby team the Big Easy Rollergirls!

The event will "officially" begin at 7am at the Three Legged Dog bar on the corner of Conti Street and Burgundy Street in the French Quarter section of New Orleans. Sangria, Spanish wines, and good cheer will be available.

There will be a special guest appearance by New Orleans' own Rolling Elvi!

At precisely 8am the run will begin.

The run will end at the Gazebo Cafe in Latrobe Park on the corner of Ursulines Street and Decatur Street, where more Sangria, Spanish wine, tapas and good cheer will be available.

That's when the party starts, probably right around 8:12am. DJ Dub Insurgent (former resident DJ in Buenos Aires, Argentina at La Cigale and recent opener for Manu Chao in New Orleans) will be holding down the turntables, and a general block-party will ensue.


The Encierro is free and requires no registration -- just show up and RUN!

December 15, 2007

Chapter 277: Francis on the Lamb/ Getting to Know the Coast: Miss Inez's


Well, we are saying goodbye to our consultant, our weekend warrior chef, and our friend Francis Lamb (for a couple of months at least) so we went to one of his favorite places in all the South: Miss Inez's on the corner of Division and Main in East Biloxi. Anyhow, Miss Inez cooks up the best burger in town (followed closely by Burger Burger on Howard but that's another story) and Francis can't get enough of them. Anyhow, almost the entire Coordination Center crew headed over there and saw Francis off.


October 1, 2007

Get to Know the Coast: East Biloxi- The Birthplace of Barq's


I'm not sure if I've mentioned this but Barq's Root Beer's birthplace is actually Biloxi, Mississippi.

Here's some history straight from Ye Olde Wikipedia...

The Barq's Brothers Bottling Company was founded in 1890 in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, by Edward Charles Edmond Barq and his younger brother, Gaston. The Barq Brothers bottled carbonated water and various soft drinks of their own creation. Early on their most popular creation was an orange-flavored soda called Orangine, which won a gold medal at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois.

Edward Barq moved to Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1897 with his new wife. The following year he opened the Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works. 1898 is often given as the debut year for what was later to be known as "Barq's root beer," but some sources say this particular product was not produced until some two years later.

For many decades Barq's was not marketed as a "root beer." This was in part a desire to avoid legal conflict with the Hires Root Beer company, which was attempting to claim a trademark on the term "root beer." It was also due to differences from other root beers at the time. The base was a sarsaparilla drink of the style of the late 19th century, in a formulation with caffeine, less sugar, and higher carbonation than other brands, though with less of a foamy "head." It was decided to market the soft drink simply as Barq's.

The traditional slogan was the simple affirmation "Drink Barq's. It's good."

September 2, 2007

Get to Know the Coast: Slidell, Louisiana ( w/ co-star Ian Schopa)


Note: this post co-stars Ian Schopa: Gentleman, Scholar, Road Warrior, Coastal Cuisine Connoisseur

Let me tell you something about the South. They don't have any banks we have in the north. Period. Chase? Sorry. TCF? Are you joking? Bank One? Uh, nope. Wells Fargo? The only thing with a stagecoach down here is Boomtown Casino pal. This sucks on a banking level, but on a G2KtC level, it makes for a new adventure due to the fact that Ian, one of the newest additions to the Studio has Chase Bank and the closest branch is in Slidell, Louisiana. So I found myself in his car rolling on a little afternoon adventure to deposit his paycheck and hopefully see my first Target store in months.


We only got about 20 minutes logged before Ian remembered he needed to get gas so we stopped off at a little Spur station with the most peculiar umbrellas which really didn't cover anything attached to the pumps. After that it was clear sailing all the way to Slidell. Let me state for the record I was pretty excited to get some food and check out the Target by the time I got there and I must say that probably got my hopes up a bit.


Now don't let me disturb you, but under my impression Slidell was a never-ending strip mall strewn disappointment. That's putting it lightly. We drove around for quite a while and the strip mall was pretty much all we saw of note aside from a place called Textronics which for some unknown reason required a barb-wired fence to protect its precious textile secrets. Go figure.


We ended up driving around town for a bit in search of the Chase for the aforementioned deposit as well as to exchange a bag of change that Ian claims he planned on living off of for a week or so. Fair enough.


During our search we found the bank, and also discovered a couple of things...

1) Los Tres Amigos are a bunch of liars, there are waaaaaaaay more than three of them because we have a couple on Pass Road in Biloxi and Gulfport and saw at least three on the way to and in or around Slidell. My heart is broken. If you can't trust the Amigos, who can you trust?


2) Slidell is a sh*thole. Sorry Slidell, I had to say it. Ian and I both were thinking it, and it had to come out. Maybe if you put on some makeup and wore a pair of heels once in a while or gave up the secret location of your Target store I could love you. But right now? It's over. Leave your key on the counter.


3) Driving over the lakes and rivers into New Orleans is not natural in any way, shape, or form. I think things feel strange for a reason. Seeing a train crossing it doesn't make it seem any more normal either.

*update* seriously, I want to shoot moveable type in the face sometimes. I'll redo the rest of this post which it decided to delete later...

August 26, 2007

Get to Know the Coast: Inside the Design Center

I am now tired and will finish this update tomorrow. For now, here's a teaser: the conference room, freshly painted and the new home of our library!


August 19, 2007

Get to Know the Coast: Who's House? My House!

The front view from St. Martha Avenue

I know I've shown you a couple glimpses of where I live, but I thought I'd show you a couple of pictures (with my car in them!) of where I hang my hat. It's a comfortable little post-war brick rambler located right next to Keesler Air Force Base and across the street from Jeff Davis Elementary School. The neighborhood is really great and I have a gaggle of fast food places, a little greek restaurant, and a comic book shop all within a 5 block walking distance. Other than a retarded dog that will walk almost all the way over to the fence acting like today is going to be the day he wants to make friends and then barks his head off, the place is quite excellent. Hopefully next weekend the weather will hold up and we'll have a little lawn game day and possibly do a little bbq. We'll see.

The view from the back

August 13, 2007

Get to Know the Coast: Le Bakery


Le Bakery is a little Vietnamese po boy and bubbletea shop that is about six or so blocks from the GCCDS. We tend to head over there once a week to grab some lunch, or in my case, to have a meeting about the park. Their sandwiches are scrumptious and cheap (2.75 to 3.75) and a bubbletea (3.25) doesn't add too much to the total. The staff is friendly, the bread is fresh, they have a dope mural done by Hands On with help from a visiting artist and the children of Biloxi (pictured below). They even have a breadcrab and a breadgator to impress the tourists! As I mentioned in my post about Patrick visiting, it is a definite must for any trip to Biloxi, but watch out! They're closed on Mondays.


The Hands On Biloxi Mural

BreadCrab and BreadGator!

July 14, 2007

Get to Know the Coast: John Henry Beck Park


At first look when you are rolling by John Henry Beck Park on Division Street (the arguable main drag of East Biloxi, it may look a bit foreboding. There is a tall black fence flanking the main gate on the north side which can be a bit of a visual deterrent, but once you get inside the park, there are a ton of opportunities for people of all ages. The GCCDS and Hands On have both had their part in the radical improvements in the park since the storm as well as many volunteer groups including people from the great state of Minnesota who created a shade structure for the playground (see below).


There are a couple of other great opportunities for the community to interact at the park, one of which is a set of plots for gardening that can be signed up for and tilled by residents and volunteers alike. An old structure dubbed the Red House on the grounds is being reinvigorated with the help of volunteer labor to become a community building to run programs out of in the park. There are basketball courts and small pavilions that are scattered around the park which bring ballers and grill masters to the park in the evenings and on weekends.


One of my projects currently is to work on a couple of new schemes for the park which is constantly evolving. They want to add a small concessions/lavatory building which has been designed by the Design Center's David Perkes and eventually a sort of outdoor market bay series which can act as shade structures, seating, and a venue for a farmer's market. Once I get some of that work done next week, I'll toss some sketches up and y'all can write nasty things about them :).

Anyhoo, that's about it for the park. More excitement to come tomorrow as I'll have a full rundown of the first ever Hands On- Americorps Olympics!