Read the paper the Day Before

February 20, 2010 Blog Comments (0) 757

The greatest casualty of the 24-hour news cycle is not attention span – it is memory. The current Olympic tiff between the ice skaters is a classic example. Silver medalist Plushenko lashed out at judges after they awarded gold to Lysacek, who performed a more elegant routine – but didn’t do any quads. Why this is a controversy is a complete mystery to those of us who read the paper THE DAY BEFORE the competition, when there was a big article about the ice skating judges who said – flat out – that they weren’t going to judge the competition solely on jumps. I sort of understand Plushenko being upset that he didn’t get gold for a more difficult athletic accomplishment, but he was totally warned THE DAY BEFORE. Continue Reading

Continue Reading

New Orleans III

September 14, 2005 Blog Comments (0) 861

In the Chicago Tribune this morning architecture critic Blair Kamin made a convincing case for the rebuilding of New Orleans and several cases for historic preservation. There was the issue of the image of the city, defined by its elaborate wrought iron balconies and exuberantly ornamented houses, from the grandest to the meanest, all with a touch of celebration, a bit of show. There was the argument of the city’s unique cultural blend (choose your metaphor: gumbo, jazz, Mardi Gras) and the argument of its tourist attraction.

One of Kamin’s most interesting and astute observations was that neighborhoods built in the post-World War II era were much more easily devastated by flooding than older ones. “Time went forward, but building practices went backward” said Kamin, making one of the most convincing arguments for historic preservation there is: they don’t build them like they used to. Kamin’s argument was mostly about practices like building first floors above raised basements, but it could easily be extended to materials and construction techniques. Continue Reading

Continue Reading

New Orleans II

September 12, 2005 Blog Comments (2) 970

So much has been written about New Orleans. My brother sent a link to a Joel Garreau (Edge City) article in the Washington Post that basically says New Orleans is gone. Sure, the high ground of the Crescent City with its historic districts will still be there for tourists, but the low-lying poverty areas would likely be bulldozed. He also notes that the historic reasons for the city – the port – is no longer in the city. Garreau makes some good points and several people have expressed concern that the rebuilding of New Orleans will turn it into a theme park, or that rich people and a homeless Trent Lott will swipe up all the ocean view property at disaster prices and use FEMA and Halliburton to rebuild it and make a quick killing in real estate, leaving the former poor out of a new cleaner, safer, more boring New Orleans. Continue Reading

Continue Reading

New Orleans

September 7, 2005 Blog Comments (0) 1142

Katrina has devastated New Orleans, a unique American city, unprecedented and unparalleled in its cultural heritage and central to the history of historic preservation. New Orleans preserved landmarks before almost any other city in North America, and it preserved historic districts before any city here save Charleston. In its integration of architecture and culture it even suggested that preservation was about more than buildings: a blend of music and the peoples and practices of three continents stirred into an intriguing and attracting mix. Now, more of it is gone that we yet know.

Continue Reading

Continue Reading