Friday, January 22, 2010

There's a Spring in the City

New Orleans is a fascinating place to live. It's also a frustrating, and often expensive, place to live. I won't disclose what we pay in property taxes, but know that if I did, you might faint. We do, on a regular basis, when we think about it. It's an annual sporting event when the City Council fixes the millage rate and (fictional, we're convinced) roll-back of what we won't have to pay. We've lived here, full or part-time, since 1999 and have yet to have our tax bill rolled back. The budget process is less of a sporting event and more of an entertainment extravaganza -- entertaining for the Council, extravagant for us lowly taxpayers.

Property taxes don't even cover what we pay in fees, and more taxes, to the Sewerage and Water Board, individually and as a city. Yep, you read it correctly -- it's Sewerage and Water, not Sewage. There's some arcane distinction between the two that I don't care to go into at present.

I bring up the Sewerage and Water Board because its absence has been dramatically present in our neighborhood for two weeks now.

The spring you see featured in the photos above isn't a lovely, gurgling artesian well. It's a gurgling water main leak that has been pumping its little heart out up onto the street beside our house, down the gutter, and back into the storm drain that is also maintained by -- you got it -- the Sewerage and Water Board for, you guessed it, two weeks.

Fortunately for us, our water must come from a slightly different main because we've just experienced a slight loss in pressure. Not so fortunate, however, is our 80-some-odd-year-old neighbor who hasn't had enough pressure to take a decent shower for awhile, and had to pay a plumber to find out that it's the City's fault, not her plumbing's. Yep -- she called Al Bourgeois, too. We do love our Al Bourgeois in our neighborhood.

There have been Sewerage and Water Board minions hanging around in their trucks, writing things down on clipboards, and inspecting the gurgling fountain on at least three different occasions in the last week that have drawn my attention. Three different minions. All inspecting, scribbling, and truck-sitting.

And the fountain gurgles on, picking up volume from time to time.

Yesterday, Pepper wondered aloud who is paying for all that water. I pointed out that the fountain blossoms before it hits anyone's meter, so, we are all paying for it.

One prefers not to ponder how many other "fountains" are out there in New Orleans. It makes the head, and the pocketbook, throb.


  1. Taxes. Oooh, I just don't wanna think about it. I will say this, tho: the combination of state income tax and outrageous property taxes were the MAIN reasons I never even entertained the thought of staying in New Yawk, even though I really liked the Rochester area (winter aside) and the people living there.

    So... I kinda-sorta understand where you're coming from. Except for the clipboarding, truck-sitting public works guys. At least the city workers in my small corner of New Yawk fixed stuff.

  2. Hi Moogie, I ran across your blog over at Buck's Place. Glad to meet a fellow Louisianian! I'm up here in Bossier City, where water also springs from the depths from time to time. But at least we're a few feet above sea level.

    You know, our property taxes are not bad here in Bossier. In fact, we've had a few Parish rollbacks in the last decade or so. But with sales tax revenues in the toilet, I look for a hike this coming year.

    Well, I just wanted to let you know that I'm reading your stuff down there in the Crescent City. Are you in NO proper, or a burb? Just curious.

  3. My husband would likely sstroke out if he had to commute from a burb, so we're in New Orleans proper. We figured if we're gonna live here, we should live in the city, so we're Uptown, between the Garden and University Districts. We love our neighborhood, but the tax structure here is genuinely confiscatory!

    Welcome, fellow Louisianian! The Mardi Gras posts will start soon!

  4. Hi Moogie, and thanks for the welcome.

    I know just about where you are. I'll bet the Saints Fever is just about to bust the thermometer.

    I'm a Cowboys fan myself. Can't help it. Growing up here in Shreveport/Bossier, it's almost technically East Texas. But, since The 'Boys are out, I'm down with the Saints to go all the way. Amazing turnaround down there for sure. I like the team, and the coach. Good luck.

    We have Mardi Gras here, too. But it's nothing like down there. And, I've never really gotten into it much. My favorite parade is the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux...

    Y'all probably have one like this:

    Well, I'll be back around for sure.

  5. Wow...I am too impatient to wait for truck-sitters. I will never understand why things can't move more quickly. But, on the other hand, having lived in Mobile, the pace on the Gulf Coast is definitely much slower. When I finally got into that didn't seem to matter so much (in some areas of life...but not all).Here's hping your water pressure is restored very soon.