Saxophonist John Doheny was born in Seattle Washington in 1953 but has spent much of his adult life in Canada, primarily in Vancouver and Toronto. After early experiences accompanying strippers in bars and cabarets he became a professional R&B sideman in the late 1970s, touring and recording with artists both prominent and obscure. In 1991 he returned to Vancouver and began a program of intense musical study, both in academe (Vancouver Community College, the University of British Columbia) and in the more informal area of performance. He asserts that "all human intercourse is either an opportunity to learn or to teach. Everything that I know about jazz performance (to the extent that I know anything at all) I owe to those players, teachers and students who have suffered to share the bandstand and the teaching studio with me." Since 2003, Mr. Doheny has been a permanent resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, but makes every effort to spend summers in Canada because "it's too damn hot down here then."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Holding Our Breath

The weather is so beautiful today that it's hard to believe we're in for, best case scenario, 5 or 6 inches of rain on the weekend. The worst case scenario is that Tropical Depression Whot's 'is Name (a weather distubance off the east coast of Florida so unorganized at the moment that it doesn't even have a name) blows up into a Cat One 'Caine when it hits the superheated waters of the Gulf of Mexico and gives us a real-time demo of just how much credence there is in the Army Corps of Engineers' promises about the swell progress they're making with the levee repairs.

Earlier this week the smart money in my social set had it pooping out by the time it got to Disney World, but that now seems unlikely. The 'official' forecast is for it to develop into a tropical storm or a category one hurricaine, with a number of possible storm tracks coming disturbingly close to New Orleans. Pre-Katrina this would be a non-story, in fact I endured my first tropical storm here in the fall of 03 without even being aware of it (I just thought it was a windy and rainy day) . Now people are understandably a bit apprehensive.

Our old 13th ward neighborhood didn't flood at all during Katrina. Where we are now got about 3 feet (you can still see the floodline just below the third step up on the front porch) but we're at the Bayou St. John end of the neighborhood. The closer you get to North Broad, the deeper the water got, until down by the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club it was at least chest high, and over people's heads in spots.

Our block floods enough even during regular rainstorms to cause concern over water getting in the car. This weekend I'm going to make a point to park up on Moss Street, or over on Esplanade, both of which are on a little ridge. The Corps has been making a lot of reassuring noise about the reliability of their spiffy new floodwalls and floodgates, but of course they made the same noises before Katrina and that didn't work out so hot.

Wish us luck.

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