Showing posts with label remodeling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label remodeling. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

When alumni get mad, miracles happen

This . . .

. . . is the last I saw of my alma mater, Baton Rouge Magnet High School. I took these photos in October 2007.

Baton Rouge High is my hometown's best high school -- one of the nation's best, actually -- filled with talented, high-achieving students. Literally, filled with what hope a poor, dysfunctional state can count on for the future.

The facilities they inhabited pretty much showed them what a city and a state thought of them -- and about its future.

THEN enough alumni saw enough of what had become of the grand old school at 2825 Government St. And they got mad. And the engineers told the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board that the piddly repairs that had been scheduled for the campus were wholly insufficient -- indeed, impossible, given how far gone the facilities were.

So, in response, the school board considered tearing down the whole campus -- including the main building, a Gothic masterpiece built in 1926. And Bulldog alumni got really mad.

What grew out of that was a miracle. Just look at this grand tour of the school taken Friday by Channel 2 in Baton Rouge, WBRZ.

FIVE YEARS AGO, I was heartbroken at what I saw of my old school. No more.

Today, my heart soars. Investing in your children -- and in the places most important in their lives -- is never, ever a mistake.

These are the things futures are made of.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Baton Rouge High: Victory's in sight

The last time I walked through my alma mater, it looked like an abandoned building in Detroit. Or north Baton Rouge -- whatever.

The pictures I took the fall of 2007 prompted the photo-shop proprietor in Omaha who developed some of them to ask whether Baton Rouge High School had been destroyed by Katrina. And now. . . .

"Restoration" and "rebuilding" are wholly inadequate terms for the two-year project at Baton Rouge High that's now wrapping up. "Resurrection" is more like it.

I mean, when I was a student there approximately 14 million years ago, we didn't even
know the auditorium had these big, beautiful windows near the ceiling.

And that last time I was on campus, I was near tears at the sight of what had become -- due to abject neglect by the local school system -- of my old school. I look forward to my next visit, where I intend to wander giddily through the halls of the school that pretty much saved my life with a big, stupid smile on my face.

Talk about "We will raise our standards high, till known from shore to shore." This is something over which proud alumni can totally "raise our banners high."

For dear old Baton Rouge High.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I have pretty much drifted through my adult life, doing a little of this and some of that, but still not knowing my true vocation.

No more. Praise the Lord, I saw the light.

now know what I was meant to do in life, and I owe this big change in my aimless existence to a couple of big, big dogs by the names of Sadie Sue and Boo Radley.
We have been foster pet-parenting the old girl and her big little brother for the past couple of months while their real parents' house has been torn asunder and put back together in a radically different order. I think the technical term for this is "remodeling," and the aim of this major surgery -- involving sledgehammers, flooring, cabinetry, lots and lots of drywall, lots and lots of tile, lots and lots of construction workers, stainless-steel appliances and a stained-steel I-beam that now holds up the second story -- has been to create the "Kitchen of the Future."

Which, after all this time, labor and -- yes -- money is starting to look a lot like the woo-doo Kitchen of Today.

ANYWAY, I have been reliably informed that big, big dogs and construction workers coming and going is not an optimal combination. So we got the dogs instead of the cool new kitchen.

I know, Molly the (little, little) Dog. It sucks to be you. You will be rewarded with limitless dog treats as you await Mama and me at the Rainbow Bridge when your time on earth is done.

Soooooooo . . . back to my true vocation. These slobbery and hairy weeks at La Casa Favog, as it turns out, have been a time of self-discovery for yours truly. At age 51, to my great surprise, I seem to have an innate talent heretofore unknown to me.

I am a great hair sweeper-upper. An artiste with a broom, as it turns out.

And I just wanted to share this with you. See the top picture? Some of my handiwork from this afternoon. I do this every day, three times a day -- take hairy floors in the living room and kitchen and sweep them clean, creating neat little mountains of fur and then dispatching them out the back door.

the rabbits and squirrels are scared spitless at the overwhelming scent of danger that now wafts over their previously unremarkable universe.
Tee hee. Just a little devilish lagniappe that comes with my new career, which I discovered on

After 5½ years of college and decades of drifting between this dead end and that, I now know I can step right into a fulfilling life as a minimum-wage barber-shop floor sweeper.

It's not everybody who, thanks to a couple of monster dogs and a yappy one, stumbles into a perfect career for the new economy. I am a lucky man.