Finishing work

A few photos from the last several days. Finishing work has commenced and should be complete by the end of next week!









What’s left? Porch paint, fascia boards and column paint, yard cleanup, bathroom tub installed…that’s about it! Waiting on some warm weather for the porch paint.

Roof work

So, lots of breathing exercises later, I am watching my new roof go on. The roofers had to take off two layers of shingles, the top layer was asbestos shingles put up in the 1940s; and the original asphalt shingles which appear to be a blue grey. A few rotted roof boards have been replaced where there were a couple leaks and the felt has been laid.

We were in New Orleans for Thanksgiving and came back today. The carpenter we hired to replace the flat roof soffits, fascia boards and decorative dormer trim was here today and he did some good work taking out the rotted wood. I took a couple pictures in the dark. I can’t wait to view it in the daylight tomorrow. Work is being DONE!






2401 Monroe Street

I have passed the Coldwell Banker sign on numerous occasions.  Ok, I’ll bite.  I looked up the information for this lot:

Status Active Listing
Type Vacant Land (0-10 Acres) RESID
Price  $30,000
Location  2401 Monroe St
Alexandria , LA 71301
Country  USA

But the kicker is:

Nearly one acre of land, suitable for construction of single family homes.


 If you are confused, click here to read about the house that used to be there and click here.


Some call me inhospitable

Or, maybe that is what the doctor whom I almost tossed off my front porch thought.

It started out as a pleasant day.  Lazy Saturday…sitting around the house.  I heard a knock on the front door and went to answer it.  Standing on my front porch, well dressed, was a man in his late 30s.  I took it in and thought, hmmm….this man is somebody, or THINKS he is somebody.  The first thing he said was “You may think I am crazy for knocking on your door, but do you want to sell your house”.  Immediately, I am intrigued.  This man appeared to be well dressed and his demeanor spoke of money….lots of money.  Even though I love my house, in the interest of historic preservation and if it would get “fixed up” quicker, I entertained the thought of selling it.  I was processing the thought and heard myself reply “We can talk about it”.  At that time, my husband moved out on the porch and my dogs went berserk.  Not a good sign.  So, I hushed my dogs and put them in their kennel and came back.  The man was gone.  I looked accusingly at my husband for an answer.  I was wondering what he said to the man that caused him leave.

My husband chuckled at the questions in my eyes and said only four words “He’s friends with Ratcliff“.  Immediately it dawned on me.  This dude wanted to buy my house, hack it up into pieces, and move it to a “good” neighborhood.  I became incensed and threw open the door to give him a piece of my mind and what I thought about people like him.  He was gone.  Darn.  Poor man.  He had no idea that being friends with you know who was a con as far as we are concerned.  He would have done better keeping that name to himself. 

My husband told him very kindly (he is the nice one) that he should not say that name so loud, that his wife (me) might overhear.  He warned him about my feelings on the matter and told him that we prefer to advocate for historic neighborhoods rather than to tear out the good pieces in them which leaves empty lots and only memories.  Pulling up a large house in this area would be like pulling out your front tooth.  He also informed him that we advocate for neighborhood revitalization, better preservation laws, better oversight from the Housing Authority, better code enforcement, landlords paying attention to their properties, pride of ownership, etc.  That what he proposed to do was not the answer.

So, I guess I am glad that I had to return inside the house.  Otherwise, they might have had a write up in the paper about some crazy blonde woman chasing a man down Monroe Street with a crowbar…..  🙂  Well, maybe not that drastic.  But, you get my point.


New-Old picture of my house

I just received this.  When I get more details, I will edit this post.  This is a picture of my house sometime in the early 1900’s.  Note the horse and buggy parked out front.  I am soooo thrilled to have this picture!  The turret (the cone) is long  gone and I have had an architect draw up some plans to restore it.  This picture is better than the other one I have.  I hear rumors that there are several pictures in existence, just tracking down who has them has been the hard thing.

Here is the only other picture I have of this house:  Click Here.

Getting Saturday’s Projects Lined Up

black house paint and primer

Unfortunately, it is work on one of our rent houses and not our own house 😦  The Alexandria Housing inspector tested the exterior paint on one of our bungalows and it tested positive for lead paint.  Bleh…..  I scraped and painted one window on the house before finally calling it quits.  I intended to go back and scrape and repaint them all.  However, after that one experience, I moved scraping and painting windows up to the number 1 spot on the list of Ten Things I Found I Absolutely Hate To Do.  It is now unavoidable.  So, I am going to scrape windows again (double bleh!!) and, if the weather permits, paint them black.  The house is white, trimmed in black, with a red door.  It is very cute.  Painting the window trim black will sharpen up the house and give it a little more curb appeal.

I am also thinking about painting the overhang black too.  Is that too much?  White perhaps?  It is good condition and my renter likes it.  Thankfully I do not have them on EVERY window!  I find that overkill!  It seems these overhang things became popular around the 50’s or so.  I saw something ridiculous last week, it was a house with the overhang shading HALF of the window, and on the outside of the overhang were shutters! HA!  I am going to go back and get a picture.  It will definitely go in the What Were They Thinking archive.

Happy Friday everyone!


***UPDATE***  I scraped two windows before wimping out and hiring a guy.  Hey, his bid was $10 a window for scraping all the paint off and making it smooth enough to prime and paint.  Can’t beat that.  He finished yesterday, so this Saturday I will be priming and painting the windows.

I am going to paint the overhang white and paint the two black stripes back on.  You can see a little remnant of the black stripe on each side of the awning.

Hopefully (or, it is to be hoped) that I will have this project completed this weekend and will post pictures for your viewing pleasure then.

City of Alexandria, District 1 Council Race

I would like to congratulate Ed Lavardain for winning the District 1 council race.  Sir, you have your work cut out for you!  I appreciate Mr. Lavardain’s education, positive attitude and beautiful manners.  When given the opportunity on camera, he never bashed his opponent or said a derogatory word.  That is commendable. 

I have to say, I was very nervous about the council race and not sure who would be the better candidate.  I did not know either man personally.  Michael Bordelon, even though he is probably a nice man, came across as being snobby and a “I am tired of those people, we need to put them on notice and kick out drugs” Dolores Brewer wannabe.  Sure, our area has its own set of unique problems, but by putting everyone in a box and not looking at ALL of the complex issues will not improve our neighborhood.  I don’t think Mr. Bordelon made any friends on this side of the neighborhood.  Mr. Bordelon did not even show his face or campaign in this area either. 

Mr. Lavardain beat the streets and ran a very clean, grass roots campaign.  I received several printed informational fliers from Mr. Lavardain’s camp and saw many of his campaigners walking the streets.  Kudos to anyone who works hard for their seat.  I look forward to working with Mr. Lavardain and hope that he has some progressive plans for rebuilding and restoring our once proud neighborhood.


Alexandria’s West End

My family and I have lived in our Monroe Street home for two years now.  During this time I have listened, learned, met with neighbors and tried to figure out exactly what it is I could do that would help make my neighborhood better.  I looked at other’s failed plans and, although they were good, they all seemed to lack the “How to get it done” part.  It seems like everyone was waiting on someone else or, maybe the city, to wave a magic wand over this blighted area and it magically reincarnate into a beautiful thriving community.  Unfortunately, this has not happened yet.  I am sure if it were within their power to do so, Mayor Roy or other city leaders would have waved a magic wand in a heartbeat.  However, I do not believe “Wizardry 101” was a required course during their years of college education. 🙂

So, that left me puzzled and full of questions.  I am not arrogant enough to think that I can conquer where others have failed…but why did they fail?  Part of the conclusion I have drawn is: I believe that many people complain but don’t ever offer a solution or offer any personal involvement to tackle the issue.  Many people complain about nothing getting done, but when someone stands up to do something, they attack them too.  That leads me to conclude that certain people just like to complain and it doesn’t matter what the issue is, they’ll never be happy!  There is a certain lady (she no longer lives here) who was also very passionate about a variety of issues.  But, when she approached city leaders and the council, she told them: “You are of no use, you have never helped us and you never will.”  Well then, she had already help defeat her own argument.  This reminds me of a joke, it goes something like this:

There was a man who ran out of gas and broke down on the side of the road in a rural area.  He knew there was a gas station close by, but he didn’t quite make it.  He got out of his car and looked around to see if there was a house nearby so he could borrow a gas can.  Through the woods he could make out the glow of a porch light.  So he started walking towards the house.  He said to himself: “Hmm, what if they’re not home.  I bet they are all sleeping.  They will probably be really mad at me for waking them up in the middle of the night.  I bet they are going to be mad.  All I need is a gas can.”  He kept walking and as he got closer he kept getting more and more nervous and upset. “Yup, they probably will tell me to go away.  I bet they won’t even have a gas can and if they did, they probably won’t let me use it.”  So, he got to the house and knocked on the door and when the door opened the man shouted “KEEP YOUR OLD GAS CAN, I DIDN’T NEED IT ANYWAY!” and stormed off.

The man in this story borrowed trouble and defeated himself before he could even get out the gate.  Since living on Monroe Street, several people have told me “the city won’t do this, the city won’t do that” so I decided to give their theory a try.  When I saw a code enforcement violation, I called code enforcement.  Surprisingly, code enforcement (most of the time) took care of it.  When I see a street light out, I call or send an email to First Call, the utilities division comes right out and fixes the lamps.  I have reported fighting in the street, the police department promptly shows up and takes care of it.  So far, I have proved all of the “that will never happen” folks wrong.  It seems they defeated themselves in their minds and therefore gave up altogether.

As I told many city leaders and volunteer groups, I stand at the forefront to volunteer my time to do whatever is necessary to make Alexandria’s West End Neighborhoods a better, safer and nice place to live.


Gustav Aftermath

Well, you see the picture below of the dumpster.  Here is the same picture, except with a pecan on it!  Lol. I have more detailed comments on my other blog at: but here are some pictures of what our backyard looks like now.  If the dumpster were not there, my car and my brother’s truck would be pancakes.  The tree managed to hit all four of our cars. 

We had power for a long time. I was not worried about flooding because we are five feet off of the ground.  I was worried, though, about the two old pecans.  One came down and the other held firm.  The other one, that is still standing, did take out our phone system though.  Branches fell down and ripped the lines from our house and off the pole. 

Pecan on the dumpster and the car

Pecan on the dumpster and the car


Got the truck too

Got the truck too

Gustav Aftermath

Here are the pictures of the area around our house.  The power is back on!  Yay! We had power for a long time last night.  In fact, we felt like a beacon on a hill — everyone around us lost power around 7 or so, our lights shone bright until about 9:30.  I thought that we would be out of power longer.  I got up this morning, fired up the grill and made biscuits, chicken, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese and coffee….all on the grill!  Yes, I was very industrious. And, not long after I was done, the power came back on! HA!

Pecan down in the backyard

Pecan down in the backyard

We had a full pecan fall into our yard, not just a few limbs.  The good news: I won’t have to pay someone to come cut it down.  The bad news: it cost me a car and a truck.  City crews are out all around us.  There are many trees down in the Garden District.  There is a huge (oak?) tree down across Florence Avenue that is being chopped up right now.

I feel bad for my family, they probably could have stayed in New Orleans and fared better.  My brother parked his car the farthest away from the pecan between the house and the shed.  He figured if the pecan came down, it would be on the shed or on the other cars.  However, his truck took the hardest hit!

Jonathan's truck


Many people are out walking around, surveying the damage done around the neighborhood.  Many people have stopped by to gawk at the tree in the yard and offer their condolences.  My brother-in-law and father-in-law are on their way with a chainsaw.  We have a chainsaw, but, it is battery operated and we did not have enough forethought to charge up the batteries. 

Bye bye car

Bye bye car

The lining in this silver cloud (yes, I am always looking for the good points) I can start shopping for a fuel efficient “green” car.  🙂  This makes me happy.  My poor Impala…I did enjoy it while I had it.  It is only three years old. My husband is laughing at me because we barely have the claim filed and I am sitting here online researching cars. 🙂

I hope everyone else did ok.  It could have been worse.  I am glad that I did not incur any damage to my house!  Thank God!  I definitely did not need that.  Good luck and prayers to all in Cenla and the outlying parishes.