June 2011


By my standards, the last several weeks have been reasonably eventful.  April and May are festival season and I attended every day of both French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest.  I never got around to really writing about this year’s French Quarter Festival and I gave no thought attempting to document Jazz Fest in prose.   Suffice it to say, it was one of the best Jazz Fests ever.  Supposedly, it was the first one in 12 years without rain.  The weather was also unseasonably cool and pleasant which made for a much better experience.  Coca Cola was back after two sad years with Pepsi.  The food and music were excellent as always.  I spent the bulk of my time in the tents this year and avoided sunburn.   This year I was a little more adventurous in choosing who to see, passing up old standbys I got to see in the French Quarter for an opportunity to see new bands.  One of the highlights was the last act on the last day in the jazz tent, Sonny Rollins.  I’m sorry to say I didn’t know who he was until a couple hours before he performed, but I’m very glad I was around for his set.  I had never seen the normally subdued jazz tent crowd that excited.

Recently, I earned a small promotion at work.  I am now working as the news writer / production assistant for Fox 8’s brand new noon newscast.  There is not a great deal of writing involved and I am still have PA duties but the hours are so much better.  I come in at nine in the morning and am done at three.  It’s taking time to adjust to getting up like normal people but I hope it will promote a healthier lifestyle.  If nothing else I should save money, not having to eat out for dinner.

I was somewhat surprised to get the position, partially because I don’t think highly of my writing ability.  A week into the new job, I think it’s going well overall.  I’m already familiar with all my duties although I’ve had to run graphics for the first couple weeks… the one thing I didn’t know how to do.  I am hoping my writing skills will improve rapidly in the coming months.  I’ll have ample opportunity to practice.

I took a three day weekend last week.  My friend Krystle was in town for a few days.  She’s had a rough month and needed a break.  I spent a lot of time walking around the French Quarter, shopping and eating out.  I didn’t have much luck taking her mind off her troubles so it wasn’t as pleasant a visit as it could have been.

The Wednesday after Krystle went home, I started a month of jury service at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.  I was summoned back in March for a term in either April or May.  That’s festival season so I asked for it to be deferred until June.  Jury service at criminal court requires ten days of service, two days each week for a month.  I am in “Group A” which reports to the jury pool Monday and Wednesday mornings.  You need a pretty good reason to get out of it, which I don’t have as an able-bodied person with no dependents.

On the first day, I was among the first group picked for the first trial in need of jurors.   I quickly learned that it’s best to be in the first of two groups questioned during voir dire, in which the attorneys pose questions and try to select the most ‘impartial’ jurors.   The case apparently involved an OPP inmate who was involved with a fight involving some sort of weapon, probably a shiv.  He was charged with possession of a weapon while in prison.  The prosecution spent a lot of their time establishing what possession means and questioning the potential jurors about various legal angles that would be involved in the case.  It didn’t take very long compared to defense council.  He questioned the first group for about two hours.

I didn’t have any desire to sit on a jury so I was hoping for a question I could answer to effectively disqualify myself.  It came during the questioning by the defense when he asked if anyone would be impacted by the defendant not taking the stand in his own defense.  I said it wouldn’t be the deciding factor, but it would create doubt as I know I would be dying to testify were I wrongly accused of a crime.  Shortly after the defense attorney finished his questions, both attorneys and the judge went to chambers while they made their selections.  I didn’t get picked.  Those of us who weren’t selected were sent back to the lounge where we were excused for the day.  I considered myself lucky, but that would run out next week.

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