Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coconut VooDoo?


Earlier today, I read a Facebook post from a friend of mine. She “Shared” a message from Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni regarding how Kenner was “moving forward” since the city had attracted the Coconut Beach volleyball group and the New Orleans VooDoo’s indoor practice facility to Kenner.
I had to read this information because, Mayor Yenni and I aren’t friends – Facebook or otherwise.

While it may seem to some (including Hizzoner) that I always disagree with Mayor Yenni (see:, I need to give him a modicum of credit here: Coconut Beach was extremely successful in New Orleans and can hopefully continue their success in Laketown.
If Coconut Beach can migrate their existing player base to Kenner and, in the process, offer another recreational outlet for Kenner residents and jumpstart Laketown, it will truly be a coup for Kenner. The indirect economic impact to Kenner from players purchasing gas, meals, snacks and more, while not quantified, could be considerable.

Migrating their player base is a big “IF” however and the jury is still out on whether there is support for the venture among Kenner residents.

The other issue that I have with Coconut Beach is the relatively meager direct economic impact that they’ll have on Kenner.
It’s been reported that Kenner will receive $20 per volleyball team competing at Coconut Beach. This equates to roughly $40,000 - $50,000 annually. For the city to receive such a tiny amount for the prime real estate that is Laketown is a concern.

Hopefully, Mayor Yenni and his crack administrative team have produced data on the economic impact of Coconut Beach that they just haven’t shared with the lowly people that they represent (the residents of Kenner).

So, for the moment, we’ll give Mayor Yenni the benefit of the doubt and hope that Coconut Beach will be more than some boxes of sand at Laketown and actually benefit the city both economically and our quality of life.

The practice facility for the VooDoo is an entirely different story.

While I enjoy indoor football, I can’t conceive of actually going to a VooDoo practice. Maybe people really do that (maybe really bored people).

While it may be nice to say that Kenner is the “Home of VooDoo’s Indoor Practice Facility”, try as I might I can’t find any tangible benefit to the city.
Will people travel to Laketown from New Orleans, the West Bank, Biloxi or even from the Treasure Chest to watch the VooDoo practice? I think not. Is there any economic benefit to the city? Other than VooDoo players and staff gassing up their vehicles, I don’t think so.

So, what do we get with the VooDoo practice facility? Not a whole lot. But, according to Mayor Yenni, Kenner is “moving forward”.
Moving forward?

Well, maybe baby steps.

Walt Bennetti

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

We're Back - Well, Kinda


A lot can happen in 3 months. Did you miss us?

After 42 days in three different hospitals, 5 days in Intensive Care, and 2 weeks at home doing the outpatient treatment thing 3 times a week, I think that I'm ready to spend some time writing and commentating. While I still don't have the time to support a full-fledged at the moment, I still can use this platform to discuss issues, thoughts and ideas. will be back at some point in the near future, but, for now, I need to spend the bulk of my time getting healthy. Maintaining the site, selling advertising, writing, managing, and everything else are all too time consuming now. So, for the moment, writing only will have to do.

First, I need to thank the great men and women that work at Ochsner in Kenner and on Jefferson Highway, at Chabert Hospital in Houma, and those that work at the LSU Clinic on Poydras. The Doctors, Nurses, Nurse's Assistants, Housekeepers, Dietitians and staff were all incredibly patient with me. Their hard work and service made my hospital stay bearable. I'm sure if you asked them they would say that they were "just doing their job". But, trust me, these are some dedicated people, many of whom go unnoticed (unless you are a patient).

When I was admitted to the hospital, I thought that I would be in and out in about a week. Little did I know that I would have 9 surgeries and, hopefully, another one in the near future. I thought that I knew my body. Boy, was I mistaken.

42 days is a long time to lay in a hospital bed. You have, literally, nothing but time on your hands because you don't go to the hospital to rest or relax. It's not a vacation. For me, living on "Hospital Time" meant getting your blood pressure checked every 3 hours; getting your IV replaced at 4am; having an equipment alarm beeping at 2:48am. But you deal with it because you know that when you arrived at the hospital, you were so out of it that you don't even remember your first two days there. When your girlfriend tells you (days later) that a Doctor told her that you could be dead, you're happy to wake up at 4am. You're thankful to eat cold grits for breakfast.

You're thankful to be alive.

The good thing about being in the hospital, if there was a "good thing", is that you have that time on your hands. Time to read. Time to watch TV (who knew that I would get hooked on "Storage Wars"?). But, for me, the most important thing was time to think and reflect. Time to assess and reassess.

Last August, I turned 50. I used to joke that I would never see 50 years old (I won't be joking about that again).

Like most people, I've done somethings that I am proud of and somethings that I am not proud of. I have always tried to not dwell on negative things. The things that I've done that I am not proud of, I did and they can't be changed. I can only look at the here and now, and look to the future.

During my reflections in the hospital, I started to really look deep into myself. What do I really want to do with the rest of my life? What really makes me happy?

More about that later.

For now, I need to keep getting stronger so I can get on with the rest of my life; so I can bring back; so I can continue being a watchdog in Jefferson Parish and Kenner (sorry Mike but, I'm not going anywhere); so I can continue living.

So, for the moment, this shell of will have to do. Stay tuned though, we've got some great stuff coming.

Before I close the first edition of the "new", I want to thank my friends who have helped me get through this. Your calls, emails, texts, cards, visits, etc., have all helped immensely. I appreciate your thoughts and support more than I can say.

While "Thank You" isn't nearly enough, I need to thank Mignon. I doubt that I would have been able to get through this thus far without her being by my side. It surely hasn't been easy for her and, I'm sure, that there were many places she would have rather been than in a hospital room with me. She has sacrificed a lot and it's not over yet. But, together, I think we'll make it and, hopefully, this will have made us stronger.

More about that later too.

I still have a long road ahead of me and I'm not giving up. Like I said, stay tuned. There's a lot more to come.

Walt Bennetti