"Excellence in Recovery": the scene from Canal Street

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As of 6:30 pm, about 75 protestors had gathered on Canal Street outside the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans to protest the "Excellence in Recovery" award to be presented tonight to Mayor Ray Nagin...along with three marked NOPD cruisers in the neutral ground on Canal Street. The mood was a typical mix of outrage and hilarity tempered with some steel-cold bitterness...

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Veda Manuel and Musa Eubanks

"On a scale of 1 to 10, how excellent do you think the mayor's recovery has been?"

"He hasn't even gotten on the scale."

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Father Balad, sons Chris and Alex (who didn't want to give their last names)

"If we look like idiots, he can write us off as a bunch of knuckleheads."

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M.J. and Jeremy Sauer, bar owners

"On a scale of 1 to 10, how well would you say the mayor's recovery is going?"

"Zero."

The arrival of NOAH diva Karen Gadbois was greeted with cheers. She was handing out protest signs and mock-Oscar statues ("It's bald, just like the mayor"). Everyone wanted one:

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More photos later. I'm off to go upstairs downstairs wherever the party is.

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