Posts Tagged ‘new orleans’

While opening the Helping Hands Network community learning center in East Texas, I was only 400 miles from New Orleans and the center of American Carnival celebrations. It is too much fun to pass up every few years.


I found a few scheduled poker and dart tournaments along the way and packed up Lil Blue, our 2006 Honda Element. I loaded up all our recycling to drop off a sorting center along the way.

2019-03-29 recycle


Once I arrived I went straight to the Friday night dart tournament location in the uptown district. It was a fun group of people and I made some money after losing 3 to 4 in the final.

2019-03-29 bracket


In between matches I was able to go outside and watch some of the parade as it passed by.

In the morning got breakfast and cleaned up along the way to midtown central park. The last time I was in the park was 2009. I lived in the park for a few months while helping with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The area I lived in was still the same for the most part. Some newer restoration has been completed on one of the Historical buildings.

2019-03-29 camp2019-03-29 park building.jpg

2019-03-29 park

After my workout at the park, I cruised the midtown parade route.


The midtown parade had some great costumes and a big music stage that played all day.


After the midtown parade, it was time to head down to the quarter for the parade down there and some French Quarter fun.  The night hike through the park on the way back to the car was very enjoyable.

2019-03-29 park all

The parade litter is so filthy it is worth sharing images to help everyone consider the consequences.

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I usually end my evening with a pass through Burbon Street that ends at the Harrah’s casino. The cards went well for me again and I made enough to pay for the entire trip.

In the morning I did a workout on top of the parking garage and then headed back to the Hawkins Learning Center project.

I was also able to time it just right to play a poker tournament at this amazing Baton Rouge Casino.

Very soon I will be traveling the Gulf of Mexico along the Texas/Louisiana shores to document oil spill recovery efforts and progress. I hope to meet a few wonderful families that have been deeply effected in hopes of helping them improve their quality of life.

The Helping Hands Charity Network forms relationships with the best humanitarians around the world and focuses on providing services and goods to causes most in need that are being buried in the shadows.

This trip should uncover some wonderful inside looks behind the BP and FED EPA scenes. Contributions to help cover the costs of this trip need to be transferred to: as soon as possible. Efforts are severely hampered by our limited budget.

We also have a donation page at:

A quick review of our Channel videos will show footage from our previous projects.

Daily updates will be posted here. Add the feed for this blog and join us on an adventure to see what is really going on.  ~TF

APRIL update:

Currently reviewing event dates and locations for the National Wildlife Foundation volunteer groups. I am also testing the new water pump and seals on the van to decide if I should take it south. I am also rebuilding the carbureter on the motorcycle and replacing the battery so it will be a transport option.


3/5 Weather delay today! Packing to leave East Texas in the morning of 3/6.

For those reading this, please comment and share your questions regarding the oil spill recovery. I want to directly search for the answers our readers most desire.


PACKED and loaded. Departing east Texas noon. Final thoughts going through my mind…. At what level of interest do my “fans” and friends and family even care about the damage caused to our southern states? No one has contributed to my self funded expenses for the cause of documenting the oil Spill recovery this year and I question my ability to really make a difference.

All I can do is take my credit cards, pack a bag, jump on the back of my iron horse and ride into the sunset hoping someone reading my stories will eventually assist our Helping Hands Foundation make a BIG impact!

Until that day arrives, what you read here, is the best I can do with the little I have left to offer. ALL I NEED IS my two feet, health and intelligence to create change and today as I depart, that is about all I have.

IF something happens to me and I vanish from existence on this venture, I just want all my 1000+ readers to know how honored I feel for the kind words and facebook chats and so on, that you have contributed.



I am bummed that my bike is not running right. I only made it to Nacogdoches and then when I switched to reserve tank it started sputterng which has never happened.

My best guess was that a piece of the tank lining broke free and clogged my fuel filter. I barely made it to a service station.

My options were to fill up the tank and hope that the clog would break free and push on
remove the tank and then the filter to inspect it.

I decided to push on. I only made it 10 miles to the south side and it cut out again. This time I was on a freeway and 300 feet downhill from a Burger King lot. It was a pain in the ass push but I made it to the lot and went inside to relax and eat dinner. While eating I searched for the closest repair shop so I could get a new filter screen. Luckily it was only a half mile away on the same highway.

I went back out after eating and the bike fired up. I rode it around in circles and then parked it and let it idle for 5 minutes until it started sputtering out again. It now made sense that fuel was seeping into the carb slower then the engine was vaporizing it causing it to sputter out when the carb became drained.

It was then getting dark and temps were dropping into the 50s so I made the difficult decision to pay $68 for a hotel and wait until morning to start removing the tank. I was so bummed that I would not be able to make the coast as planned that I just plopped into bed and ignored the world for the rest of the night.

It is interesting how fate works for me. I am now watching the weather and discovered that there were massive tornadoes that leveled towns in my path through Louisiana so there’s my silver lining.


$15 fuel


$15 FOOD


Woke up with a nervous stomach. The uncertainty of my motorcycles solution has me questioning the future of this trip. Will I end up leaving the bike here and have to hitch to get my trailer and van and then come back and get it?

I spent until 10:30 this morning taking advantage of every second and resource of my $68 hotel expense but now it is time to face the music. Out I go to work on the bike….  stay tuned!

Side thought: IF YOU hear of a gas strike week or timeline event being scheduled by a big environmental group, please let me know. There should be one formed by now that we can help promote increased awareness of our excessive gasoline consumption.

Thought I fixed my problem by rewiring the ground but then the battery still did not charge and the bike cut out again. I ended up leaving the bike in a retirement home lot and got a ride back to home in Tyler.

$15 supplies (Sea Foam and misc.)

$20 Hitching Fuel Donation


Went and got the trailer and then picked up the bike and got it back home. Not how I wanted to spend Mardi Gras.

$45 FUEL for Truck and Trailer


Fixing the water pump on the Van.


Finally think the Van is safe to drive. So many issues kept making it over heat. Test driving 25 miles passed the cooling test. Now going further this week. Fixing the Carb in the motorcycle this week also. Still need more contributions to fund this trip.



K.C. Chiang

When K.C. Chiang came to the United States from Singapore at the age of 23, he settled in Mobile, Alabama, became a U.S. citizen, and began his pursuit of the American Dream. He worked his way through the service industry from the bottom up, eventually entering the real estate market as a property manager. In April of last year, he, along with his wife and business partner Terri, was set to close on the real estate deal that he believed would be his legacy: the Wyndham & Winfield Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Chiang, 54, told the Lookout that the project would have brought 1,700 jobs to the area. “You know, as you get older,” he said, “you start thinking about how when you leave this earth you want someone to say, ‘I remember this man.'”

The property (a rendering of it is above), dubbed the “Pearl of the Gulf,” was set to be one of Alabama’s largest and most impressive hotels: 500 rooms and suites; a convention center to accommodate 1,200; a wedding chapel; a dinner theater; a 20-lane bowling alley; a 6,000 square-foot spa; and a video game arcade.

But then, on April 20, just ten days before the Chiangs were to sign papers to close on the development, the Deepwater Horizon exploded–wiping out the savings he and his wife had poured into the $165 million project.

Chiang told us that his lenders, immediately spooked, postponed the closing. “They were hoping that BP would be able to cap the oil and minimize the damage to the Gulf Coast, but it took them too long to do it,” he said. Last December, the lenders finally, officially called the deal off.

And while Orange Beach (shown at left) is clean once again, and the water washing up on its shores is back to its familiar blue, lenders will likely wait years before approving funding for beachfront projects.

“There’s absolutely no bank financing for any developer. You can forget about that,” Terri Chiang told us. “The credit has just dried up.”

The couple, like thousands of other Gulf Coast residents crippled financially by the spill, has spent months trying to obtain redress through the Ken Feinberg-run Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF). But their efforts have thus far been largely fruitless, and, sadly, their complaints sound all-too-familiar to anyone who’s followed the saga in the Gulf over the past few months.

“We’ve been calling and calling and calling and they don’t even answer our calls anymore. It’s a bunch of BS that we’ve went through,” Chiang said, noting that though he and his wife consider themselves strong Christians, their faith has been tested by the ordeal.

They’ve spent thousands to hire forensic accountants to assist in filing their claims, he said. More often than not, the GCCF has come back asking for even more documentation. Ken Feinberg said that he’d personally look into the couple’s claim, according to Chiang. Now, sick of dealing with Feinberg and the GCCF, Chiang said, with more than a hint of exasperation in his voice, that they’re planning to join the thousands who are suing BP.

“We’re going to have to sue them in order for BP to recognize that the GGCF is really not helping people and is crippling the economy of this area.”

In the meantime, the oil spill has wiped away much of what the couple had built for themselves in this country.

“We’re on the verge of filing for bankruptcy here,” Terri Chiang told us. “I’ve stood in line at the GCCF with everyone else–waitresses, shrimpers, you name it–who’s been in there asking for money they’re owed. We all need help. We now have to scramble to find a different direction to survive.”


(continued from NE to New Orleans chapter)

I had to leave New Orleans a bit earlier then hoped partly because there was a hurricane heading towards me.

After 3 weeks I had; helped the city park clean up recycling; volunteered for a few green house projects; planted bull grass in lagoons with a Save the Wetlands group; planted around the amusement park and looked for people to help outside the park area. I had not found a host with a safe place to park my van by the day the edge of the storm arrived so I headed northwest. I hope to line up a more secure place to stay before my return at the end of October 2010.

With the storm behind me, I marked the nearest camping spot on the map and set course. I spent the next 3 weeks moving around between camping spots. More details about these days can be found in the next volume of our fundraiser book. As Thanksgiving approached, I headed north to be with family near Dallas.

My first destination was my cousin Darla, near Lake Hawkins. Her Husband had passed away and she had a few projects that I could help with so it was the perfect spot to make camp for a few weeks. It didn’t hurt that her property was a mile from a gorgeous lake. Over the next few weeks I improved a septic ditch, fixed a few things, cleaned up litter, burned trash and brush and organized her storage building and tools.

The lake had a few perfect spots to focus on my writing for the next book. There was a peninsula park that stayed in the sun longer then any other spot in the area. There was also a beach and campground with a dock that I could get a wifi signal on. The signal must have been coming from a boat house near by!

On colder days I wandered around looking for new spots to work. I found a city park in Hawkins that had a strong wifi signal so I spent several afternoons there getting eBay stuff listed. A worker at a bank next to the park and another neighbor complained about me hanging out there two times but other then that it was a great spot.  Another great spot was the Daily Grind Coffee Shop in ..Mineola… The owners were a couple of hippy type peace supporters. Even though they were not selling much, they keep the place open so the community has some place to gather. They have a pool table and organize card nights to attract as many people as they can. They didn’t mind me hanging out there to get work done most the day.

For Thanksgiving I went to ….Paris…. where cousin Kay and her family, Dennis, ….Josh.., ..Jordan…. and Jeremy lived. I was invited to stay for the weekend so I started looking for things I could do to help out around the house. They didn’t have much I could do but I did help hold their spots in line for the black Friday experience.

One day I went to a park with Jeremy and we played some ball. Another day I went to a parade with Kay. When everyone was busy I went to a soccer field and did some workouts. On Sunday I went to a St. Paul”s Baptist Church. I was approached by the church mother, Joan Mathis. She noticed I was by myself so she asked me to sit up front with her group. After the service, the pastor/deacon asked me some questions about my efforts. Once I explained how my goal was to battle depression by building support groups of peaceful, earth friendly, truth patriots in a barter based economy, the deacon wanted to contribute.

I told the Deacon that once I got a bit more organized, I would send them more info. After I was done talking to the Deacon, Joan asked me to join her for dinner. I only refuse invitations if I have another event scheduled so I followed her home.

There were a bunch of youth from the neighborhood and another assistant Deacon joining us. The neighborhood was mixed middle class with some nice houses and a few with busted windows and salvage vehicles. I felt safe in Joan’s presence but would not walk the streets at night.

Once inside, I realized how much Joan and her deceased husband had done for her community. There were all types of letters and awards around her house for events they sponsored or organized. I helped prepare the meal and set the table while telling the children my stories. After the meal was finished and the table was cleared the deacon played some organ music while Joan led in some singing. The day reminded me of when I used to spend Sundays with my grandmother.

The next day I went to the soccer fields to workout and this wonderful lady noticed the writing on my van so she pulled up and wanted to know about me.

Charlene ( ) was at a difficult crossroad in her life. She was passionate about life as a christian and needed guidance. I gave her my contact info and asked her to follow up with me. We would soon be editing each others notes for publications.

From Paris, I headed about 90 miles south, back down to the Mineola area. My uncle had a few projects that he didn’t have enough time to finish so I worked around there a few days. I also got a lot of writing done while passing time until Christmas.

I enjoyed my Texas family’s hospitality very much so I stuck around through Christmas to celebrate with them. I drove around with cousin Lydia, husband (John), kids ( ) and Madison to see the areas holiday lights. They also had a fun pre xmas party at their place on the lake. When a couple of their friends get together and share stories about their high school trouble making, there is never a dull moment!

For Xmas day everyone was meeting at Lydia”s so I spent Xmas eve at another party with her and Darla then went home with Lydia. She invited me to stay the night so I would get a bit of the Xmas morning celebration with her kidos. I was so thankful for all the love they gave me. I had been missing it from my Lincoln family ever since dad died in 2005.

Xmas day was great. Kay’s family all made it from Paris and the food was amazing. The only thing missing was our elder, uncle Ken, their father. He was on a semi run and had timed it to spend time with his girlfriend’s family in Az.

The kids got new laptops, psps and a Play station 3! They were so fortunate to have family with money to spend on those expensive things. When I was a kid, my parents would go in debt to put just one expensive thing on credit so all the kids could share it so their gifts were just as shocking to me as they were to the kids.

After pictures were done, the food was gone, and the games completed, we all went separate ways. I went back to Darla’s and regrouped. Not too long after, I was invited to a party for the next night. I had been looking for something fun to do that could include a friend and this was perfect.

I had found a nice girl in Mineola to spend time with who could help organize a support group in the area so this would be a chance to get together. I texted her and she accepted my invitation. We had been in the local coffee shop at the same time but she usually has her kids with her so we never got to talk much so I was excited when she was able to go out for an evening.

On the night of the party, I followed my cousin to the location to make sure I would not get lost with my friend. I went in and met everyone and then checked in with Alisa. She asked me to come get her after finishing with a care taking client so I went and picked her up. Her friend gave me the standard 20 question interview and told me she just wanted to make sure she was not going to have another stalker. After I passed her test, we drove out to the party.

After about an hour of socializing and playing Wii with cuz Darla and her date I noticed some interesting packages around the house. I was not aware it was going to have an adult theme gift exchange after everyone was lubricated with party favors. I have been in plenty of embarrassing situations so I was all good but I was holding my breathe to see how Alisa was going to react.

It was great! As everyone joined in a circle to play white elephant exchange, sexual conversations filled the air. Everyone joking about what they thought this or that was and which package they would pick. Alisa smiled and joined in the conversations like she was their best friend. She hadn’t even known them for a few hours so I was amazed. Alisa would be perfect for organizing group events here when I was gone.

As the gifts got passed around and the talks got extremely perverted, Alisa’s comfort increased along with her enjoyment. Darla’s date was doing just as well but being a bit more shy. The experience was one I will remember for a long time.

After the party Alisa knew where there was karaoke by the lake so we went there. We learned a lot of interesting things about each others lives through the evening and would be great friends. At the bar I met her friends and all my other neighbors. It had a nice biker bar atmosphere so I was comfy seeing my dad raised me in that surrounding.

From there I took Alisa back to her friends where she would stay the night to avoid the drunken stalker knocking on her door after hours. Had I known that when we were by Darla’s I would have offered the spare room and breakfast. All in all it was a great time.

As new years eve approached, I checked in with my LA buddy Sung Park. He was ready to ring in another decade with me so I packed a hitchers bag and made sure my items at Darla’s were where she wanted them. I was prepared for a crazy hitching experience! My uncle Ken then told me that he could get me on board his semi but it might not get us to LA in time.

As NYE drew near we would find that his schedule would not have him leaving until the 2nd. I decided that Sung and I would find another adventure and act like it was NYE instead so I was fine with waiting. It gave me one last night of partying with Texas family. Alisa was with her kids so I went to Lydia”s for her NYE party.

I was so anxious for LA that it was hard to be in a partying mood. I enjoyed the party but kept my wits so I could drive back to Darla’s to sleep and watch football the next morning. I was packed and ready to go on the 2nd. Darla gave me a ride to the drop point where uncle Ken was waiting and after some hugs, I was on my way to So Cal!