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Environment & Science

5 reasons why Pacific Swell likes Wendell Pierce

1. He played Bunk Moreland in "The Wire" and "Antoine Batiste in "Treme." He attended Ben Franklin and NOCCA, grew up in Pontchartrain Park, and is real New Orleans. I am not real New Orleans. I was given the blessing by the city to live there for 3 years, and I get to go back and pretend I still do, and I love it. That blessing included exposure to people who are part of a community, kind to their neighbors, generally up for some shrimp or okra or oyster po-boys or crawfish, and treat the elders on their street well. By all accounts he's that kind of guy, and by all accounts, I mean, counting the waiters at the restaurants and the guys at the gas stations. And he can actually play the trombone

2. Maybe even more awesome than any of that, he was Vladimir in a "Waiting for Godot" that is the best one I've ever seen. Vladimir is the optimist. He is a fool, and what he is doing with the waiting is futile, certainly Samuel Beckett thinks so, but I got to see Wendell Pierce say these words in front of a flooded house in Gentilly, and I cried. 

Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. Not indeed that we personally are needed. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late! Let us represent worthily for once the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us! What do you say?

And I'm okay with sometimes being a fool when it means that you're still in the game. Futile's a conclusion, and life is still in progress. 

3. He's trying to call attention to the problem of food deserts in New Orleans. Wendell Pierce is going to open a grocery store, called Sterling Express, that will sell "fresh produce, salads and competitively priced staples in addition to the usual chips and sodas." Low-income neighborhoods in New Orleans lack grocery stores where people can buy fresh food. (Same is true in LA, and we don't even have a flood to explain it.) As for why he's doing it? 

“When I think of Sterling Farms, I remember those Friday nights with my mother,” he said. “That communal thing of actually going to get the fresh food that you are going to cook and eat together. That’s a memory. As corny as it sounds, it feeds the soul as much as the body.”

4. Okay, I have to admit, I like "Hackers." 



5. The faulty pumps I investigated, the ones Harry Shearer made a movie about, the ones Maria Garzino risked her career for, part of the flood protection of New Orleans...those pumps we devoted plenty of time to here at KPCC. Wendell Pierce says he's going to mention them to the President at the State Dinner he's attending tonight. 

I'll be super curious what the President has to say. Though I don't expect a different response than I've gotten from the CEQ and from the Army Corps. Which is, the complaints were followed through to the end, and we believe everything is fixed now. That answer doesn't sit well with Maria Garzino. And based on publicly available information, that answer isn't supported in the record. 

But I like that Wendell Pierce is getting into the game.