How Humans Sank New Orleans


Downtown New Orleans and the Mississippi River, with the French Quarter in the foreground and the West Bank in the distance. Lorenzo Serafini Boni / Emily Jan / The Atlantic.

 

By: Richard Campanella/The Atlantic

Below sea level. It’s a universally known topographical factoid about the otherwise flat city of New Orleans, and one that got invoked ad nauseam during worldwide media coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its catastrophic aftermath in 2005. Locally, the phrase is intoned with a mix of civic rue and dark humor.

It’s also off by half. Depending on where exactly one frames the area measured, roughly 50 percent of greater New Orleans lies above sea level. That’s the good news. The bad news: It used to be 100 percent, before engineers accidentally sank half the city below the level of the sea. Their intentions were good, and they thought they were solving an old problem. Instead, they created a new and bigger one.

In the spring of 1718, French colonials first began clearing vegetation to establish La Nouvelle-Orléans on the meager natural levee of the Mississippi River. At most 10 to 15 feet above sea level, this feature accounts for nearly all the region’s upraised terrain; the rest is swamp or marsh. One Frenchman called it “Nothing more than two narrow strips of land, about a musket shot in width,” surrounded by “canebrake [and] impenetrable marsh.”

For two centuries after the establishment of New Orleans in 1718, urban expansion had no choice but to exploit this slender ridge—so much so that many patterns of local history, from urbanization and residential settlement geographies to architecture and infrastructure, spatially echoed the underlying topography.

New Orleans and its vicinity in 1863. The developing city tightly hugs the ridge nearest the Mississippi River. Photo from Wells, Ridgway, Virtue, and Co. / Library of Congress.

 

This might seem paradoxical to anyone who’s visited the Crescent City. What topography? In one of the flattest regions on the continent, how can elevation matter so much? But that’s exactly the point: The lower the supply of a highly demanded resource, the more valuable it becomes. Unlike most other cities, which may have elevational ranges in the hundreds of feet, just a yard of vertical distance in New Orleans can make the difference between a neighborhood developed in the Napoleonic Age, the Jazz Age, or the Space Age.

Understanding how these features rose, and why they later sank, entails going back to the end of the Ice Age, when melting glaciers sent sediment-laden runoff down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. Starting around 7,200 years ago, the river’s mouth began pressing seaward, dumping sediments faster than currents and tides could sweep them away. The mud accumulated, and lower Louisiana gradually emerged from the Gulf shore.

Areas closest to the river and its branches rose the highest in elevation, because they got the most doses of the coarsest sediment. Areas farther from the river got just enough silt and clay particles to rise only slightly above the sea, becoming swamps. Areas farthest out received scanty deposition of the finest particles amid brackish tides, becoming grassy wetlands or saline marsh. The entire delta, under natural conditions, lay above sea level, ranging from a few inches along the coastal fringe to over a dozen feet high at the crest of the Mississippi River’s natural levee. Nature built lower Louisiana above sea level, albeit barely—and mutably.

Native peoples generally adapted to this fluidity, shoring up the land or moving to higher ground as floodwaters rose. But then European imperialists came to colonize. Colonization meant permanency, and permanency meant imposing engineering rigidity on this soft, wet landscape: levees to keep water out, canals to dry soil, and in time, pumps to push and lift water out of canals lined with floodwalls.

* * *

All this would take decades to erect and centuries to perfect. In the meantime, throughout the French and Spanish colonial eras, and under American dominion after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, New Orleanians had no choice but to squeeze their booming metropolis onto those “two narrow strips of land” while eschewing the low-lying “canebrake [and] impenetrable marsh.” Folks hated every inch of that backswamp, viewing it as a source of miasmas, the cause of disease, and a constraint on growth and prosperity. One observer in 1850 unloaded on the wetlands: “This boiling fountain of death is one of the most dismal, low, and horrid places, on which the light of the sun ever shone. And yet there it lies under the influence of a tropical heat, belching up its poison and malaria … the dregs of the seven vials of wrath … covered with a yellow greenish scum.”

Only later people would learn that it was not miasmas but the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito, brought in by transatlantic shipping, that caused diseases like yellow fever; that it was urban cisterns and poor sanitation that enabled mosquitoes to breed and feed on human blood; and that the “dismal, low” terrain actually aided the city by storing excess water, be it from the sky, the Mississippi River, the bay known as Lake Pontchartrain, or the Gulf of Mexico. It was not “horrid” but propitious that nobody lived in the backswamp, and that the technology to drain it was not available. And most importantly, that the “yellow greenish scum” lay above sea level.

Understandably, given the incompatibility of natural deltaic processes with urbanization, New Orleanians began erecting embankments along the river and digging drainage ditches within a year of the city’s foundation. One colonist described how settlers in 1722 were “ordained [to] leave all around [their city parcel] a strip at least three feet wide, at the foot of which a ditch was to be dug, to serve as a drain.” Outflow canals were excavated to speed drainage back toward the swamp, and in nearby plantations, ditches were dug to control soil water or divert river water to power sawmills.

Gravity was the main source of energy for these initial water projects, but in the early 1800s, steam power came into the picture. In 1835, the New Orleans Drainage Company began digging a network of urban ditches, using a steam-driven pump to push the runoff back out of Bayou St. John—with limited success. A similar pumping system was attempted in the late 1850s, only to be disrupted by the Civil War. In 1871, the Mississippi and Mexican Gulf Ship Canal Company dug 36 miles of ditches, including three major outfall canals, before it too went bankrupt.

It was becoming clear that draining New Orleans would best be stewarded by the public sector instead. Municipal engineers in the late 1800s cobbled together the extant network of gutters and ditches and, with the propulsion of some steam-driven pumps, were able to expel up to one-and-a-half inches of rainfall per day into surrounding water bodies.

That wasn’t nearly enough to drain the swamp, but it was enough to begin permanently altering the New Orleans’s land surface. We know this because in 1893, when the city finally got serious and funded expert engineers to figure out how to solve this problem, surveyors set out to map local elevations as had never been done before. The resulting topographical map of New Orleans (1895) would inform the engineering of what would become a world-class system.

Contour map of New Orleans, produced as part of the city’s 1895 effort to finally solve the drainage problem. Courtesy of the New Orleans Public Library.

 

The 1895 map also revealed something curious: The rear precincts of one downtown faubourg had, for the first time, dipped slightly below sea level. The sinkage would not bode well for things to come.

* * *

What was beginning to happen was anthropogenic soil subsidence—the sinking of the land by human action. When runoff is removed and artificial levees prevent the river from overtopping, the groundwater lowers, the soils dry out, and the organic matter decays. All this creates air pockets in the soil body, into which those sand, silt, and clay particles settle, consolidate—and drop below sea level.

Construction of the new drainage system began in 1896 and accelerated in 1899, when voters overwhelmingly approved a two-mill property tax to create the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. By 1905, 40 miles of canal had been excavated, hundreds of miles of pipelines and drains had been laid, and six pumping stations were draining up to 5,000 cubic feet of water per second. System efficacy improved dramatically after 1913, when a young engineer named Albert Baldwin Wood designed an enormous impeller pump that could discharge water even faster. Eleven “Wood screw pumps” were installed by 1915, and many are still in use today. By 1926, over 30,000 acres of land had been “reclaimed” via 560 miles of pipes and canals with a capacity of 13,000 cubic feet of water per second. New Orleans had finally conquered its backswamp.

The change in urban geography was dramatic. Within a decade or so, swampland became suburbs. Property values soared, tax coffers swelled, and urbanization sprawled onto lower ground toward Lake Pontchartrain. “The entire institutional structure of the city” reveled in the victory over nature, wrote John Magill, a local historian. “Developers promoted expansion, newspapers heralded it, the City Planning Commission encouraged it, the city built streetcars to service it, [and] the banks and insurance companies underwrote the financing.” The white middle class, eager to flee crumbling old faubourgs, moved into the new “lakefront” neighborhoods en masse, to the point of excluding black families through racist deed covenants. And in a rebuke of two centuries of local architectural tradition, new tract housing was built not raised on piers above the grade, but on concrete slabs poured at grade level. Why design against floods if technology has already solved that problem?

Design plans for a Wood screw pump. U.S. Patent 1,345,655.

The change in topographic elevation was more subtle, but equally consequential. A city that had been entirely above sea level into the late 1800s, and over 95 percent in 1895, had by 1935 fallen to about 70 percent above sea level.

Subsidence continued even as more and more people moved into subsiding areas. While the vast majority of New Orleans’s 300,000 residents lived above sea level in the early 1900s, only 48 percent remained above the water in 1960, when the city’s population peaked at 627,525. That year, 321,000 residents lived on former swamp, over which time they dropped into a series of topographical bowls four to seven feet below sea level.

The average New Orleanian of this era perceived being below sea level as something of a local curiosity. Then as now, most folks did not understand that this was a recent man-made accident, or that it could become hazardous. But streets increasingly buckled and buildings cracked. When Hurricane Betsy ruptured levees and flooded the bottoms of four sunken urban basins in 1965, the curiosity became more of a crisis.

Soil subsidence made frightful headlines in the 1970s, when at least eight well-maintained houses in a suburban subdivision exploded without warning. “Scores of Metairie residents,” The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported, “wondered whether they are living in what amounts to time bombs.” The affected subdivision, low-lying to begin with and positioned on an especially thick layer of peat, had been drained just over a decade earlier. With so much “wet sponge” to dry out, the soils compacted rapidly and subsided substantially, cracking slab foundations. In some cases, gas lines broke and vapors leaked into the house, after which all it took was a flicked light switch or a lit cigarette to explode.

The emergency was abated through ordinances requiring foundational pilings and flexible utility connections. But the larger problem only worsened, as gardens, streets, and parks continued to subside, and those neighborhoods that abutted surrounding water bodies had to be lined with new lateral levees and floodwalls. Many of those and other federal structures proved to be under-engineered, underfunded, and under-inspected, and all too many failed in the face of Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge on August 29, 2005. The rest is topographic history, as seawater poured through the breaches and filled bowl-shaped neighborhoods with up to 12 feet of saltwater. Large-scale death and catastrophic destruction resulted, in part, from New Orleans having dropped below sea level.

A LIDAR elevation model of New Orleans shows areas above sea level in red tones (up to 10 or 15 feet, except for the artificial levees) and areas below sea level in yellow to blueish tones (mostly ranging from -1 down to -10 feet). Photo from Richard Campanella / FEMA.

 

What to do? Urban subsidence cannot be reversed. Engineers and planners cannot “reinflate” compacted soils if city dwellers have built lives upon them. But they can reduce and possibly eliminate future sinkage by slowing the movement of runoff across the cityscape and storing as much water as possible on the surface, thus recharging the groundwater and filling those air cavities. The Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, conceived by a local architect, David Waggonner, in dialogues with Dutch and Louisiana colleagues, lays out a vision of how such a system would work. But even if executed fully, the plan would not reverse past subsidence. This means that greater New Orleans and the rest of the nation must be committed to maintaining and improving structural barriers to prevent outside water from pouring into “the bowl.”

To a degree, those resources arrived after Katrina, when the Army Corps of Engineers fast-tracked the design and construction of a unique-in-the-nation Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk-Reduction System. Costing over $14.5 billion and completed in 2011, “The Wall,” as folks call the sprawling complex, aims to keep those living inside secure from flooding from storms computed to have a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year—not the level of security needed, but an improvement nonetheless.

* * *

Yet, history shows that “walls” (that is, levees, embankments, floodwalls, and other rigid barriers) have gotten New Orleans into topographical trouble, even if they have also been essential to the viability of this 300-year-old experiment in delta urbanism. The city cannot rely on them alone. The biggest and most important part of assuring a future for this region is to supplement structural solutions with nonstructural approaches.

Louisiana’s coast has eroded by over 2,000 square miles since the 1930s, mostly on account of the leveeing of the Mississippi River and the excavation of oil, gas, and navigation canals—not to mention rising sea levels and intruding saltwater. Slowing that loss requires tapping into the very feature that built this landscape, the Mississippi River, by diverting its freshwater and siphoning its sediment load onto the coastal plain, pushing back intruding saltwater and shoring up wetlands at a pace faster than the sea is rising.

Restored wetlands would serve to impede hurricane storm surges, reducing their height and power before reaching “The Wall,” and thus lessening the chances that they break through and inundate “the bowl.” A federally backed state plan by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is now complete and approved, and some projects are underway. But the larger effort is a moonshot, costing at least $50 billion and possibly double that. Only a fraction of the needed revenue is in hand.

Meanwhile, inhabitants will have to raise their residences above base-flood elevation (a requirement to qualify for federal flood insurance). If finances allow, they might opt to live in the half of the metropolis that remains above sea level. Collectively, they might consider advocating for the Urban Water Plan, supporting coastal restoration efforts, and understanding the larger global drivers of sea-level rise.

They can also forswear draining any further wetlands for urban development. Let swamps and marshes instead be green with grass, blue with water, absorptive in the face of heavy rainfall, buffering in their effect on storm surges—and above sea level in their topographic elevation. When it comes to living being below sea level, New Orleanians have little choice but to adapt.

Richard Campanella is a geographer at the Tulane University School of Architecture. He is the author of Cityscapes of New Orleans.

CoronaVirus “Sacramento” my 10 day Journey


 

 

 

Image result for judgement day family radio

I’m not an alarmist by nature. You won’t find me screaming “the world is coming to the end” on I street , or fighting over a twelve pack of Ultra Charmin Toilet Paper at the Alhambra Safeway.

I’ve survived the Loma Prieta Earthquake, Y2K, Sars, Swine Flu , The Ebola Virus and Mr Harold Camping’s of Family Radio prediction that the world would come to an end May, 21,2011.

I understand the fear that follows after watching hours of  CORONA VIRUS seeing the numbers marching towards your town.  People are forgetting to breathe. Many of us aren’t applying logic to the information in front of us.   This isn’t the first time.   Many people were convinced the world was going to end and  sold their homes and everything they owned before May 21st 2011.  Nearly sixty years ago, before cable news, Americans beliving there was going to be a nuclear war between the United States and Russia built underground bunkers  filling them with food.

In the last few weeks, friends sent me pictures of near empty store shelves in supermarkets from Massachusetts to Texas.   In Sacramento, it was business as usual,  there weren’t any shortages of any kind at  BelAir and Safeway..

Try as you might, you cant escape the Corona Virus. If you turn off all electronic devices, your phone, the TV, radio and social media someone will bring it up. Vice President Pence and President Trump tries to calm the nation and the Stock Market. Meanwhile, I think I have a cold or could it be Corona Virus?  Its possible. as I frequently come in contact with travelers

Thursday March 5 : Scratchy Throat

This is usually the beginning of something bad.

After saying the Corona Virus is a hoax, and blaming the Chinese, then the Europeans and the virus will be a distant memory by April.  President Trump attempts to reassure the nation: “With approximately 100,000 CoronaVirus cases worldwide, and 3,280 deaths, the United States, because of quick action on closing our borders, has, as of now, only 129 cases (40 Americans brought in) and 11 deaths.”

Friday, March 6: Runny Nose and Cough

A cold dammit! My son and I planned a road trip earlier in the week and I didn’t want to cancel . A trip to the Alhambra Safeway, for Juice and supplies.

President Trump: “We did an interview on Fox last night, a town hall. I think it was very good. And I said, ‘Calm. You have to be calm. It’ll go away.’ ”

Saturday, March 7: Chico

A break from the madness, just Austin and I  in downtown Chico. The soundtrack was our voices, and laughter. No discussion about the Virus today. A great burger at “Madison Bear Garden” in downtown Chico and a walk through downtown. I can feel myself sinking. Fluids…. A detour into Paradise, where life is slowly returning to normal. Locals  are returning and reminded of the fire.  Every tree is scorched and the persistent smell of chard trees is everywhere.   Returning to Sacramento, my body is weak. Arriving home I take my temperature 102.3

Sunday, March 8: 17 hours in Bed

I should stay home, but after 17 hours of sleep. I’ll go into work tonight.

Monday, March 9th: Mistake, Mistake, Mistake

Work was a blur, I don’t member much, sitting was difficult standing difficult. Uber home and turn on the news. Italy is taking drastic measures

The President is downplaying the virus and the stock market isn’t pleased after telling Americans: So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

Tuesday, March 10th: Sleep, Corona Virus, Sleep

This is a long ass cold. Usually after a couple of days its over. My TV was background noise. Every time, I wake up, its more Corona Virus, more US infections.

What world is the President living in? “And it hit the world. And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

A woman in her 90’s died at an Elk Grove nursing home, she was the first person to die of the Corona Virus in Sacramento.  New Corona Virus cases rose by 15% overnight in California.

Wednesday, March 11th:The Gauntlet! “TODAY ITS REAL”

It’s just a cold….. At least I want it to be. I don’t want to go into Kaiser, where they are probably treating hundreds of people ,who are really sick. But is this a cold?   I called Kaiser’s Advice Nurse.  I was feeling guilty as the hold times were much longer than normal. Just as I was about to hang up, the advice nurse came on. After a dozen or so questions ,she asked about my pain levels, which were low. With my preexisting health issues, she insisted that I immediately go to the ER.

At the Kaiser Morse Emergency, it wasn’t as busy as I expected. Masks and hand sanitizer was mandatory. Earlier in the day the President was still attempting to paint the virus nothing to worry about as he said I think we’re going to get through it very well”

There were x-rays, EKG’s, painful nose swabs, and other tests.  To pass the time between tests, I watched tv on my cell phone.

Suddenly it got real.  The National Basketball Association suspended the season, during a game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets.  One NBA  player tested positive for the virus. This is unheard of… Meanwhile what I thought was a cold was actually the flu.

Meanwhile, as I was waiting in emergency, A young lady instructed her son to bring her the bottle of hand sanitizer everyone was using. Sitting across from me she attempted to hide the container/

Thursday, March 12: This shit is real!

Kaiser, advised me to stay home for a few days, possibly longer.

The President: It’s going to go away. … The United States, because of what I did and what the administration did with China, we have 32 deaths at this point … when you look at the kind of numbers that you’re seeing coming out of other countries, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it.”

Meanwhile, professional sports, Baseball, Soccer, College Basketball canceled or delayed the season.  Many museums and theaters have closed.  Concert Venues, some tourist attractions.

School districts all over Sacramento announced they were closing until April. Local events, with 250 or more people were cancelled in Sacramento, including events at Golden One.

Friday, March 13: Everyone is affected!

I was sent home with new drugs and an inhaler. In 24, hours, I felt much better. But there was a feeling a dread. School closures. Discussions of banning gatherings of 50 or more people.

Friday was the first day some of my friends started talking about the economic impact of the virus. Overnight, hours have been reduced. In addition to the virus there is a economic uncertainly. While most people don’t fully understand whats happening to the stock market. They can readily understand the increased cost of having young children at home. The choices for some families with young children is to find away to pay for increased child care cost or to take time off until the schools reopen.

Saturday, March 14: Toilet Paper and Unemployment

It been a week, I’m feeling better and for the first time I felt well enough to get a little shopping done. I needed juices and I am down to less than a quarter of a roll of toilet paper. The 19th Street Safeway didn’t seem abnormally crowded. There was plenty of meat, breads, fresh fruit and vegetables. Perhaps Sacramento shoppers are more sophisticated then those other cities, the shelves were full. Normally I go up and down every aisle of the store. On this day, I went directly to the aisle where they sell toilet paper. When I arrived the only thing I could find was a notice that limited shoppers to two packages of TP.

 

Delta Airlines just announced it was reducing their flight capacity by 40%.  The Travel industry in one week took a major hit in Sacramento and all over the world    In one week, hotel occupancy in Sacramento dropped 60% and it hasn’t bottomed out.

This week, Taxi,Uber, Limousine companies, Lift, drivers, Airline Employees, Rental Car Employees, Airport Employees, Hotel workers, Restaurant employees hours have been reduced  due to virus. These hourly cuts will continue each week until things return to normal. By April 1st, hundreds of Sacramentians may be unemployed. Many losing their health coverage.  While the media focus is on the  CoronaVirus, lost in the coverage are ordinary Americans who will face unemployment due to this crises.  That will trickle down to retail and on to manufacturing. This is what troubles Wall Street. But Wall Street doesn’t have a face.  Its not a server in a restaurant (many will be closed by cities to reduce the spread of the virus)  Its not a bar owner or a person who earns her living working in a Kiosk at Arden Fair.  In China, Italy, France and Spain. Employees and business owners receive modest compensation during these times.  Not in the United States, where their is some talk of bailing out the Airlines and Hotels.

Sunday March 15:  Back to Work  Zero percent Interest

I am a complete idiot.  It’s raining,  I’m wearing the wrong jacket and I’m not wearing a hat.  My nose is running and a small cough has returned.  I’m without toilet paper. My options are wrapping paper or Bounty (the quicker,picker upper).

Governor Newsom, told all residents older than 65 to stay in their homes. He called for the closure of bars, nightclubs, restaurants and wineries. He banned visits to hospitals and nursing homes unless patients were on the edge of death. He announced plans to buy hotels to house some of the state’s 150,000 homeless.

Federal Reserve announced it would cut its target interest rate near zero.

The swifter-than-expected rate cut is designed to prevent the kind of credit crunch and financial market disruptions that occurred the last time the Fed had to cut rates all the way to the bottom, during the global financial crisis just over a decade ago.
The Trump Administration hasn’t inspired confidence in its handling of the Corona Virus.
My colleague hours has been cut twenty to thirty five percent.  My hours may be cut this week.
Please wash  your hands and be careful
CityFella

The Enduring Joy of Fran Drescher


 

What you first need to understand is that I learned joie de vivre from The Nanny. Literally, as in the phrase: It sneaked into the theme song to describe the stock-in-trade of the flashy girl from Flushing, as the Nanny was, and as Fran Drescher, its star and creator, was. Ann Hampton Callaway wrote that song for her and did its jazzy performance, a stepping-stone on the way to writing hits for Barbra Streisand, which, if you’re a Jewish girl from the boroughs, as Drescher is, is a little like saying Callaway wrote for some little yeshiva Yentl before ascending, pen in hand, to work for G-d Herself.

The joy of Fran! The Jewish girl onscreen who wasn’t a meeskite but a bombshell, who turned what could have been a career-killer — a face that could launch a thousand ships paired with a voice that could sink them — and made it, through gale-force charm, a selling point, a calling card. Thirty years’ worth of journalists have struggled to describe her nasal whinny. I like Los Angeles magazine’s version: the voice of “a Bloomies perfume spritzer in heat.” Teachers told her to lose it, and she tried. But when she trained it out of herself, she lost her whole personality and spoke at a snail’s pace. She remembers drawling her way through an audition for a part in an epic television drama and losing out to Jane Seymour. “They said to my manager, ‘You know, she did fine, but she talked too slow, and it’s only an 18-hour miniseries,’ ” Drescher says. “So that was kind of the end of that.”

If you are of the generation that grew up on Drescher — those of us who were impressionable, and often latchkey, kids during her nannying days, from 1993 to 1999 — it is more than a little surreal to find yourself suddenly in communication with her, like meeting a former babysitter years later, each of you older, wiser, and a little wider, the dynamics of your relationship subtly changed. At 62, Drescher is both a whole new woman — a cancer survivor with a foundation to advocate for early detection, prevention, and policy; a marijuana evangelist; and a fiery political opinionator with a snappy anti-capitalist bent — and exactly the one you feel you know. Her text messages are spangled with kiss-print emoji. She loves an espresso martini, the height of ’90s elegance.

Back home on the Upper West Side after a stop at a Columbus Avenue bodega for $186 worth of fresh flowers, which she arranges and distributes across a number of vases, Drescher has quick-changed into a terrycloth robe and UGGs, a diamond tennis bracelet on her wrist, while her ever-present assistant, Jordan, lights a fire in the living-room hearth. Drescher’s company is called Uh-Oh Productions, and emails from Jordan, dispatches from and about Fran, have been popping up on my phone for days as simply “Uh-Oh.”

Drescher spends most of her time in Malibu, where she has a house on the ocean and a regular table at Nobu. But she keeps an apartment in New York in an Arts and Crafts–style building just off the park, where she once shared a wall with Madonna. Here, among rattan chairs and Asian antiques, most of which predate her in the apartment — she bought it furnished from a decorator — Drescher lives softly, a star in temporary residence. Framed photos of her with potentates — Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden — grace a side table. (She hasn’t yet chosen a 2020 candidate, though fans who have been stoked by her anti-capitalist sallies may be surprised to hear that, while she’s Bernie-curious, “I do like Amy, and I do think that Joe has a lot of experience.”) In the kitchen is a framed cover of New York Dog magazine featuring Drescher with Esther, one of her late, beloved Pomeranians. Esther’s predecessor Chester was a guest star on The Nanny.

The line between her lives onscreen and off can feel blurry. When a phone call from her mother interrupts for a few minutes — a periodontal appointment is discussed — I have to remind myself that the person on the other end is Sylvia Drescher, whom I have never seen, not Sylvia Fine, her Nanny equivalent on the plastic-covered couch. Fran isn’t Fran Fine, the door-to-door makeup saleswoman turned nanny to three sad, spoiled, Anglo-American scamps and their blustery British father (“Mistuhhh Sheffield!”), but her characters tend to be avatars of their creator. Most of them, she points out, are called Fran. “I have the good fortune of being recognizable,” she says. “For people to roll out the red carpet for me wherever I go in the world, it’s such heaven. Sometimes people say, ‘I don’t like Paris. They’re not nice to me.’ And it’s like, ‘Really? I’m like Jerry Lewis there.’ ” She is Une Nounou d’Enfer — “A Nanny From Hell,” as the show was titled in France — and La Tata, as it was called in Italy. The Nanny has been syndicated and adapted around the world, both dubbed in its original version and recast in remakes. In more than 25 years, it has never not been showing somewhere.

The Fran Generation is now grown up, and its members have carried Drescher with them. “I watched a lot of TV as a kid, at night when my parents were working,” says Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, one of Drescher’s spiritual descendants. “Fran as the nanny was like my nanny.” Glazer cast and directed her on an episode of Broad City as her character’s aunt. “I have watched so many hours, every episode of the show,” says Glazer. “She makes up part of the structure of my brain.”

The Nanny was very formative,” says Rachel Bloom, the Emmy-winning composer, lyricist, and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, who is working with Drescher on a Nanny musical headed to Broadway. Dan Levy, a producer and writer for the ABC show The Goldbergs, created a “Fran Drescher–type” mother figure in his new NBC sitcom, Indebted, which premiered last month; he told every development executive that he’d pictured Fran Drescher in the part and then, bowing to Occam’s razor, cast Fran Drescher. Indebted gives Drescher her first starring network role in years, and one, she says with relief, that her elderly parents in Florida and their friends can find in the newspaper TV listings. She is even working on a cabaret act that will take her to Café Carlyle in New York, the first in its history, said Carlyle’s Jennifer Cooke, that will not include singing.

It’s worth asking why, 21 years after the end of The Nanny, we’re still in her thrall. It’s not just that those who are overwhelmed by the chaos of the internet — which is to say, all of us — see the feel-good sitcoms of the ’90s as sort of a cultural balm, much of it accessible now, ironically enough, on the internet. (The Nanny remains confoundingly hard to stream, though it is a mark of digital glut that I discovered the first two seasons are available on something called the Roku Channel, which it turns out I have.) It’s also Drescher herself. The Nanny’s rags-to-riches story — which is also her rags-to-riches story — gave us a Borscht Belt Maria von Trapp with an exuberance, even a vulgarity, that wasn’t an obstacle to overcome. It was the whole point. She was gorgeous, she was clever, she was outer-borough middle class — she fairly honked. Drescher is not unapprised of the singularity of Fran. “I was never going to have Meryl Streep’s career,” she says. “I was going to have Fran Drescher’s career, and that’s what I did.”

Marc Jacobs dress, at marcjacobs.com; Lagos ring, at lagos.com. Photo: Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari

She couldn’t have had anyone else’s. She made her film debut coming on to John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. “Hey, are you as good in bed as you are on that dance floor?” is her adenoidal purr, and he leads her there, her proprietary hand on his polyester ass. She kicked around in some other movies; she did pilots for TV. But she realized early on that she’d have to make her own opportunities. You can still see a few episodes of the last sitcom she did before breaking out, the now-forgotten Princesses, on YouTube: She and Julie Hagerty and the ’60s model Twiggy shack up together as wacky roommates with wildly divergent styles. But the show failed to catch on. “On TV, a New York Flavor May Be Poison,” ran the headline in the New York Times.

After its cancellation, Drescher wound up on an international flight with Jeff Sagansky, then-president of entertainment at CBS. Seizing her chance, she buttonholed him. “I thought, Thank you, Lord, and I ran into the bathroom to put some makeup on,” she says. “I remember the movie was starting—back then, everybody watched the same movie — and it was The Prince of Tides with Barbra Streisand. And he said, ‘Oh, I want to watch this. It’s my favorite.’ And I thought to myself, Oh, this guy is so ripe for me.” She told him that, because of her voice, networks had always gotten her wrong. She wasn’t sitcom seasoning. She was the main course.

Sagansky agreed to a meeting and eventually to what would become The Nanny, the idea Drescher and her then-husband, now-out gay ex-husband, and now-and-forever writing partner, Peter Marc Jacobson, came up with for her. It was sparked by her experience schlepping Twiggy’s daughter, Carly, around London. They’d spent years working as frustrated actors in L.A. and suddenly had the chance to write their own ticket. The studio brought in Prudence Fraser and Robert Sternin to help guide the writing process, but Drescher “was doing stories every single day,” Jacobson says. “We were so young, I think we did things that if I was getting into it now I’d be afraid to do. Who brings Yiddish into a CBS eight-o’clock show in 1993?”

But the gamble worked. The Nanny was a major hit and, with it, Drescher, who had been a bit player for Miloš Forman and a standout as a brassy publicist in Spinal Tap, became not only a star but a durable icon. A New York flavor, no longer poison, was now a bragging right. The New York Times: “For Queens, a Place in the Sun; Hollywood Is Suddenly Zooming In, With a Vengeance.” Queens’s other most famous modern export, Donald J. Trump, was a frequent punch line and onetime guest star. They were once two comic actors, one playing a souped-up fantasy version of her younger self, the other playing a souped-up, fantasy version of his father. Now they are president and guru, sitting on the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. He bellows with inchoate rage. Drescher remains a foghorn of joy.

Giorgio Armani gown and wrap, similar styles at armani.com; Lisa Shaub Fine Millinery hat, similar styles at 134 Orchard St.; Chopard earring, at 709 Madison Ave. Photo: Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari

Drescher likes to point out that, until the show aired, there hadn’t been a Jewish actress playing a Jewish main character on an American comedy for decades — not since Molly Goldberg, the echt Jewish mama of early broadcasting, appeared on CBS in the late 1940s. (Rhoda, the canonical sassy Jewish gal of ’70s TV, was played by Valerie Harper, who wasn’t.) The Nanny was “the only show where someone being Jewish was a major part of the show,” Bloom says. “You’d think there’d be a lot more shows where people were overtly Jewish, considering the disproportionate amount of Jewish people writing and creating shows. But there’s this idea of ‘We don’t want to alienate Middle America.’ ”

Drescher and Jacobson based Fran Fine on the young Fran and insisted on her being Jewish even when a major conglomerate offered to sponsor the show provided Fran be rewritten as Italian. “We thought about it because we knew it was our big break,” Drescher says, “and we didn’t want to be difficult. But I thought of Neil Simon because he said, ‘Write what you know.’ I didn’t know Italian like I know Jewish. So I mustered up my chutzpah and told them Fran Fine must be Jewish. And they said, ‘Okay.’ ”

There were occasional complaints that Nanny Fine and her Queens clan — a domineering, guilt-tripping Jewish mother and a yenta grandmother, Yetta, named after Drescher’s grandmother — didn’t represent the best of Jewish womanhood. The L.A. Times published an opinion piece to this effect, then Drescher’s rebuttal. But the archetype she incarnated was both hyperspecific and hyperrelatable — if not in its details, then in its values — to women, and non-women, used to being told to turn it down. The shock of The Nanny was “not only the Judaism,” Bloom says. “It was being too much, being loud, being different. It was a lot of things that I hadn’t seen before.”

Since The Nanny, Drescher has never fallen out of the cultural mainstream, though she has, project by project, drifted toward the outer boroughs of the television landscape. There was Living With Fran, on the now-defunct WB, about a Fran who juggles family and a younger boyfriend (2005–6). Then Happily Divorced, on TV Land, about a Fran still living with her newly out, newly gay ex-husband (2011–13), another show she created with Jacobson. After their divorce, they didn’t speak for a year — he hadn’t wanted to get divorced and was angry. They’ve since come back together professionally and personally, and they’re both single again now. “I always used to joke and say if I do have a relationship, they’re going to have to be happy sitting, when we’re 70 watching The Nanny on television, between me and Fran,” he says.

Her life hasn’t all been sitcom rosy. “I’ve been very candid about my personal life,” she says. She has written two memoirs (fun fact: Fran loves Phish). The second, Cancer Schmancer, details her fight to correctly diagnose and ultimately beat uterine cancer. Drescher’s relationship after Jacobson, with a producer on The Nanny, ended following her cancer treatment, and a second marriage, to the tech entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai, ended in divorce. Ayyadurai is internet infamous for his claim that he invented email, though he sued Gawker for its posts debunking the claim, a suit the company settled for $750,000; he also ran unsuccessfully against Elizabeth Warren for a Massachusetts Senate seat. “In my second marriage, we were together for three years. The first year was bliss, the second year was agony and ecstasy, and the third year was just agony, and I said, ‘Enough,’ ” Drescher has said. Some of her flowers go into vases they received as wedding gifts. She underwent a hysterectomy as part of her cancer treatment and never had kids. “I think I would have been a good mom,” she says, “and sometimes I think I kind of missed out on that.”

Photo: Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari

That makes Indebted’s Debbie, a doting grandmother and a frisky mate to a graying husband (Steven Weber), a different type of Drescher character and a slightly bittersweet one as well. On the show, Debbie hovers over Adam Pally and Abby Elliott, who play its central characters, a youngish married couple who are tending to both their own kids and their regressing, neo-adolescent parents. Drescher took care to insert enough Fran into the character to make it her own; early scripts, she said, made Debbie more of a traditional, hectoring mother-in-law type. “I’m not that actress. I cannot get away with that,” she says. “I’m a star. People are tuning in to see who they’re used to seeing. You want to get some heavy character actress, older woman, to be this pain in the ass in the house and have this, you know, antagonistic relationship with the daughter-in-law like they did in Everybody Loves Raymond, be my guest. But that’s not me.” Drescher turned out to be a bright spot in Indebted’s otherwise rough rollout. Reviews so far have been grim. The exception is Drescher, whom Variety singled out as “the only person who seems to be trying,” in a performance that is “a reminder of an old-fashioned sitcom sparkle.”

“Old-fashioned” may be a tell. The show is a sitcom in the kid-friendly, yuks-and-shticks mold (multi-camera, guffawing studio audience), which has not fared well critically in the age of single-cam auteurs and HBO gore. It is the safest of network TV. “I think we’re going to see them coming back,” Drescher says. Her characters are lovable and stylish; unlike most Emmy bait, she is proudly, unapologetically uncontroversial. (“You can’t sit down with your family and watch Game of Thrones,” Bloom says. “I mean, I’m sure some people do. I wouldn’t recommend it.”) Family-friendly fare syndicates, and it performs worldwide. Drescher is living proof. “From the studio standpoint, that’s where the money is,” she says. “Sony has done very well by The Nanny. I mean, something that is this popular a quarter of a century later, that’s pretty decent.”

Pretty decent has made Drescher a wealthy woman. She loves to work, she says, but she doesn’t  have to. “I don’t need the money,” she says.
“And if you don’t need the money, that takes a little bit of fire out of your belly.” But stardom agrees with her, and shows like Indebted offer, if they catch on, a pathway back to the televised mainstream. Drescher has already made her peace with whatever the show’s fate may be. “As a Buddhist — or a Bu-Jew, which is more to the point of what I am, really — balance is a big part of your daily practice,” she says. “And I try and find balance in everything. I never forget where I come from. And inside, I’m still a chubby girl from Queens, anyway.”

Dolce & Gabbana jacket, vest, and pants, at dolcegabbana.it; Shannon Phillips hat, at nethats.com; René Caovilla shoes, at renecaovilla.com; bow tie, made by Lucy Payne. Photo: Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari

The commissary at The Wing does not offer espresso martinis, but for Drescher, they are inclined to make an exception. So it was that on a recent Tuesday night, a few empty glasses were on a side table, drained but for the telltale damp coffee beans. Drescher was on hand to screen the pilot episode of Indebted for a crowd of 200 and hold a Q&A after. She is one of The Wing’s presiding spirits; Fran Fine has a phone booth named in her honor there. (Fellow honorees include Ramona Quimby and Lisa Simpson.) Audrey Gelman, The Wing’s co-founder (smart, ambitious, Jewish) loves Fran Drescher (smart, ambitious, Jewish). “Im crying ok,” she wrote on Instagram when they met.

But the crowd at The Wing testified that Fran’s appeal is not limited to those most categorically similar to her. The too-muchness of The Nanny, from Fran’s wardrobe of leopard, sequins, and skintight to her clarion call, didn’t alienate Middle America: America, and the world, ate it up. Her appeal cut across age, race, and creed. Shanae Brown, who runs the Instagram account @WhatFranWore, which is dedicated to tracking down and identifying Fran Fine’s outfits for an audience of almost 300,000, isn’t a young, Jewish striver from the city. She’s a 30-year-old Jamaican patient-care technician living in Atlanta.

Brown doesn’t wear the sequined vests, the hourglass cocktail dresses, the Todd Oldham and Moschino and Ferré and, Lord have mercy, Allen Schwartz that Fran Fine did. But then neither does Fran Drescher. The show’s costumes were a fantasy creation, a TV-land exaggeration, by the costume designer Brenda Cooper, who won an Emmy for her efforts. The studio, Jacobson recalled, originally pushed for Fran to wear T-shirts and jeans in an effort to be relatable; he and Drescher doubled down on the brights, even making the sets a polite, neutral cream to make the costumes pop. What they telegraphed was an irrepressible presence. “She was such a strong person,” Brown said in an interview. “She was kind of this irreverent woman who didn’t care what people thought about her. I feel like that’s the energy we have now.” Brown has occasionally tried posting the outfits of another 1990s TV heroine, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but she didn’t get the response Fran has.

At The Wing, the crowd laughed politely through Indebted, then roared for Drescher’s onstage Q&A. Afterward, she took questions from the audience.

“I’m not going to stand, because I think if I stand, I’m going to pass out,” said a young woman up front when handed the microphone. “You’re such a hero of mine. I grew up watching you; I’ve seen every episode a million times. I can’t believe I’m in the same room as you. Thank you so much for all the work you’ve put out into the world.” She went on, “While I’m not Jewish, I’m Latina, to see a woman really use her ethnicity, especially in the ’90s, meant so much, and I really resonated with it so much.”

After her, a young man — rare for The Wing but never for Fran — with sunglasses perched on his close-cropped skull, was briefer. “I went through a lot of trauma in high school,” he said, quavering. “And watching you really got me through a lot.”

Before the event ended, Drescher led the room in a recitation of the mantra a spiritual adviser once taught her: “I love you, Fran,” she was to repeat to herself. “I know how wonderful you are. It’s Fran and Fran till the end of time.” She encouraged everyone to insert their own name to self-love their way to spiritual enlightenment, but the response that came back still echoed with Frans.

23 Effects of Divorce That People Don’t Talk About, According to Experts


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Getting divorced isn’t what you picture. Experts share what it’s really like when a marriage dissolves.

When you hear the word “divorce,” there’s a handful of images that probably come to mind—two adults arguing, a sad kid or two stuck in the middle, and maybe even a contentious courtroom battle. But when a marriage ends, it’s far more complex than that. For one, it’s wholly possible you’ll never even be in a courtroom with your ex and secondly, there are some truly positive effects of a divorce that you may not have seen coming. We talked to relationship coaches, divorce lawyers, couples counselors, and more to find out what really goes on when a marriage ends. Here are 23 effects of divorce that you may not have heard before.

1. It’s a grieving process.

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Reality TV and sensational tabloids may give the impression that a divorce is a time of high drama and intense emotions. But in reality, divorce feels less like the latest twist in a soap opera and more like a death.

“There are so many losses inherent in a divorce and you need to allow yourself time and space to grieve for all those losses,” says relationship coach Susan Trotter, PhD, of divorce education organization Vesta. “The grief process though is not linear. Understanding that will help to normalize your emotions and can motivate you to get the support you need.”

She urges anyone going through divorce to seek the professional help they need, and to pay attention to the people they surround themselves with. “Find people who are positive and have good energy, and that will help you to stay focused and more positive, too,” Trotter adds. “Mindset is critical in the divorce process.”

2. But it’s also a business transaction.

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But just as it’s an emotionally fraught time of grieving, divorce is above all a business transaction. What surprises many newly divorced people is just how much paperwork (and money) is involved in the process. And keeping one’s attention on these mundane aspects of the split can often be the healthiest approach to getting through it.

“Learning how to take the emotions out of the settlement process, and instead focus on the division of assets as a ‘business transaction’ will help you to make better decisions in that regard for you and your family,” suggests Trotter. “It will also help you decide what is worth fighting for and what is not.”

3. You may never be in the same room with your ex during the divorce proceedings.

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Something that surprises many individuals as they split from a spouse is how rarely they see their ex-partner as the proceedings unfold. Rather than dramatic courtroom showdowns, many decisions are made without you ever having to see your ex.

“Many times your case isn’t settled in a courtroom even if you’ve hired an attorney,” explains Charles MacCall, chief operations officer for Rosen Law Firm, which specializes in divorce cases. “You may come to the terms of your settlement on a FaceTime call with your attorney while you are rushing between work meetings across the country, or you may figure out who gets the pots and pans while sitting in different rooms at a mediation.” MacCall says that if you do have a mediator, they are the only ones who will see both of you, going from room to room to reach a settlement.

4.  You won’t have to compromise as much as you’d expect.

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Like marriage, divorce usually requires plenty of compromise. But it’s not as much compromise as you might initially fear, particularly when balanced with the many freedoms that newly divorced people suddenly realize they have.

“One of the stories I hear over and over from my clients is the surprise when they move into their new place and they get to pick out what color to paint the walls,” says MacCall. “There is no debate, there is no negotiation; they alone get to decide. And it isn’t just the little personal preference parts either—financially, many of my clients feel both a sense of fear and a sense of excitement when they realize that making decisions over large purchases and investment strategies are theirs alone.”

5.  A “clean break” is much harder than it sounds.

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It’s far tougher to extricate yourself from the person to whom you’ve been married than you might have expected. “It takes forever to untangle yourself from your spouse—tax documents, car registrations, changing your name,” says Carmel Jones, who writes about sex and relationships for The Big Fling. “Going through the documents when getting a divorce to put everything you have into your name is going to a take a very long time, and you will need to communicate with your spouse often.”

6. It can be a big relief.

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Divorce is a major disruptor in one’s life and can bring tons of stress—financial, emotional, even spiritual. But many people who go through it also describe feeling an incredible sense of relief.

“As a young Catholic girl, I was terrified that getting a divorce would be devastating,” says Sonia M. Frontera, a divorce attorney and author of Divorce Dilemma. “Yet, once I empowered myself to leave my husband, I found much more joy and freedom being alone. The divorce process and rebuilding my life took over all the fears that stopped me from leaving sooner and I am grateful for the experience.”

Frontera says her divorce allowed her to turn the page on the pain of the past, releasing grudges and moving forward with a much greater feeling of freedom.

7. You may feel sorry for your spouse.

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Even in the case of a bitter divorce where there are plenty of bad feelings toward the end, those warm feelings you used to have for your ex don’t just disappear, particularly since they’re going through many of the same difficulties you are.

“Even though my husband was vicious to me, once I decided to leave, he turned to mush,” says Frontera. “Although I wasn’t going to change my mind, I did feel sorry for him and behaved with compassion throughout the divorce process and beyond.”

8. You’ll lose some friendships.

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You expect to lose one of the most important relationships—if not the most important relationship—in your life during a split. But there’s a good chance there will be some additional collateral damage as your marriage dissolves. Many of those who go through a divorce describe how mutual friends are often lost in the process. And it might not be a matter of a friend choosing one member of a couple over another so much as the change in dynamics. If you usually went on couple dates, for example, the split can throw off the balance.

“While most people were supportive and were happy to see me end my marriage, some people distanced themselves from me and kept me away from their husbands,” says Frontera. “You will become a threat to insecure friends and may need to let them go.”

9. But other friendships may grow.

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But just as you lose some friendships during a divorce, you may find that other friends you hadn’t seen much in recent years come back into your life. Divorce often means you have more time than you did before, and you’re more likely to spend that time with friends and family who you may have lost touch with. “I have seen many friendships renewed once the divorce dust has settled,” says relationship therapist Layla Ashley.

10.  You will have more time to yourself.

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Newly divorced people are often astounded by the amount of free time they suddenly have. It turns out, being married is very time consuming. Even those with kids will find they have more time on their own as the children split their days and weekends between parents.

“Many seem to think a divorce means more work in terms of childcare, but in a joint custody situation, you will actually have more time for self-care,” says MacCall. “Taking the time to take care of yourself will also make you a better role model for your children.”

Ashley describes how that newfound “me” time can lead a divorced person to feel a stronger sense of their own identity, separate from the relationship that was once central to their life. “Married partnerships usually involve merging your practical lives, such as sharing a home and day-to-day activities and decisions,” she says. “After divorce, the tendency to get ‘lost’ in another person is now replaced with a newfound freedom to explore and discover your individual self.”

11. You’ll miss your kids.

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While each member of the former couple will have more time to themselves, they will definitely miss their kids in a big way. When you’ve been used to having your children around at all times, their absence will be felt powerfully after your divorce.

“For the first few months, you are going to feel extremely lonely for your children and your family life if you have split custody,” says Jones. “It might even make you question whether or not you made the right decision. Eventually, you’ll realize that this time means longer hours of sleep, relaxation, and a time to rediscover yourself.”

12. But you’ll become a better parent.

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Sure, the instability brought about by divorce can be difficult for children, but the effects are not all negative. In fact, in some cases, parents find that they actually raise their game as a parent as a result of having more limited time with them. “One of the effects of kids having two separate homes and spending time with each parent, if this is the arrangement, is that you spend more individual time with your child than ever, and your bond can grow much stronger,” says Ashley.

MacCall even says that divorce can lead you to become a better parent. “Because you will likely now have a joint custody schedule, you will have time to work late and run errands when your ex has the kids,” he says. “This means that you will be able to dedicate 100 percent of your attention when it is your time with the kids.”

13. And your ex-spouse will also become a better parent.

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You will probably see your ex boost their parenting efforts, too. “No one wants to be labeled the ‘deadbeat dad’ or the ‘absentee mother’ in a divorce—all of a sudden the spouse who couldn’t be bothered to come watch their daughter play soccer is now coaching the team,” says MacCall. “The good news is, these new habits tend to stick. Your ex will realize how much they have missed out on, and how neat hanging out with their kid can be.”

14.You’ll need to buy your kids a new set of essentials.

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Moving between two houses means going out and getting a whole new set of everything your kids need—whether that’s sheets and a bed or toys and toothbrushes. “If you get divorced and split custody of your children, you will realize that moving them between houses means that things get lost, damaged, or simply cease to exist,” says Jones. “For example, your children will need lunchboxes for each home, toothbrushes, even sports equipment at times. It will normalize the separation for them while also saving you tons of time dealing with forgotten cleats before soccer practice, or a missing pair of glasses.”

15. Co-parenting can be exhausting.

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Shifting to a co-parenting approach can be a very trying experience, both emotionally and physically. “Put simply, the challenges change as children grow and develop, but it’s not easy to have a cooperative relationship with an ex-spouse over many years,” says Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW, author of The Remarriage Manual.

As a couple, you could divide up duties a bit more easily, so once the divorce has taken effect, each member of the former couple is largely on their own.

16. Your relationship with your ex might be better than it was when you were married.

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Those who come out the other end of a divorce often describe getting to a better place with their former spouse than they were at while married.

“After some time—and we could be talking years—if you begin to co-parent correctly, you’ll be surprised to learn that you can be grateful for your ex as a friend and happy for his/her achievements and relationships outside of your own,” says Jones. “This desire for them to be happy might mean your friendship is stronger than it was when you were actually together romantically.”

17. But it takes time before you can be friends again.

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While you can get to a place of civility and even warmth with your ex, you will nonetheless want to proceed with caution before attempting to get chummy with the person who was once the most important person in your life. Trying to shift to “friend mode” too quickly can often backfire. “Being friends with your ex usually doesn’t work out soon after divorce,” says Gaspard. “Most of the time, a post-breakup friendship is a setup for further heartbreak, especially for the person who was left and probably feels rejected.”

18. It can be dangerous to jump right back into dating.

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The old adage that when you fall off a horse, the best thing to do is jump right back on does not hold true when it comes to relationships. For one thing, moving too quickly into a new relationship can be a means of avoiding dealing with the issues that led to the marriage’s dissolution in the first place—leading you to do little of the work you need on yourself to prevent the same problems from coming up in your next relationship.

“The divorce rate goes up for second, third, and fourth marriages, in part because people are repeating patterns that they don’t recognize,” says Trotter. “It takes time to process everything, and even though you may feel ready to date, you will have more success in future dating and relationships if you take the time to process the divorce [and] learn from your past relationships—what worked and what didn’t, and what your role was in the dynamic, and what you want and need now, which is likely very different from what you wanted and needed when you got married.”

Frontera says holding off on getting back out into the dating scene was valuable for her personally. “Even though I felt unloved during a toxic marriage and longed for love and appreciation afterwards, I enjoyed my freedom so much that I didn’t date for four years post-divorce,” she says. “And those were some of the best years of my life.”

19. You may repeat the same patterns with a new partner.

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Divorce may cut ties with a spouse, but you are still you. Many people who go through a divorce expect it to be the turning over of a new leaf—and are surprised to find a similar dynamic surfacing with a new partner that they had with the person they divorced.

“Divorce is often pursued with the intent of getting rid of major relationship problems, which tend to be tied to core patterns,” says Ashley. “So it can be quite surprising when, after the honeymoon phase of the next relationship, you circle back around to the same dynamic with the new partner.”

20. Time becomes more important than things.

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Those who go through a divorce often have much greater clarity about what matters most in life—and usually “stuff” turns out to be less important than it seemed during their former life. That’s partly because recently divorced people usually have to move to a smaller place, or give up some (or many) of the things they valued during their marriage. But it also reflects how time becomes more scarce.

“In going through all of your things, dividing them up during the divorce, and scaling down, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the time you spend with the people you love, and less focus on materialistic items,” says Jones.

21. Your physical health takes a hit.

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A 2010 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that both middle-aged men and women are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease after going through a divorce, compared with married people of the same age.

But there’s a gender element here, too. “[The study] also revealed that middle-aged women who get divorced are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than middle-aged men who get divorced,” says Fran Walfish, PsyD, a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent.

22. And your mental health does, too.

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Divorce can severely impact your mental health—not because you feel sad that things didn’t work out with your ex, but because it tends to ratchet up your anxiety levels.

“You don’t have a companion in the big, bad world anymore, and the future that you once pictured no longer exists,” explains Walfish. “Plus, there’s a ton of uncertainty, which can lead to feeling insecure. Depending on the circumstances, you might suddenly have to move, get a new job, and survive on less money than before.”

23. You learn to forgive yourself.

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Guilt, self-doubt, and a general sense of harshness toward yourself are often byproducts of a divorce. But just as often, these unpleasant feelings give way to a much healthier understanding of oneself and forgiveness about what you feel you did wrong in the marriage.

“The dumper, or person who leaves or ends the relationship, may experience feelings of guilt,” says Gaspard. “[But] an important part of divorce recovery is forgiving yourself.”

Additional reporting by Grant Stoddard.

Stupid Files: 30 days in Jail and $2500 in fines for licking Ice Cream


What people do for a little internet fame.  Last August, a man went into Walmart and was filmed licking a half gallon of Blue Bell Ice Cream ($3.50).and put if back in the freezer.

What’s crazy, others  filmed themselves then uploaded it onto You Tube, Facebook, Instagram.   They’re being caught one upload at a time.

24 year old D’ Adrien L’Quinn Anderson of Port Arthur Texas pleaded guilty for criminal mischief and sentenced to 30 days in Jail and is paying fines over $2500. for that lick.

Fresh not Frozen: More Sexy from South Korea ” Genesis G80


 

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You weren’t supposed to see this car.  The plan was to introduce this car at the Geneva International Motor Show.  But that show was cancelled.  A victim of the Corona Virus.  So international manufacturers are taking matters into their own hands and leaking pictures on their websites.

The Genesis G80 is the middle child, this model replaces the second generation Genesis G80. It’s Above the G70 and Below G90.  The G80 takes its cues from the upcoming SUV the GV80.

Inside, the G80 also appears to steal plenty of details from its bigger SUV sibling, including the massive landscape 14.5-inch touchscreen display and ash wood trim throughout the dash. Other cues such as the pressure-sensitive rotary dial in the center console and contrasting leather colors also carry over from the GV80.

We know that the G80 shares a platform with the GV80 as well, and although Genesis hasn’t confirmed any powertrain information to us yet, it’s probably safe to assume that the G80 will get either the 2.5-liter four-cylinder or 3.5-liter V6 found in the SUV.

With Genesis posting these images before the car’s official debut, some of the major details such as pricing (40K?) and specs still remain unknown, but this early look provides us a great glimpse into the future of Genesis – and things look good.

 

 

Italy: Small town will pay rent or give you money towards buying a home.


Will this town in southern Italy really pay your rent if you move there?The town of Teora, Avellino

Photo courtesy of Enzo Ciccone/Facebook

Fifty six miles southeast of Naples ,Italy is Teora.  Like many cities in Italy, Teora’s population has shrunk and is offering incentives to those willing to relocate.

As one depopulated Italian town offers to contribute towards new residents’ rent or the purchase of a home, we ask if the offer is too good to be true.

We’ve all heard about how small Italian villages and even one city  are selling off unloved old houses for a euro in a bid to attract new residents.

But now one town in southern Italy has come up with what it says is a better way of countering the problem of depopulation.

While the €1 ($1.12us) home deals have been a success across Italy, with buyers from far and wide committing to investing in extensive renovation works, there are concerns that buyers are just snapping up cheap holiday homes, which will then be left empty for much of the year  doing little to solve the town’s problems.

The location of Teora. Screenshot: Google Maps

The town of Teora, in the Campania region, is instead offering a contribution towards the cost of either renting or buying a house in the town.

Set in the wild, inland province of Irpinia, Teora in is about a two-hour drive from the Amalfi Coast or the city of Naples.

Teora. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Teoravventura

Many residents left Teora following a devastating earthquake in 1980, and the population is now down to just 1,500.

Teora’s local council has offered a contribution of 150 ($168.00) euros per month towards the rent for two years, or a one-time payment of 5,000 ($5590.00) euros towards buying a home.

The average local rent in Teora is already very low, at around 200 ($224.00) euros per month for a house, and reports in CNN and other outlets say new residents may need to pay just 50 ($56.00) euros monthly for the rent on their new home.

The average cost of monthly rent in Italy is around 600($670.00) euros.

Mayor Stefano Farina told CNN: “I don’t believe in selling empty houses for €1, that doesn’t indecisive  people to stay in town.”

“They just come a few months a year as holidaymakers. That’s not the solution. But taking up residency and enrolling kids at the local school, that does breathe new life.”

To make sure that doesn’t happen in Teora, people benefiting from the scheme will need to take up residency in Teora for at least three years, and the offer is only open to people with one or more children.

While many one euro homes need serious renovations, the homes in Teora are said to have been recently rebuilt following the earthquake.

Residential buildings in Teora. Photo: Michele Notaro/Comune di Teora

The town has also said it would waive school meal fees and taxes on local services for new residents.

And the offer is open to non-Italians who are prepared to make the move.

“So far two Italian families have settled down and one from Brazil with Italian roots,” Farina said.

The initiative got a mostly positive reaction from the town’s residents on a local Facebook group  though one criticized the idea as “ridiculous” and said the money should go to investing in local small businesses instead.

For more information, please contact the municipality of Teora through the official website.  

Super Tuesday in 350 Words or Less


Image result for joe biden

The story on Super Tuesday, was Joe Biden.  A candidate who’s candidacy was just a  forgone conclusion a week ago .  No wins, no money, no ground game!  As of this post, Joe Biden has won nine states.  He won in states where he didn’t campaign or spend advertising dollars.

Bernie Sanders won three states. The Sanders campaign focused much of their time in the two largest states of Texas and California.  The Biden Campaign benefited from a last minute endorsement from former candidates Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke who campaigned with Biden in Texas Monday. This morning Michael Bloomberg announced he was suspending his account and is supporting Joe Biden.

 Tuesday Takeaways

Massachusetts, Senator Elizabeth Warren, came in third in Massachusetts, behind Biden and Sanders.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar suspended her candidacy Monday, and threw her support behind Biden who won without campaigning in the state.

49% of the voters made up their minds in the last few days.

 Bernie Sanders had far in away the most people working for him in Texas, he spent 3.6 million dollars in advertising.   Micheal Bloomberg spent 49 million.  Joe Biden spent 370 thousand.   Biden received 32% of the vote.  Sanders 29%, and Bloomberg 15%

The bulk of Bernie Sanders support came from younger voters under 30, and Latino voters. However turnout so far this year is less than 2016.

Joe Biden’s support comes from black voters, white voters over 44.

Bloomberg, Warren and Gabbard 

Super Tuesday is the first time Michael Bloomberg name has appeared on a ballot.  He’ has spent nearly half a billion dollars .  To qualify for delegates, his campaign has to receive 15% of the vote.   So far*, he has found success in Utah, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Colorado. *Ballots are still being counted in Texas and California.

Warren only met the delegate threshold in her home state.  Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard never received more than .07 in any state.

March 10 Primary :

Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota

It is  now Biden’s race to lose.   Sanders, needs to appeal to his base to get out the vote.

What a difference a Tuesday make? 

CityFella

 

She was Devastated to learn the plant she’d watered for two years was fake!


Caelie Wilkes has been nurturing her succulent for two years before she made the discovery (Image: Facebook)

By: Paige Holland/UkMirror 

A plant lover was left devastated when she discovered the reason her succulent remained in “perfect” condition wasn’t down to her love and dedication.

Caelie Wilkes had been religiously watering the plant, making sure it was getting the right amount of sunlight and regularly cleaning the leaves, for two years.

She even admitted to having a strict watering plan for it, saying she would get “defensive” if anybody else tried to water it.

It was only when she went to re-pot the succulent that she noticed it was fake.

Caelie told her Facebook

friends: “I just wanted to keep good care of it. I absolutely loved my succulent.”

Six Americans Have Died from the Coronavirus


Last Friday, at a rally South Carolina  President Trump accused the Democrats of politicizing the CoronaVirus.

 Later in the day, Donald Trump Jr., told Fox News that Democrats “seemingly hope that it comes here, and kills millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump’s streak of winning.”

Neither Trump was specific, to which Democrat or Democrats was politicizing the CoronaVirus.

What they failed to mention Republicans and Democrats criticised the Trump Administration handling of the CoronaVirus.

Republican Senator John Kennedy accused acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf of not knowing enough about the virus’ spread in the US and the ways it can be contracted.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer accused Trump of having “no plan” to deal with the virus’ spread and argued he was exhibiting “towering and dangerous incompetence.”

Republican Senator Richard Shelby was critical of the proposed 2.5 billion dollars in emergency funding  said its not  the time to shortchange American people

The reality is the Trump Administration has made huge cuts in the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resulting in large staffing cuts.

Last week defending his cuts to the CDC, the President said  it was easy to bolster the public-health agency and cited his business approach toward running the federal government.  “I’m a businessperson. I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them,” Trump said. “When we need them, we can get them back very quickly.”  Some of the expert targeted by the cuts ” hadn’t been used for many years and that additional federal money ane new medical staffers could be obtained swiftly since “we know all the good people”

Experts say those cuts affected  programs that health experts say weakened the federal government’s ability to manage a health crisis.

In 2018, the White House eliminated a position on the National Security Council tasked with coordinating a global pandemic response. The CDC that same year also axed 80% of its efforts combating disease outbreaks overseas because its funds were depleted.

There are 100 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local governments.

According to the CDC, there are 48 cases from repatriated citizens. According to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the United States through US public health systems, there are 52 cases in 11 states. Bringing the total of coronavirus cases to 100.

This includes presumptive positive cases that tested positive in a public health lab and are pending confirmation from the CDC, and confirmed cases have received positive results from the CDC.

Here’s a breakdown of the 52 US cases:

  • Arizona – 1
  • California – 18
  • Florida — 2
  • Illinois — 4
  • Massachusetts —1
  • New York — 1
  • Oregon — 3
  • Rhode Island — 2
  • Washington state — 18 (includes 6 fatalities)
  • Wisconsin — 1
  • New Hampshire — 1
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