Krewe of SpanK



Municipal “Error Message” a Part of Life in New Orleans

CITY HELL – Some say it started after the civil war. Others say it was after the city was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Most seem to believe it has always been this way.

The common thread through all these stories is that the failure of New Orleans’ municipal services, colloquially known as a “504” error, is an integral part of life in this beleaguered Southern metropolis. The 504 error code, similar to the common web browsing error code “404: Page Not Found”, has become common in New Orleans.

“We got that big pothole gushing water at the end of the street,” said William Dufrene of Gentilly, “you could fi t a small horse in it. So I called the Sewerage and Water Board, but all I got was this weird voice that sounded robotic, but not like the telephone robot. It sounded like a person with a Ninth Ward accent pretending to be a robot telling me the call could not be completed. So I called again. This time the phone just rang and rang. I guess that’s what they’d call a 504 error.”

“I was actually robbed the other day,” said Uptown resident Laura Armand, “so I called the police. The man at the other end was very nice, took down my statement and said they’d come interview me, but when I hung up I realized he’d never asked for any of my personal information! What a total 504 error!”

Instances of 504 errors appear to be on the rise in New Orleans. From mysterious power outages on calm spring mornings to trash left neglected on collection days, it seems more and more of the city’s services are somehow becoming lost in delivery.

Resident James Rousseau related a story about local public transit. “See, I take the bus every day, and I just heard about the bus tracking app. So I checked it out. The thing told me the bus was 2 minutes away, so I put my phone in my pocket. Then I waited 15 minutes. I checked again and it said the bus was 7 minutes away. This time I watched the little pin on the map jump around the city. Finally a real bus came, but I was afraid to get on it because the app told me the nearest bus was 20 minutes away. I walked home.”

The growing number of complaints has not fallen on deaf ears. Mitch “Mitchey” Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, said, “We know that many city services, from public education to property assessment, seem to be missing. I can assure the people of New Orleans that these services are not missing: we are spending tremendous amounts of money on them. Just look at the budget. I can only blame the efforts of politicians who oppose my programs for these problems.”

Mayor Landrieu did more than assign blame, however. In an effort to provide the citizens of New Orleans with some relief, he contracted the city’s tech support services out to the talented and politically well-connected SPANK Squad. The SPANK Squad, which was originally formed to rewrite software containing the infamous “Y2K” bug, has gained recent fame by disabling North Korea’s Internet connection in response to the hermit nation’s attack against a promising Seth Rogen comedy.

The SPANK Squad can be reached for assistance through their app, which is due out any day now on most major smartphones they swear; just hold tight until then. After all, observed Mayor Landrieu “It’s not like ya’ll don’t all have generators anyway.


The Tech Guy
Tech help for all your TechNOLAgy

Brought to you by the SPANK Squad
The Tech guy has been getting a lot of cards and letters about 504 errors and various services not being found. In this column I am going to give a general list of common problems that may explain your 504 error or other problem.

  1. Does your home have power? This often overlooked issue could be your problem, try logging into the Entergy web site and checking the power outage map, updated hourly.
  2. Check your fuse box. If a fuse has blown, check an antique store for a replacement. If you have those fancy breakers, you can have someone stand at the panel and flip them back on as they trip.
  3. Are there any additional wires or cables lying in the street in the vicinity of your home? A new one might indicate a problem.
  4. Check for rats on your phone or power lines. This can cause interference. When clearing them please avoid throwing rock in the direction of parked cars, abandoned ones are okay.
  5. Is there an Entergy truck on your street? If so, help is beyond the ability of the SPANK squad. We suggest a novena or voodoo blessing ritual for the City Council Utility, Cable, Telecommunications and Technology Committee.
  6. Rearrange the bags of Mardi Gras beads in your attic. Sufficient quantities of the metallic strands have been known to act like a Faraday shield.
  7. Try wrapping pieces of aluminum foil like a flag on anything resembling an antenna.
  8. Try removing some of the Cat’s Claw vine from anything resembling an antenna. This requires some care, as it may be the only thing keeping your home from an imminent danger of collapse designation.
  9. Have you reported the problem to the city’s 311 system? Listening to the enjoyable hold music might be a better activity than you were originally intending. If your problem was attempting to access the 311 system, please refer to the next item.
  10. Have you considered that the service you are trying to access may not exist in the first place? Often new technology comes only in the form of hype and rhetoric. Placeholder web pages or voice mail accounts are often included.
  11. Can’t find what you need here? Try our special 504 Error website:

It should be noted that we had our Spank Squad logo posted to this page and our Facebook and received a "Cease and Desist" email from Best Buy. We complied with their request to remove it. And everyone was worried about Disney!


©2012 Krewe of SPANK