Every Christmas season, Papa Noel, the Cajun/Creole version of Santa Claus, magically transports famous personalities from New Orleans history to the present day. Some personalities are generally known today, locally and outside New Orleans, such as Andrew Jackson, Captain Jean Lafitte, and the Widow Paris (aka Marie Laveau). But other persons are less known although equally important to Louisiana cultural history, such as C. C. Antoine, Free Man of Color and 2-term Lt Governor. The company even includes a strolling accordionist, Count Guido, a Vaudevillian who popularized the accordion in North America.
The Living History characters stroll the French Quarter Thursday through Christmas Day, yes, Christmas Day, 11am to 4pm (3pm 12/24-25), often along Royal street, visiting hotel lobbies, restaurants, and places like the Cabildo and Historic New Orleans Collection. They are immediately noticeable, not only for their painstakingly accurate 19th century attire designed by Veronica Russell, but also for the slow pace they walk. The world was slower back in the day.
Friday, December 21st- one of New Orleans favorite local fashion designers, Leah Bauer of Pooch Clothing will be hosting a trunk show at Le Phare (523 Gravier) - the show moved from the original location at LOA- from 3:00 pm- 7:00 pm.
Leah will be featuring some of her new "Chari-tees", a stylish collection of shirts that give back to important causes. Past designs, which reflect Leah's "fashion" sense of purpose have given back to Cystic Fibrosis Research, Habitat for Humanity, Breast Cancer Awareness, Multiple Sclerosis Research and the Daniel Price Memorial Fund. ______________________________________________________________________
The Daniel Price Memorial Fund for Aspiring Artists, a fund established to give exceptional fine arts graduates of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts an opportunity to pursue higher educational studies in a fine arts discipline.
The Patron Party ($125 ) will start at 6:00 pm, and include food, an open bar and a special performance by Irma Thomas. General Admission ($30) begins at 8:00 pm and includes entertainment by Kermit Ruffins, Rebirth Brass Band, Troy Andrews & Orleans Ave, Jonathan Batiste, John Boutte and Rockin' Doopsie. Tickets are available on the House of Blues website.
Has anyone noticed lately that the long and multifarious (or should I say nefarious?) arm of the Reese's empire has been slowly and silently reaching its chocolate, peanut-buttery fingers into all corners of the candy market and tightening its grip on sweet-toothed minds in every demographic through a complex ideological apparatus with aspirations of global domination and hegemonic bliss?
Did anyone anticipate that the inchoate dreams of the tiny little candy-coated peanut butter gems of the Pieces would spawn such visions of supremacy in supermarkets and drugstores nationwide? Who knew that cashiers, shelve-stockers and vending machine maintenancers would be so mindlessly and effortlessly recruited as deputies in exercising the subaltern functions of this expansive chocolate-covered, peanut butter hegemony?
At the very moment that I write this, plans for the distribution of tickets to 2007s top grossing concert tour scheduled to visit New Orleans Saturday, Jan. 26 are being unleashed by the New Orleans Arena on a surely rabid public. Care to guess the artist?
Did someone say Van Halen? Nope, sorry. Eddie, David and Co. wont hit NOLA until Feb. 8, and without even sniffing the summit of the earnings pile. (Somewhere a single tear falls into a shot of Cabo Wabo Tequila.) Could it be the hip-hop five-top led by Bow Wow, Chris Brown, Lil Mama, Sean Kingston and Soulja Boy? Warming (Jan. 12), but wrong again.
It was not at all like Frank Costanza described it to Kramer. There were no Feats of Strength. Unless you count the little poles holding up some of the vendors tents, there was no official Festivus Pole to speak of. (I had heard there would be one, but I never saw it.) And I didnt overhear any exchanges that would qualify as the Airing of Grievances.
But Seinfeld disparity aside, make no mistake, there was a Festivus miracle last Sunday. In my eyes, the miraculous thing about this bustling holiday arts market at the corner of Magazine and Girod streets was just being there! Being there and perusing the wares of a good number of indie artists and artisans jewelry, ceramics, textiles, artwork, house wares, etc. and seeing all of the other shoppers who came out, not just to support the local arts community, but to buy some really cool stuff.
Y'all don't forget to pop by the Dragon's Den on 12/16 (Philip K. Dick's birthday) to see the high energy and deep conviction of saxophonist Edward "Kidd" Jordan and his cohorts who include drummer Alvin Fielder, bassist Elton Heron, trumpeter Clyde Kerr Jr. (all of those folks have been playing together for 30 years) and relative newcomer Brian Quezerque on bass. This will be entirely improvised music, but don't be scared. It takes a moment to get used to, but it's powerful and full of moments of overwhelming beauty.
Kidd is one of the great saxophonist living today and is acknowledged as such around the world. He rarely plays here and that is a shame, but that is reality. Music like this can blow your mind and change your whole perspective.
'Tis the season for big holiday parties and for some people I know those big holiday parties are traditionally held at Crescent City Steakhouse.
If you've never had the pleasure, the menu is simple: the classic steak cuts, all of excellent quality, a couple of salad options, shrimp cocktail, a few side dishes and onion rings. There aren't too many decisions to make and the food presents a crowd-pleasing spread. . .unless, you're like a friend of mine who refuses to eat steak. Seafood would be okay for him, but definitely not red meat. He's what I call a sortatarian, an aquaratrian or a New Orleans vegetarian, someone with vegetarian sensibilities but enough sense to indulge in the bounty of local waters.
He was evidently in the dark about Crescent City Steakhouse when he accepted an invitation to a big group dinner we both attended there recently. Maybe he thought it was like Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, where the menu runs to tuna, giant Portobello mushrooms and even lobster, that favorite of local minor politicians when a constituent is picking up the tab.
Until recently I taught in the Treme, beside Armstrong Park, at Craig Elementary. Im not certified, just an artist who, after-school, teaches a writing course thats disguised as a rap music class, to trick New Orleans kid into writing, an act they generally hate. I dont know much about Craig, beyond what I observed between 2:30 and 5p.m., Monday through Thursday for a year. I do know it was an historic school, and had recently been part of the Recovery School District, and that people I briefly encountered there most of them leaving for the day just as I arrived blamed every misstep on RSD. Though the Craig kids I worked with possessed remarkably positive attitudes (their high-pitched joi de vive got them in trouble more than any negativity), the majority read and wrote at a kindergarten or pre-kindergarten level. This, though most were smart as hell. Of the many illiterate kids Ive met in New Orleans, very few seemed to suffer any learning disability. Usually its just obvious that the adults in their lives let them down.
When the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) board approved the New Orleans Redevelopment Authoritys (NORA) Parish Redevelopment and Disposition Plan, Orleans Parish became, along with Jefferson Parish, one of only two parishes statewide to receive this approval. The plan refers to those properties that homeowners decided to sell back to the state as part of the Road Home program. Its not often that Orleans, especially in terms of recovering from the levee failures, is first in anything.
Its not always the parishs fault the amount of damage and loss, both human and property, dwarfs most of the other parishes but still, it is nice surprise when we come in first. No one expected the plan to be ready, and, according to Joe Williams, the executive director of NORA, that included the LRA.
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