I have to say I was beyond doubtful that the Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters would be able to reach me here in Germany. They actually mailed my ballot for February 9th presidential primary within reasonable time to get it back to them by the election day deadline. Considering Louisiana bureaucracy lately, especially when its on a collaboration with the federal level, this is a minor miracle. I suppose my ballot still has to make it there and get counted, so it's not over yet.
Leading up to this bright white envelope, the state parties successfully made me buck my independent status as a voter for this election, sending in a fax to register with the Democrats. Does anyone know if there's a chance that they'd open things up to "independent" voters as other states do? I've always been so proudly an independent and plan on playing this little registration game as such.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a third installment to the Oscar Fuselier story that originally ran in the Gambit this past September. In that first story, I described how Fuselier, a 58-year-old disabled war veteran was arrested on an outstanding traffic warrant from Jefferson Parish, placed in an un-air-conditioned jail cell in the Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) with five other inmates and more than a day later was beaten unconscious by another inmate. He never regained consciousness and died two weeks later. Richard Jackson, an 18 year-old armed robbery suspect, was charged with second-degree battery for assaulting Fuselier.
In October, I found out that Jackson had been given a 701 release from the Orleans District Attorneys Office on the battery charge . A 701 release refers to a suspect being released from jail after 60 days if a DAs office hasnt formally accepted charges against them. Jackson was released of that charge, but remained in jail on the armed robbery charge and for violating his parole on a previous conviction. The DAs office said this occurred because they never received any of the files on the case from Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriffs Office (OPSCO). A spokesperson for OPCSO, Renee Lapeyrolerie , denied the DAs, saying, I dont know what report theyre talking about.
This week is the catch twenty-two of all shopping weeks in the year. Along Magazine St, in the malls, online there are SALES everywhere...but at the same time most budgets are feeling the crunch (which is why I haven't posted in Window Shopper recently, I cut myself off from the stores).
All weekend long I spotted 50%- 70% off sales everywhere. Some of my best sightings included Magazine Streets Pippen Lane's 50% off rack, West Elm's online sale, Pier Ones 75% off ornaments (if you can think about next Christmas), Gae-tana's 20-75% off racks and World Markets center aisle.
In other parts of the country commuters and travelers have the option of train travel. And while we do have the physical lines in and out of Loyola Avenue to Chicago and San Antonio, the rates are never cheap and it never seems convenient verse air travel.
I always thought it would be nice if there was an affordable line to nearby locations. It costs $44 to get from Portland to Seattle and only $20 to travel from Charleston to Savannah.
And where the internet does contain many conflicting myths and facts regarding the safety, environmental and speed parameters of train travel, and I am not an expert or convinced of the truth on any of the issues- I would still like the choice.
The Faubourg Marigny boasts several great restaurants Adolfos, Feelings Café and Wasabi, to name just three but its possible that the best dishes to be had anywhere in the lower-lower-Quarter reside at a locale better known for its liquor.
At Mimis in the Marigny, the split-level Royal Street bar thats home to DJ Soul Sisters weekend spins as well as an enticing assortment of hot and cold tapas, a casual stop-off for drinks quickly can turn into a deconstructed six-course prix fixe. During one recent visit, the parade of small plates began with creamy goat cheese croquettes, hush puppy-sized, pan-fried to a light crust and drizzled with honey; a green salad dressed with a vinegary sherry emulsion and shavings of sharp Manchego cheese; and jumbo Louisiana shrimp, the heads left on, grilled with a crisp jacket of salty Serrano ham.
The time is upon us... not Mardi Gras, but tax season. Will you be groaning or whoop-whooping your way through your return this year? I'm sure we all hope for a 'whoop-whoop,' and Louisiana's Department of Social Services knows it. Today it issued a press release that might ensure more taxpayers will finish their filing with an ecstatic whoop-whoop over a projected tax refund rather than taxes owed.
DSS and the State of Louisiana are urging working families to find out if they're eligible for federal Earned Income Tax Credits, and in conjunction with the departments of Revenue and Labor, announced the opening of almost 160 free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites across the state. These VITA sites will provide free tax preparation to low to moderate - income filers and will be open through April 16.
If you missed last year's underground theatre event: The Palanquin Diaries, Confessions of a Mardi Gras Queen, you have one more weekend to catch the encore. Assuming of course that you like nudity, snakes, rock music, and can find the venue. But where the heck is the Backyard Ballroom?
Like most things bohemian, the Backyard Ballroom is located in the Bywater. On St Claude and Gallier, next to an empty lot, the large, strately house and its backyard are owned by the playwright, Otter, who co-produced Palanquin Diaries with her partner, Chris Rudge, owner of the Bywater's Bacchanal wine store. He personally ran back and forth between the backyard and his wine store to "deliver beer", since he is only licensed to sell alcohol out of the one location.
I brought blankets, assuming the backyard would be cold. Turns out, there's an indoor theatre space back there. The Bywater is host to a number of new gallery/performance venues these days, such as SideArm Gallery, Barrister's Gallery, Hi Ho Lounge, and Bacchanal. The Backyard Ballroom offers a narrow stage, curtains, lights and lightboard, sound. And the electrical looked up to code. Even the exits were visibly marked. New Orleans needs more low-cost theatre options, and Backyard Ballroom is one of the better ones, if you can attract an audience that "far" into the Bywater.
By the time I saw the Times Picayunes front page on January 11, 2006, I was already prepared for the worst. At the time, my family and I had become part of the New Orleans nomads moving from Uptown to the French Quarter (we were lucky because so many didnt have these kinds of options) so my wife could keep her new business afloat and we could stay in the city. We had lived in Broadmoor and we had already started to rebuild our home.
The month before, the Urban Land Institute had made its recommendations to the city and they included a map, which had a green dot drawn around Broadmoor. This indicated that ULI suggested that Broadmoor become a possible future green space, a euphemism for a drainage park. My wife and I decided to continue rebuilding anyway, figuring the city would never agree to destroy our neighborhood. Then on January 11, the Times Picayune printed the Bring New Orleans Back report, which also included a map with a green dot around Broadmoor.
Each semester, after my students and I have written some rap songs (myspace.com/mrmichaelsclass), the second half of my Music Writing class entails teaching them to write album reviews. Their writing is generally hilarious and mean -- the kids mostly dismiss anything not fed to them via Clear Channel -- but the reviews also boast some perfect snappy, laconic insights, descriptions and assertions that only kids could conjure. In a batch of reviews published by Gambit magazine in September of 2006, the kids critiqued a demo album by The BadOff, a modern yet almost imperceptibly retro, heavy guitar-rock band from New Orleans:
"They sound a hot mess to me. Their instrumentation sounds like biker boys driving down the road. I like the beat. Why? Because you can use it to make other songs. I don't like that the beat is louder than the singer. Why? Because I would like to hear the singer's words. The singer sounds like someone in a graveyard singing about a dead loved one. He sings like he knows how to sing, and he sings songs that you can dance to a lot. He sings like he's been a singer for a while."
Only now have The Bad Off finished the recordings my students mildly dogged. Their album Lady Day will be available for the first time this Sunday night, at One Eyed Jacks.
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