Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Better by the Block

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 6:31 PM

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NOLA Grocery, the Warehouse District sandwich shop I wrote about this week, is big on Cajun flavor and very scant on creature comforts. So scant, in fact, that it's strangely entertaining.

This is a take-out place for sure, but owner Murray Tate has made some accommodations for people who want to unwrap their po-boys and eat them right away. This amounts to a pair of glass-top patio tables pushed together in an area wedged between a bank of drink coolers and a metal garage door. The garage door is usually open, and the view it affords (above) is primarily of a marine industry workshop.

More interesting, though, is what goes down on some days just around the corner. An alley there is often jammed with trailer-mounted crawfish boiling rigs and assorted other catering prep operations for events at the convention center a block away.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Untold No More

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 8:17 PM

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Lolis Eric Elie knows how to get right to the point. As a regular columnist at the Times Picayune, Elie has little room for verbosity, but still those few words of his printed on a little slip of newspaper are often more than enough to knock you over. He has the same effect in person.

In the early summer of 2006, I was covering a story about a group of restaurateurs, who were visiting New Orleans to learn more the levee failures. Before getting on tour buses to see the devastation, the sponsoring-organization, Share Our Strength, asked Elie to say a few words about the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. With a straight, almost deadpan-delivery, Elie asked the group to imagine a trucker crashing his 18-wheeler through the middle of their living room. The trucker gets out of his cab, looks around and says, “Wow. I feel bad about this. Tell you what, I’ll give you 50 percent for everything I’ve destroyed.” Pause.

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Unsurprising News: Byron Scott Named NBA Coach of the Year

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 6:21 PM

by Alejandro de los Rios

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It really only makes sense: after three consecutive losing seasons — including a debut with only 18 wins — Byron Scott led the Hornets to a franchise-best 56 wins and a division title. Now, Scott has been honored with the Association's Coach of the Year award.

David West and Chris "Birdman" Andersen are the only two players that remain from Scott's first year. On several occasions, I've asked West how or if Scott has changed since that miserable first season.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Prisoners of Fame

Posted By on Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 4:15 PM

By: Allen Johnson

Jefferson Parish has only two accused killers in its home incarceration program, and both have celebrity status — renowned rap artist Corey “C-Murder” Miller, 37, and former local radio talk show host Vince Marinello, 70. Miller is charged in the shooting death of fan Steve Thomas in a now-closed Harvey nightclub in 2002. He is scheduled to stand trial June 9. Judge Martha Sassone recently denied Miller’s unspecified request for a weekend trip to Jackson, Miss. The rapper has been under house arrest for more than two years as a condition of a $500,000 bond. Meanwhile, Judge Conn Regan will preside over Marinello’s trial in Lafayette next month for the murder of the radio host’s estranged wife, Mary Elizabeth Marinello, 45. She was shot twice in the face on Aug. 31, 2006, in the parking lot of an office tower on Metairie Road. Marinello was arrested a week later. He posted a $750,000 bond, but house arrest was a condition of his release in December 2006. Marinello, who has gone through several lawyers, is restricted to his 94-year-old mother’s condo, which overlooks the parking lot where his wife was murdered.

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Shepherd’s Woes

Posted By on Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 4:13 PM

By: Allen Johnson?

When it rains, it pours — especially on state Sen. Derrick Shepherd, D-Marrero. The Louisiana Board of Ethics has voted to hold public hearings on separate charges that Shepherd violated campaign finance laws by failing to report contributions, expenditures and other campaign activity in a timely manner for two of his campaigns. Shepherd could not be reached for comment at press time. He allegedly failed to file reports on time for his 2007 re-election campaign in Senate District 3 as well as supplemental reports related to his 2003 race in House District 87. Shepherd faces up to $2,000 in fines in each case. The ethics board also may impose up to $10,000 in additional fines. Shepherd’s campaign had $29,185 in “cash on hand,” according to his latest filing. The ethics hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. July 10 in Baton Rouge. Shepherd last week pleaded not guilty to federal money-laundering charges. A day earlier, his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary C Committee killed his signature bill to criminalize the wearing of saggy pants. In early April, Shepherd resigned as chair of the Senate’s Committee on Local and Municipal Affairs after his multi-count federal indictm

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Now both my pairs of cowboy boots are drying out in the front hall

Posted By on Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 3:42 AM

After a sodden first weekend of Jazz Fest 2008, I have few memories that did not take place in a tent or huddled under the grandstand.

Still, the Saturday Ponderosa Stomp revue was memorable - of course for the standard soul awesomeness of soul shouter Tami Lynn and for the ten-minute version of "Tighten Up" by Archie Bell that he got through before the 6:30 pm shutdown - but more so for the reliable antics of the Texas singer Roy "Is he on something?" Head. In his 60s, Head's set is still more acrobatic and lewd than anything Britney Spears can currently muster. One particularly shining moment involved Head straddling Stomp producer Ira Padnos's wife Sam as she played a sax solo. The best, though, was his repeated near-molestation of piano player Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural. The third time Roy leapt onto the piano bench to throw his arms around Buckwheat and aggressively snuggle him, I leaned over to my frend and said, "I hope they knew each other before this."

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Indian Red

Posted By on Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 1:00 AM

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On Sunday, the rain cleared in time for great sets from Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and many other acts including, Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint, Michael Doucet and BeauSoleil, Cassandra Wilson and Al Green. Working though his best known material (I'm Still in Love With You, Love and Happiness), Green looked sharp in a glittery turquoise vest and rained red roses on the front row at the Congo Square Stage.

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Jazz Fest Swim Team

Posted By on Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 12:54 AM

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Fest-goers were unphased by rain again on Sunday at the Fair Grounds. Crocs and shrimp boots were the footwear of choice, but the crowds made the best of it.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Full-Contact Sport

Posted By on Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 3:11 AM

The Justice Department’s decision to yank local FBI Special Agent in Charge Jim Bernazzani back to D.C. on the heels of his public flirtation with a race for mayor was entirely foreseeable. What I don’t understand is why Bernazzani, who must have known that anything beyond the vanilla “no comment” he gave to Gambit Weekly in “Scuttlebutt” last week would land him in trouble, went ahead and talked even circumspectly with local TV reporters about running for political office. As Allen Johnson noted in his initial Gambit article, these kinds of things take on a life of their own. The Bernazzani-for-mayor story was just too tantalizing for the local broadcast media — and Bernazzani himself — to leave alone. I’m told that Bernazzani is close to FBI Director Robert Mueller, but Justice has a very strict policy about some things, and the Hatch Act is one of them. The reaction was swift and certain.

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Rainy Day Blues

Posted By on Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 12:26 AM

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If you kept a blue tarp, they're still useful at Jazz Fest.

Jon Cleary was able to finish his jazzy R&B set on the Acura Stage before rain started to fall. By the end of Dr. John's set it was a torrential downpour. Some people headed for the tents. Those who went to the Ponderosa Stomp showcase in the Blues Tent were rewarded with some great New Orleans R&B from Tami Lynn and later the frenetic James Brown-style act of Roy Hood. Others fought the rain and stuck it out for Billy Joel's greatest hits. Still others split the difference and finished the day in the Acura showroom tent. By the time Jazz Fest pulled the plug on all stages at 6:30 there were still plenty of people braving the elements at the Fair Grounds.

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