Instead of going through your typical "What do you want to do tonight? I don't care. Just pick something to do" conversation with your significant other tonight, go ahead and make plans to attend Andrew Duhon's CD Release Party for his album "Songs I Wrote Before I Knew You".
When - Tonight, Friday January 30
Time - 10 pm
Where - DBA - 618 Frenchman St.
Cover - $5
After Rebirth Brass Band founder and tuba player Phil Frazier landed in the hospital with a frightening blood pressure-related "episode" - doctors, according to band manager Howie Kaplan, were reluctant to diagnose it as a stroke - last month, band members rallied to maintain the band's rigorous gig schedule without him for the forseeable future. The Treme Brass Band's tuba man, Jeffrey Hill, has filled in for Frazier for the past five weeks. This week, though, the band announced happily that Frazier will be returning to the stage sooner than expected - tomorrow, in fact. Frazier takes the stage with the Rebirth again Saturday, January 31 at the Howlin' Wolf. Hooray for the healing power of funk.
Members of the City Council Council President Jackie Clarkson, James Carter, whose district includes the French Quarter and Cynthia Hedge-Morrel, head of the councils budget committee met yesterday with Mayor Nagin to discuss a compromise and avoid a legal showdown regarding the citys budget. A source inside in the council says trust is a large issue concerning a compromise with Nagin. City council members felt they had previously negotiated with the mayor in earnestness, only to have him come back two weeks later with more cuts.
On Monday, Nagin held a press conference announcing he would make further cuts to the budget, including cutting enhanced sanitation services in the French Quarter, in order to avoid a $7.5 budget shortfall. Nagin remarked that he was more willing to make budget cuts than the council because he was term-limited unlike many council members who would be seeking re-election.
Council members reacted angrily to Nagins announcement, saying he never contacted them about his press conference and that they had already negotiated and compromised with the mayor in order to pass a budget on January 12.
It's indicative of how closely Bob Cerasoli held his cards that one of his closest working associates, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, had no advance knowledge of Cerasoli's resignation.
"Holy God," Letten said this morning. "I have to confess that when I picked up the paper this morning, it was the first I'd heard of Bob's resigning. It came as a complete surprise, and certainly a personal disappointment. I think so well of Bob on a personal, professional level, and I think Bob probably wanted to avoid a very emotional exchange."
Letten says that the last time he saw the inspector general was at Cerasoli's office last week for a meeting. It was Inauguration Day, and the two men and their staffs took a break to watch the swearing-in of President Barack Obama.
"Even at that time, Bob was sharing with us his concerns about his health, and clearly we could see he his fatigue," says Letten. "But I didnt see that hed reached critical mass at all."
Letten spoke this morning to Leonard Odom, who was named by the city's Ethics Review Board as Cerasoli's interim replacement. "Ss soon as he gets resettled in his new role, we're probably going to be meeting next week," he said. "Thanks to his expertise and commitment, Im looking foward to a seamless transition. Len has Bobs full faith and trust, and if Bob Cerasoli says to me that this person, in his estimation, is a good person -- thats a virtual background investigation to me."
In his 17-month tenure, Cerasoli was only able to issue a single interim report, but Letten says there is more to come, and soon: "In a short time, he has done more than you can see on the surface. He has a lot in the pipeline."
The lunar calendar followed in many East Asian cultures says 2009 is the year of the ox, though those headed to the local Tet new year celebration this weekend likely have beef broth pho soup, pork-stuffed banh mi sandwiches (pictured at left) and shrimp spring rolls on their minds.
Mary Queen of Vietnam church will once again be the setting for this large, family-oriented community celebration, held each year on its expansive festival grounds in far eastern New Orleans.
As at any good festival, food is a highlight and here visitors will find huge tents lined with tables for communal dining and various booths selling traditional Vietnamese dishes. A great many Heineken beers are dispatched by adults while kids typically run helter-skelter through the grounds blasting each other with Silly String.
There are bands, fashion shows of traditional Vietnamese garb, children's games, crafts and imported merchandise for sale and more huge tents packed to the edges with people playing games of chance (pictured below).
The festival, at 14001 Dwyer Blvd., (map), begins tonight, Jan. 30, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., and continues on Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.
-- Ian McNulty
The Rev. Kevin Wildes, president of Loyola University and head of the city's Ethics Review Board, sounded philosophical this morning about the resignation of Robert Cerasoli, the city's first Inspector General, who is stepping down immediately due to health reasons. (For more on Cerasoli and his health issues, see The Gambit's cover story of Jan. 12, "Being Bob Cerasoli.")
On Dec. 23, while visiting family for Christmas, Cerasoli underwent surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Needham, Mass., to have some tissue removed from his neck: one a sebaceous cyst, the other a "growth the size of a lemon." ("I can verify this," he wrote in an email at the time, "because I asked to see it after it was removed.") The growth was taken for biopsy.
"Some stuff came back that was good," said Wildes, "and in the process they discovered some other things. Bob cannot do something halfway, and he just felt as if he couldnt give the job his full attention and do the job the way it needs to be done."
Cerasoli is leaving New Orleans immediately and heading back to his hometown of Quincy, Mass. His first assistant, Leonard Odom, has been appointed in the interim while Wildes and the ethics review board begin a search for a permanent inspector general. Wildes called Odom "incredibly qualified."
On a personal level, Wildes says Cerasoli's resignation is hard to take: "We do have a personal relationship. And I'm not blowing smoke when I say that we are so much better off now than we were two years ago, when this would have been unthinkable.
"Look, Im not Mary Poppins," Wildes added. "When i look at the staffing in the office and the people who are doing the work, I'm confident every investigation is going to continue. Im more upset and concerned about Bob than I am about the office. Hes built us a great organization."
The news couldnt be much worse: New Orleans Inspector General Bob Cerasoli is leaving. He will return home to Boston today (Friday, Jan. 30) for health reasons. Somehow I cant help feeling his personal cancer scare so far, the growths detected and removed from his neck have not been malignant are metaphoric of the cancer inflicted upon city government by official corruption, incompetence and arrogance. This is indeed a sad day in New Orleans, but I cannot blame Mr. Cerasoli one bit for wanting to be near his family at this time. We should instead be grateful that he gave us the time and energy that he has.
One thing I learned from Hurricane Katrina is that bad news isnt final. In the aftermath of the storm, I was constantly amazed at how, not long after bad news arrived, somehow something good came of it. I know this may sound Pollyannish, but I swear it happened time and again in those dark days after Katrina. Bad stuff would happen, it would knock me for a loop, and then usually after I decided I needed to deal with whatever was in front of me at the time something amazingly good would happen. I hope thats the case for the Inspector Generals Office and the citys Ethics Review Board.
Bob Cerasoli set a high standard. He gave us a template for what the office must become. He taught us to demand more and better from our elected officials. He set things in motion. Above all, he gave us hope. We owe it to him and ourselves to keep his drive alive. He always said this effort was not about him, but about the job and the need for transparency, integrity and accountability at City Hall. Now its up to us to make sure his words prove true.
I just got off the phone with Kevin Wildes, president of Loyola University and chairman of the Ethics Review Board of New Orleans. Here's his official statement on the resignation of Robert Cerasoli:
January 30, 2009
For personal reasons of health, Robert A. Cerasoli has resigned as the Inspector General for the City of New Orleans. On behalf of myself and the other members of the New Orleans Ethics Review Board, we are profoundly grateful to Bob for his tireless work in establishing this office, hiring outstanding staff, and moving the office forward.
Bobs pioneering work in the establishment of this office has made a lasting contribution to the quality of life for all citizens of New Orleans. We are most fortunate to have had such an experienced man with such high standards of integrity to serve as the citys first inspector general. We respect Bobs decision and his right to privacy with regard to medical matters. That said, we wish him well in his continued medical treatment and pray for his speedy and complete recovery.
As chairman of the Ethics Review Board, I am authorized to appoint an interim inspector general from among senior staff in the office. (See City Code, Chapter 2, Article XIII, Section 9-1120 entitled "Office of Inspector General, #3 Appointment.)
I have asked Leonard C. Odom, First Assistant for Criminal Investigations, to serve as interim inspector general. Leonard's career as an inspector general is long and distinguished.
He has more than 30 years of experience in management; income tax and internal affairs investigations; knowledge of financial, performance and compliance audits; fraud, political corruption and contractor fraud investigations; internal safety and security; ethics programs and general investigations.
Leonard is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Inspectors General and has served as its president for the past two years. Previously, he has served as Inspector General for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA); Regional Inspector General of Investigations for the U.S. Department of Treasury; and Assistant Chief, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Most recently, he served in the Inspector Generals Office of Washington, D.C. as Assistant Inspector General for Investigations.
The New Orleans Ethics Review Board will begin a national search immediately to fill the position of City Inspector General. As the ordinance specifies, we will only consider someone who is a Certified Inspector General.
We are confident that the sound foundation built by Bob Cerasoli will be capably administered by Interim Inspector General Leonard Odom, and that the transition in the continuing operations of the Office of Inspector General will be seamless.
Jay Poggi, also known as MC Trachiotomy, has released a small but nice catalog of psychedelic rap over the course of his long career. Recently Poggi, Ratty Scurvics, Lefty Parker and their Bywater crew flew to New York to open for the newly reunited Butthole Surfers. But Trach is almost as famous for his amazing house, also known as The Pearl Lounge, an after hours "club" that hosts parties I shouldn't describe on the internets. They're just down low fun, with a lot of oysters. The Pearl itself is vast, several warehouses big, and full, full, FULL of crap, some very valuable. I remember the first tour Jay gave me, of the outdoor tile kitchen, all the amazing souvenirs he'd collected during his many years as a float painter, another room filled with five jukeboxes, the comprehensive remnants of a bankrupt daiquiri shop, which covered a small car that I only knew was under there, because Jay said so. And so much more. Just everything. And I always wondered when the day would come when he would have a sale. Now is the time. Here is the email I was sent (all spelling by the author; Jay should have "sic." tattooed directly on him):
SAT JAN 31st at dawn 'til dusk
Pearl Lounge presents:
MC Trachiotomy, Silly Sammy and KooCoos
SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE!
SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE! SUPER SALE!
EVERY THING MUST GO!
Suits : Neck ties : Hats : costu mes;
shoes : Lamps : CDS : Masks : GAMES
slack s : Float y thing s ; AIR : Plate s
sacks : Appli ances : Wigs : stuff ed anima ls
Sungl asses : TACOS : Auga : wood
Coats : Sweat ers: T shirt s: DRUMS
Books : Lps : Plast ic Anima ls : Napki ns
Photo s : Cemen t : Movie s : Capes
cell phone s: spoon s : perfu me
Balls : and more
batteries not included
TH' BIG YARD SALE YARD!
636 Desir e St. @ Royal St
AND AS FOR SUNDAY
Hey BALL fans!
Tierd of pesky commentators and
doods banging on the bar til your drink spills, all the while screaming at the top of thieir lungs at an inanimate box as if they are in a stadium thousands of miles away! HUH? are ya?
WELL.... FEB 1st
SUPER BOWL SUNDAY 5pm
Pearl lounge will be Slinging and serving
with Live music, djs,
volume FREE BIG SCREEN TVS
no cover par usual
We will be going late as well
COME ON OUT spread the woid
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