The finalists from Top Chefs season 5 arrived in town for a January taping session at Commanders Palace, and as with many residents who relocated here, they seemingly have been unable to leave since. In anticipation of their appearance at NOWFE's Saturday Grand Tasting, Hosea Rosenberg and Co. get their latest local fete with tomorrows special soiree at Zoë, the W Hotel eatery at which no local Ive ever spoken with has dined. (Seriously, anyone? The place could be Per Se and who would know.)
The beautiful, contemporary setting and creative, delicious fare at this Contemporary Louisianan in the CBDs W hotel make it a chic destination for the business lunch set; some sniff at its high-end chain trappings, however, calling it mediocre and somewhat pretentious.
Well, that really doesnt help at all, does it.
Even though apartment complexes are legally obligated to meet federal physical disability requirements, an investigative report released today shows that isnt always the case in New Orleans. In fact, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Centers audit, Access Denied, reveals none of the 22 local apartment complexes GNOFAC examined, complied with the Fair Housing Act or the Fair Housing Amendment Act in terms of accessibility fo.
Here are some of the reports findings:
The report states that all of the audited sites were built after March 1991, when it became a requirement for apartment complexes with four or more units to abide by the Fair Housing Act and its amendments. Thirty seven percent of the units were completed before Hurricane Katrina, and 63 percent were constructed after the storm.
The report does not name any of the 22 apartment complexes. To review the entire audit, click here.
Photograph by Jonathan Bachman
Considering how maligned the Saints defense was last year, it might come as great comfort to Black and Gold fans to hear that the new-look, Gregg Williams-led defense this year is off to a promising start.
Well, as promising as you can be playing with no pads in May.
All the talk among the media and most of the questions directed towards Sean Payton and Drew Brees were about the energy and "spirit" the new Saints defense showed in 11-on-11 drills. There was at least one tussle (between cornerback Jason David and offensive tackle Zach Strief after David knocked Skyler Green to the ground) and loads of contact throughout.
The other big difference from last year? Williams has his defense playing no dead balls. That is to say, if at any point a football hits the ground - whether it be incompletion, fumble or otherwise - Saints defensive players have been instructed to "scoop and score" or pick the ball up and try to return it. The theory is that playing past the whistle will help this defense focus on forcing and (more importantly) recovering turnovers. Last year, the Saints ranked near the bottom of the league in turnovers forced.
Chef Chris DeBarr opens his new restaurant Green Goddess today. An alum of Commander's Palace and formerly the chef behind the gourmet kitchen at Delachaise, DeBarr takes over the spot (307 Exchange Place) in the French Quarter long occupied by the vegetarian Old Dog, New Trick. DeBarr's menu is not vegetarian but is rather wonky, culling exotic ingredients and recipes from around the globe (maybe skip the explanation of Mexican huitlacoche). The menu is posted on his blog. He is still waiting on his liquor license, but expects to have it soon. The restaurant is not taking reservations, but he plans to do so for the tasting bar, when the restaurant is running on full steam.
Thanks to the way they proliferate across the New Orleans calendar, locals seem to have a pretty good lock on what a festival looks like. Most are outdoors and have at least one stage with musical performers. Someone will be selling food and drinks and there will probably be T-shirts for sale, possibly even an official poster.
While our monthly Green Matters goes to print this week, here's a brief news roundup.
Photograph by Jonathan Bachman
Through my job with the Gambit, I've been able to talk with a number of interesting people and ask them questions that most polite people wouldn't ask or wouldn't have the opportunity to ask. I'm lucky, and I feel very fortunate to have been able to spend some time with Reverend John Raphael, the spokesman for the anti-violence movement Yes We Care.
When I first learned of Raphael ex-cop who is now a Baptist minister fighting for his community he sounded almost like a stock character out of a detective novel. But as I spoke with him, and he graciously gave me a lot of his time, I realized part of Raphael's appeal to his community is his ability to boil down a complicated problem like the continuing violence in African American neighborhoods and answer it with three simple words: Yes We Care. It's not that Raphael doesn't recognize or is unaware of the numerous factors contributing to this crisis, but he knows the crisis has to first be approached with genuine concern, or, as he would likely put it: Love Thy Neighbor.
Here's how Baty Landis, the founder of Silence is Violence, describes Raphael's method.
"I think it's very courageous of Pastor Raphael because he's not someone in my experience who is inclined to essentialize, reduce or categorize a very complex situation. But in this case, he decided to say the core of the crisis is black-on-black violence and the solution needs to come from within our community and there needs to be an outcry from African Americans about African-American perpetuated social and communal patterns of behavior."
If there's one certainty when you're writing a profile, it's that there will be plenty of material you won't be able to use because of time and space. So in the interest of not wasting Pastor Raphael's time and in sharing some more of his story, after the jump, here's some more of my interview with John Raphael.
In many ways, Deuce McAllister's "down hill" running style was the archetype for his entire career. It wasn't his initial contact, though more often than not it was all that was needed, but it was his second effort that made all the difference. Still, whatever the case, his impact was always felt.
For almost a decade the hulk-like kid out of Ole Miss carried the Saints and would be defenders past some of the most memorable milestones in franchise history. During McAllister's tenure we saw the Saints win their first playoff game ever in 2000. In 06' he and the Saints fell just one game short of the Super Bowl. And just this past season, he was apart of a Saints team that fell just 15 yards shy of putting up the most passing yards in NFL history.
Far and away the Saints most prolific running back, having amassed a franchise record 6,096 yards rushing and 55 touchdowns, its McAllister's work in and around the New Orleans area that far exceeded his grit iron accolades and made him a local hero. His Catch 22 foundation has done does charity work in New Orleans and in his home town Mississippi for years. Just recently it held a golf tournament to raise money for a children's hospital in the city.
But unfortunately , as we all know, football is a business and it can be just as brutal off the field as it is on the field. So it came as no surprise that McAllister, hobbled by multiple knee surgeries, was released after posting just 510 yards in his last two seasons.
Now, its Saints' running back Reggie Bush who's taken on the leadership role during this off-season. New Orleans is left wondering which tailback will step up and fill in the void that McAllister has left behind. The Saints currently have eight backs on their roster- Bush and Pierre Thomas being the most notable. Deuce hasn't ruled out a possible come back to the Saints-however unlikely.
But with a stable of young thoroughbreds it seems clear that the Saints are moving in a totally new direction. So with McAllister searching for a fresh start elsewhere and the Saints young studs jockeying for position the only question seems to be who among them will play with the same kind of passion and heart that McAllister displayed over the last nine years? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Given their obvious professional interests, the food journalists who visited New Orleans last year for the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference must have had a heck of a time balancing the desire to check out local restaurants with the official schedule of seminars.
God's speed, Rodrigue
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