Friday, October 30, 2009

This weekend is going to be very interesting...

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 8:51 PM


There's going to be pictures and stories and maybe some sound (alas, not live music. But you can get that right here). Theere's going to be stories about pictures of people taking pictures and maybe some audio of people talking along with their picture.


We got in a little late and the crowd is slowly seeping in. You can forget quickly that it's still early on Friday and we got a long way to go. The bands are rocking and you can't ask for anything more. Rain has been a blessing, misting the crowds and cooling people down for a few minutes at a time.


Being up close and personal in the photo pit is fun but we'll leave the awesome photography to the professionals. This will be just one account of this weekend, let's hope it all goes OK. Commence freaking.



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Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 5:56 PM



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Another candidate for District A

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Another candidate is testing the waters for the New Orleans City Council seat representing District A, which is being vacated by Councilmember Shelley Midura. Virginia Blanque, a businessowner, former vice president of the Mid-City Neighborhood Association and former director of constituent services for Councilman Arnie Fielkow, held a small get-together Oct. 29 at the Mid-City home of real estate agent Tracy Talbot to meet neighbors and answer questions about her plans.

The only other announced candidate for the District A seat is businessman and developer Jay Batt, who is, like Blanque, a Republican. Batt, who lost to Midura in a close election in 2006, has already announced his intention to run again, holding a women-focused cocktail party Uptown in September for what were termed the “Batt Girls,” as well as a more recent event featuring his brother, actor Bryan Batt. At the official announcement of his candidacy in September, Batt was supported by several other GOP former councilmembers, including Scott Shea, Bryan Wagner and Suzanne Haik Terrell. The seat was a GOP stronghold on the council for 26 years before Midura’s election. To date, no Democrats have entered the race for the district, which encompasses a diverse slice of the city, including parts of Mid-City, Uptown, Carrollton, Lakeview and Gentilly.

Blanque clearly wants to appeal to Democrats and centrist Republicans who found Batt unpalatable in the last election. “I want to build a bipartisan coalition,” she told the Mid-City group, saying her priorities are civic fiscal responsibility, stronger action on blighted properties and an intense focus on constituent services. Blanque says she intends to make a formal announcement of candidacy Nov. 15 at Palmer Park. Qualifying for the seat closes the week of Dec. 9, and the primary will be held Feb. 6.

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Fundraiser for Kids with Heart Defects

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 3:21 PM

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With that extra hour of sleep fortifying you and no Saints game, Sunday afternoon presents an opportunity for you to support a worthy cause, hear some music and grab a little food and drink. The Jack of Hearts Foundation presents its second annual fundraiser at Rock N Bowl (3000 South Carrollton Ave) from 4 p.m.- 7 p.m.  featuring music by the Creole String Bean Band and Motown cover group The ELS Band, bowling,silent auction, children's entertainment, food and drinks. For more information about the event, please visit the foundation' Web site.

Proceeds from this event will go towards research into hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect that is fatal without surgical intervention. The following is an interview from our upcoming issue's Health + Wellness section, and is with Tracey Bryan, founder of the Jack of Hearts Foundation and mother of three-year-old Jack Bryan (pictured), who has the syndrome.
Often the best advocates for increasing public awareness for particular disease are those directly affected by the ailment. Tracey Bryan became one of these people in her fourth month of a pregnancy when she was told her unborn son had a life-threatening heart defect, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). Bryan faced a mortal decision, either terminate the pregnancy or deliver a baby needing immediate surgical attention. She chose the latter, and because Children’s Hospital Boston specialized in the surgery that her son needed, she temporarily moved there.

Today, after three surgeries and hundreds of hours of therapy, her son, Jack, is a happy, spunky three-year old, but his battle is far from over. Just 20 years ago, babies born with HLHS would not survive more than a month, so there is no way of predicting how long Jack’s surgical correction will last. As she’s already demonstrated, Bryan takes adversity head on, and she and her husband, Steve, have founded Jack of Hearts Foundation, which they hope will bring attention to HLHS and raise money for research into the condition.
What is Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome?

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Bistro at Maison de Ville is Back

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 8:36 PM

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A fire that ripped through the Tropical Isle bar at the corner of Bourbon and Toulouse streets in May damaged more than the French Quarter nightclub. The blaze also forced the closure of the bar's neighbor, the Bistro at Maison de Ville. But more than five months later the restaurant has reopened.

Chef co-owner Greg Picolo called today with the news even as a few last minute cosmetic touches were being completed around him in the restaurant.

"They're still painting the bathroom right now, but I've had enough of delays and putting things off, so we're open as of today," he said.

Picolo says smoke from the Tropical Isle fire did most of the damage to the Bistro. Among other things, the blaze next door consumed hundreds of cases of tall green cups kept in storage for the Tropical Isle's patented Hand Grenade cocktail, releasing plastic fumes. Rehabilitating everything at the Bistro from air conditioning ducts to the artwork after that exposure was a huge undertaking.

Today's reopening marks the third time Picolo has revived the Bistro, a tiny place that has made a disproportionately large impact on the New Orleans dining scene since first opening in 1986.

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Clarkson nixes assessor rumor

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 6:18 PM


A spokesperson for City Council member at-large Jackie Clarkson today denied widespread rumors that she may roll her record of real estate experience into a race for the city’s new single assessor seat in 2010.

“Not true – we have heard that same rumor,” said Jacquelyn Cole, communications director for Clarkson's council office, adding: "She would go home before she ran for assessor. Jackie really likes being a legislator.”

Clarkson, 74, is running for one of two at-large seats on the seven-member council, all of which are four-year terms. “She plans on this being her last term," Cole says.

Clarkson was first elected as District C council member in 1990. In 1994, she was elected state representative serving House District 102 until she won her old council seat in 2002. She lost a May 2006 runoff for a council-at-large to Arnie Fielkow. However, fellow at-large Councilman Oliver Thomas resigned his following year, after pleading guilty to a federal bribery charge. Clarkson won a special election Nov. 17, 2007 to fill Thomas' unexpired term.

Qualifying is Dec. 9-11 for all council seats. The primary will be Feb. 6, and any runoffs will be March 6.

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Adieu, Gov. Treen

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Former Gov. Dave Treen, Louisiana’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction and one of the few true gentlemen in Louisiana politics, has died at the age of 81.

Treen was an ardent, lifelong conservative who nonetheless appointed more African-Americans to state offices than any other governor in history during his single term as Louisiana’s chief executive (1980-84). He often ranked that among his proudest moments as governor.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

From one city under sea level to another...

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Defend NOLA in Amsterdam


New Orleans is as big a bicycle city as they come in the United States. Thanks to it being almost completely flat, you can make it from A to B anywhere in the city on a bike in about 20 minutes. But New Orleans ain't got NOTHING on Amsterdam. They have dedicated bike lanes throughout the city as well as lights for bikers. For each resident, there's an equal number of bikes.


Funny, then, that out of the million-plus bikes I came across in my three days there, the one above was one of them. I dunno, maybe it's because 60% of the Netherlands is under sea level and they can relate. Maybe it's because if you trade coffeeshops for jazz pubs, the two cities are almost identical (cept for the whole Nordic thing, which the women there pull off exceedingly well and is all but non-existent down here). Regardless, it was nice to see a slice of home while abroad.


Oh, and then there was this bike, which defies all explanation (count the number of seats):


Family bike

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Krewe du Vieux 2010 theme announced

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 4:11 PM

We know you're all caught up in Halloween and the Voodoo Music Experience, but Mardi Gras looms in the distance, and the always-satirical, always-raunchy, always-thinking-ahead Krewe du Vieux has determined its king, queen, and theme.

This year's king: Dr. John.

This year's queen: Mother Miriam Chamani of the Voodoo Spiritual Temple on N. Rampart St.

This year's theme: All Fired Up (in reference to the fire that took out much of the krewe's den on Aug. 4).

KdV rolls on Jan. 30, 2010. It's not too early to ink it on your calendar ... and arrange for a babysitter. (And, given the crowds last year, a parking space.)

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pogues Q&A

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 9:51 PM

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Pogues' publicist when I requested a chat with the venerable Irish/English band's famously capricious frontman. Lucky for Gambit's Voodoo coverage, guitarist Philip Chevron does do interviews, and he does them uncommonly well. Over 40 enlivened minutes, the sharp-witted and equally sharp-tongued Dubliner detailed his 25 years (give or take a few breaks) on tour with the inveterate boozers. What was worse, babysitting the orbital MacGowan or battling advanced throat cancer and chemotherapy? Read on.

It was a pleasant surprise to see your name added to the Voodoo lineup.

It’s been a long time since we played in New Orleans, so we’re very much looking forward to it. We played in Tipitina’s a couple times, must have been 1988, ’89. We made two or three visits to New Orleans, the Grace of God tour or just after. I love New Orleans. I was there earlier this year as a private citizen, as it were. I was actually checking out the Treme district, because a friend of ours, David Simon, was making his new HBO thing down there. We know him and George Pelecanos. They used “Body of an American” and a few other things in The Wire. One thing led to another, and we kind of hooked up and discovered we were mutual fans. Myself and Spider in particular were early adopters of The Wire.

I just wrote a story about the filming of the pilot. The team of writers he assembled is incredible: Pelecanos, Tom Piazza, Lolis Eric Elie.

I bought Faubourg Treme to have a look at it. And I was fascinated! That tells the story we really don’t know, that New Orleans existed almost as a parallel entity, really, even during the Jim Crow days. It’s a really good film, that. The way they got those narratives from people, and stuck with the same people throughout, was really brilliant. My response when I saw it was absolutely the same as David: I’ve got to find out more about this. This is too good a story not to know.

We’re so used to being portrayed in caricature. Simon’s approach should be quite a change.

I’m fascinated by the city, always have been. I’m fascinated by how it kind of exists likely at an angle from America. Of course the whole business of Katrina revealed so much of what mainstream America, Main Street America, felt about New Orleans. It really did have a quite extraordinary effect outside of America, because it was a bit like looking at pictures of Calcutta. It was hard to believe that there was a Rhird World country within the United States. I’m very much aware that the political ramifications and fallout of Katrina are still not sorted, and nowhere near resolved. I think that’s a huge shame. But it’s the same old story. The vultures will descend and try to turn New Orleans into a theme park version of itself, if they can. People have continued to fight it. But if anyone can fight it, New Orleans can fight it, because it’s had such an independent history in the past. I’ve always been fascinated by the mixture of elements, in a way. It was in part a great Irish immigrant city and port, and had its own part to tell in that story. So, a fascinating place. I can’t wait to get back.

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