Every Sunday in my fair hamlet, children from oer the land come to play in the ramshakle streets of the town square and make a parade. Secret societies host these bacchanals where musical troupes perform and colorful characters dance in a herb-fueled, Hennessey- saturated fairytale dreamscape.
Below are scenes from the reverie, brought to you by the Province of Only In New Orleans. CAUTION: if you dont reside here, you may experience episodes in which you wake up at night, run to your window with your laptop streaming parade clips and scream at your town: "BE MORE LIKE THIS!"
One-arm Kev. This dude does more before 6am with one arm than I do all day.
@ 4 minute mark: PETA has these fur coat wearing sistas on their Do Not Disturb list.
FOUND: Bin Laden! Hiding (not really) in Bagdad, Louisiana
Lil Lion buckjump.
Theres also group calisthenics for burning off those three hot sausage sandwiches you bought off the back of the mans truck. And for the advanced level workout, see the 2:30 mark for New Orleans-style pole dancing.
Second line downtown today. Come live the fantasy. Route and times here.
Heading north last night, I saw a white tent off Highway 190, the sort of impromptu shelter erected to sell Louisiana produce in season or, more often, fireworks. As I passed, I saw it was neither: a sign at the edge of the highway just read "Saints."
A couple more miles, and there was a large truck with textiles in the back and another sign: "Saints."
And then, there it was: "Saints SuperStore," with a fleur de lis and a font that didn't bear any relation to the NFL. It was a temporary banner hung over the entrance to a now-defunct car dealership. Inside was all fluorescent lights and tables of merch. I pulled over.
Outside, the building was ringed with yellow Saints caution tape (a licensed NFL product? I hadn't seen it before). Inside was the usual Saints-abilia one might see at a licensed Black and Gold store, along with some sketchier merchandise reminiscent of a roadside swap meet in Florida or Mississippi. Up front were some mighty authentic-looking jerseys ($60), along with the official NFC championship T-shirts with the little hologram tag meant to assure buyers that they were getting authentic NFL merchandise. (But if someone could counterfeit a shirt, why couldn't they counterfeit a tag as well?) In the back of the old dealership, the salesmen's little offices had been converted into makeshift dressing rooms.
The proprietors of the Saints SuperStore were nice, but they didn't want photos. Too bad, because I really wanted to snap photos of all the tables with WHO DAT? DREW DAT! hoodies, black skimpy ladies' tops with fleur de lis in gold bling, and all sorts of shirts, jackets, and outerwear with the word SAINTS on them. Among the items of more dubious provenance: a $40 Saints toilet seat and a repro silkscreened shirt of The Times-Picayune "Super Saints!" cover that looked rather...smudgy. (Ashton Phelps, you may want your lawyers to look into this.) And, more than anything else, WHO DAT everywhere. On everything.
"Get it while you can," the woman behind the counter warned me. "If you see a design you like, it may not be here in a couple of days."
What was their best seller?
"T-shirts. Jerseys. Beads. Wind socks. Hoodies," she said blithely, going on to name just about every item in the store. (The fleur de lis beads were $10 a string: French Quarter prices.)
I left without buying anything, but I seemed to be the only one; plenty of shoppers were picking up Saints souvenirs. Was any of it legal? Who knows. I'm no expert in copyright law, and the NFL made that clear this week when they told us all we didn't have any claim to a phrase that predated professional football.
But I wondered if the league's bigfoot-bully approach to small-time New Orleans merchants made shoppers feel a little bit more justified in buying Saints merchandise that clearly wasn't being merchandised by the Saints. If so, it was working out marvelously for the "Saints SuperStore," operating out of a defunct car dealership on a highway out of the city.
10TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARADE SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 2010 NOON
When it comes 2 da best... we're still on TOP!
Start: Toni-B and Toot House, 1521 Forstall and N. Claiborne. Out Forstall to St. Claude. Right on St. Claude to Cross the Canal
Stop: Toddler's University,, 4121 St. Claude Ave. Up St. Claude.
Stop: Good Fellas, Desire and St. Claude. Continue up St. Claude.
Stop: Sporty Barbershop, 2435 St. Claude Ave. Out St. Claude Ave. to Elysian Fields Ave. Right on Elysian Fields.
Stop: Sports Vue, 1701 Elysian Fields. Proceed down Elysian Fields to N. Miro. Left on N. Miro to Aubry St.
Stop: Seal's Class Act, 2169 Aubry. Take a left onto St. Bernard Ave.
Disband: The Other Place, 1224 St. Bernard Avenue.
2010 Queen Mae-Mae
2010 King Micie
Photograph by Jonathan Bachman
After coming back from a 15-point third quarter deficit and having the lead with less than 10 seconds left in the game, the Hornets seemed poised to ride their home-court magic to another improbable victory. Then one bad David West pass and one bad Darren Collison turnover spelled doom for Bees as they fell 108-106 in overtime to the resurgent Chicago Bulls.
"That one's on me," the rookie Collison said after his turnover sealed the Hornets fate tonight. "I let my team down. Definitely going to lose sleep on that play."
Granted, Collison's turnover came at the worst possible time and prevented the Hornets from even attempting a game-tying shot, but there were many other factors that contributed to this loss. For one, the Hornets could have called a timeout before Collison dribbled wildly into the opposing defense. Secondly, New Orleans could have come out of the halftime break a little stronger than they did before giving up a 15-point lead. Most importantly, the Hornets would've won if they weren't so sloppy.
"We weren't real sharp in the first three quarters," head coach Jeff Bower said.
If there's any positive to take from this game is that the Hornets shot just 39.4% the entire game and were outscored 60-36 in the paint, yet still only lost by two points. This on a night where the Hornets PA system did everything it its power to channel the Saints' good vibes by playing the Ying Yang Twins' "Get Crunked" and showing black and gold-clad fans as often as possible in the fourth quarter.
"We gave ourselves an opportunity to win," Chris Paul said. "We made a few mistakes there at the end."
No, the Hornets are most definitely not the Saints right now and, yes, they have a long way to go to before becoming a team that can be relied on to consistently win these types of games. But what have the Hornets done to have their fans expect anything else this season? At 25-21, New Orleans is just good enough to compete for the eighth and final playoff seed in the West. Against a 23-22 Bulls team doing just the same in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets came up short. The question is whether this is a reflection of the Hornets season as a whole, or just a bump in the road on this teams' road to finding itself in the winner's circle.
New Orleans mayoral candidates Rob Couhig, John Georges, Mitch Landrieu and James Perry have endorsed NOLA Recycles 2010's six-point plan for curbside recycling services and waste management. District A council candidate Susan A. Guidry also endorsed the platform.
Super Bowl commercials are all about celebrating the things that we, as a nation, unanimously like: beer, dancing animals, cars and half-naked women. Not wanting to get anyone riled up during this completely non-polarizing, non-aggressive television event, CBS has typically avoided airing commercials with heavy-handed political themes. By that standard, this 2004 ad from the United Church of Christ was deemed inappropriate:
Fair enough? Fast forward to this year, when CBS has green-lit Focus on the Family's anti-abortion commercial featuring Tim Tebow. So, a commercial about inclusive worship environments is nixed because it contains ''implicit' endorsement for a side in a public debate," (per CBS policy) but the FOTF spot is OK?
Every election presents a unique opportunity for citizens to give themselves and their community a gut check and to change direction when needed. In the Feb. 6 citywide primary, New Orleans voters already know our city needs a drastic change in direction. More than four years after Hurricane Katrina, city government is dysfunctional, our citys brand is synonymous with crime, the current mayor callously and selfishly widens rather than heals a longstanding racial divide, the local economy continues to decline and the recovery citizens have been hoping for still needs a jump start. Now more than ever, New Orleans needs a mayor who gets it at every level and who can move our city forward on many fronts at once. One candidate stands out as that kind of leader: Mitch Landrieu.
A recent WWL-TV survey of New Orleans voters underscored just how dysfunctional City Hall has become. When asked to rate the importance of various issues on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being of the greatest importance, voters rated every major issue above 9 an unprecedented sign that voters see nothing going right in city government. Those issues included crime, public corruption, putting the citys interests above personal political ambitions, economic development and jobs, public education, better management of city departments and uniting the races to solve problems. The next mayor must tackle all of these issues at once, and Landrieu more than any other candidate has the skills, the competence and the experience to do that. As he declared in his announcement, he knows what to do and how to do it.
Some of Landrieus opponents cast him as a career politician because of his 22 years in public service. In our view, career politician is a plus if a public servant is honest and good at his job. Look at it this way: If you needed emergency medical care, youd want a career doctor not a businessman who promises to run the ER like a business. After nearly eight years of Ray Nagin, New Orleans desperately needs a mayor who knows how to triage our citys unmet needs and understands politics at the local, state and national levels. Mitch Landrieu will be that mayor.
Speaking of the current mayor, New Orleans also needs to rebrand itself to the world. We need a mayor who embodies and represents all thats good about our city. In Mitch Landrieu, well have such a mayor one of whom we can all be proud when he travels to Baton Rouge, Washington, Wall Street or abroad; a mayor with little patience for underachievers or laggards; and a mayor who, should another hurricane threaten New Orleans, will inspire confidence and calm rather than doubt and fear.
If theres one thing holding New Orleans back, its our lack of racial unity on matters other than Saints football. Going forward, we need a mayor all New Orleanians can trust. Mitch Landrieu is trained in conflict resolution, mediation and arbitration all skills New Orleans sorely needs in a leader and his entire public career reflects a commitment to inclusiveness and coalition building. He has consistently polled strongly in the black community because he has proven, not just promised, that he is sensitive to the concerns of all New Orleanians.
Its not too late for New Orleans to gain traction in the post-Katrina recovery. In fact, economic development and recovery go hand in hand if we have a mayor who inspires confidence among business leaders, has good contacts at the state and federal levels and has the focus and discipline to see the job through. As lieutenant governor, Mitch Landrieu has excelled at leading the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism by harnessing Louisianas cultural economy and by continuing to function at a high level in the face of drastic budget cuts.
We recognize that some still object to another Landrieu in office, which is about as sensible as objecting to another Manning in football, another Marsalis in music or another Brennan opening a restaurant. When you know what to do and how to do it, your last name shouldnt matter. Mitch Landrieu offers what the city needs right now.
We urge our New Orleans readers to elect Mitch Landrieu mayor this Saturday.
This Saturdays ballot includes many important offices in addition to that of mayor. If New Orleans is to move forward in the next four years, its important for voters to elect a team of leaders who will work well together. Above all, we urge all our New Orleans readers who have not already voted to cast their ballots on Saturday, Feb. 6. Meanwhile, we offer the following recommendations.
City Council at-Large (Vote for Two)
Nolan Marshall III
The field of candidates seeking the two at large council seats is large and well qualified so much so that we recommend more than two candidates. There is much to like about incumbents Arnie Fielkow and Jackie Clarkson, and just as much to admire in civic leader Nolan Marshall III.
Fielkow was elected four years ago after a distinguished career in the private sector. He is best known for his tenure with the New Orleans Saints and for his devotion to the city and the team after Hurricane Katrina. Since his election in 2006, Fielkow has shown an ability to unite and to lead, particularly during strenuous times. He has championed the cause of openness and transparency in the award of contracts, and he helped establish and fund the Office of Inspector General.
Clarkson has long championed arts and culture as well as reform. She took the lead in establishing the Federal City, which is anchoring the militarys vital presence in New Orleans. She also authored a pair of key City Charter amendments one to fund the Office of Inspector General, and one to give the new master plan the force of law. Equally important, her career as a Realtor gives her added credibility as the city moves to refurbish large assets and possibly relocate or redevelop City Hall.
Marshall has an impressive resume for someone only 30 years old. He is the associate director of Common Good, a nonprofit that works across racial, religious and other lines to develop consensus for rebuilding New Orleans. He also served as president of the Young Leadership Council, helped establish the New Orleans Crime Coalition, serves as board president of Einstein Charter School and has served on many civic, professional and business boards. As New Orleans looks to the future, Marshall represents a new generation of leadership that is ready to serve.
Council District A
Attorney Susan Guidry is a neighborhood leader who responded to the post-Katrina crisis by getting involved and making a difference. She has served as president of the Parkview Neighborhood Association and as a member of the District 5 Planning Committee (which helped write the citys recovery plan). As a neighborhood leader, she fought to shut down a nuisance bar and helped re-open a fire station. An experienced trial attorney, she knows how to fight and when to compromise. These skills will serve District A well on the council.
Council District B
Heads style can be combative, but few question her motives or her integrity. She is smart, focused and driven to make New Orleans government more efficient and more accountable. Even in the face of controversy and confrontation, Head does not waver and she has earned a strong base of support among black voters in this majority-African-American district by continuing to advocate for their needs while some played the race card against her. We look forward to seeing Head work with a competent and honest administration.
Council District C
Kristin Gisleson Palmer
Four years ago, we endorsed Palmer for this seat, and we do so again this year. Since 2006, Palmer has served as executive director of Rebuilding Together, one of the most successful programs of the Preservation Resource Center and a model for post-disaster redevelopment using green principles and techniques. Her efforts have helped more than 400 families return home post-Katrina. She also created Confetti Kids, a nonprofit that renovates parks and playgrounds in Algiers Point. She is a dynamo who will be an excellent addition to the council.
Council District D
Incumbent Hedge-Morrell, who chairs the councils Budget Committee, has been a force for fiscal sanity on the council and an effective counterweight to some of Mayor Ray Nagins budgetary excesses. She also has championed recovery efforts across her district, most of which flooded during Hurricane Katrina. As the council gains new voices, her experience and steadiness will make her a natural leader among the district council members.
Council District E
Badon leads a crowded field to represent the citys largest district in terms of landmass. District E also was the hardest hit by Katrina. As a state legislator from eastern New Orleans, he chairs the House Education Committee and authored key education reform bills. He also authored legislation consolidating the citys seven assessors offices into one. His experience as a lawmaker proves that he stands tall against political odds on behalf of reform. He will be a welcome addition to the council.
Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman has the education, experience and toughness needed in New Orleans only sheriff. A lawyer with an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, Gusman has worked hard to improve conditions and functions at the citys jail. He will work just as hard to combine his current office with that of the civil sheriff. He has served with distinction on the City Council and as a top administrator under two mayors. His knowledge of local government uniquely qualifies him for this job, which interfaces with all elements of the justice system.
Clerk, Criminal Court
Incumbent Morrell has done a good job of cleaning up a mess he inherited from his predecessor. He continues to advocate for more resources to handle the paperwork and evidence that drives the efficiency of Criminal District Court. He also serves as the chief elections officer for Orleans Parish, a task he has performed well. He has earned another term.
Dr. Frank Minyard
Minyard has served as the citys coroner since 1974 and leads an effort to modernize the office. His opponent, a former school board member who has run for this and other offices in recent years, served time in jail for tax evasion in the early 1990s. The coroners office is too important to politicize. Dr. Minyard deserves one more term to finish the task of upgrading the coroners facilities.
State Senate, District 5
Karen Carter Peterson
Peterson is one of the leaders of a young but talented New Orleans legislative delegation. She serves as House speaker pro tem, which shows the esteem in which her colleagues hold her. In the House, Peterson has led the fight for education reform and against drastic cuts to higher education and health care. As a senator, she will continue to represent her district and her city effectively.
Assessor and Judge
?Gambit has long taken the position that judges and assessors should be appointed, not elected. We therefore make no endorsements in the races for citywide assessor and for judgeships at Juvenile Court and Civil District Court.
The Washington Post previews remarks made by Education Secretary Arne Duncan while taping an interview for Washington Watch with Roland Martin, set to air Sunday and Monday on the cable news channel TV One.
Here's one excerpt:
"It's a fascinating one. I spent a lot of time in New Orleans, and this is a tough thing to say, but let me be really honest. I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster, and it took Hurricane Katrina to wake up the community to say that 'We have to do better.' And the progress that they've made in four years since the hurricane is unbelievable. They have a chance to create a phenomenal school district. Long way to go, but that -- that city was not serious about its education. ..."
James O'Keefe, who was charged along with three others with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony, has issued a statement saying "no one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieus office. Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines. Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false."
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