Friday, April 30, 2010

L.A. Times: "Gulf Oil Spill: The Big Easy Takes the News With Shrug"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 9:13 PM

According to the Los Angeles Times, New Orleans -- I mean, the Big Easy -- is taking the destruction of the Louisiana coastline, the wholesale wipeout of marine life, the loss of our fragile marshes, the pollution of the Gulf of Mexico, the possible destruction of the shrimp and oyster beds, the very real prospect of hundreds (if not thousands) of people out of work...

...with a "shrug."

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Because, I suppose, we're the "Big Easy." And all. Home of the gumbo party. And the lazy, lazy media narrative about us is that we know how to throw a Mardi Gras, but we don't give a damn about anything else. The oil company cock-up that is currently poisoning our home happens to be all anyone here can talk about, but that doesn't fit the L.A. Times' media narrative of how New Orleanians are supposed to be, so...laissez les bon temps crappy headline writing, y'all.

And I saw this attitude in the aftermath of Katrina and the federal floods -- we all saw this attitude in the aftermath of Katrina and the federal floods -- and this sense of horror and helplessness we feel does not need to be compounded by someone whose major research seems to be talking to a clerk at the Louisiana Music Factory and concluding that New Orleans is taking this with a "shrug."

We may not have control over the oil company that is ruining our coastline, but we sure as hell don't have to sit still and be insulted by the media.

So, L.A. Times and any other lazy, lazy media outlet: we're not taking this with a "shrug."

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"We still have a long ways to go, and we do not know exactly where we are going."

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 8:57 PM

(Above quote from U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar)

Please read this.

From the above link:

A confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster in the Gulf makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf.

The following is not public," reads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Ops document dated April 28. "Two additional release points were found today. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought.

In scientific circles, an order of magnitude means something is 10 times larger. In this case, an order of magnitude higher would mean the volume of oil coming from the well could be 10 times higher than the 5,000 barrels a day coming out now. That would mean 50,000 barrels a day, or 2.1 million gallons a day. It appears the new leaks mentioned in the Wednesday release are the leaks reported to the public late Wednesday night."

Here's a summary of this afternoon's press conference in Robert, La., outlining the latest efforts to handle the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent leaking.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, who joins St. Bernard Parish president Craig Taffaro and Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser in Venice and other areas following the conference:

  • there's a "second line of defense" along coastal wetlanads to anchor booms in place to "preserve fragile ecosystems"
  • Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries closed Lower Breton Sound at 6 a.m. this morning, and Upper Breton Sound will be closed tonight
  • the state has deployed 40 field biologists and 160 others, while 40 staff members from the Department of Environmental Quality and other perform continuous air sampling at the Kenner and Chalmette monitors.
  • Jindal's office has activated the joint Dept. of Transportation and Social Services in case sheltering is necessary.
  • Department of Corrrections is training inmates in oil cleanup efforts, and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is training National Guard members for cleanup.
  • Department of Health and Hospitals have ordered to close oyterbeds along the east Louisiana coast, including harvesting areas 2-7.
  • BP has employed 10 control teams.
  • When asked if Louisiana will sue BP, Jindal said the focus is to mitigate damage and encourage BP to get assistance from the federal government. There will be time for claims later, he says.

Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, who flew over effected areas before landing at the conference:

  • "BP is the responsible party," and it will be "required to fund the cost of response and clean up operations," as well as "leverage additional assets" to lead the efforts: "It's time for BP to supplement current mobilization as slick oil moves to shore."
  • "We're here to make sure resources are being used wisely and (at the) greatest effect of minimal environmental risk."
  • says President Barack Obama has ordered every available resource be used in the cleanup and containment efforts
  • has "anticipated a plan for worst case scenario since Day One"
  • The spill is of "national significance, this means this is a substantial release of oil or hazardous substances which will require sustained involvement with senior officials across government."

Efforts in progress:

  • chemical dispersants (of which 139,459 gallons have been used so far)
  • 220,00 feet of boom has been deployed at six stations, with hundreds thousands of feet staged and waiting to be deployed.
  • 1,900 personnel deployed
  • 853,000 gallons of oily water collected with 300 vessels and dozens of aircraft
  • Secretary of Defense has approved for two C130 aircraft to dispense oil-dispersing chemicals, and isen route. The aircraft are cable of covering 250 acres per flight, with three flights per day.
  • Navy is ending additional booms and personnel.
  • Napolitano: "We will continue to push BP, while taking steps to ensure protection of shoreline, wildlife and precious lands."

Salazar:

  • "BP has a massive spill for which they are responsible. The oil threatens communites, wildlife and natural resources around the Gulf of Mexico."
  • "Our focus remains, as it has for last the 10 days, is to oversee BP efforts to secure the wellhead and minimize the damage that could come."
  • says he has pressed BP CEOs to work "smarter and faster to get the job done."
  • "We cannot rest, we will not rest, until BP permanently seals the wellhead and cleans up every drop of oil."
  • Has ordered the immediate inspections of all drilling operations in the gulf and to conduct a full and thorough test of operations and blowout safety.
  • Today, Salazar will sign an executive order establishing an Outer Continental Shelf Safety review board to provide recommendations and steps for OCS safety and to "improve overall management."
  • "Those responsible will be held accountable."
  • launched a joint investigation with Homeland Security into cause of explosion

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson:

  • Air sampling began yesterday, water quality testing begins today: www.epa.gov/bpspill
  • Additional air monitoring will look for other contaminants at two mobile labs
  • The smell? "Probably due in part to spill," thanks to a "large sheen, thin layer, increased wave and wind activity," which moves odor instate.

Doug Suttles, BP chief operating officer:

  • "Since this event began April 20, we've only had only 3 priorities: Stop the flow of oil, minimize the impact, and keep the public informed. ... We've utilized every technology available, we've applied every resource requested, we continue to try to stop the source of the flow, we continue to develop new options, both to address the continued flow of ol at the seabed but also to minimize the impact to the environment. We welcome every new idea and every flow of support, both from state and federal government. We had an idea submitted to us 48 hours ago about the subsea dispense of chemicals. That operation will begin in less than two hours (Ed. note: about 5 p.m.). As we speak, members of the Department of Defense are with our team in Houston looking for new ideas. ... Like everyone, we understand and completely agree we need to bring this event to closure as quickly as possible, and we need to address the impact as fully as we can, and BP's resources will be made available to do that."
  • "We don't know what caused this event. The government has an investigation they initiated, we launched our own internal investigation, as well."
  • BP spending $6 million to $7 million a day, and costs will increase as oil gets closer to shore.

From Napolitano:

This well was drilled with expectations if there were explosion and failure, a blowout preventer would close leaking. When that failed, BP took actions designed to take other actions along the riser on the well to close off oil flow. None of those worked. ... We need to move more speedily to protect wetlands, marshes, and the ecosystem here. Federal government stands not just to support BP but to move aggressively to support parishes, residents, affected areas, businesses, fishermen, stores, all who've had livelihoods endangered.  ... We will make sure that response is there, it's strong, coordianted and designed to minimize harm."

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Red’s Sunday JazzFest Pick: Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Above is footage of Trombone Shorty, our beloved Treme-tian, playing the title track from his new CD ‘Backatown’ at the Louisiana Music Factory during their free Jazz Fest in-store concerts happening this week. Universal Records recently signed our boy and his Orleans Avenue Band to his first record deal under a genre he and his bandmates created call ‘SupaFunkRock’, of which I concur. Its really unlike anything else out there, just like his hometown New Orleans.

I couldn’t get thru the throngs to get over and talk to Troy Michael (that’s what his people him and we’re all his people) but I got some side time with his percussionist Dwayne Williams who is also plays bass drum for The Stooges Brass Band. Dwayne, who’s 23 years old, grew up across the street from Troy Michael on Robertson and Dumaine, the epicenter of Where It Goes Down in Treme and has been playing music with him since they were both three years old. Dwayne shared a great story about his childhood days playing in the original ‘Trombone Shorty Brass Band’ which included Troy’s cousin Glen David Andrews, Sammy Cyrus from The Hot 8, and Travis Nelson.

“We used to play for tips in the French Quarter. The cops came and arrested us one day for disturbing the peace... They piled us all in the back of the police car with our instruments and took right over there to that station on Royal St. When our parents came to pick us up, we asked, ‘Where’s our money?’ They said, ‘You didn’t have any money’ and handed us some change, dimes and quarters. But we had around $3,000 and they kept that.”

The little musicians, however, weren’t taking getting played by the NOPD. They protested for three weeks straight, marching from the French Quarter to City Hall. Dwayne laughed, “Sam wore a homemade sign that said ‘We Went To Jail For Playing Music”. Weeks of protesting, court appearances and public pressure led to the passage by the City Council of an ordinance that allows musicians to play music in the French Quarter without threat of being arrested. As of press time, I wasn’t able to confirm the actual ordinance language, but if it’s true - which seems completely plausible to me - we have Trombone Shorty and his people to thank for pioneering more than just SupaFunkRock - they trailblazed the road for musician’s rights in New Orleans. So next time you see Troy Michael, Dwayne anem, make sure you give them their props.

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will be performing at Jazz Fest Sunday from 2-3pm at the Gentilly Stage. This is where you go for that FIRE. And make sure and listen up for my new favorite jam (a lot of ladies’ favorite actually) called ‘Show Me Something Beautiful’.

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Carousel returns for another spin at Jazz Fest

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 6:45 PM

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Chouval Bwa is both the name of this type of hand-cranked carousel and the music performed by a small orchestra of percussion, accordion, flute and kazoo players while it rotates. Chouval bwa means "wooden horse" in Creole French, and the carousels are native to Martinique. This particular carousel was restored in 1996 from the remains of an antique one - some wooden parts were replaced with an aluminum boat hull to make it more portable. The carnival entertainment first appeared at Jazz Fest in 2003. It returns this weekend and is set up on the lawn between the large infield food area and Congo Square.

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The Spill.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 3:56 PM

These are the latest National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) graphs outlining the next two days of the oil slick's projected paths. Click the image for a larger version.

Today (Friday, April 30):

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Tomorrow (Saturday, May 1):

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David Sedaris at the Mahalia Jackson Theater

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 4:46 AM

When humorist David Sedaris came out on the stage of the Mahalia Jackson Theater with just a bottle of water and a notebook April 29, the audience might have been primed for the sort of outrageous family tales that made him a best-selling author and an NPR star. Instead, they got outrageous essays and stories instead, which were no less funny for being fictional. In “Just a Quick Email,” a chipper, passive-aggressive yuppie sends words of encouragement to a much less fortunate friend (“You can either live in the past as a bitter, broken paraplegic, or ...”). Funniest of all were two selections from an forthcoming collection of essays Sedaris described as a bestiary. In one, a suburban Irish setter contemplates his unhappy marriage – his wife is having an affair with the bulldog across the street – and his immense relief when her puppies find new homes (“I don't care what you hear about stepparenting; it is different when they're not yours”).

sedaris
Sedaris also read selections from his diary (a story about getting a haircut in a black women's salon in Memphis was the best), and took questions from the audience, which turned out to be time that could have been better spent on more storytelling – such as his squirm-inducing wait in an endless airport line next to a proper old lady, while in front of them stood a teenage father with a baby under his arm and the words FREAKY MOTHAF***A printed on the back of his T-shirt. (Sedaris' explication of the choices the teenager might have found LESS acceptable for a flight had the audience roaring.) There were a few walkouts when he delivered some mild political material and ruminated on why you never see an unattractive Jesus on a crucifix, but the vast majority of the crowd loved it all and tromped happily to the lobby afterward for a booksigning. (The reading was part of the inaugural season of the New Orleans Speakers' Series, which concludes May 20 with an appearance by Garrison Keillor.)

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Post-Fest: Week Two

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 3:46 PM

It's the second and final week. The four-day stretch. The long weekend. The polarizing sigh of relief from pessimistic locals or the last gas before a slow summer. Don't get too bored:

Tonight (Thursday):

Michael Patrick Welch throws a release party for his YA! Young Audiences Raps! (read about it in Gambit) at Mimi's in the Marigny (6 p.m.); Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with Dr. Gonzeaux are at Blue Nile (10 p.m.), a smoke-free session from Let's Be Totally Clear; Galactic does One Eyed Jacks (10 p.m.); Silent Cinema and Steve Eck are at Saturn Bar (10 p.m.); White Hinterland and A Living Soundtrack are at Circle Bar (10 p.m.); Cyril Neville is at Tipitina's French Quarter (10 p.m.); Caddywhompus does a "super surprise secret sexy" Jurassic Party at The Maison; and Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers do the regular Vaughn's duty (8:30 p.m.).

Friday:
Just steps from the grounds at Domino Sound Record Shack, there's a free show from Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? (7 p.m.); at Blue Nile, there's Big Sam's Funky Nation (10 p.m.) and Soulive (2 a.m.); the ridiculous lineup for the eighth annual Bayou Rendezvous hits the stage at Howlin' Wolf (10 p.m.); Tab Benoit is at Tip's in the Quarter (10 p.m.); and inside the Punk Tent at Saturn Bar, there are M.O.T.O, Bloodbomber, Die Rotzz and the Dives (10 p.m.)

Saturday:

Ballzack and Odoms (with guest Lil' Doogie) host an evening at Circle Bar (10 p.m.); Galactic, funky Meters and Rebirth Brass Band are at Howlin' Wolf (10 p.m.); Elvis Perkins in Dearland with MyNameIsJohnMichael are at One Eyed Jacks (10 p.m.) followed be a late show with Dr. Claw (2 a.m.); alt-folk songstress Ani DiFranco is at Tipitina's (9 p.m.), followed by a late show with Trombone Shorty (2 a.m.), who is releasing his new album; and Toots & the Maytals (8:30 p.m.) followed by Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears with Big Sam (10 p.m.) do the House of Blues.

Sunday:

The annual NOizeFest runs from noon to 10 p.m. at 609 Lesseps St.; Maddie Ruthless and Fatter Than Albert host a punky reggae party at Nowe Miasto (7 p.m.); Pinettes Brass Band plays a free show at Domino Sound (7 p.m.); Soulive is with George Porter Jr. & His Runnin' Pardners and Zigaboo's Funk Revue at Howlin' Wolf (10 p.m.); Eric Lindell debuts his new album at One Eyed Jacks (10 p.m.); Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk with Art Neville headlines Tip's (10 p.m.); and the Blow It Out Your Brass showcase features Rebirth, Soul Rebels and Hot 8 brass bands with DJ Captain Charles on the wheels at House of Blues (9 p.m.).

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quintron & Miss Pussycat listening party

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 6:24 PM

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During the exhibition of Miss Panacea's puppets and videos and Quintron's Drum Buddy, Quintron has punched a clock and been in residence at the New Orleans Museum of Art recording his forthcoming album Parallel Universe (all previewed in Gambit here). For the past week, Quintron has haunted City Park around the clock, collecting ambient sounds for the album. The listening party for the project is tonight at NOMA. A specially curated listening part (blindfolds recommended) begins at 6 p.m. in Stern Auditorium. A party featuring the album follows in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden (7 p.m.-10 p.m.). The exhibition runs through Sunday, May 2. The album will be released in the fall.

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Walk This Way

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Award-winning urban studies journalist and author Roberta Gratz presides over the second annual Jane Jacobs lecture, "The Battle for New Orleans" 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, April 29 at the Louisiana Humanities Center (938 Lafayette St.). The lecture precedes the weekend's annual Jane's Walks, informal neighborhood tours throughout New Orleans.

Gratz discusses the ideas of Robert Moses and Jacobs, two polarizing figures whose ideas of city development are still considered throughout world cities. Moses argued for top-down infrastructure and publicly financed projects — a pioneer of federally funded highways, and whose ideas rubbed New Orleans planners to develop freeway access in the city (Uptown and in the French Quarter), but ultimately constructing the overpass now dividing Treme. Jacobs, an pioneered self-organized, human-scale projects in organic environments that focused on building neighborhoods by the people who thrive in them.

Post-Katrina development in New Orleans looks to these two giants for an idea: Does the city build big, or go neighborhood-driven small?

On Saturday morning, the New Orleans 2010 Jane's Walks begin. The tours are led by people who live, work or play in them. Personal stories or histories are shared and are meant to open a dialogue with the participants, their environment and peers. The walks began in Toronto in 2007 and have expanded across the United States and Canada. The New Orleans walks include Algiers, Bayou Road, Broadmoor, Canal Street, Freret Street, the Irish Channel, the Lakefront, the Lower 9th Ward and Oak Street.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Scenes from the Big Easy Awards

Posted By on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 9:26 PM

Gambit presented the 22nd annual Big Easy Awards on Apr. 19 at a party at the Sugar Mill. The awards, which are given out for excellence in local theater and music, drew a crowd of several hundred for dinner, drinks and performances. Proceeds from the event support Big Easy Foundation grants in performing arts education and development.

Performers, nominees and presenters included Harry Shearer, Bryan Batt and John Goodman, as well as a slew of New Orleans musicians from Troy Andrews (Entertainer of the Year) to Kermit Ruffins, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Germaine Bazzle, the McDonogh 35 High School Choir and DJ Soul Sister. One of the evening's highlights was a collaboration between DJ Jubilee and the Imagination Movers.

The complete list of winners is in this week's paper, as well as online -- and check out the video as well:

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