It’s a good time to ditch work and start the Independence Day weekend early by attending the third annual Chris Paul Foundation Golf Classic at English Turn Country Club on Friday, July 1. You can watch lots of sports stars swing their clubs — and the proceeds go to a good cause. Registration is 8:30 a.m., tee time is 10 a.m. and the awards ceremony starts at 3 p.m.
Hornets star point guard Chris Paul, a four-time NBA All-Star and 2008 Olympic gold medalist, sponsors the golf tournament as a fundraiser for Paul’s CP3 Foundation, which provides scholarships, food and other essentials to underserved communities in New Orleans and Winston-Salem, N.C. The foundation also manages the CP3 Afterschool Zone in New Orleans, an afterschool program that provides activities for children in Central City and promotes physical fitness for young people.
Super Bowl MVPs Peyton and Eli Manning will be among NFL and college quarterbacks who will perform a skills demonstration Saturday, July 9, at the annual Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State University’s John L. Guidry Stadium (Nicholls State University, 906 E. First St., Thibodaux).
The four-day camp for high school football players runs from July 7 to July 10 and attracts more than 1,000 high school quarterbacks and receivers from across the U.S. The Air It Out exhibition is part of the camp. That event starts at 6 p.m. July 9, and admission is $5 per person. For tickets, call (985) 448-4792. Proceeds benefit the Nicholls Department of Athletics.
What better way is there to make a huge paycheck than fishing? String up your lures or live bait, jump in a boat and cast your way to $250,000 in cash. That’s the first prize in the Geaux Fish contest sponsored by the Louisiana Charter Boat Association and BP's Gulf Coast Restoration Organization.
The contest runs from Saturday, July 2, to Sept. 5, but you must register online at www.GeauxFish2011.com, and have a valid fishing license to be eligible for prizes. All you have to do is catch one of the 50 speckled trout the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has tagged and released in waters from Lake Calcasieu to Breton Sound, including one tagged as the grand prize winner. A fisher who catches that first-prize trout while fishing with a registered Louisiana charter boat captain can increase those winnings by up to 10 percent — making the Cynoscion nebulosus worth as much as $275,000.
There are five other specially tagged trout in the Geaux Fish contest that yield prizes including a 2011 Ford F-150 Supercab pickup truck, a 2011 Blazer Bay 2170 boat and trailer, and three cash prizes of $5,000 each. The remaining 44 tagged fish bring cash and other prizes worth a total of more than $22,000.
You can find a list of licensed and insured charter boat captains here.
It’s supposed to be a surprise, but surprises are overrated when you miss them, so here’s the spoiler: My Black is Beautiful TV series is staging a Flash Mob performance at 6 p.m. today (Thursday, June 30) at New Orleans Musical Legends Park (311 Bourbon St.)
The performance kicks off the Essence Music Festival weekend. My Black is Beautiful is a title sponsor of the festival.
Like a lot of New Orleans transplants, actress
You're from Los Angeles. What made you decide to move from that market to Louisiana?
Three and a half years ago, I fell in love with the city and discovered I could have purpose helping to rebuild and also growing as an actress, because it seemed like a tremendously growing market. I booked The Ledge here - the director told me the role was not supposed to go to a Louisiana actress, but I stole it. With training in this market, we have the ability to capture those kinds of roles. I think producers are starting to recognize the talent that is here.
What is The Ledge about?
It's about love, choices and betrayal, and it stars Liv Tyler and Patrick Wilson. Each character is making these choices to talk this (suicidal) character off a ledge. I play the wife of Terrence Howard.
How does it improve your craft when you work alongside such talented actors?
You have to be ready for Terrence, because he is going to bring it. The audition process was grueling because I had to dig so deep for that role. But working with the director and Terrence was phenomenal. To work opposite actors like him and Morgan Freeman (in Red) is something I'll carry forever. I found them to be so humble in spite of all their credits and accomplishments. Morgan Freeman gave me the same performance he would have given Halle Berry, even when the camera was on me for my close-ups. You learn from their humility.
You started an acting studio, which you later sold, as well as a talent agency. What do you hope to teach local actors?
I would like my students to learn respect and discipline for the craft. A lot of people come in and have been extras, and they have no understanding of the craft. It isn't until they see how long the journey has been for some of us that they sit back and say, 'OK, I'm ready to learn.' And I tell all my students, 'If you don't share it, if you don't mentor, you can't keep what you don't give away.' We all have to be team players. We go out and audition and rehearse together, and it feels like a good team energy.
Sounds like a lot to take on - an acting career, running an acting studio and starting a talent agency.
I have taken a lot of chances here, opening an acting studio without understanding the market. I sold it and created the talent agency, then sold that a year later because I knew I didn't want to be an agent. I was just creating an opportunity for all of us. A mogul wears a lot of hats. She creates businesses and makes opportunities for people to have jobs.
What does the future hold for you, and what are your hopes for the Louisiana film industry?
I am so excited about this market. It changed my life. I went from being a shallow and self-absorbed LA actress, running around not really appreciating people. It's just a different lifestyle in LA. I have never worked as hard in my life as I did here. What I am doing is creating an entertainment wheel that started with the acting studio. We are finding the talent and the resources so we can build the field together. There is no telling where Louisiana is going to be in a couple more years.
Here's the preview for The Ledge. (Check out the great shots of Louisiana's Old State Capitol in the first few seconds.)
Algiers residents concerned about crime in their neighborhoods can attend a crime forum and town hall meeting tonight (Thursday, June 30) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Delgado Community College’s Westbank Campus (2600 Gen. Meyer Ave., Building 1).
The meeting is sponsored by City Councilwoman Kristin Giselson Palmer, the Algiers Neighborhood Presidents Council, the Algiers Economic Development Foundation and Delgado. New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas, Crime Czar James Carter, independent police monitor Susan Hutson and area senators and representatives will attend the meeting.
In an email, organizers said the meeting was scheduled to address an “alarming increase in crime in the Algiers area over the past six months since Capt. Heather Kouts assumed command of the NOPD 4th District.”
We're nearly six years past Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, but it seems we'll never be over the bizarre notion that "God sent" a hurricane to make landfall on the Mississippi coast in order to register His displeasure with Southern Decadence in the French Quarter, about 60 miles away.
The latest opportunist to remount this hobbyhorse is — surprise — a televangelist named Rick Joyner, who seems to have picked up Jim and Tammy Bakker's Heritage USA hotel for a steal and turned it into a conference center. In a sermon this week, the preacher (and Kenny Rogers doppelganger) claimed a U.S. Senator had phoned him specifically to ask if Katrina was "judgment from God." Of course it was:
A very gracious judgment — filled with grace! Katrina hit New Or-lee-anz the day before they were supposed to have that day of decadence.
That "day of decadence" went on anyway, with two parades staged by both gays and straights.
It all goes back to Africa. As the source of so much that makes New Orleans unique among cities, our Afro-Caribbean heritage looms large, and the influence of Africa is evident in American music, modern art, the history of civilization and even the origin of human DNA itself. So it is surprising it took the American cultural establishment so long to recognize the importance of African art.
Despite its limited resources as a smaller regional institution, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) (1 Collins Diboll Circle, City Park, 658-4100; www.noma.org) was unusually prescient and ahead of the curve when, in 1966, NOMA’s then-director James Byrnes hired a young African art specialist named William Fagaly to assemble an important collection. With the encouragement of Byrnes’ successor, E. John Bullard, Fagaly did just that for more than four decades, making NOMA a leader in the field.
The large and varied Ancestors of Congo Square expo, on view at NOMA through July 17th, reflects Fagaly's discriminating yet restless efforts. It may come as a surprise that it originally was planned not as an exhibition but as a book. Many years in the making and produced by London’s Scala publishing house, the book premiered in May as a massive 376-page hardback featuring about 225 color illustrations and 48 essays by leading scholars. Since Congo Square was the main focus of this city’s African culture long before the museum existed, incorporating it in the title was more than appropriate. After all, Congo Square was the only place in America where slaves and free people of color could gather on Sunday afternoons to celebrate their cultural heritage, which in turn helped make New Orleans what it is today.
Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush, filmed a segment for the Today Show spotlighting the Atchafalaya Basin and Cajuns' way of life. View it here. It was good PR for the state. Bush-Hager caught some crawfish, was scared by a 9-foot alligator and even played a triangle with Cajun musicians. She never did quite pick up the correct pronunciation of Atchafalaya, however.
It’s not just the Tremé television series; the music of New Orleans has been riding high in the charts courtesy of actor Hugh Laurie’s blues album Let Them Talk. Laurie has rhapsodised about the sound of the city, generating new interest in figures such as pianist Professor Longhair, whose song Tipitina he listens to “nearly every day”.
While no slouch as a musician, Laurie would be the first to acknowledge there are many more-talented players in Tremé alone. But Shorty does not begrudge him his success: “The guy is a famous actor and he gets a big deal. But it’s no bad thing if it means more people get exposed to our music”.
Anyway, BluesFest London looks like an impressive lineup, with performers including Annie Ross, B.B. King and the Blind Boys of Alabama. (There's also blues stalwart Liza Minnelli ... whuh?) And New Orleans will be well-represented, not just by Shorty but also by Dr. John and Jon Cleary.
God's speed, Rodrigue
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