Often called the “sport of kings,” horse racing has a rich history, and the New Orleans chapter isn’t too shabby itself, with the local track now known as the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots among the nation’s oldest. But that doesn’t mean the track can’t take on new traditions and popular trends, including exotic animal racing and food trucks and street food vendors.
On Jan. 12, in addition to its normal program of thoroughbred horse racing, the Fair Grounds will host zebra and ostrich races while at a tented outdoor area called the Miller Time Beer Garden local food purveyors including Woody’s Fish Tacos, BBQ and Some, La Cocinita and Fry Bar NOLA will be cooking and serving while bars pour drinks and DJs spin tunes. A race of mascots from local sports teams is also on the bill for the night.
A real (dead) carp in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Most carp don’t see 15 seconds of fame, let alone 15 minutes. But every year in Prairie du Chien, Lucky the Carp is the center of attention when he’s lowered onto a throne to celebrate the new year. It’s the culmination of a week of activities, which includes events such as hanging carp ornaments on a pine tree, the Carp Plunge (like a polar bear plunge) and busting open a carp piñata. As far as we know, the piñata contains candy, not carp.
A sardine in Eastport, Maine. The area has sardine fishing and canning roots, but Eastport also drops a Maple Leaf as a friendly gesture to their Canadian neighbors across the bay.
A pickle in Mt. Olive, North Carolina. For the 14th year in a row, a briny, 3-foot, lighted cucumber will drop down the flagpole at midnight Greenwich Mean Time. That’s 7 p.m. eastern. (“That way, we are official, we shout Happy New Year! — and we don’t have to stay up until midnight,” says the Mount Olive website.)
Oh, well. It's all good, I suppose. Just don't drop bullets.
The turbulent 2012 New Orleans Saints season finally came to an end on Sunday. The team’s 44-38 loss to Carolina secured the team’s worst season since 2007 at (7-9) and came about much the way the season played out.
“It was totally unacceptable what happened today. We talk about keys to victory and what we have to do to win,” Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt said. “We are outrushed by almost 200 yards and they converted almost twice as much as we did on third down, and as catastrophic as that is, you still have a chance, potentially, to get back in the game with two onside kicks, even though they recovered them. But you have two penalties at the end that put them in field goal range, it’s not acceptable and we are going to get it fixed. It’s not what this team is about. Very disappointing, very disappointing. There is no way to sugarcoat this. Very disappointing.”
Friday evening’s news that the team and Sean Payton agreed in principle on a new five-year contract extension added to a Saints win on Sunday over the Carolina Panthers (6-9), would certainly help shoo away the dark cloud that has seem to hang over the team all season long.
New Orleans (7-8) is trying to finish the season on a three-game winning streak and players along with coaches have stressed the importance of finishing with an even mark and what it would mean. “Just the fact that we never quit,” says Saints safety Roman Harper. “We continue to fight through a little bit adversity which we’ve had all year long, all off-season. As a way to go out on top and just understand that half the teams in the league are going to end their season on a loss and we don’t want to be one of those teams.”
Who Dats will take it as a late Christmas present as at least the first step towards erasing the memory of a troublesome 2012 New Orleans Saints season took place Sunday evening. Multiple outlets are reporting from multiple league sources that Sean Payton and the Saints have agreed in principle to a new five-year contract extension.
CBS Sports dot com’s Mike Freeman tweeted that a source tells him “the extension puts him in the neighborhood of Bill Belichick’s annual $7.5 million salary.”
“BOOM HE’S BACK!!!,” tweeted punter Thomas Morestead.
Saints fans frankly don’t care about the price as they’ve seen a team many around the NFL considered a preseason title contending team battling to finish 8-8.
"Effective 1/1/13," writes Carrollton Station owner Eric Orlando, who hands the bar keys to its new owners on New Year's Day. "After all this time we find ourselves at the end of the road. ... It's been a great and unprecedented run and I couldn't be prouder of all that we've accomplished. And when I say WE, I mean everyone; myself, the staff, musicians, comedians, and most importantly, the customers."
Before Orlando takes his bow, the bar hosts a free two-night "farewell" concert, kicking off 9 p.m. tonight with a singer-songwriter showcase highlighting the bar's brief history of regular performers: Marc Belloni, Kelcy Mae, Cortland Burke, Andrew Duhon, Pony Space, DC Harbold, Mark Adam Miller, Pete Winkler, Alexis Marceaux & Sam Craft (pictured), and Amanda Walker.
At 9 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 29), The Blackened Blues Band will close out the weekend.
The bar first opened in 1980 in the same location, across the street from the streetcar stronghold (or "streetcar barn”) Carrollton Transit Station at Willow and Dublin streets, a block from Carrollton Avenue. Since 2002, Orlando has owned the venue, where he welcomed singer-songwriter and open-mic nights and rock bands, as well as a Wednesday night stand-up comedy open mic ("You Think You're Funny?") that has proved to be a go-to place to see stand-up comedy in New Orleans. (The bar also recently said farewell to popular local comic and longtime open-mic host Scotland Green, who moved to New York City.)
The bar's programming has included Susan Cowsill's "Covered in Vinyl" series, Woodenhead guitarist Jimmy Robinson, and recently, the monthly Plus One songwriter series. Its near-nightly events — from pub trivia to comics Cassidy and Mickey Henehan to Fred LeBlanc's Christmas parties to indie rock to local rock icons and beyond — aren't expected to get dropped from the schedule with the change in ownership.
(video courtesy of Lisa Palumbo)
Carolina (6-9) entered the season with plenty of promise but quarterback Cam Newton has had a sophomore slump of sorts and at times has had meltdowns on the sidelines during games. A three-game winning streak has taken some heat off of head coach Ron Rivera but at (3-9) talk of Rivera losing his job surfaced. Talk he told New Orleans reporters this week surprised him a bit.
“This week we’re playing the Saints and then after that we’ll just go forward and see what happens. That’s kind of been my approach,” Rivera said. “It’s crazy because you kind of wonder where it all came from and it never came from him and that’s the thing. I’m on the hot seat. At no point was I ever told that. I’m going to go through it and see what happens and as I’ve always said, it’s about getting our players ready to play on Sunday. We have the Saints and have to go to New Orleans and play them there. It’s going to be a tough football game.”
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