Friday, February 17, 2017

Nix Library branch to reopen March 6; library announces Mardi Gras hours

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 3:43 PM

The Nix branch on S. Carrollton Ave. will reopen March 6. - CREATIVE COMMONS/INFROGMATION OF NEW ORLEANS
  • The Nix branch on S. Carrollton Ave. will reopen March 6.
The Nix branch of the New Orleans Public Library will reopen March 6, according to the NOPL's Facebook page.

It closed its doors in late October for improvements, which include a new floor plan, paint, additional public computers and general infrastructure. Nix also will have new landscaping and lighting when it reopens.

Hours will remain the same: opening at 10 a.m. Monday-Saturday, with closure at 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 5 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Some NOPL branches will be keeping irregular hours during Carnival season; here's a chart of which libraries are open when.


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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Stories you may have missed this week: Immigration, Carnival prep and James Baldwin

Posted By on Sun, Feb 5, 2017 at 9:00 AM


"WE'RE CALLED TO SERVE THE VULNERABLE": New Orleans refugee agencies respond to President Donald Trump's immigration order.

FREE MOVIE SCREENINGS: Louisiana documentaries at Jazz & Heritage Center today; the Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition hosts a screening of 2017 documentary They Call Us Monsters at Zeitgeist tomorrow.

NOT-SO-NEUTRAL GROUND: People already are saving their spaces for Endymion.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Review: I Am Not Your Negro

Posted By on Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 3:09 PM

James Baldwin in I Am Not Your Negro
  • James Baldwin in I Am Not Your Negro

There were many heroes in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, but novelist, essayist and social critic James Baldwin became the movement’s leading literary voice. Uniquely perceptive and brutally honest regarding all aspects of racism and race relations in America, Baldwin became a cultural icon not only through his brilliant writing but also his speeches and frequent appearances on television.

In 1979, at age 55, Baldwin reluctantly decided to write a major work called Remember This House that would examine the lives and deaths of his close friends and fellow activists Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers. Each was murdered between 1963 and 1968, reshaping the civil rights movement and profoundly affecting Baldwin’s life and art. “I want these three lives to bang against each other and reveal each other as, in truth, they did,” Baldwin wrote of his prospective work. Upon his death in 1987, the author had written only 30 pages of Remember This House.

Working with Baldwin’s estate, Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck sought to “finish” that book through an examination of Baldwin’s writings and public presentations, along with a strong emphasis on the content of those 30 pages. The result is Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, a strikingly original film and an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature at this month’s 89th Academy Awards.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Books roundup: Five book-related events in February in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 9:00 AM

L. Kasimu Harris reads at Antenna (3718 St. Claude Ave.) Feb. 2. - IRVING JOHNSON III
  • L. Kasimu Harris reads at Antenna (3718 St. Claude Ave.) Feb. 2.

It's February, that month in which we typically celebrate Mardi Gras and the lesser, more saccharine occasion known as Valentine's Day. If you need a refuge from the parade route — or a date-night idea to impress that cute librarian — here are five literary events to check out this month.

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

'Alternative facts'? No — just the facts, please

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 12:37 PM

Kellyanne Conway, adviser to President Donald Trump, told Meet the Press that the White House was providing "alternative facts," not falsehoods. - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Kellyanne Conway, adviser to President Donald Trump, told Meet the Press that the White House was providing "alternative facts," not falsehoods.

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.” Kellyanne Conway, adviser to President Donald Trump, on NBC’s Meet the Press.

“Alternative facts” may sound like something cooked up between George Orwell and Stephen Colbert, but President Trump’s administration doubled down on them during his first few days in office. Conway coined the term “alternative facts” on Meet the Press the day after presidential press secretary Sean Spicer held a belligerent press conference during which he insisted “the media” miscounted and downplayed the number of people at Mr. Trump’s inauguration the day before.

Spicer, Conway and Trump are entitled to their belief that the inauguration was the most beautiful in history, or the most historic, or any other superlative they might imagine. They are not, however, entitled to their own “facts” — which were contradicted by several objective criteria, including photographs of the National Mall, satellite images and ridership numbers from Washington D.C. public transit.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of Strangers in Their Own Land, to speak at UNO Jan. 18

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 3:40 PM

  • Courtesy University of New Orleans
  • Arlie Russell Hochschild.

Arlie Russell Hochschild, a sociologist whose spent five years in Lake Charles trying to understand red state voters, will speak at the University of New Orleans next Wednesday.

Hochchild's recent book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, adds to a growing volume of scholarship about the "Great Paradox," or how conservative voters embrace politicians and policies that seem to oppose their own interests: the poor Appalachia resident who hates "Obamacare," the Gulf Coast fisherman who votes to deregulate the oil industry. You can read an essay adapted from the book here; it was a National Book Award finalist in 2016.

She'll appear in the Innsbruck Room at UNO's University Center at 1 p.m. Jan. 18. It's free to attend.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Interview: Lisa Wade, author of American Hookup

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 10:08 AM

Lisa Wade, author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus. - BABS EVANGELISTA
  • Babs Evangelista
  • Lisa Wade, author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus.

In her new book American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, sociology professor and New Orleans resident Lisa Wade explores the sex lives of modern college freshmen. She's especially concerned with the alcohol-soaked, commitment-averse, frat-party-centric “hookup culture” that has contributed to several high-profile sexual assault scandals at prestigious universities across the country. Wade argues that this culture isn’t espoused, or really even enjoyed, by most students. Rather, a small group of privileged students who control the college social scene are the key advocates for this culture, and students of color, queer students and many women often are excluded — or socially penalized for their failure to participate.

There’s a launch party for the book at Octavia Books on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. Wade spoke with Gambit in advance of her appearance about the history of hookup culture and how it pertains to gender, race and sexual orientation.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Jordan Flaherty on saviors, New Orleans, media and activism

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 11:59 AM

Jordan Flaherty's latest book, No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality, draws in part from his career as a reporter and TV producer — work that has taken him to sites of grassroots struggle around the world, but it's anchored in his home, New Orleans.

Mixed in with the movement for indigenous self-determination in Black Mesa and sex workers contesting the police state in Arizona are multiple local stories. Flaherty gives us a front-row seat for the cautionary tale of FBI snitch Brandon Darby, one of two white bros who came here from Austin and rose to power through Common Ground, living out the savior complex by launching a career at immense cost to the people he claimed to be rescuing and representing. On a more positive note, Flaherty also tells the story of the New Teachers' Roundtable, a New Orleans collective founded by three former Teach for America participants to push back against TFA and the charter school movement — educational "reforms" which function as a profitable large-scale weaponization of the savior complex.

The crux of this wide-ranging book is finding alternatives to activism's savior mentality, that hero model in which a person of privilege uses their genius or other exceptional qualities to "rescue" the less fortunate.

I came to Flaherty's book with wariness, braced for scolding — but instead found No More Heroes to be full of love and compassion, including towards those who fall into the traps of saviordom. 

At 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, the Community Book Center (2523 Bayou Road.) will host one of a series of book release events Flaherty has organized across the South, previewed here by Kat Stromquist.

Flaherty advocates going from "How can I be the single best white anti-racist activist with the sharpest critique / most specialized language / busiest schedule?" to "How can we find ways to bring more and more people into social justice work, from lots of entry points, to grow vibrant mass movements?" To clarify the answers, I sat down with Flaherty to discuss his book, journalism and activism.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Activists talk organizing in New Orleans at roundtable/book release Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 1:02 PM

Flaherty's book discusses collaborative organizing. - COURTESY JORDAN FLAHERTY
  • Flaherty's book discusses collaborative organizing.

Community Book Center
 hosts a roundtable of experienced activists and organizers this weekend at a release party for No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality, a new book by Jordan Flaherty.

Flaherty joins Alfred Marshall (STAND with Dignity), Michael Quess? Moore (Take 'Em Down NOLA), Jonshell Johnson (a youth and education activist) and Derek Roguski (New Teachers' Roundtable) to discuss organizing against police violence, their work in New Orleans' troubled school system and overcoming the "savior mentality," in which a well-meaning individual — often a white person — tries to "rescue" a marginalized group without community input. (Think Dangerous Minds.)

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Krazy Kat gets animated

Posted By on Tue, Dec 6, 2016 at 10:00 AM

A title card from the 1936 animated Krazy Kat cartoon Li'l Aingil.
  • A title card from the 1936 animated Krazy Kat cartoon Li'l Aingil.

For this week's cover story
, I talked with Michael Tisserand, author of Krazy: George Herriman in Black and White — the first in-depth biography of the New Orleans-born illustrator who created the seminal comic strip Krazy Kat. (After we went to print, Krazy was named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Nonfiction of 2016.)

One subject we didn't broach in our conversation was Krazy Kat's animated adaptations, which were of varying quality. This 1936 Krazy Kat cartoon, Li'l Aingil, is close to Herriman's spirit, but the drawing of Krazy in the title card resembles Felix the Cat more than the Krazy of the comics:

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