Books

Friday, December 9, 2016

Jordan Flaherty on saviors, New Orleans, media and activism

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

hi-res_cover.jpg
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
  • 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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Friday, December 2, 2016

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

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 9:00 AM

JOE SHLABOTNIK
  • JOE SHLABOTNIK
Between awkward office Christmas parties, family members with questionable politics and hot chocolate with too many/not enough marshmallows, the holidays can be a trying time of year. Find solace at one of these (mostly) non-Christmas-related book parties.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mid-City Library to open at new Canal Street location Dec. 5

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 4:06 PM

The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library Dec. 5. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library Dec. 5.

The Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library, which closed its location in the American Can building Oct. 22, will reopen Dec. 5 in its new home — the Automotive Life Insurance building at 4140 Canal Street. Mayor Mitch Landrieu will attend the opening in the new branch, according to a memo from New Orleans City Librarian Charles Brown. The time of the ceremony has not been set.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Books roundup: Five literary events in November in New Orleans

Posted By on Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 3:50 PM

COURTESY NEW ORLEANS BOOK FESTIVAL
  • COURTESY NEW ORLEANS BOOK FESTIVAL

Readers and writers have plenty to be thankful for this month. In the weeks before National Turkey and Football Day, here are some highlights from the literary dance card.

Nov. 1-2 and 5: LadyFest Poetry Series. Poets and artists from around the city read at various locations for the series celebrating women who write. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 6 p.m. Wednesday and 2 p.m. Saturday.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New Orleans Public Library main branch to close for two weeks

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 12:44 PM

The main branch of the New Orleans Public Library. - CREATIVE COMMONS/JASON PARIS
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/JASON PARIS
  • The main branch of the New Orleans Public Library.

The New Orleans Public Library's main branch will be closed for repairs Dec. 5 through Dec. 18, according to a memo from city librarian Charles Brown. The renovation will include a complete replacement of the building's main electrical circuit, which was installed when the library was built in 1958.

The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library this fall. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library this fall.
Two of the library's other 13 branches currently are closed: the Nix Library in Carrollton closed for its own renovations in mid-October, while the Mid-City Library closed Oct. 22 in preparation for moving to its new location in the former Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street. That opening date currently is scheduled for sometime around Thanksgiving.

The closure of the main library also will include services housed downtown, including the African American Resource Center and the Louisiana Division/City Archives & Special Collections.

Readers with books on reserve at the main branch in December are encouraged to log into their library accounts to change their pickup location.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd to speak at Tulane Nov. 16

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 12:34 PM

PHOTO COURTESY TULANE OFFICE OF COCURRICULAR PROGRAMS
  • Photo Courtesy Tulane Office of Cocurricular Programs

Maureen Dowd, the acid-tongued New York Times columnist known for her acerbic political commentary and insider-y conversations with Washington bigwigs, will speak at Tulane next month. She'll discuss the peculiarities of this election cycle as explained in her book The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics.

Dowd won a Pulitzer Prize in the '90s for her commentary on the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. At the event, she'll be in conversation with think tank VP and former journalist H. Andrew Schwartz.

The event takes place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 in the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall at Tulane's Lavin-Bernick Center and is open to the public. Admission is free. A book signing follows.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mid-City, Nix branches of New Orleans Public Library to close temporarily later this month

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 5:25 PM

The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library this fall. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library this fall.

Two New Orleans library branches will close temporarily this month — one for renovation, the other for relocation, according to a memo released today from library director Charles Brown.

The Nix branch library on N. Carrollton Avenue will close Oct. 15 for painting, electrical, plastering, plumbing and other major maintenance work. No specific date is set for the reopening, but library staff was told it would be in "early 2017."

As Gambit reported in May, the Mid-City branch will be moving from the American Can Company on Orleans Avenue to the 1963 Automobile Life Insurance building at 4140 Canal Street. That building was designed by Curtis & Davis Architects, and was designated a city historic landmark by the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission in 2010. The American Can location will close Oct. 22, and the Canal Street branch is set to reopen at the end of November. 

Patrons with book holds at either Nix or Mid-City Library are encouraged to visit a local branch to update their preferences, or do so in person at any library branch.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Five books events to check out in October

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 11:30 AM

CREATIVE COMMONS/SOMEGEEKINTN
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/somegeekintn

Along with crisp, autumnal 80 degree weather, this fall brings a full slate of activities for local readers, writers and other word enthusiasts.

Here are five best bets for book nerds in October. 

• Oct. 5: Ethan Brown. The true crime writer presents his latest page-turner, Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis Eight? at Garden District Book Shop. (Check out Gambit's interview with Brown.) 6 p.m.

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