Saturday, September 24, 2016

Take 'Em Down NOLA marches against Jackson statue

Posted By on Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 6:31 PM

Take 'Em Down NOLA and demonstrators march on Decatur Street demanding the removal of Andrew Jackson's statue Sept. 24.
  • Take 'Em Down NOLA and demonstrators march on Decatur Street demanding the removal of Andrew Jackson's statue Sept. 24.

Led by drums and chants of "no justice, no peace" and "Black Lives Matter," hundreds of people marched through the French Quarter Sept. 24 demanding the removal of Andrew Jackson's statue at the heart of Jackson Square. Take 'Em Down NOLA — a group that has urged for the removal of all symbols of and monuments to white supremacy, including the four Confederate-era monuments at the center of a lawsuit and city ordinance for their removal — had organized the march following what organizers consider the city's inaction. The city currently is locked in a court battle over the four monuments, waiting on a ruling from a federal appellate court — expected next week — before it can take them down.

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Louisiana musician Buckwheat Zydeco dies at 68

Posted By on Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Buckwheat Zydeco. - DRAGON TASLC
  • Buckwheat Zydeco.
Louisiana musician Buckwheat Zydeco died early this morning at the age of 68, according to his longtime manager Ted Fox. Zydeco, aka Stanley Dural Jr., had been suffering from lung cancer and unable to perform for most of 2016. Recently his Carencro home had been damaged in the August floods, according to Fox.

"Buck made everything and everyone he touched better and happier," Fox wrote on Dural's Facebook page. "RIP my dear friend, my brother."

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Second line Sunday: YMO Jr. 132nd Annual Parade

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 3:22 PM

YMO Jr. 132nd parade route
  • YMO Jr. 132nd parade route


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016 1-5pm

Dedicated to the Memory of Bros. Elroy Stroughter and Howard Turner, Sr.

(route details below the jump!)

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Review: The Magnificent Seven

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 1:40 PM

Denzel Washington in The Magnificent Seven
  • Denzel Washington in The Magnificent Seven

On the surface, director Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven may seem another ill-advised remake of a classic Hollywood movie. Producers and studio executives typically justify the practice by explaining that today’s audiences just aren’t familiar with many of the all-time-great films. That argument doesn’t apply to John Sturges’ original 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven, because the film is anything but an all-time great.

There’s no denying the popularity of the original The Magnificent Seven throughout the ’60s, when it became a mainstay of network television — only The Wizard of Oz was broadcast more frequently during that time. The Magnificent Seven introduced a wide audience to a pack of soon-to-be-adored movie stars, including Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, James Coburn and Robert Vaughn. Brilliant casting aside, the film is hokey, superficial and long-winded. Modern classics like Billy Wilder’s The Apartment and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho were released the same year.

Ironically, that means the original The Magnificent Seven — itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, transferred to the old West — may not be a poor candidate for a makeover. A new version might recognize the original’s weaknesses, placing a stronger emphasis on character and story in the style of the finest Hollywood Westerns. Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven is not that film.

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Film Society presents free screening of The Wiz tonight at Palmer Park

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 12:11 PM


The New Orleans Film Society will screen The Wiz tonight, Sept, 23, at the monthly Arts Market of New Orleans at Palmer Park (S Carrollton at S. Claiborne avenues). Directed by Sidney Lumet, the 1978 film was based on the Broadway musical, which reimagines L. Frank Baum's children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the context of African-American culture. It stars Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Richard Pryor and Nipsey Russell. The screening is free and open to the pubic and begins at 7:30 p.m.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Grow Dat announces Dinner on the Farm series

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 7:25 PM

Grow Dat Youth Farm announced a new lineup of chef-driven dinners this fall beginning on Oct. 9. - COURTESY GROW DAT YOUTH FARM
  • Grow Dat Youth Farm announced a new lineup of chef-driven dinners this fall beginning on Oct. 9.

Grow Dat Youth Farm (150 Zachary Taylor Drive) announced a lineup for chef-driven dinners as part of its Dinner on the Farm series. 

The urban farm in New Orleans City Park held its first such dinner in collaboration with The Link Stryjewski Foundation in May, when Cochon’s Stephen Stryjewski and Ryan Prewitt of Peche prepared a three-course dinner on the farm's seven-acre grounds. The organizers are launching a new set of dinners beginning Oct. 9, and they benefit the farm. 

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CAC to renovate, add The Domain Companies as tenant

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 3:46 PM

Screen grab from
  • Screen grab from

The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) announced it will begin renovations and add as a tenant The Domain Companies, the New York and New Orleans-based developer behind South Market District, Ace Hotel and other local projects. The project will begin Oct. 1, according to a press release. 

The third and fourth floors of the CAC will become The Shop, an office hub for "technology, arts and cultural-based businesses." The Idea Village will be a tenant of The Shop, which is expected to open in early 2017. The Shop will include 40,000 square feet of space and accommodate 350-400 people, according to the press release. There will be common areas, meeting and office space and a rooftop deck.

"Over the years, the CAC has leased space to unique and complementary partner tenants — including the New Orleans Film Society, the National Performance Network, and Junebug Productions. The mission of The Shop is to bring members of the creative class in to our building as their tenants," said CAC Executive Director Neil Barclay in a released statement.

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Broad Theater celebrates first annual Art House Theater Day with screening of Time Bandits

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 2:35 PM


Taking place Sat., Sept. 24 is the first annual Art House Theater Day, a national celebration of independent movie theaters and the cultural role they play in local communities.

In New Orleans, The Broad Theater will join the celebration with a 6:45 p.m. screening of Terry Gilliam's satirical time-travel fantasy adventure Time Bandits.

The film stars Gilliam's fellow ex-Monty Python member John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Ralph Richardson and Ian Holm as Napoleon. Seriously, they don't make them like this anymore.

Tickets are $10 and available here.

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A preview of Trader Joe's, opening Friday in Metairie

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 1:37 PM

Trader Joe's looks peaceful now, but will be inundated with shoppers tomorrow morning. - MISSY WILKINSON
  • Trader Joe's looks peaceful now, but will be inundated with shoppers tomorrow morning.

Trader Joe's
(2949 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-831-0253) second Louisiana location — the first in the greater New Orleans area — celebrates its grand opening at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 23. The California-based grocery chain is known for offering food free of artificial flavorings, preservatives, synthetic colors and GMOs at low prices.

"We're a neighborhood grocery story with everything from basics like milk and eggs to exotic food and wine at great prices," says store manager (or "captain," in Trader Joe's parlance) Nick Parnell.  "We  work directly with vendors, cutting out the middle man, to keep prices low."
Gourds are heaped in a display near the door. - MISSY WILKINSON
  • Gourds are heaped in a display near the door.
The question on the mind of many New Orleanians is, "What took so long?" With more than 450 locations, including one in Baton Rouge, Trader Joe's presence feels welcome but long overdue.

"We're very calculated in how we do things," Parnell said. "We're committed to measured growth, and we don't blindly go into new markets. We're a great fit for the New Orleans community and are proud to be part of its amazing food culture."
A mural reflects neighborhood landmarks. - MISSY WILKINSON
  • A mural reflects neighborhood landmarks.
The 12,500-square-foot store's staff is 85 percent local, though Parnell declined to say how many jobs the chain created. Louisiana-centric touches, such as the murals of Mardi Gras Indians and brass bands, embellish the store. All the murals are hand-painted by Trader Joe's employees.

"I came in for a job, and they said, "We need you to make us some art,'" says employee Erica Rodriguez.
Erica Rodriguez painted this store sign. - MISSY WILKINSON
  • Erica Rodriguez painted this store sign.
"Employees create art and do everything else — stocking shelves, checking people out," Parnell says.

The day before opening, the store bustled with camera crews and team members readying it for business. Employees unloaded cardboard boxes of live orchids and stocked the ample liquor department with Charles Shaw wine — also known as "two-buck chuck" because it costs $2.99 a bottle.

"Charles Shaw is an amazing table wine," Parnell says, "It's the No. 1 selling wine in the world. Customers call it two-buck chuck. I don't. Because it's Charles Shaw."

Parnell says shoppers can expect a busy and fun grand opening on Friday. There's a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8 a.m., balloons, food demos and samples and a performance by a brass band. The store will be open from 8 a.m. to 9  p.m. daily.
Trader Joe's carries a wide variety of organic and non-GMO produce. - MISSY WILKINSON
  • Trader Joe's carries a wide variety of organic and non-GMO produce.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Farewell to Gary Esolen, Gambit's spiritual godfather

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 9:22 PM

  • Gary Esolen.

We at Gambit lost our founding father and longtime mentor Monday (Sept. 19) when Gary Esolen, the paper’s first editor and publisher, died at East Jefferson Hospital after a brief illness. He was 75.

In addition to his groundbreaking work at Gambit, Gary also was the co-founder and first executive director of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). In all his many civic and professional endeavors, Gary was a passionate advocate for the people and culture of his adopted hometown of New Orleans.

Born in Hancock, New York, Gary attended LeMoyne College, a small Jesuit liberal arts college — whose name, appropriately enough, matches that of the founder of New Orleans. At LeMoyne, Gary met several New Orleanians who influenced him, including future civil rights leader Rudy Lombard and future state Senator Hank Braden. Gary earned a Master’s degree at Syracuse and finished his coursework for a Ph.D. at Cornell. He was a Wordsworth Scholar.

Writing was always Gary’s first love, along with great conversation. He left academia to work as a writer and made a list of cities to which he might relocate — the top three being Santa Fe, Toronto and New Orleans. Gary’s wife Valeri LeBlanc summed up his choice: “New Orleans won as he felt he could find a place here and become part of it.”

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