Gloria Powers was a longtime supporter of the art, music and culture of New Orleans. After recent illness, she went to Lafayette to be with her family. Powers died this morning.
Powers served as the executive director of the Foundation for Entertainment Development and Education, which runs the Big Easy Awards, since 1991. The foundation annually recognized achievement in music, theater and classical arts, and through grants it supports development and education. Powers was also active with the Living History Project. She was trained as a cultural anthropologist and worked with many Louisiana festivals, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Voodoo Experience.
There will be a memorial service at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 17, at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Veteran Louisiana political media consultant Ray Teddlie died late Saturday after a long illness. Teddlie was a fixture in state and local political campaigns and was well respected for his insights as well as the distinctive look and feel of his campaign ads. Many of his clients also became close personal friends. They included former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans businessman John Georges.
“Ray Teddlie was a brilliant man who understood human nature and knew how to tap into the goodness of people,” Blanco said upon news of Teddlie’s death. “He was sensitive, and used the subtlety of emotion quite effectively in his work. And he was fun to work with, so much so that we enjoyed helping on his other campaigns. He and Raymond [“Coach” Blanco] were quite close, acting as each other’s sounding boards.
“Ray was hands down the smartest man I ever met in Louisiana, and I’ve met a lot of smart people in my time. He became more than a consultant to us; he became a beloved member of our family and one of our closest, dearest friends. He is going to be missed by so many who came to really respect and love him.”
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City Council President Jackie Clarkson and New Orleans Police Department 8th District Commander Jeffrey Walls were among those gathered at St. Louis to pay their respects to Ainsworth, a beloved volunteer for COPS 8, a support organization for the 8th District.
Former 8th District Commander Ed Hosli, who spoke at the service, remembered Ainsworth as someone who was always eager to help with maintenance around the station.
(Continued after the jump)
One of the truly great mid-century voices in R&B, Etta James, has died in California at the age of 73. James had battled leukemia for many years.
Here is Etta's last appearance at Jazz Fest in 2009. It was an uneven set, and the toll that time and illness had taken on her was sadly apparent that day.
As long as someone's getting married, her beautiful version of "At Last" will never die. But the song below will always be my favorite. She was only 15 when she recorded the then-scandalous "Roll With Me, Henry."
Today is officially ‘Big Chief Tootie Montana Day’, as ordained by the New Orleans City Council during yesterday’s meeting (see video of commemoration ceremony here). Today the public is invited to attend a wreath laying by the Montana family at the Allison “Big Chief Tootie” Montana statue inside of Armstrong Park at 4:00 pm followed by a Mardi Gras Indian Film Festival at 5:00pm at the Golden Feather Mardi Gras Indian Gallery and Restaurant located at 704 North Rampart Street across from the historic Congo Square.
In the early, near-freezing hours of Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010, eight people and at least two dogs died in an early morning fire, New Orleans' deadliest in more than three decades.
The way the story unfolded became another story itself — this wasn't a fire in a Metairie cul-de-sac or a Garden District family home. The blaze took, in minutes, a 9th Ward "squat," an owner-abandoned building repurposed by eight young people generalized as "punks," "squatters," "artists," "bohemians," and if you don't agree with their lifestyles, maybe those words made the tragedy easier to digest, as the fire instantly introduced "squatting" to a wider public. The eight victims were "homeless," according to headlines, and fire department officials and editorials warned how the tragedy was avoidable, that homeless shelters can provide shelter and that "really, is the life you ran away from so bad that this is your only option?" The conversation steered away from the lives of the victims and what happened that night, and into a civic lesson about New Orleans' "problem" with the above "types."
Author Danelle Morton revisited the fire and its victims in a piece published in the recent Boston Review. With her daughter, who follows a traveling lifestyle, Morton glimpses "life and death in a New Orleans squat" through that compassion, not forgetting that the victims had families and lives despite their purposefully unconventional lifestyles.
I thought about the kids first, but I thought most about the parents who would never stand on this corner. Even before that night, these parents likely knew something about the recklessness of the lives their children chose. For most of the kids, homelessness did not come from a horrid fall or a gradual decline. It was elective, a deliberate leap into the abyss. Recklessness as a point of pride. To see how far you could push it and still live. Or not live; many said they didn’t expect to see the age of 30. Wildness drew them to the rails, but in New Orleans I saw that more than wildness held them together.
Read the full story at the Boston Review website.
It’s year-in-review time, and for the food beat that means recounting the new restaurants that opened and those that closed, the familiar names that returned and the new trends that emerged.
It’s also — sadly, inevitably — when we take a moment to remember the people from the New Orleans restaurant world who passed away during the year.
Even when we didn’t know the individuals personally, learning of their deaths made an impact, bringing up memories and feelings tied to their food, to their dining rooms and the experiences shared there. Each was another reminder of how the restaurant business differs from many others and of how much our distinctive local restaurants rely on the personalities, family histories, traditions and passions of the people who run them.
By Mark Folse
When news of the death of local blues and spiritual icon Coco Robicheaux went viral on the Internet Nov. 25, some said his last words were, “I’m home.” Bartender Sara Shaw at the Apple Barrel bar on Frenchmen Street, who attended to him in his last moments, as well as the patrons seated next to him when he collapsed, remember them as “The next round is on me.”
Either would fit. The Barrel is a cramped space with a single unisex bathroom, walls covered with dollars and photographs, its best feature a mural of musicians behind the stage. There is a tricky step up to the bar that often trips up drunk tourists, and there are never enough ashtrays for the mostly-smoking crowd. The stage is one narrow end of the room, at ground level, with no amplification. The tip bucket is an old spittoon atop a barstool patrons must pass to get in or out.
It was Coco Robicheaux’s favorite bar — that Quarter Rat second living room, a place many tourists miss — where everyone is a friend or a tolerated eccentric.
(video courtesy of infrogmation)
(details after the jump!)
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