Monday, October 26, 2015

What others are saying about Louisiana's suddenly interesting gubernatorial race

Posted By on Mon, Oct 26, 2015 at 5:33 PM


It's been almost 48 hours since the Louisiana governor's race got interesting — and statewide and national media are taking notice. A few samples of what the world is learning about politics in the Pelican State:

, "David Vitter lurches toward a humiliating defeat: A record of scandal and hypocrisy finally catches up to him"

Sean Illing explains the Louisiana "jungle primary" system and sums up the events of last week, including an explanation of why the auto accident in which Vitter was involved last Friday may be more than a simple fender bender. But Illing lays out the story and the players for a national audience (from a pro-Democrat point of view):
For months, David Vitter was the prohibitive frontrunner. He has name recognition, political clout, a plethora of cash, and a state whose demographics increasingly favor conservative Republicans. But this is a unique political climate. Jindal, one of the worst governors in the history of the state, has made toxic everything he touched, including the Republican brand. Running as a Republican gubernatorial candidate after Jindal was always going to be tricky. In addition to that, Vitter, as James Carville told Salon recently, is “one of the most flawed candidates in American politics.”

The Daily Beast
, "The Big Sleazy’s Insane Governor’s Race"

Writer Gideon Resnick calls GOP nominee David Vitter "a kind of dorky dad-figure who would fit perfectly in a Tim Allen sitcom role," and runs down the various stories of the last week: the candidates, the prostitute, the American Zombie, and the Big Chief vs. Spy Boy contretemps that took place last Friday on Metairie Road. 

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Y@ Speak: Ten Years Gone

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 1:20 PM

As New Orleans nears the 10th anniversary of The Complete And Abject Federal Levee Failures of 2005 and every news outlet on the planet serves up heaps of hot takes, let's look at how y'all are getting the led out. Also: The New Orleans Saints don't completely blow it this time and (not) Bobby Jindal unveils his latest campaign vid.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Upstairs Inferno documentary premieres at Prytania Theatre

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Patrons at the UpStairs Lounge, which was destroyed in a fire June 24, 1973. - JOHNNY TOWNSEND
  • Patrons at the UpStairs Lounge, which was destroyed in a fire June 24, 1973.

On the Sunday evening of June 24, 1973, an act of arson created a deadly blaze in the UpStairs Lounge, a second-story gay bar in the French Quarter. Though the New Orleans Fire Department put out the fire quickly, 29 people died on the scene and three later died of injuries. Though it was the deadliest fire in New Orleans history, no one was ever arrested in connection with the fire, and the event was largely erased from public discussion due to homophobia. Some bodies were never claimed by family members.

On Wednesday, June 24, the 42nd anniversary of the fire, Robert L. Camina debuts his documentary Upstairs Inferno at the Prytania Theatre. Camina's film includes interviews with survivors and relative survivors who have not been previously interviewed. Also featured is Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos, who covered the fire for The Times-Picayune (recounted here).

UPSTAIRS INFERNO - Trailer 1 [HD] from Camina Entertainment on Vimeo.

Many survivors are scheduled to attend the premiere, including Regina Adams, Rickey Everett and Francis Dufrene. Family and friends of survivors also will attend, and Louisiana Fire Marshal H. "Butch" Browning will participate in a Q&A.

There is a sold-out showing at 7:30 p.m. but tickets are still available for the 10 p.m. screening.

Camina also directed the documentary Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, about a 2009 police raid of a Texas gay bar.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Y@ Speak: daylight savings

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 12:50 PM

Time is a social construct and springing clocks forward has turned everything upside-down: newspapers predict the future, bats live in schools and cows take over the West Bank. Also in this week's Y@ Speak: weighing in on Chris Rose, saying goodbye to folk hero Pierre Thomas, and people hold a "second line" for Spock while a real second line takes place.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Good People Go to Hell: An interview with filmmaker Holly Hardman

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 11:32 PM


Holly Hardman's new documentary film Good People Go to Hell, Saved People Go to Heaven takes as its subject the everyday lives of Louisianans coping with the impending end of the world. Without commentary or an obvious agenda, Hardman gives us blue-collar, mostly white, mostly West- and North-Louisiana folks trying to rebuild their own lives between disasters (Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Isaac) while spreading the word of an impending, scripturally guaranteed mega-disaster that only the souls of the saved can survive.

The overall approach is impressionistic, a pastiche of moments and interactions. With the exception of a few glimpses of megachurch executives, the people in this movie don't have money or power. They're fighting to keep their families housed and their marriages from collapsing, struggling to overcome very familiar varieties of post-flood depression and chemical dependency.

Making someone the subject of a documentary inherently exoticizes him or her. Hardman's film is refreshingly free of classism or Yankee snobbery; her subjects come across on their own terms, and besides a few doctrinal quirks — believing almost every human ever born deserves eternal torture at the hands of a sadistically deranged demiurge — they seem sympathetic and likable.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

New Orleans developer Pres Kabacoff on housing and gentrification

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 2:01 PM


Gawker contributor Peter Moskowitz is writing a book about gentrification. He interviewed New Orleans developer Pres Kabacoff about his company, HRI Properties, which has been a major force in developing the Warehouse District, CBD and Lower Garden District, including remaking public housing projects. The interview (posted here) addresses building housing, gentrification and the poor.

From the interview:
Moskowitz: How do you make money and make affordable housing at the same time?

Kabacoff: The trick is to get market rate to come. The affordable will come. But if the market rate doesn't come, you end up with all the affordable and the issues they tried to unwind with these programs like Hope VI. On the affordable side, probably a third of those people you would love to have as your neighbor, another third—the kind of people who if their refrigerator stops working their life falls apart—if you can get them stable, you want them, and a third you just don't have the social staff to deal with the issues they're bringing to the table.

When we do developments, it's usually its one-third market, one-third workforce, and one-third former public housing—mothers with children on food stamps and all that stuff. There's a mixture of people. How do we afford to do the affordable piece? You need a lot of subsidy.

Moscowitz: But what about that last third? The poorest. How do you house them?

Kabacoff: If there's crime that follows, the market rate gets nervous, votes with their feet and leaves, then it doesn't work. So what do you do with the third that's too difficult? You just don't take them, or you evict them. Just get them out of there. I don't have the staff to deal with them. One of the deficiencies of the Hope VI model is how do you provide social services for those people?
Moskowitz also responded to some reader questions. He's written for Gawker on housing issues and development in New York, Detroit, Camden, New Jersey, Paris and other cities.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Church Alley Coffee launches "Tasting Coffee in NOLA" zine

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 11:08 AM

The coffee scene in New Orleans is ever-expanding, with the arrival of craft coffee bars and pour-over spots from Uptown to the Bywater. Now, a new zine produced by Church Alley Coffee hopes to capture this pivotal moment in the city's coffee history.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Y@ Speak: TwitterMania, brother

Posted By on Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Hulk Hogan found boa paradise, Mr. T ate red beans and Rob Ryan got a pedicure. All that and more in another weird week in New Orleans leading up to the main event — Wrestlemania XXX — in today's Y@ Speak.

And hey, you can now get a sneak peek at Monday's Y@ Speak every Sunday in the print edition of Gambit. Just look for it in the news section.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The New York Times: New Orleans doesn't have kale

Posted By on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 8:30 PM

Kale, a leafy green that does not exist in New Orleans. - CREATIVE COMMONS/LAUREL FAN
  • Kale, a leafy green that does not exist in New Orleans.

(UPDATE: The @NOLAKale Twitter account has been suspended. The account didn't tweet anything offensive as far as I could tell and there didn't appear to be any sort of copyright infringement, so this is an odd development to say the least.)

So anyone who's been on Twitter recently may have noticed that #kalegate has been trending in New Orleans. Seems like a pretty ridiculous thing to be trending in New Orleans, right? I mean, who eats kale down here? NOBODY. At least, according to this cringe-inducing piece in The New York Times.

The article quotes Tara Elders, wife of Tremé actor Michiel Huisman, as saying "New Orleans is not cosmopolitan. There's no kale here." Shockingly enough, this isn't even the most ridiculous quote in this article (more on that later) but it has been the subject of much ridicule in the Twittersphere (EDIT: thanks to The Times-Picayune's Jarvis DeBerry), spawning the hashtag #kalegate and the Twitter handle @NOLAKale.

Here are some choice tweets spawned by #kalegate:

Written by "rock and roll and fashion" writer Lizzy Goodman, the entire premise of the article hinges on her fascination with transplants that moved to the city and what "seduced" them. What follows is an incredibly condescending and ridiculous series of anecdotes from transplants which frames New Orleans as some sort of mystical (but also dirty and poor and dangerous) playground for artists and bohemians and...well not much else.

Let's go through each patronizing quote one by one.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

David Simon coming to Tennessee Williams festival

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 6:30 PM

David Simon on set of Treme.
  • Gambit
  • David Simon on set of Treme.

David Simon, creator of TV's The Wire and Treme, is among the many panelists and guest speakers at the 2014 Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival. (Simon's wife Laura Lippman also was announced a panelist at the festival.) Simon joins a music-centric panel with author Tom Piazza and singer-songwriter Luke Winslow-King discussing "Sing Me a Story, Tell Me a Song: When Writing Demands Melody":

There’s a reason why the best writing is easy on the ears. Language began as an aural tradition. In Western literature, the relationship between storytelling and melody dates back to the lyric poems of antiquity. That may be why Bob Dylan — who has won every music award on the planet — appears to have a chance to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. But when do popular songs rate as literature?

Gwen Thompkins, host of WWNO-FM's “Music Inside Out,” hosts the panel.

The annual festival celebrating the New Orleans playwright runs March 19-23. Theater programming includes The NOLA Project staging Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Southern Rep's Night of the Iguana. There also are one act plays and dozens of panels, readings and other events — including, of course, the annual "Stella!" and "Stanley!" shouting contests (at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, March 23 in Jackson Square).

View a digital program here, or read the mobile version.

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