Wednesday, October 26, 2016

On the Clock: Troy Delaney, steamboat Natchez pilot

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 8:41 AM

Steamboat pilot Troy Delaney in the pilot house (sometimes called the wheelhouse).
  • Steamboat pilot Troy Delaney in the pilot house (sometimes called the wheelhouse).

Like Prince once said, there’s joy in repetition. Think of a chef, working the line in his restaurant night after night; a chess master, reaching to select a pawn for her first move; a basketball player shooting free throw after free throw on an empty court. Repetition is the key to mastery, “flow,” the elusive art of moving without thinking. 

That’s what I think about, sitting with pilot Troy Delaney in the glass-windowed pilot house of the steamboat Natchez, little wavelets crumpling the river’s surface way below us. Delaney has been steering the Natchez for 12 years, working five days a week, making three voyages a day. Even considering the month or so the boat spends in “lay-up,” when it stops service for painting and other maintenance, that’s as many as 720 trips over the course of a year, making the run downriver toward Chalmette Battlefield, where the Natchez turns around, and back.

Delaney knows everything about the boat and almost as much about the glassy bends of the river. Together, they form a tranquil kingdom he takes pride in leading.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

On the Clock: Waymon Morris, Carousel Gardens director of recreational services

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 9:58 AM

Waymon Morris takes a break to drive the train at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.
  • Waymon Morris takes a break to drive the train at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.

Waymon Morris and I sit on the bench-style conductor’s seat as the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park train pulls out of the station, into the dappled lawns and mossy shade of New Orlean City Park. The engine rattles crazily underneath us, like a piece of high-powered farm equipment or someone’s fixer-upper car that hasn’t yet been blessed with a muffler. Morris points to the timer on the rudimentary dashboard, which helps drivers know if they’re keeping pace with the train’s typical runtime, and pulls the shrill whistle, warning any wandering toddlers, errant ducks or distracted drivers of our approach on the 2-mile track. From the conductor’s perch, the whistle is so loud it could pop an eardrum, but literally everyone we pass  —  infants in Baby Bjorns, picnickers, a grandma out for a stroll with her Shih Tzus  —  smiles and waves. 

“I don’t care how old you are,” Morris half-confides, over the chuff and rumble of the engine. “Everyone loves the train.”

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Monday, September 12, 2016

On the Clock: N'Gai Smith, French Market maintenance superintendent (slideshow)

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 4:53 PM

N'Gai Smith, French Market maintenance superintendent, at Latrobe Park. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • N'Gai Smith, French Market maintenance superintendent, at Latrobe Park.

N’Gai Smith is a popular guy. As we walk the grounds of the French Market, where he serves as maintenance superintendent, it seems like we can’t go 10 steps without someone waving, calling out, or stopping to shake one of his big hands. A woman on a cellphone standing over a table of pastel-colored bath beads flashes a huge smile and waves. An electrician in head-to-toe khaki buttonholes him on the sidewalk to shake and say hello. We “just happen” to run into one of his top lieutenants near Latrobe Park.

I’d suspect it being stage-managed, if everyone didn’t seem so genuinely overjoyed to see Smith. It’s like walking through the French Market with Santa Claus.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lady Buckjumpers host Back To School Picnic

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 3:11 PM

Lady Buckjumpers Back To School Picnic
  • Red Cotton
  • Lady Buckjumper's Back To School Picnic

This is year 20-something that the fabulous, charitable and party-loving Lady Buckjumpers have hosted their annual Back To School picnic. The event, which happened Sunday in City Park, has become a sought after and beloved tradition for adults in the community as well as the kids. DJs along with Rebirth Brass Band were on site, rocking the 200-plus crowd who enjoyed free food, drinks (cocktails as well as healthy juices), massages, barbers, manicures and pedicures, baton twirling lessons, hair braidings, group photos, kickball, dodge ball — an extravaganza of feel-good freebies designed to send the kids and their parents into the new school year feeling pampered, nurtured and loved.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bicycle Birthday Bash marks 150 years of cycling on July 9 at Castillo Blanco

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 5:52 PM

  • Louisiana Cycling Club Spokes Scrapbook, accession 98-62-L,Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection

The bicycle was invented 150 years ago, and bicycle clubs soon followed. New Orleans cycling historian Lacar Musgrove writes about bicycle clubs in 19th-century Louisiana. She organized a birthday bash for the bicycle at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 9 at Castillo Blanco Art Studios (4321 St. Claude Ave.). The party includes talks about cycling, bicycle presentations and rides and a dance party with Mod Dance Party’s DJ Matty. Attendees are welcome to display their bikes, tricycles and pedal-powered contraptions.

There also is a presentation on 19th century bicycle art and imagery at Bar Redux (801 Poland Ave.) at 5 p.m. and there is an Art Ride on St. Claude Avenue. The party is a fundraiser for Bike Easy, an organization that advocates for safer biking in the city.

Musgrove spoke with Gambit about cycle clubs in Louisiana and the event:

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fourth of July roundup: 12 patriotic outings in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 12:16 PM

Fireworks launched from dueling barges over New Orleans' riverfront are a Fourth of July tradition. - GULF COAST AIR PHOTO
  • Fireworks launched from dueling barges over New Orleans' riverfront are a Fourth of July tradition.

Updated to include additional events.

Ah, the Fourth of July: hot dogs, American flags and the thrill of a potential fireworks-related ER visit. Though the big show over the weekend is always Essence Fest  —  we love you, Mariah  —  there are plenty of other events on the calendar.

Here are four straight nights of fireworks and fests to enjoy during your long weekend (July 1-July 4):

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bayou Boogaloo fence comes down after day of online drama

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2016 at 12:26 PM

Fencing along the Moss Street side of Bayou St. John was taken down this morning after protests from neighbors and attendees of the annual Bayou Boogaloo festival. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • Fencing along the Moss Street side of Bayou St. John was taken down this morning after protests from neighbors and attendees of the annual Bayou Boogaloo festival.

After furious online reaction that threatened to derail the popular Bayou Boogaloo festival in Mid-City, organizers bowed to public pressure and removed a section of chainlink fence that stretched for several blocks along the Moss Street side of Bayou St. John.

This morning's removal followed a day of social media protest and complaints about the fence, which blocked the public from using the Moss Street levee for several days before the festival.

Other signs, which closed the popular walking/biking path on the Jefferson Davis Street side of the bayou for a week, were gone this morning as well, though it wasn't clear whether they had been removed by Boogaloo organizers or neighbors.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

NOLA Bike to Work Day rescheduled for April 20

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 1:54 PM


With rain in the forecast for the next several days, the Bike Easy organization has issued a media alert rescheduling NOLA Bike to Work Day. The event was originally set for Wednesday, April 13; it's been moved to Wednesday, April 20. On that day, riders can join groups departing from their neighborhoods and meet in Lafayette Square from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. to celebrate bike commuting. 

More information about NOLA Bike to Work Week activities can be found on the Bike Easy website.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

NOLA Bike to Work Day scheduled for April 13

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 4:43 PM

NOLA Bike to Work Day returns for its fifth installment on Wednesday, April 13, when "bike trains" of commuters will form across the city to ride to work together. Riders can join neighborhood meetups (listed on the Bike Easy website) or convene at Lafayette Square from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., where they'll meet fellow cyclists and enjoy coffee and bike-related swag from sponsors. 

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Y@ Speak: The Flyest

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 3:00 PM

As Saint Mannie Fresh once said in the Book of Big Tymers, "Can't pay my rent, 'cause all my money's spent, but that's OK, 'cause New Orleans has a portion of Audubon Park called The Fly," or something like that. Well, RIP to that, maybe. Also in this week's Twitter roundup: updates from Louisiana's budget hell world and a reminder that Anthony Davis is 22 years old and better than all of us.

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