Outdoors

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A New Orleans City Park tree-sitting protestor speaks out

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 2:54 PM

A partially killed live oak within the construction zone. - JULES BENTLEY
  • JULES BENTLEY
  • A partially killed live oak within the construction zone.
As a longtime, dues-paying Friend of City Park, it took me a while to get on board with the effort to save the wild public land that City Park CEO Bob Becker and the Bayou District Foundation nonprofit want to turn into a high-end golf course. The campaign seemed too little too late, or worse, an example of people who didn't live through the trauma of the flood but romanticized a wrecked version of the city.

The arguments against rebuilding the golf course accreted gradually— learning just how much that wild stretch meant to so many New Orleanians from all walks of life, learning how dire the economics of golf are in 2015, and learning about the sinister neoliberal elements of the "East Lake model" that the Bayou District Foundation, chaired by George H.W. Bush, seeks to emulate. When it was shown to me that, despite originally promising to only restore land that had previously been golf course, several far older cypress and live oaks and a fat slice of the Couturie Forest were being consigned to the ax, I was swayed.

The tree-sit protest ongoing in one of the now fenced-off public area's threatened cypress is, as far as I know, without local precedent. In the mid-'90s, a group of Loyola faculty and students sat at the base of a cypress tree that the University's then-president wanted to cut down. "We lasted for weeks, but then the end of the semester came," said Dr. John Clark. "We were sitting, and it was a tree, but I'm not sure that made it a tree-sit." Now, Dr. Clark is among many New Orleanians who've begun spending free time at Harrison Circle to show support for the young people in one of the threatened trees. Yesterday, after four days in the tree, one of the sitters came down. I spoke to her the evening of her descent.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Endangered crocs hatched at Audubon Zoo

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 3:43 PM

COURTESY AUDUBON ZOO
  • Courtesy Audubon Zoo

Two brown false gharials, endangered freshwater reptiles that look similar to crocodiles, have been born at the Audubon Zoo Reptile Encounter — marking the first time the species has been bred in captivity in America in five years. It’s the first false gharial births at Audubon Zoo, although the species has lived at the zoo since the 1980s.

The zoo’s staff says the gharials, part of the crocodilian group that also includes alligators, crocodiles and caimans, hatched several weeks ago and are only a few inches long. The zoo announced the births Wednesday. 

Gharials are native to southeast Asia and typically inhabit freshwater swamps with lots of vegetation, as well as lakes and rivers. They have a narrower snout than a crocodile and consume a varied diet, including fish, small animals, insects and crustaceans. Unlike crocodiles and alligators, gharials slide on their bellies on land instead of raising up their bodies to walk.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has placed false gharials on its Red List of Threatened Species (version 3.1) and attributes much of the population decline to habitat destruction. It estimates there are fewer than 2,500 mature adult gharials in the world, with most living along tributaries of the Ganges River.

Adult gharials average 350 to 400 pounds, with males growing from 13 to 19.7 feet long and weighing as much as 1,500 pounds, according to the San Diego Zoo website. Females tend to be shorter, averaging 11 to 13 feet long.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Second line Sunday: YMO steps off Uptown at 1 p.m.

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM


YOUNG MEN OLYMPIAN JUNIOR BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION 130TH ANNIVERSARY PARADE

 
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2014 - 1-3 PM

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Y@ Speak: closing time

Posted By on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 1:02 PM


You don't have to go home but you can't stay here. That goes for you, nude bicyclists, dudes passing out in public and a certain restaurant. For others, it's primetime futbol, reality TV, Walmart, dad and "beignets raining from the trees" season — all in this week's Y@ Speak.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Bill aims for open season on Louisiana wild hogs

Posted By on Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Desoto Parish State Rep. Richard "Richie" Burford, R-Stonewall (motto: "A great place to live"), introduced House Bill 353, which declares open season on wild hogs — the pigs, not the Tim Allen dad-buddy masterpiece. Under the bill, hunters can go after wild hogs, day or night, on private property. Under present law, hunting wild hogs is restricted to daylight hours from February through August. The bill passed the House 85-10 on Wednesday and was introduced in the Senate Thursday.

A House amendment also includes authorization to hunt coyotes at night on private property, also at any time of the year. (Present law already includes permission to hunt nutria and beaver.)

The bill follows the state's exploding wild animal populations — which in recent years have crept into more urban and suburban areas of New Orleans beyond surrounding bayous and parks. Recent sightings include a coyote (which has a Twitter account) stalking Uptown, and several adorable hog families hanging out on the neutral ground on Almonaster Road in New Orleans East.

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, feral hogs (Sus scrofa) came to North America via Spanish explorers who planned to use them as livestock, but through escape and release, the pigs adapted to the wild. They can reach 400 pounds — they're protective, and kind of mean, and you don't want one charging at you. While the piglets are cute, the animals cause millions of dollars in damage to farms, forests and other property. Hog rooting can impact crops, golf courses, hayfields and backyards. The LSU AgCenter estimates there are more than 500,000 wild hogs in the state.

("But how does it taste, Alex?") Great. It's lean and not too game-y.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Y@ Speak: rites of spring

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 12:05 PM


Ah, spring. Festival season has begun with the ceremonial dumping of the corn dogs, followed by the butchering of dozens of pigs at Hogs for the Cause, where revelers develop the meat-sweats under the hot sun.

Also this week: Jimmy Graham's prelude to a dunk, a Buddy Roemer and Jason Williams faceoff, Super Sunday, and Jahri Evans meets an actual pelican.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Ta-ta, TY PARK: Repairs begin on City Park topiary sign

Posted By on Fri, Nov 1, 2013 at 12:48 PM

When a gardening mishap earlier this week turned the iconic CITY PARK boxwood sign into TY PARK, park spokesman John Hopper said that new boxwoods had already been located on the Northshore and would be replanted pronto.

It's already been done — just in time for the first day of the Voodoo Music + Art Experience at the park:

cityparktake2.jpg

More pix under the jump!

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Friday, September 6, 2013

NOLA Social Ride lights up Uptown

Posted By on Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 6:01 PM

A shaky picture of the group from the perch of a bike saddle shows some of the ride's colorful bike lights. - JEANIE RIESS
  • JEANIE RIESS
  • A shaky picture of the group from the perch of a bike saddle shows some of the ride's colorful bike lights.

The Thursday NOLA Social Ride brings out your inner moth. The heat’s lifted, the night-blooming jasmine is in full swing and you’re surrounded by a sea of bikers, but the lights are the most notable part of the weekly ride: a dozen regulars have fixed multi-colored, battery-powered lights to their tires and handlebars, so when the group turns a rainbow of neon spins before you, leading the way. Then there are the lights of the city, which at the pace of a nightly bike ride don’t exist to reveal anything, but to light up the night as you ride through it.

More under the cut, including a bikecam video ...

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Caravan Stage develops traveling pirate show in Lafitte

Posted By on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Pirates are again gathering and plotting in Lafitte. The shipborne theater group Caravan Stage Company is docked along the Intracoastal Waterway where crew members are developing a pirate-themed musical/circus arts show it will unveil in spring and take on a tour up the East Coast to Canada, the Great Lakes and downriver into the Ohio Valley.

Caravan Stage last docked in Lafitte in 2002 before embarking on a similar odyssey. For the last eight years, the group has toured Europe, starting in Rotterdam and going as far south as the Greece and Turkey. It presented a trilogy about global climate change and indigenous cultures, and its most recent show was the beginning of a new series about piracy. It concluded with the pirates stealing a treasure of gold from a bank, which they intend to redistribute around the globe Robin Hood-style. In the beginning of the forthcoming show Hacked...The Treasure of the Empire, the pirates and the treasure are captured. But it's also a modern story, with themes about the surveillance state, computer hacking and mammoth global corporations.

The Amara Zee is docked in Lafitte while crew develop a new production.
  • The Amara Zee is docked in Lafitte while crew develop a new production.

Caravan Stage travels with a crew of 18-24 onboard, including boat and technical crew and performers. The company seeks to present its multi-media and musical spectaculars to new audiences. Shows combine video, light projections, puppets, singing, aerialists and acrobats, and they use the boat and its riggings as a stage. The shows are spectacle-driven (think Cirque de Soleil on a ship), but themes are often progressive (ie about the loss of indigenous cultures, preservation of natural resources, pro-democracatization). (The company website has photos and video of past tours.) As choreographers develop the movement for the new show, the tech crew is designing a mini-roller coaster that will be stretch between the masts and be a main feature in Hacked.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

This weekend in New Orleans: C.H.A.T. studio opening, property research, Huey P. Long run and more

Posted By on Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Tonight
Curbing HIV/AIDS transmission NOLA (C.H.A.T. NOLA), an organization that answers anonymous callers' questions about HIV/AIDS, is hosting a grand opening for its lounge, which will serve as a place where young people can display their talents. There will be door prizes, performances, open-mic and refreshments.

Saturday
Researching Your New Orleans Property participants will learn how to trace a property's history using primary sources like city directories and the census.
•At the Community Let's Move Family Health and Fun Fest, there will be music, health screenings, food and activities for kids and grown ups. A mountain bike, 32-inch HDTV, $500 and an iPod Touch will be raffled.
Our Crowning Glory is a natural hair convention where attendees can learn how to style natural hair, participate in discussions about it and buy products to maintain its health.

Sunday
Huey P. Long bridge runners will run the entire span of the Huey, starting in Bridge City and ending on Jefferson Highway. This is the inaugural run, celebrating the widening of the bridge.
What Maisie Knew is a movie about divorce and custody proceedings, told from a child's perspective. It's based upon a Henry James novel of the same name and Chalmette Movies is the only theater in the state showing it.

Details are below the jump.

This Weekend in New Orleans: June 14-June 16
  • This Weekend in New Orleans: June 14-June 16

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