The New Orleanian Abroad

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mayor Landrieu to meet with President-elect Trump today in New York

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 11:29 AM

Trump Tower in New York. - CREATIVE COMMONS/KRYSTAL T.
  • Trump Tower in New York.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu will meet with President-elect Donald Trump today in New York City, according to a press release from the City of New Orleans.

Landrieu, who is Vice President of the United States Conference of Mayors, wll be making the visit in that capacity. According to the press release, Landrieu "intends to discuss how investments in public safety and infrastructure in cities can make America's cities, and therefore the rest of our country, stronger. He will talk about how New Orleans is a model for how investments in infrastructure, healthcare and education have made his city stronger following Hurricane Katrina."

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

New Breed Brass Band has all instruments stolen while on tour

Posted By on Sat, Jul 23, 2016 at 2:25 PM

New Breed Brass Band performing on WGNO's News With a Twist. - NEW BREED BRASS BAND FACEBOOK
  • New Breed Brass Band performing on WGNO's News With a Twist.
Members of the New Breed Brass Band had their instruments and clothing stolen yesterday in Oregon at the beginning of a monthlong tour of the United States, according to a post on the group's Facebook page:
This morning, July 22nd, while on tour in Albany, OR, our vehicle was broken into in the parking lot of our hotel.
Our possessions were stolen, including our instruments and clothes.
We are currently in La Pine, OR seeking out any help we can get to be able to continue our 30 day tour, of which we have only completed 3 days.
If anyone has any information about the missing instruments please message the New Breed Brass Band or call the Albany Oregon Police Department on 541-917-7680.

Below the cut: The list of stolen instruments, and how you can help these great, hardworking guys. 

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Chicago Tribune columnist: "What I was thinking"

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 6:06 PM

Original online title: ""In Chicago, Wishing For A Hurricane Katrina."
  • Original online title: ""In Chicago, Wishing For A Hurricane Katrina."

Kristen McQueary, the Chicago Tribune editorialist who pissed off vast swaths of New Orleans, Chicago, and the Internet yesterday with her wish that a "Hurricane Katrina" would strike Chicago and clean up that city's "rot," has come back 24 hours later with a "what I meant to say" piece.

Here's what McQueary meant to say, according to her:
I used the hurricane as a metaphor for the urgent and dramatic change needed in Chicago: at City Hall, at the Chicago City Council, at Chicago Public Schools. Our school system is about to go bankrupt, and the city’s pension costs and other massive debts have squeezed out money for basic services.

I wrote what I did not out of lack of empathy, or racism, but out of long-standing frustration with Chicago’s poorly managed finances.
The original column, McQueary wrote, came after a Trib editorial board meeting with Mayor MItch Landrieu, who was in Chicago to talk about the city's recovery — and, presumably, the Katrina10 commemoration, which is designed to both memorialize the tragedy and put forward the city's best face at a time when we once again have the world's gaze.

In that sense, it's a PR campaign, which is fine; that's what a traveling mayor is for. But one hopes an editorial board at one of the country's most powerful newspapers would dig deeper than an elected official's political spin, and all McQueary seemed to carry away from the meeting was this:
Residents overthrew a corrupt government. A new mayor slashed the city budget, forced unpaid furloughs, cut positions, detonated labor contracts. New Orleans' City Hall got leaner and more efficient. Dilapidated buildings were torn down. Public housing got rebuilt. Governments were consolidated.

An underperforming public school system saw a complete makeover. A new schools chief, Paul Vallas, designed a school system with the flexibility of an entrepreneur. No restrictive mandates from the city or the state. No demands from teacher unions to abide. Instead, he created the nation's first free-market education system.

Hurricane Katrina gave a great American city a rebirth.
Unmentioned: billions of dollars in federal recovery money and insurance payouts, which had a lot to do with what progress we've made; bootstraps and volunteerism only goes so far. Dumping that kind of money into Chicago, even without a tragedy, would probably perk up things there as well.

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Duck Dynasty family musical shot down in Vegas, closes after a month

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 7:54 PM

Duck Commander Musical is closing after a month of lackluster ticket sales in Las Vegas. - DUCK COMMANDER MUSICAL
  • Duck Commander Musical is closing after a month of lackluster ticket sales in Las Vegas.

Who could've predicted that Las Vegas visitors wouldn't flock to Duck Commander Musical — a, well, musical based on the Robertson family of reality-TV performers in Monroe?

The Las Vegas Sun reported tonight that Duck Commander Musical will close May 17 at the Rio Las Vegas after about a month of performances:

The show struggled at the box office at the Rio, typically selling fewer than 100 tickets per performance even at deep discounts.
According to the musical's website, the cheap seats were $53 — and despite a star-studded premiere April 15 that brought out big stars like Guy Fieri, reviews were lackluster. As The Hollywood Reporter put it, "What might have been a campy and hilarious look at some good ole boys who hit it big turns out to be a paean to religion and family. With fart jokes."

New Orleans likes a good fart joke as well as any city.So who's going to stage it locally? Southern Rep? AllWays? Mid-City Theater? Running With Scissors? Anyone?

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Our “no-go” governor

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 10:28 AM

In any state budget crisis, citizens and lawmakers would expect the governor to be working hard to figure out ways to raise money or responsibly trim the sails of government, or both. That’s what real governors do. Unfortunately, Louisiana’s budget gap for the 2015-2016 fiscal year dwarfs any that has come before it — $1.4 billion and growing. And while Gov. Bobby Jindal is indeed figuring out ways to scare up large sums of money, he’s not doing it for the state. He’s doing it for himself.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Andru Okun talks about his zine No Place For a Vacation

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Andru Okun, creator of the zine No Place For a Vacation. - JULES BENTLEY
  • Andru Okun, creator of the zine No Place For a Vacation.

The upcoming New Orleans Comics and Zine Fest (NOCAZ) is further proof that zines, a catch-all term for self-published and often small-circulation print periodicals, are just too scrappy to die. They’ve been part of the New Orleans cultural scene since long before the term was coined, though the format hit its subcultural stride nationwide in the '90s through the mid-2000s. While most of the names from our city's zine golden age have moved on to other endeavors, Hope Amico (Keep Loving, Keep Fighting) continues to create beautiful and intricate zines, and the New Orleans underground metal/punk zine Paranoize, begun in 1989, just published their 35th issue. Chainbreaker, a DIY bike repair guidebook, sells briskly in major bookstores nationwide more than a decade since it first saw print as a New Orleans zine.

Our city’s most extraordinary zine-related institution is Robb Roemershauser's Aboveground Zine Library, a collection of more than 15,000 zines from all over the world that spans six decades. It remains in limbo since being gentrified out of the space at 511 Marigny, but Roemershauser has contributed to smaller collections of zines now stocked at some branches of the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL), and over the last few months NOPL has been hosting make-your-own-comics-and-zine workshops for kids.

The latter are part of the buildup to the inaugural NOCAZ, which takes place Nov. 15 at the NOPL's Main Branch (read Kate Watson's preview). NOCAZ describes itself as "a space for self-published artists and thinkers to put their work out... and be able to reach other people without the constraints and expense of the commercial publishing industry."

There are multiple events around NOCAZ, including a zine reading Thursday night featuring several local zine creators. One of those, Andru Okun, has just published an ambitious narrative zine called No Place for a Vacation. It recounts his experiences on a tumultuous 2012 Middle East trip that began with a free "Birthright" tour of Israel designed to make the oft-criticized state appealing to young American Jews. Okun broke off and traveled on his own through Jerusalem into Palestine, where he volunteered at a refugee camp and participated in a rally against the Israeli occupation that came under attack by the Israeli army. As if that weren't enough, Okun then took a surreal sojourn into areas of post-revolution Egypt that had previously been tourist hotspots.

It's a compelling read, elevated above travelogue not only by its events but by Okun's engaging mix of thoughtfulness and humor. No Place for a Vacation's use of a personal lens to explore larger issues make it a good example of zinedom's enduring possibilities. I spoke with Okun about his zine, his upcoming readings and NOCAZ itself.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Ray Nagin trial gets the Taiwanese animation treatment

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Ray Nagin, Taiwanese animation style. - SCREENSHOT/NEXT MEDIA ANIMATION
  • Ray Nagin, Taiwanese animation style.

It used to be that you weren't really news until you were parodied on Saturday Night Live — but the modern equivalent is that you're  not really news until a Taiwanese animation studio dramatizes your story

All hail WWNO-FM's Jason Saul, who found Next Media Animation's take on the rise and fall of Ray Nagin. Go to WWNO's website to read Jason's take on it and watch the video.

Spoiler: Nagin gets eaten by a shark.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cartoonist Walt Handelsman joins The Advocate

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Cartoonist Walt Handelsman. - WALTHANDELSMAN.COM
  • Cartoonist Walt Handelsman.
Walt Handelsman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist whose work appeared in The Times-Picayune from 1989 to 2001 before he decamped to New York Newsday, will return to New Orleans to become staff cartoonist at The New Orleans Advocate.

The decision sounds like a sudden one, according to a press release from The New Orleans Advocate tonight:

Handelsman agreed to join The Advocate over the weekend, after attending Sunday’s New Orleans Saints game with the newspaper’s owners, John and Dathel Georges, General Manager Dan Shea and Editor Peter Kovacs.

“A few years ago at a Tulane art fair, I purchased a brass skeleton key on a chain created by talented local artist and close family friend, Juliet Meeks*,” Handelsman said. “I’m not much of a jewelry-wearing guy, but I’ve worn that key under my shirt every single day as a personal reminder to someday unlock the door and get back home.”

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brewsday Tuesday: Louisiana breweries represent at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver

Posted By on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 9:05 AM

At the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, Keith Pumila of Abita displays the brewery's silver medal in the bock beer category. - NORA MCGUNNIGLE
  • At the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, Keith Pumila of Abita displays the brewery's silver medal in the bock beer category.

The Great American Beer Festival (GABF), held in Denver each October, is the American beer industry’s most prestigious event. More than 49,000 ticketholders, media, judges, volunteers and brewery staff were in attendance over the course of the festival, which was held Oct. 10-12. This year, tickets sold out in only 20 minutes. Even the 624 breweries in attendance had to fight to be included — brewery slots were filled almost as fast as tickets were sold.

Abita and Bayou Teche Brewing were able to sign up for GABF right away, and NOLA Brewing joined them after a short stint on the waiting list. The Louisiana breweries took their responsibilities to represent the state seriously. As Derek Domingue, Bayou Teche’s sales and marketing representative, reported, “people were so intrigued to hear about how we involve our culture in everything we do from our beer, music, food, art and just simple good living.”

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ed Blakely is about to start rebuilding Sydney, Australia — one shopping mall at a time

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 10:48 AM


Dr. Ed Blakely watchers know that former Mayor Ray Nagin's "recovery czar" declared mission accomplished on the rebuilding of New Orleans in 2009 and took his metaphorical "cranes in the sky" to Australia, where he now works with the University of Sydney's United States Study Centre (bless their hearts).

But now Blakely has a new challenge. He's teaming up with "urban designer" Ethan Kent to revitalize a shopping mall in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta.

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