Thursday, July 24, 2014

Emeril launches new line of tortilla chips

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM

New Orleans chef, television personality and general force of nature Emeril Lagasse has another feather to add to his cap: tortilla chip mogul.

In partnership with CoPak Solutions — an organic, kosher, gluten-free tortilla chip company based in North Carolina — Emeril has launched a line of three loosely New Orleans-flavored tortilla chips. The chips, which are packaged in understated, color-blocked bags with a large picture of Emeril on the front, come in Bam! BBQ, Essence and Sweet Potato.

While the flavors seem promising, the two I sampled — Bam! BBQ and Essence — were lackluster, with dull, washed-out seasoning. (The Bam! BBQ is the better of the two, with a slight mesquite sweetness.) The chip texture was the most unfortunate part, with an odd density and chewiness that probably wouldn't hold up well for dipping purposes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the sweet potato is a more complex and crispy option.

Emeril's tortilla chips are currently available in Bam! BBQ and Essence at Rouse's Uptown.

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Nick Cave documentary gets single advance screening tonight at Zeitgeist

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 10:58 AM

20,000 Days on Earth, a new film about underground rock icon Nick Cave, gets a one-time preview screening tonight, July 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Zeitgeist Movies, 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. The film examines Cave's famously open creative process and reportedly skirts the line between documentary and fiction. Cave co-wrote the film with its directors, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, who are known for short art films and documentaries that recreate major cultural events.

The film opens nationwide in the fall and will begin a full run at Zeitgeist on Oct. 10. Tickets for tonight's screening are $10 and seating is limited. More info here.

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Review: Dying City

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Monica Harris stars in Dying City. - LARRY GRAHAM
  • Monica Harris stars in Dying City.

If you wanted to draw up a short list of subjects that might make a drama seem too heavy, you could start with 9/11, the Iraq War, grieving a lost spouse, infidelity and possible child abuse of a minor character who never appears onstage. Dying City has all of those. But Christopher Shinn’s compact drama is strangely and starkly compelling as it digs into the unusual triangle of relationships between Kelly, her dead husband Craig and his twin brother Peter. The play was nominated for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and lost to Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County.

At Shadowbox Theatre, Monica Harris’ engaging performance as Kelly propels the drama’s fiery revelations at a nexus of grief and change. Kelly is in her apartment packing when Peter (Matt Story) makes a surprise visit. They haven’t seen each other since Craig’s funeral the year before, and Peter wants to know if she is supsicious about the U.S. Army’s explanation of Craig’s death in Iraq.

Peter is still troubled by it, but he’s also in the middle of a personal crisis. He’s an actor and has just had a horrible night onstage, compounded by interpersonal battles with others involved in the production. All of his relationships seem to be burdened with complications, and the chaos bleeds from one partner or friend to the next. It makes him an at best hapless and at worst treacherous figure. At times he seems like a victim of others and other times of his own failure negotiate difficult situations; the ambiguity heightens the drama. Story nicely balances his earnest sense of suffering and underlying neediness.

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Review: The Photographer is a Thief and Mexico, Te Quiero

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Jayme Kalal's photographs are on display at Good Children Gallery.
  • Jayme Kalal's photographs are on display at Good Children Gallery.

I once knew a hobo who called New Orleans “the city of the living dark.” A former engineer who took to riding the rails, he voiced concern about tourism in the French Quarter: “There are secret beings in the shadows that tourists shouldn’t see, and we sure don’t need to see them.” Although Jayme Kalal’s photographs typically seem set around St. Claude Avenue, they often suggest the hobo’s shadowy beings. Sometimes as contorted as pretzels, his figures remind us that New Orleans’ strangeness survives. An untitled image of an oddly attired couple on modified tall bikes (pictured) displays his flair for hallucinatory effects, even as his figures resonate the gritty eloquence of Tom Waits’ dive bar ballads. Those effects, the analog byproducts of antique shutter designs, can be mind-bending, so blacksmith/sculptor Rachel David, photographed in her studio, appears Shiva-like, with four arms and a tool in each hand. But Kalal’s images are more often snatched from the shadow realms where shape-shifting creatures roam the streets, and in the process of capturing them he has created his own original body of work.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

French Quarter town hall meeting on crime brings criticism of NOPD

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 11:18 PM

About 200 people showed up for a town hall organized by District C City Councilmember Nadine Ramsey to discuss crime in New Orleans. French Quarter residents said they were particularly troubled by what they perceived as a lack of police protection. - JEANIE RIESS
  • About 200 people showed up for a town hall organized by District C City Councilmember Nadine Ramsey to discuss crime in New Orleans. French Quarter residents said they were particularly troubled by what they perceived as a lack of police protection.

French Quarter and Treme neighbors showed up at St. Jude Community Center on N. Rampart Street to talk about what they say is a swath of violence that's pervaded the French Quarter over the last several months. It was the second town hall meeting in three days held by District C City Councilmember Nadine Ramsey, and with about 200 people in attendance, about three times as crowded as the July 21 meeting at Holy Angels Convent on St. Claude Avenue in the Bywater.

New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Superintendent Ronal Serpas and Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro mostly reiterated their remarks from Monday's Marigny/Bywater crime meeting. The comments from French Quarter neighbors, however, were more biting than those at Monday's meeting, many directly relating to the June 29 shootings on Bourbon Street that left one person dead and nine injured.

"I'm scared to leave my house at night," said one resident, who later described a woman getting shot to death outside his front door.

Another man said he'd been shot just six months ago and urged Ramsey to find a way to bring more jobs to the neighborhood in an effort to keep people off the streets.

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Watch Best Bars in America visit Buffa's

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Jay Larson and Sean Patton host Best Bars in America. - ESQUIRE NETWORK
  • Esquire Network
  • Jay Larson and Sean Patton host Best Bars in America.

In its 10-episode run, Best Bars in America has comedians Sean Patton and Jay Larson on a nationwide tour checking off David Wondrich's “Best Bars in America” list from Esquire Magazine.

For its latest episode, premiering 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, Patton and Larson look for the best bar food. The show stops in New Orleans — Patton's hometown — at Buffa's. On the menu: boudin balls, a Reuben sandwich and red beans and rice. They also make stops at Port of Call and Hansen's Sno-Bliz.

Consider it a preview for the series' next episode (premiering 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13), which covers the best of New Orleans bars:

Jay and Sean visit New Orleans, Louisiana, the birthplace of both jazz and Sean Patton. From a cigar and cocktail bar, to a wine and cheese shop grown out of the post-Katrina recovery effort, to a jazz club where Sean gives Kermit Ruffins' trumpet a toot, the guys escape Bourbon St. to find a city united by food, music, and 24-hour liquor licenses.

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New Orleans Museum Month extends free admission privileges

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 5:47 PM

The New Orleans Museum of Art will participate in New Orleans Museum Month.
  • The New Orleans Museum of Art will participate in New Orleans Museum Month.

Many local institutions are participating in New Orleans Museum Month in August. Members of a participating museum are eligible for free admission at other venues. So far, the list includes the New Orleans Museum of Art,  Ogden Museum of Southern Art,  National World War II Museum,  Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium,  several Louisiana State Museum properties and others. For information, click here.

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West Elm opens a Magazine Street location July 24

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 4:07 PM

West Elm Opening Preview
West Elm Opening Preview West Elm Opening Preview West Elm Opening Preview West Elm Opening Preview West Elm Opening Preview West Elm Opening Preview West Elm Opening Preview West Elm Opening Preview

West Elm Opening Preview

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Contemporary home furnishings retailer West Elm (2929 Magazine St., 888-922-4119) opens at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 24. A subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma, the store offers furniture, bedding, home accessories and lighting, all designed by an in-house team or handcrafted by international artisans. Eleven Lousiana-based artists have products in the Magazine Street store, the brand's 59th location and first in Louisiana.

"We feature a ton of local makers," says public relations manager Kendall Coleman. "We are working in 15 different countries to create the products you see here ... we embrace indigenous crafts and work with the makers to develop our designs."

Coleman says consumers are increasingly focused on where their food, clothes and cosmetics come from. "That conversation carries over to the home," she says. "[West Elm] has rugs woven in India, pottery from the Phillipines. ...[Customers] want to be able to tell the back story."

The store's 9,000+ square feet (which once housed a filling station) have been renovated with local touches. A display of flattened horns hangs behind the register counter and reclaimed shutters and pressed tin tiles decorate the walls and ceiling.

"West Elm is focused on becoming a part of Magazine Street," says West Elm creative director Vanessa Holden. "The building is so fantastic; the installations are so particular to the market and the local selection is incredibly exciting. There is a great design community here we want to be a part of."

The store offers free design services and will host workshops and craft nights. The first 300 customers to spend more than $50 at its grand opening (10 a.m. Thursday, July 24) receive a free tote bag by The Grove Street Press.

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Video: The Rachel Maddow Show reports on this week's anti-abortion protests in New Orleans

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 2:19 PM


MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show did a lengthy segment last night on this week's anti-abortion protests in New Orleans, which are being organized by the group Operation Save America (OSA). Maddow interviewed DuVergne Gaines, National Clinic Access Project Director at the Feminist Majority Foundation, and had lots of footage of protests, which have been taking place all week in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

Maddow also included the brouhaha over the city's proclamation honoring OSA (which was "issued in error," Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office said yesterday). Maddow gave hat tips to local websites NOLA Defender (for its coverage of a mock "funeral" in Jackson Square of what OSA was an aborted fetus) and Uptown Messenger, which broke the story about the city honoring OSA.

Emails to OSA inquiring about the proclamation and the group's experiences in New Orleans have not been returned. A petition asking the city to rescind the erroneous proclamation has more than 1,200 signatures as of today. 

A pro-choice rally called the "Vigil for Choice and Access" will be held at Duncan Plaza (across from New Orleans City Hall) at 6 p.m. July 24. The rally is being held by the New Orleans Abortion Fund.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Take home New Orleans iced coffee: the latest trend?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 6:42 PM


New Orleans-style iced coffee seems to be having a moment both nationally and locally, with companies releasing two take home versions of this barista favorites in rapid succession.

The New Orleans-style iced coffee from Oakland, California-based artisan roaster and latte-art wunderkind Blue Bottle is now available in San Francisco and New York grocery stores in an adorably small, twee milk carton-style box. Not to be outdone locally, this week PJ's Coffee released its new iced coffee concentrate, which can be purchased at stores across the city and used to craft the perfect coffee drink at home.

Blue Bottle's chicory-heavy New Orleans iced coffee is cold brewed for 18 hours with organic chicory and has proven to be one of the most popular of the company's coffee creations. The PJ's take — a "signature cold-drip process" — helps to create a coffee that is two-thirds less acidic and "well-known by fans throughout New Orleans and beyond."

"As the pioneer of the cold drip process, we’ve perfected our 24-hour cold-brew technique, resulting in a higher-quality product that is significantly less acidic than traditional hot coffee," said PJ’s roast master Felton Jones. "We’re allowing our customers to use their imagination and create a variety of drink experiences within their own homes.”

The local chain has no plans to release the concentrate into grocery stores as of yet, but it is available at every PJ's location. (No word on if the Blue Bottle variety will ever arrive in its namesake town.)

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