Note: A fund has been set up to support Deborah Cotton while she recovers from her injuries suffered in the Mother's Day shooting. You can learn more about the fund and donate here.
“It is my belief that you don’t choose New Orleans — New Orleans chooses you. Those who have fallen for her, live with her, are sprung, lost and turned out in love with her, know exactly what I mean. Ain’t no amount of wind, water, gunfire, potholes, ‘ignant’ politics or doomsday predictions can pry your death grip from her. Come hell or high water, you stay — or return.
“She makes you high from laughing too much and too long. She breaks your heart till you’re crying on the kitchen floor. She haunts you, melts you and is just a damn joy to live in.
“I think she’s a cult.”
— From the introduction of Notes From New Orleans (2007), by Deborah Cotton
Deborah Cotton, a tireless chronicler of the New Orleans brass band and second-line community and a Gambit contributor, was among the 19 people shot when a gunman opened fire on revelers at the Original Big 7 Social Aid & Pleasure Club’s annual Mother’s Day second line. She continues to recover at Interim LSU Public Hospital.
Cotton, 48, was raised in Texas and Oklahoma. She majored in African-American studies at San Francisco State University before moving to Los Angeles. After 15 years of visiting New Orleans, she moved to the city in 2005 shortly before Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failures.
After an evacuation to Houston by cab (“Taking a cab from New Orleans to Houston is certainly an original, if not inexpensive way to escape Armageddon,” she wrote breezily), Cotton returned to her adopted city with a mission to chronicle some of New Orleans’ most important but underreported traditions: second lines, brass bands, social aid and pleasure clubs, Mardi Gras Indians and the rich culture of her new neighborhood, Treme. Cotton blogged, photographed and filmed the events, eventually publishing a 2007 book titled Notes From New Orleans. Its subtitle — “Spicy, colorful tales of politics, people, food, drink, men, music and life in post-breaches New Orleans” — summed it up.
VIDEOROVER: Season 5 is the latest program of experimental videos from New York-based non-profit organization NURTUREart. It will screen tonight, May 18, at 7 p.m. at Press Street's Antenna Galley, 3718 St. Claude Avenue. The program is described as "a selection of videos focusing on the mystification or de-mystification of a single character or group. They serve as quasi-fictional documentaries, leaving the viewer to decide the level of truth." Seating for the event is limited. A reception with curator Rachel Steinberg will follow the event. More info here.
The alienated teenage protagonist of award-winning French Canadian film I Killed My Mother doesn’t actually do the evil deed of the title — it’s not that kind of movie — but you might not entirely blame him if he did. Hubert (Xavier Dolan) and his annoying mom Chantale (Anne Dorval) fight like star-crossed lovers, but their vivid love-hate relationship feels all too familiar to the many of us who barely survived adolescence. Complicating matters is Hubert’s status as a gay teen, which is only an issue because he hasn’t managed to communicate this simple fact to his mother despite all their endless chatter. Both writer-director and star of his own debut as a filmmaker, then-19-year-old Dolan (the film was made in 2009 but held from widespread distribution by a protracted legal battle) has called the film autobiographical, and it has the low budget, handmade feel to match that pedigree. The pace is little slower than it should be, but Dolan’s movie manages to walk a fine line between Woody Allen-style black comedy and more conventional coming-of-age domestic drama.
I Killed My Mother starts Tuesday, May 21, exclusively at Zeitgeist Movies.
It’s not easy to make a film about events surrounding World War II that’s essentially different from all those that have come before. Since the mid-1940s an average of at least 20 major World War II films have been produced internationally each year, a pace that has remained surprisingly steady even after the internet made it much easier to keep tabs on such things. Labeled “a German-Australian official co-production,” Lore is a World War II movie unlike all the others. It turns the tables on cinematic convention by telling the story of a group of German children — the offspring of defiant, swastika-wearing Nazi’s — as they try to survive the weeks immediately following the end of the war and make their way on foot across Germany to the relative safety of their grandmother’s house. This is a morally ambiguous path for a film to tread, and one that connects easily with a 21st-century world in which people of all nationalities cling to their own righteous version of the truth.
Led by the eldest sibling — the 14-year-old, blonde-and-blue-eyed Lore — the kids face unimaginable horrors on their voyage through a seemingly post-apocalyptic landscape. Lore holds on to her ingrained hatred of Jews even when surrounded by the murder, sexual assault, squalor, and starvation that were caused by it. But you can’t help being sympathetic to all the kids’ plight, especially given the innocence of the younger siblings. Australian co-writer and director Cate Shortland shot her film largely in extreme close-up, reveling in visual detail to enhance the intimacy of the story. She uses a German-language version of her script for its inherent authenticity. Surprisingly, these choices never seem arty or gimmicky. Lore may wind up in a different place than she started, but there’s no escaping the identity thrust upon her by her heritage.
Lore starts today, Friday, May 17, exclusively at Chalmette Movies.
New Orleans Police Department officers arrested another suspect related to the Mother's Day second line shootings. This afternoon, Monique Pepe, 19, was charged with being an accessory to attempted second degree murder for allegedly hiding 24-year-old Shawn Scott, who was arrested along with his 19-year-old brother Akein Scott. Authorities identified the brothers as the shooters.
Pepe also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of heroin, and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.
Pepe's arrest brings the number of arrests to seven in connection to the shootings. Yesterday morning, authorities also arrested Justin Alexander, 19, Brandy George, 28, Bionca Hickerson, 22, and Nekia Youngblood, 32, who allegedly helped hide Akein Scott. They all were charged with accessory after the fact to attempted second degree murder and obstruction of justice for harboring a fugitive.
A number of restaurants have recently expanded their service, adding new options of note around town.
In the French Quarter, Kingfish added lunch this week. This new restaurant debuted about a month ago with chef Greg Sonnier, of pre-Katrina’s Gabrielle fame, running the kitchen. Like the dinner menu, lunch is an offbeat take on Louisiana flavors. There’s a smoked rabbit gumbo, duck hash, pork and grits stew, a buffalo burger and “boudinandouille,” which is a link of the chef’s own andouille stuffed with boudin, wrapped with puff pastry and served with greens. Lunch is served daily and most daytime entrees are between $12 and $14.
Meanwhile, the restaurant is also now building out Counter by Kingfish, a casual carry-out and service counter spinoff that looks like it could be for Kingfish what the Link Restaurant Group’s Butcher is to Cochon. Located right next door to Kingfish (and sharing a kitchen), Counter by Kingfish will serve sandwiches, salads and butcher case specialties. Sonnier expects it to open sometime in June.
(NOTE:Gambit's regular second line correspondent, Deborah "Big Red" Cotton was one of the 19 shooting victim's during the Mother's Day second line so I will be taking over her duties until she recovers. A replacement blood drive to benefit victims of the shooting will take place Wednesday May 22 on Frenchmen Street. A benefit concert is being held Thursday May 23 at Tipitina's. Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the victims.)
This week's second line, which will be closing down parts of St. Charles Avenue, is being dedicated to the victims of the Mother's Day second line shooting. Speaking over the phone, Divine Ladies Social Aid & Pleasure Club President Angelina Sever said that a special thanks goes out to Deborah Cotton.
"Deborah Cotton was a big supporter of the Divine Ladies so we're doing a special thanks in our show to her," Sever said. "We want everyone to keep everything good and hope we can stop all this killing and all the violence."
Route details after the jump. Click here for a map of the route.
Gambit’s Foundation for Entertainment Development and Education, Tipitina’s Foundation, United Way of Southeast Louisiana and Silence Is Violence have joined forces to host a special benefit concert for the 19 victims of the May 12 shooting. The concert will be next Thursday (May 23) at Tipitina’s, 501 Napoleon Ave., and will feature local brass bands, Mardi Gras Indians, and other musicians and entertainers. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Tickets to the benefit are $40 in advance and are available online via Ticketweb.
The organizations also announced formation of The 19 Fund, a special fund-raising effort to aid the 19 victims of the May 12 shooting — and future victims of violence in greater New Orleans. The 19 Fund was the brainchild of representatives of the four nonprofits as well as several concerned citizens who volunteered to help victims of the shooting. The mission of The 19 Fund is “to help victims of violence heal physically, financially and emotionally.”
All proceeds from the May 23 benefit concert — and all funds raised by The 19 Fund — will be turned over to United Way, which will serve as fiscal agent for The 19 Fund at no charge. Silence Is Violence will coordinate victim services, which will include financial aid as well as help accessing other free and discounted social services from governmental and nonprofit sources. Details of how The 19 Fund will provide assistance to the 19 victims of the May 12 shooting (and future victims) are available on the Ticketweb page for the concert.
The benefit concert has drawn support from several notable entertainers. Fats Domino, actor Wendell Pierce of HBO’s “Tremé” series, and Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr. have volunteered to serve as honorary co-chairs of the benefit. Harrison also will perform with his band, The Congo Square Nation, in full Mardi Gras Indian dress. Other performers include The Hot 8 Brass Band, The Stooges Brass Band and Bonerama. Tipitina’s Foundation is lining up additional performers, who will be announced in the coming days.
All proceeds of the benefit — 100 percent of ticket and drink sales — will go to The 19 Fund to assist victims.
Returning to the intersection of Frenchmen and North Villere streets, city officials and law enforcement announced the capture of second line shooting suspect Akein Scott as well as his brother, 24-year-old Shawn Scott, and four others.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas confirmed Shawn Scott as the second shooting suspect. In 2007, Scott pleaded guilty in possession of cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to five years probation. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin and was to serve an eight year sentence. He was out on parole until December 2015. Like his brother Akein, Scott was charged this morning with 20 counts of second degree attempted murder. (A person was trampled by the crowd following the shooting and has been identified among the victims, hence the 20 counts of attempted second degree murder.)
"Shawn has a lengthy record and has demonstrated his contempt for New Orleans," Serpas said.
Serpas also announced Justin Alexander, 19, Brandy George, 28, Bionca Hickerson, 22, and Nekia Youngblood, 32, allegedly helped hide Akein Scott. They all have been charged with accessory after the fact to attempted second degree murder and obstruction of justice for harboring a fugitive.
The blood drive will be held Wed., May 22 from 3 to 9 p.m. at 617 Frenchmen St. (the site of the Frenchmen Art Market). The Original Big 7 Social Aid & Pleasure Club, which held the second line near where the shootings took place, will be in attendance, and Erica Dudas of the Musicians' Clinic said there will be live music at the event.
The Spotted Cat, d.b.a. and Snug Harbor are assisting with the event, and clubs along Frenchmen Street will be open to give donors a place to wait out of the sun.
Donors are particularly needed from 6-9 p.m., according to Dudas. If you want to donate blood, please email email@example.com with the following information: 1) full name 2) full address 3) phone number and 4) preferred donation time.
"Our goal is 50 pints of blood," Dudas told Gambit this morning, "but now we're hoping for more."
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