A New Orleans company better known for daiquiris and pizza slices in the French Quarter plans to open a much different concept on Magazine Street.
Renovations are now underway for a pizzeria called Amici, which will serve pizzas prepared in a coal-fired oven. The restaurant is expected to open around mid-June at 3218 Magazine St., which had been the home of Byblos before that Middle Eastern restaurant moved a block up the street last year.
Amici is being development by the same management company that runs Jester Mardi Gras Daiquiris and Pizza (its motto: “Home of the World’s Strongest Drink”). Jester operates three daiquiri shops on Bourbon Street and a fourth in Destin, Fla. and has a related beverage mix supply company.
Access to locally-produced foods is improving quickly around New Orleans. How quickly? Just ask someone gearing up for this year’s Eat Local Challenge, which asks people who sign up to eat foods produced within a 200-mile radius of New Orleans for the month of June.
“It’s so much easier now than when we started this, and that was just three years ago,” says Lee Stafford, co-founder of the annual event. “We can get more food at the grocery stores and there are more specialty shops for some of the stuff that had been hard to find before, especially meat. The first week is still hard, but once your refrigerator is filled with all local items you’re good to go.”
Stafford and Dr. Leslie Brown, a Covington pediatrician, started the Eat Local Challenge after learning about a similar event in the Midwest. They saw a New Orleans challenge as a way to encourage people to explore the richness of our local foods and connect with local food producers.
While a lot of this comes down to making careful decisions when choosing foods, the Eat Local Challenge has evolved into a month of events, from workshops on making your own wine, sausage or gelato, to a bicycle tour of urban gardens to wild berry foraging excursions over the levee along the batture.
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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.
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