Thursday, July 31, 2008

NPR discovers Willie Mae's Scotch House

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 1:43 AM

National Public Radio can't get enough of New Orleans these days. Today it was a five-minute report on Willie Mae's Scotch House, the Tremé lunchtime institution run by Willie Mae Seaton and her great-granddaughter Kerry Seaton.

The online article even comes with photos by Gambit contributor Cheryl Gerber (aka The Hardest Working Girl in the Camera Business) and the Southern Foodways Alliance's Pableaux Johnson. (The SFA has been a relentless champion of the restaurant, spearheading rebuilding and fundraising efforts for two years now.)

Interesting quote about Kerry Seaton:

Kerry Seaton now acts as cook, business manager and spokesperson for Willie Mae.

The younger Seaton has been mentored by renowned New Orleans chefs such as John Besh. She'd like to open another restaurant, perhaps in the French Quarter — and maybe, someday, make Willie Mae's Scotch House a national franchise.


Sedrick Ellis talks really, really fast.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 12:08 AM

ellis squat

Like crazy, super fast. Like so fast that his-almost-10-minute-press-conference-felt-like-just-under-five-minutes fast. Like I-thought-he-was-from-California-what's-the-deal? fast.  Like — OK, y'all get the picture.

Continue reading »

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Head Says NO(AH) More

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 12:07 AM

During today's City Council committee hearing regarding New Orleans Affordable Homeownership (NOAH), a nonprofit agency hired to remediate homes for the elderly and low-income homeowners, Councilmember Stacy Head proposed a resolution that the City Council  pledged that “no future moneys should be allocated to NOAH.”

     The Nagin administration has stated the NOAH remediation program was suspended in July 2007 and is no longer receiving city funding for operation. NOAH’s offices are located in the Aamco Building on Poydras Street, and, as Councilmember Head put it, “co-located” with the city’s Office of Recovery and Development Administration.

     Tonya Durden, NOAH’s interim director, said that the nonprofit agency has continued to operate based on funding from its 2007 contract with the city. She added that NOAH currently employs four people in its office.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In defense of Joyola

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 11:27 PM

As Kevin Allman mentioned in a previous post, Loyola and Tulane not-so-surprisingly snagged spots on the Princeton Review’s party school list for this year.


As a student at the less famous Uptown university, this is simultaneously hilarious and embarrassing, especially since the only other lists Loyola appears on are “Lots of Hard Liquor,” “Students Study the Least,” “Town-Gown Relations Are Great” (or, “Loyal Patrons of Area Bars”) and … “Best College Library.”


I can’t help to wonder if the Princeton Review people have ever visited to the J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library. Sure — in pictures it looks good, with its cool computers and large-screen televisions, but it’s really just a thinly-veiled trading post for Adderall around finals time. There’s also an entire Facebook group devoted to getting busy (and I’m not talking about studying) in the library’s “vast learning facilities.” It more closely resembles a crowded bar at times than it does a learning hub.


But when I’m not consuming excess amounts of hard liquor or not studying in our award-winning library, I’ve managed to get a pretty decent education. And because our classes are small (possibly because of low attendance…), I’m afforded an “intimate” learning experience and close relationships with my professors, who have provided useful job connections. Overall, I feel like I’ve had a quality college experience at the good value of only 30 thousand dollars a year.


(At least we didn’t fare as poorly as University of New Orleans, who only made the “Ugliest Campus” and “Dorms Like Dungeons” lists. Yikes.)



An odd NOAH poll

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 10:28 PM

WWL-TV is running one of those unscientific, click-here Web polls. Is it just me, or do any big names seem to be missing -- like the now-departed agency director? 



For Gumbo's Sake: A Dunbar's Fund Raiser

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 9:31 PM

Long before the Red Bull fad, plenty of New Orleans people caught an energy blast from the incredibly sweet tea served in such huge portions at Dunbar's Creole Cooking.

And before "extra value meal" was a trademarked marketing ploy from McDonald's, Dunbar's ridiculously generous red beans and fried chicken plates were a well-known way to stretch your dollar and fill your belly with the goodness of local cooking.

Dunbar's was hit hard by the levee failures and managed an unorthodox reopening in a spot in Loyola University's Broadway Activities Center, which is open to the public.

But the Dunbar family is working to move back to Freret Street and to help pay for repairs to the original building they are throwing a fund raiser this Friday. Here are the details:

What: “A Night to Remember” Benefit Gala, with live entertainment, buffet dinner and open bar

When: Aug.1, 7 p.m. -11p.m.

Where: Loyola Law Center, 501 Pine St., New Orleans

Tickets: $50 per person or $75 per couple, available at Dunbar’s in the Loyola Law Center (501 Pine St., 861-5451); the Freret Neighborhood Center (4605 Freret St., 373-6403); from the Dunbar family (220-1066); or at the door.

For more about the Dunbar family and their restaurant, check out this oral history conducted by New Orleans author and former Gambit Weekly restaurant critic Sara Roahen.

-- Ian McNulty


The 411 (and the 311) on the city's I.T. director stepping aside

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 8:04 PM

From the press release:

Effective August 1, 2008, Anthony Jones, Interim Technology Director will return to his previous civil service position as Management Information Systems (MIS) Director. The City will name a permanent director for the technology division within 90 - 180 days according to Chief Administrative Officer, Dr. Brenda Hatfield.

According to Civil Service policy, a classified employee may request leave from a position and then return to it, particularly in the case of interim director positions. Jones will return to his classified MIS position, where he will be assigned to Capital Projects. He will receive the standard civil service approved salary.

On August 4, M. Harrison Boyd will step in as Interim Director while the City continues its search. Boyd has extensive management and consulting experience in the fields of information technology, e-commerce, and economic and community development.

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Shepherd Suspended

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 6:42 PM

 Louisiana Senate President Joel Chaisson has suspended Sen. Derrick Shepherd’s right to participate on senate committees until the West Bank lawmaker’s legal woes are resolved.


Chaisson says Shepherd has accepted the suspension.

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Saints (morning) Scuttlebutt: 7/30

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Hallelujah! Sedrick Ellis finally signed a 5-year deal with the Saints, ending his holdout. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Jeremy Shockey and the Giants' relationship went sour last year.

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...I said NOAH, NOAH, NOAH

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 3:43 AM

As We Could Be Famous reported earlier this evening:

HUD, the FBI, and New Orleans' inspector general have all opened up investigations into NOAH.

WWLTV will report this later.

And indeed the station did, in yet another excellent report by Lee Zurik. It was 7-8 minutes long, and WWL just has the prècis on its website at the moment (the video will probably be up soon), but these are the high points:

Eyewitness News has learned that New Orleans Inspector General Robert Cerasoli, HUD and the FBI have launched investigations into the city’s non-profit agency – New Orleans Affordable Home Ownership – and the home remediation program that ran from December 2006 to July 2007.

In addition, Mayor Ray Nagin has asked the city’s Office of Recovery to look into the matter, according to Ceeon Quiett, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

The investigations follow a series of reports by Eyewitness News that raised questions about the program.

What a difference a week makes in City Hall:

“How is that report helping this recovery?” Nagin asked at a July 22 press conference. “It is not, and it's hurting this city, and you need to stop it.”

From "stop it" to "we're looking into it" in one week.

It's fair to say that Zurik is owning this story in the mainstream media right now, but he's sharing custody with some dogged New Orleans bloggers who have been providing excellent digging and reportage, two of the most prominent being We Could Be Famous and Karen Gadbois of Squandered Heritage, who smelled a story first...and cared enough about their city's recovery to do something about it.

With these people on it -- and others -- I don't think the story is over yet. Not by a long shot.

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