According to the Los Angeles Times, New Orleans -- I mean, the Big Easy -- is taking the destruction of the Louisiana coastline, the wholesale wipeout of marine life, the loss of our fragile marshes, the pollution of the Gulf of Mexico, the possible destruction of the shrimp and oyster beds, the very real prospect of hundreds (if not thousands) of people out of work...
Because, I suppose, we're the "Big Easy." And all. Home of the gumbo party. And the lazy, lazy media narrative about us is that we know how to throw a Mardi Gras, but we don't give a damn about anything else. The oil company cock-up that is currently poisoning our home happens to be all anyone here can talk about, but that doesn't fit the L.A. Times' media narrative of how New Orleanians are supposed to be, so...laissez les bon temps crappy headline writing, y'all.
And I saw this attitude in the aftermath of Katrina and the federal floods -- we all saw this attitude in the aftermath of Katrina and the federal floods -- and this sense of horror and helplessness we feel does not need to be compounded by someone whose major research seems to be talking to a clerk at the Louisiana Music Factory and concluding that New Orleans is taking this with a "shrug."
We may not have control over the oil company that is ruining our coastline, but we sure as hell don't have to sit still and be insulted by the media.
So, L.A. Times and any other lazy, lazy media outlet: we're not taking this with a "shrug."
(Above quote from U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar)
A confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster in the Gulf makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf.
The following is not public," reads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Ops document dated April 28. "Two additional release points were found today. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought.
In scientific circles, an order of magnitude means something is 10 times larger. In this case, an order of magnitude higher would mean the volume of oil coming from the well could be 10 times higher than the 5,000 barrels a day coming out now. That would mean 50,000 barrels a day, or 2.1 million gallons a day. It appears the new leaks mentioned in the Wednesday release are the leaks reported to the public late Wednesday night."
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson:
This well was drilled with expectations if there were explosion and failure, a blowout preventer would close leaking. When that failed, BP took actions designed to take other actions along the riser on the well to close off oil flow. None of those worked. ... We need to move more speedily to protect wetlands, marshes, and the ecosystem here. Federal government stands not just to support BP but to move aggressively to support parishes, residents, affected areas, businesses, fishermen, stores, all who've had livelihoods endangered. ... We will make sure that response is there, it's strong, coordianted and designed to minimize harm."
Above is footage of Trombone Shorty, our beloved Treme-tian, playing the title track from his new CD Backatown at the Louisiana Music Factory during their free Jazz Fest in-store concerts happening this week. Universal Records recently signed our boy and his Orleans Avenue Band to his first record deal under a genre he and his bandmates created call SupaFunkRock, of which I concur. Its really unlike anything else out there, just like his hometown New Orleans.
I couldnt get thru the throngs to get over and talk to Troy Michael (thats what his people him and were all his people) but I got some side time with his percussionist Dwayne Williams who is also plays bass drum for The Stooges Brass Band. Dwayne, whos 23 years old, grew up across the street from Troy Michael on Robertson and Dumaine, the epicenter of Where It Goes Down in Treme and has been playing music with him since they were both three years old. Dwayne shared a great story about his childhood days playing in the original Trombone Shorty Brass Band which included Troys cousin Glen David Andrews, Sammy Cyrus from The Hot 8, and Travis Nelson.
We used to play for tips in the French Quarter. The cops came and arrested us one day for disturbing the peace... They piled us all in the back of the police car with our instruments and took right over there to that station on Royal St. When our parents came to pick us up, we asked, Wheres our money? They said, You didnt have any money and handed us some change, dimes and quarters. But we had around $3,000 and they kept that.
The little musicians, however, werent taking getting played by the NOPD. They protested for three weeks straight, marching from the French Quarter to City Hall. Dwayne laughed, Sam wore a homemade sign that said We Went To Jail For Playing Music. Weeks of protesting, court appearances and public pressure led to the passage by the City Council of an ordinance that allows musicians to play music in the French Quarter without threat of being arrested. As of press time, I wasnt able to confirm the actual ordinance language, but if its true - which seems completely plausible to me - we have Trombone Shorty and his people to thank for pioneering more than just SupaFunkRock - they trailblazed the road for musicians rights in New Orleans. So next time you see Troy Michael, Dwayne anem, make sure you give them their props.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will be performing at Jazz Fest Sunday from 2-3pm at the Gentilly Stage. This is where you go for that FIRE. And make sure and listen up for my new favorite jam (a lot of ladies favorite actually) called Show Me Something Beautiful.
Chouval Bwa is both the name of this type of hand-cranked carousel and the music performed by a small orchestra of percussion, accordion, flute and kazoo players while it rotates. Chouval bwa means "wooden horse" in Creole French, and the carousels are native to Martinique. This particular carousel was restored in 1996 from the remains of an antique one - some wooden parts were replaced with an aluminum boat hull to make it more portable. The carnival entertainment first appeared at Jazz Fest in 2003. It returns this weekend and is set up on the lawn between the large infield food area and Congo Square.
These are the latest National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) graphs outlining the next two days of the oil slick's projected paths. Click the image for a larger version.
When humorist David Sedaris came out on the stage of the Mahalia Jackson Theater with just a bottle of water and a notebook April 29, the audience might have been primed for the sort of outrageous family tales that made him a best-selling author and an NPR star. Instead, they got outrageous essays and stories instead, which were no less funny for being fictional. In Just a Quick Email, a chipper, passive-aggressive yuppie sends words of encouragement to a much less fortunate friend (You can either live in the past as a bitter, broken paraplegic, or ...). Funniest of all were two selections from an forthcoming collection of essays Sedaris described as a bestiary. In one, a suburban Irish setter contemplates his unhappy marriage his wife is having an affair with the bulldog across the street and his immense relief when her puppies find new homes (I don't care what you hear about stepparenting; it is different when they're not yours).
Sedaris also read selections from his diary (a story about getting a haircut in a black women's salon in Memphis was the best), and took questions from the audience, which turned out to be time that could have been better spent on more storytelling such as his squirm-inducing wait in an endless airport line next to a proper old lady, while in front of them stood a teenage father with a baby under his arm and the words FREAKY MOTHAF***A printed on the back of his T-shirt. (Sedaris' explication of the choices the teenager might have found LESS acceptable for a flight had the audience roaring.) There were a few walkouts when he delivered some mild political material and ruminated on why you never see an unattractive Jesus on a crucifix, but the vast majority of the crowd loved it all and tromped happily to the lobby afterward for a booksigning. (The reading was part of the inaugural season of the New Orleans Speakers' Series, which concludes May 20 with an appearance by Garrison Keillor.)
It's the second and final week. The four-day stretch. The long weekend. The polarizing sigh of relief from pessimistic locals or the last gas before a slow summer. Don't get too bored:
During the exhibition of Miss Panacea's puppets and videos and Quintron's Drum Buddy, Quintron has punched a clock and been in residence at the New Orleans Museum of Art recording his forthcoming album Parallel Universe (all previewed in Gambit here). For the past week, Quintron has haunted City Park around the clock, collecting ambient sounds for the album. The listening party for the project is tonight at NOMA. A specially curated listening part (blindfolds recommended) begins at 6 p.m. in Stern Auditorium. A party featuring the album follows in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden (7 p.m.-10 p.m.). The exhibition runs through Sunday, May 2. The album will be released in the fall.
Award-winning urban studies journalist and author Roberta Gratz presides over the second annual Jane Jacobs lecture, "The Battle for New Orleans" 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, April 29 at the Louisiana Humanities Center (938 Lafayette St.). The lecture precedes the weekend's annual Jane's Walks, informal neighborhood tours throughout New Orleans.
Gambit presented the 22nd annual Big Easy Awards on Apr. 19 at a party at the Sugar Mill. The awards, which are given out for excellence in local theater and music, drew a crowd of several hundred for dinner, drinks and performances. Proceeds from the event support Big Easy Foundation grants in performing arts education and development.
Performers, nominees and presenters included Harry Shearer, Bryan Batt and John Goodman, as well as a slew of New Orleans musicians from Troy Andrews (Entertainer of the Year) to Kermit Ruffins, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Germaine Bazzle, the McDonogh 35 High School Choir and DJ Soul Sister. One of the evening's highlights was a collaboration between DJ Jubilee and the Imagination Movers.
The complete list of winners is in this week's paper, as well as online -- and check out the video as well:
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