Monday, August 30, 2010

New Orleans Saints opening parade "cast" and NFL krewe

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 9:37 PM

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Pre-game festivities for the NFL season opener between the Saints and the Minnesota Vikings (7:30 p.m. Thur., Sept 9) include a Mardi Gras-style parade (with floats by Blaine Kern Studios) through the French Quarter and music by the Dave Matthews Band and Taylor Swift. The Krewe of NFL parade route starts at Esplanade and North Peters Street, proceeds along North Peters, merging on to Decatur and then back to North Peters, and then it feeds on to Tchoupitoulas Street and ends at Julia Street. The concert is at Jackson Square and the stage will be on the river side of Decatur Street facing the square. The parade however, is not a parade between Dumaine and Toulouse streets, says NOPD. For those blocks, it's an event being orchestrated by NBC for its pregame broadcast (6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.). The staging is expected to intersperse songs, floats passing by the Jackson Square on-camera set and segments with Bob Costas. People who wish to be close to the stage can apply for tickets to be in the "casted audience." An NFL spokesperson and the ticket website say tickets are first come, first serve. Also, access to Jackson Square will be restricted to ticket holders.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Post Katrina: In Honor Of Our City's Future - Brandon Franklin August 20, 1987 - May 9, 2010

Posted By on Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Brandon Franklin

Three years ago, filmmaker Spike Lee and CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien gave video cameras to several New Orleans teens to document their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Brandon Franklin, saxophonist for To Be Continued Brass Band, was one of those children. (2:38 mark) He survived the floodwaters and went on to become a young father and a beloved and widely respected musician and teacher. He was gunned down on Mother’s Day this year at the age of 22.

Although TBC has been one of my favorite brass bands for years, I didn’t know Brandon very well and had only hung out with him a few times in the weeks just prior to his death. Yet writing an article about the loss of this young man has been one of the most difficult assignments I’ve ever faced, harder in some ways even than reporting from Ground Zero after Hurricane Katrina. Before the levee breaches, folks in New Orleans joked after every storm, somewhat morbidly, about how we dodged a bullet, ‘The Big One’ that would surely one day hit and fill our bowl-shaped city with water. Five years after surviving a near fatal wound we, the ‘resilient' ones, have finally turned a corner in the recovery of our city. But we’re also still dodging bullets that threaten to take out what we’ve fought so vigilantly these last five years to save - a future for New Orleans. We all must commit ourselves to addressing this threat if we’re truly going to redeem this city. Brandon’s story serves as a testimony to what’s worth saving in New Orleans and a portending of darker days should we fail to heed its warning.

Continue reading »

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tributes in Lower Ninth Ward for the 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina 8-29-10

Posted By on Sat, Aug 28, 2010 at 5:26 PM

??8:30-11:30am: ‘Bravery, Strength, Resilience’

Memorial Celebration Will begin at The Lower Nine Monument, Tennessee St. at N. Claiborne.  United States Congresswoman Maxine Waters to serve as keynote speaker.

10:00am-6:00pm: 5th Annual Katrina Commemoration March

Healing Ceremony located at Jourdan Road and North Galvez at the levee breach in the Lower 9th Ward. March starts immediately after reading of names, going down Claiborne Ave ending at Hunter’s Field (St. Bernard Ave. at Claiborne Ave).

* video courtesy of Lisa Palumbo

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In case you thought we forgot about the Saints...

Posted By on Sat, Aug 28, 2010 at 1:14 AM

Don't you worry your little heads, we absolutely haven't. There are big plans afoot for the upcoming season and rest assured that we will be back with our unique take on the games and the season. Take for instance this little nugget:

Wifi options superdome

Jagerbomb wireless in the Superdome...only in New Orleans. And it's fitting, too, seeing as how the new press box is so high up you need a couple of jagerbombs to avoid the vertigo (aggressive drinking is what you do when you have vertigo, right?).

In any case, we were going to do a write-up on tonight's game but then we remembered it's the preseason and it only counts if someone gets hurt (/knocks on wood). Just 13 more days, people, then the fun really begins.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

NOMA Katrina observance & Treme screening

Posted By on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 7:56 PM

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Photo courtesy of HBO

On a weekend full of Hurricane Katrina anniversary events and memorials, NOMA hosts screenings of the entire first season of Treme. Episode 1 begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and the day's final installment is episode 7 at 4:30 p.m. The final three episodes run on Sunday morning from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission to NOMA is free this weekend, and also featured is "Untitled [New Orleans and the Gulf Coast]: Photographs by Richard Misrach." The show runs through Oct. 24.

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Nastiness in 3rd District

Posted By on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 3:14 PM

The hottest race for Congress this primary season turned out to be the Republican primary in the 3rd Congressional District, which stretches across Louisiana’s oil-soaked coastline from St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes on its eastern edge to St. Martin and Iberia parishes on its western side. The district also includes the coastal areas of Jefferson Parish. The main controversy involved the military records of the two front-runners, former House Speaker Hunt Downer of Houma, and Jeff Landry, an upstart (and well financed) challenger from New Iberia.

In the GOP primary, Landry called Downer, a retired major general in the Louisiana National Guard, “a disgrace to the uniform.” Downer responded that Landry has identified himself as “a veteran of Desert Storm” — even though he never set foot in Kuwait or Iraq during that war. Landry, who has support from elements of the Tea Party branch of the GOP, also blasted Downer, a former Democrat, for voting for taxes during his tenure in the state House.

The basis of Landry’s attack on Downer’s military record was Downer’s acceptance of the Kuwait Liberation Medal for his service during the first Gulf War in 1992. Downer spent 17 days in Kuwait during the conflict; Landry was stationed in the U.S. during that same period and left the service with the rank of sergeant.

“I have never claimed to have served in Iraq,” Landry explained to a reporter when questioned about his claim to be a Desert Storm veteran. “The only reason I didn’t go is because the war ended so quickly. I certainly never tried not to go.”

That’s still not quite the same as actually being there, even if it was only for 17 days. Landry further accused Downer of “using political connections and rank to get promotions while the rest of us sweated it out in Fort Hood.”

Sweating it out at Fort Hood? Gee, that must have been awful … while so many others had it so easy in Kuwait and Iraq.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Senator Mary Landrieu, U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, Gulf Coast Officials Launch "Ready 4 Takeoff Coalition"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Sen. Mary Landrieu joined U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon and other Gulf Coast leaders at the downtown Marriott hotel this afternoon to launch the "Ready 4 Takeoff Coalition," a broad-based lobbying and public relations effort to attract federal compensation and defense spending to the region in the wake of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

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The senator was ushered off to her next appointment without taking questions. The press kit for the event was short on details but said the coalition was "committed to building a better tomorrow for the innumerable families, workers, suppliers, manufacturers, and small and large businesses within the region."
Its economic development initiatives include securing a $40 billion federal government contract for EADS North America to build a KC-45 Real Tanker (pictured) in Mobile, Ala.


Ready 4 Takeoff — get it?

"There's going to be a significant amount of money paid to the federal government in the aftermath of the spill," Landrieu said in prepared remarks. "And our congressional group is claiming that 80 percent of that money be spent in the Gulf of Mexico region. Whether it's $5 billion or $20 billion, depending on if the courts find BP simply or grossly negligent, we're going to spend that money from Florida to Texas.
"BP is going to replace every blade of grass, every fish destroyed, every pelican oiled, and we are going to hold BP accountable."
The other politicians and commerce leaders from Mississippi, Florida and Alabama talked in similarly broad terms about BP being made to pay, but were also short on specifics when it came to defense spending, even though the coalition's members include Airbus Americas, which is owned by EADS North America and stands to benefit directly from the tanker contract.
In addition to the refueling jet, the initiative seeks to push the federal government to purchase more Gulf Coast seafood for military and school contracts, accelerate revenue sharing from offshore oil and gas development, and acquire federal money for projects like the U.S. High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program in Alabama and Mississippi.
The roundabout nature of the rhetoric stood in contrast to the specific request for a $40 billion defense contract.
"We're talking to each other, building relationships and coalitions," Mobile Mayor Sam Jackson said after Landrieu had left the building.
"People are scared of what they can't see, and what they don't know,"  Melancon said. "It's important the message gets out to people that the beaches are open and the seafood is safe to eat."
Again, no mention of the military jets being safe to refuel. But you can sign the petition online, if you're interested.

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"The Real World" explained: The Pills Have Eyes

Posted By on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 10:11 PM

The tribe engages in indigenous hunting/gathering rituals.
  • The tribe engages in indigenous hunting/gathering rituals.

These weekly posts are intended as an episode-by-episode guide to the many psychological ailments, drunken gibberish, senseless actions, Bourbon Street mixed drinks and other embarrassments on MTV’s The Real World: New Orleans.
It contains spoilers — and who cares? You stopped watching this show several years ago — but also a lot of information that might help viewers of the series come to terms with their outrage over the cast’s cultural vandalism of New Orleans (and what was once a really lovely Uptown house), and also the bleak, black future of our society.
The emotional trauma caused by the show admittedly makes such coverage an overwhelming task, so posts may be supplemented by information culled from Wikipedia, WebMD and un-scientific polls of nearby Gambit staffers. Readers are also encouraged to submit any comments that may help us make sense of this wreckage.
(Sorry I’m late with this one! I was busy doing important Real World-related research.)
Was it the narcotics I stole from Ashlee, or did this episode feel especially long? Wait, who am I kidding! You guys don't even watch this anymore. Allow me to describe the horror show you missed.
The hunting/gathering rituals of the species Real World sapiens. Because the cast had neglected to earn its weekly Subway allowance (if one person attempts to escape, as Jemmye did, the whole house is punished) and they were sick of eating mosquitoes, the men of the house were left to forage for food again. They considered killing Ashlee for her meat and for her prized grey sweatshirt, the source of her strength, but it just so happened that one of the tropical fish from the house fish tank had died, so a slaughter would be unnecessary (for now). The men removed their shirts and embarked on their hunt. The women became privy to the hunting ritual and erupted into hysterics, as they are wont to do, being the more sensitive sex. The men, ravenous from a hard day’s work, coated the whole fish —skin, bones and all — in a delicious Cajun seasoning, pan-fried it and tried to distribute the meal to members of the tribe. But alas, the tribe bristled at this unfamiliar meal. Ashlee was most horrified at the sight of the offering. Little did she know it was exactly what saved her.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Posted By on Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Seems like every day now we hear about the Second Coming of bedbugs. DDT wiped 'em out after World War II, but the new breed, like something out of a horror movie, has mutated and is taking over hotel and motel rooms one bite at a time. If they're not infesting an AMC theater in Times Square (oh God), they're invading file cabinets in offices (oh God oh God) or luxury car dealerships. And on last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart featured this absolutely horrifying, David Lynch-ian PSA about bedbugs (starring Isabella Rossellini!):

The first I'd heard of it was a friend from New Orleans who had moved to Cincinnati with his wife; they've found bedbugs in their house twice now and are on the verge of a mutual nervous bedbug-breakdown. So it wasn't surprising when the list of "America's Top 10 Bedbug-Infested Cities" came out today and Cincinnati was #1. Just try to read this paragraph without itching:

David Ralph Hoffman, owner of Merlin’s Pest Control, says if you don’t know someone who has had a bedbug problem, you don’t live in Cincinnati. At Merlin’s they rate their horror stories on a scale of 1 to 10. The worst was an apartment occupied by someone who bragged about the last time he’d had a bath (not recently). The apartment was also occupied by about 100,000 bedbugs, Hoffman says, kept in checked only by an equal number of German cockroaches. “The one we had that we call our 9.5, the gentleman was a World War II vet and pale, sick, dying, grumpy as hell—and we found over 50 bedbugs in the hat he was wearing.”

The good news: For once, New Orleans isn't at the top of one of these horrible lists that no one wants to top -- it doesn't appear in the Top 10. The good/bad news: If you're traveling, you can check the site Bedbug Registry to see if anyone's reported blood-sucking creatures between the sheets of your luxury hotel or flophouse (bedbugs respect no class or income level).

Have you had any experience or warning about bedbugs when you traveled this summer? Just in case you don't know what they look like ...


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The Tide is nigh

Posted By on Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 7:08 PM

This Saturday, Aug. 28 brings the 5th annual Rising Tide, the lively day-long discussion put together after the storm by New Orleans bloggers at home and away ...

After the flood that followed Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, the internet became a vital connection among dispersed New Orleanians, former New Orleanians, friends of the city and of the Gulf Coast region. A surge of new blogs erupted and, combined with those that were already online, a community of bloggers with a shared interest in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast developed. In the summer of 2006, after the success of the first Geek Dinner, and to mark the anniversary of the flood, the newly formed NOLA Bloggers organized the first Rising Tide Conference, taking their shared interest in technology, the internet and social media and turning advocacy for the city into action.

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This year's event (held at the Howlin' Wolf) has a great lineup of speakers, starting with the keynoter: Mac McClelland of Mother Jones, who has been doing a spectacular, skeptical kickass job reporting on the oil disaster. Other panelists include NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas; Gambit's Clancy DuBos (if you want your chance to hear Clancy use his full vocabulary, this is it); The Times-Picayune's excellent columnist Stephanie Grace and equally excellent TV Ranger Dave Walker; Tulane criminologist Peter Scharf; and many more. Topics include public safety, politics, the environment, HBO's Treme and "Why Can't We Get Some Dam Safety in New Orleans?".

Gambit is pleased to sponsor the event. Tickets are only $25 and can be purchased in advance here.

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