Thursday, September 23, 2010

So long,

Posted By on Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 7:10 PM

We hardly knew ye.

For all the scrutiny and (deserved) criticism BP and the dozen agencies with Deepwater Horizon Incident Command received over their lack of transparency, they sure did send plenty of updates, whether through email, Twitter, Facebook — they may have adjusted the paradigm for disaster response communication. Of course, there is and always will be the need to question their updates and sources, but us in the press (and those following online) are kept up to date with general procedures, whether its well capping, how many gallons of oil/water mix have been captured, how many Vessels of Opportunity participants are available, how much boom is available. You get the idea.

BP and National Incident Commander Thad Allen have insisted they're dedicated to the Gulf, determined to stick around as long as necessary, an when they've decided "how clean is clean."

Those final days may be approaching, as Deepwater Horizon Response announced today all its future announcements will no longer come from the go-to, but from (not to be confused with, beginning Sept. 29. The former will no longer be updated.

So, update your bookmarks, and bid farewell to Deepwater Horizon Response, the official site for Deepwater Horizon Incident Command.

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Tonight: LPO Prelude launch party

Posted By on Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 7:04 PM

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For those young professionals with entry-level salaries, getting an arts membership likely doesn't top the list of priorities. But the newly-formed Prelude, a support group of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, makes arts patronage a little more attainable by offering a very affordable membership price to attract younger audiences. For $25 — the price of two AMC movie tickets and a regular-sized Coke Icee — members get a year of discounted LPO tickets, access to social events and most importantly, free booze.
Tonight Prelude has its launch party at the Davenport Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (921 Canal St.; 524-1331) from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Members get free admission, hors d'oeuvres, "Davenportinis" and access to drink specials at the bar. Those interested can sign up at the event, or online at this site.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ponderosa Stomp preview: Duane Eddy

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 8:54 PM

This year's Ponderosa Stomp couldn't have come at a better time. Just as it launches into its ninth year — now as the authority on rock 'n' roll obscurities and Louisiana legends — the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and museum will designate Cosimo Matassa's J & M Studios (838-840 N. Rampart St.) as an official landmark. The studios now join KLRU-TV, the home of Austin City Limits; The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa; the Whisky-a-Go-Go in Los Angeles; King Records in Cincinnatil; and Cleveland's Brooklyn High School and WJW Radio, where DJ Alan Freed first aired the term "rock 'n' roll." (The ceremony is 10 a.m. Friday outside the former studios at 840 N. Rampart.)

Guitar icon Duane Eddy made strides with his Lee Hazlewood co-productions, and the groundbreaking slinky, twangy guitar lines from his 1958 hit "Rebel Rouser" and 1960's "Shazam!" as well as the Grammy winning 1984 Art of Noise cover of "Peter Gunn." He'll be headlining the Stomp's Saturday showcase at House of Blues. (Read the Gambit for more on the event.) Here's more:

GAMBIT: When was the last time you were in New Orleans?

DE: I only worked there once, and that was back in 1959 or ’60, somewhere in there, one of the big bus tours we used to do. We just did the one nighter, and it was in and out, you know? Back on the bus and gone. So I’ve never spent any time there. I’m really looking forward to checking it out. I know it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and my gosh, one of the most musical, as well, and one of the best eating places. No problem finding a good meal there. That’s going to be good. I do a song in my show, and I always mention New Orleans. I do a song called “3:30 Blues.” I always tell the audience, I say, ‘Now if you’re going to a city like New Orleans, you might wander out late at night into some smoke-filled club..." — well, not anymore of course. Nobody smokes. (GAMBIT: Oh, no, we still got smoky clubs here.) Oh, good. Good. — "… into some little smoke-filled club where you’d hear the band play something called the blues, and it might sound a little something like this." And I play “3:30 Blues” which is kind of a B.B. King-influenced blues line.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Cao campaign's Saints ticket giveaway

Posted By on Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 11:09 PM

Who wouldn’t want to win tickets to an upcoming Saints game — even if the price of entering was providing your cell phone number to a political campaign? It must have seemed a great idea in the offices of Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, whose campaign website ( offered supporters the chance to do just that by texting the word “TIX” and/or giving up their cell numbers.

cao front page

The problem? Nothing on the site indicated that providing a phone number was “opting in” to receiving text messages from the Cao campaign — and, unlike most sweepstakes, there were no rules or odds posted, no number of stated tickets to be given away, nor even the dates of the contest or the prize: just the vague promise of a “chance to win tickets to upcoming games.” Even stickier: the prize had already been given away, according to Cao's campaign manager.

When Gambit called the Cao game on Sept. 21 for clarification, it turned out the prize were for the team’s season opener — which was Sept. 9. The tickets had already been awarded (the winner: Desmon Benn of Algiers), though the campaign was still collecting phone numbers with the promise of giving away more tickets.

“We just did it for the Saints-Vikings home opener. We don’t have any more scheduled, but we’re hoping to do more,” said Cao campaign manager David Huguenel. “This just happened, and we are in the process of changing our website.”

Huguenel conceded the problem with holding a contest in which the prize had already been awarded two weeks before, but said, “We were certainly not trying to deceive anybody; we’re not trying to confuse people. I’m confident we did everything within the rules of FEC (Federal Elections Commission) compliance.”

first shot 2

Cade Cypriano, the campaign’s director of new media, said there would be another ticket giveaway at some point, but “we don’t have the name of the game yet.” Cypriano said the first giveaway had harvested some 800 phone numbers from supporters, and that the campaign was hoping to give away tickets for the Saints-Steelers matchup on Oct. 31.

A contest with no existing prize or stated rules? Julia Queen, a public affairs specialist for the FEC in Washington, D.C., said the commission had no hard and fast rules for giveaways of this sort in exchange for cell phone numbers. “Believe it or not, the FEC rules on the Internet haven’t been updated since 2006,” Queen said, referring Gambit to the U.S. House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

By this afternoon, the Cao campaign website had been changed; the tickets were clearly stated to be for the Steelers game, and some boilerplate rules had been added:

Limited to one entry per mobile number. Winners will be notified within 24 hours of promoted event. Promotional entries and any subsequent information provided are to be used by Joseph Cao for Congress in compliance with FEC regulations, and will not be further distributed at any time during the 2010 congressional campaign. Entry should not be viewed as campaign contribution, and is not deductible as charitable contribution. If you are are under the age of 18 please consult with a parent or legal guardian before entering.


Cypriano also forwarded Gambit a document titled "Internal Memorandum • Mobile Campaign • 8/1/2010," which stated, in part, "Joseph Cao has experienced success in tailoring SMS technology to his congressional race, and once re-elected, looks forward to exploring the utilization of text messaging to increase transparency and accountability within congressional representation."

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Flamingo Road at City Park

Posted By on Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 9:18 PM

A flock of pink Black and Gold flamingos has landed at the entrance to New Orleans City Park, in tribute to last night's Saints victory over the 49ers. Check 'em out:



Are they an installation by someone at the nearby New Orleans Museum of Art? Hybrid mutant escapee birds from Flamingo Island at the Audubon Zoo? Gambit's Lauren LaBorde called NOMA to find out , and it turns out that the playful exhibit was dreamed up by the folks at City Park, not the museum. They're brand-new, and they'll be flocking in front of the park after every Black and Gold win. So now you know.

More flamingo pictures under the jump:




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The Daily Beast praises Mitch Landrieu

Posted By on Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 4:58 PM


Mayor Mitch Landrieu was singled out yesterday in an essay by Tina Brown, the former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, who now publishes her own web newsmagazine, The Daily Beast. In the essay, titled “The Mayors Who Can Revive America,” Brown said, “New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu also feels like a rising national star to me,” and noted, “In his first 100 days, Landrieu worked to "reorganize the dysfunction of the city government," revamping the police department, and staunching the city’s bleeding out of a $67.5 million budget shortfall. That’s a schedule more ambitious than the first six days of Genesis.” Brown also contrasted Landrieu's performance to that of “the incompetent showboat Ray Nagin” and “the wingnuts dominating the Tea Party movement” and compared him (favorably) to New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Also taking a swipe at President Barack Obama, Brown concluded, “But maybe what we need is not to export White House wisdom to the frontlines. Maybe what we need is to import frontline grit into the White House.”

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This is why defending a Super Bowl title is hard

Posted By on Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Quick Note: An ill-advised midnight snack after the Saints thrilling victory Monday night led to my stomach deciding to keep me in bed for most of yesterday, delaying this post. I apologize for his selfish behavior.


Sean Payton


As defending Super Bowl champion, the Saints have started the season with two games in prime time, on days when no one else was playing. But even when things get back to normal with Sunday's noon game against Atlanta, the Saints' 2-0 start has reinforced the notion that every defending champion wears a bulls-eye on his back.


Just think, would anyone have predicted that Alex Smith would (nearly) out-perform Drew Brees? Would any Who Dat be happy to hear that their team forced five turnovers but only got a safety and a field goal from them? Really, not even the staunchest 49er supporter could have thought Monday Night's game would come down to a semi-deflected field goal as time expired. But what the Saints' 25-22 win highlights is that this is something people need to come to expect. The Saints are Super Bowl Champions and everyone will try measure themselves to them. When everyone is giving you their best shot every week, it's going to take your best to just hold them off.


Oh, and that whole injury thing could be an issue. But onto the imaginary feast!


Hot Gumbo:

  • Courtney Roby - So long as Drew Brees has sub-par games (for him) and Roby continues to wreck havoc on kickoffs and punts, it's going to be the special-teamer ahead of the quarterback in line for the gumbo. Not only did Roby raised his kick-return average to 27 yards, he was key in limiting San Francisco's return game and he made the heads-up play of the game when he landed on the 49ers muffed punt in the fourth quarter. Mark my words, he will one day win a game for the Saints and people will wonder how it happened. More than likely, it will involve plays like the ones he's made to start the season.
  • Drew Brees - Sure, Smith had more yards, but was their any doubt about Brees' ability to drive his team down the field when they needed a score to win? The better question should be directed to Saints fans: how does it feel to have a quarterback leading a team in the final two minutes of a game and expecting to see a win? Strange territory indeed. Also, for all the apparent "struggles" this offense has had, Brees still completed 74% of his passes to nine receivers (including himself!) for 254 yards. Most teams would kill to have an offense that struggles like this one.
  • Jonathan Vilma - The Saints' defense will be exciting in so many ways this season. Sure, they may give up yards (417 against San Fran) but they're also going to make plays all over the field. Most of the time, it will be Vilma leading the charge and Monday was no exception. He forced a fumble, had 10 tackles (seven solo) and wrecked havoc in the middle of the field. And even with Frank Gore running wild all game long, Vilma oversaw a unit that didn't cost the Saints' the game.
  • Roman Harper - Imagine if Harper could perform like he did on Monday every game. Six tackles, an interception and a forced fumble is what you'd expect from a Troy Polamalu or Ed Reed. It'd be very nice to have one of those playing deep coverage for the Saints.
  • Garrett Hartley - Garrett Hartley cares not that you deflected his kick. Garrett Hartley will kick that F@%$! ball through the uprights TO WIN IT EVERY TIME.


Spoiled Crawfish:


  • Alex Smith - Look at this jerk thinking he could wipe away years of disappointment as a No. 1 pick that has yet to prove anything all in one night against the defending Super Bowl Champions. Oh, what's that? You're gonna go 23-of-32 for 275 yards and engineer a fourth-quarter drive to tie the game? That's cute. But a better quarterback (see above) wouldn't have thrown two interceptions or have left enough time on the clock so the other team's Super Bowl MVP quarterback could drive down the field for a win. You have a long way to go kiddo.
  • Frank Gore - What is it with this guy? He had 112 yards rushing (with a touchdown), 56 yards receiving (with a touchdown) and really made this game very tense for Saints fans everywhere. He was more productive in this game than he was the last two times he played the Saints combined. I'm not going to throw out baseless accusations but -- oh who am I kidding? -- check him for steroids!
  • Mike Singletary - As Sports Illustrated's Peter King so pointed out: there's no telling if Singletary is just a great talker and not a great coach. After famously declaring that his defense would stop Drew Brees, they absolutely failed to at the most critical moment. And, while his offense didn't approach the confusion and ineptitude from week one, five turnovers and 22 points isn't exactly the stuff of world beaters. Also, that giant wooden cross and stop watch are both scary and disorienting. Seriously, what exactly does he do with those on the sideline?


Room-Temperature Abita:


  • Reggie Bush - Only in the NFL can a broken fibula be seen as good news. Had this been another knee injury, it's likely that Bush's career may have been in jeopardy. Instead, the Saints could be without Bush for just over half the season (not too shabby considering how gruesome the injury seemed at the time). The worst part is that Bush had finally found his niche in this Saints' offense: a powerful decoy with the ability to change games, or at least break out one or two big plays a game. Drew Brees might consider more passes to himself.
  • Sean Payton - The Saints are winning football games, but it's certainly hasn't been with the style of last season. The offense has at points been unstoppable and, at others, inept. Now with Bush out, Payton most solve the riddle of his inconsistent offense without a vital cog. Oh, and he's gotta do it on short rest with the Falcons coming to town. Should make for an interesting week.
  • Gregg Williams - It's incredibly exciting to have such a talented play-making defense to match the Saints' high-octane offense. It's also incredibly stressful for Saints fans. Where Williams' blitzes and complex schemes led to four turnovers, they were also exploited at times by the 49ers for big gains and scores. If all goes like it did last season, though, this may not be as big a deal as it seems.
  • Patrick Willis - After Gore, Willis probably had the most impact on the game. He stone-walled the Saints on third down on two separate occasions (including a huge stop on third-and-goal), registered a sack and led all defenders with eight solo tackles. He also got beat a few times and couldn't will his teammates to stop Brees when they most needed to. Oh well, maybe he'll get traded to someone good some day.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

So, what's up with that Paul F. Tompkins show?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 10:28 PM

Earlier this year, comedian Paul F. Tompkins (Best Week Ever, Mr. Show, The Daily Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, Tenacious D, podcasts, podcasts, podcasts, etc.) announced a plan: Get 300 people in your town to join a Facebook group by a target date and he'll perform in said town. New Orleans managed to grab just over 300 by the deadline, and Tompkins made good on his plan. On Aug. 30, Tompkins announced a show date and venue: Oct. 2 at Republic.

Tickets in Boston, San Francisco and Toronto are sold out. As of Friday, Republic sold only 29 tickets. Tompkins, who regularly interacts with his fans and followers on both Facebook and Twitter, wrote a message on his Facebook page that same day:

Sorry to say only 29 tickets have been sold for the Republic show. This is not only not 300, it is not enough for a show. There really needs to be some movement in sales or I'll have to cancel the show. I really don't want to do this! I've never been to NOLA and I was very much looking forward to going.

I have never had to do this before. And I only feel like I might have to here because tickets are selling so well everywhere else. So if you haven't bought a ticket yet, please do. If you know people who aren't on Facebook who know about this show, maybe suggest to them that buying a ticket might be a good thing to do.

And if there's some reason people aren't attending the show that my knowing about would make a difference, please let me know.

Hope to see you October 2nd!



He then followed with, "I guess I'm confused as to why this group — which is over 300 people — exists." Well, there are a few reasons: Most show-goers here buy their tickets at the door, and most show-goers are pretty lazy. We're blessed with year-round, amazing concerts and events. Touring bands have increased their presence in the city over the past few years, and sometimes they're just a blip compared to what else may be happening that night. Tickets are bought on a whim, but most "big" events can assume a large draw. But this does not mean New Orleans is also an attractive spot for headlining comedians. It's out of the way, most venues are standing-room-only, there is a lot of chatter over the performances, etc. Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter performed at The Parish at House of Blues in 2006, and, well, here's Black's take on the show:

So, a New Orleans performance from Tompkins is an excellent and rare event. (And a rare event anyway. This "Facebook 300" tour only has six dates.) Ticket sales are likely to have increased since Tompkins put out a plea — the Facebook event page for the show is now up to 37 attendees.

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YOU BE THE JUDGE: Which Ronnie Lamarque Saints commercial is better?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Here's Ronnie Lamarque's all-singing, all-dancing Saints-stravaganza commercial for 2010, which at times could be mistaken for one of those dancing-silhouettes iPod ads ...

... and here's the classic 30-second version from 2007, in which the Superdome is magically transported next door to St. Louis Cathedral ...

Gambiteers -- which one is better?

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Gautreaux disassociates himself from the Tea Party

Posted By on Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 6:57 PM


Last week, Gambit reported that state Sen. Butch Gautreaux was the only candidate in the lieutenant governor’s race to have signed a “pledge” sent out by the North Central Louisiana Tea Party Patriots — a pledge that included supporting the U.S. Constitution “as explained in the Federalist Papers.” Over the weekend, the Morgan City Democrat asked to have his name withdrawn from the group’s website, calling his signature on the pledge a “mistake” and saying the Tea Party has a "nihilist rhetoric and eccentrically regressive perspective":

I have, at no time, ever endorsed or shared the goals, purposes, or methods of the Tea Party. My name's appearance on the NCLA Tea party website and pledge is a mistake that, now brought to the attention of the campaign, is being rectified as quickly as possible. I will be asking that my name be removed from all NCLA Tea Party affiliated content.

The rest of Gautreaux’s statement below the jump, along with other lieutenant governor/Tea Party news – including which candidate is being supported by former President Bill Clinton, and which one has the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann …

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