Monday, April 14, 2014

Sarah Vowell to lecture at Tulane April 16

Posted By on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Sarah Vowell
  • Sarah Vowell

"You know what I like about Sarah Vowell books?" Jon Stewart asked Vowell on an episode of The Daily Show a few years ago. "I laugh, and I learn."

On April 16, the writer, historian and comedian, who's known for her frequent contributions to This American Life and her six books that aim to link an American past to an American present, lectures at Tulane's Woldenberg Art Center at 6 p.m. The lecture will take place in the Freeman Auditorium and there will be a book signing after.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Jim Ross of The Ross Report talks about memories of the New Orleans wrestling scene

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Jim Ross: WWE Hall of Famer, wrestling commentator, condiment seller and podcast star.
  • Jim Ross: WWE Hall of Famer, wrestling commentator, condiment seller and podcast star.

On a recent episode of The Ross Report, his popular podcast, Jim Ross said, "When we stop dreaming, when we stop growing, that's when we begin the dying process." There can be no doubt this broadcast legend and WWE Hall-of-Famer is very much alive and kicking. Ross will be entertaining fans, taking questions and spinning tales this Thursday night at the House of Blues when he brings his one-man show "Ringside: An Evening with Jim Ross to New Orleans" as an unofficial kick-off to WrestleMania weekend.

Commentary is a crucial piece of the pro wrestling experience, and in almost every major match of WWE's peak periods, Ross was the narrator, a reliable, engaging voice helping paint the picture and fill in the backstory. Jim Ross on commentary makes good wrestling matches seem great, great matches seem spectacular and spectacular matches seem world-altering.

After almost two decades as an employee of WWE, he left in 2013 to begin calling his own shots, but he's only gotten busier. Already a New York Times best-selling author and the promoter of his own line of grilling condiments, he's since launched a run of live shows, a podcast that's been topping the iTunes charts, and a series of written columns for Fox Sports, including a recent remembrance of the Louisiana wrestler and civil rights figure Ernie Ladd.

I spoke with Ross about his extraordinary journey through wrestling history and the two shows he'll be doing here on the evening of April 3rd.

Mr. Ross, it's an honor to speak with you.

Well, thank you. You know, I've been coming down to New Orleans for wrestling for 30 years. I started off working for Cowboy Bill Watts in the Mid-South territory, so for years I was in New Orleans every Thursday night for Mid-South Wrestling's weekly stop. It's always fun to come there. My last trip to New Orleans a couple months ago was especially rewarding, seeing my Oklahoma Sooners beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

What can we expect at your one-man shows this Thursday?

I'll do a succinct open, to get everybody up to speed on my career, and then we go right into the questions-and-answers. Fans can ask any question they choose. No topic is off limits — I call it a no-holds-barred Q&A — and the questions lead to stories. I'm not a stand-up comedian, but a lot of the stories are organically humorous, so there will be a lot of laughs. The questions make every show different, and I think that's better than a long monologue. Each show has its own personality, its own tone, tenor and uniqueness. I don't work off a teleprompter or script. I'm still a wrestling fan, been one my entire life, so I like spontaneity and improvisation.

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New Orleans crime visualized

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 3:26 PM

A screenshot of the NOLA Crime Heatmap
  • A screenshot of the NOLA Crime Heatmap

It's hard to talk about crime in New Orleans without revealing something personal. When people from out of town ask me what neighborhoods are "safe" or "un-safe" I try to dodge the question and say that New Orleans is "patch-work" and the the important thing it to stick to crowded, well-lit areas "just like any other city."

Of course, this does little to explain the nature of violent crime in New Orleans. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to explain how, where and why crime happens in this or any other city. Not to say that data maps explain all the reasons behind crime, but they can be useful in tracking where it occurs and helping identify how those areas are different from the ones that don't see crime. But if you try to track crime on your own, that can be a challenge.

Thankfully, software engineer Benjamin Eckel has come up with a fascinating take with the "NOLA Crime Heatmap." Rather than just pin-pointing where individual crimes take place, the map takes the data and shows crime by its concentration in certain areas.

Eckel admits it's not perfect — if you zoom out enough all of Orleans Parish looks like a scorching red dot of crime and there are only a few categories to choose from compared to other crime mapping sites — but it does create some pretty cool visualizations.

Eckel posted the link to his heatmap on reddit and has been taking some positive feedback over there and said he is working on improving the site's algorithm and create more accurate maps.

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French Ciné-Club presents Love Songs tonight at Cafe Istanbul

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 2:45 PM

The French Ciné-Club, a series of French language films with English subtitles presented by l'Alliance Française de La Nouvelle-Orléans (AFNO), presents Christophe Honoré’s 2007 Love Songs (Les Chansons d’Amour) tonight, Monday, March 31, at 7 p.m. at Cafe Istanbul inside the New Orleans Healing Center, 2372 St. Claude Avenue. Love Songs is a musical romantic comedy that pays homage to classic French musicals and features the songs and voice of Alex Beaupain. The third of six film collaborations so far by Honoré and Beaupain, Love Songs won the César Award for Best Original Score and made both artists' reputations in France and beyond.

General admission is $5, free for members. More info here.

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Local Food Fest spotlights West Bank's growing farm movement

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Cafe Hope Chef Melissa Martin

  • Rush Jagoe
  • Cafe Hope Chef Melissa Martin

When on the hunt for farm-fresh produce in the New Orleans area, the West Bank probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind.

Great seafood? Sure.

The best Honduran food in the city? Absolutely—but definitely not garden beds full of beets and bok choy.

In Marrero, a small but mighty contingent of restaurants, nonprofits and farmers is working to change that perception, as its members construct an oasis of locally sourced produce and innovative urban farming techniques.

Just over a year after the grand opening of Wendell Pierce’s first Sterling Farms grocery store in Marrero, Cafe Hope — a local farm-to-table restaurant working to train at-risk youth — is playing host to the area’s first-ever Local Food Fest on Sunday, April 6.

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Y@ Speak: rites of spring

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Ah, spring. Festival season has begun with the ceremonial dumping of the corn dogs, followed by the butchering of dozens of pigs at Hogs for the Cause, where revelers develop the meat-sweats under the hot sun.

Also this week: Jimmy Graham's prelude to a dunk, a Buddy Roemer and Jason Williams faceoff, Super Sunday, and Jahri Evans meets an actual pelican.

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Gambit's Digital Edition, April 1, 2014

Posted on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 9:02 AM

All content included on or in this issue, such as text, photos, logos, advertisements, graphics, computer code, and the arrangement and selection of such content, is protected by copyrights, trademarks, and/or other intellectual property rights of Gambit Communications and/or its third-party content providers. You may use material from this issue only for your own personal, non-commercial use. Neither this issue nor any portion of this issue may be republished, reproduced, duplicated, copied, uploaded, downloaded, posted, transmitted, modified, sold, or otherwise exploited for any purpose that is not expressly permitted by Gambit Communications or under copyright law or other applicable law.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wrestlemania XXX: Confessions of a wrestling fan

Posted By on Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 10:35 AM


It's a conversation I have with everyone I date, once it starts to look like there's longer-term potential: what are things you flat-out could not accept in a romantic partner? Usually the first items on the table are certain kinds of drug addiction, deceitfulness or political views; we only gradually work our way into pop culture.

It’s then I tell them I'm super, super into pro wrestling.

And they say: Pro wrestling? You mean like Hulk Hogan?

Yep, like Hulk Hogan, who on April 6 is hosting WrestleMania XXX here in New Orleans.

WrestleMania XXX, like Super Bowl XLVII, is in the Superdome. Since a wrestling ring takes up less space than a football field, its live audience will be bigger than the Super Bowl’s. WrestleMania brings in more fans, from more foreign countries. There will be about 100,000 wrestling freaks joining me here in New Orleans over the first week of April.

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Second line Sunday: Indian Super Sunday and VIP Ladies and Kids parade

Posted By on Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 7:44 AM




*  Celebration begins at 11am
*  Parade begins at 1pm.

(route details after the jump!)

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Carrollton Market now open in Riverbend

Posted By on Sat, Mar 29, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Fried pork tail tots feature pork tail cakes topped with pickled peppers, garlic chips and Creole mustard jus.
  • Fried pork tail tots feature pork tail cakes topped with pickled peppers, garlic chips and Creole mustard jus.

Carrollton Market (8132 Hampson St., 504-252-9928) opened in Riverbend March 21. It occupies the space that housed One Restaurant & Lounge for a decade, and the new restaurant also features an open kitchen, although the space has been renovated.

Chef Jason Goodenough and general manager Stephen Deisinger oversee ambitious food and drink menus. Both are recent transplants from Philadelphia, and Goodenough worked locally at Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA and Ralph’s on the Park since moving to New Orleans in 2011. Goodenough’s menu features many creative interpretations of Louisiana and Southern dishes. “I’m a Yankee cooking Southern food,” Goodenough says. His version of chicken and Dumplings combines house-made gnocchi tossed with speck, creme fraiche and tarragon. Fried pork tail tots features deboned pig tail meat, pickled peppers, garlic chips and Creole mustard jus. The menu incorporates many locally sourced ingredients, and Goodenough grows 10 varieties of heirloom tomatoes and vegetables in his own garden to use at the restaurant.

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