Friday, September 9, 2016

Interview: Richard Collins, New Orleans Zen Temple abbot

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 5:07 PM

Photo Courtesy Richard Collins - PHOTO CREDIT: CORTNIE ENNS
  • Photo Credit: Cortnie Enns
  • Photo Courtesy Richard Collins

In the lived-in rooms on the fourth floor of a Camp Street building, the New Orleans Zen Temple is very quiet  —  so quiet you can hear the bristles of a broom brushing the carpet as one of its attendees prepares the dojo (literally: the way place, or the place where you practice the way) for evening meditation practice. Outside, the bells of a nearby cathedral ring faintly; inside, people begin gathering and removing their shoes to prepare for a different sort of seeking. 

“The Buddha never talked about God. [Zen] is much more about the nature of life, suffering, and how you have to life in this life with other people,” explains Richard Collins, the temple’s recently appointed abbot. “It’s not going to give you the answer to life, but it will certainly give you the discipline to appreciate the life you have.” 

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

On the Clock: Bob MacLean, Audubon Nature Institute senior veterinarian

Posted By on Sat, Sep 3, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Katie Christiensen hangs with Southern white rhino Macite, one of veterinarian Bob MacLean's patients.
  • Katie Christiensen hangs with Southern white rhino Macite, one of veterinarian Bob MacLean's patients.

In a metal outdoor stall adjacent to her enclosure, the 5,000 pound, 53-year-old Southern white rhino Macite bumps her big prehistoric head lightly against the bars. The horn at the end of her nose looks like an ancient relic, but she scrapes her giant flat feet in the dust just like a cow shuffling in a pen on a hot day. 

Around Macite’s enormous backside, veterinarian Bob MacLean uses a hand brush and a gel to clean, disinfect and pack the chronic pressure sores (similar to human bedsores) on the elderly rhino’s back legs. She’s thought to be the oldest living female of her kind, and MacLean’s team is doing its best to keep the sores from growing. It’s part of a litany of tasks large and small that make up his role as senior veterinarian for the Audubon Nature Institute

“We’re trying to keep it from going systemic,” he says, as he finishes rinsing the sore. “We’re treating her every day.” 

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Friday, August 26, 2016

New Orleans 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb commemorates first responders Sept. 10

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 5:20 PM


At the New Orleans 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, first responders — including firefighters, law enforcement officers, members of EMS and the military — will scale stairs equaling 110 floors at 400 Poydras Tower to commemorate fellow emergency personnel who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

The event, which is the first of its kind in New Orleans, honors fallen emergency professionals and also recognizes 137 Louisiana veterans who have been killed since the attacks. Each climber wears a deceased individual's name on his or her clothing, and the climb represents the height of the former World Trade Center towers.

All proceeds raised benefit Louisiana Heroes Project, a nonprofit which assists service members and veterans. 

The climb takes place the morning of Sept. 10. An after-party at Barcadia follows. Climbers and event volunteers may register online

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Doggy fashion show Bad to the Bone: Rescued on the Runway returns Sept. 17

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 3:07 PM

Photo courtesy Diane Lundeen/Petcetera - PHOTO CREDIT: SCOTT STUNTZ
  • Photo credit: Scott Stuntz
  • Photo courtesy Diane Lundeen/Petcetera

Bad to the Bone: Rescued on the Runway
is a professionally produced fashion show, but its staff extends beyond the usual cadre of stylists, makeup artists and Zoolander types. Along the runway, dog handlers sub for paparazzi, placed to reassure the dogs who cruise the … er … catwalk with the models.

Bad to the Bone co-founder Diane Lundeen says the dogs have varying degrees of enthusiasm for the spotlight. 

“Some dogs are just fine. They’re like ‘Hey, I’m here! Take me home!’ Other dogs are like ‘Are you kidding me? You want me to do what?’” she says. 

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Where to help Louisiana flood victims: Donation drop points around New Orleans

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 12:01 PM

click image Shawn Wilson, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, tweeted these photos Aug. 13 of the historic floods in central Louisiana. - TWITTER/@ONEVISIONARY
  • TWITTER/@onevisionary
  • Shawn Wilson, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, tweeted these photos Aug. 13 of the historic floods in central Louisiana.

After several days of record-setting rainfall, devastating floodwaters poured into much of Southeast Louisiana this weekend, including East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Ascension and surrounding parishes. Multiple news organizations are reporting the rescue of more than 20,000 people from homes and vehicles as of Sunday.

As many New Orleanians know well, flooding robs families of resources large and small: it's not just cars and homes, but day-to-day personal effects, from clothes and blankets to shampoo and toothbrushes. Here's our ongoing list of sites to donate these much-needed supplies to flood victims, as well as several contacts for direct donations and volunteer opportunities. 

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fourth of July roundup: 12 patriotic outings in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 12:16 PM

Fireworks launched from dueling barges over New Orleans' riverfront are a Fourth of July tradition. - GULF COAST AIR PHOTO
  • Fireworks launched from dueling barges over New Orleans' riverfront are a Fourth of July tradition.

Updated to include additional events.

Ah, the Fourth of July: hot dogs, American flags and the thrill of a potential fireworks-related ER visit. Though the big show over the weekend is always Essence Fest  —  we love you, Mariah  —  there are plenty of other events on the calendar.

Here are four straight nights of fireworks and fests to enjoy during your long weekend (July 1-July 4):

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Voting for new Zephyrs name begins Thursday

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2016 at 5:21 PM

Zephyr Field — soon to be Baby Cakes Field or Po'boys Field? - CREATIVE COMMONS/DEREK BRIDGES
  • Zephyr Field — soon to be Baby Cakes Field or Po'boys Field?

The New Orleans Zephyrs has released the finalists in its competition to rename the minor-league baseball team. The organization asked the public for suggestions, then whittled that list down to seven options — perhaps a wise tactic, considering recent crowdsourced renaming fiascos such as the Boaty McBoatface incident.

But did the organization itself choose wisely? Well...

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Lusitania author Erik Larson to speak at Jewish Community Center

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 11:28 AM

Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. - BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER
  • Benjamin Benschneider
  • Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.
In some ways, Erik Larson is as much historian and detective as writer. The New York Times-bestselling author writes nonfiction accounts of events or milieus through the experiences of individuals. Using sources like archival materials, news clippings and transcripts of conversations, he painstakingly reconstructs events as they were experienced by the people who lived through them. His latest book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, chronicles the sinking of a British ocean liner by a German submarine in 1915. The event killed hundreds of people and is sometimes credited with helping draw the U.S. into World War I.

Larson will speak at the Jewish Community Center of New Orleans Tuesday, April 12, in an appearance sponsored by Octavia Books. Tickets are required and can be purchased at the Octavia Books store or online. He spoke with Gambit in advance of the event about history, his research process and sinking ships.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

NOLA Bike to Work Day scheduled for April 13

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 4:43 PM

NOLA Bike to Work Day returns for its fifth installment on Wednesday, April 13, when "bike trains" of commuters will form across the city to ride to work together. Riders can join neighborhood meetups (listed on the Bike Easy website) or convene at Lafayette Square from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., where they'll meet fellow cyclists and enjoy coffee and bike-related swag from sponsors. 

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Astrophysicist Janna Levin, author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, to speak at Tulane

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 4:46 PM

Janna Levin is an astrophysicist and writer.
  • Janna Levin is an astrophysicist and writer.

When two black holes collide, does it make a sound? It sounds like a physics class riddle, but it’s a question that haunted astrophysicist and author Janna Levin . Her new book, Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, tells the story of the scientists who worked on the instruments that recently detected gravitational waves, which are the ripples in spacetime caused by such collisions that can be amplified and expressed as sound. 

Gravitational waves were first proposed by Einstein. Their confirmation vindicated a century of research and delighted Levin, who has studied black holes and the finite nature of the universe. (To give you an idea of how long she’s been pondering this question, her TED talk on the sound black holes might make was posted in 2011.) Her book is a profile of several brilliant scientists, an “adventure story” on the seas of high-level research, and a lyrical nod to the moody, uncertain world of a black hole, “…roll[ing] along in its own galaxy, dark and quiet until something wanders past, an interstellar dust cloud or an errant star.”

Levin will speak at Tulane’s Freeman Auditorium in the Woldenberg Art Center on Tuesday, April 5, at 6 p.m., followed by a book signing. Gambit spoke with her briefly about black holes, her book and the sound outer space makes. 

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