In Memoriam

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Editorial: After Charlottesville

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 6:09 PM

Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017. - CREATIVE COMMONS/ANTHONY CRIDER
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/ANTHONY CRIDER
  • Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017.

Watching the images and hearing the words out of Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend was depressing, sickening, infuriating — and necessary. Necessary because the country got a good look at the people who call themselves the “alt-right,” which is their sanitized term for neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Klansmen and other haters who feel emboldened in America today. It’s also necessary because some of them are planning similar rallies in Boston, San Francisco and elsewhere in the coming days and weeks.

Some of the malefactors who caused harm in Charlottesville also were in New Orleans during the weeks surrounding the hotly contested removal of four Confederate monuments. It’s easy to say New Orleans was lucky it didn’t have the chaos and death that marked Charlottesville, but it was more than luck. It was planning.

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Rene Brunet Jr., theater owner and passionate film enthusiast, dies at 95

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 5:51 PM

Rene Brunet, proprietor of the Prytania Theater, photographed in the theater's projection room in 2014. - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • Rene Brunet, proprietor of the Prytania Theater, photographed in the theater's projection room in 2014.

Rene Brunet Jr., who spent his life running New Orleans movie houses, was a familiar face at the Prytania Theatre, which he bought in 1996. Brunet died Thursday. He was 95.

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Crowd in New Orleans holds vigil for Charlottesville victims

Posted By on Sat, Aug 12, 2017 at 9:40 PM

Candles at the base of the former Lee Circle monument Aug. 12 to support victims in Charlottesville.
  • Candles at the base of the former Lee Circle monument Aug. 12 to support victims in Charlottesville.

As sun set over New Orleans Aug. 12, a few dozen people lined the base of the former Robert E. Lee monument in New Orleans with tea light candles. A crowd gathered for a vigil to support victims of an attack against counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists staged a violent rally following the city's decision to remove the city's Lee monument earlier this year.

A driver rammed their car through a crowd of counter protesters in Charlottesville and killed a 32-year-old woman and injured at least 19 others. Graphic video from multiple sources was shared widely, showing a Dodge Challenger speeding into a crowd and reversing at high speed. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency as violence continued, urging "white supremacists and the Nazis" to "go home."

Flanking the base of what was once Lee's New Orleans pedestal were two banners: "End White Supremacy" and "Stand With C-Ville."

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rip Naquin, LGBT leader and publisher of Ambush Magazine, dies at 65

Posted By on Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 5:51 PM

Rip Naquin (left) and Marsha Delain served as grand marshals of the 2015 Southern Decadence Parade.
  • Rip Naquin (left) and Marsha Delain served as grand marshals of the 2015 Southern Decadence Parade.

Rip Naquin, co-founder of Ambush Magazine, organizer of the annual Southern Decadence celebration and a leader in the LGBT community, died Tuesday, Aug. 8 after an illness. He was 65.

Naquin and spouse Marsha Delain founded Ambush in Baton Rouge in 1982 and later brought it with them when they moved to New Orleans. Ambush covers New Orleans' LGBT community. They also worked together organizing Decadence, the annual Labor Day weekend celebration in the French Quarter, and were deeply involved in charity work.

Naquin and Delain, also known as Martin Greeson, become the state's first legally recognized gay couple in 1993 when the city of New Orleans allowed couples to register as domestic partners, though that conferred no legal rights. They were married in New York City on Aug. 17, 2013.

Funeral services include a visitation at 10 a.m. and Mass at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12 at Our Lady of Guadalupe (411 N. Rampart St.).

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Afghan Whigs guitarist Dave Rosser has died

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 12:30 PM

The Afghan Whigs. - PHOTO BY CHRIS CUFFARO
  • PHOTO BY CHRIS CUFFARO
  • The Afghan Whigs.

Following a battle with inoperable colon cancer, New Orleans musician and Afghan Whigs guitarist Dave Rosser has died. He was 50.

In a statement on social media, the band wrote, "It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our friend, brother and inspiration. Dave Rosser passed away peacefully last evening surrounded by love. Thank you to all who kept him in their hearts. He is forever in ours."

Rosser lived in New Orleans for more than two decades and performed with his band The Get Busy and with fellow New Orleans resident and Afghan Whigs member Greg Dulli with their Gutter Twins and the Twilight Singers. Rosser joined the Afghan Whigs  in 2014 following Do the Beast, the band's first album in 16 years, released on Sub Pop Records. Rosser also appears on the band's well-received 2017 Sub Pop album In Spades.
Last year, the band performed its seminal 1996 album Black Love at several concerts to support Rosser. In a statement announcing the shows, Dulli wrote, "Dave Rosser has been my close friend and bandmate for over a decade now. By doing these shows for him we hope to ease any financial stress he may face as he pursues treatment to combat his illness. [100 percent] of the proceeds for these shows will go to his medical care. I’m hopeful that folks will come out and show their support for Dave who will be performing with us.”

Rosser spoke with Guitar World last month and gave an update on his prognosis after six months of chemotherapy. "I’m feeling pretty good and my spirits are good," he said. "I record a lot at the house and have been making a lot of music with friends. I’m staying busy and have purpose."

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Longtime New Orleans journalist Dennis Persica dies at 67

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 2:01 PM

Dennis Persica. - COURTESY STEPHANIE STOKES
  • COURTESY STEPHANIE STOKES
  • Dennis Persica.

Dennis Persica, a journalist who worked for The Times-Picayune, The Lens and was most recently a weekly columnist for The New Orleans Advocate, died this morning after what was described as a short battle with cancer, according to his brother Michael Persica and sister Anne Persica Morel. Persica was 67.

Persica worked for The Times-Picayune for 25 years as both a reporter and editor, and was laid off in the "digital transition" there along with some 200 other employees of the paper. He led the Charter School Reporting Corps for The Lens for much of 2013, and worked most recently as a freelancer with a weekly column in The New Orleans Advocate.

Persica also managed — and occasionally refereed — the Facebook group Friends of the Times-Picayune, where current and former staffers of the paper kept in touch.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

A force of nature: remembering Nancy Marsiglia

Posted By on Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 9:28 AM

PHOTO BY JEFF JOHNSTON
  • PHOTO BY JEFF JOHNSTON

We all like to think we’re going to leave the world a better place, but only a few can truly be said to have enriched an entire community. Civic and political activist Nancy Marsiglia was among those few. In actions great and small, she inspired and empowered a generation of women and changed New Orleans very much for the better.

Nancy died suddenly Tuesday at the age of 64, leaving a host of shocked friends and family members to mourn her — and to carry on her work.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Remembering Bill Broadhurst: The lion who never roared

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 3:15 PM

Bill Broadhurst, the longtime Louisiana political strategist who died May 22 at 77.
  • Bill Broadhurst, the longtime Louisiana political strategist who died May 22 at 77.

The old political lions are leaving us, one by one. Each one’s passing leaves a void that cannot be filled — and reminds us that we won’t see their kind again. We lost another lion on May 22 when attorney, consultant, political strategist and lobbyist Bill Broadhurst died at his home in Crowley. He was 77.

In addition to the many hats Billy wore so well, he was also my friend. As a political insider, he taught me a great deal about Louisiana politics. As a trusted friend, he taught me just as much about life.

In the end, we both learned that the lessons of politics truly are the lessons of life, because the same things matter in both arenas: relationships; respect; trust; honor; loyalty.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Editorial: Remembering Deborah "Big Red" Cotton

Posted By on Thu, May 4, 2017 at 2:22 PM

On the evening of Deborah Cotton's death, musicians, friends and neighbors gathered in Treme to remember her, stopping outside her old apartment for a tribute. - CLANCY DUBOS
  • CLANCY DuBOS
  • On the evening of Deborah Cotton's death, musicians, friends and neighbors gathered in Treme to remember her, stopping outside her old apartment for a tribute.

“With each second line that rolled down Ursulines Avenue, New Orleans lured me from my dark brooding funk and tossed me into the fire of dancing Black folks and brass instruments bobbing down the street, burning, sweating, marching from one end of town to the other. This went on for months until one day, between the parades and sessions with my shrink and onset of Spring, I began to feel alive again. And the haunting images of dead floating bodies faded away.

“This is the beauty — and the problem — with living in New Orleans. At any moment, life and death change places with each other when you least expect it. And try as you may to control what you let enter your life, you never know what’s waiting around the corner that will either thrill you — or level you to the ground.”


Deborah “Big Red” Cotton wrote those words in 2007, in her book Notes From New Orleans — six years before the Mother’s Day second line tragedy in which she and 18 other people were shot by two men who fired into the crowd. She took only one of the many bullets that were fired, but no one was injured more severely than Deborah. In the years that followed, she underwent dozens of surgeries to repair internal organs. Last week — nearly four years to the day since the shooting — Deb succumbed to complications from those injuries four years ago. She was fearless, fierce, compassionate and taken far too soon at the age of 52. She still had work to do.

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