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What to Know Before You Go


The Breach
8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., Sept. 5-8; 3 p.m. Sun., Sept. 9; through Sept. 30
Southern Rep., The Shops at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., third floor, 522-6545;

Southern Rep debuts the second of its commissioned plays about Hurricane Katrina. The Breach is about those left behind as the city floods, reporters from around the world arrive to film and document the disaster, and federal aid has yet to arrive. A reporter attempts to tell the story from the ground level and meets two survivors whose experiences suggest that the problem isn't entirely the storm, but the conditions that left many residents stranded — a legacy of vulnerability and neglect that the flood has brought to the surface. The Breach is co-authored by Catherine Filloux, Tarell McCraney and Joe Sutton. Southern Rep received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller MAP Fund and Chisholm Foundation to develop the play. Interest in it has lead to readings from Baton Rouge, Biloxi and Bay St. Louis to Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Seattle. Ryan Rilette directs Troi Bechet, Bob Edes, Sean Patterson, Lance Nichols, Kenneth Brown and Kesha Bullard. Tickets $18 for previews Wed.-Fri., $30 opening night (Sat.), $24 adults (Sun.), $20 students/seniors (Sun.). — Will Coviello




The Rentals
8 p.m. Sat., Sept. 8
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Formed in the late '90s by Weezer bassist Matt Sharp, the Rentals delivered more of the same quirky indie rock favored by fans of that band, though softened by plenty of acoustic guitar, piano, violin and viola, and with gentler melodies. After multiple lineup changes, two studio records and several stops and starts, the indie favorite has now reformed and returned to the studio, releasing an EP last month and reportedly making plans for a new full-length album. On the 2007 EP The New Last Little Life , the Rentals recall a less aggressive, less desperate Jesus and Mary Chain. The hushed male/female vocals are softly sexy — quite tender, in fact — and the gently crashing wall of Moog synthesizer-driven sound shimmers in a way that's both electronic and comfortingly organic. Copeland and Goldenboy open. Tickets $17. — Alison Fensterstock


Le Chat Noir One-Act Plays Festival
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Sept. 7-8; through Sept. 22
Le Chat Noir, 715 St. Charles Ave., 581-5812;

Le Chat Noir's annual One-Act Play Festival takes an appetizing approach this year. The program opens with eight 10-minute plays written by some of the city's best-known and freshest young talents. Called The Beignet Plays , the short pieces are all set at CafŽ du Monde and each vignette has its own flavor, from comic pieces to mysterious, dark and absurd mini-dramas. Contributing authors (pictured) include Jim Fitzmorris, Andrew Larimer, Gabrielle Riesman, Michael Aaron Santos, Andrew Vaught, Peter McElligott, Rob Tsarov and A.J. Allegra. The second half of each evening features a staged reading of a winning one-act play selected from festival submissions. Those plays include Last Call by Bradley Troll, Thank You for Shopping With Us by Lucy Faust and Shoebox Lounge by Jennifer Pagan. With all of the playwrights and actors involved in the productions, the concept offers a taste of many theater production groups working in the city, from veteran writers like Fitzmorris to new young groups like NOLA Project, InSide Out Productions and Cripple Creek. Thursday, Sept. 6, features a free preview for students. Tickets $25 adults, $15 students/actors, $10 for additional one-act play readings. — Coviello


Because I Love You : A Musical Poem For Oretha Castle Haley by Hannibal Lokumbe
8 p.m. Sat., Sept. 8
Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3800;

Oretha Castle Haley — for whom Dryades Street is renamed for several blocks of Central City — spent probably the greatest part of her life in the thick of the turbulent civil rights struggle. (She succumbed to cancer at age 48.) While a student at Southern University of New Orleans, she helped organize several influential boycotts and was the founder of the New Orleans chapter of the Congress on Racial Equality. In 1972, she directed the political campaign of Dorothy Mae Taylor, Louisiana's first black female legislator and the woman who spearheaded the '90s effort to integrate Carnival krewes. Grammy-winning free-jazz trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe was commissioned to write this jazz suite in Haley's honor. The work, inspired by a poem Haley's husband composed for her, honors Haley both as an activist and as a friend, wife and mother. This world-premiere performance opens the CAC's 2007-08 season. Lokumbe will be accompanied by the legendary percussionist Uganda Roberts on congas and Nicholas Payton sidemen Anthony Wonsey on piano, David Pulphus on bass and Adonis Rose on drums. Tickets $25 general admission, $20 students, $15 CAC members. — Fensterstock

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