Monday, April 16, 2018

'Books for Brews' prison book drive returns April 21

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 2:40 PM


One Book One New Orleans and Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners will host a "Books for Brews" book drive at Second Line Brewing this Saturday.

At the event, attendees can receive free beer tokens in exchange for donations of books to be sent to people who are incarcerated. The organizing groups will collect a few specific types of books, including new or gently used paperback dictionaries, composition notebooks (the kind without a spiral binding), and softcover trade or how-to manuals on subjects such as carpentry or needlework.

Other types of books are not needed at this time.

One Book One New Orleans also is looking for a couple of volunteers to help box and transport the books after the event. If you can't make it, but want to lend a hand, Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners has an Amazon list to purchase books for donation (tragically, no free beer is involved).

The book drive takes place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 21. Admission is free.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

New Orleans Public Library main branch to remain closed through May 13

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 4:16 PM

The main branch of the New Orleans Public Library. - PHOTO BY JASON PARIS/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • The main branch of the New Orleans Public Library.

The New Orleans Public Library announced last month it would be closed for two weeks in April for repairs, renovations and improvements. Now the closure will last through Sunday, May 13, the library announced today.

Other branches will remain open for the public.

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Friday, April 6, 2018

'This isn't a resting point, it's a launch pad' — an interview with WWL-TV's Sheba Turk on the release of her new book

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2018 at 9:46 AM

WWL-TV Anchor Sheba Turk's new book was published by Pelican Publishing March 27. - PHOTO BY JOSH DETIEGE
  • Photo by Josh Detiege
  • WWL-TV Anchor Sheba Turk's new book was published by Pelican Publishing March 27.

In March, WWL-TV anchor Sheba Turk and Pelican Publishing released Turk’s book Off Air: My Journey to the Anchor Desk, about growing up in New Orleans in a family of modest means, striking out on her own in New York City for college (only to have to return home when she no longer could afford to attend school there), and her meteoric rise from co-producer to reporter to traffic anchor to morning show anchor at WWL in just two years.

Turk credits her success to her loving, albeit flawed parents, a positive attitude and an abundance of strong female role models, including her mom and her mentors Kim Bondy, a former program producer and now-strategist and consultant, and Soledad O’Brien, former CNN anchor and now-CEO of Starfish Media Group. O'Brien also composed the book's foreword.

Turk celebrates the book’s premiere at a signing 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 8 at Terrance Osborne Gallery (3029 Magazine St.). Books are available for purchase at the event, or online at She took a few minutes to talk with Gambit about her journey so far, her book and what’s next.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Six literary events in New Orleans in April

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 2:15 PM


Despite being National Poetry Month, April isn't the most bookish time in New Orleans — blame it on the idyllic weather and the jam-packed event calendar. But should you need a break from your ceaseless festing — your crawfish-eating, your courtyard mojito-drinking, your revelry in dad sandals — here's a shortlist of literary picks.

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Monday, April 2, 2018

Former VP Joe Biden will speak at Saenger Theatre June 5

Posted By on Mon, Apr 2, 2018 at 9:51 AM


Former Vice President Joe "BFD" Biden will bring his "American Promise" tour to the Saenger Theatre on June 5.

The lifelong politician and not-so-reluctant subject of numerous internet memes, who recently turned up in the news in a depressing back-and-forth with President Donald Trump over who could beat up whom in high school, is on tour for the release of his 2017 memoir Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose. At the event, he'll discuss "big political moments of his career, the life-altering choices he made and the key traits that have helped him persevere through challenges," according to a press release.

The tour also has featured celebrity moderators such as Stephen Colbert, Melinda Gates, Aaron Sorkin and Jesmyn Ward. A moderator for the New Orleans date has yet to be announced.

Though this is ostensibly a book tour, it's hard not to see it as a teaser for a potential 2020 presidential campaign for the 75-year-old Biden. One recent poll suggests his candidacy would be supported by 84 percent of Democrats.

Tickets for the talk go on sale Friday, April 6, and are priced at $49-$250.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Landrieu to receive the 2018 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 2:52 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, seen here on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, will receive the 2018 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at a ceremony in May.
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu, seen here on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, will receive the 2018 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at a ceremony in May.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been named the recipient of the 2018 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award "for his leadership in relocating four of the Confederate monuments in New Orleans while offering candid, clear and compassionate reflections on the moment and its place in history," the Kennedy committee announced this morning.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

On The Daily Show, Mitch Landrieu discusses monuments, demagogues and the country's obligation to confront racism

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 10:30 AM


In an extended interview with host Trevor Noah on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, Mayor Mitch Landrieu warned of demagogues exploiting working class vulnerabilities and stressed how the country — not just the south — needs to confront its racism to find a "common ground."

"I do think it would be helpful if everyone in the country realized it's a national problem," Landrieu said on the March 19 episode. "It's built into the country's DNA."

The Daily Show is the latest stop on Landrieu's press tour for the release of his book In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History, out March 20. He recently appeared on 60 Minutes, This Week with George Stephanopoulos and NPR's All Things Considered, and an excerpt of the book was published in TIME.

The book charts Landrieu's decision to remove four Confederate monuments in 2017 and chronicles his life through a lens of his realization of an obligation to address racism. In one chapter ("David Duke and Donald Trump, A Nightmare Loop"), Landrieu recalls the "pyschodrama" of neo-Nazi David Duke and draws a parallel to the ascent of President Donald Trump.

“Everybody deserves to be seen,” Landrieu told Noah. “So when people who are poor and live in Appalachia and have been left behind by economics or trade or technology, we do have to see them. There’s no use in litigating whether our hurt was as bad as your hurt, when a father and a mother, whether they’re black or white, are trying to feed their family and they can't get a job and nobody can see them and nobody cares about them — they feel left out so they’ll strike back, and they’ll cause the rise of a demagogue to lead them and the country, and I think we have to pay attention to that ... In America, one of the great political successes has been turning working class white people and working class black people against each other on the issue of race and not talking about economically how we work together."

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Monday, March 19, 2018

NOPL's Main Library to close for two weeks in April

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 5:30 PM

The main branch of the New Orleans Public Library. - PHOTO BY JASON PARIS/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • The main branch of the New Orleans Public Library.

New Orleans Public Library's (NOPL's) Main Library will close to the public from April 15 through April 29 to complete renovation work on its first floor.

While work on a renovation is already in progress, the library will close to finish improvements that include a new layout and flooring, better lighting and some extra computers and furniture.

The revamp is expected to help make more efficient use of the existing space, NOPL marketing director John Marc Sharpe says.

A list of other area branches is available on the library's website.

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LISTEN: Rebecca Solnit on sexual assault, Parkland and internet culture

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 2:02 PM


Essayist, cultural critic and activist Rebecca Solnit, who is known for the prodigious breadth of her interests and her feminist critiques of contemporary culture, is scheduled to give a lecture at Tulane University's McAlister Auditorium beginning at 7 p.m. March 19. Ahead of that appearance, she gave a nearly hour-long interview to WRBH-FM's David Benedetto for the radio station's "The Writer's Forum" program.

The interview, which spans a range of topics almost as vast as Solnit's own body of work, aired over the weekend, but you can catch it on the station's Soundcloud. There, the writer and host cover Solnit's writing history; her thoughts on the mass shooting at Parkland, Florida; the future of American activism and progressivism; what it was like to work on Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas; viral media; the language surrounding sexual harassment and assault and more.

The full interview is embedded below.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Q&A: Talking mass incarceration, journalism and fiction with Vengeance author Zachary Lazar

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 1:43 PM


There is a difference, well-known to fiction writers, between what is factual and what is true. Zachary Lazar's masterfully executed novel Vengeance lives in the space between these two things: it's a work of fiction about the hard truths of mass incarceration and systemic racism, populated by New Orleans characters who seem so real (and so resistant to cliche or easy categorization) it's impossible not to ache for them.

Vengeance tells the story of thoughtful, reserved Kendrick King, who is serving a life sentence at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for a murder he may (or may not) have been involved with that might (or might not) have been related to a drug problem, and the book's narrator, who meets King on a visit inspired by a real-life reporting trip Lazar took to the prison. Presented as the continuation and expansion of that journalistic project, the novel blends an almost eerie sense of factualness and verisimilitude with sometimes-conflicting vignettes in Kendrick's perspective about his life up to and surrounding his arrest and incarceration. Told this way, the novel experiments with notions of guilt and innocence, lies and truth, and the impossibility of knowing what happened — or if it matters.

Lazar presents the book at a reading at Octavia Books at 6 p.m. March 22 that also features former Louisiana poet laureate (and fellow Tulane University faculty member) Peter Cooley. Below, he answers a few questions about Vengeance.

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