On August 29, 2008 the remains of Katrina's unclaimed dead were put to rest. "Nobody has ever come searching for their loved one in the memorial, as far as I know." (warning: last link has some graphic imagery language)
Former FEMA Head Michael Brown: Stop Blaming Me For Hurricane Katrina (SPL) In which he explains from his point of view what the real problems with the Katrina response were.
"The hurricane lives in a complicated place. Everyone's experience is both communal and personal, obvious and hidden. The memory of the death is everywhere, buried in shallow and temporary graves." (SL Longform ESPN)
Ten years ago, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it was the city's Lower Ninth Ward that was hit the hardest. Nine years later, while New Orleans on the whole has returned to pre-Katrina numbers of super markets, the Ninth was with without a grocery store and many other local businesses. Burnell Cotlon put his life savings into the shell of a building and opened Makin' Groceries. Along with Cotlon's grocery store, there's also a barbershop and a sweets shop — but there's plenty of work still to be done. And Burnell isn't resting.
"Everyone in New Orleans knows that 911 is a lost cause." ‘‘What I’m doing now isn’t all that different from the trash thing,’’ Torres said. ‘‘It’s about seeing a need — an unfortunate need — and stepping up to fill it.’’
Lost Friends: Advertisements from the Southwestern Christian Advocate:
Two dollars in 1880 bought a yearlong subscription to the Southwestern Christian Advocate, a newspaper published in New Orleans by the Methodist Book Concern and distributed to nearly five hundred preachers, eight hundred post offices, and more than four thousand subscribers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The "Lost Friends" column, which ran from the paper's 1877 inception well into the first decade of the twentieth century, featured messages from individuals searching for loved ones lost in slavery.[more inside]
"If his name was John Brown, he would have been in jail," one criminal justice official with knowledge of the case said. "If a woman says, 'He's the guy that raped me,' and you have corroborating evidence to show they were together and she went to the hospital and she can identify him, that guy goes to jail."Last week, ProPublica and the New Orleans Advocate published the results of their months-long joint investigation outlining how law enforcement officers in five states repeatedly (and sometimes deliberately) failed to apprehend former NFL star Darren Sharper as he traveled cross-country drugging and raping women: Upon Further Review.
[cw: rape, sexual assault, violent misogyny, law enforcement collusion to cover up same] [more inside]
Stevenson J. Palfi’s 1982 documentary Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together (58:19) is a remarkable look at three generations of New Orleans keyboard masters, Isidore “Tuts” Washington, Henry “Professor Longhair” Byrd, and Allen Toussaint.
African religions fused with Christianity to create Voodoo, but today many open practitioners of the faith are white.
It's time to say so long to legendary Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Bo Dollis, who, for many years, led his Wild Magnolias through the streets of the Crescent City. Handa Wanda, Big Chief, Ho Na Nae and Jockomo Jockomo. Oops Upside Your Head [more inside]
New Study Reveals Much About How Parents Really Choose Schools (perhaps) Link from NPR. For more discerning readers the Executive Summary from the Educational Research Association associated with Tulane is linked. New Orleans as a laboratory for School Choice in process.
Music historian/nerd Neil Transpontine's blog "History is made at night" covers the "politics of dancing and musicking" -- from the riots at Lou Reed's concerts in Italy in 1975, demonstrations against the "anti-rave" Criminal Justice & Public Order Act of 1994 (UK) to present-day protests in New Orleans against a proposed noise ordinance. [more inside]
NOLA bounce artist and rapper Nicky Da B is dead. Nicki was best known for his colorful, aggressively infectious music and videos, including Hot Potato Style (previously), Express Yourself with Diplo (previously), and his collaboration with photographer Clayton Cubitt Go Loko (NSFW, strobe and flashes warning)
Then and now in New Orleans as the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches. This time it might not hurt to read the comments.
It was just after dark when Michael Martin, 56, was walking back to his home in New Orleans’ Marigny neighborhood, after helping a friend move... That's when he was jumped by a group of 13-year-olds and kicked, punched, and choked unconscious. He's not alone. It turns out that New Orleans middle schoolers are beating the shit out of artists and gays.
Pianist Jon Cleary is not a native New Orleanian (he hails from Cranbrook in Kent, England) but when it comes to the history and practice of New Orleans music, and piano music in particular, hell, you'd think he'd grown up on Basin Street or maybe next door to Tipitina's. You'll see what I mean when you watch this little clip, Jon Cleary - History of New Orleans Piano, and hear this masterful player roll through an exhaustive (and very entertaining) demonstration of the musical styles that the city is renowned and revered for.
Lizzie Miles (1895-1963) was a blues singer from New Orleans. (Her music was recently featured during the closing credits of Blue Jasmine.) Less well-known are her two half-siblings, blues singer Edna Hicks (1895-1925), and jazz trumpeter and vocalist Herb Morand (1905-1952). [more inside]
Before the world knew him as Dr. John, Mr. Mac Rebennack was, as a very young man, already cooking up some utterly groovy, rollicking, jazzy and soulful R&B instrumentals that could've only come from New Orleans. One particularly delightful one was The Point, and another was Feedbag. Just let 'em hit ya, man, you're gonna love it.
The United States is dealing with a booming population and shortage of good rangeland to raise cattle, paired with an increase in foreign demand for beef, resulting in a spike in the cost of meat. Frederick Burnham and Fritz Duquesne, formerly sworn enemies, put aside their grievances to answer the meat question, and an unrelated invasion of the Brazilian Water Hyacinth in one fell swoop with the the introduction of African Hippopotamuses to the bayous of Louisiana. [more inside]
I lost my phone after the St. Patty's parade and thought it was gone forever. However, we used the find my friends app to track it down and the guy who found it decided to document his adventure before leaving it at a local bar! I don't know who he is but thank you so much stranger!
Going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and finding yourself worried about bathroom options? Try AirPnP. Like Airbnb, but for bathrooms. [more inside]
Lost Dog: The Search For A Forgotten New Orleans Superhero
On a recent Friday night in the Harahan Community Center, the master of ceremonies had the capacity crowd’s attention. “This here,” he promised, “this tonight is gonna be some old-school professional wrestling.” All of us cheered. “Some of you may remember– folks my age, a little younger– the kind of old-school wrestling New Orleans was famous for. I’m talking about a certain Bill Watts. I’m talking about the Junkyard Dog.” Some jumped to their feet, howling in approval. “Junkyard Dog!” they shouted. Most just clapped politely. When I spoke to people outside during the show’s intermission, no-one younger than forty had much to say about Junkyard Dog. Of the younger attendees, a few knew he was from here, but to the majority he was just another name, a minor figure from the distant days of Hulk Hogan. Thirty years ago, Junkyard Dog was a New Orleans demigod.[more inside]
In a world so saturated with craft cocktails and drowning in mixologists, the dive bar has become, perhaps, the last true rara avis.
December 4th, 1928, in a New Orleans park: two boys dance while another plays a homemade drum kit.
Whenever I look around me, I wonder what old things are about to bear fruit, what seemingly solid institutions might soon rupture, and what seeds we might now be planting whose harvest will come at some unpredictable moment in the future. The most magnificent person I met in 2013 quoted a line from Michel Foucault to me: "People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does." Someone saves a life or educates a person or tells her a story that upends everything she assumed. The transformation may be subtle or crucial or world changing, next year or in 100 years, or maybe in a millennium. You can’t always trace it but everything, everyone has a genealogy. Rebecca Solnit in TomDispatch: The Arc of Justice and the Long Run: Hope, History, and Unpredictability [more inside]
"In cities across the country, Michael Manos has thrown fantastic parties with faux celebrities and top-shelf tequila sponsors. He ingratiates himself in gay communities, fakes a European accent, and often has claimed to be the disavowed gay son of a Greek millionaire, though he actually grew up middle-class in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Along the way, he’s taken thousands of dollars from socialites and the well-heeled, who were easily blinded by his glitter and glamour. He duped actress Jane Fonda. He sold tickets to a “chic” fundraiser in honor of Sen. John McCain, who later said he’d never heard of him. Manos is a bank robber, a one-time male escort on Capitol Hill, and the target of more than one cross-country manhunt. He is also a convicted kidnapper who helped keep a man locked in the trunk of a car for four days. For that, he spent more than a decade in a New York prison. And now he’s behind bars again, this time in Louisiana."
Doors cracked, and people peered out at the apparitions on the street. Most of the grown-ups smiled and said “Good morning”, or “Happy Mardi Gras!” Kids peeked around their parents, looking thunderstruck. “Get up outta that bed! It's Mardi Gras morning!” the bone men yelled, “You gotta get your life straight!” One of the less well-known traditions of Mardi Gras in New Orleans are the Skull and Bone gangs who come out in the early morning. Their mission, besides the celebration of Mardi Gras, is to seek out small children and warn to live their lives rightly least the skull and bone spirits should have to come to them too soon. The tradition lives on, continuing what began around 1819, now mingling with the "younger" traditions of the Mardi Gras Indians and the Baby Dolls. For more history, check out Gumbo Ya-Ya, a collection of Louisana Folk Tales, on Archive.org
Brandan Odums makes important and beautiful art in the ruins of New Orleans's 9th Ward [more inside]
Miller's Crossing, 20 Years Later Photographing (and finding) the exact filming locations for the Coen Brothers' New Orleans classic and comparing them to present day. [via mefi projects]
Rescuing a kitten from a tree is child's play compared to the crew of Engine No. 35's capture of a hawk in City Park early Sunday evening (Aug. 18). A resident called the New Orleans Fire Department to report a hawk trailing a long length of twine, tangled in a tree. "I don't like how he is looking at me" said Andy Monteverde, a firefighter working up the nerve to grab the hawk. Capt. Mark Shubert encouraged F/F Andy, "Just grab a handful of leg." Scroll down for the live action video. [more inside]
Let's just kick back and have a hella lotta fun with some good old fashioned New Orleans R&B and proto-rock from Huey 'Piano' Smith, what'cha say? His Don't You Just Know It can't help but put a smile on your face, and he'll give you that Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu so strong you'll hardly notice your High Blood Pressure, or that your baby is Psycho!
"Just before 8:00p, the doorbell rang insistently. To answer it, you had to unlock a steel door that opened onto a flight of stairs leading down to the ground floor. Bartender Buddy Rasmussen, expecting a taxi driver, asked his friend Luther Boggs to let the man in. Perhaps Boggs, after he pulled the door open, had just enough time to smell the Ronsonol lighter fluid that the attacker of the UpStairs Lounge had sprayed on the steps. In the next instant, he found himself in unimaginable pain as the fireball exploded, pushing upward and into the bar." -- Forty years ago today in New Orleans thirtytwo people lost their lives due to arson in what was the deadliest attack on LGBT people in the US to date. [more inside]
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros play an acoustic session while moving through the French Quarter of New Orleans on a horse-drawn carriage.
19 people were shot at a New Orleans parade on Mother's Day, including 2 children. 3 are still in critical condition. David Dennis asks: "So why am I allowed to go outside? Where's the city quarantine or FBI and Homeland Security presence for this act of 'terrorism'?" [more inside]
"'If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.' So goes the old saying. Yet conditions in some American facilities are so obscene that they amount to a form of extrajudicial punishment." Mother Jones is profiling "America's 10 Worst Prisons." Facilities were chosen for the list based on "...three years of research, correspondence with prisoners, and interviews with reform advocates." [more inside]
Brad Pitt's Make It Right foundation has committed millions to try and revitalize New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward by building 150 affordable, green, storm-resistant homes from designs by the likes of Gehry Partners, Morphosis, Kieran Timberlake, and McDonough + Partners. Thing is, the ward doesn't have enough residents to attract stores and services, so no one wants to live there. Meanwhile, the city continues to follow through on millions in commitments to rebuild roads on streets where no one now lives, and to erect police stations and schools for a lonely, "barren moonscape" of a neighborhood. About 90 households, primarily elderly people, are living in futuristic homes that most Americans would covet, and yet there’s not a supermarket--or even a fast food restaurant--for miles.
Between July 28 and November 10, 2003, Ron Haines canoed down the entire length of the Mississippi. Eight years later, he wrote it up as a series of blog posts with lots of interesting photos and observations: Lake Itasca to Minneapolis-St. Paul. Minneapolis-St. Paul to St. Louis. St. Louis to New Orleans. He also wrote up his logistics and some of the press coverage he got along the way. [more inside]
Everyone Hates The Oogles: Exploring The Animosity Towards New Orleans' Panhandling Punks [more inside]
Killing Them Softly - Trailer(Youtube) - is based on a 1978 novel by George V. Higgins (Boston's Balzac), set in Boston. The movie was filmed in New Orleans and set in 2008. [more inside]
"In 1911, the Saenger Brothers, Abe and Julian, operators of a drug business at Louisiana and Milam streets, decided to enter the amusement field. They were impressed with [Shreveport movie theatre operator E.V. Richards] and induced him to join them in their new field of endeavor ... In 1912 the Saenger Amusement Company was organized with Saenger Brothers, E.V. Richards and L. M. Ash as the stockholders. Richards continued as manager and an expansion policy was adopted which linked Texarkana, Monroe and Alexandria with Shreveport and thus formed the first Saenger chain of theatres in this area ... The company moved to New Orleans where the Strand Theatre, a building of magnificent modernity, was formally opened on July 4, 1917 ... In 1924 the company again inhaled deeply before exhaling a new record of expansion that established branches in 12 southern states. In 1926 and '27 further expansion took the company into Cuba, Jamaica, Panama and Costa Rica. During the expansion peak 320 theatres were involved in the holding company." Sadly, few remain. [more inside]
NOLA to New York Katrina survivors reach out to Sandy survivors
From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader. Jerry DeWitt is a former Pentecostal pastor in the evangelical parish of DeRidder, Louisiana who slowly lost his religious faith. Last Fall, he went public with his atheism, committing what he calls "identity suicide," and instantly becoming "the most disliked person in town." Since then, Mr. DeWitt's lost his job, his wife, his community and may be losing his house, but is still persevering and working to help others who find themselves in similar circumstances. [more inside]
"For NOLA-shot 'Looper' soundtrack, composer [Nathan Johnson] relies on the music of munitions." (last two links contain embedded video)
There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one.
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one.
“I am gay, and I’m proud to be called a gay rapper, but it’s not gay rap. That’s not a genre. My goal is always to make songs that a gay dude or a straight dude can listen to and just think, This dude has swag.... The best thing a song can be called is good.” Rapper/producer Le1f, in a short bio article on Fader, which mentions Le1f being swept up with the "more outlandish" (as Fader writer Alex Frank puts it) House of LaDosha and Mykki Blanco. The Guardian has another piece on the rise of gay rappers, but the Amoeba blog was there first in 2008, covering a bit of the New Orleans sissies. More videos and music directly linked inside (and you can assume the music and videos are NSFW). [more inside]
Hubig's Pies, a New Orleans institution for almost 100 years burned down last night in a five-alarm fire. For a city that's already lost so much, this is an especially devastating blow. Hubig's Pies are vital to the spirit of the city. But they've rebuilt before, and hopefully they will again.
When I die, bury me / In my high top Stetson hat / Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain / God'll know I died standin' pat.
It is a sad day in New Orleans. At the age of 80, Uncle Lionel has passed on. Uncle Lionel was the long-time bass drummer and sometime singer for New Orleans favorites the Treme Brass Band. (Watch the Treme Brass band playing one of their standards, "It Ain't My Fault".) Known to many as The Best-Dressed Man in New Orleans, he was a legendary and universally-loved fixture of the New Orleans music scene. Here is a video of him partying down at Sydney's Saloon on St. Bernard Ave, age 78. Here he plays drum and sings Let Me Call You Sweetheart at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, earlier this year. And finally, here he is with Monty Banks singing Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? at the Spotted Cat in 2009. Funeral arrangements have not been announced, but rest assured there will be one hell of second line the day they lay Uncle Lionel down.