Friday, December 26, 2008

Olde Towne Arts Center

Recently opened in Slidell at the site of the former Slidell Cleaners is the Olde Towne Arts Center, or OTAC. Conceived Post Katrina OTAC is home to a growing network of artists that includes art classes in various media, visual arts workshops, poetry workshops, and numerous other artistic endeavors.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

CP3 Christmas

New Orleans' Hornets point guard Chris Paul is shown here dedicating the first of three basketball courts in New Orleans.

here's a little audio snippet about the dedication from WWNO Radio.

No stranger to philanthropy, Chris Paul continually helps the needy through his CP3 Foundation. Chris Paul and his family created the CP3 Foundation in partnership with The Winston-Salem Foundation to support a variety of charitable causes. Since its inception in 2006, the CP3 Foundation has raised more than $250,000 to benefit programs throughout Winston-Salem and New Orleans.

"CP3" nickname comes from family tradition. Tcombination of his initials and jersey number is strictly a coincidence. His father (Charles Paul) and older brother (C.J. Paul) are nicknamed CP1 and CP2, respectively. Paul also notes that all three men's initials are CEP.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last minute gift idea

Still looking for ideas for a Christmas gift? Got a person on your list who likes to cook or eat?

I just picked up a copy of Cooking Up A Storm - Recipes Lost to Katrina at the Camellia City Farmers' Market and it's a treasure trove of old New Orleans recipes. Compiled by TP food editor and cookbook author Judy Walker and my favorite Louisiana cook Marcelle Bienvenu, this book is chock full of recipes that appeared in the Times Picayune.

WWNO does a short story on the cookbook at this link.

Judy Walker details the painstaking work that was involved in formulating this book here.

You can puchase the book here at the TP bookstore. Amazon is currently out of stock.

It's available at Octavia books or Borders in Metairie.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Cliff Quote

From his latest "Sitting on my porch..." post, Cliff made me laugh out loud with this thought

Speaking of Wal Mart…since everyone is losing money and jobs except for them, shouldn’t we put them in charge of the economic crisis? The only drawback to this would be everywhere you went there would be someone at the door to check your receipt.

2009 New Orleans Jazz Fest Lineup

here's the list from the Times Pic

The 40th annual Jazz Fest is April 24-26 & April 30-May 3.

The big acts this year include Wynton Marsalis, the Dave Matthews Band, James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Sugarland, Tony Bennett, The Neville Brothers and Bonnie Raitt.

The first weekend roster includes Wynton Marsalis, Dave Matthews Band, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, Earth Wind & Fire, Wilco, Spoon, Erykah Badu, Irma Thomas, Orishas, Third World, Robert Cray, Etta James & the Roots Band, Mavis Staples, Drive-By Truckers feat. Booker T. Jones, Johnny Winter, Pete Seeger, Hugh Masekela, Better Than Ezra, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Galactic, Roy Haynes, Pete Fountain, Avett Brothers, Kinky, Roy Rogers, Del McCoury Band, Terence Blanchard, Marc Broussard, DJ Jubilee with 5th Ward Weebie and Ms. Tee, Buckwheat Zydeco's 30th Anniversary feat. The Hitchhikers, Tab Benoit, Locos por Juana, Trombone Shorty, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Yacub Addy and Odadaa of Ghana, Rebirth Brass Band Reunion with Kermit Ruffins, Ivan Neville & Dumpstaphunk, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience, Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys, Donald Harrison, The Anointed Jackson Sisters, Tribute to Mahalia Jackson featuring Irma Thomas, Mavis Staples, and Pamela Landrum, Chris Smither, Henry Butler, Papa Grows Funk, Robert Mirabal, Harlem Blues & Jazz Band, Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters, Sonny Landreth, Benjy Davis Project, The Vettes, Mem Shannon & the Membership, Stephanie Jordan, Warren Storm, Willie Tee and Cypress feat. Tommy McLain and T K Hulin, Astral Project, Ladysmith Redlions of South Africa, Don Vappie & the Creole Jazz Serenaders, Amammereso Agofomma of Ghana, The Dixie Cups, Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band, Germaine Bazzle, John Mooney & Bluesiana, Marlon Jordan, Tabby Thomas, Spencer Bohren, Savoy Music Center of Eunice Saturday Cajun Jam, Dew Drop Inn Revisited hosted by Deacon John feat. Wanda Rouzan, Eddie Bo, Allen Toussaint, Robert Parker, and Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Road Show, Wayne Toups & Zydecajun, Leroy Jones presents the Fairview Brass Band Reunion Tribute to Danny Barker, Bruce Daigrepont, Vivaz!, Pfister Sisters' 30th Anniversary, Gringo do Choro, Dr. Michael White & the Original Liberty Jazz Band, Thais Clark, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians, Henry Gray & the Cats, Joe Krown, Walter "Wolfman" Washington & Russell Batiste, Jr., Lil' Buck Sinegal Blues Band, EOE, Ebony Hillbillies, Crescent City Allstars feat. James Andrews, Hot 8 Brass Band, Schatzy, Jake Smith, 19th Street Red Blues Band, Brasilliance!, Mighty Chariots of Fire, Sharde Thomas & the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band, Chris Owens, Topsy Chapman, New Bumpers' Revival Jazz Band of France, Zulu Male Ensemble, Jo "Cool" Davis, Leah Chase, Herlin Riley, Roderick Paulin, Mahogany Brass Band, Ingrid Lucia, MyNameisJonMichael, Texas Johnny Brown & the Quality Blues Band, Rockie Charles & the Stax of Love, AsheSon, Jim McCormick, Lil' Malcolm & the House Rockers, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, Thomas "Big Hat" Fields & his Foot Stompin' Zydeco Band, Guitar Slim, Jr., Storyville Stompers Brass Band, Willis Prudhomme & Zydeco Express, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Waterseed, Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians, DJ Hektik & the New Orleans Society of Dance with Freedia and Nobi, Tipsy Chicks, Jonno Frishberg & Bayou DeVille, Christian Serpas & Ghost Town, Kumbuka African Drum and Dance Collective, NewBirth Brass Band, High Ground Drifters Bluegrass Band, New Orleans Night Crawlers Brass Band, Hadley Castille & the Sharecropper Band, Carrollton Hunters and Cherokee Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Big Steppers, Furious Five, and Untouchables SAPCs, Patrice Fisher & Arpa feat. special guests from Brazil, Clive Wilson's New Orleans Serenaders feat. Butch Thompson, Young Tuxedo Brass Band, Betty Winn & One A-Chord, McDonogh #35 High School Gospel Choir, Sophisticated Ladies feat. Barbara Shorts, Leslie Smith, Cindy Scott, and Judy Spellman, Golden Comanche and Seminoles Mardi Gras Indians, N.O.C.C.A. Jazz Ensemble, Real Untouchables Brass Band, Olympia Aid, New Look & First Division SAPCs, New Orleans Jazz Vipers, Tommy Sancton, Society Brass Band, Connie Jones, St. Joseph the Worker Music Ministry, UNO Jazz Combo, June Gardner & the Fellas, New Orleans Spiritualettes, Smitty Dee's Brass Band, Kid Simmons' Local International Allstars, Semolian Warriors, Comanche Hunters, and Golden Star Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble, Tyronne Foster & the Arc Singers, Loyola University Jazz Ensemble, Franklin Avenue B.C. Mass Choir, Small Souljas Brass Band, Val & the Love Alive Fellowship Choir, Single Ladies, Family Ties, Big Nine, and Keep N It Real SAPCs, Second Mount Carmel Gospel Choir, Xavier University Jazz Ensemble, Heritage School of Music Band, Gospel Soul Children, Nine Times Men, Single Men, Dumaine Gang, Divine Ladies, and Lady Jetsetters SAPCs, Red, White & Blue and Wild Mohican Mardi Gras Indians, Reverend Charles Jackson & the Jackson Travelers, Nineveh B.C. Mass Choir, Kid Simmon's Local International Allstars, Voices of St. Peter Claver, David & Roselyn, Grayhawk, Washboard Leo, Red Hot Brass Band, Kayla Woodson & Louisiana Lightnin' and more.

The second weekend features Aretha Franklin, Artist TBA, Sugarland, Ben Harper, Tony Bennett, Kings of Leon, The Neville Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Common, Emmylou Harris, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, Los Lobos, The O'Jays, Toots & the Maytals, Allen Toussaint, John Mayall, Solomon Burke, Doc Watson, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, The Whispers, Jakob Dylan, Chuck Brown, Meter Men: Zig, George, and Leo, Kurt Elling, Rance Allen, Cowboy Mouth, Guy Clark, Radiators Aaron Neville, Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, Tab Benoit & the Wetland Allstars, Marcia Ball, Ellis Marsalis, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Frankie Ford, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Mississippi Mass Choir, Walter "Wolfman" Washington & the Roadmasters, Anders Osborne, the subdudes, Esperanza Spalding, Patty Griffin, Deacon John, Chris Thomas King, Kind of Blue @ 50 Tribute to Miles Davis feat. Jimmy Cobb, Wallace Roney, Larry Willis, and Buster Williams, John Scofield & the Piety Street Band, George Wein & the Newport Allstars feat. Randy Brecker, VaShawn Mitchell & Friends, Nicholas Payton, Linda Tillery & the Cultural Heritage Choir, Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Bonerama, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Genius of Sidney Bechet: A Tribute feat. Bob Wilber, Dr. Michael White, and Brian "Breeze" Cayolle, Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet, Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Theresa Andersson, Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm, Bobby Lounge feat. Sarah Quintana, Chieck Hamala Diabate of Mali, The Iguanas, Treme Brass Band, Lars Edegran & the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra, Lionel Ferbos & the Palm Court Jazz Band, Fredy Omar con su Banda, Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys, Big Chief Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolias, Soul Rebels, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Luther Kent & Trickbag, Banu Gibson's Hot Jazz with Bucky Pizzarelli, Mark Braud, Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots, Marva Wright & the BMWs, Kenny Bill Stinson & the Ark-LA-Mystics, Gregg Stafford's Jazz Hounds' Tribute to Danny Barker feat. Juanita Brooks, Eric Lindell, C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Rumba Buena, Roddie Romero & the Hub City Allstars, Charmaine Neville Band, Eddie Bo, Ori Danse Club of Benin, Crocodile Gumboot Dancers of South Africa, Rotary Downs, George French & the New Orleans Storyville Jazz Band, Walter Payton & File Gumbo, Dash Rip Rock, John Boutte, Sonny Bourg & the Bayou Blues Band, Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes, Sherman Robertson, Honey Island Swamp Band, The Revealers, I'Voire Spectacle feat. Seguenon Kone, Alex McMurray, 101 Runners, Midnite Disturbers, Paulin Brothers Brass Band, Big Chief Peppy & the Golden Arrows Mardi Gras Indians, D.L. Menard & the Louisiana Aces, James Rivers Movement, Otra, Tony Green's Gypsy Jazz, New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, John Rankin, Betsy McGovern & the Poor Clares, Kenny Neal, Lil' Brian & the Travelers, Jeremy Davenport, Keith Frank & the Soileau Zydeco Band, Jamal Batiste & the Jam-Allstars, Ensemble Fatien feat. Seguenon Kone, Dr. Michael White, and Jason Marsalis, Sharon Martin, St. Louis Slim, Bryan Lee & the Blues Power Band, TBC Brass Band, Lady Rollers, Original C.T.C., and Nine Times Ladies SAPCs, Feufollet, War Chief Juan & Young Fire and White Cloud Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleans Bingo! Show, David Egan, Kidd Jordan-Al Fielder & the IAQ, Drew Landry Band, Driskill Mountain Boys, Jumpin' Johnny Sansone, Washboard Chaz, Bamboula 2000, Danza, Marisa y Mariachi Agave, J. Monque'D Blues Band, Cedric Watson, Twangorama, Higher Heights, Tim Laughlin, Elysian Fieldz, Percussion Inc., Pinettes Brass Band, Scene Boosters, Old N Nu Fellas, Secondline Jammers, and Ladies of Unity SAPCs, Little Freddie King Blues Band, Glen David Andrews, Po' Henry & Tookie, Sherman Washington & the Zion Harmonizers, Culu Children's Traditional African Dance Ensemble, Paky Saavedra's Bandido, New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Rhythm Section, Bob French & the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, Shamarr Allen, Free Agents Brass Band, Jambalaya Cajun Band, Benny Grunch & the Bunch, Javier Tobar & Elegant Gypsy, Creole Zydeco Farmers, Bonsoir Catin, Corey Ledet, Gina Brown, Reggie Hall & the Twilighters feat. Lady Bee, Forgotten Souls Brass Band, Young Magnolias, Golden Sioux, and Black Feathers Mardi Gras Indians, New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra, Westbank Steppers, Valley of Silent Men, and Pigeon Town Steppers SAPCs, Doreen's Jazz New Orleans, Truth Universal & Jimi Clever, Shades of Praise Gospel Singers, Brother Tyrone, Lazarus, Berard Family Band, New Orleans Jazz Ramblers, Courtney Bryan Trio, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, DJ Captain Charles, Blodie's Jazz Jam, New Orleans Helsinki Project, Original Last Straws, Chris Clifton, Panorama Jazz Band, Mario Abney, John Lee & the Heralds of Christ, Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Hot Club of New Orleans, The Moonshiners, Clarinet Woodshed feat. Evan Christopher and Gregory Agid, SUBR Jazz Ensemble, Michael Ward, DJ Soul Sister, The Johnson Extension, Black Eagles, Geronimo Hunters, Wild Tchoupitoulas, and Wild Apaches Mardi Gras Indians, Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries, Tulane University Jazz Ensemble, First Emmanuel Baptist Church Choir, Louis Ford & his New Orleans Flairs, Fi Yi Yi & the Mandingo Warriors, Red Hawk, and Black Seminoles Mardi Gras Indians, Leviticus Gospel Choir, Dillard University Jazz Ensemble, Bester Singers and the Dynamic Smooth Family Gospel Singers, Bon Temps Roulez, New Generation, and Undefeated Divas SAPCs, The Electrifying Crownseekers, Pinstripe Brass Band, Ebenezer Baptist Church Mass Choir, Trouble Nation and Ninth Ward Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Famous Rocks of Harmony, Highsteppers Brass Band, McMain High School Gospel Choir, Voices of Distinction, Gal Holiday, Lyle Henderson & Emmanuel, Coolie Family Gospel Singers, Original Big 7 and Original 4 SAPCs, Tornado Brass Band, Eddie "Chops" Paris, Golden Blade, Wild Red Flame, and Mohawk Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Morning Star B.C. Mass Choir, New Wave Brass Band, Julio y Cesar Band, First Emmanuel Church Gospel Choir, Greater Antioch Full Gospel B.C. Mass Choir, Roderick Paulin, N'Kafu African Dance Ensemble, Original Prince of Wales and the Original Lady Buckjumpers SAPCs, Johnette Downing, Young Guardians of the Flame, Eric McAllister, N'Fungola Sibo West African Dance Company, Mt. Hermon B.C. Mass Choir and more.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Corruption: It's not just for Louisiana anymore

From the New York Times:
An official says that Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on charges related to the selection of the replacement for the Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama.

I like Schroeder's reaction to this. Quite creative.

Early Christmas for Brock Elementary

Katrina damaged Brock Elementary in Slidell is once again alive with the sounds of kids and teachers.

The school principal, still remembers saying goodbye to her students the Friday afternoon before the storm, telling them she would see them the following Monday. On that Saturday, she and maintenance crew members did what they could to make the building storm-ready.

Within a few days, Katrina's storm surge poured about 6 feet of water into the school.

As the first public school in Slidell, Brock Elementary School was the oldest school in the parish
still in use as a school when Hurricane Katrina devastated it.

I've been watching the progress of the rebuilding of this school. I snapped a

few pictures of it in February of this year.
It's good to see that Brock Elementary will continue to be a place where kids can learn and grow for a long time to come.

Thanks to those who initiated this rebuilding: the Mayor of New Hyde Park, NY and the Principal of The Road School in the same town and all of those who worked to bring Brock back to life.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Besh at Rouses

Chef John Besh is making some of products available to the public exclusively through Rouse's Supermarkets.

From the St. Tammany News

A new line of vinaigrettes and sauces from Slidell native son and Food Network star, John Besh were introduced recently at the Thibodaux-based grocery store chain.

Owner of four highly acclaimed local restaurants, Besh introduced the products for at-home chefs wanting to reproduce the intense flavors used in his kitchens. The vinaigrettes draw inspiration from the region’s roots, with names like Pepper Jelly, Louisiana Sugar Cane Vinaigrette, Wild Flower Honey and Creole Mustard, as well as Spicy Young Garlic and Parmesan Caesar.

Also on the menu is Sour Mashed Steak Sauce, made with caramelized shallots, onions and garlic, along with a touch of vinegar, tomato and red pepper. Donnie McDowell, manager of the Gause Boulevard store in Slidell, said all of the products are selling very well.

Good idea for some stocking stuffers for my foodie daughter. Oh, and me too.

"Old" Twin Spans' future

Last April a proposal was submitted to use a 2,000 foot portion of the Katrina-damaged I10 Twin Spans to create an artificial reef and a fishing pier.

These satellite pictures show the location of the proposed fishing pier and artificial reefs alongside the new Twin Span bridge. (Courtesy Image)

From the St. Tammany News:
“The idea was received favorably by DOTD, so they’ve accepted our proposal to move forward,” said St. Tammany Parish spokesman Tom Beale. “Since completion of the new bridge is so far off, it gives us time to work on a design and to solidify which ideas and implementation tactics will work best.”

DOTD spokesman Brendan Rush said his department has approved the sale of 2,000 to 2,500 linear feet of the existing bridge to the parish, at a price of $17,100. The old bridge will continue to be used for traffic as construction of the new spans progresses.

A second proposal, submitted at the same time, supported the reuse of a portion of the existing bridge that must be torn down to make way for the new construction. The concrete from that section would be reused to build two artificial fishing reefs between the U.S. Highway 11 bridge and the new Twin Span. Beale could not confirm if that portion of the plan had been approved.

“It may be that once the fishing pier is under way, they’ll revisit the idea of the artificial reefs,” he said. “The projects go hand-in-hand, so we’d like to move forward on both of them.”

Friday, December 05, 2008

Something positive for a change

Found on the NYT website, this article tells of a meeting nearly three years ago between Nancy Epstein, the chief executive of Artistic Tile, in Secaucus New Jersey and Nancy Biberman, the president of the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit group known as Whedco.

From the article

Epstein offered to donate 120 tons of older and discontinued ceramic, concrete and porcelain tiles to Ms. Biberman for her 128 apartments. Unlike many commercial developers, Ms. Biberman did not need large quantities of similar tiles and could use Artistic’s variety of small lots.

After Whedco placed tiles in bathrooms, kitchens and common areas this summer, 60 tons — worth about $250,000 — remained unused. Much of it sat outside Artistic’s warehouse on pallets, some in open boxes that exposed ceramic moldings, finished crowns and tiles costing up to $30 each. Another load sat so long in a trailer nearby that its legs had sunk into the asphalt.

Serendipity ensued in the form of Paul Eisemann, who refurbishes brownstones in Brooklyn and who volunteers in New Orleans, where he teaches home-building skills. With the hurricane debris largely cleared and the frames and walls of new homes going up, Mr. Eisemann and community leaders in New Orleans turned to outfitting bathrooms, kitchens and other rooms.

Mr. Eisemann learned from Artistic that more tile — enough to fill at least four tractor-trailers — was sitting in Secaucus.

Mr. Eisemann contacted Mary Croom-Fontenot, executive director of All Congregations Together, an alliance of religious groups in New Orleans that has rebuilt 142 homes with volunteer labor and donations. Her group, along with, another nonprofit group in New Orleans focused on rebuilding homes, was excited about the prospect of getting high-quality tile.

Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael, minister of the Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church in Burke, Va.,had taken some congregants to New Orleans to help in the rebuilding effort. His group offered $3,000 to pay for one tractor-trailer load of tile to be shipped to Louisiana. Before he could write a check, a New Jersey trucking company that did not want its name publicized agreed to haul the first load without charge. Two trailers picked up the tile in October.

To ready the tiles for shipping, three workers at Artistic’s distribution center spent three days repacking the first 47,600 pounds of tile. The tiles were sorted, crated and shrink-wrapped and filled a couple of dozen pallets. “We want to make sure it goes to a good place,” said Gerard Esmail, the operations manager of Artistic’s warehouse.

Mr. Eisemann and Mr. Cramer are now focused on making sure the remaining two-thirds of the tiles end up in New Orleans.

“It seems like it’s been a really long haul, making hundreds of phone calls and e-mails and putting details together,” Mr. Eisemann said. “But big dreams cost the same amount of money as small ones, so dream big.”

Thousands of thanks to these wonderful, caring people.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


1,195 days after Katrina:

From the A.P.:

Work begins on a 2-mile-long floodwall across canals that funneled Hurricane Katrina's storm surge into New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.

The Army Corps of Engineers scheduled groundbreaking today for the $695 million barrier across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet.

It's meant to keep storm surge out of the gulf outlet and the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, which runs into the Intracoastal Waterway.

graphic from the New York Times

During Katrina, the navigation canal carried storm surge into the 9th Ward, washing houses from their foundations. The gulf outlet is blamed for flooding in St. Bernard Parish and eastern New Orleans.

The corps calls it the largest design-build civil works project in its history.

The gulf outlet will be closed; wide gates will let shipping through the Intracoastal Waterway.