Archive for September, 2004

Festival Season is Here

Get out and enjoy the weather!

The annual Gretna Heritage Festival is this weekend. Performers include Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Money (!!). Trust me, last year’s Gretna fest was a blast, this one sounds even better. Lots of food, drink, and people watching.

Also going on this weekend (and next) is the Swamp Fest at Audubon Zoo, which is a good excuse to visit the zoo and get some good food while you’re there. The festival is free with admission to the zoo.

And of course for the next four weekends you can go to Oktoberfest at the Deutsches Haus. I think they have beer there. Sausage too.

Art for Art’s Sake

This coming Saturday Art for Art’s Sake (as if art could be produced for any other reason) will be all over Julia and Magazine streets.

R.I.P.

Kelly Keller, best known as proprietor and part-owner of New Orleans’ Circle Bar, died in her sleep on Saturday morning. A native of Eunice, Kelly attended LSU and lived in New Orleans during the 1980’s before moving to Boston. After several years in Boston she moved to New York, where she booked the now defunct Coney Island High nightclub. Kelly returned to New Orleans in the late 1990’s to open the Circle Bar.

Kelly’s contributions to the city’s music scene are immeasurable. As manager of the Circle, she helped nurture countless young local and national musicians by providing a small, intimate environment in which to play. As a music lover with impeccable taste, she helped rediscover scores of forgotten local legends such as Barbara Lynn and Classie Ballou, helping to give them the credit and appreciation they deserve. The Circle Bar is the kind of place where you can see a local punk act one night and Eddie Bo the next, and that consistent quality and diversity was entirely attributable to Kelly’s love and dedication to the music of this city. Her expertise in this field helped pave the way for events like the annual Ponderosa Stomp and this coming weekend’s “Tryin’ To Mess My Mind” show at the Rock ‘n Bowl.

Her death is a tragic loss to the city, but also a tragic loss to those of us who knew her personally. Her smiling face and warm personality were just a small indication of what a great person she was. She made such a hugely positive impact on the lives of so many people, and for this she never gave herself credit. She was passionate, sincere, and lived life to its fullest. We will never be the same.

A funeral is scheduled for tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Eunice.

Joel, by Paul Hamilton, San Antonio and New Orleans, 1998 – 1999

Here are some beautiful photographs of a lovely model named Joel, taken by Paul Hamilton in San Antonio and New Orleans. The JPEGs numbered 790 and above appear to be the ones taken in New Orleans. (The linked page is entirely work-safe. Most of the works on Hamilton’s sites are just as lovely, but if you stray off the linked page, you’ll find that some of those lovely works, while they’re never pr()nographic, occasionally have enough erotic charge that you may prefer to admire them other than from work.)

Religion by Osmosis

St. Dymphna, patron saint of the mentally ill, runaways, sleepwalkers, and, oddly enough, princessesDon’t tell the Ladies of 70118, but I’m not a New Orleanian. Well, perhaps technically I am, since my biological mother hails from Lakeview, but I was raised in Mississippi, which is a very different place, indeed. In fact, New Orleans is so distinct, so completely unlike my native neck o’ the woods, that my parents were seriously concerned when I moved here a decade and a half ago. They probably would have been fine if I’d chosen to live in Houston or Atlanta or Dallas–even though they’re all significantly bigger cities and much further from my hometown. There’s just something about New Orleans that gives them the willies.

Apart from their general discomfort with New Orleans’ often-fuzzy race/class lines, I think they’re most put off by the city’s Catholic roots. (I’ve never bothered to tell them about the sizeable Jewish community here–I mean, I’m not a sadist.) Not that mom and dad are unfamiliar with Catholicism: there’s a Catholic church in my hometown, but it’s very, very small and easy to ignore. Like most Southerners, when my parents look out their front door, they see only Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and the occasional Lutheran transplant.

For me, however, religion is essentially a non-issue. I haven’t attended church in many years; being raised in a fairly severe Baptist congregation–where questions other than “What time does the Country Club open the Sunday buffet?” weren’t asked–was more than enough to put me and my inquisitive, relatively open mind off religion for a long, long time. And yet

After living in New Orleans for a number of years, something strange has begun to happen: when ambulances or police cars rush by me, sirens blaring, I have an almost uncontrollable urge to cross myself. When something bad looms on the horizon, I catch myself saying Hail Marys. And I’m inexplicably drawn to the shelves and shelves of saints’ candles every time I drop in Robert’s. What the hell’s going on?

I guess all the cathedrals and holidays have finally sunk in. I guess my boyfriend and his adorable, very Italian Catholic family have finally taken their toll. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve officially gone native.

NEW > HMD > NEW > BED

The day was long but far from empty. The first three to four hours were spent doing little more than waking up, pleasantly on a fire escape over-looking the french quarter. There were ample cigarettes and a few cups of painfully strong coffee. A girl from New York rented the apartment. She looked good in the morning. She never wore makeup. Her neighbor walked in without knocking. Her neighbor was in her underwear. It was a lazy morning.

Her neighbor went back to bed. My friend got her stuff together. I brushed my teeth with her toothbrush. We went to Petunia

Hiking the Avenue

My car is dead. It. Is. No. More. Together, my car and I recently took a big hit in the driver’s side and it died to save me. I waited three days, but it was still dead. The people in both cars walked away uninjured.

I’m taking my time buying a new car and in the meantime I’m walking when I can. The loss came at a pretty good time in a way: I’d just received express orders from my doctor to get more exercise and I’ve been wanting to get back to my twink weight, anyway. It’s a pretty sweet deal to do what you must do, need to do, and want to do, all at the same time.

So I’ve been walking home from work several evenings each week and much of my route is on St. Charles Avenue. The oaks and most of the houses are beautiful and, in fact, real refurbishment is being done on some of the mansions, like the “Wedding Cake” at the corner of Rosa Park and St. Charles, at very roughly the 6000 block, which has been repainted and (I’m told) gutted and remodeled inside. I’m glad the grand old homes that need work are being saved lately, rather than being allowed to continue to crumble or being scrapped and replaced with something “up-to-date” that either wouldn’t fit the surroundings or would look tacky in any surroundings.

You have to be careful not to become completely absorbed in architectural appreciation on the Avenue, though. Local people will know exactly what I’m referring to when I say I have a hard time deciding whether to classify my long walks on St. Charles as “brisk walking” or “cross-country hiking.” Surely many or even most of the sidewalks haven’t been maintained in 20 or 30 years! It’s not the mounds where the oaks have pushed the sidewalk up that are the worst. It’s the deep depressions that worry me, where something under the surface has given way and it looks like it might give way some more under the combined weight of my pack and me. That’s not completely hypothetical; last night, I made the mistake of stepping on a metal plate covering a water meter or something such as that and I felt my foot start to push through the sidewalk as I put weight on it. I moved off the plate before I could fall through to a compound fracture.

I don’t have a specific recommendation. In fact, I sortof smirk knowingly over the seedy richesse of run-down grandeur and break-a-leg sidewalks from a former time. I’m told there was a time just a few decades back when people thought that things naturally get better over time; I don’t think that view has entirely gone away. But “the historical inevitability of progress” isn’t a conclusion one can draw from my crumpled car or the sidewalks and houses of St. Charles Avenue. Instead, what we call progress seems to be progress for us. It’s not a “force” or anything else in itself; it’s not self-sustaining, let alone inevitable. The results of progress crumble back into disorder when people look away or when they lose the means to keep up the good that was achieved by others before them.

I am Doug, Hear Me Type!

I’d like to thank Sean Bonner for adding me to the writers group for New Orleans and for having built up my confidence in my ability to contribute, with the enthusiastic welcome he gave me.

Hi, readers. You’ve come in early to our new, New-Orleans-based experiment in local-blogging, as I’ve heard it called. I don’t think anyone knows what may take shape at this site, because the only express limit we New Orleans webloggers have been given is that each entry we post must be about New Orleans in some way or other.

And “hello” to the writers group, from Becca to Vincent, who have already started writing and have been attracting readers for nearly a month. Together, I know we’ll be bigger than the Instapundit–uh, at least locally!

Sean has already arranged to have a link to a biographical paragraph about me added to this page, at top left. I wrote it myself, tongue in cheek, so take it with a grain of salt, okay? Heh.

Ellis Marsalis Sr. dead at 96

“NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (Reuters) — Ellis Marsalis Sr., patriarch of the family of jazz greats that includes his grandsons Wynton and Branford, died over the weekend at the age of 96, a New Orleans funeral home said Wednesday.”

Read on…

Voting Confirmation

Are you registered to vote yet? Are you sure?

Call 225-922-0900 for the LA Secretary of State’s office to find out
how to confirm if you’re registered to vote.

I was transfered to someone’s voicemail where I left a message. Ugh.
We’ll see if I even get a reply.

UPDATE: Same day reply! I’m impressed.
I had to call the Orleans Parish Registrar of voters (504-565-7135) to change my address. Apparently they can’t update my address until after the election.

I’m glad I checked into it because now there’s a mess where they had my old address and I need to go to my old polling place on Nov. 2nd, where I can fill out an address correction form, to receive a new polling place for the future.
Whew!

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