Morgus the Magnificent

Anyone who grew up here in New Orleans should remember watching our beloved Morgus the Magnificent. For over half a century, Morgus prefaced the weekend horror movies with his own New Orleans style horror vignettes. Morgus, along with his sidekick Chopsley would entertain us with his weekly scientific experiments gone wrong, dissecting and poking and prodding various New Orleans B-listers, with the week’s story line progressing during the commercial breaks of Godzilla or Mothra, or Godzilla-Mothra-King Kong end of the world movies. I swear, Morgus’ dry, morbid sense of humor has affected generations of New Orleanians, claiming his rightful place alongside the satire of Mardi Gras and the unique New Orleans musical soundtrack of our lives.

Well today, the ever elusive character has proverbially come out from hiding – behold the man behind our Morgus!

Allow me to present Sid Noel Rideau, a.k.a.  Momus Alexander Morgus. Sheila Stroup of the Times Picayune wrote a beautiful article profiling Mr. Rideau with his latest contribution to New Orleans culture, the New Orleans Public Library’s Internet Story Club of America. What an admirable endeavor, and it seals the deal that future generations will have the privilege of being entertained and enlightened by Morgus the Magnificent, now publically known as Mr. Rideau. Thank you sir for all you’ve done, and continue to do for our city.

A tale of two tourist destinations

Could it be that the French Quarter of New Orleans might have its very own “sister city” — the walled city of Pingyao, in China’s Shanxi province?

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The ancient Chinese city of Pingyao. Photo by Debra Bruno as featured in The Atlantic.

Does this not look eerily similar to the intersection of Decatur Street (left) and N. Peters Street/the French Market (right) in the French Quarter (albeit with the streets and angles being depicted in reverse), looking in the direction of Canal St. (minus the Joan of Arc statue in the green space triangle)? It’s a virtual mirror image of that sliver of our own Vieux Carré.

Similarities between the French Quarter and Pingyao include:

• Tourism as the primary economic driver;

• infrastructure concerns resulting from “hoards of tourists”;

• projects involving the collection of “oral histories” from residents;

• Disneyland facsimiles (New Orleans Square at Disneyland vs. Pingyao being compared to the Temple of Heaven pavilion at Epcot);

• hole-in-the-wall shops offering “reflexology foot massages” (there are at least four in the French Quarter these days);

• music blaring from loudspeakers; and

• concerns of local businesses being overwhelmed by “souvenir shops selling mass-produced junk next to bars and restaurants.”

Consider this: two cities, half a world apart, offering alarmingly identical experiences to their respective visitors… isn’t that homogenization defined?

“‘The exodus of indigenous residents and the loss of confidence in local Pingyao cultural traditions may be the single biggest threat to Pingyao today,’ says UNESCO’s Dr. Du Xiaofan. ‘There are threats that the Pingyao could become nothing but a city full of souvenir shops, restaurants and hotels,’ adds Tongji University’s Shao Yong.”  Sound familiar?

The N.O. Tourism and Marketing Corporation, and the N.O. Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Morial Convention Center would still like to increase the number of tourists present daily in our city from the current estimated 24,000 visitors per day to an average of 37,500 per day (an estimated 95% of whom would likely visit the French Quarter). There are concerns that this many visitors would likely have a detrimental impact on the quality of life for the residential population of the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods, resulting in a further decline in the number of full-time residents.

Pingyao’s master plan, however, calls for the implementation of a deliberate reduction in the number of full-time residents to enhance its appeal. What might happen as a mere consequence in the French Quarter (not as a result of our city’s master plan) is an acknowledged and planned course of action in Pingyao, who’s annual tourist influx is a mere one million — not the 13.7 million figure desired for our city, as prescribed by the Boston Consulting Group’s report of 2009.

In MADAME VIEUX CARRÉ by Scott S. Ellis, he references the French Quarter’s early preservationists (Saxon, Irby, Fields, etc.) with the following words:

“What cannot be overstated is that this first band of preservationists left a legacy that ultimately became the economic engine of New Orleans. Their influence was slow and sometimes faltering, and there were reverses along the way. But it was at the smoky, absinthe-informed parties of the 1920s Quarter ‘bohemians’ that the foundations for New Orleans’ modern tourist industry were laid. Long after most primary industry has fled, tourism, in many ways great and small, keeps the city ever so slightly above utter destitution. Most of the oil industry has decamped to Houston, but the hotels stay busy. The high-tech sector may roll its eyes when thinking of Orleans Parish, but the souvenir shops of Decatur Street still turn the goods to each new generation of tourists. This first band scraped a few sparkling shards of ‘charm’ from the gutter and exposed the mother lode of unique character that is New Orleans’, and the Vieux Carré’s, livelihood.”

Ellis’ contention that preservationists birthed the modern tourism industry makes absolute sense, but given the recent Hospitality Zone battle and the ongoing skirmishes between the city’s administration and neighborhood groups, the truly warped part is that it may have been this very impulse to protect and preserve that has sown the seeds for the cultural commodification and destruction of our city’s most cherished traditions and customs.

Lately it could be said that the voracious triplets (the Tourism & Marketing Corporation, the Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Morial Convention Center) seem to want to cannibalize their parent.

In the French Quarter, cast iron ornamentation, fence posts, and columns occasionally feature ornamental pineapples as part of their decorative motif, a Victorian era symbol of prosperity adopted by our city’s earliest French settlers. Much like Pingyao’s tortoise symbol and its relevance to that city’s current struggles, the preservation of our history and local culture desperately needs an infusion of prosperity in the form of community interest. It bears repeating: we are a community — not a commodity.

Please read the Atlantic’s article about Pingyao and consider the corollaries between this city and our own city’s French Quarter — might Pingyao be the Chinese Vieux Carré?: Can an Ancient Chinese City Pursue Preservation Without Disney-fication?

Daisy Pignetti: Blogging the Unfinished Story in Post-Katrina New Orleans

Daisy Pignetti* is participating on a panel at the Oxford Internet Institute symposium at Oxford University in England and is presenting her paper “Blogging the Unfinished Story in post-Katrina New Orleans” on Friday. Her paper features my writing from my personal blog, TravelingMermaid,  in the months after the storm and up to 2009. I am honored that Daisy felt my frustrated scribbles was worthy to include in her paper so I wanted to share this news with y’all.

Daisy contacted the “NOLA Bloggers”, a group of people who blogged and networked after the storm, through Think NOLA in 2006 asking for volunteers to talk about their blogging experiences for a research project. I think it’s important to note that Think NOLA, the New Orleans Wiki (both now defunct) and Alan Gutierrez were instrumental in organizing the Nola blogosphere into a cohesive group and deserves a lot of credit for doing so.

The abstract from Daisy’s paper reads as follows:

“With the growing familiarity of the blog genre, much has been published about the use of information and communication technologies for grassroots and community endeavors, but there is still research to be done, particularly of placeblogs that coincide with sites of natural and/or national disaster. Unlike other scholarly Internet inquiries where issues of identity might influence the structures and processes of the research, the population discussed here stands out in its transparent use of blogs and other Web 2.0 technologies.

The New Orleans blogger community proves to be one built upon the shared experience of Hurricane Katrina and is thereby focused on reporting the facts surrounding and actions needed for recovery to take place. While their individual blog audiences may be small, their disclosing details about their lives ‘after the levees broke’ allows these ‘NOLA Bloggers’ to be in control of their storm stories and potentially receive feedback within minutes of sharing, which is fundamental during times of crisis.

After a brief overview of my autoethnographic research methods, I present a profile of a blogger whose writing presents readers with a truer understanding of what life is like in post-Katrina New Orleans. Since the hurricane hit in 2005, Charlotte’s writing has progressed from emotional outpourings of survivor’s guilt to reflective posts illustrating the way web 2.0 technologies have empowered her local identity since the storm. “

Several bloggers and/or blogs from the NOLA blogosphere who were posting immediately after the storm are mentioned in the paper, including:

Humid City
NOLA Slate (Sam recently guest posted for NOLAFemmes – you may read her post here.)
DotCalm
Polimom
Wetbank Guide
Maitri’s Vatulblog
Think NOLA

Also mentioned is the list of New Orleans Bloggers and the Rising Tide Conference.

After the success of last year’s 5th anniversary project on this blog, I had hoped to publish a series for the 6th anniversary featuring some of the NOLA bloggers that I personally read after the storm, people who came to mean so much to me, but personal issues prevented me from seeing that project through. Maybe next year.

There’s really nothing more I can add except, read this paper. Scroll down the programme to Friday and click on Daisy Pignetti’s name after which you can download the paper. It’s fascinating reading and gratifying to realize that all our ranting and kvetching about life post-Katrina was heard and really is a little piece of history.

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*Daisy Pignetti is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. A proud New Orleans native, her research into the rebuilding of New Orleans through new media endeavors can be read in scholarly journals such as Computers and Composition Online and Reflections: A Journal of Writing, Service-Learning, and Community Literacy as well as on prominent blog sites such as the Open Society Institute’s Katrina: An UnNatural Disaster and the Harvard University hosted Publius Project. She credits these publications and opportunities to the wonderful group of Internet researchers, faculty, and staff she met during the 2007 Oxford Internet Institute Summer Doctoral Programme.

Guest Blogger Sam Jasper: On Writing in the Wake of Katrina

On Writing in the Wake of Katrina

I watched CNN on Sunday for a long time, following the path of Hurricane Irene, worrying about relatives and friends who were in various states along the storm’s expected travels. As it became clear that the inland flooding from overflowing riverbanks would be by far the greatest danger to them, a tiny part of me jumped into a familiar anxiety mode, while another was outraged by the screaming coverage on television. While I pray for the families who lost loved ones, and I do empathize with the people, and there are many, who lost their homes, I was nevertheless annoyed by the continuous loop of video showing a lifeguard station in New Jersey coming off the sand and running into the boardwalk. That video was followed, on a fairly regular basis, by a photograph of a park bench, half hidden by water perhaps 3 ft deep, that the anchors kept looking at in amazement remarking that it had moved—all the way across the street. They were nearly dumbstruck with awe. I meanwhile remembered the endless loop of people on roofs, helicopters with little kids hanging in baskets and, of course, one bit of footage of a looter that was looped like the yarn on my grandmother’s crochet hooks around every other bit of footage as the levees broke six years ago. The coverage was frustrating and more than a little infuriating.

Doubtless there is someone in one of those states looking at the destruction Irene left behind and screaming with fury at the looping footage that doesn’t tell even a tenth of the story.

As Katrina headed in towards land, we had left on the Sunday afternoon before the storm after flipping a coin. Not the best way to make a decision, but one that we admit to as it is true. Under a sound roof in Alabama, we watched that looping footage, switching stations frantically to get more information, maybe better information. What was happening to our city, to the people in it? As the video of water coursing through neighborhoods started, we were shocked.

Then came the reports of what was happening in the Superdome, at the Convention Center, on roofs and overpasses. People. Lots and lots of people waiting for help. Some asking for water, just some drinking water. Reporters saying there were bodies floating near the overpasses. This in our city. Our country. Another couple days went by and we decided to return home after scouring nola.com for other news, connecting with some people, finding comfort in communication, being told we were crazy to go back. We were told it was the Wild West, it was a catastrophe of monumental proportions, it was illegal. We put the map on the dining room table, plotted a route home that would take us north through Hattiesburg and Bogalusa, a route that took us about 150 miles out of our way. We’d buy gas along the way wherever we could find it. We couldn’t sit watching the video loops another minute. We felt compelled to come back and at least make an attempt to help.

As we headed south to the Sunshine Bridge in order to come up 90, we hooked up with some other New Orleans-bound travelers. All of us with the same compulsion to get back, to pitch in. We talked a lot when we stopped for gas or supplies about what we’d do if we couldn’t get into town. What if all the exits were blocked by Guardsmen? We all decided to risk it. As we came north, the southbound lanes looked like something out of a Steinbeck novel. People with furniture tied to the roofs of their cars, passengers sitting on tied down mattresses in the beds of pickup trucks. Not a vehicle was moving. A giant parking lot full of frantic people and a few of their possessions. We wondered where they were planning to go, but we kept heading up toward the city. In the lanes next to us were a few National Guard trucks, humvees, and some personnel. We and the other couple traveling in their car were the only civilians we saw. We got to our exit and miraculously it wasn’t blocked. There was no one around as we approached our house. It appeared that there was no one anywhere. We saw no chaos other than a house in the middle of an intersection and downed trees and power lines everywhere. We lived on the Westbank at that time. We had been lucky. Just the other side of the river it was an entirely different story.

After a quick recon around the neighborhood, we found out who was home, and there were several. We gathered all the news we could, but the information void put us into an alternate reality: we only knew what we saw or what we heard in our little area. It was that way for people in other neighborhoods as well we found out later. We found out that a food distribution point was going to be set up at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras world so the next day we went to offer our services. The people on Powder Street needed medication. The lady by the levee was hooking up with animal rescue folks and needed our dog crate.

Our power was out but the phone line miraculously still worked. We had brought enough gasoline in with us to get us back out if that’s what we thought we should do. Instead we poured it into a generator that our neighbor had and we shared that generator one hour a day. I still had a dial up modem in my computer so I rigged a connection to a dial up number for AOL in New Mexico. It worked. On September 12, 2005 I wrote my first mass email explaining what we were seeing here at that time. I wrote every couple days after that well into March of 2006.

I was asked what it felt like to write during that time. Necessary. That’s how it felt. It was necessary. It was eminently clear that news coverage was limited at best. That people in other parts of the country were getting barely a piece of the story. While I certainly couldn’t give a view of the entire city, I could absolutely tell people what was going on in my neck of New Orleans: what we had, what we didn’t have, when the power was expected to come on, where the food distribution was and who was distributing it.

After one week my mailing list swelled to over 200 as people forwarded my emails to each other and dropped me a line asking to be included on any future updates. AOL was convinced that I was running a gigantic spam operation, so I wrote them and explained where I was and what I was doing. They relented, allowing the emails to go out, and eventually the mailing list grew by another 50. I was getting emails from locals asking if we could check on their houses and post photos, I was getting emails from people outside of the country asking what they could do, I got emails from friends and others asking what they could send and how to send it as the post office wasn’t in service. I was getting emails from people saying that the original mail had been forwarded ten times until it reached them and that their thoughts and prayers were with us.

What started as a simple “we’re okay don’t worry” email had morphed into an on the ground news dissemination system and people wanted the information, not the stuff they were seeing on the news. They wanted the stories of what we were doing, who we had met, the incredible generosity of some guys who drove through the night to deliver much needed goods. We eventually managed to photograph several houses for people who couldn’t get back, and although it was slow going on dial up, we sent them out. It eventually got to a point where we could no longer send individual thank you emails, there were too many and our generator time was too short.

I said earlier that it was necessary to write at that time. It was. Not just because the news coverage was initially so bad, but because once that first email went out the responses we got sustained us. I am not sure how we would have managed those first few weeks without the support of all those emails. People we didn’t know were keeping us going when all we wanted to do was cry. A bond was forged with those strangers on my computer screen. I kept writing. They kept responding, and I felt a duty to continue sending out updates.

Many people sent boxes of supplies. Others sent vitamins and tasty things. They all came with notes of support, often with cash in them, and all with a comment about the frustration of trying to find a tangible way to help in that moment. So many kindnesses to balance the unfathomable cruelty of Katrina. It still chokes me up.

I had always written, an article here, a story there but nothing as regular as the emails written at that time. As the anger mounted and the sadness dropped us into pits of despair, the words were there being read somewhere by someone who cared even if we didn’t know their name. They met the people in my neighborhood, the people helping out. They heard the stories of the noble sons who’d stayed with their elderly, ill mothers. They heard the stories of lost people and our panic over their whereabouts. They heard about little triumphs and major hurdles. They heard about the heat and the exhaustion, the jubilation of power being turned back on, our first sight of Jackson Square covered in satellite trucks and humvees and old bandages instead of artists, and how many nails a tire can absorb before it becomes unusable.

In the writing of those missives I found the strength to cope with what I was seeing around me, and if the responses were to be believed, I was giving the people who read them a more realistic view of what was happening here during that time. Interestingly enough, six years later, sometimes those emails swirl through my consciousness with the tenacity of a CNN video loop.

~

Sam blogs at New Orleans Slate and is a contributing author and co-editor of A Howling in the Wires: An Anthology of Writing from Postdiluvian New Orleans. Her emails chronicling the days after Katrina can be read at Katrina Refrigerator.

Thousands of Gulf Coast Residents Sickened by Effects of Oil Spill

The following post was originally published April 12 on local blog American Zombie.

More Cries for Help

Last Saturday I spent the day at Dr. Michael Robichaux’s farm in Raceland talking with well over 60 offshore workers, fisherman, and family members who are experiencing extreme health effects from the BP oil spill.  Many of the workers who came into direct contact with the oil and the dispersant, Corexit, are experiencing similar health problems ranging from mild sypmptoms to life threatening conditions.  It’s not only the men who were out on the Gulf during the spill that are sick, family members are experiencing health problems as well.  Even people who swam in the ocean are stricken.

While I can’t confirm this number, I am told by folks monitoring the issues that they estimate thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida are suffering.   Some are experiencing mild symptoms such as asthma, nausea, and headaches, while others are suffering extreme health issues such as internal bleeding, paralysis and even death….yes death.

The following video is a testimonial from Louisiana charter boat captain, Louis Bayhi.  It’s 6 minutes long and I implore you to watch the entire thing:

Capt. Louis Bayhi – Charter boat captain and BP clean up worker experiencing severe health problems from Blackbird Media on Vimeo.

Louis was one of over 40 fisherman I spoke with on Saturday who is gravely ill.  All of these fisherman confirmed to me that the Gulf is still full of oil and dispersant is continually being deployed….including areas which have been deemed safe for seafood harvesting.

There are more testimonials coming….please help spread this message…please help spread the truth.  The nightmare BP left us with is not over, in fact it may just be starting.  The MSM is not going to report what’s happening, but I implore you to dig deeper and don’t trust what you are being spoon-fed.

I fully expect to get attacked on the seafood issue but my response is fire away…I just spoke with over 40 guys who are out there every day and their concerns have now become mine.  I will take their word over anyone.

Check out the LEAN – Louisiana Environmental Action Network website for more information.

In The Name of Oil

This video is a production – a very good production – of Pablo Neruda’s poem Standard Oil Co. If the oilspill catastrophe of the Deepwater Horizon last April (6 months ago today) affected you in any way, I think you’ll find this quite provocative. Even if you don’t like poetry.

Trust me.

Talkin’ Revolution

This Wednesday, join Ms. Doratha “Dodie” Smith-Simmons for storytelling and conversation about New Orleans’ role in the civil rights movement.  Dodie has dedicated her life to the preservation of New Orleans culture, and will offer rememberings of her time as a task force member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a test rider for the Freedom Rides, and a youth member of the NAACP.

What: Talkin’ Revolution: Conversations with Elders who Led the Way, featuring Dodie Smith-Simmons
When: Wednesday, May 12, 7pm
Where: The 7th Ward Neighborhood Center,
1910 Urquhart Street at Pauger Street

Patois and Junebug Productions are proud to present this first installation of the monthly summer series Talkin’ Revolution: Conversations with Elders who Led the Way. Talkin’ Revolution highlights the voices of local heroes in the struggle for justice and equality.

NoLA Hosts Regional Premiere of ‘Ameriville’ This Week

Southern Rep Partners with Junebug Productions, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and Tulane University
for the Regional Premiere of Ameriville
by Universes, which runs February 24 – March 7, 2010.


In AMERIVILLE, the critically acclaimed Bronx-based ensemble group gives an emotionally riveting performance that is not only about Katrina, but also about the struggles and heartbreaks that happened in New Orleans. With the unbelievable power and passion that Universes brings to the stage, stories, facts, and memories are brought back through a mixture of poetry, hip-hop, jazz, and theatre.

Created by Universes, AMERIVILLE gives new insight and urgency to our national re-examination of what it means to be American – with heart, impassioned stomps, and incandescent harmonies. It’s a jubilant cry to rebuild America itself. Universes has created their own brand of high-energy performance, rooted in hip-hop but drawing on a global multitude of lyrical and musical influences and performance styles.

AMERIVILLE will be directed by Chay Yew, who is both a director and award-winning playwright, currently living in New York City. He has directed countless shows and is a recipient of the Dramalogue and OBIE Awards for Direction. As an alumnus of New Dramatists, he currently serves on the Executive Board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Yew is a graduate from Boston University.

Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, Gamal Abdel Chasten, and Ninja make up Universes. All four actors are the founders of the company. Steven Sapp, a graduate from Bard College, is a playwright/actor. Mildred Ruiz-Sapp is part of this group as a playwright/actress/vocalist. Gamal A. Chasten is a songwriter/poet/screenwriter whose work has toured in over 25 U.S. cities and 5 countries. Ninja (William Ruiz) is a playwright/director and also a graduate of Bard College. Universes is a National / International ensemble Company of multi-disciplined writers and performers who fuse Poetry, Theater, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Politics, Down Home Blues and Spanish Boleros to create moving, challenging and entertaining theatrical works. The group breaks the bounds of traditional theater to create their own brand, inviting old and new generations of theater crafters as well as the theater goers and new comers to reshape the face of American Theater.

Southern Rep Artistic Director Aimée Hayes was drawn to this wide-reaching partnership out of a shared belief in the power of Universes’ production. “When I saw AMERIVILLE in last year’s Humana Festival, I jumped to my feet along with the rest of the audience to applaud before the lights came down at the end of the show. After seeing a production that spoke to my hometown in such a ground-breaking and inspirational way, I knew we had to find a way to bring it here to share with our friends and neighbors.”

Southern Rep is proud to be part of this expansive partnership project with Junebug Productions, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and Tulane University Department of Theatre and Dance that brings together such a diverse group of stakeholders, including school principals, teachers, members of the media, church and business leaders, as well as organizations’ board members to ensure the widest possible impact of Universes’ work in New Orleans. Thanks to the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Arts Council of New Orleans, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, and the National Performance Network, Southern Rep sees AMERIVILLE and Universes’ residency as fruitful and productive endeavor to benefit the New Orleans community at large.

Junebug Productions (JPI,) a professional African American arts organization located in New Orleans, Louisiana, produces, tours and presents high quality theater, dance and music that encourages and supports African Americans in the Black Belt South who are working to improve the quality of life available to themselves and others who are similarly oppressed and exploited. For the past 29 years, the company has toured the U.S. and performed internationally with John O’Neal, Junebug’s Artistic Director who co-founded the Free Southern Theater in 1963 as a cultural arm of the southern Civil Rights Movement. Junebug Productions is currently creating the Free Southern Theater Institute (FSTI) to codify the particular techniques, ethics, and aesthetics developed by FST and Junebug Productions. Artists from around the region and the nation will be able to come to New Orleans, learn the FST and JPI technique and work with the local community and artists. Junebug is currently offering the third of three pilot program courses, “From Community to Stage”, bringing in artists to work with community residents, high school and university students.

Ashé Cultural Arts Center is an effort to combine the intentions of neighborhood and economic development with the creative forces of community, culture and art to revive and reclaim a historically significant corridor in Central City New Orleans: Oretha Castle-Haley Boulevard, formerly known as Dryades Street. Ashé is a gathering place for emerging and established artists to present, create and collaborate in giving life to their art so as to activate the artistic, creative and entrepreneurial possibilities available in our community. Storytelling, poetry, music, dance, photography, and visual art all are a part of Ashé’s work to revive the possibility and vision of a true “Renaissance on the Boulevard.”

The Tulane Department of Theatre and Dance is a multi-disciplinary program that offers a fusion of performance styles and techniques in the framework of a liberal arts setting. Their diverse and international faculty teaches a mix of approaches that allow their students to explore all aspects of the theatrical and dance arts in order to help them prepare for the world around them. After beginning with the solid foundation of a hands-on curriculum, students are allowed to individualize their journey by choosing study in numerous areas that include academic research, storytelling, regional and international dance styles, acting methodology, community action, directing, choreography, design and technical stagecraft. The Department’s goal is to create the beginnings of a well-rounded dance or theatrical artist who understands where she or he fits into a larger performance community.

TICKETS AND LOCATION:

Regular ticket prices range from $20-$35: $35 for Opening Night, Wednesday February 24 (includes post-performance reception); Individual tickets are $26-$29 with special discounts for students, seniors, K-12 teachers, active military, theatre professionals (with ID) and groups of ten or more. $10 Student Rush tickets are available 15 minutes before curtain on a cash-only basis, with student ID. On the edge of the French Quarter, Southern Rep Theatre is conveniently located on the 3rd floor of the Shops of Canal Place, where validated parking is available. For more information and to order tickets, call (504) 522-6545, or visit southernrep.com.

Southern Rep continues to show that it is staging the most important, challenging, and downright mesmerizing pieces of theater New Orleans audiences are graced to experience.Theodore P. Mahne, The Times-Picayune Lagniappe

“Their energy and realness is unmatchable.” The Village Voice

Ameriville is an experience on many levels: percolating, bubbling, and broiling, flooding the theatre to the very last row. Hold your breath and dive in.Theatre Louisville

“A headlong explosion of poetry, percussion, and multi-culti musical exploration that absolutely demands to be seen.” — The Boston Globe


LadyFest New Orleans’ 3rd Year

ladyfestposter

LadyFest New Orleans is a non-profit music, spoken word and arts festival organized by local women to showcase, celebrate and encourage activism through the arts for and by New Orleans women. It also serves as a benefit for local organizations that support women.

The festival runs for five days at five different venues. It will begin on Wed., Nov. 4, 6 pm at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, 1313 Esplanade, New Orleans, with a Homily by Deacon Joyce Jackson, the first and only black woman Episcopal deacon in New Orleans. This will be followed by gospel music from Tonia Scott and the Anointed Voices who were the featured choir in “Skeleton Key”. The Queen Clarinet of Louisiana, Doreen Ketchens, will close out the evening with lots of hot music from Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans.

The festival moves to Snug Harbor on Thur., Nov 5 with two shows 8 and 10 pm at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, 626 Frenchmen, featuring Cindy Scott, Leah Chase, Megan Swartz on piano, Cori Waters on drums and Cassandra Falconer on bass.

On Friday, Nov. 6, Sweet Lorraine’s, 1931 St. Claude is the place to be with Charmaine Neville, David & Roselyn, Estelle Compagne on flute, GaBrilla Ballard, Lynn Drury & the Pfister sisters accompanied by Amassa Miller on Piano, Cori Waters on drums and Cassandra Falconer on bass.
Poet Valentine Pierce will be reading from her work also.

Sat, Nov. 7th the show moves to the Marigny Theatre, 1030 Marigny at St. Claude to enjoy blues with Beth Trepagnier, hear Gina Forsyth, dynamite on guitar or fiddle, and be amazed by Kayne Reznick‘s lusty irreverent folk songs, Lindsay Mendez performing music from her new CD, Olivia Greene bringing a fresh slant to jazz accompanied by Cori, Cassandra and Estelle. Then Some Like It Hot tears up the evening.

Sun., Nov. 8th, LadyFest New Orleans 2009 has its final performance at the Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., from 11 am to 6 pm with 30 X 90, Dixie Rose, Hazel and the Delta Ramblers, Kelcy Mae, Margie Perez, Olga and Troi Bechet with Mimi Geste on Piano, Cori Waters on Drums, Cassandra Falconer on Bass and Estelle Campagne on Flute.

For more info, including some great photos, visit LadyFest New Orleans.org