Good Times/Bad Times: May 25 – 31

Today I have for you (channeling the chefs on “Chopped” which I just finished watching!) a little list of some of the good things and bad things that I read on the internet in the past week. Most of them are from other blogs, some from NOLA, some not. It’s just a hodge-podge of articles that I liked or …… didn’t, but all are decidedly shareable.

Good Times

Road trip! Follow Ian McNulty on a trip down the bayou to Terrebone Parish in Bayou Country journey offers glimpse of small-town life at the end of the line.

Local blogger Blathering shares her recent outing to City Park’s Botanical Gardens with a walk through Enrique Alferez’s sculptures in her weekly feature “Arty Tuesday”.

“Blackberries Everywhere” , via Bouillie blog, takes us along to pick wild blackberries in rural Louisiana and adds a bonus of a recipe for Blackberry Cornmeal Cake that sounds scrumptious. The photos of the finished cake made my mouth water and put it on my list of recipes to try this summer.

I’m always complaining to myself that I don’t have the kind of time I’d like to read. This is really not exactly true since I often  end up surfing the internet when my intention was to read my ebook.  I even tweeted about it. So I was happy to find this post, 7 tips to help you read more (& love it).

 Bad Times

Local political journalist John McGinnis died last Sunday at the age of 66. Robert Mann penned a wonderful memoir and tribute to Mr. McGinnis here,  a worthy read about an exceptional journalist.

#YesAllWomen was a hashtag on fire on Twitter this past week. It apparently first popped up Friday 5/23 in the aftermath of the Elliot Rodger shooting spree in California in response to his misogynist rants on YouTube. When social media takes up a cause like this, I find it much more interesting and enlightening to read personal blogs written by everyday people to get a feel for how the issue affects or is affecting everyday people. Here are a few blog posts I read this week that touched me (to tears in some cases) and/or just made me think in a different way, breaking open the festering sore of misogyny.

First, here’s a link to a Vanity Fair article that includes a graphic showing how the hashtag spread worldwide.

Brandi writes a very personal account of her experience of being bullied by a boy (and, yes, it was bullying)  at age 11. I really identified with this post because I experienced the same thing at the same age and I remember the humiliation I felt.

Roxane Gay’s post, In Relief of Silence and Burden, is a heartbreaker written in the unmistakably honest voice that is Roxane Gay. Reading this made my stomach hurt.

Walking While Fat and Female – Or Why I Don’t Care Not All Men Are Like That was an eye-opener. I guess I’m naive but it never occurred to me that adult men acted this way.

And, from the men:

My Girl’s a Vegetable: A Father’s Response To Isla Vista Shootings  in Luna Luna Magazine shares how a dad’s eyes were opened to the every day misogyny directed to women via his daughter’s experience while walking home from school.

Local Blogger Ian McGibboney writes “A Letter To All the Nice Guys”and makes some really good points.

And, finally, Emily Shire says “#YesAllWomen Has Jumped the Shark” and wonders if it’s being diluted by people tweeting about such things as “complaints about women being told to smile”. What do you think?

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New-To-Me Blog of the Week

To end on a lighter note, I want to share a blog each week (or so) that’s new to me and that I enjoyed reading  – you know, show a little link love.This week it’s  The Art of Simple, a blog that shares ways to live a simpler, more meaningful life as well as giving great organizational tips. Give it a click, I think you’ll like it!

 

 

 

 

 

Her James

Nearly four years ago, a young boy by the name of Jeremy Galmon was shot and killed after a second line had passed by, a casualty of people using bullets to settle arguments.

The fundraising for Jeremy’s family was held only a few blocks from my home, sponsored by members of the community and by Young Men of Olympia Social & Pleasure Club, who had sponsored the parade on the day that the boy was caught in the crossfire. The city was in an uproar over this latest victim of gun violence here, and the finger-pointing at the parade as a cause of the violence was happening in too much earnest. Casting blame on the second-line was far too easy to do at the time, but the bands were out in force, and people were driving by the Goodwork Network to give funding to the Galmon family and to deliver the message that second-lining was not a cause, but strove to be a solution in a number of ways. It was there that I met Deborah Cotton for the first time, working right alongside the organizers, enjoying the Baby Boyz Brass Band, the Roots of Music in one of its earliest incarnations, and assisting with style and grace.

I knew the name from her book Notes From New Orleans, which was one of the first post-8/29/2005 chronicles I’d read – I feel to this day that it is still unjustly overlooked as a smart, occasionally sassy, and heartfelt window into that time. I then found that she was contributing to Nola.com under the name Big Red Cotton via a blog there entitled Notes On New Orleans (I wonder where that title came from?), where her amazing voice and perspective jumped off the web browser and stood out among all that hot mess. She’d made it a point to immerse herself in the second line culture and invited me out to do so sometime.

I’ll tell everyone a secret: for quite a while, I wanted to write like Deb. Her frankness about how many people were on some sort of antidepressant to deal with the aftermath of the levee breaches helped make me bolder about admitting that I was on them and will most likely be on them for the rest of my life. There’s one post of mine that’s directly inspired by her examples: a multimedia account of a visit to another fundraiser, the Dinerral Shavers Educational Fund, filled with brass bands, love, laughter, and even some “Halftime,” anticipating the Saints’ Super Bowl win later that same month. I was happy to see her posting at the Gambit’s Blog of New Orleans, and touted her extensive online archive of second line YouTubes when I could.

Life gets crazy, and 2010 flew by, then 2011, 2012. I saw Deb again at a Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities program, then at Rising Tide 6, but I wasn’t able to take advantage of that opportunity to dance with her as she took in another of the second lines she so loved. Once I heard she was among the 19 shot by someone lying in wait for the procession to come by this past Sunday, my heart was in my throat. She’d worked so hard for so many years to show that this was a welcoming part of New Orleans culture, and one kid with a gun had struck that down, taking her with it…

She and a few others are still recovering from their injuries. The suspect(s) in the shooting is(are) still at large. And, for whatever reason, I find myself thinking about James.

James is no one specific. In Notes From New Orleans, Deb wrote about wanting a James to come along, and referred to him in one of her most recent tweets. James isn’t someone who can come and take her away from it all completely, but he can certainly make it all bearable for quite a while. James will know just what makes Deb tick, and will respond to her in all the right ways when she’s low, bringing her out of whatever doldrums she’s in. James is a supportive, seductive dream of a black man who hasn’t arrived in her life…but I wonder…

New Orleans may not have been perfect, and it may have lashed out at her, but it has sustained her all these years. She’s believed in it for so long, worked so hard for it, that I couldn’t help but think that one of the greatest tributes to her toils was Ronal Serpas making the point that the second line was not to blame for the shootings – and most everyone agreeing with that assessment. Jeffrey the yaller blogger is correct in saying “no one has done more to cover and celebrate this generation of NOLA street culture.” Deb treated it so well that if it were a person, I’m sure it would be a James.

It’s now time for us all to do what a James would do – support Deb and those others hurt in the shootings.

The Gambit is working with the Tipitina’s Foundation on a fundraiser for them all. Go here and stay alert for further details.

Deb kick-started New Orleans Good Good shortly before Sunday’s parade. Sign up for updates on her condition and details on fundraising. It would also be great, if you are in a position to do so, to sponsor some advertising on the site and keep her work going.

A blood drive effort for shooting victims is being scheduled for May 22, from 2-7 PM. At least 25 donors are needed for the blood drive. Contact meglousteau@gmail.com for further details and to volunteer.

Liprap

Cross-posted at Humid City

A Tribute to a Pioneer of the NOLA Blogosphere: Ashley Morris

Back in the days before social media, blogging was pretty much the way people communicated, ranted, raved and commiserated in the months following The Federal Flood of 2005, also known as Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans had a vigorous and active group of bloggers and Ashley Morris was undeniably the loudest voice in the New Orleans blogosphere and one of the founding members of the Rising Tide Conference. Today is the fourth anniversary of his untimely death and Mark’s post today got me thinking of Ashley and what I wrote on my now defunct blog, Casa de Charlotte Della Luna,  when I found out about his death.

Here is an exerpt of that post with links to some of Ashley’s famous rants. A bit of NOLA blogging history. RIP, Ashley.

Thursday I opened the laptop to check my email which is where I learned of Ashley’s death.

I wish I could write good enough to make you see how much we’ve lost in his death. There just aren’t enough words and I cannot come close to writing them, still in the weak,baby lamb state that I’m in.

In the last couple of days and nights since I learned of it, I’ve dreamed of Ashley off and on in my feverish cocoon. I’ve dreamed of his wife and three small children…of how he will never see them grow up and how he will never grow old with H.

Ashley had such passion and commitment, with a rowdy, bawdy spot-on commentary that set him apart from all the rest.
I never knew anyone who had more of a fierce, burning father-love for New Orleans. Never. He commuted weekly to his job in Chicago so he could live in New Orleans. He was a loyal and outspoken fan of The New Orleans Saints and I daresay never missed a home game. He was an advocate for displaced musicians after The Flood. He raised his voice and beat his drum in the people’s march against violence back in January ’07. I was honored to be in that march with him and all the other Nola bloggers. And he kicked Ray-Ray’s butt up down and all around until the day he died. Huzzah!
Ashley was a fighter, a doer, a warrior, a ranter extraordinaire and an inspiration to us all.

Varg said about Ash: “He detested all things snooty or uppity.”
That observation is so very true and one of the things Ash and I had in common. I have, at times, earned myself the reputation of being, shall we say, too blunt. My bluntness is especially pronounced when I perceive “snooty or uppity” behaviour. On several occasions Ash emailed me and encouraged me to speak my mind, reminding me that I had the same right as anyone else to do so. Yes, we had our conversations and they are a big part of why I love Ash. He wasn’t a kinda-sorta “when I have time” friend. He was the real deal. Even if it was mainly an online friendship, as ours was.

Ashley has left a proud and colorful legacy to his three children. They will know their father was a true patriot of New Orleans, a well-loved and respected man.

“That’s How We Roll!”

New Orleans Times-Picayune, Feb 25, 2012

NOLAFemmes wants to extend a huge thanks to the Krewe of Muses and everyone who had a hand in making “EmilyGras” such a wonderful, unforgettable event for Em and Amy. Thanks to all of our commenters, Tweeters, FaceBookers, Reddits and to everyone who blogged about this on their personal blogs. We might not know about all of you but we thank you whole-heartedly. Amy and I are going to do our best to answer each commenter to her post but please allow us a little time to get to you all. The love and support you’ve shown has been astounding and gratifying.

For all of our out-of-town readers we want to share a few links to some of the media generated by Amy’s story so you can all see the result of the love and community in New Orleans. We hope you all will come on down and visit whenever you can.

WWL TV

WDSU TV

Fox 8 New Orleans

The Times Picayune

Gambit

PC Magazine

The Huffington Post

The Washington Post

WWL Radio

Saints Report

Bayou Buzz

Dancing Man 504′s video for Emily on FaceBook

Jezebel

WGNO TV

Local Blogs (NOLA Bloggers Rock!):

B2L2

Blathering504

Dawn Breaks

First Draft

Good NOLA

Humid City

New Orleans Ladder

NOLA Defender

One Wild and Precious Life

Thanks Katrina

The Avenue Pub – Molly’s Blog

Uptown Messenger

If I’ve missed anyone please leave a comment and link. Thanks!

Random Ramblings On Blogging & Social Media

Once again I’m ruminating on social media and my participation in it. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the interaction on Google+ where I’ve been very careful as to who I circle. I’ve learned from my Facebook account that friending/circling can get out of hand in a flash and you end up with the electronic version of junk mail in your stream. The other day a friend posted this about sharing blog posts on G+:You’re not going to get far on social media if your entire stream says “check out my interview with X, Y, or Z,” or “Go read my latest blog entry.” I commented that he had given me something to think about since I routinely share blog posts from all my blogs. I assumed (ahem, yes.) that friends would be interested in my extended thoughts or, if not, would simply move on. I don’t write a lot on G+ but instead use it to share information, funnies, music – ya know, content I think my friends and I have in common. I comment on others posts when I have something to say but don’t feel obligated to comment if I don’t. Another person (not someone I know or follow) stated she thought “a lot of “traditional” bloggers have very boring streams and if you’re going to be on here you really need to engage”. (I found it interesting she referenced “traditional” bloggers – as if that were something out of date. I don’t see blogs going the way of the dinosaurs any time soon as long as people prefer getting information in a format larger than 140 characters.)  This was a rather ungracious comment, imo, and it prompted me to reply that  “people have all sorts of reasons for engaging on social sites – one being to keep up with IRL friends & acquaintances, not as a tool for anything more. Fortunately what’s boring for one is not boring for all”. As my friend stated, “there’s definitely a way to balance things”, a concept foreign to some people, I guess.All of which reminds me of a quote I read by Tom Petty in a recent Twitter interview. When asked his opinion on social media he replied, “End of the world. Everybody has their head up their own ass thinking their every breath is important.”I lmao at that. Truer words…..

Speaking of blogging, I haven’t done any link love in a long time so I’m going to share a list (in no particular order) of blogs from all over that I’ve read regularly in the past year and recommend you check out. Just so you know, I trend toward lifestyle, photography and blogs with a lit bent. I read political blogs too but I don’t talk politics here. Happy New Year to all and here’s looking forward to a great year of – yes – “traditional” blogging!

Zoom Yummy ~ Cooking, knitting, photography. I’ve found some great dessert recipes here.

Broadside ~ Writer Caitlin Kelly blogs about about women, work, journalism, books, culture, family and relationships.

Mighty Termitey ~ My online sista from another mother who always makes me smile and I bet she can make you smile too!

Cliff’s Crib ~ Proud parent, community leader and New Orleanian who points out our warts as well as our beauty marks. This man takes no prisoners but also has a soft-ish side.

Kiss My Gumbo ~ One of the smartest women I read and know personally. Her recent posts on caring for her father with Alzhiemer’s are truly inspirational.

Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans ~ Amazing writer and poet focusing mainly on life in New Orleans, of course.

Shay’s Word Garden ~ An extremely talented poet whose work will astound you. If you think you don’t like poetry, try reading her. Her work is street smart and tender all at the same time.

My two favorite photography sites: 504ever and My Life in the Quarter – two very talented men you need to meet.

YatCuisine ~ Yummy food blog!

B2L2 ~ A group blog consisting of writers doing their thing including essays and opinion pieces. Good stuff.

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.

Blogger Profile: Katy Monnot of Bird On The Street

Today we’re profiling Katy Monnot of Bird On The Street blog. Katy describes herself as “a Metry Girl”.  She attended St. Martin’s Espiscopal for elementary school and Dominican for High School. She went to LSU for college where she met her husband. He served in the Air Force for five years and they lived in Texas and Arkansas,moving back to the New Orleans area in 2007.  Katy is a stay at home mom of infant twin boys and their older special needs brother.

Katy, when and why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in late 2005 on a whim. Shortly after, my husband deployed to the Middle East for four months. Blogging became an outlet for me to interact with others and share my experiences. After my son was born in 2007, I realized I needed blogs to give me a first-hand experience that couldn’t be found anywhere else.

Do you consider yourself a “mommy blogger”? And what does that label mean to you?

I do consider myself a “mommy blogger” even though I was blogging for a while before I became a mom. I prefer the term “parenting blogger” because I think that’s what I actually blog about: parenting, specifically, parenting a child with special needs. Mommy is job title and lots of moms blog and never mention their kids. So yeah, I’m a mom blogger, a parenting blogger, but also what some people call a memoir-style blogger.

Are you trying to connect with a specific demographic?

Yes and no. I consider my main audience to be people who are raising children with special needs. Specifically, I want to provide them with hope and a positive view of what that life can be. As my blog has grown, however, I have discovered that there is a second audience–people who wish to support those with special needs. So I find that I am also writing for them these days.

Why did you choose BlogHer as your blogging platform?

Well, Blogher is just my advertising network. I applied on whim and it was probably years before they contacted me about joining. I control the rest of the site myself.

What do you think are the benefits of utilizing BlogHer over an independent blog?

The greatest thing, from my perspective is the exposure. Once a week, my post’s title appears on other blogs in the Network. It’s a nice way to find new readers. Also, I don’t think I was ever going to solicit my own advertising for the site, and Blogher ads  provide a (very) small about of revenue for essentially zero effort.

I know you are the creator of The Louisiana Bloggers Network. Tell us why you started it and what you hope to accomplish.

I’m so glad you asked! The Louisiana Bloggers Network is my attempt to promote, unify, and help bloggers in Louisiana. Right now it’s just getting started, but we’ve already had a Baton Rouge and New Orleans meetup, and we’ve put together a panel for the Rising Tide Conference. My ultimate goal is to have it become a hub of collaboration and assistance. Bloggers can share information, stories, goal. They can band together to seek advertising and sponsorship. They can plan road trips to conferences.

Katy, tell us a little bit about your involvement in the Rising Tide Conference.

Mallory Whitfield organized Rising Tide’s new addition this year: Tech School. She asked me to participate as a representative of The Louisiana Bloggers Network. I was completely intrigued by RT, so I started attending the planning meetings. I wasn’t able to do as much as I would have liked since I had my twins in the middle of June, but I was able to organize a panel on Photography and Graphic Design for your blog. I also live-tweeted Tech School and made some vegan red beans and rice for vegan attendees. Next year I hope to do even more. Rising Tide was created and is organized by old-school bloggers: not people looking to make a buck, but people with something to say. That is still my favorite type of blogger, and I’ll do anything I can to keep that aspect of blogging alive. Don’t get me wrong, I think bloggers can and should make money for their time and energy, but I really love people who do it regardless.

Are you involved in any other online endeavors you’d like to share?

Nothing I can think of, but you never know what project I’ll be up to next!

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Katy’s links:

Bird On The Street

Louisiana Bloggers Network

Louisiana Bloggers Network on FaceBook

Guest Blogger: Jhae Dupart on NOLA Blogger Marcia Wall of 411 NOLA

“On St. Joseph’s Day a few years back, a man and a woman stumbled upon our celebrations at St. Augustine.  I was serving food from our altar and asked them if they wanted any.  They asked me what the cost was.  I replied that there was no cost and began explaining to them the customs and traditions of St. Joseph’s Day.  They were thrilled to be with locals and partake in our traditions but noted that if it weren’t for mere chance, they never would have found us.  

 I understood what they were saying.  I am a world traveler and search out local culture when in a new place but find that tourist guides don’t do much to help me with that.  Both before and after Katrina (but especially after), people from all over the world hunger to know New Orleans like locals do.  I am a resourceful person, so I always end up getting the inside scoop but realize that many travelers don’t have the skills or time to research a place.  411 NOLA aims to remedy this for our visitors.  I want to connect people to each other, to make travel about genuine communication between people and cultures.

 Although the site is popular with people from out of town, many locals love it too.  We are a city smitten with itself like no other.  There is so much to do, so much local talent, so many hidden opportunities…people want a place where they can learn about it all.  ” ~ Marcia Wall

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Marcia Wall is the creator and administrator of 411 NOLA, a local website dedicated to all things New Orleans for New Orleanians and visitors alike. This profile of Marcia is the first in a planned series about  New Orleans bloggers: who they are, why they blog and  what they talk about. The formats will be eclectic, including interviews by myself, interviews by others and profiles by guest bloggers like the one you’ll read today by Marcia’s former student turned friend, Jhae Dupart. The NOLA blogosphere has grown by leaps and bounds since I began blogging in 2005 and I discover new-to-me bloggers almost every week writing on a myriad of subjects from politics to fashion to lifestyle and everything in between. I hope you’ll enjoy this wonderful tribute to Marcia that Jhae has shared with us and I hope you all as readers will participate by making suggestions as to which bloggers you’d like to see profiled here.

~Charlotte, NOLAFemmes creator and administrator

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I met Marcia Wall in 2000.  I was a sophomore at the University of New Orleans, and she was the instructor of the English course I took that summer. Her class centered on interactive discussion of taboo topics like gender and sexuality, making it a like no other I’ve ever had.  But her innovative approach to education isn’t the only thing that makes her a standout.  Marcia, a writer, educator, photographer, performer, activist, and founder of 411 NOLA, is a unique blend of talents that make her a welcome and integral presence in the NOLA community.

Marcia is originally from the South but grew up in California.  After graduating from college in Santa Cruz, she moved to San Diego.  But wanting to live some place that “oozed creativity,” she relocated to NOLA twelve years ago.  She quickly fell in love with the culture – “[not] just festivals, good food, and good music, [but] the close-knit feeling of the city, its ethnic and religious diversity, its sense of pride and determination, and the way each neighborhood is almost a city unto itself.”  As someone with both Southern and Sicilian Catholic heritage, Marcia found NOLA’s diverse community a perfect fit.

Her first job here was teaching English at UNO.  Since then, her focus as an educator has taken many roles, like life coach and consultant for educational programs.  To Marcia, education is about empowerment.  In her words, “I can’t teach anyone anything.  I can only help them to realize that they already know everything they need to know.”  Likewise, as an activist, she strives to enable herself and others to have a positive impact in the world.

Marcia is a modern-day Renaissance woman.  She always envisioned herself as a writer and, after school, as a photographer.  She also developed a knack for performing, transitioning from reading her funny essays on stage to creating her own hilarious comedy routine, which she’s performed at venues across NOLA, San Diego, and Los Angeles.  On top of all this, Marcia continues to dabble in other creative outlets – designing jewelry, making bath and beauty products, and experimenting in the kitchen.  As she says, “Being an artist is about manifesting one’s vision and sharing that vision with the world.  It’s about giving the world the gifts that the Creator gave you.”

It is her relationship with the Creator that sparked the inspiration for her most recent venture – the 411 NOLA website.  “One day, after I had finished doing a big consulting job for an educational program for developmentally challenged adults, I prayed to God and asked what I should do next.  In an instant, the whole idea for 411 NOLA unfolded before me.  I saw in my mind’s eye what the site would be like.”

411 NOLA is a rich info source for all things NOLA for visitors and residents alike.  Since coming online, the site has evolved to include articles, guides, recommendations, links, lists, photos, as well as an events calendar, a visitor’s guide, slide shows, products, contests, freebies, and opportunities for writers and artists.  Marcia attributes the success of 411 NOLA to faith and hard work.  When I asked how she feels about the site’s progress, she responded simply, “So far so good.  Thanks J.C.!”

Marcia, ever the visionary, is already looking to expand the features available on 411 NOLA.  “We would like to create a 411 NOLA video channel that highlights up and coming NOLA performers (of all kinds).  We are trying to develop a program that will allow users to send postcards of their adventures in NOLA directly from the site.  Later on, we hope to offer more merchandise and to host live chats and performances with NOLA writers, artists, personalities, musicians and the like.”  As the site evolves, she will continue to follow her inspiration from God.

I can’t help but be inspired by the breadth of Marcia’s talent and character.  She embodies the diversity of spirit and delightful quirkiness that makes NOLA one of a kind.  In all that she does, she continues to make NOLA a richer, more vibrant city.

Marcia Wall lives in the French Quarter with her two cats, Gracie and Boo.  When she’s not working on 411 NOLA, she enjoys traveling, cooking, exercising, and Sunday services at St. Augustine Church.  To find out more about her photography, see her photography website at See It My Way Photo.  To find out about her upcoming performances, “like” Cia’s Comedy Corner on Facebook. Follow 411 NOLA on Twitter.

NOLA Noteworthy

A random roundup of my personal picks of the best from local blogs and other NOLA-related news.

In Treme news, in response to the last episode, Sam Jasper at the Back of Town blog has written a beautiful and thoughtful post about the culture and tradition of  place and the inevitability of change, “It Just Don’t Smell Right Up In Here”.  Big Chief Albert Lambreaux is showing more of his cantankerous side while in New York recording Indian chants for a proposed record release. The title of the post comes directly from Big Chief’s mouth. Sam writes in part,

“His son has come around to the tradition in his way, but it’s not Albert’s way, and that’s mortality hitting ya in the face. Not just his own, but possibly the old ways, the culture he is so totally self-identified with and by. I know many elderly Native Americans who are terrified that their grandchildren won’t know any of the songs, traditions, creation stories, or medicine ways. In fact, several years ago, I believe it was the Shawnee who were given back sacred objects that had been held at the Smithsonian for a very long time. They let the Smithsonian keep them because no one alive knew what to do with them anymore.”

As an aside,in an earlier thread, Sam talked about the character Aunt MiMi, commenting as how she wanted to be Aunt MiMi. Huh. I’m acquainted with Sam and have heard a few of her stories. I think Aunt MiMi would be thrilled to be her. Sam is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. She’s a born teacher and storyteller who shares her knowledge and life experiences with an open heart, bypassing the need to instruct. I highly recommend her personal blog, NOLA Slate, although she doesn’t post nearly enough to feed this starving reader. (Check out this amazing post.)

Former mayor Ray Nagin released his self-published Katrina memoir last week resulting in a frenzy of blog posts, opinions, tweets and grumblings all over town. The best thing I’ve read hands-down is Michael Homan’s post, “Pharaoh Nagin”. No spoilers here – you must go read it.

Local indie designer Kerry Fitts was featured in the Times-Picayune last Thursday. (Sorry I don’t have a link.) After the earthquake in Japan Kerry allocated a portion of her sales from her Etsy shop to ArkBark, a non-profit group that was rescuing pets left behind in the radiation zone. Shortly thereafter she began exchanging emails about a possible fund-raiser and is traveling to Japan in July to participate in that event. She is donating her original designs for dogs and seeking additional donations from other local crafters. For more info about this amazing woman see my interview with her here.

One of my favorite local blogs is “NOLA Details” where the blogger Carla shares a NOLA-related photo every day. My favorite reoccurring theme on this blog is “Fun Porches” and we surely have plenty of those  here in NOLA so I don’t anticipate she’ll run out of candidates any time soon! Here’s one of  my favorites. Carla has another blog, “Watching NOLA Nature”, described as “Explorations in the urban oasis of New Orleans”. I really like how she zeroes in on the little things that go unnoticed in our every day lives. She reminds us of the wonder of nature and the beauty that is all around us. It’s a great little Zen moment everyday that I really look forward to.

Are you a tweeter? If so, my pick for Tweeter To Follow is @gadboiselensnola for informative up-to-the-minute reports from many of our city services department meetings including the City Council meetings, the City Planning Commission meetings and the Housing and Human Needs Committee meetings (all in the last 12 days!), among many others. Karen has made it so easy for us to keep up with what’s happening it would be a shame not to follow her.

Finally, I want to give a little shout-out to local blog “New Orleans Write Spot” that currently has one of my pieces posted. Susan Prevost (whom I interviewed here) publishes local talent and has the welcome mat out for local writers who are interested in publishing there. It’s a great place to read a bit of poetry and prose and support local talent.

Remember, you can follow us on Twitter and on Delicious to keep up with what we’re talking (also found in the sidebar) about or just wait for here for my random NOLA Noteworthy posts. Take care, y’all.

Update: I just want to add a post on NoLA Rising I read this morning (6/30) about the musical house that’s being created in  Bywater. Internationally known artist Swoon is involved along with many local artists. I recently viewed & photographed a scale model of the house from the street (seen below). Go to ReX’s website to read about it and view the video that details this community-minded event.