Wild brass band cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart"

The smoking Hot 8 Brass Band from New Orleans brings the funk to Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart." Previous killer covers include The Specials' "Ghost Town" and Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing," below.

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Someone paid actors to support an energy company at public hearings in New Orleans

Every time a conservative jackass accuses a high school kid of being "a crisis actor" remember this: someone hired actors to support an energy company's proposal. The actors were required to sign non-disclosure agreements. Some of the actors talked anyhow.

Via The Lens NOLA:

At least four of the people in orange shirts were professional actors. One actor said he recognized 10 to 15 others who work in the local film industry.

They were paid $60 each time they wore the orange shirts to meetings in October and February. Some got $200 for a “speaking role,” which required them to deliver a prewritten speech, according to interviews with the actors and screenshots of Facebook messages provided to The Lens.

“They paid us to sit through the meeting and clap every time someone said something against wind and solar power,” said Keith Keough, who heard about the opportunity through a friend.

He said he thought he was going to shoot a commercial. “I’m not political,” he said. “I needed the money for a hotel room at that point.”

They were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements and were instructed not to speak to the media or tell anyone they were being paid.

But three of them agreed to talk about their experience and provided evidence that they were paid to endorse the power plant. Two spoke on the condition that they not be identified, saying they didn’t want to jeopardize other work or get in trouble for violating the non-disclosure agreement.

Another attendee, an actor and musician who played a small role on HBO’s “Treme,” told WWL-TV he was paid to wear one of the orange shirts at a meeting of the council’s utility committee.

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A walk through the French Quarter's 'Museum of Bad Taste'

I know a kindred spirit when I see one and New Orleans-based bon vivant Sam Malvaney is definitely "one of us," a true kitsch lovin' collector. Take a walk with Sam --who's dressed in a leopard-print tuxedo jacket, no less-- as he gives a virtual tour of his enviable French Quarter home, aka the "Museum of Bad Taste."

(David M. Jones via Skip Baker) Read the rest

13 years after Katrina, New Orleans plans to evacuate if bad storms come

New Orleans is in an official state of emergency, thanks to 15 of its 120 pumps being offline (thanks to chronic underfunding) and a major storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. Read the rest

Wu Orleans 2: mashups of New Orleans music and Wu Tang rappers

dj BC writes, "In 2006 I mixed a bunch of New Orleans artists with Wu Tang rappers to make the record 'Wu Orleans.' 11 years later, here's part two, with ten new songs. Free MP3 download of both albums here. A very limited run of vinyl with all 20 Wu Orleans songs on two records, and new art, is allegedly coming on record store day in April. Here's the video for 'Express Your Brain, Champ' with Ghostface Killah, Nicky Da B (via Diplo), Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and dj BC. Laissez les bon temps roulez!" Read the rest

So It Is: a Cuban-inspired album from the astounding Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Announced today: So It Is, a new album of Cuban-inspired jazz from the monumentally amazing Preservation Hall Jazz Band (previously), due out on April 21. Available today: Santiago, an instrumental track from the album that will MAKE YOU DANCE. Read the rest

New Orleans art recommendation: the Red Truck Gallery

Last night, my wife and I stumbled on the Red Truck Gallery on the edge of New Orleans' French Quarter, and today we're going back to buy some art, and admire the pieces we can't afford for a while longer. Read the rest

After Katrina, FBI prioritized cellphone surveillance

Michael from Muckrock sez, "There's a lot of lessons that the federal government should have learned in the aftermath of Katrina. Increased domestic surveillance, however, appears to be the one the FBI took to heart, using the natural disaster as a justification for ramping up its use of Stingray cell phone tracking throughout Louisiana after the storm." Read the rest

TSA supervisor calls police on teen for videoing his father's pat-down

A 16-year-old boy was prohibited from video-recording his own pat-down at New Orleans airport -- something explicitly allowed by the TSA -- and when he recorded his father's pat-down, the TSA supervisor at his checkpoint called the police on him. Read the rest

Database: Old newspaper ads searching for loved ones lost to slavery

The Southwestern Christian Advocate ran its "Lost Friends" page from 1877 until "well into the first decade of the twentieth century."

The Historic New Orleans Collection has scanned 330 of these ads and made them available in a searchable database. They're not only an indispensable geneological and historical tool; they're also a powerful reminder of the bloody racial history of America.

Two dollars in 1880 bought a yearlong subscription to the Southwestern Christian Advocate, a newspaper published in New Orleans by the Methodist Book Concern and distributed to nearly five hundred preachers, eight hundred post offices, and more than four thousand subscribers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The "Lost Friends" column, which ran from the paper's 1877 inception well into the first decade of the twentieth century, featured messages from individuals searching for loved ones lost in slavery.

This searchable database provides access to more than 330 advertisements that appeared in the Southwestern Christian Advocate between November 1879 and December 1880. Digital reproductions of the Lost Friends ads are courtesy of Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries.

Lost Friends: Advertisements from the Southwestern Christian Advocate [Historic New Orleans Collection]

(via Making Light) Read the rest

Spontaneous jam: USMC & HS marching band, Mardi Gras

Matt sends, "video I caught of a spontaneous jam session that happened in front of me at Mardi Gras 2015: A USMC band and a bunch of high school band members met in the streets and suddenly launched into 'St. James Infirmary.'" Read the rest

Science fictional, maker Mardi Gras krewe

The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus is the only science-fiction themed krewe marching in Mardi Gras, with a 400-person team whose floats and gizmos are paeans to maker culture. It costs a Douglas Adamsian $42/year to be a member, and the krewe's inventions are all human powered -- no fossil fuels.

For their 2014 theme, the Wrath of Kahn-ival, the krewe have built a robotic bar called the Barship Enterprise, and a 10' tall flamethrowing mechagodzilla. It will be hauled by the Redshirts, the volunteer security force of Chewbacchus. Read the rest

Elite Panic: why rich people think all people are monsters

Here's a quote on "Elite Panic" from Rebecca Solnit, It's an idea I'm fascinated by, particularly the notion that if you believe that people are fundamentally a mob waiting to rise up and loot but for the security state, you will build a security state that turns people into a mob of would-be looters.

The term "elite panic" was coined by Caron Chess and Lee Clarke of Rutgers. From the beginning of the field in the 1950s to the present, the major sociologists of disaster -- Charles Fritz, Enrico Quarantelli, Kathleen Tierney, and Lee Clarke -- proceeding in the most cautious, methodical, and clearly attempting-to-be-politically-neutral way of social scientists, arrived via their research at this enormous confidence in human nature and deep critique of institutional authority. It’s quite remarkable.

Elites tend to believe in a venal, selfish, and essentially monstrous version of human nature, which I sometimes think is their own human nature. I mean, people don't become incredibly wealthy and powerful by being angelic, necessarily. They believe that only their power keeps the rest of us in line and that when it somehow shrinks away, our seething violence will rise to the surface -- that was very clear in Katrina. Timothy Garton Ash and Maureen Dowd and all these other people immediately jumped on the bandwagon and started writing commentaries based on the assumption that the rumors of mass violence during Katrina were true. A lot of people have never understood that the rumors were dispelled and that those things didn't actually happen; it's tragic.

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Cory in New Orleans today!

Hey, New Orleans! At this very moment, I'm flying your way for an event tonight at Octavia Books at 6PM. Tomorrow, I'll be in Houston, and then to Austin for a bookstore event and a benefit for EFF-Austin. I'm not done, either: there's plenty more cities left! Come on down and say hi! Read the rest

New Orleans schools ban teaching Creationism, reject Texas Creationist "science" textbooks

The Orleans Parish Public School Board has rejected the Louisiana Science Education Act, which followed Texas's lead by putting Creationism into the state's schools. A Board decision prohibits the teaching of Creationism in science class, and forbids the use of Texas's revisionist, Creationist "science" textbooks.

The policy says: "No history textbook shall be approved which has been adjusted in accordance with the state of Texas revisionist guidelines nor shall any science textbook be approved which presents creationism or intelligent design as science or scientific theories."

It stresses the separation of science and religious teachings:

"No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class. No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes."

Orleans Parish School Board votes to ban creationism [Tania Dall/WWLTV]

(Thanks, Patrick!) Read the rest

Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Collection: four discs of New Orleans jazz with guest appearances from Tom Waits, Pete Seeger, Del McCoury and others

Last week, I linked to a couple early tracks from the new Preservation Hall Band CD, St. Peter & 57th St, which comes out today.

What I didn't mention is that today also marks the release of The Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Collection, a four-disc box-set spanning the Preservation Hall band's storied history from 1962 to 2010, with guest vocals and instrumentation from Richie Havens, Tom Waits, Pete Seeger, Andrew Bird, Yim Yames and Del McCoury.

Preservation Hall is the legendary New Orleans club whose eponymous house band frequently host some of the greatest talents in jazz music. I drop in on the Hall every time I'm in NOLA and am never disappointed.

I got an early peek at this last week and have had it on an continuous loop ever since. The discs include five previously unreleased tracks that were nearly lost in the aftermath of Katrina, but which were rescued and restored. It's a best-of drawing from 20 CD and albums the band have previously released, and it's absolute gold. Though the music spans many styles and sub-genres of blues and jazz, every track is a winner; the accompanying booklet provides invaluable commentary and color from tuba player Ben Jaffe, the son of Preservation Hall's founders, Allan and Sandra Jaffe.

The Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Collection Read the rest

Sneak peek at Preservation Hall Band live at Carnegie Hall album

Here's a hell of a way to start the weekend: a couple of outstanding tracks from the upcoming album St. Peter & 57th St, from the Preservation Hall Band, the very sound of New Orleans. The album was recorded live in Carnegie Hall, and ships on September 25th.

* It Ain't My Fault, featuring Yasiin Bey (a.k.a. Mos Def), Trombone Shorty, Allen Toussaint

* Careless Love, with a horn section that'll make you weep and a singer that'll make you wail.

St. Peter & 57th St. Read the rest

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