After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was shock doctrined through a massive, neoliberal transformation, the centerpiece of which was a replacement of the public school system with a system entirely made up of charter schools. Read the rest
This is a lot of fun. Katrin and Janine, a couple of Swiss gals, recreated the sequences where Homer Simpson eats his way through New Orleans.
It even impressed the animators of The Simpsons.
"Hey! Just wanted you to know, we here at The Simpsons Animation Studio saw your video and were blow away! And also hope you don't have heartburn from all that eatin'!"
New Orleans is festooned with police cameras, the legacy of a secret partnership with the surveillance contractor Palantir, which used New Orleans as a covert laboratory for predictive policing products. Read the rest
French singer Cecil L. Recchia's 2018 album The Gumbo is a tribute to New Orleans jazz; I found it while searching for an online stream of Tootie Ma is a Big Fine Thing, the track that Tom Waits and the Preservation Hall Band released in 2010 as a limited-edition 78RPM album that came with its own gramophone (!); and while Waits's rendition is amazing, Recchia's is spectacular, with just the most amazing vocals. I bought it yesterday and have listened to it at least 50 times since. Read the rest
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:
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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.
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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]
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
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
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.
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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.