Bacchus in the Bywater

A chef linked this link on Facebook today; Chris Rudge’s unexpected passing has made us all spend some time thinking about what an innovator and fun guy he was. This piece by local writer Sara Roahen written back when Bacchanal first opened is a great reminder of what they started in the downtown neighborhoods. Sometimes it seems like that change has grown out of proportion and scale, but Bacchanal is certainly a respite in that area.The loss of another young entrepreneur is unfortunate and shows how important it is to do your best to take care of oneself while working and playing as hard as people like Chris do.

Bacchus in the Bywater Gambit – New Orleans News and Entertainment.

Rudge’s obituary

A second line for Chris Rudge, the founder of Bacchanal wine shop, bar and restaurant, is scheduled for this Sunday (March 22). The second line will begin at Bacchanal at 1 p.m. Bacchanal will, however, not be silent on its rare day off; it will be the site of a post-second line party in Rudge’s honor. Plans are still taking shape, but Rodas said several chefs who’ve cooked at Bacchanal in the past, including Dan Esses of Three Muses and Nathaniel Zimet of Boucherie, will be contributing to a potluck buffet. There will also be live music.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

An amusing and mocking piece linked below written by a local writer lamenting the loss of free access to St. Louis #1 and how it results from our “clickbaiting of history.” Of course, his title aligns him as a user of that same system, and so he is awarded props for his excellent use of irony, which I am sure he meant.
I love how this guy writes, even if I don’t always follow his line of reasoning; after all, he points out how more than 50 years ago, hippies had their free access and fun there too. I prefer to lay the blame at the marble feet of the patriarchal institution that has activated the locking of the gate without a great deal of effort to reduce the littering of tombs before hauling out the padlock.
The truth is, we live in a time where little respect is paid to the past by those who happen by or even by many of those entrusted with their care. Whether one believes that the lack of respect comes from the increasingly informal, chaotic communication age that we live in or from those damn hippies (whom I admire and honor as a child of the late 60s and early 70s) or someone else, the sad truth is the Catholic Church has made a high-handed decision that probably won’t end the vandalism but will limit the viewing of those who love history.I’d prefer to do what we do in the Quarter proper: be the eyes on the street that we promised to be and to stop nonsense from happening by stepping in when safe to do so, or to create more security if necessary rather than shuttering one of our places. St. Louis #1 is not the only cemetery in the U.S. with this issue and yet it is one of the few that just made access only possible (as Wayne writes colorfully) “behind a paywall;” as a matter of fact, THAT does seems like clickbaiting to me.
Clickbait History

And the sign said anybody caught trespassin’ would be shot on sight
So I jumped on the fence and-a yelled at the house, “Hey! What gives you the right?”
“To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in”
“If God was here he’d tell you to your face, Man, you’re some kinda sinner”
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Help ProjectNola

“If you’ve ever considered donating to ProjectNOLA, I ask that you do so now. Regretfully, my wife and I can no longer afford to continue funding ProjectNOLA as we’ve done since 2009. ProjectNOLA operates WITHOUT the benefit of federal grant dollars or city tax money, with Hope and I covering almost all the expenses. Donations are tax deductible and will be used to pay for ProjectNOLA’s operational cost (bandwidth, electricity, website, server maintenance) and one system administrator to manage the crime camera system. While Hope and I will continue contributing as much as we can, we truly need help with this and greatly appreciate whatever you may spare. We’re also searching for other corporate sponsors who may like to become part of ProjectNOLA’s success. Please make an online donation or send a check to ProjectNOLA, 1308 Dealers Ave, New Orleans, LA 70123. Of course, I can be reached by calling 504-298-9117.”


Parks Talk


5:30 – 7:00 pm

PROPELLER – 4035 Washington Avenue

National urban parks expert Tupper Thomas will speak about the critical role citizens can play to ensure the revitalization, protection, and well-being of their parks and open spaces. She will draw from her vast experience on the positive impact and benefits of alliances and public-private partnerships. Tupper Thomas is the Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. She served as Administrator of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for 30 years, having been the founding president of The Prospect Park Alliance, which was formed in 1987 to revive, enrich, restore, and preserve the park, in partnership with the City of New York.
Tupper also was a founding board member and co-chair of the City Parks Alliance, the leading independent national organization that advocates for urban parks. The Committee has served as a model for other public-private park organizations across the country.


New Orleans Council moves to create “Cigar Bar” designation

What’s next-“Little Debbie corner stores” or “Jukebox Bars”? This City Council is a joke, but not as much as our new CZO which, without well-funded and embedded neighborhood organizations and longterm advocacy and education is basically Swiss Cheese. Or maybe better described as an alternate universe with jesters and trolls as kings. If each exception to the zoning is allowed to be seriously debated and expanded, this city will lose its gorgeous tout ensemble in a hurry.
Maybe a form-based code system would be more useful to our city with its layers of history and styles- surely any system would be better than this ad hoc b.s.

This story points out how this is playing out in the 2015 City Council:

La Habana lives another day, as New Orleans City Council moves to create 'cigar bar' designation |

We’re Still Here Ya Bastards

Roberta is an acclaimed urbanist who has published three previous books on the subject, including most recently The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. Her writing has also appeared in the Nation, New York Times Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. She previously served on the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission and currently sits on the Sustainability Advisory Board for NYC. She splits her time between New York City and New Orleans.

2015 Publication Date- Preorder at your local New Orleans bookstore

2015 Publication Date- Preorder at your local New Orleans bookstore

By the way, my friends were the ones that had the sign with these words up at their place in MidCity. I got back to town to first clean out my apartment on October 9, 2005, sickened and broken-hearted by what I was seeing on my way in from the airport. When I got to my place (across the street from theirs) I saw their sign and laughed out loud and thought to myself, “Oh we’re going to be okay.”


Rickie Lee Jones among us

One of the greatest and most consistently valiant musicians working today, Rickie Lee Jones, is in New Orleans recording a new album. She funded it on PledgeMusic and so we have the extra advantage of her online updates which are a marvel of insight and clarity about navigating the complicated and modern world of performance and collaboration. I hope she doesn’t mind me posting one of her updates, but I think it is so very gentle and brave and illuminated by the light of our city, that I thought many of you would also be warmed by it too:
Her words:

Now we enter the last week of John Porter being here in New Orleans. He is a hard working man, and his knowledge and experience are, well, awesome. He’s also a gentleman, and he hugs me a lot.
We changed rooms yesterday and now are bearing down on some details of tracks we’ve chosen. He is a old school guy, that is, he does Everything by Himself, and you would not know what he did, only that things sound better. That has been a bit of a challenge for me, for I am used to, for so long, not only being a part of it, monitoring it, but being in charge of it. I am NOT in charge. I have some veto power, but even then it’s… more of a negotiation than an absolute. That has been a challenge for me as well. I cannot tell if it’s a girl thing, a Rickie thing, or just a wise thing. Or misguided, that I do not say, “hey wait a minute, slow down, let me see what’s going on!”

We are on a rollercoaster of events here and I’d just like to process it with my aesthetic. Slanted, not capital. But that’s not what’s going on this time. And it’s beyond me, why no matter what record I make there is a hurry up aspect to it. I realize now how very ‘princess’ I was making Pirates. My producers going where I wanted, when I wanted, waiting hours for me, working on passages with me, small groups of moments I wanted to get right. And they made sure I did what I envisioned.

Well, in 1982 that record cost $250,000. I don’t have that kind of money as a company or as a person to do that anymore. But I suspect if I did that again, spent that kind of money and time, I would make a very unusual event. And yet, reading about the creation of the universe this morning, I realize that no one can control the creative event. The event, the verb, is a form of I AM, it is a HERE, ICI, now, the manifestation. It moves at the pace it moves at, from one perspective perhaps it takes two years, from another two weeks. Great records have been made in a couple weeks. Those are about catching the spirit of the singer. And budget. Great records have been tedious and long in the waiting. Those are about the expression of the artist, like a flood, upon every aspect of the manifestation. There are places in our lives where our ego cannot only withstand that, but demands it. Other times we are just too humble or worn out to extend our self onto everyone we meet. Or…too wise.

At this point in my life, I know a couple things. And the things are always changing, because you wake up every day, and sometimes the universe is a bit different than the one you went to sleep in. Ever notice that? I do. The couple things I know are that I DO know what I am doing. I have doubt when I am with men who treat me like they are tolerating me, or like they really wish I would be quiet. I work almost exclusively with men, and musicians, and that’s a group that can be extremely critical, dismissive, whatever. For the most part, I have their respect, but add on now my ‘age’ and I get a kind of ‘old darlin’ attitude that’s hard to bare. And then again, I may totally be projecting my own self image onto the face of someone. Okay, that’s doubt, all that is doubt.

The other thing I know is that others have something to offer me. What makes life worthwhile is being in the world full of others, and I know this now. I want to listen more than I want to be listened to. This is my moment to sing, and I will sing to you all that I have heard. Here are my feelings carved through the images and sounds of trains and rivers, how they speak to one another all night long when we who live near them can hear them clearly. The crow and the mockingbird, hard to tell that mockingbird sounds like the crow, the light through my old windows, my determination, my despair, my love of humans.

What I most want is for this music to make people happy, to lift their hearts, and to make me lots and lots of dough, in that order. I believe it is going to be a record I am proud of. I hope that my tiny infrastructure of the four or five of us who work on my career can make it fly. It’s going to take a lot of good will and effort from fans, I think. That’s the kind of thing kids do automatically for their fav group. But we get older, we don’t do that anymore. This is a word-of-mouth kind of business now, and more than ever, fans are going to have to take a second to make sure someone else hears it. If they do, I bet they will like it a lot. One thing for certain, the New Orleans aspect has washed out any affectation. It’s streaming through my own filters, I am not dressing it in the style of. There is no pretense here in the Crescent City. People really are wearing animal masks and dancing with umbrellas. Like Tahiti! We ARE our Music.