One of the great everyday heroes of New Orleans is photojournalist Cheryl Gerber, who is constantly roaming the streets of New Orleans searching for stories to show the deep humanity of our place. Her book, “New Orleans, Life and Death in the Big Easy” is one of my favorites not only for its gorgeous photos, but for its awareness of the deep racial divide that can be seen by anyone looking. Those inequities don’t cancel out the joy, but it does underscore that our public life is rooted in the reality of the challenges we face here and the fragility of this part of the world, circa 2019.
Similarly, Cheryl has brought to her neighbors’ attention an emerging story about a street person that she had noted in the past (and even had a pic of him) but hadn’t felt he wanted her to approach. Recently, something changed and he came to her, told her a great deal about himself and led her to believe that he might be okay with her being more involved. She stayed up all night, researching the info he shared and miraculously, made contact with friends of his. She found he was sorely missed and had been sought again and again, but as no information had reached them they had no idea what to do next. In their conversations, those friends told her of his talent, his story, and his effect on them. His best friend flew to New Orleans almost immediately to search for him, and on the second trip, they found each other and I defy anyone not to have tears rolling down their face at the telling of that moment which is found through the link below (under Story).
All because of the legendary New Orleans-style tough hide/soft heart and an endless curiosity about others in the public space that Cheryl puts into practice daily.
So the next step is for those of us who want to aid his friends help him get back on his feet in the city he loves so dearly, to follow the link to do so.
And maybe you will also be inspired by Cheryl to find a way to connect to one of your neighbors, maybe even one whom you don’t fully understand. Maybe even help them to find the happiness standing right in front of them on Esplanade Avenue.
If you happen to be strolling in the 900 block of Royal as the tour buggies come by, you might hear the driver tell of how the one-time owner of the Cornstalk Fence Hotel and his Iowan (it’s usually Iowa) wife came to have this lovely fence. It seems his wife was homesick for the sight of the crop and so he commissioned this fence to appease her. Even our paper of record told the same tale!
The only problem with this…
there are at least 4 other cornstalk fences in town.
I know of examples in Bayou St. John, Lower Garden District (1448 Fourth Street), in the Faubourg Marigny, and a bit on a fence on Canal Street. And here is another example at the Metal Museum:
The reason is there are so many examples is because it was a cast iron form offered by local ironwork company in the 19th century by Wood, Miltenberger & Co on Camp Street, which was an affiliate of Philadelphia ironwork company Wood & Perot.
The BSJ house even has a plaque:
Canal near JDavis Parkway
Instead, the story is that this lovely design works for a variety of house styles, especially those with a long fence line. And it continues to be loved across many generations, whether by Iowans or by native New Orleanians.
As an unprecedented amount of floodwater makes its way down the Mississippi River, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway at New Orleans for the second time this year.
Corps officials try to limit spillway openings to minimize the impact of invasive freshwater species entering Lake Pontchartrain, as one of those impacts could be harming marine life. St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis says they have documented 26 dolphin deaths in the past two months, and most of the animals had freshwater lesions. Though Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries officials have not made a direct link to the influx of fresh river water, officials in coastal Mississippi have after conducting a number of dolphin necropsies.
For oystermen, the opening of the spillway is always a cause for concern because it leads to plummeting water salinity levels as the freshwater suddenly dilutes the estuary’s brackish waters, which can kill the oysters they harvest.
I have been following Culinaria Center for Food, Law, Policy, and Culture work in my city for a while- I find it to be very impressive, inclusive, with systemic work being done.
This interviewer may seem a little too focused on fetishizing our culture including the odd choice of requesting a midday drinking resulting in featuring massive daiquiris from our walkup and drive-through drinking culture (which, as true as that is, could use more context in the description of it), but still Pepper Bowen’s responses are excellent and thoughtful.
Bowen: What I find is that, especially for lawmakers, they really do want—as much as we give them crap—they really do want to do whatever it is that their constituents want for them to do. But the problem is that sometimes they are divorced from their actual constituents. They are also, sometimes, funded by folks whose desires and needs are at odds with their actually constituents. But by giving them the information they can make a more intelligent decision.
Still, if this gulp encourages you to check out the National Food and Beverage Museum, and Culinaria’s work, it is worth posting.
7th Ward Haiku from Peter Boutte:
The new New Orleans
Eating culture with a spoon
Spit out the black seeds
Sidney Torres, partner buy New Orleans’ Circle Food Store for $1.7M with plans for food hall
The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade
The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade departs from Antoine’s Restaurant at 9:45 a.m. and rolls toward St. Louis Cathedral just in time for 11:00 a.m. mass on Easter Sunday, April 21. After mass, participants return to Antoine’s to receive awards for best Easter attire and basket, among other things.
It starts at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel Ballroom at 11:00 a.m. with a Hat Contest, Silent Auction, and Entertainment. The parade begins at the corner of St. Louis and Royal, then continues down Royal to Canal to St. Phillip Street and ends at St. Louis and Royal Street at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel.
Starting at 4:30 p.m., horse-drawn carriages, floats, and riders in colorful costumes will parade through the French Quarter into the evening, stopping at gay bars and gay-owned restaurants and shops throughout the neighborhood.