Armstrong Park: 2016 Jazz in the Park schedule


Bowie Second Line Jan 16 4 pm




Arcade Fire and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band will team up to lead a second line for David Bowie this Saturday, January 16.

The two bands and other mourners/revelers will meet at Preservation Hall in the French Quarter at 4pm to kick off the parade, which they have dubbed “Pretty Things.” According to a Facebook event page, the groups have requested that attendees come dressed in their “best Bowie outfit or something more strange.”

The Route:
Departing from Preservation Hall on St. Peter to Royal (4 pm)
RIGHT on Royal to Toulouse
LEFT on Toulouse to the river
STOP for (10) ten minutes
continue along the river to St. Louis
RIGHT on to St. Louis
RIGHT on Chartres
LEFT on Toulouse to One Eyed Jacks

Ya-Ka-Mein in New Orleans | Southern Foodways Alliance

Sara Roahen is maybe my favorite current New Orleans writer (although Katy Reckdahl, CW Cannon and Bill Lavender are always vying for the top spot, not that any of them care) and here she has written a fantastic history of Old Sober (aka ya-ka-mein), a street food beloved in Creole homes, along second lines and at JazzFest…

Ya-Ka-Mein in New Orleans | Southern Foodways Alliance.

When was Carnival’s golden age? Take a look around — we’re living in it | The Lens

C.W. Cannon one of my favorite columnists, talks of our current Carnival period as a golden age with more democratic and satirical characteristics than we experienced in the late 20th century, where whites-only krewes had their way and superfloats flourished which led to the demise of many of the small neighborhood parades. I’ll tell him how much I appreciate this on the downtown parade routes that I am sure to see him on over the next few weeks..

Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin, in a book about folk culture influences on the great Renaissance French writer Rabelais, outlined a theory of Carnival based on ancient and medieval traditions. Centuries later, it’s remarkable to witness how the “carnivalesque” spirit he details lives on so palpably on the other side of the world. A few of the key attributes Bakhtin ascribes to Carnival are a satirical impulse of a bawdy kind that he calls “grotesque realism,” the inversion of normal prevailing social hierarchies, and mass participation.

In light of principles like these, it’s a no-brainer that the latest city ordinance supports, rather than inhibits, the ancient foundations of Carnival tradition. Even here in New Orleans, one of the prevailing social strictures upended by Carnival has been segregation in public settings. Blocking off and segregating swaths of the public space for members-only parties doesn’t jibe with the carnivalesque injunction to cast off social distinctions and rub shoulders with strangers for a limited period of time.

When was Carnival’s golden age? Take a look around — we’re living in it | The Lens.

Unfathomable City

Unfathomable City: A New Orleans AtlasUnfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas by Rebecca Solnit

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wrote an earlier review of this book ( I keep busy) and have now decided to update it since receiving the actual published book as I used the advanced reader copy for the previous review and now after reading more of it in a different location than the last time and viewing all of the maps that weren’t in the ARC and let me share that I did all of that new stuff all on All Saints Day, no less. Told you: multitudes.

I decided to do it without the cranky insertion of MY New Orleans up front that was in the previous review and to simply state that it’s a well designed, well-edited and at times beautifully written and illustrated homage to our mysterious city.
This book gives credit where credit is due. To the city’s geography, to its outlandish robber barons of bananas and oil, to the nameless and named that have brought us and bring us music, food, and public displays and joy and sorrow and pain and punishment. It neatly shows a number of juxtapositions that may be uncomfortable for some to view and others that are certainly unfathomable, but it does show them. There. credit given.
Now, back to me:
If you look through my reviews, you can spot a certain fondness for maps. I love them and love poring over them before, during or in spite of actually traveling to the place depicted.
If you read my reviews, you will no doubt spot a serious fondness for essayists. I admire what seems to me to be honest human bravery in extending a point or a purpose to a new end. Taking a walk with an author is how I visualize an essay, and yes there are times that I turn back before getting to the end, but I still appreciate the offer. So maps and essays seem like two sides of one coin and when put together well can alter or color each other’s point and purpose.

So that this is a book of illusory and real maps combined with odd and delightful essays, edited by two sensitive writers is enough for me to tell you.

Let me let the writers and artists tell you themselves in essays and maps such as:

Civil rights and Lemon Ice

Hot and Steamy: Selling Seafood and Selling Sex

Ebb and Flow: Migrations of the Houma, Erosions of the Coast

Juju and Cuckoo: Taking Care of Crazy

Stationary Revelations: Sites of Contemplation and Delight

The first essays introducing this book are alone worth poring over and sharing; how often is that true? That should tell you about the care and thought put into this entire work and offer the best reason to plunk down your money, open it and thumb through while having a Pimm’s or a coffee in front of you, tucked away in a shady corner of our shared city. Enjoy it all.

View all my reviews

Uncle Lionel second-line brouhaha

Kabuki Hats is the type of business and artist that we need. Tracy admired and respected Uncle Lionel and her free gesture was an act of love. Shocking that this actor misunderstood the situation so completely. Maybe he should chat with locals before he tweets from far off about things he doesnt have the right information for.


It’s easy to understand how a gesture intended as a display of community love and respect can be misinterpreted. What’s not so easy to fathom is when the fallout can have unwarranted negative impact to a local, internationally-recognized craftswoman to the detriment of her business.

Actor Wendell Pierce tweeted the following regarding Kabuki Hats — created, owned, and operated by Tracy Thomson — on 7/14/12:


 The link referenced is as follows:

ImageMr. Pierce adds the following subsequent comments via Twitter:

ImageWhat’s unfortunate is that, Mr. Pierce (who has 33,000+ followers on Twitter), sadly got the intent of this gesture completely wrong.

Tracy Thomson (who does not have a Twitter account) was alerted to these tweets today and offered the following in response via Facebook:

“Okay, I am horrified to understand that Wendell pierce has tweeted numerous awful things about the memorial watch that I made. I don’t tweet, but…

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