POSTED Mon. Sep 2, 2013
Get your September on with NOLA & Me
Cathy Hughes
Written by CATHY HUGHES
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Food

New Orleans corner stores offer such wonderful po-boys, red beans, and jambalaya that it sometimes seems hard to justify the expense of upscale dining experiences. The Louisiana Restaurant Association will be making that budget decision easier the week of Sept. 9-15 with We Live to Eat Restaurant Week, during which 47 restaurants will offer two-course lunches for less than $20, and three-course dinners for less than $35.

Commander’s Palace, Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, and Galatoire’s are on the list. So are August, Luke, Muriel’s, and Upperline.

If you want to check out the Restaurant Week special at Tivoli & Lee, which opened in March 2013 in the Hotel Modern on Lee Circle, you might consider going for Sunday brunch, when blues guitarist Marc Stone and jazz pianist Josh Paxton will be performing in September. Brunch hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the music scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Tivoli & Lee is at 2 Lee Circle, (504) 962-0909.

Yet another Restaurant Week participant is SoBou, in the French Quarter. Tales of the Cocktail was in July, but you can keep the buzz going at SoBou with a presentation Sept. 9 on Mr. Santini and The Brandy Crusta. Joseph Santini created the Brandy Crusta cocktail at the New Orleans Exchange Club in 1840; you may be more familiar with its cousin, the Sidecar. The $35 fee includes not only cocktails and the insights of Cafe Adelaide bar chef Lu Brow, but snacks from the SoBou kitchen. The event begins at 5 p.m., with the seminar beginning at 5:30 p.m. SoBou is at 310 Chartres St., (504) 552-4095.

Food for thought

A particularly ironic aspect of the Mother’s Day, May 12, second-line shootings were the serious injuries to activist and culture blogger Deborah Cotton, who was and remains a passionate advocate of second-line culture.
Cotton attended a fund-raiser in her honor at Gasa Gasa in July, and will be the keynote speaker Sept. 14 at Rising Tide: A Conference on the Future of New Orleans at Xavier University. Her powerful perspective on violence in New Orleans is reflected in comments she gave The Lens in June.

The all-day conference will also feature a panel discussion on Creating Community for Writers of Color and a Tech School on using social media.

Advance registration for the conference is $20 and ends Thursday, Sept. 12. Registration at the door will be $40. The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the fee includes a light breakfast and lunch.
Rising Tide NOLA, Inc., is a nonprofit organization formed by New Orleans bloggers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the Internet became a vital connection among dispersed New Orleanians, former New Orleanians, and friends of the city and the Gulf Coast region.

Get an eyeful

Every New Orleanian knows that nothing succeeds like excess.

White Linen Night combined browsing and drinking on Julia Street in 1994. Its success led to the establishment of Dirty Linen Night in the French Quarter in 2001. Then, in 2012, the movement continued downriver with Filthy Linen Night, featuring the work of artists who prowl on Frenchmen Street and St. Claude Avenue.

This year’s Filthy Linen Night will be Sept. 14 at the Frenchmen Art Market. The Frenchmen Art Market at 619 Frenchmen St., next to the Spotted Cat, is dedicated to promoting and showcasing local and regional artists who create 100% original art and goods. It operates Thursdays through Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Katherine Erny Gaar, one of Gambit’s 40 under 40 for 2012, founded Frenchmen Art Market in 2012 with the help of manager John Dyer.

Get an earful

Jazz in the Park begins its fourth season in Armstrong Park this month, with weekly festivals drawing thousands to the historic site for music, food, and socializing.

The 32-acre Louis Armstrong Park just across Rampart Street from the French Quarter has a history as complicated as it is long.

Native Americans are said to have celebrated their corn feasts nearby, before New Orleans was founded. An 1815 map of New Orleans by J. Tanesse shows a “Place Publique” five blocks behind St. Louis Cathedral.

From the earliest days of the Louisiana colony, black people had been allowed to gather for music and dancing on Sundays; in 1817, such gatherings were restricted to the Place Publique, or Congo Square.

But public projects designed to benefit the city as a whole took the site out of everyday use. In the 1930s, Municipal Auditorium was built on the former site of the Treme Market, the fourth-largest public market in the city, which had stood on the neutral ground of Orleans Avenue between Marais and North Robertson streets. In the 1960s, nine square blocks of historic houses were leveled to make way for the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts and Armstrong Park.

The park was fenced off from the Treme neighborhood surrounding it, and it became a lonely, neglected place with a bad reputation. The situation was slow to improve after Hurricane Katrina, with the botched initial installation of the Roots of Music Sculpture Garden during the waning days of Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration.

People United for Armstrong Park was formed in 2011 with the goal of contributing to the revitalization of the park, which reopened Nov. 18, 2011.

The fall 2013 season of Jazz in the Park opens Sept. 5 with music as hot as the weather from The Stooges Brass Band and Mia Borders. The festival will operate from noon to 8 p.m., with the music beginning at 4 p.m. An arts and crafts village in Congo Square will feature a jazz trio and a full bar. The Marketplace at Armstrong Park will offer fresh and prepared foods, and a variety of food trucks will be on hand.

The lineup for the rest of the fall 2013 season is:

  • Sept. 12 Davell Crawford, Stephanie Jordan
  • Sept. 18 Corey Henry and Treme Funktet, Treme Brass Band
  • Sept. 26 Shamarr Allen, Erica Falls
  • Oct. 3 The Soul Rebels, Soul Project
  • Oct. 10 Cyril Neville’s Swamp Funk, Gaynielle Neville & Her Sweet Stuff Band
  • Oct. 17 Jon Cleary, Wes Raymond & The Soul Factory
  • Oct. 24 Dumpstaphunk, The Brass-A-Holics
  • Oct. 31 Rebirth Brass Band, special surprise guest

The organization’s contributions to the community don’t stop with drawing visitors to the park. With funding via a Nola for Life grant from the City of New Orleans, it is creating opportunities for job training in areas such as event management and production, staging and rigging, health and sanitation, communication and promotions.

When the funk gets to be too much, sample musical intensity of the rafter-rattling rather than rump-shaking style when the New Orleans Opera presents Taste of the Opera= on Sunday afternoons at the French Market.

Opera has a long history in New Orleans. The first documented staging of an opera in the city was on May 22, 1796, when Andre Ernest Gretry’s “Sylvain” was presented at the Theatre St. Pierre on St. Peter Street between Royal and Bourbon streets.

When the New Orleans Opera presents The Vampire Oct. 11 and 13 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts, tickets will cost $25 and up. But excerpts from the 2013-14 opera season will be presented for free at 4 p.m. every Sunday in September at the Farmers Market Stage where Gov. Nicholls Street meets the river. The performances follow 2 p.m. cooking demonstrations on the same stage.

Get outta town

The Best of the Bayou Festival will return to Houma on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29, on a quarter mile of Main Street between Lafayette and Barrow streets.

The weekend’s 21 free musical performances will be on two main stages, the Boudin Bayou Stage and the Gulf Groove Stage. The lineup is strong, with Eric Lindell, Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk, and Robert Randolph with Anders Osborne featured on Saturday. Featured performers on Sunday include Marcia Ball, Jason Isbell, and the Honey Island Swamp Band. The music will go on from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday and from 12:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

And, if you know anything about Terrebonne Parish, you know the food will be amazing. Two food courts are planned. Among the taste treats featured last year were charbroiled oysters, shrimp boulettes, crawfish Monica, bacon-wrapped shrimp, and fried alligator.
Houma is only 57 miles from New Orleans, but that distance might seem too much after a long Saturday of grooving and gallivanting.

The greatest concentration of motels in Houma appears to be near the intersection of Hollywood Road and West Tunnel Boulevard.

The Best of the Bayou Festival was created in 2012 as part of an effort to promote tourism and economic development in Terrebonne Parish after the 2010 BP oil spill. Seed money for the festival runs out this year, but the organizers hope to keep the good times rolling. Show your support!

Images courtesy of Best of the Bayou and Jazz in the Park.

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    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.

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    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.

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    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.

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    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

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    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.

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