Feb 252013
 

New Orleans Film Society director Jolene Pinder (from left) and “Django Unchained” actresses Laura Cayouette and Dana Gourrier pose at the society’s annual Oscar-watching party at the Prytania Theatre on Sunday evening. (photo via the New Orleans Film Society Facebook page).

“She’s a spitfire and smart as a whip without ever forgetting to be a kid,” writes Laura Cayouette, an actress in Django Unchained, about cheering for Quvenzhané Wallis for Best Actress during the New Orleans Film Society Oscar-watching party at the Prytania Theatre on Sunday evening. “It wasn’t her night, but I hope she knows how many people were rooting for her and how impressed we all are with her achievements and her extraordinary performance.” Continue reading »

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Feb 202013
 

Jean-Paul Villere

As the New Orleans metro area rises ever more steadily in popularity in terms of viability and visibility (hello yet another Super Bowl and mostly uneventful Mardi Gras season) as well as the 2012 numbers-driven title of fastest growing American city (somehow when I mention this in passing conversation nowadays a lot of people missed this), integral components to our cultural seasons just might need to be kept in check.  In other words, are we nearing a tipping point of over abundant festivals this or any other spring?  Or as I’ve come to call it, will we soon experience Fest Fest?  And should we?  And if we do, are we in danger of becoming a mockery of ourselves?  Maybe yes, maybe no. Continue reading »

Feb 132013
 

The rain-geared tuba section of the Talladega College marching band pauses on Napoleon between raindrops during Orpheus Monday night. (Photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

So this Carnival wasn’t the sunniest, but at least it wasn’t the wettest (or coldest).  All told, it seemed to be a well attended, largely respectable gathering save for the obligatory Bourbon St shooting and other gun / parade infractions.  Unfortunate realities aside, personally my season rounded out into some a-has (3 involving my mother-in-law), otherwise just some observations worth noting: Continue reading »

Feb 122013
 

Members of Zulu parade down St. Charles Ave. Mardi Gras day. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

With the final day of Carnival mostly spared by rain yet again, the Krewe of Zulu greeted Uptown crowds early, followed by the Krewe of Rex’s presentation of “All Creatures Great and Small” to close out Fat Tuesday.

The Krewe of Rex “Dinosaur” float rolls on St. Charles Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 112013
 

Harry Connick Jr. and actress Mariska Hargitay ride in the Orpheus parade.
(Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

A misty evening made for light crowds on the Uptown route, but the Krewe of Orpheus proudly presented a tribute to bygone krewes in “The Unseen New Orleans Carnival,” and the Krewe of Orpheus recalled its own themes from the past 20 years of “Rhythm, Rhyme and Revelry.”

The “Athenians” float in the Krewe of Proteus parade rolls up Napoleon Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 102013
 

A member of Skinz N Bonez marches down Magazine Street during the Krewe of Okeanos parade. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Dodging dire predictions of rain, the Krewe of Okeanos rolled with their “Getaways” theme on Sunday morning, followed by the Krewe of Mid-City’s presentation of “It’s About Time” and the Krewe of Thoth’s salute to kings.

Mr. Bingle reigns over the Krewe of Mid-City “Holiday Time” float on Magazine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A rider on the Krewe of Thoth “King of the Jungle” float finds a kindred spirit in the Henry Clay Avenue crowd. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 092013
 

A rider in the Krewe of Tucks tosses beads on Napoleon Avenue. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Iris celebrated festivals throughout the state of Louisiana on the Uptown parade route Saturday, followed by a subversive history lesson from the Krewe of Tucks.

The Iris “Crawfish Festival” float rolls on Napoleon Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 082013
 

The Krewe of Hermes’ “Masque of Beauty” float rolls on Napoleon Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Hermes led off Friday’s parades with “The Theatrical Baroque;” Le Krewe d’Etat followed with “The Dictator’s Reading Room,” and the Krewe of Morpheus had a “Night at the Movies” on the Uptown route.

Le Krewe d’Etat’s “Friday Nights Float” lampooned both Tulane’s ambitions in building a new football stadium and the Uptown residents who opposed it. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 082013
 

Craig Giesecke

Now that the Super Bowl has passed and the temporary Disneyfication of our city has been taken down, we’re back to the normal seasonal crazy through Fat Tuesday next week. In our household, it means even more than in most years because we’ll have family staying with us through the entire time. By “family,” I mean my daughter and her boyfriend and a childhood friend of my daughter, so it’ll be a bon temp indeed around here. Continue reading »

Feb 072013
 

The Krewe of Muses debuted their new “Sirens” float on the Uptown route Thursday evening. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The massive crowds that lined the Uptown route Thursday night saw the Knights of Babylon explore the “Land of Dreams,” the Knights of Chaos skewer politicians of every stripe, and the Krewe of Muses combine visual theatrics with a witty series of puns on “Makin’ Groceries.”

The Knights of Babylon’s “Jesters” float rolls up Napoleon Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Chaos “Scallywag” float took advantage of former Mayor Ray Nagin’s legal woes. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 072013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Danae’s Mardi Gras is not complete without the annual trek to Gallier Hall for the Mayor’s Ball. Lucky for us, Gallier Hall is only four blocks from our office, so Danae walks over.

Last night’s event — as usual — was an outstanding gathering, a great place to people watch and do business. His Honor of course was present along with most of his senior staff and the majority of the City Council — LaToya, Cynthia, Jackie, Kristin and Susan — and their husbands. Danae overheard Mayor Landrieu speaking to a national journalist about the willingness of investors to bring their money to New Orleans, since the Mayor never misses an opportunity to promote the city. Honorary Dutch Consul Connie Willems, new president of the Consular Corp, was talking about how foreign governments are placing more emphasis on trade in this region. Continue reading »

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Feb 062013
 

The Mystic Krewe of Nyx Captain’s float rolls on Magazine Street on Wednesday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Ancient Druids “Consultant” float turns onto Magazine Street on Wednesday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Ancient Druids teased a number of other parade groups with its “Phobias” theme and the Mystic Krewe of Nyx reveled in cinematic takes on “What a Girl Wants” Wednesday night, as Carnival parading on the Uptown New Orleans route resumed after its week off. Continue reading »

Feb 062013
 

Someone staking a false claim to the neutral ground in the 2300 block of Napoleon on Mardi Gras Day 2011. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Greetings 2013 Carnival enthusiasts!  The season is upon us, and in the past I’ve written some dos and don’ts in the form of top tens, a course of 101 and 201, to ensure a safe, happy, and mutually beneficial Mardi Gras experience.  Black outs be damned!  We have Flambeaux!  Come to think of it, in 2018, having Flambeaux on standby to illuminate the game wouldn’t be the worst idea.  Anyhow, enjoy the recap to follow, and for goodness sake’s take it to heart.

(1) Don’t park your car on the neutral ground.  It may not be signed and everyone else may be doing it, but you – and they – will all get tickets.  I see it every year.  And no matter how designated your driver is, not a one of you should be behind the wheel.  Ride your bike, people! Continue reading »

Feb 062013
 

A vacant lot on the corner of Amelia and Baronne where neighbors say unruly teenagers congregate during Mardi Gras parades. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A two-block stretch of Amelia Street that neighbors say has become an out-of-control gathering place for unruly teenagers during Mardi Gras will receive increased attention this week from both police and city officials who promise to end the problem.

The problem is different from the typical Carnival-time revelry that lines the Uptown route, neighbors and officials say. Instead, a vacant lot at the corner of Baronne Street — memorable to passers-by for a lone set of stone stairs in the center of it — has become a gathering point for teens, and they form a dense throng for two blocks between there and the parade on St. Charles Avenue. Continue reading »

Feb 042013
 

Carlos C. Williams (via opcso.org)

New Orleans police made 17 gun arrests along the parade route the first weekend of Mardi Gras (including three cases the first Friday and four more the following Saturday and Sunday), a slight increase in the number during the first weekend of 2010 and 2011, according to a report by Maya Rodriguez of our partners at WWL-TV. One of the men arrested Saturday night on the Uptown stretch of St. Charles Avenue, 22-year-old Carlos C. Williams, has already pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and received a six-month jail sentence, WWL reports:

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