Wendell Pierce talks COVID-19, “Jack Ryan,” “Burning Cane,” and WBOK in interview with Kristine Froeba
New Orleans native, “Treme” and “The Wire” actor, Wendell Pierce is coming off of one of the most exciting periods of his career. And although COVID-19 has created a lull in almost everyone’s life and career, Pierce seems to be as visible as ever, both on the ground in New Orleans and on our collective streaming services. It is also Pierce’s instantly recognizable, dulcet tone that narrates the new Popeye’s NOLA Strong campaign released last week. It’s a video that caused more than a few locals’ eyes to well up. When the restaurant chain created its NOLA Strong family meal box, directing all profits to benefit the non-profit Second Harvest Food Bank, they called on Pierce.
Who even calls the stretch of greenspace overlooking the Mississippi River “Audubon Riverview Park”? But that is its official name. The current pavilion in the park everyone refers to as “The Fly” has a history dating back more than 25 years.
That structure, officially named “A Stage for Viewing,” was damaged in October’s Hurricane Zeta in October, and the process of replacing its shredded roof is still in play.
It’s this structure’s predecessor that gave the stretch of land by the river its name. Few today can remember the original building that people thought resembled a butterfly. So the park gained the nickname “The Butterfly,” which was then shortened to “The Fly.” The building, which housed concessions and restrooms, was actually supposed to resemble gull wings.
Arts education nonprofit KID smART encourages you to “create your own Mardi Gras Krewe” with them this Carnival season. Each Tuesday from Jan. 12 to Feb. 9, they will host interactive virtual events on how to make throws, costumes, and more from real krewe experts. Fat Tuesday is Feb.
The first of the “house floats” that will be dotting our urban landscape this Carnival season has already made an appearance Uptown. Sponsored by the Krewe of Red Beans and called “Hire a Mardi Gras Artist,” the idea is to put those out-of-work artists — usually frantically designing and painting floats this time of year — back to work. With parades canceled, many Mardi Gras float artists found themselves suddenly unemployed. One of those artists, Caroline Thomas, proposed the idea to the Krewe of Red Beans to create a crowd-funding site to finance house decorations that could look like floats. The initiative helps keep our Mardi Gras artists afloat while creating a Carnival atmosphere in our neighborhoods.
Ride by the yellow corner building at Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas these days, and you see a line of people spread out on the sidewalk to order coffee at a to-go window. Yes, coffee. Since 1977, this has been the location of the iconic New Orleans’ music club, Tipitina’s. Originally intended to showcase the life’s work of Professor “Fess” Longhair, born Henry Roeland Byrd in 1918, at the end of his career, it quickly grew into one of the most beloved music venues in the city. It has survived changing ownership and changing musical climates, as well as hurricanes, over the years, even briefly closing in 1984.
Deepen your child’s connection with the arts—in the comfort of your home! Young Audiences of Louisiana is launching a virtual studio art program, Simply Arts Studio. Families across the Greater New Orleans Area have the opportunity to enroll their child in dance, yoga, visual arts or beginner piano for as low as $15 per class. All Simply Arts Studio workshops are
Instructed by experienced teaching artists
Based on grade level
Limited to eight students to ensure quality interaction
Either three weeks or five weeks long
Available after school or Saturdays
Courses begin this week For a full list of course offerings, visit www.ya4la.org! Register today.
For the seventh year, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art has partnered with the New Orleans Chapter of The Links, a women’s volunteer service organization, to present a showcase featuring art from students at a historically Black college or university. This year, 12 students from Xavier University have work featured in the exhibit: Kennedi Andrus, Allana Barefield, KaLya Ellis, Barriane Franks, Lauren Gray, Ashley A. Miller, Reid Hobson-Powell, La’Shance Perry, Michael Riley, Makeda Wells, Bryce Williams and Maliya Vaughan. For many students, it’s the first time their work is featured in a gallery. La’Shance Perry, a senior at Xavier from Cincinnati, Ohio, majoring in mass communications and minoring in art, said the experience has made her feel validated as an artist, something that she has struggled with lately. “I guess I’ll say I can be self-conscious about my work, which is why I haven’t shared a lot,” she said.
With movie theaters out of commission, the New Orleans Film Society has created a way for enthusiasts to access select independent cinema from home while supporting the organization. The NOFS Home Theater is presenting a new title every week for a month, starting with “The Times of Bill Cunningham” on April 16 and ending with “Botero” on May 15. Each film will be available to stream for two weeks, and a portion of the proceeds from virtual tickets will help support NOFS. See all the featured titles and dates below:
The Times of Bill Cunningham
dir. Mark Bozek
Told in Bill Cunningham’s own words from a recently unearthed six-hour 1994 interview, the iconic street photographer and fashion historian chronicles his moonlighting as a milliner in France during the Korean War, his unique relationship with First Lady Jackie Kennedy, his four decades at The New York Times and his democratic view of fashion and society.
If you’re wondering how you can keep whiling away the hours while your normal activities are on hold, here’s a suggestion: Take advantage of the virtual public library. Although your neighborhood library is shuttered for the time being, the New Orleans Public Library still provides access to a wide variety of movies to stream, e-books to read, audio books to listen to and more. There are also plenty of resources to keep the kids entertained, help them (and you) master their homework and even prepare for the LEAP or the SAT. Now that you have more time on your hands, have you been thinking about tackling some of the projects you haven’t gotten around to? The virtual library can help.
When a movie says it is set in New Orleans, it is hard not spending most of the time trying to pick out landmarks and laughing at what the filmmakers got wrong. So, with many of us at home watching TV, it’s a great time to check out movies and TV shows that showcase New Orleans, and remind us why we love it. Here are a few of my recommendations, plus where to find them. (True confession: I talk about movies on “Hollywood Highlights” on WWL-TV’s Great Day Louisiana.)
I have divided into “Watch Now!”; “That’s Not Right!”; “Vintage”; “Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward collaborations,” and “Mardi Gras.” I am not choosing any movies about Hurricane Katrina or pandemics, such as “Panic in the Streets,” as I don’t want to trigger anything in these stressful times. Watch now!
The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University has canceled its inaugural event for 2020, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and adherence to university protocol. Tickets purchased for keynote addresses with John Grisham, Michael Lewis and Malcolm Gladwell will be fully refunded within 10 business days. The book festival had planned to run March 19-21, and festival organizers estimated around 30,000 visitors would attend the three-day event on Tulane’s uptown campus. However, the top priority for the festival organizers is that of the health and safety of the general public, authors, volunteers and Tulane’s faculty, staff and students. On Wednesday afternoon, Tulane University announced it would reduce the concentration of people on campus by conducting classes online beginning March 23 and through the end of the semester, reducing the number of gatherings and eliminating non-essential travel.