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.
The importance of cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces has become the new national pastime. In the past month, we’ve all viewed tutorials and become experts on how to properly wash our hands for 20 seconds or more, but what about our groceries, shoes and mail-order packages? You’re likely wiping down some surfaces with disinfectant, but are you wiping down all the right surfaces? If keeping your home safe from COVID-19 is the priority, what comes after 6 feet of social distancing and a liberally applied hand sanitizer? Some say it entails a lot more.
COVID-19 can live up to eight hours on cardboard takeout boxes and up to 72 on Styrofoam containers, straws, cups and plastic bags, says a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Airborne droplets can linger in the air for three to four hours after a person has coughed or sneezed. What does that mean for locals who are supporting our beloved local restaurants and coffee shops? It means risk. Takeout and curbside service is a risk to the health of the workers and the customers, but how much?
The star of Bravo’s Southern Charm New Orleans talks loving his new life
Former Saints player and Southern Charm New Orleans star, Jeff Charleston has a lot to say about his life, and the gist is that he’s loving every minute of it. An interview with Charleston reveals a man excited about new beginnings and a fresh start in his adopted hometown. “I cannot wait to move back to New Orleans,” said Charleston. “I just have to figure out where in the city I want to live again.” New Orleanians who don’t watch the Bravo reality series know him as No.
Uptown’s “Django Unchained” and “Queen Sugar” actor Laura Cayouette on New Orleans, Pussyfooting and Hollywood South
That cheerful, tall, lanky strawberry blonde – and avid Saints fan – you see at the Superdome and walking down Magazine Street looks familiar because she is. Actress Laura Cayouette traded Hollywood for Hollywood South nine years ago and hasn’t looked back, much. “After my first Carnival season as a resident, I called my mother and told her I wanted to sue her for child abuse,” said Cayouette. “I said I wanted to file charges for them not raising me here.”
That year was the year of the Black and Gold Super Bowl. “It was the greatest Carnival in the history of the city,” said Cayouette.
No matter the crisis, New Orleanians never lose their sense of humor or their wry sense of irony; the world might end, but if possible, we plan to go out smiling. Whether a Cat 3, Armageddon, the zombie apocalypse or New Orleans’ version of the same – a levee breach – locals know how to prepare. And until the bitter end, that preparation includes a box of chicken, a cocktail — and maybe a party. Grocers and hardware shelves empty at an alarming pace when there’s a storm in the Gulf, and it’s a seller’s market for newbies who need plywood. (Locals have made-to-measure plywood sheets with attached hooks ready to hang long before hurricane season starts.)
After moving stubborn great-aunties to high ground (and their yappy little dogs), gassing up the cars (interminable humid lines), refilling prescriptions (hours at CVS), stocking up on medical supplies (arguing with Blue Cross) and hanging the plywood with care, we have the joy of literally racing to the nearest market.
New Orleans always reels when it loses one of its greats, but then we count our blessings and reminisce. Ours is a community with a collective memory, and heart. We all loved Leah Chase. And we will all miss her. Greatly.
The one thing every New Orleanian can agree one is that someone is always coming to visit. We know our city is fabulous — filled with unique culture, food, architecture and music. We also are tasked with being tour guides several times a year. This is the list I hand out when they have to find their own way. It’s not that we — and I, as a professional tour guide — don’t love showing off our city, but sometimes, we’re busy.
Shrimp & Grits, Gumbo, Poboys, & Snoballs
The up-and-coming Faubourg Lafayette is the location of Café Porche & Snowbar which opened last year on Baronne Street. You may have to look twice for the red umbrellas, as the little southern Café is tucked behind a whimsical two-story Lilliputian white and blue Wendy house that operates as the café’s Snowbar (snoball stand). The modern Café has proven popular with locals and tourists and is finding its footing in the new Central City restaurant scene. It is noteworthy that the kitchen and restaurant is owned and run by a Black woman, which is still too rare in our local food scene. Coronella Porche-Jenneford opened Café Porche last year.
The movers and shakers of Louisiana including quite a bit of New Orleans, and more than a few hundred Uptowners recently descended on the nation’s capital to celebrate the annual Washington Mardi Gras. “If a bomb dropped on this ballroom tonight, Louisiana as you know it would cease to exist,” said one of the organizers at the Saturday night ball. Leaders of business, law partners, CEOs, congressmen, congresswomen, mayors, senators and the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, were all present. The yearly three-day event dates back to 1944 and has been led by the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians since 1957. “What began as a demonstration of the spirit of Mardi Gras” has grown into a celebration of Louisiana, its politics and its people,” per the krewe’s website.