Category Archives: New Orleans

Saturday Odds & Sods: Band On The Run

The Bird, The Cage & The Forest by Max Ernst.

I’ve gone on about NOLA rain in this space this summer. It was the wettest July in recorded history, and it happened without any tropical systems getting too close for comfort. That much rain can be inconvenient, but it keeps the temperatures down. That concludes this brief weather report. If I had a green screen, I’d go on longer, but we don’t have the budget for it.

Like everywhere else in the country, life has been grim in New Orleans of late. Small businesses, especially restaurants have been failing daily. It’s estimated that up to 50% of restaurants here will close for good. They need help and since the government ordered them to close, it should come from them. I am not optimistic that Moscow Mitch and his merry band of miscreants will reconsider and ride to the rescue. In the immortal words of Mel Brooks:

This week’s theme song is an ironic choice for this moment in time: ain’t no bands on the run or even on the road.

Paul McCartney wrote Band On The Run in 1973. It was the title track of Wings’ smash hit album, Band On The Run. Was that a run-on sentence? Beats the hell outta me. I’ll stick a band-aid on it just in case.

We have two versions of this Macca classic for your listening pleasure: the Wings original and a raucous cover by Foo Fighters.

Let’s run to the other side of the break. I think I hear band music in the distance.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Higher Ground

Blue Night by Edward Hopper.

The tropics have been busy this week. There are two named storms in the Gulf. Neither is headed our way, but it’s been a wet week. Oh, to be on the dry side of a storm.

It was qualifying week for the 2020 election in the Gret Stet of Louisiana.  Senator Double Bill Cassidy gained a name opponent when Democratic Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins filed to challenge him. He has his work cut out for him: he’s not well known in South Louisiana. The spineless incumbent remains a heavy favorite.

The most interesting local race is for Orleans Parish District Attorney. Incumbent Leon Cannizzaro is retiring, which makes it a wide-open race. City Council President Jason Williams looked like a very strong candidate until he was indicted on federal tax charges. The funniest moment of qualifying week was when Williams told us not to be distracted by his indictment. Dude, you’re running for DA. You need a better argument than that.

This week’s theme song was written by Stevie Wonder for his smash hit 1973 album Innervisions.  It’s about reincarnation or some such shit but I like it for the funky groove.

We have two versions of Higher Ground for your listening pleasure: Stevie’s original and a 1989 cover by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Glad I was able to funkify your lives today. I took lessons from the Meters:

That George Porter Jr. bass line makes me want to jump…to the break. See you on the other side.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: This Forgotten Town

Subway Portrait by Walker Evans.

The weather in New Orleans has been almost as crazy as President* Pennywise this week. We’ve had record heat as well as torrential rain that caused some street flooding. There were thunderclaps so loud that they interrupted PD’s beauty rest. Now that’s loud.

It’s also lizard season in the Crescent City. They’re everywhere. I have to look down as I descend our front stairs to avoid stomping on them. The cat is obsessed with capturing and tormenting lizards whenever they get inside. I’ve rescued several already this year. Leapin’ Lizards.

A new Jayhawks album dropped last week. XOXO is more of a collaborative effort than past records. It features songs and lead vocals by band members who are not named Gary Louris. Tim O’Reagan and Karen Grotberg’s lead vocals are a welcome addition to the Jayhawks’ musical arsenal.

This week’s theme song, This Forgotten Town, is the opening track on the new album. It was written by Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, and Tim O’Reagan. We have two versions for your listening pleasure:

This is not Gary’s first town tune. There’s also this unforgettable song from Smile.

Let’s leave this town and jump to the break.

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Close Up The Honky Tonks

I live in a city where bar culture is important. I stopped being a barfly because of smoke: Dr. A is allergic to it and I hated smelling like an ash tray every time I went to a bar. New Orleans finally banned smoking in 2015, but my  affinity for bars was diminished. But I understand the importance of a favorite watering hole for others.

I think that bars being open during the pandemic is madness, especially with the recent surge of COVID cases. One New Orleans dive bar owner agrees with me, Dave Clements of Snake and Jake’s:

“I’ve been telling everyone this since day one: I’d rather stay closed a month too long unnecessarily than open a day too early,” Clements said. “We’ve been through all this and of course I want to reopen, but trying to reopen even at 50%, I have no idea how we would do that.”

Clements, who was adding space to the Snakes and Jakes backyard on Monday to prepare for a time when he could reopen, said policing his clientele to abide by the governor’s restrictions might be too difficult, even if he could reopen.

“We’re not really known for our responsible behavior here, so I don’t know how much people who are drinking heavily are going to listen,” Clements said.

Wise choice. Wise man.

Let’s move on the music. Close Up The Honky Tonks was written by Red Simpson. It was first recorded by Buck Owens and his Buckeroos in 1964.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Buck’s original, the Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons, and Dwight Yoakam from Dwight Sings Buck complete with a video. Yeah, boy. Bow, howdy.

Throwing It All Away

Image by John Valentino.

If you’re like me you’re either saddened and/or outraged by the recent surge of COVID-19. Those of us who live in places where the state and local governments appeared to be on top of things were feeling a bit smug. Our optimism was premature. If anything, the latest wave is larger and scarier than the first one that struck back in March.

The whole debate over “reopening” has returned to bite us in the ass. I think we know who’s responsible for that:

Image by Michael F.

The grotesque incompetence of the Trump regime and its politicization of a public health emergency has led to these numbers: a record 53,000+ new cases yesterday and 130,000 Americans dead and counting.

One of the richest countries in the world has the worst outbreak. That’s down to horrendous leadership at the federal level and the way President* Pennywise has fobbed off responsibility onto state and local officials. The virus does not respect state lines or national borders. It’s an equal opportunity killer.

It never had to be this bad. One way things can be turned around is by wearing a mask in public. The flying monkeys of Trumpistan have turned this into a political issue. Freedom, man. Senator Aqua Buddha recently mocked Tony Fauci for being an expert. Freedom, man.

The featured image is by John Valentino one of the most talented members of Krewe du Vieux. He executed the image to accompany a June 26th Facebook post by one of our most eminent members, Dr. Jim Aiken who is an emergency medicine specialist at LSU Medical School and University Medical Center.

I tried to post the Facebook message here without success so here’s Dr. Jim’s message cut and pasted for your perusal:

As the leaders of an organization with a rich history of portraying, advancing and living the culture of New Orleans, I’m writing to ask you to join me in urging our members, families, friends and everyone the Krewe touches to do the right thing to reverse a frightening resurgence of new COVID cases in our community.

My appeal comes not from a concern whether we have a Marxist Gras (sic) next year, but from a deep concern over the threat this virus poses to the lives of those we love.
We lost Ronald Lewis and Ellis Marsalis to the virus among other musical icons. We have lost 1000 dead to the virus in Orleans and Jefferson Parish since we began tracking 4 months ago. And we have no cure, no scientifically proven medication that will significantly change mortality, and no vaccine available until the end of the year.
After an initial community behavior of wearing masks, social isolation and avoiding large groups that was encouraging, I am now stunned with the widespread irresponsibility that came from the Phase 2 opening. I still do not believe this stupidity is a true reflection of who we are, but it is obviously enough to push the pandemic case and hospitalizations “curves” upwards. Do not buy into the foolishness that this phenomenon is simply from more testing. Those of us in the emergency departments last week knew ahead from our increase in COVID related emergencies that these statistics would come to be what they are now.
The undisputed science from centuries of experience is that social distancing and masking is the mainstay of mitigating pandemics. The other irrefutable science now is that this virus has vicious characteristics in terms in how it spreads and how it kills. The irresponsible among us may not be the ones to suffer the consequences of their inactions. It will be the ones they associate later, the elderly, those with medical problems that led to an increase in a horrible death from the coronavirus.
We had such promise two weeks ago dealing with this calamity. The curves are now as they were back in early March, arching to the sky.
As I have said on TV, radio, print and anyone who will listen to me, it’s not what healthcare does in the hospitals, it’s what we all do everyday in our neighborhoods and gathering establishments that gives us a chance to see this through.
I’ll never forget an evening after Katrina when I first heard the sounds of live music from the streets. Krewe du Vieux was the first parade on the streets for the next Marci Gras (sic & sick). How we behave now with a sustained new normal mentality will directly determine when we can safely enjoy and celebrate our heritage that Krewe du Vieux exemplifies better than any other community entity. I ask the Krewe to play the active healing role we have in past in influencing our members and neighbors to live and behave safely. As Clancy DuBos said on TV tonight, “wear the damn masks”. I couldn’t have said that better.
With love and wishes for good health for you all,
King Dr Jim

I couldn’t have said it better myself, especially since I’m neither a doctor nor do I play one on social media. I am, however, proud to be a member of Krewe du Vieux.

It has been alternately maddening and disheartening to watch month’s worth of sacrifice squandered by the selfish and stupid. We should be in the same position as Germany, Spain, or Italy all of which were hard hit by the pandemic. Instead, we threw away our progress. Let’s not make the same mistake twice. Please stay home and if you must go out, wear a damn mask.

The last word goes to Genesis:

Bayou Brief: The Rename Game

My latest Bayou Brief column is online. I wade knee deep, not into the Big Muddy, but into the monuments controversy in New Orleans. I offer my top ten list of stuff that should be renamed. I make a few suggestions but I’m mostly interested in getting a conversation started.

I have a lot of fun playing The Name Game in the column. Let’s do it for the current First Draft team:

Peter, Peter, bo-beter
Banana-fana fo-feter
Fee-fi-mo-meter
Peter.

Allison, Allison, bo-ballison
Banana-fana fo-fallison
Fee-fi-mo-mallison
Allison.

Michael, Michael, bo-bichael
Banana-fana fo-fichael
Fee-fi-mo-ichael
Michael.

Tommy, Tommy, bo-bommy
Banana-fana fo-fommy
Fee-fi-mo-mommy
Tommy.

Oh, mommy. The last word goes to Shirley Ellis:

Bountygate Nouveau

I suspect that the original Bountygate is forgotten everywhere but in New Orleans. It was the accusation that there was a bounty system on the New Orleans Saints for hits against opposing players. The NFL came down hard on the “implicated” coaches and players including head coach Sean Payton who was suspended for a year. It turned out to be sound and fury signifying nothing after further investigation. That’s a fancy way of saying that it was bullshit.

Bountygate Noveau is infinitely more serious:

American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.

<SNIP>

The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.

The Trump regime is tripping over itself to explain away the latest foreign policy scandal. My favorite excuse is that the Impeached Insult Comedian didn’t read the briefing papers. That’s the presidential* equivalent of that old standby “the dog ate my homework.” Trump, of course, hates dogs. I wonder when they’ll move on to “my grandmother died.” That won’t work either: his grandparents are long dead.

Shortly after the meeting cited by the NYT, President* Pennywise resumed his push to restore Russia to the G-7. How dare Obama ban Putin for attacking and conquering the Crimea? They were just taking it back. #sarcasm. Of course, Trump doesn’t know it used to be part of the Soviet Union and Russian Empire. All he knows is that Putin is a tough guy, not a fake tough guy like himself.

Joe Biden pounced on the latest Trump-Putin scandal:

“Not only has he failed to sanction and impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,” the former vice president said.

Biden called it a “betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation — to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way.”

FYI, the featured image shows the aftermath of Putin throwing the ball and Trump fetching it like a good dog. It’s unclear if Putin scratched his head or gave him a treat as a reward. Good boy, Donald.

On a more serious note, this is NOT the first time that a Republican president has endangered the lives of our soldiers. In its rush to war, the Bush-Cheney administration failed to give the troops proper equipment such as body armor. Like W, President* Pennywise can’t be bothered with the details. So much for caring about the military.

I called this post Bountygate Nouveau because it’s a fresh scandal but reminiscent of past scandals. If it were a wine, it would be Beaujolais Nouveau, which a friend of mine insists on calling Boojelly. I’m not sure if the wine image works but I’m not a sommelier. There ain’t no cure for the sommelier blues

The last word goes to the Lincoln Project with an instant response ad to this newly vinted (decanted?) scandal:

Nuance Is Dead

There have been many articles over the years proclaiming the death of irony. It turned out not to be so: what’s more ironic, in a sick way, than one of the world’s richest countries having 1/3 of the COVID-19 cases? I am, however, concerned about the plight of nuance. It appears to be knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door.

Nuance and I are old friends. While many see life in stark terms of black and white, I revel in the gray and ambiguous. While I’m still burning a candle for it, I’m afraid nuance is dead in our public life.

I usually detest bothsiderism but both the right and the left share the blame for nuance’s demise. Nuance was finally banished from the Republican party upon the nomination of the Impeached Insult Comedian. House GOPers such as Louie Gohmert Piles, Matt Gaetz, and Gym Jordan have trampled nuance to death with their antics. It’s unclear if they’re three of the horsemen of the apocalypse or the Three Stooges. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Nuance suffered major blows in the last week with the toppling of a statue honoring General/President Ulysses Grant as well as the Lady Forward statue in Madison, Wisconsin. The latter became a symbol of pride during the anti-Walker demonstrations in what seems like another lifetime. Its downfall certainly vexed Our Scout Prime:

I feel your pain, Scout.

An appreciation for, and an understanding of, nuance would have prevented the toppling of a statue honoring the man who did more to defeat the Confederacy than anyone else, General/President Grant. His father-in-law was a slave owner (as was Lincoln’s) who gave Ulysses and Julia a slave. Grant found the whole thing embarrassing and freed the poor bastard within a year. Many have credited that incident with beginning the process of Grant’s enlightenment on racial matters.

As president, Grant joined forces with the advocates of radical reconstruction and equal rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was perhaps his greatest accomplishment as president. It was struck down by the Supremes in 1883, but it set the template for Civil Rights legislation in the next century. That’s right, Grant was the LBJ of the 19th Century; another historical figure nuance is needed to understand.

If you don’t believe me, here’s what the great Frederick Douglass had to say about Ulysses Grant:

“A man too broad for prejudice, too humane to despise the humblest, too great to be small at any point. In him the Negro found a protector, the Indian a friend, a vanquished foe a brother, an imperiled nation a savior…”

Grant’s historical reputation was the first casualty of the cult of the Lost Cause. In recent years, his star has been on the rise because of his record on Civil Rights while Woodrow Wilson’s has declined because he was a segregationist. Nuance requires that I point out that Wilson was instrumental in passing significant progressive legislation as president.

I dislike criticizing those I agree with and rarely do so. I’m down with removing monuments to Lee, Davis, Calhoun, and others. I’ve even stopped making nuanced arguments about Jackson Square in New Orleans. While I understand the thrill of toppling statues, I prefer a legal process, which has the benefit of being safer. The bronze statue of General/President Jackson is heavy and could hurt someone if hastily removed. I’ll have more about that and the renaming frenzy next week at the Bayou Brief.

Perhaps the post title is melodramatic. Nuance will live as long as people take the time to understand the complexities of our history. History is made by human beings and we’re flawed and, well, human.

A final thought: while we know who is buried in Grant’s Tomb, why is there a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square? That’s too nuanced even for me.

The last word goes to Oscar Brand with an 1868 campaign song:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Take Me To The River

Cane River Baptism by Clementine Hunter.

The weather in New Orleans has been weird even by our standards this week. Last Sunday and Monday, Tropical Storm Cristobal was a non-event in the city, but it was followed on Tuesday by torrential rain that caused flooding. On Wednesday, it was gorgeous: warm but with low humidity. In a word: weird.

This week’s theme song was written in 1974 by Al Green and Mabon Teenie Hodges. We have three versions of Take Me To The River for your listening pleasure: Al Green, Talking Heads, and Syl Johnson.

Now that we’ve been to the river, let’s take the plunge and jump to the break. I hear it’s dry on the other side; at least I hope so.

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Still Can’t Trust That Day

Tropical Storm Cristobal was something of a non-event in New Orleans. Other parts of the broader Metro Area and Gulf South weren’t so lucky. We’re still experiencing the odd severe rain band but if this is our tropical system for the year, we’re lucky. Knock on wood.

An odd phenomenon of the social media era is people complaining about preparing for a storm then bitching about it not being severe. It’s what we want, y’all.  Is it my fault if you bought too much water and food you’ll only eat when the power is out? Talk about first world problems. Eat your Vienna Sausages and STFU.

A friend of mine made a more salient point on Facebook. Why can’t our brains process more than once thing at a time? Locally, we’ve gone from focusing on the pandemic to the protests and, briefly, to hurricane season. The MSM has this problem in spades: one major story at a time is all they can handle. The pandemic didn’t go anywhere. Our inability to multi-task is likely to lead to a second wave.

The Trump regime has largely abandoned the subject of the pandemic since it was a loser for them. They’re now fixated on LAW & ORDER. The big question for me is this: SVU; Criminal Intent; or the original Law & Order?

William Hermann Goering Barr faced the nation yesterday. It was a pitiful performance as he tried to argue that pepper spray and tear gas are not chemicals. It reminded me of a kid who discovers for the first time that a tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable. Barr is not a kid and ketchup is neither a vegetable nor a fruit.

There’s been much mockery of Willard Mittbot Romney for marching in the BLM protest yesterday. It doesn’t make him a hero, but I believe in coalition building so I’ll take allies wherever I find them. Besides, he earned some cred with me by voting to remove the Impeached Insult Comedian from office.

The Gray Lady seems to have recovered from losing its Cotton Pickin’ Mind after publishing a fascist op-ed from Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. The opinion editor quit in the face of widespread unrest on the paper’s staff. Maybe the opinion page will abandon its recent obsession with trying to “challenge” the paper’s liberal readers. They should leave “owning the libs” to Fox News.

Finally, a few unfashionable thoughts about the latest craze: “Defund the Police.” In this instance, the details are, on the whole, good not devilish. Reducing the police’s involvement in things they’re bad at handling such as mental illness and domestic violence is a good idea. The label sucks. It implies that utopia will be the result of the George Floyd protests.

Violent crimes still need investigating; what is needed is to demilitarize the police and address racist violence by law enforcement. The overall idea behind “defund the police” is not a bad one but the presentation is terrible. It implies that “burning down” the system is a good idea. I had hoped that Trump’s “burning down” US foreign policy among other things would have disabused people of the notion that disruption and destruction are good ideas. Like Cory Booker, I prefer reform and rebuilding.

Repeat after me: Words Matter.

The last word goes to Stephen Stills with a song written in 1971 that’s still relevant today:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Life During Wartime

The Outbreak by Kathe Kollwitz.

A named storm is lurking in the Gulf of Mexico. It looks as if Cristobal is headed for the Gret Stet of Louisiana. As of this writing, it will make landfall in Morgan City home of the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. I am not making this up. Wherever it hits, it’s going to be a wet weekend.

There was momentary upset when New Orleans was mentioned as a possible site for the GOP convention. I let it roll off my back: it’s a non-starter. I suspect some malicious mischief from NOLA tourism officials who are vexed with Mayor Cantrell for her strong stand on “reopening.” They should shut it.

It’s the 76th Anniversary of D-Day. On that solemn and bloody day, they helped to secure the freedoms that the current regime is determined to erode. It’s time to re-quote General Mattis:

“Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was “Divide and Conquer.” Our American answer is “In Union there is Strength.”’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.”

This week’s theme song was written by Talking Heads for their 1979 album Fear Of Music. The lyrics are by David Byrne, but the music came from a jam session. I’m not sure if it was strawberry or blueberry jam. That pun was so bad that I should apologize for it, but I won’t. Suffice it to say it was not a peach of a pun…

We have three versions of Life During Wartime for your listening pleasure: the studio original; a live version from the concert film Stop Making Sense and a 1985 cover by the Staple Singers.

Now that we’ve firmly established that “this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around,” let’s jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Drift Away

The Sleeping Girl by Pablo Picasso

Summer is slowly but surely returning to New Orleans. The first two weeks of May were blissfully temperate but summer’s cauldron has begun to boil. It’s unclear if it’s a Pepper Pot but you never can tell.

We had a serious thunderstorm in the wee small hours of Friday morning. I originally planned to put PD’s big ass box out with the trash but thought better of it. I wish I could claim second sight but I’m glad I didn’t have to scoop wet cardboard off the grass.

I did not know until googling information about this week’s theme song that Mentor Williams was Paul Williams’ kid brother. It’s unclear if Paul mentored Mentor in the songwriter’s craft but the older brother never wrote a song as good as Drift Away. Mentor W wrote it in 1970 and after several misfires it became a monster hit for Dobie Gray in the summer of 1973. One couldn’t escape its refrain:

“Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul.
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.”

We have two versions of Drift Away for your listening pleasure by Dobie Gray and my 13th Ward homies the Neville Brothers.

I know there was a hit version of the song in 2002. I refuse to post a video by anyone who spells cracker with a K. Take that, Uncle Kracker.

Let’s pay a visit to Disambiguation City with the Kinks hard rocking, Drift Away. It sounds nothing like Mentor W’s song but it’s a classic in its own right.

I hope your attention isn’t drifting away. If it is, the time is right to jump to the break.

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Image Of The Day: Bubble Wrap Edition

I’m writing something serious and find myself in the weeds. Since I’m not Gomez Addams, I don’t like weeds so it’s time for some comic relief.

My young friend Ryne Hancock is a Cardinals fan named for Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. It’s a complicated story but he’s a complicated guy. Anyway, Ryne likes to talk about bubble wrapping cultural icons to keep them safe. He did this long before the pandemic, but it looks like a good idea as the body count mounts.

One of my Krewe du Vieux friends, Jen, is a self-described klutz. I am too. I have perfected dozens of ways of spilling food and drink. In her case, she’s had a series of mishaps during the lockdown. They resulted in this bubble wrappy outfit, which she shared elsewhere on the internets:

This is what happens when New Orleanians get bored: they create new costume forms.

Jen credited her neighbors with this idea, so the last word goes to Los Lobos:

Another day, another last word lie. Most bubble songs are boring and I’m not a rap fan, so we’ll wrap things up with the Fabulous Thunderbirds:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Snake Bite Love

Water Serpents II by Gustav Klimt

Perhaps I should have used Zachary Richard’s Snake Bite Love as our theme song while we were Festing In Place but I couldn’t let go of using Can’t Let Go last week. Besides, it’s never too late for a Zack Attack.

We have two versions of Snake Bite Love for your listening pleasure: the 1992 studio original and a 2009 live version from a Jazz Fest set I attended.

One more snake song before we slither to the break:

Ouch that hurt. Time to turn the virtual page.

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Bayou Brief: Blast From The Past

My latest Bayou Brief column is online. This time, I write about Jazz Festing In Place and the early release of former New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin. The Nagin segment is called Loose Tongue, but a good alternate title would be The Walking Id Walks.

Speaking of New Orleans and walking, the last word goes to John Hiatt:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Can’t Let Go

Masks by Jackson Pollock

We had some first world problems at Adrastos World HQ this week: a cable box containing 60 episodes of Law & Order died. I battled the provider to a draw but losing the season-5 episodes with the perfect L&O cast of Orbach, Noth, Merkerson, Waterson, Hennessy, and Hill hurt:

Law & Order is my pandemic jam and it’s not currently on a streaming service. I can’t let go of the craving.Told ya this was a first world problem.

I hope that those of you who have read my previously unpublished law school mystery, Tongue In The Mail, enjoyed it. If you haven’t read it, give it a shot by clicking on this link. The serialization is dead, long live the serialization.

This week we have a trio of theme songs with the same title. Our first Can’t Let Go was written by Bryan Ferry for his 1978 solo album The Bride Stripped Bare. Here’s a double dose with the studio original and Roxy Music live:

Our second Can’t Let Go was written by Lucinda Williams for her classic 1998 album, Car Wheels On A Gravel Road:

Our final Can’t Let Go was written by Bill Meyers, Maurice White, and Allee Willis for Earth Wind & Fire’s 1979 album I Am.

I don’t know about you but I’m having a hard time letting go. Perhaps a jump to the break is in order.

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Bayou Brief: Under Pressure, Nungesser

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. I take a look at the pressure brought to bear on New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell to reopen the city and a lukewarm pandemic apologia by the Gret Stet Grifter, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser.

This time, I decided to tease you with the opening paragraphs of the column:

Citizens of the Gret Stet of Louisiana and residents of New Orleans aren’t used to competent government. The incompetence reached new heights when both Bobby Jindal, who I always called PBJ, and C Ray Nagin were in office. They were both wreckers: one deliberately, the other out of indifference. One thing they had in common was incompetence.

That’s why the performance of Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor Latoya Cantrell during the coronavirus crisis has been so gobsmacking. They’ve been communicative without panicking like Nagin and clear without self aggrandizement like PBJ. In a word: competent.

Wash Your Hands

The fine New Orleans band Galactic has joined in the remote pandemic recording craze. The results are pretty darn good as is the cause they’re supporting. I’m feeling slothful so I’ll just quote Galactic’s YouTube entry:

We are excited to share the release of our adaption of the 1930’s calypso song “Wash Your Hands” (Roaring Lion). Our version features Chali 2na (vocals), Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph (vocals), Ivan Neville (vocals); David Shaw (vocals), Zach Feinberg (guitar), Andrew Campanelli (vocals), Rob Ingraham (sax + vocals) and Michael Girardot (vocals) from The Revivalists, Eric Gordon (trumpet) and Mike Dillon (congas). Each video was recorded within our own homes.

The video is to benefit our Tip-It Foundation. Special thanks to Steve Kelly for video production and Andrew Campanelli for the Covid-19 adapted lyrics. Music produced and mixed by Robert Mercurio.

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling clean after that.

Let’s play the song followed by the Roaring Lion original:

Bayou Brief: Hell Of A Spell

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. There are a few more jokes in this pandemic edition, Hell Of A Spell. There’s also a helluva tagline if I do say so myself and I do:

Peter Athas on Tony Spell’s death tabernacle, John Neely Kennedy being stuck on stupid, Kevin Allman’s crusade against Mardi Gras misinformation, and other signs of our troubled times.

My sole regret is that I neglected to make a Jimmy Swaggart joke when I cracked wise about Roy (Judge Pervert) Moore and the Mall of Louisiana. A lost opportunity because the Swaggart empire used to own the land the mall sits on. I must be slipping.

I used Richard Thompson’s When The Spell Is Broken as a segment divider. In this shameless plug post, he gets the last word with a live version:

Saturday Odds & Sods: For Shame Of Doing Wrong

New York Movie by Edward Hopper.

I’m trying something different this month. I’m pairing the artwork of Edward Hopper with the music of Richard Thompson. Each Saturday in April will feature a different EH image and RT tune. I think they work well together.

My oak pollen allergy has been bonkers this year. We’ve hit a prolonged dry patch: no rain since some time in February. We tend towards extremes in New Orleans. It either rains too much or not at all. The happy medium is unknown in our forecasting annals.

The worst thing about this allergy season during the pandemic is that it’s hard for me to go outside at all. The last time I took a walk, I had a pollen related sneezing jag, which led some fellow strollers to glare at me as if I were Typhoid Mary. So it goes.

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson for the Pour Down Like Silver album. I have a soft spot for that album: it was the first RT album I ever purchased but not until 10 years after its release. I was a late RT bloomer.

We have three versions of For Shame Of Doing Wrong for your listening pleasure: the Richard and Linda studio original, a poppy version produced by Gerry Rafferty, and a cover by RT’s former Fairport band mate, Sandy Denny.

Is it shameful that I like the poppy version from Rafferty’s Folly? Hell, I like the song below too. It was inescapable in 1978:

As I hang my head for shame of doing wrong, let’s jump to the break in a shameless manner.

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