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Jan V. Ramsey

October 22nd

A collapsed balcony showcases a bigger problem

Yesterday, the balcony on a building located in the historic French Quarter at 808 Royal Street suddenly, partially collapsed. There was obvious damage to the gas piping and plumbing, and a cloud of dust enveloped the street. Luckily, no one was hurt. Today, the building itself started to crumble, closing the street again, and created [...]

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October 15th

Music Bubble

I’ll bet that if you read OffBeat and this blog that you tend to live in what I call “the music bubble.” We are the people who love local music, local musicians. We don’t give a damn whether the musicians we love are in the top 40 or in rotation on a commercial station, or [...]

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October 8th

Being afraid in my home town

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to several countries overseas, and it always is fascinating to observe the differences in the way of life and in the cultures of the countries I’ve visited. Joseph and I just returned from a visit to England. Our daughter now lives there with her partner and their baby daughter, [...]

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Treme Blog

December 30th

Treme: A Tale of Two Cities
(S4 E5, Series Finale)

David Simon’s Treme, the American auteur’s loving and unflinching portrait of New Orleans, is now history after Sunday’s final episode. People compare it to his masterpiece, The Wire, which similarly lacked big viewership numbers while it was running, but became a cult hit once it was over. Treme is a different animal from The Wire, [...]

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December 23rd

Treme’s Legacy (S4 E4)

Here’s a good question: If you died today what would you leave behind that you would be remembered for? That’s the question being asked in the penultimate episode of HBO’s Treme. No matter what happens in next Sunday’s final episode, the question now hangs over the entire series.The question takes on even greater weight in [...]

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December 18th

Joe Krown, Lolis Elie, Chef Blanchard Guest at Buffa’s 12/22 Treme Viewing Party

There are only two episodes left of HBO’s Treme series. It has been a fun and interesting four years having the HBO crew in town, painting a picture about life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina for the (televised) world. This Sunday, December 22, the second-to-last episode of Treme airs at 8 p.m. (central) and [...]

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Elsa Hahne

October 1st

In the Spirit With Chris Benton of Le Foret

“I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for the last 15 years. I kind of fibbed my way into my first bartending job, pretending I had a little more experience than I did. I lived all over the place, moved to New Orleans in 2002, and got my first job here at Broussard’s restaurant. I worked [...]

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September 1st

In the Spirit: Murf Reeves at Erin Rose

I started out as a bouncer in Boston. The first question they asked me was, ‘Can you handle yourself in a fight?’ The main clientele was blacks and skinheads. They all liked playing pool and they all liked Toots and the Maytals—they just didn’t like each other. This was the late ’90s. When I moved [...]

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September 1st

Phillip Lopez Gets to the Root of Things

When you take one of the 16 reservation-only seats at Square Root, you won’t see knives or drops of sweat flying through the air. You won’t hear vegetables being slaughtered, no screams for increased speed, no guttural belly laughs or congratulatory back slaps. It’s eerily quiet, apart from the restaurant’s background soundtrack, which includes both [...]

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John Swenson

July 1st

Protecting Dave Bartholomew’s Legacy

The modest, wood-frame house at 1616 N. Galvez St. looks pretty much like all its neighbors, but the front door leads to a dynastic kingdom inside. Walk through the sparsely furnished living room and you come to the office of Bang-N-Records and the Bartholomew Boyz, where the sons and grandsons of New Orleans music pioneer [...]

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December 2nd

Treme at Buffa’s–You Better Not Leave

A New Orleans tradition was renewed Sunday night when people gathered in the back room at Buffa‘s to watch the HBO drama Treme and hear one of the featured artists from the show. Guitarist Alex McMurray was Sunday night’s host, performing with pianist Bill Malchow, and he provided the audience of familiar HBO regulars like [...]

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March 16th

Revivalists Score at SxSW

The Revivalists played one of the shows of this young band’s life Friday night at SXSW. The crowd at the Holy Mountain backyard was packed with hardcore fans but also a large media contingent and talent scouts checking for the next big thing. The showcase nature of the gig forced the band into a tighter [...]

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Alex Rawls

May 24th

Times-Picayune Plans to Cut Staff and Publication Days

I had thoughts on the twilight of American Idol based on Ann Powers’ excellent analysis, but the news about changes at The Times-Picayune jumps in front. According to Gambit, The New York Times broke the story that the T-P is going to shift its thrust to, cut the print edition to three days a [...]

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May 15th

Gathering of the Tribe

Jan Ramsey kicked a hornets’ nest when she raised the issue of accessibility at Jazz Fest for those with disabilities. The conversation that followed in the comments on her post is lengthy, rambling and contentious, but there’s a near-universal sense that the festival ought to do better by festgoers who need help getting around. They’re [...]

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May 9th

How Disneylanding Happens

Today’s Times-Picayune has a story by Jaquetta White on the revisions for the planned downtown taxing zone—an area from the river to Claiborne Avenue, and from the Pontchartrain Expressway to Elysian Fields. White writes: As is, the proposal, written and supported by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration and local tourism leaders and sponsored by state Sen. [...]

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Ben Berman

November 24th

Happy Thanksgiving: A Big Freedia Animated GIF

Nothing says Thanksgiving like an animated GIF of Big Freedia and her dancers poppin in downtown New Orleans, taken from Freedia’s “Y’all Get Back Now” music video. Source:

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October 26th

Experience the Voodoo Experience on Spotify

Listen to our “Experience the Voodoo Experience” playlist on Spotify Even if you’re living under a rock, you know the Voodoo Experience takes place this weekend in City Park. But even the most tuned-in of your friends are unlikely to know all of the artists performing at Voodoo. To make it easy to figure out [...]

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August 24th

Why Does Sly Stone’s Appreciation End In 1973?

Sylvester Stewart, leader of seminal funk band Sly & the Family Stone, is one of the least well understood of a cluster of funk artists who produced memorable hits in the late 1960s through early 1980s. Sly Stone vanished in the ’80s, making brief appearances in public when Sly & the Family Stone were inducted [...]

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Brett Milano

October 1st

Andre Williams, A Fortune of Hits (Night Train)

To his eternal credit, R&B maestro Andre Williams always had a very strange idea of what constitutes a hit record. Aside from the dance-craze tune “Bacon Fat”—which never tells you how the dance is done, or why it would be so named—his most notorious record is the 1957 single “Jail Bait.” A tune about the [...]

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October 1st

Elvin Bishop, Can’t Even Do Wrong Right (Alligator Records)

Elvin Bishop was never the deepest of bluesmen—he’s a good-timey entertainer and proud of it. And if you boogied to his Struttin My Stuff album back in high school, you’ll find here that he’s still throwing the same party 40 years later: The most angst-ridden this album gets is on the title tune’s story of [...]

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October 1st

Better Than Ezra, Surprise (Liason)

Originally a cassette-only release in 1989, Better Than Ezra’s long-unavailable debut was essentially the work of a different band, with the core trio of singer/guitarist Kevin Griffin, bassist Tom Drummond and drummer Cary Bonnecaze joined by lead guitarist Joel Rundell, who took his own life the following year. The band took a long break afterwards [...]

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Luke R. Ilardo

August 18th

Fan Funding: Davis Rogan

Musician, satirist, and connoisseur of wine Davis Rogan has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his forthcoming DAVIS album. Rogan has enlisted Andre Bohren to produce the album, which will be recorded at the illustrious Esplanade Studios, also used by Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, and Dr. John. “I’ve noticed that some of these Kickstarter narratives [...]

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August 1st

Cowboy Mouth, Go! (Elm City Music)

The tenth studio album from Cowboy Mouth finds the band in familiar territory, but the CD does offer a couple of tracks that deviate from the norm. On “My Little Secret,” Casandra Faulconer’s bass line oozes in as Fred LeBlanc sings, “I may not be the sharpest dresser and I ain’t so debonair / but [...]

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July 15th

Native Lights: From an Abandoned Cattle House to the Circle Bar

Indie rockers Native Lights will play Circle Bar on August 2nd at 10 p.m. Hailing from Oklahoma, Native Lights is composed of Johnathon Ford on bass, Nathan Price on drums, Bryce Chambers on guitar and vocals and Philip Phillips on guitar. In November of 2010, Native Lights set up a small-scale recording studio in a [...]

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