Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:03 pm

New Orleans, Exported

Just a quick throwback to this post, featuring Homer's odyssey (heh heh) through the New Orleans culinary scene.

In a Herculean effort, two Swiss tourists, Katrin von Niederhäusern and Janine Wiget, created the montage shot for shot.

I'm both jealous and impressed.



(Note at 00:17 seconds in, where the iconic Gene's Poboys has since shut down -- victim of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.)
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:59 am

Macrology wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:03 pm
New Orleans, Exported

Just a quick throwback to this post, featuring Homer's odyssey (heh heh) through the New Orleans culinary scene.

In a Herculean effort, two Swiss tourists, Katrin von Niederhäusern and Janine Wiget, created the montage shot for shot.

I'm both jealous and impressed.



(Note at 00:17 seconds in, where the iconic Gene's Poboys has since shut down -- victim of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.)
So amazing, those two women are welcome in New Orleans for life.

Also, I thought I'd heard that Gene's was being saved or coming back somehow?

But the gentrification of our fair city has become a terrifying issue. Will all our culture be lost and we'll be reduced to transplant-led second-lines for tourists?
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:10 am

Ernest J. Gaines, whose A Lesson Before Dying I recently wrote about in this thread, just died today. His NYT obituary. I need to read more of his work.

Planning to update this thread with a more substantial post soon.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:44 pm

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The Apostle | Robert Duvall | 1997

I first heard mention of this film when I was reading up on Flannery O'Connor after finishing her
Collected Stories. While the film is a far cry from the brutal (and decidedly Catholic) religious
ecstasies of O'Connor's fiction, it's easy to see why the writer compared the two: both strive to
reconcile religious attitudes with violent realities, and they are among the few works of American
fiction that handle the subject of religion without resorting to condescension or sentimentality.

The story starts in East Texas, where an Evangelical preacher (Duvall) commits a crime of passion
and flees to rural Louisiana to evade arrest. With incredible, riveting charm, he connects with the
local community and goes about starting a congregation. Based on the violent beginnings and the
standard Hollywood take on evangelicals, one expects him to callously manipulate his followers,
but this is the anti Elmer Gantry: Duvall treats his protagonist with absolute earnestness, a
man who believes that he is called by God to call others to God. The result is not only an electrifying
character study (and arguably Duvall's greatest performance), but one of the only honest depictions
of evangelicals in cinema -- one that addresses human failure without condemning its ensemble.

The film is most remarkable for the way that it illustrates how religious life engenders a sense of
community and belonging, with Duvall rallying diverse people (across race lines, although almost
invariably poor) and creating a physical and emotional space that enriches their lives. This culminates
in a scene where a belligerent, racist outsider (Billy Bob Thornton) shows up with a bulldozer and
threatens to tear down their newly restored church, and the unexpected emotional force of this
scene rivals some of O'Connor's most vivid revelations. As for the setting, while it doesn't scream
Louisiana (West LA and East TX are very similar), it captures the vernacular of the area as few films
do -- the way people talk and preach and interact -- thanks in part to its location shooting in St.
Martinville and Des Allemands and its casting of several local actors and nonprofessionals.

Lagniappe
While The Apostle is about evangelicals, Louisiana is comprised primarily of Southern Baptists
(in the predominantly Anglo North Louisiana) and Catholics (in French/Spanish South Louisiana,
where I live). And while cities like New Orleans have grown more secular over time, and some of
the city's Catholic churches have been converted into theaters and event spaces, many Catholic
traditions are still firmly in place and have even been adopted by non-Catholics.

Even the New Orleans football team is called The Saints, and I discussed our St. Joseph's Day traditions and the
Holy Trinity of Louisiana cooking in previous posts, but there are a few other peculiar local traditions
that deserve our attention. In the Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel on Rampart Street in New Orleans,
there's a statue depicting Saint Expeditus, a Roman centurion martyred for converting to Christianity.
According to local lore, the chapel received a large shipment of saintly statuary, but one of the
packages wasn't labeled. Since the package was marked 'Expedite', the nuns figured it must be St. Expedite.

Image
St. Expedite in the Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel.

One of the most prevalent Catholic traditions in South Louisiana -- one that is still practiced, though
it is beginning to fade -- is the celebration of All Saints Day. Traditionally, this involved dressing
up in your finest Fall fashion, visiting the cemetery to bedeck the family tomb with flowers and
wreaths, repairing any damage to the tomb, and mingling with the other visiting families.

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An illustration depicting All Saints Day in the late 1800s.

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All Saints Day in the 1940s.

Now, only a few families in New Orleans actively take part in All Saints Day traditions, but the
tradition still thrives in some of the small towns outside of the city, particularly places like
Lacombe, Louisiana, on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, where observers spend the day
decorating their family's grave sites and tombs with flowers and candles, so all through the
evening roadside cemeteries and graveyards tucked into the woods glow with gentle, beautiful
persistence. I've gone to Lacombe twice with friends to see the All Saints decorations, and each
time ended up conversing with local residents, who shared stories about dead loved ones or
their struggle to keep this slowly dying tradition alive. Here are a few of the pictures I took.

Image
Approaching one of the cemeteries set back in the woods.

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A closer look at that cemetery.

Image
One of the most lavishly decorated cemeteries.

Image
I visited this grave both years: it's adorned not only with candles, but a whole miniature fairy tale scene.

If you're interested, this lovely article goes into detail about more of Louisiana's Catholic folk traditions.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Torgo » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:50 pm

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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:08 pm

Macrology wrote:
Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:39 am
Image

Always for Pleasure | Les Blank | 1978

In honor of Mardi Gras, I decided to crack open Criterion's Les Blank boxset with its titular film. And that title couldn't be more appropriate.

Blank totally eschews documentary reportage to offer us a sensual distillation of New Orleans street culture and the jubilation of Mardi Gras. He offers only enough background to establish a rudimentary understanding, so it only scratches the surface of the culture, but that surface is a shimmering, resplendent display of color and vitality. The film itself is a sustained celebration of the fact that we love to celebrate.

It's interesting to see a New Orleans of 1977 on film, mostly because outside of fashion, very little has changed in 35 years. It features the Wild Tchoupitoulas, who we discussed earlier in the thread, and the film's opening takes advantage of the street name motif that is so common in the city's literature (after all, we have a Pleasure Street in New Orleans). However, I'm baffled as to why Luis Bunuel is thanked in the credits. Anyone have insight into that?

(Y'all can expect reviews of Blank's other Louisiana documentaries in the months to come as I make my way through the set.)

Voodoo: [ ]
Mardi Gras: [x]
Live music: [x]
Gratuitous reference to local cuisine: [x]
Questionable accents: [ ]
I rewatched this one last night. Figured you'd have written about it already, and found this old post.
I slightly disagree with your "very little has changed" comment, because I feel like things were more insular then. We were in our own world and if tourists wanted to share that they were welcome, but we weren't putting on a show for them. I feel like we're accommodating outsiders more than we used to. Which is fine, but different nonetheless. Anyhow, that's a topic for another day.

Regarding the doc- Yes, it's just as aimless as a doc about New Orleans ought to be. Here's a parade, here's a MOUNTAIN of cayenne pepper being poured into a boiling pot (jeezus!), here's a funeral, etc. The footage of the Tchoups onstage with the Nevilles is priceless. I'd love to know how much of that was filmed, would love to see the outtakes.
Although most of this was filmed in neighborhoods I did not frequent at age 6-7, it still brought back lots of memories and also helps explain why I feel like such a weirdo when I visit other parts of the country.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:35 am

Second lines probably have changed in the intervening decades, but I've only been attending second lines post-Katrina, so it's harder for me to say. But in my experience of second lines, very few tourists seem to know about them or attend, and second lines have always had a performative quality. You can see that in this film, and maybe the people performing for the camera makes the insularity less obvious.

As for Mardi Gras, we've been indulging tourists since at least the 50s, just based on what I've read. Though Mardi Gras Indians have definitely become more of an attraction, even just in the time I've been here.

I'll be updating this thread with another post within the next week or two. Whenever I can get around to it. I'm working hard on producing a play at the moment.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:23 pm

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Mardi Gras Massacre | Jack Weis | 1978

A nondescript middle-aged man goes on the most uninspired killing spree ever,
seeking out "evil women" and sacrificing them to a Peruvian god for no particular
reason. There are Bad movies, which miss the mark but can still entertain, and
there are Blah movies, which simply lack any kind of verve or spirit. All the
murders in this film are shot for shot exactly the same, to the point that we
were analyzing shots to make sure they used different actresses. In the hands
of a more methodical filmmaker that ritualism might have been interesting,
but here it makes for pretty redundant viewing.

But it wasn't a totally worthless experience. There are sporadic moments of
unintentional hilarity, and near the end, when the police are trying to track
down the killer, we get some near-documentary clandestine French Quarter
street footage and a glimpse of late 70s Mardi Gras revelry. Plus, the whole
experience was salvaged by watching it with some good friends in Lafayette
and playing a game they invented called Bad Movie Bingo (which I'll explain
in the Lagniappe section down below - more people deserve to know about it).

Lagniappe
Bad Movie Bingo, invented by my friend Tshy and her boyfriend Trent,
is a game that makes any bad movie more palatable. The rules are simple: pick
a bad film that no one has seen, make a bingo grid (5 rows on each axis, making
25 squares), then go in a circle naming things that you think might appear in the
film, based only on the title, the poster, and whatever thumbnail description
the streaming service offers.

Here is a sample sheet, the one we did for Mardi Gras Massacre. Note
that all of the squares are labeled by name.

Image
(Click image for higher resolution)

Every person arranges their grid as they like, and every time something
happens, you mark out that square on your bingo grid. When your guesses
happen, you get 1 point. (We also pick each person's "Least Likely to Appear"
square, and if that shows up, you get 5 points - those are the circled squares.)
The first bingo rakes in 10 points, with each successive bingo bringing in
diminishing returns until they settle at 2 points each. You tally up the points
at the end and see who won.

A drinking element is easily incorporated, where you drink whenever a square
is scratched, finish a drink when someone hits bingo, etc. Very straightforward,
but makes even the most dismal films a more engaging viewing experience.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:54 pm

I have still never seen it.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:22 pm

Image

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans | Werner Herzog | 2009

What an unlikely film. A reboot of an unmarketable Abel Ferrara film, directed by
Werner Herzog (who had never seen the original), starring Nicolas Cage. It's amazing
that the film ever got made, but what's even more amazing is the weird alchemy
that makes this film work so well. It seems obvious in retrospect, but I never would
have guessed on my own how well Nic Cage's sensibility meshes with Herzog's off-kilter
style, how much his screen presence recalls Klaus Kinski's irrepressible energy. It bears
nothing but a superficial resemblance to Abel Ferrara's fascinating meditation on
morality and Catholic conviction, but both films formulate esoteric, morally complex
worldviews within an otherwise conservative genre: two bright, beautiful arthouse
bubbles in the sea of cop movies. In Herzog's case, he anchors his protagonist's
troubled, destructive behavior with a seed of deeply ingrained moral certainty and
inflects the sordid post-Katrina milieu with moments of hallucinogenic clarity.

The main reasons to watch this are Nic Cage's unhinged performance and Herzog's
unpredictable direction, but the whole ensemble is tight, and I particularly enjoyed
Xzibit's role ("possibly the most affable and credulous drug lord in cinema history").
Reading up on the film after I watched it, I was also struck by how much New Orleans
itself featured in critics' commentary. Granted, the city does appear in the title and
the film opens with a Katrina scene, but otherwise, the film doesn't draw particular
attention to the setting. It certainly avoids The Big Easy pitfall of indulging a
host of local stereotypes, despite working within a similar mold. They shot here because
of Louisiana's tax breaks, but New Orleans quietly steals across the film. It reminds one
how distinctive New Orleans is and how its peculiarities shape the films that are set here.


Lagniappe
This film wasn't Nicolas Cage's first time in New Orleans. He's shot several films here
(including a lot of oddballs, like Lynch's Wild at Heart and the straight to video
Zandalee), and he also owned property here for many years. The first home he
bought was the famously haunted LaLaurie Mansion in the French Quarter, whose story
of tortured slaves features in the third season of American Horror Story. It's a
regular stop on the city's ghost tours, and allegedly Nic Cage only spent two nights there.

Image
The LaLaurie Mansion, where Delphine LaLaurie was discovered tormenting slaves in her attic.

His second house (ostensibly purchased to have a non-haunted place to sleep in town)
was in the Garden District. It's one of the largest and most stately homes in that already
opulent neighborhood, and its previous owners include Anne Rice, the Catholic Church (it
served as a chapel for decades), and Henry Lonsdale, a coffee importer (the incorporation
of chicory into New Orleans coffee is often popularly attributed to him). However, Cage
had to sell both of these homes after his bankruptcy, when his tax evasion came to light.

Image

But his most fascinating property in New Orleans - one he still owns - isn't a home. It's his
pyramid shaped tomb in St Louis Cemetery #1, the city's oldest extant cemetery and the
setting of the acid trip in Easy Rider (it also makes a brief appearance in the opening
of The Cincinnati Kid). Some ascribe its bold design to Masonic symbols and the pyramids
at Giza, others chalk it up to his National Treasure movies. Tour guides joke that he
stashes cash inside to keep it from the IRS, or that it's hiding the Declaration of Independence.

Image
Nic Cage's $200,000+ pyramid tomb. The inscription means "All from One" in Latin.

But even with his tomb he's had bad luck. Late last year, someone came into the cemetery
with a hammer and smashed the tableau (the marble frontispiece, which had to be replaced),
and female admirers regularly show their affection for Cage by leaving lipstick marks on it.

Image
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Torgo » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:58 pm

I like that movie a lot too. The one part in it I haven't been able to completely wrap my head around, however, is the "rusty spoon scene."
Is it about how everyone and everything, like the once-tarnish-free spoon, gets corrupted, but that this fact should not stop you from doing what you think is right? Since the story is essentially about McDonagh learning how to differentiate right and wrong again, I'd like to think that this scene is a pivotal step in his journey. Or, maybe I'm looking too much into it...maybe Herzog found the spoon on the ground, gave it to Cage and said <Teutoic accent> "have at eet."
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:20 pm

If I recall correctly, I read somewhere that the whole spoon thing wasn't in the original script, and that Herzog put that stuff together on set. I couldn't tell you where I found that tidbit, but it certainly makes sense, and I'd say it illustrates how Herzog's approach deviates from the norms of the genre.

The scenes with the spoon stood out to me because it felt almost like they had wandered in from another film. They're the only moments when his character indulges in any obvious nostalgia or sentiment, so they have an odd ring to them. I don't necessarily mean that as a criticism, though. It's an interesting contrast, and another one of Herzog's disorienting tactics.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:02 am

Image

Watched this one a couple of days ago. It's from 1947, but set in 1917. It's the story of a Basin St club owner who's forced to leave town when the decent folk of NO decide to clean up Storyville. It's actually more the story of Jazz than it is about NO specifically, showing how the music developed and subsequently spread across the country as the musicians migrated elsewhere. (Chicago, in this case). And the story ends with some stuffy white folks finally embracing Jazz after a pretty white girl incorporates it into her Carnegie Hall classical performance.

If any of it was filmed on location here, I missed it. And I suspect that it was all filmed on studio sets. So I can't say it's of special interest to residents, necessarily, but what you DO get is some great footage of Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. Definitely not essential, but there's a decent copy on Youtube if you're so inclined.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:32 pm

I'd like to leave this here if I may, it's a really awesome piece from the NYT (but generated by a local writer/photographer):


“I think this is making a lot of our relationships strong, we are bonding together like the city was designed to be. We’re making sure everyone in the neighborhood has food, has beer, light bulbs. This makes us feel a little more like family, than like friends.”
Image
Full article: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/202 ... ncing.html
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by MrCarmady » Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:00 pm

I watched and loved Happy Here and Now the other day which reminded me of this forum and this thread. Did you ever get a chance to check it out? The search function seems to be broken.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Fri May 29, 2020 5:41 pm

New Orleans, Exported

Image

I'm reading, off and on, The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, and while most
of her stories are set in Mexico or rural America, she wrote at least one set in New Orleans.
It's a quick read but a very dense and suggestive one, and since it's so short and so good, I
figured I'd just post a link to the story. It's about a servant telling her employer about a
brothel on Basin Street where she used to work as a cleaning lady, in particular an incident
between the Madame and one of the girls she employed. It's a succinct yet layered look at
the subtleties of exploitation and the systems of power that enable them.

Magic by Katherine Anne Porter
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Fri May 29, 2020 5:42 pm

MrCarmady wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:00 pm
I watched and loved Happy Here and Now the other day which reminded me of this forum and this thread. Did you ever get a chance to check it out? The search function seems to be broken.
I have not, but I'll add it to the list. New Orleans is also on there.

I'll try to make a more substantial update soon.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by MrCarmady » Sat May 30, 2020 11:22 am

Enjoyed that short story, very evocative especially considering the length. Haven't read any other Porter so she'll be on my radar from now on. I remember seeing Ship of Fools as a kid and liking it although I can't have understood very much.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Kayden Kross » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:57 pm

Covid has left me reading things that I've had sitting around for awhile, so I read Ray Celestin's The Axeman's Jazz. It's basically a fictionalized version of the Axeman murders, but it dabbles a lot with the racism, organized crime, police corruption, and sleaze that was going on. Expect I just couldn't dig it, like I WANTED to like it but just couldn't.

Have you heard of it?
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:05 am

I have not. I know there's a comic based on the incident (albeit more an illustrated history than a regular narrative), but that's the only book I know where the Axeman story takes center stage.

There was definitely an abundance of sleaze at the time, and that era was probably the peak of the city's mob activity. I'm planning to make some posts here soon about subjects that fall pretty close to that period (in association with the Bellocq photos I'm posting in my other thread).
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Kayden Kross » Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:18 am

Macrology wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:05 am
I have not. I know there's a comic based on the incident (albeit more an illustrated history than a regular narrative), but that's the only book I know where the Axeman story takes center stage.

There was definitely an abundance of sleaze at the time, and that era was probably the peak of the city's mob activity. I'm planning to make some posts here soon about subjects that fall pretty close to that period (in association with the Bellocq photos I'm posting in my other thread).
The Storyville photos actually reminded me to ask you if you've read it. One of the villains is a ruthless pimp. But something about Louis Armstrong solving murders is kinda bleh.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:08 am

Kayden Kross wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:18 am
The Storyville photos actually reminded me to ask you if you've read it. One of the villains is a ruthless pimp. But something about Louis Armstrong solving murders is kinda bleh.
Oh, is that the kind of book it is? Fascinating. . .

I have not (and your review doesn't exactly inspire a passion to), but I will be updating this thread with several posts in the near future, including more Storyville material.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:28 pm

New Orleans, Exported

Image

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus | MachineGames/Panic Button Games | 2017

Bought this on a whim when it was on sale last year. I never played the first
Wolfenstein reboot, which made this sequel's needlessly byzantine and absurd
plot even less comprehensible, but shooting steampunk Nazis in a
post-apocalyptic hellscape is always a good time, right? (The gameplay is
decent - fun, but not exactly inspiring, and I haven't felt the need to finish it.)

In this world, New Orleans is walled off and converted into a mass ghetto for
all of the "undesirables" in the US (logical, since so many of the "undesirables"
already live here). Functionally, the city is little more than a colorful backdrop
for some FPS action, its Creole architecture reduced to burning ruins. Your
goal is to locate one of the last resistance groups in the US, an anarchist/Marxist
cell embedded in the heart of the ghetto, which leads to a cutscene where one
resistance member snipes Nazi supersoldiers from their hideout while another
espouses his far Left philosophies and a third wails and screeches on jazz clarinet.

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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:08 pm

Image

Storyville, New Orleans: Being an Authentic, Illustrated Account of the Notorious Red-Light District | Al Rose | 1974 | 225 pages

While posting E. J. Bellocq's photographs of Storyville prostitutes in my Learning to See thread,
I read Al Rose's seminal (and fairly definitive) history of the notorious semi-legal New Orleans
red-light district. Arguably the best known vice district in the US, a rather romantic mythology
has developed around Storyville, painting it as a place of joyful decadence, the birthplace of
jazz, a place more winkingly naughty than seedy. It has been depicted on film several times,
most famously in New Orleans and Louis Malle's Pretty Baby (which I intend to rewatch
soon for this thread), and it has been immortalized (and often sanitized) in songs like
Basin Street Blues (performed here by Louis Armstrong, who grew up around the District when
it was active). This nostalgic vision of Storyville had already set in by the early 70s, when Al
Rose began working on this book, and it still persists in New Orleans today, where you'll hear
about it on tours or see Bellocq's photographs reprinted in advertisements for burlesque shows.

That makes this work that much more vital, because not only is it a comprehensive and carefully
researched history of Storyville, it also thoroughly analyzes and deconstructs the mythology that
was building up around it. For one, it totally discredits the notion that jazz was "born" in the
District. Notable jazz musicians played in Storyville, and Rose dedicates a chapter to them, talking
about bandleaders like Kid Ory and King Oliver (both of whom played with and mentored Louis
Armstrong and other jazz greats), and giving particular attention Jelly Roll Morton and Tony Jackson,
pianists who often played in the actual brothels (by far the most lucrative option for a musician).
But Rose makes it clear that jazz had already existed in some form for nearly a decade before the
zoning of Storyville - largely at bandstands, festivals, and second line parades. He also punctures
the rosily romantic haze that enshrouds the District, pointing out the harsh realities of human
trafficking, child grooming, exploitative pimps and madames, and hucksters peddling bogus VD cures.

However, he goes to great lengths to demonstrate that Storyville was perhaps the most efficient
solution New Orleans ever found in its perennial struggle to control vice. He points out the abundance
of hypocrisy around the District: Uptown landlords sneering at prostitution while owning real estate in
what rapidly became the most profitable part of town; publications like The Mascot, meant to
condemn vice but positively reveling in all the sordid details of it; the audacity of the Navy's federal
overreach that got the District shut down, an act which promptly redistributed vice throughout the
rest of the city. He demonstrates how the legal control of prostitution and related vice was far more
effective than simply outlawing it - a phenomenon repeated during Prohibition and the War on Drugs.
As Mayor Behrman said when Storyville closed: "You can make it illegal, but you can't make it unpopular."

In addition to these major throughlines and arguments, Rose manages to curate an incredible wealth
of details. This includes tons of illustrations - Bellocq photographs, maps of the District, reprints of
contemporary publications, excerpts from the Blue Books (local publications advertising the District's
attractions), other Storyville ephemera - and appendices packed with newspaper clippings and
legal arguments. He has profiles on major players in the District, like madames Josie Arlington and
Lulu White, and the brothel and saloon owner Tom Anderson, often referred to as the Mayor of
Storyville, who also served on the state legislature. The book is chock full of anecdotes about these
various characters that range from the amusing to the grotesque, but they are always illuminating.
But the book's most unique contribution is found in the interviews Al Rose conducted with former
inhabitants of Storyville, transcripts of seven interviews with prostitutes, madames, pimps, and
johns who shared their memories of Storyville. These interviews are an invaluable act of scholarship
that can't be replicated since anyone who frequented the District is now dead, but beyond that,
they are absolutely riveting: distinctive voices that tell in very frank and candid detail what they
experienced in Storyville, voices utterly free of judgment because they lived those very lives,
discussing child prostitution and profit margins in the same breath and with the same candor.

Lagniappe
Since this book is such a treasure trove of stories and anecdotes, I've decided to include a selection
of excerpts, interspersed with some related illustrations and links to more information.

Image
An illustration from a Blue Book. The caption means, "Shame on him who thinks evil of it."

On pianist and promotor Clarence Williams:
In the District, he was less well known as a pianist than as night club or cabaret manager
and as producer of some very special "nights." In charge variously of a saloon on Rampart
Street and, at times, of the Big 25 and Pete Lala's, he is still remembered as originator of
the "Ham Kick." This was a kind of athletic contest in which a ham was suspended from the
ceiling and any young lady present was privileged to try to kick it. If she succeeded in
doing so the ham was hers, so long as she had "qualified" by demonstrating, as she was
accomplishing the feat, that she was not wearing underdrawers.
Al Rose on one of the cabarets, while describing a "tour" of Storyville:
Leaving a nickel for the drink, he would step out of the Terminal and into Fewclothes'
Cabaret, operated by George Foucault. The name of the place was derived from its
patrons' inability to pronounce the manager's name correctly.
Image
Another Blue Book excerpt, advertising a Mardi Gras Ball in the District.

Madame "Josie Arlington's sensational coup at the Mardi Gras 'Ball of the Two Well Known Gentlemen'":
It seems that despite the clearly unsavory character of these demimonde social functions,
as judged by the "respectable" people of New Orleans, it soon became apparent to many
that they offered a good deal more excitement than the more conventional affairs produced
by the Krewes of Rex, Comus, Momus, et al. Invitations to the Ball of the Two Well Known
Gentlemen began to be hard to come by. It became fashionable for the nice young ladies
of the town's prominent families to plead with their menfolk to secure these billets so
that they might with their own eyes - masked, of course - see intimately into the lives of
these brazen creatures who so inflamed their imaginations, but whom they saw only rarely,
if at all, and then only with eyes demurely averted.
The "ladies of the evening" came understandably to resent these annual slumming parties.
Josie Arlington solved the problem by arranging for the police to raid the affair and to
arrest any women who did not carry a card registering her as a prostitute in good standing.
This stratagem caused great embarrassment to the large number of ladies of New Orleans
"high society" who were summarily carted off to the police station, unmasked, and sent
home. Thereafter the Ball of the Two Well Known Gentlemen took place annually without
unwelcome guests.
(I tell a rendition of this story on my tours. Women were not permitted to frequent the
District unless they had cards identifying them as prostitutes.)

An excerpt from one of the interviews. The subject is "A Crib Woman" (all of the interviews
are anonymous), which refers to women who turned the cheapest tricks, from rooms that
opened directly onto the streets. Rose made the (in retrospect, questionable) decision to
transcribe the black woman's dialect. I'm merely quoting from his transcript. But the story
demonstrates how such harrowing incidents are often told with such offhanded frankness:
"One time on d' Fo'th of July, a bunch o' white pricks grab me outten ma crib and ca'y me t'
d' cohnuh. Dey taken all ma clo'es an dey tie ma han's an' feet t' d' light pole. Den one of
'em stick a big salute [firecracker] up my cunt an' anothan one up ma ass an' he light both
a dem! Shit! I done some halla'in! A fuckin' police, he standin' right deah an' he laughin'.
Motherfuckin' son of a bitch! Shit! Dem t'ings din' go off. . . but dey sho scaiahed d' shit
outta me! Dey wuzn' loaded. It was jus' one a dem jokes, you know! Dey laughin' and
laughin'.
"Dey ca'y me back to d' crib. Shit! I tell you d' troof! I tell you d' troof! I was laughin' maself,
an' cryin', shit! I din' know whut d' fuck I was doin'. Den dey tells me to blow 'em all an' dey
says dey ain't gon' gimme a cent an' dey tells me lucky dey din' blow up ma cunt. So, you
know! I done what dey said, man! I din' caiah about no money. I jus' wanna see 'em get d'
fuck outto ma crib. So I shet up and sucked 'em all off. When I got done, one of d' mens
gimme twenny dolluh an' say Carrie is a good spo't. Den dey all sings dat song. 'Fo' She a
Jolly Good Fella,' you knows dat song. Me, I'm thinkin' 'Jolly Good Fella' - Shit! but I taken
dat twenny dolluh. Dat waz d'bigges' pay I evah got at one time - but shit! I don' wanna
make no mo' dat way!"
Image
Photographs from Storyville and the leaded window from the entrance of Lulu White's brothel,
which was salvaged by clarinetist Pete Fountain when Storyville was being torn down to build a
housing project. From an exhibition about Storyville put on by The Historic New Orleans Collection.


The pictures from this lagniappe are taken from this article at Hyperallergic, which includes
several high quality pictures of Storyville artifacts and more pictures from THNOC exhibition.

This page of THNOC's online catalog includes a full scan of an original Blue Book, which can be
browsed in high quality.

I will revisit Al Rose's book and share more excerpts when I get around to discussing Pretty Baby,
which this book both inspired and informed (though Rose was not a fan of the film's loose take on history).
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:37 pm

Hey, I hope you, your family, and anyone else in Louisiana are safe.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:34 pm

Yeah, you were the first one I thought of when I heard about the hurricane. Stay safe, Mac!
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:46 pm

New Orleans barely got scraped by this storm, fortunately, and it sounds like my folks in west Louisiana are doing okay in spite of the bad weather. Thanks for checking in!
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:00 pm

I watched Judas Kiss last night, which falls squarely into the late-90s post-Pulp Fiction wave.
Some crooks kidnap a billionaire software mogul (we have so many of those living in NO, don't we?) for the ransom, but then find themselves in over their heads when a politician's wife is killed in the process.
This one's from '98, back when Hollywood still thought that we all sounded like Southerners down here. I don't know WHAT Emma Thompson was shooting for with her accent, but it was thoroughly unpleasant. Carla Gugino and Alan Rickman fared only slightly better. Yikes.
Local inaccuracies aside, I can't really recommend this. Not nearly as witty as it wanted to be. There's quite a bit of exteriors shot around the city, so there's that. Of course Rickman's character finds himself walking through a cemetery at one point. Again, not a recommendation, but it's on Prime if you'd like to experience Thompson's and Rickman's accents firsthand. Caveat Emptor! :)
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:51 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:00 pm
I watched Judas Kiss last night, which falls squarely into the late-90s post-Pulp Fiction wave.
Some crooks kidnap a billionaire software mogul (we have so many of those living in NO, don't we?) for the ransom, but then find themselves in over their heads when a politician's wife is killed in the process.
This one's from '98, back when Hollywood still thought that we all sounded like Southerners down here. I don't know WHAT Emma Thompson was shooting for with her accent, but it was thoroughly unpleasant. Carla Gugino and Alan Rickman fared only slightly better. Yikes.
Local inaccuracies aside, I can't really recommend this. Not nearly as witty as it wanted to be. There's quite a bit of exteriors shot around the city, so there's that. Of course Rickman's character finds himself walking through a cemetery at one point. Again, not a recommendation, but it's on Prime if you'd like to experience Thompson's and Rickman's accents firsthand. Caveat Emptor! :)
It cracks me up, because I really don't have any particular accent, the way people can't believe I'm from New Orleans because I don't have some outrageous movie accent.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Sep 02, 2020 3:32 pm

Wooley wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:51 pm
It cracks me up, because I really don't have any particular accent, the way people can't believe I'm from New Orleans because I don't have some outrageous movie accent.
Yeah, the first time Emma Thompson spoke I was like "Oh dear, no! Is that what you're going with?" I was hoping for a reveal that her character was from Kentucky or something but no such luck.
I feel like it's gotten better over the past few years, maybe because so many films are made here now.

Here's a clip that'll give you the general idea--
https://youtu.be/sHa5_ISldJo
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:18 pm

Jesus Christ.

Why cast two British actors in those roles? It's like accent Inception.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:32 pm

Macrology wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:18 pm
Jesus Christ.

Why cast two British actors in those roles? It's like accent Inception.
It even occurred to me midway that had they allowed them to just use their natural voices, the idea that two Brits were both employed as NOPD detectives would've been more plausible than these accents were.

Anyhow, I think we've devoted enough time to Judas Kiss. Carry on. :)
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