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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

LOUIS PRIMA -- THE KING OF SWING -- METARIE CEMETERY


A NEW ORLEANS ORIGINAL

Louis Prima (December 7, 1910 – August 24, 1978) was an singer, actor, songwriter, bandleader, and trumpeter.

While rooted in New Orleans Jazz, Swing and jump blues, Prima touched on various genres throughout his career: he formed a seven-piece New Orleans-style jazz band the late 1920s, fronted a swing combo in the 1930s and a big band in the 1940s, helped to popularize jump blues in the late 1940s and early to mid 1950s and performed as a Vegas lounge act in the late 1950s and 1960s.


From the 1940s through the 1960s, his music further encompassed early R&B and rock ‘n’ roll, boogie-woogie and even Italian folk music such as the tarantella. 

Prima made prominent use of Italian music and language in his songs, blending elements of his Italian identity with jazz and swing music.

At a time when "ethnic" musicians were often discouraged from openly stressing their ethnicity, Prima's conspicuous embrace of his Italian ethnicity opened the doors for other Italian-American and "ethnic" American musicians to display their ethnic roots. -- Wiki


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NOT MUCH FOR STREET PERFORMERS OR THE FRENCH QUARTER, BUT..

WHEN LEAVING BREAKFAST AT BRENNAN'S, SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO MAKE AN EXCEPTION FOR A GUY DANCING IN A DARTH VADER MEETS NEW ORLEANS SAINTS OUTFIT, SWAYING IN TRIBUTE TO GEORGE MICHAEL TO A BEAT BOX BLARING SOLO AND WHAM SONGS NOT 24 HOURS AFTER THE SINGER'S DEATH

This gent is NOT to be confused with the official Darth Saint, NOLA restaurant owner Maximilian Ortiz, operator of Warehouse District restaurant Root a a huge fan of NOLA's NFL franchise. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

THE DEW DROP INN


NAMED THE BY THE LOUISIANA LANDMARK SOCIETY AS ONE OF
NEW ORLEANS' MOST IMPORTANT ENDANGERED BUILDINGS


The Dew Drop Inn, at 2836 LaSalle Street, in New OrleansLouisianaUnited States, is a former hotel and nightclub that operated between 1939 and 1970, and is noted as "the most important and influential club" in the development of rhythm and blues music in the city in the post-war period. 

The venue primarily served the African-American population in the then heavily-segregated Southern United States.

Frank G. Painia (1907–1972) established a barbershop on LaSalle Street in the late 1930s. \
He began selling refreshments to workers at the nearby Magnolia Housing Project, and then expanded his premises to include a bar and hotel, which opened as the Dew Drop Inn in April 1939.
 During World War II, Painia also started booking bands for concerts in the city, and frequently had the musicians staying at his hotel. 
He started putting on entertainment in the hotel lounge, before developing it further into a dancehall, which opened in 1945.
Nicknamed "the Groove Room", the Dew Drop Inn was reported in October 1945 by the Louisiana Weekly to be "New Orleans' swankiest nightclub", and began featuring visiting musicians such as Joe Turner, the Sweethearts of RhythmAmos MilburnLollypop JonesClarence "Gatemouth" BrownIvory Joe HunterChubby NewsomThe RavensBig Maybelle, and Cecil Gant
The resident bandleaders were local musicians Dave Bartholomew and Edgar Blanchard, and Painia discovered and helped establish local stars including Larry DarnellTommy RidgleyEarl KingHuey "Piano" Smith, and Allen Toussaint.
The club continued to attract star performers in the 1950s and 1960s, including Ray CharlesJames BrownSam CookeIke & Tina TurnerOtis ReddingSolomon Burke, and Little Richard, who wrote a song, "Dew Drop Inn", about the venue. 

The club's popularity declined from the mid-1960s, after the repeal of segregation laws allowed other clubs to open, and Painia suffered from ill health. 
Though the hotel continued to function, the floor shows became irregular and eventually ceased
Frank Painia died from cancer in July 1972, and the restaurant and bar were leased to new occupants. 
The building fell into increasing disrepair, but remained in the ownership of the Painia family.
 It was flooded and further damaged as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005

Saturday, January 14, 2017

SAVE LITTLE HAVANA BEFORE TRAFFIC ENGINEERS DESTROY THE CALLE OCHO CORRIDOR


The FDOT study for the redesign of Miami’s Calle Ocho
corridor is reaching crisis proportions

Every time FDOT has a new meeting on the world-famous and historic Calle Ocho corridor, it introduces plans that run more counter to complete streets.

Iffy stats contribute to the feeling that the community is being ignored.

Dozens if not hundreds of American cities large and small have torn down highways, shrunk lanes, widened sidewalks, built Transit Oriented Development and introduced a host of design guidelines aimed at mobility equality for human beings -- on foot, on bike, in wheelchairs, on public transit.

Every measure of the future suggests mobility via individual car ownership will decline.

Yet FDOT seems hellbent on ignoring its own complete streets guidelines and turning existing "Highway Ocho" from bad to worse.

It couldn't come at a worse time.

Visionary developers, realtors and activists are doing everything they can to re-invigorate Little Havana with adaptive re-use, human-scaled infill and curated, mom and pop tenants.

An overwhelming majority of renters and home owners north and south of Calle Ocho want a safe street to cross and development oriented to humans, not cars.

Yet every indication, from very questionable analysis numbers to drawings, shows that FDOT is intent on making the beloved Calle8 corridor nothing more than a streamlined highway into and out of Brickell/downtown Miami.

Lots of urban advocates read this blog.

Please, get involved in advocating for complete streets and human scale.

If you are local, come to a meeting and call an elected official.

If you are national, share this with the lists you belong this, make this part of the agenda of your organization.


If you do not, you will forever be lamenting the passing of Calle Ocho and Little Havana -- just like we mourn the passing of the Original Penn Station decades later.

--I am posting this an individual, not as an affiliate of any for profit or non profit entity. My wife and I -- nearly 20 years ago -- bought and rehabbed an about to be razed 1920 house just blocks for Calle8. We love the corridor and want to preserve it.

Friday, January 13, 2017

ART HOUSE NEW ORLEANS -- part 3

Stay like a local in the authentic Holly Grove NOLA neighborhood



Ideas for making Art House more wheelchair-accessible

For a pair of homeowners who simply want to make their Air BnB property accommodating to all, including folks with disabilities, Patricia and Ron get a grade of A.

Their work to introduce universal design/ADA access is better than some chain hotel properties -- that hire consultants, architects and contractors to be wheelchair accessible -- and that's really saying something.

To educate our gracious hosts, and all readers about some relatively inexpensive modifications, we share what it would take to make Art House 100% wheelchair-accessible:
*Replace toilet with higher, ADA compliant commode

*Make bathroom door open outward -- hinges switch would keep door from blocking wheelchair maneuverability.

*Pull up carpet and get carpenter to put in beveled edges so that both bedrooms have level access, not the inch or 2 inch rise.

*Put window AC units in both bedrooms -- or central air -- I cannot imagine 90 degree weather with 90 pct humidity and that little wall unit in the kitchen cooling off sweltering summer NOLA. Folks with MS and other disabilities cannot chance staying at a place without climate controls powerful enough to cool their sleeping quarters.

*Put small, lightweight nightstand or table next to queen bed. We know the space is narrow, but folks want to reach a bottle of water, pills, ear plugs, etc. at night. The amenity, which would serve all, will provide easy access for folks with limited mobility.

*Install a couple electrical wall outlets at 30 to 36 inches above the floor -- wheelchair users cannot reach outlets lower than that.

*Lower light switches to 36 inches above the floor -- wheelchair users cannot reach switches at regular, 4 to 5 feet above ground height. Another option would be to wire outlets for remote controls.

*Put a channel drain in the bathroom, next to the tub/shower. The transfer bench is an amazing and much-appreciated mobility devise. But it bows out the shower curtain and the floor gets wet. To avoid flooding or use of all your reserve bath towels, put in a floor drain.

*Keep being the wonderful, communicative, willing to meet everyone halfway hosts that you are. Fewer than 1% of the Air BnB listings in NOLA are truly capable of accommodating a wheelchair user. You are very good and with some modifications over time, could be super great.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

ART HOUSE NEW ORLEANS -- part 2

Stay like a local in an authentic NOLA neighborhood



The hosting, cleanliness, price point, sharing photos to confirm aspects of the property, local art, and dozens of pluses make staying with Patricia and Ron a 9 out of 10 stars experience.

Sometimes, we get so positive in our reviews, people think we are a relative, friend or the owner themselves -- goosing up the reviews to bring in revenue. 

To prove we are not shills, here are a few minor minuses about Art House New Orleans:


*Apartment does not have central A/C. (Our stay was in December, so we didn't need to use the one small A/C wall unit in the kitchen.)

*Apartment has an wall-mounted gas heater that throws lots of heat in the living room and kitchen, but not much reaches the bedrooms. (A couple mobile ceramic space heaters would be a much better choice.)

*Sounds of footfalls from the owners' upstairs were rather noticeable, but they were very quiet at night.

*The Holly Grove neighborhood is rather edgy and neighbors were rather loud at times. (but did quiet down by 11 p.m. at the latest, often even earlier. A portable white noise machine for sleeping is advised.)

Again, we do not mean to be negative at all, on the overall evaluation.

The owner invested more than $100 in a portable bath bench to make for safe, comfortable use of the tub/shower by a wheelchair user.

At our request, our hosts bought us nearly $40 worth of Trader Joes groceries, etc. 

We reimbursed them, but having the fridge stocked with high quality, low cost items for breakfast and beyond meant we had more time for enjoying the city.

The second we closed the door, we were in an oasis. 

Probably half or more of the furnishings, appliances, etc. in Art House are nicer than what we have in our lovely 100-year-old home.


Bottom line, two thumbs up for Art House New Orleans.