Lafayette’s gene pool has been host to a long line of eccentric characters who have blurred the lines between crazy, genius, disturbed and curiously entertaining. Make no mistake, Hart Fortenbery occupies a position of good standing somewhere near the top of that curious heap. From his forays into music, film and video, Fortenbery’s antics — spouting malapropisms, absurd facts and a confounding array of non sequiturs — have impressed, perplexed and amused many a local citizen. Posthaste sits down with him to explore the man known as Hart of Fortenbery.
Hart Fortenbery in five words more or less. Dynamic individual tearing down the runway. What have you been up to? I am always jumping around acting crazy, saying what I am doing. Now that certain things have come to pass, nondisclosure agreements preclude me from saying anything. But for now, come take my riverboat tour at Tokyo Live.
Where does the name Fortenbery come from? A minor place in Bavaria, Furtenbach. German power brokers of old. For some reason, that makes perfect sense. As far as local lore goes, there is a profound legacy of debauchery and depraved excess surrounding your house on Demanade Boulevard? Tell me a crazy story from the past? We kidnapped Freddy Fender after a concert at Alex Broussard’s ranch before the live radio remote interview and autograph signing session. Huey Meaux was not pleased. We get back to the motel room and a hundred dollar bill and Freddy’s plane ticket back to Houston were shoved under the door. All other stories are unfit for print. Does your neighbor Ben Berthelot (executive director of LCVC) ever get fed up with you and start slinging rakes, used tires and bricks over the fence? Only when a departing guest knocks over and demolishes his brick mailbox.
Worst job ever? Painting eight miles of split rail fence while on my last work release job. What exactly is Hart Fortenbery’s “job?” Waking up at work; making records; making movies.
Biggest hassle in maintaining a full blown ZZ Top-length beard? Tobacco adherence when licking the rolling papers while rolling my own, and all the girlies and their moms who can’t keep their fingers out of it.
At the Monterey Pop Festival, guitarist Mike Bloomfield once famously advocated everyone to “dig yourselves ... because it’s really groovy.” In the event of losing one’s grooviness or coolness — by age, cultural shift, whatever — what method should one use to regain it? Hopefully hang on long enough to “come back” into fashion. If you were to change careers, what line of work would you be interested in pursuing? Being the guy in all the Corona commercials. In the event of a deep spiritual crisis, where does the being known as Hart Fortenbery turn? The Grateful Dead. It’s a Saturday night in Lafayette. How do you get into the Fortenbery persona? What’s the pre-game ritual? Two laps around the pool, step in the boots, step out.
Danzig buys an accordion and synthesizer, and decides to start a Cajun band, (perhaps called Ween Toups). What do you tell him? Get a job.
Name one thing nobody knows about Hart Fortenbery. I am the Song Fairy.
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DEC 6 Here we are, at the top of another bad list: this time, Louisiana has the (dubious) honor of beating out all other states when it comes to gutting higher ed funding, this Picayune story reports. The American Association of Colleges and Universities says our cuts (nearly 18 percent this year alone) are the highest in the nation. Three-fourths of the states increased funding last year, with the top spender increasing funding by 28 percent. This is a great legacy for our governor, right?
DEC 6 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at the creepy effort over in Baton Rouge, wherein the southern, lily-white area of the city wants to secede from the union, er, create its own "city" and take all the really fat sales tax cows with it. Turns out the group campaigning for the move is a for-profit corporation, and Lamar says that means its effort won't pass legal muster.
DEC 6 Blogger Tom Aswell tells us about some fishiness he found in the state worker's comp office. There's some confusion about when one guy started working there, and there's also some involvement by a GOP lege from Hammond. It's all just another example of the Jindal administration's actions that "defy explanation," Aswell says.
DEC 6 Edwin Edwards may think it's possible he will be governor again, but columnist James Gill isn't so sure. Edwards would have to get a presidential pardon to run for governor -- unless he wants to wait until he's 99, Gill says. But even Edwards' many supporters should probably hope he doesn't get that, because there's no real chance he can win, Gill says.
DEC 6 Here's an interesting post on DIG Magazine for football history buffs. It's about the Pelican Bowl, the Bayou Classic and the history of black college football. It's a trip down memory lane and the story of a "mythical black college national crown." What killed it? Trying to compete with the Bayou Classic.
DEC 6 Nelson Mandela became famous while sitting in prison, where he was a symbol of apartheid. But his enduring legacy was his ability to forgive, to reach out a hand of peace to heal his country of division and oppression, and the Picayune talks about this aspect of his personality. The story also reminds us of the more light-hearted moments Louisiana shared with the former President of South Africa.
DEC 6 We've all been passed by a nut on the highway and assumed the driver was on drugs. Maybe that's not hyperbole: here's a story from the Picayune about a guy riding around with a meth lab in his back seat. One wonders if his insurance policy included coverage for random explosions.
DEC 6 Here's a new blog in the NOLA Defender; it's called Shift Change, and it's all about cocktails. This installment by Rhiannon Enlil focuses on the sazerac, the enigmatic cocktail made with absinthe. But Enlil also introduces herself, a long-time NOLA bartender who has "a lot of booze" in her house.
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