We’re a century too late to have our family portraits painted by John Singer Sargent, but Lafayette artist Mary Morvant is giving the grand master a run for his money. She has the rare ability of catching not only likeness but inner light, the soul made visible. Her portraits pay homage to American Impressionism with its gorgeous atmospherics illuminating a figure in harmony with nature and at peace with herself. Morvant studied art and architecture at Louisiana Tech University before continuing her training a the Atlanta School of Art. She now resides in Lafayette. Portrait prices range from a head-and- shoulders rendition for $7,500 to full length paintings at $14,000. For more information call 278-8963. — Mary Tutwiler
The History Channel series Modern Marvels typically focuses on grand architectural and design achievements. That’s not the case with its most recently released DVD box set, Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters. Unfortunately, south Louisiana features prominently, with segments on the 1980 maelstrom at Lake Peigneur on Jefferson Island and the 1996 Bright Field incident in New Orleans running alongside features on the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the collapse of the 7 World Trade Center building. Another 45-minute episode is devoted entirely to New Orleans’ infrastructure failures in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The episodes include animation, interviews with eye witnesses and scientists, as well as archival footage of the disasters themselves. The five-disc, 18-episode box set sells for $49.95 and is available through the history channel’s Web site at www.history.com/minisites/modernmarvels. — Nathan Stubbs
BENOIT’S BAYOU TRAIN
Louisiana musicians have contributed to numerous hurricane-related benefits and recorded Rita and Katrina-related songs, but Houma bluesman Tab Benoit was sounding the call before the 2005 storms. Benoit’s the president of Voices of the Wetlands, the nonprofit 501(c)3 and all-star music collective dedicated to drawing attention to coastal land loss. (Benoit was also one of the main subjects of Hurricane on the Bayou, the IMAX documentary that wrapped primary filming pre-Katrina.) Benoit’s new live album, Night Train to Nashville, finds the guitarslinger backed by Louisiana’s LeRoux and joined by special guests Waylon Thibodeaux on fiddler and washboard and Kim Wilson and Johnny Sansone on harp and vocals. From the stripped-down “Fever on the Bayou” to the greasy syncopation of “Moon Comin’ Over the Hill” and the stone blues of the closer “Stackolina,” Benoit keeps the spotlight on south Louisiana with some superb homegrown grooves. Night Train to Nashville retails for $17.98 and is available locally at Barnes & Noble, Best Buy and Circuit City. — Scott Jordan
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SEP 17 This post on Time could make Bobby Jindal smile and cry all at the same time. It gives him credit for "subtly shaping" GOP agenda. However, it also says his fast-talking style and "wonk status" (does that mean nerd?) make him "an unlikely fit to be a major party presidential nominee."
SEP 17 The controversy continues at Louisiana College, as some seem loathe to release their grip on the status quo. After the school's accrediting agency suspended the school's ranking and criticized its pattern of dishonesty, four board members had wanted a change in the chairman's position. When that didn't happen, they resigned in protest, the Alexandria Town Talk reports here.
SEP 17 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at Louisiana's Tea Party, and the decision to classify it as an LLC instead of a political party. He also throws in some illuminating facts about the so-called IRS "witch hunt" against Tea Party groups -- which, it turns out, was nothing of the kind.
SEP 17 This post on CNN features Bobby Jindal being supremely indifferent to poll numbers that have him (as blogger Tom Aswell has so poetically stated) coming in 12th in a 10-man race. Bobby's decision won't be based on poll numbers, he says; he's thinking and praying. Hey B - maybe God's trying to tell you something?
SEP 17 A state district judge ruled the so-called Edmonson Amendment unconstitutional in Baton Rouge Tuesday, and declared it null and void, the Picayune tells us in this post. Edmonson himself is saying (now) he always felt it wasn't right, and is so glad this happened. Uh... what?
SEP 17 Blogger Tom Aswell gives us his take on the demise of the Edmonson Amendment, and reveals the use of a "hurt feelings report" by a state police official. The report, which resulted in the firing of a football coach in another state, is pretty bad.
SEP 17 If the "when white people fight" video was the war side, blogger Mighty Favog has found the love side. Here's a video of two (let us hope they aren't sober) inebriated white people who got so carried away in their demonstration of, er, affection that they fell. In Tiger Stadium. During the game. The best part is the reaction (or lack thereof) among their fellow fans. (Hey, there's a game going on!)
SEP 17 When someone tells you that New Orleans is lousy with singles, the first thing that comes to mind might be a fist full of stripper bait. But, as this story on NOLA Defender tells us, NOLA leads the nation in single people. That's a good thing, NoDef says, because they are full of fresh ideas. (Yeah - and kale.)
SEP 16 Here's something for LSU to be proud of. It's a video of some (presumed) 'frat boys' manhandling another young man who is not wearing a polo shirt and khakis on the parade grounds prior to Saturday's LSU football game. The best part of this brief video is the look on the face of the guy who shot it, who also is (presumably) responsible for the title of the tape.
SEP 16 Finally, something useful from a daily newspaper. Here's a story in the Picayune about the Jambalaya Calculator, a free-to-download spreadsheet that helps hungry Cajuns calculate ingredients for the dish.
SEP 16 Here's a post from the Facebook page of the Al Berard Music Festival, announcing the date of the new event to honor the musician's memory and to raise money for the Al Berard Memorial Music Fund at Community Foundation of Acadiana. They're seeking volunteers, if you want to help.
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