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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APR 15 Blogger CB Forgotston is writing in this post about the newest hire by Gov. Bobby Jindal, a press secretary whose only means of contact is (apparently) Twitter. (Yeah, because that worked so good for Kyle.) CB has done a little digging on the lady, but wants more info -- and he's not getting it from the source, because she won't return his twits. Twerps. Uh, tweets.
APR 15 Blogger Elliott Stonecipher has his say on the McAllister mess in this post on Forward Now. Looks like the architects of the plan to oust McAllister are getting a little blow-back, Stonecipher opines, and it reminds him of an old cliche about revenge.
APR 15 Not one to walk past a golden opportunity, Democrat John Bel Edwards says his piece in this Picayune post on the GOP's issue du jour. The hypocrisy of the GOP calling on McAllister to resign and staying silent on Vitter is so massive there's not even a word for it, Edwards says, and so he came up with his own: hypo-hypocrisy.
APR 15 Here's Grist's take on the so-called kalegate issue over in NOLA. If you've forgotten, it all started when a Dutch actress said that New Orleans is not cosmopolitan because you can't get kale there (Sister, you can get kale at the Wal-Mart in Lafayette. Where you shopping?) This post, by Heather Hansman, also gets into the larger (class/elitism) issues brought to light by this discussion.
APR 15 Here's the latest poll done on the Congressional race over in Baton Rouge that is distinguished by the presence of one of Louisiana's most famous felons, reported by LaPolitics. This poll (done by a GOP candidate in the race) says that a majority of those contacted don't want Edwards to be a Congressman. That's a reverse of another poll done a few weeks ago, but hey, poll results like Louisiana weather -- give 'em a few minutes, they'll change.
APR 15 It's always entertaining to read what white American men have to say about diversity, and this post by blogger Rod Dreher is no different. He's addressing a column by a Harvard student about the lack of meaningful diversity at that university. As expected, Dreher disagrees, and gives us a lecture on how progressives are lying to themselves (and everybody else).
APR 15 Here's the New York Times story on the McAllister (ahem) affair. Giving us the story briefly, it then focuses on the words of regular West Monroeans who were interviewed by the venerable publication. The bottom line? The hypocrisy of the GOP's contempt for McAllister and silence on Vitter is not lost on these people, and it didn't take the writer long to pick up on the racial differences of that (virtually segregated) community.
APR 15 A year after Gov. Jindal sold (wups - privatized) our public hospital system, some of these deals still don't have federal Medicaid-Medicare approval, and nobody has any answer as to what will happen if that approval never comes, AP's Melinda Deslatte writes in this post.
APR 14 Blogger Bob Mann writes about Louisiana's relationship with Big Oil in this post. For years, our government has functioned as "a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Oil," Mann writes, and likens the relationship to "traumatic bonding." That's the tie that develops between the victim and the perpetrator in an abusive relationship. It's an interesting read.
APR 14 Steve Singiser writes in this post on the Daily Kos Elections blog that "outsider" status probably got Vance McAllister elected last fall, but it's going against him now. The same GOP that stayed silent when Sen. David Vitter's name (and possibly other personal information) was found in the little black book of a prostitute is now calling on McAllister to resign for kissing a staffer. (OK, for getting caught kissing a staffer) It's all politics, Singiser writes: they can look morally superior and get rid of a problem at the same time, he says.
APR 14 Here's an interesting post in The Lens about t-shirt shops in the French Quarter. If you haven't heard, apparently there have been police raids on purveyors of horrifying things like t-shirts. One wonders how the police have time for this type of thing when a few miles away young people are dying in the streets -- but we digress. As CW Cannon writes, this debate "reeks of class bias." No kidding.
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