Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Written by The Independent Staff
GRAIN OF TRUTH
Rice is life in Acadia Parish, and no one is more serious about it than the cooks who compete in the annual Chef de Riz (Rice Chef) competition in Crowley. A new documentary of the same name lifts the lid on this passionate pastime. The film follows ex-pat Brandi Martin, who grew up in Acadia Parish but now lives in Nashville, as she prepares four rice dishes and transports them from her Tennessee kitchen to Crowley for the 72nd Annual International Rice Festival’s Chef de Riz competition. Scores of contestants converge on the festival each year to compete for the coveted title. The effervescent Martin, bubbling over with cocky Cajun confidence, explains during preparations that she was “born Chef de Riz.” The dishes are judged in four categories — meat, seafood, salad or side, and dessert. Martin’s stuffed shrimp wins the seafood category, putting her in the running for Chef de Riz. The competition includes interviews with the judges during which contestants must not only explain their dish, but demonstrate a knowledge of the rice industry. It is, after all, about the rice. Martin, alas, doesn’t win Chef de Riz and, on a crisp fall afternoon that is also her 30th birthday, she takes it hard. “It’s never gonna be OK that I didn’t win,” she explains, “because I’m always going to be wondering, what’s wrong with me?” The latest production of ten18 Films, Chef de Riz was written and directed by Jeremy Campbell, an EMMY-nominated journalist and filmmaker and former reporter and weekend anchor at KLFY TV-10. The 24-minute documentary is streaming online at ten18films.com. A DVD can be purchased at the website for $15. — Walter Pierce
If you like your country music with more old school tumbleweed and Texas twang than fast-burning plastic of the modern age, then you should pick up Yvette Landry’s new solo CD Should Have Known. Like some Cajun queen bee from another era, the Bonsoir, Catin bassist picks up her acoustic guitar to belt out 16 original tunes that trace the arc of romance from holding hands to one night stands to making long term plans. Filled with bitter-sweet tales of love lost, found, and turned around, it’ll have you jerking the tears out of your eyeballs and crying in your beer. Co-produced by Joel Savoy and Landry, the CD plays like a woman’s honky tonk companion piece/travel guide through the back roads of the heart with upswings through the highs (“Blue Moon Girl”) and pensive meditations on the lows (“Where Memories are Gold”). — Dege Legg
A paean to the power of language and its transformational effect on the inner life, Wendi Romero’s Pilgrimage to Self: Leaving, Walking, Returning is a journey of spare, often deeply personal poems that pulse simultaneously with both a deft touch and metaphysical heft. As the title implies, Pilgrimage is a poetic triptych that explores leaving and returning to the familiar — people, places, emotions and, most important, the spiritual self. Romero learned to craft her stanzas at McNeese State University under the guiding hand of professor, poet, critic and photography historian John Wood, whose simple question, “Why aren’t you writing?” rekindled Romero’s poetic fire more than a quarter century after she left the university for a career in medicine. The chance encounter with her former mentor opened the creative spigot; Romero has poured out poetry and prose — hundreds of poems and short stories — since. Pilgrimage to Self ($9.99 e-book, $15.99 paperback, $24.99 hardback; available at www.xlibris.com) is the first collection of her work, a worthy effort from an inspired artist. Meet the poet, buy the book and hear a reading from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Erath Public Library. — WP
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
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It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seenh on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
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The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage
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Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Louisiana's Republican governor has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally using federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
Newly established honor recognizes outstanding local attorneys; Neuner and McGoffin win President's Award; and Blanchard named Outstanding Young Lawyer.
Daily paper constructing new digs near production plant on Rieger Road at Siegen Lane, near I-10.
Investigation finds Arnaud’s Furniture, Carroll Building Specialties and Crazy Charlie’s Shoes running misleading going-out-of-business sales.
Critics say workers and retirees are being held responsible for the Jindal administration's mismanagement of their program.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
"This is yet another example of the failed leadership and lack of focus that Hunter Beasley has exhibited. He’s shown zero regard for kids, teachers or even passing a budget for the school year that’s already started."