OUR MUSICAL MECCA
If you like American music, make a pilgrimage to its birthplace, Congo Square in New Orleans. Jazz can trace its roots there. So can blues, R ’n’ B and hip-hop. The 1-4-5 chord progression of country and rock ’n’ roll owes a debt, too. Even the twangy banjo is the progeny of African instruments strummed and plucked in this cultural hotbed across Rampart Street from the French Quarter where, on Sundays, slaves and free people of color gathered to shake off their troubles and celebrate the musical and dance rhythms, the pagan religions, languages and market economy of their African ancestry. This is where it began, and author Freddi Evans’ Congo Square — African Roots in New Orleans ($20, softcover, UL Press) is the go-to source on the history and import of these few sacred acres, tracing the square’s development from pre-colonial times through the antebellum era and into the 20th century. The customs of the Mardi Gras Indians have their genesis in Congo Square, as does the second line. And fortunately the city of New Orleans has long been acutely sensitive to its cultural underpinnings and preserved this cultural landmark. Evans is an alumna of Tougaloo College in Mississippi and studied in Ghana, and her knack for telling an engaging story is on par with her exquisite scholarship. — Walter Pierce
Religion is big in decor this year, and these iconic tiles are sure to be inspirational. Handmade by Jane Cooke of Shreveport, the wooden plaques topped with angelic icons come in several sizes ranging from matchbox to wall-mountable. The tiles are just a sampling of the religious art, jewelry and furnishings offered at the newly opened Eclectic Design and Interiors in the Oil Center. Locally owned by Tamara and Michael Miles, who previously operated Pavé in Jefferson Street Market, the shop carries affordably priced European antiques, accessories and works from local artists including Hope Hebert, Julie Breaux and Bonnie Camos. Eclectic also showcases the Feed Asher jewelry line featuring unique necklaces and bracelets accented with tiny religious medallions and crosses designed by the Miles’ daughter Misty Corbell. Opened on April 6, Eclectic is located at 1116 Coolidge Blvd. in the Oil Gardens Shopping Center occupying the former garden center Atelier. Coming soon is a green house that will be merchandised by Atelier’s Susan Voitier. — Lisa Hanchey
WE CAN HELP
JustAPinch.com, a recipe-sharing website, came to our attention via a press release touting the gastronomic contributions by Acadiana residents. That piqued our interest. The site contains thousands of recipes from contributors all over the country, free for the download and a whirl in the kitchen, including dozens of recipes bearing the beloved adjective “Cajun,” although few have a Louisiana provenance. Nonetheless, you can find recipes for making a roux (in the microwave) as well as red beans & rice that are true to our food culture. There’s even a chicken & sausage gumbo recipe complete with a made-in-the-pot roux that is dead on. But the ubiquitous ingredient in these Cajun dishes is simply — drum roll please — “Cajun seasoning.” Yes, kids, that is the essence of our fine cuisine: Just sprinkle some Tony’s or Slap Ya Mama on it and, voila!, you have yourself an authentic Cajun dish. Extra points if you eat said Cajun dish under the shade of a moss-festooned live oak tree while wearing overalls. And after every delicious bite, yell, “Aiyeeee!” That’s where we come in. There are several discussion boards about Cajun cooking at JustAPinch.com. Log on, jump in and dispel some misconceptions. — WP
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Saints Street cottage or River Ranch condo
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Facing opposition from a powerful industry, the governor and many in the Legislature, a New Orleans-area flood board's lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies seemed doomed early on.
"I want to take an opportunity to thank the people of Lafayette for allowing me to serve you for the last three years as your school superintendent."
After Thanksgiving, the small town of Moreauville plans to confiscate and kill all rottweilers and pitbulls, including a service dog.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.