Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys play Downtown Alive! tonight at Parc International for a special “Welcome Homes Marines” celebration for those coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Riley will be joined by special guest Geno Delafose. Riley grew up in the prairie town of Mamou where French is spoken on the street, the national holiday is Mardi Gras, and a poor family is one without a fiddler or accordion player. American popular culture was stealing Mamou’s children away when Riley took up the accordion and became his hometown’s favorite son. He plays a single-row diatonic instrument made by his cousin, famed accordionist Marc Savoy. Riley concentrated on learning Savoy’s fiery, intricate style and the music of the Balfa Brothers. At age 15, this young prodigy was noticed by Dewey Balfa, who invited him to join his band. Under Balfa’s guidance, he grew as a performer, learning hundreds of French songs and how to sing them in Balfa’s singular hurts-so-good style, and taking up the fiddle as well. In 1988, he and David Greely formed the Mamou Playboys, which rapidly gained prominence on the international folk scene without sacrificing the allegiance of Louisiana fans. In a land where accordion is king, Riley has inspired countless young men and women to follow him and keep Cajun music’s royal instrument alive. Be there tonight to witness the magic.
Downtown Alive! begins at 5:30 p.m. with food and beverage concessions. Musical performances start at 6 p.m. DTA is a free event sponsored by Cox, Lafayette Coca-Cola, and The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living.
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“Shell’s abrupt decision to cancel its North American GTL project just 10 weeks after concluding a multi-year site-selection process is obviously very disappointing news,” LED Secretary Stephen Moret tells Daily Report.
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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