“The Big Fix” Premieres Friday Hosted by The New Orleans Film Festival

The Big Fix premieres this Friday as part of the New Orleans Film Festival. This documentary film details the massive government cover-up which has taken place in the wake of the BP oil spill.  There will be a press conference at 2 pm at the Contemporary Arts Center before the film is shown. The entire schedule for the festival can be found on their website.

Oysters in June

Despite the fact that it’s held in June – which, according to local standards, is a month with no “R” in it and therefore not good for oysters – New Orleans Oyster Festival rocks! I enjoyed attending because it doesn’t have the crowds that popular New Orleans festivals attract.

This particular festival was born out of tragedy in 2010. The BP Oil spill alienated Louisiana’s seafood industry – and still does – due to (in my opinion) consumer ignorance.

Using the same strength that helped this area come back from Katrina, the Louisiana Seafood Board and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries along with a slew of local supporters decided in June of 2010 to show that the Oyster industry was down but not out.

As the following photographs will show, there were plenty of oysters to be enjoyed, prepared in a variety of recipes. My only regret is that the local chefs haven’t come up with a good, cold oyster dish aside from shucked oysters.

We arrived at 11 A.M. knowing that the heat was going to continue to rise. The organizers of this festival did very well in providing a number of shady spots for diners and festival goers to get away from the heartless sun. Every table in the tents had linen table cloths and free fans to keep the festival goers cool.

Our first stop was one that got my attention: Redfish Grill’s Oyster Shooter with Grey Goose. Yum!!!

Here I am trying to take a picture of my oyster shooter. It was delightful, by the way.

Here is my tiny-chef daughter celebrating her oyster shooter.

Our next stop was the most visible sites of the fest: Drago’s with their charbroiled oysters.

They were delectable

Hungry for yet more oysters, we headed over to Luke for the Oyster Poboy with smoked tomato relish.

It did not disappoint us. In fact, there was a slice of bacon in the sandwich which we knew came from hogs raised on the northshore….yum, fresh pork!

I was impressed with the professionalism of the Luke staff.

By this time the Treme Brass Band had taken the stage and got the crowd into their fantastic New Orleans music.

By now it was noon and my daughter and I decided to take shelter under the cooking demo tent to cool off.

Hubby opted to roam the area in search of interesting pictures. Here are his results:

The blue guy really isn’t as wacko as he seems in this picture. 🙂

In this picture you can see me motioning that my beer is empty.

By now we were ready for more oyster dishes, so we headed for the Court of Two Sisters Booth for both Oyster Pie and Crawfish Louise.

I asked if they would divulge the recipe for the Crawfish Louise and they promised that they would when I visited the restaurant. Tiny Chef and I figured it out while eating it.

Our next choice of food was our mistake of the day.

The oysters had the consistency of liver, they were tasteless and the spinach/artichoke “bruschetta” was plain. Don’t waste your money.

The oyster shucking contest was next and was fun to watch, chiefly because Joe Cahn was the MC.

Shuckers lining up to shuck

This guys was my favorite, but he didn’t make it.

The Shucker Winner was from Desire. A humble man who shucked 20 oysters in 2 minutes.

Joe Cahn enjoyed his role as oyster taster.

What follows next is a series of pictures of people I found “interesting”.

A chef from Antoine’s

This picture is blurry, but I needed to show it to show men what NOT TO WEAR in public.

Later we ran into a friend that gave us access to the Acme Oyster House VIP area to watch the Bucktown Allstars. We found this group of derelicts interesting:

Eventually the NOPD ran them off

Our day didn’t go without catching a few local “celebrities”>

Chef Andrea Apuzzo and Joe Cahn

Monica Pierre, local radio host and award winning woman.

By this time it was 3 pm and we were as fried as the oysters, so we decided to head home. All three of us are sunburned in one way or another, but it was fun. We’re looking forward to next week’s Vieux To Do featuring three festivals in one.

In The Name of Oil

This video is a production – a very good production – of Pablo Neruda’s poem Standard Oil Co. If the oilspill catastrophe of the Deepwater Horizon last April (6 months ago today) affected you in any way, I think you’ll find this quite provocative. Even if you don’t like poetry.

Trust me.

Oil, Health, Environment & Bloggers

“In the past five months, Gulf Coast residents have been treated to a number of decisions with direct impact on their lives. They weren’t asked to give input at the time these decisions were made. They weren’t asked how they thought it might affect their future. The decisions occurred above their heads and most times, without their knowledge, but they are the ones now paying the price. This post is the first of three parts having to do with these decisions. Part one will address British Petroleum’s use of the dispersant, Corexit while two and three will be concerned with Bobby Jindal’s sand berms and the federal government’s response, including the amount of control ceded to British Petroleum. All three will address the issue of the courage necessary to change course in the Gulf, the importance of doing so and who will be affected. All three decisions to be looked at had to do with money and politics, and changing course now will affect the back accounts and political standing of the people in charge, but change must happen.”

So begins a fascinating series of posts by Disenfranchised Citizen – a series I highly recommend to everyone living on the Gulf Coast and everyone concerned about the effect of the BP oilspill on our environment and the health of those living along the coast. The first post, Changing Course in the Gulf: Bad Lessons in Money and Politics Pt. 1 – BP and Corexit, discusses the perils of the use of the oil dispersant Corexit and the relationship between BP and Nalco Group, it’s producers.

Dauphin Island, Al - Corexit containers

The second installment, Changing Course in the Gulf: Bad Lessons in Money and Politics Pt. 2 – Bobby Jindal, Sand Berms and the Shaw Group, outlines the folly of Gov Jindal’s sand berm project, his dismissal of any scientific evidence contrary to the project and questions the real motivations behind constructing the berms.
I am eagerly awaiting the final post and I urge you all to go now and read this very intriguing series.

American Zombie also has a good piece up today, Buried in the Outdoor Section, questioning why there isn’t more wide-spread reporting of an alleged thick layer of oil on the sea floor found by a group of scientists on a research vessel in the Gulf.

And, finally and heartbreakingly, we get the news of a huge fish kill reported in Plaquemines Parish “found in an area that has been impacted by the oil from the BP oil spill, the parish said.” (Via Library Chronicles)

Fish Kill in Plaquemines Parish

News of the oil catastrophe seems to be fading ever more quickly as the days pass but the effects on our environment and the health of our fellow citizens is only in the infancy stage, I fear. We cannot allow this atrocity to fade from our consiousness and, with bloggers like these three men , hopefully it won’t .

Women of the Gulf

Recently I was asked on Twitter by @womenadvocates of  Womens News Network, “How are things for women going in New Orleans w #gulfoil crisis?”

Big question.

I know people who follow this blog have read Amanda’s poignant and personal accounts of how the oilspill has affected her and her family. You’ve read coldspaghetti’s opinion (and she’s not alone) questioning  the true intentions of those who profess they’re here to help. You’ve seen maringouin’s photos of the BP Protest in Jackson Square.

Mother Jones has published a bleak and alarming piece about the effects on the wives of fisherman as they stare into the face of the demolition of their way of life, facing increased domestic abuse, depression and the possibility of losing their homes and everything they own.

But let me shut up and direct you to this video of Kindra Arnesen, the wife of a fisherman.  Her words, as someone on the front lines in south Plaquemines Parish, leave no question as to how women and their families are doing.

Sick ‘n Tired of the Victim Role

News tonight is that no oil is leaking after placement of the new cap and  blow out preventer on Deepwater Horizon. Now it’s time to wait and watch and hope the pressure in the well remains stable and no more  leaks develope. I, for one, am praying hard that this will work and that, once the relief wells are engaged, we will see the end of this prolonged disaster in our gulf. Yes, we’ll still have a long road to clean up BP’s mess but give us the tools and we can do it. Louisianans are no strangers to hard work and we’ll do what has to be done. Our home is just that precious to us.

I’ll tell you straight up that I am damn sick and tired of being a victim of the incompetence and negligence of others. I lived through the breach of the federally built levees in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina – thanks Army Corps of Engineers – and now (almost) through the pollution of our waters and near-eradication of a way-of-life due to the Deepwater Horizon explosion – thanks BP.

The people of Southeast Louisiana are a tough and resilient tribe but, dammit, we’ve had more than our share in the last five years.


It’s Day 86 and I’m Not Okay.

I don’t deal with death well. At thirty-four years old, I have seen death take my parents, a child and many very good friends from me.  When dealing with death, I grieve out loud. I weep. I cry. I question. I scream and then I weep once more.

Living in Southeastern Louisiana lately, death surrounds us, creeping into all aspects of our lives. Work is no longer work; it is working while we can. Cooking no longer means going to the grocery store and getting what is cheapest, but stocking up on local seafood before our seafood ceases to exist. It is saying good-bye to the memories we would make on the beaches, because the beaches are closed off. Watching the television means watching local news or Anderson Cooper 360 since those seem to be the only outlets really reporting what is happening here. It means becoming the ‘them’ again,  the ‘them’ that is stupid enough to live there, stupid enough to have a state that depends on oil to run, the ‘them’ that is getting what they deserve. We are the ‘them’ who are hurting but the ‘them’ not being listened to. We are the ‘them’ being held hostage by a foreign corporation, the Federal government and the Coast Guard.

Armed security guards in pastel t-shirts and camo pants guard the beaches, not allowing passage, particularly if you have a camera or pen and paper. In your community, you become the outsider, the enemy, the background music that no one really listens to but is just sort of there. Except we aren’t there, because they won’t let us be.

What was once familiar has become foreign, unrecognizable. The spot on the beach, my spot, where I have written so many words and have contemplated so important life decisions is not longer there, now only an oil-covered mess exists, tainted by negligence, blanketed in betrayal and marked with corruption. The calm has been strangled from it, possibly never to return, a victim the no one heard scream in the middle of the night.

Even harder to bear is the defeated looks on the faces of those all around, whether it be the fisherman who no longer has an income or the bartender that has had his hours cut and watched his tip amounts disappear or the children that know what is happening in the Gulf, wondering why this had to happen, mourning their own things in their own way. They are left confused, seeing the adults in their life struggle with the rhyme and reason, unable to feel really secure after seeing the hopelessness enter the lives of the adults that they trust.

So many adults want to help, but we are held back. If adults, who wield the real power, are unable to help, what can children do?

Culture is dying. The days of the familial fishing business is gone, leaving, well, nothing for those who have dedicated their whole lives to the industry, the sport. No longer can one get on a boat and hitchhike from shrimper to crabber down through the bayou and back up again, offering to help chip in for fuel or work off your ride. Gone are the days of the catch, coming home and celebrating with your family a particular bountiful day. The only thing left to celebrate is what once was and no one likes reliving what we have lost.

We plead for answers from our government, the body we should turn to in an event of a disaster of this size. The government looks the other way, pointing to the criminal that is responsible for this crime, telling us to ask them. When we do ask, because all other rational options have been exercised, we are not given answers but press releases.  We then receive information contradictory to what was just released to the national press when we call to speak with individuals for clarification. BP is not even in the same genre of book, let alone on the same page, yet, we are expected to put faith in these people that our loss will be accounted for and trust that they will do the right thing and help us make it through this preventable homicide against nature.

Is there anyone there? Is anyone listening to us? Our voices are being muffled by politics, by serious covering of asses, by a system that has been allowed to become an outlaw, doing as it pleases with no consequences for bad behavior. Mainstream media attempt to distract us, trying to fill us with ‘developments’ that aren’t developments but recycled news stories they didn’t bother paying attention to the first time. No one is looking out for us. No one is being our voice. It feels like we live in our own third world country.

It is for these reasons, and many more that cannot adequately be described with words but must be experienced to fully understand, that I’m not okay. The death. The desperation. The hopelessness. The abandon. The shame of it all. I’m not okay.

I’m not okay.

World Wide BP Protest Day July 10

New Orleans, USA – Worldwide BP Protest Day – 10 July 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

6:00pm – 8:00pm

The steps next to Cafe du Monde

748 Decatur St.

New Orleans, LA

This is the New Orleans Chapter of the Worldwide BP Protest Day where we will unite in voice with dozens of major cities around the globe. The purpose of this event is to peacefully demand better legislation that seizes power from the oil companies and corporations who have been ravaging our homeland for decades. We will unite to demand justice and accountability for the destruction of our environment and for the physical and psychological damage inflicted upon our families, friends, and loved ones.

These atrocities cannot continue. Let us join forces on July 10th to let our voices be heard. Attend and invite all your friends. We CAN save the GULF. We CAN save the CITY. We CAN save the PLANET and we CAN save OURSELVES.

It is requested that if you can’t make the New Orleans Event in person, you find 5 other people to take your place, whether it be locally or in one of the other cities participating.

Local starter: Lauren Goldfinch

Information on Global Event, including participating cities on our FaceBook page.

After the protest the Krewe of Dead Pelicans will proceed to Molly’s where we will be greeted by the music of the Pair ‘o Dice Tumblers.

Hope to see y’all there!

Twitter @ww_bp_protest

Huffington Post Promoting Blatant Lie About “Oil Rain”

From Dambala:

it’s really amazing. I tried and tried to comment on that post that this story is bullshit and they “curated” my comments 3 times. It’s like a radio host yelling over a phone caller who disagrees with him…except you can’t even get through.

He’s talking about this post on The Huffington Post with attached video of so-called oil rain by some unknown bubba who, it appears, is desperate to be in the media. It’s not a big stretch to figure out someone changed their car oil and dumped it in the storm drain. Obviously, HuffPo will post anything that screams “OIL SPILL” to get hits. This is one woman who will not be hitting HuffPo again until they allow opposing opinion and publish a retraction. Unfortunately, that includes local writers who publish there as well.