Well, I never thought it’d happen to lil’ ole me but my new book, Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour, has been on Amazon for almost a year now and it’s still a bestseller, in the top 5 in its category!
Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour Remains Bestseller on Amazon!
So here’s an interview I did with monster Internet maven Dion GeBorde about alla dat.
Click the Buy Now button below to get your copy of my bestselling travel guide
Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour
It used to be $0.99. Now you can get it for only $3.47.
But hurry, I may be raising the price in the near future. So now is the time to get it.
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Now that we are moving close to the 10th anniversary of that thing that almost took New Orleans for good, yes, Hurricane Katrina, we’ve been seeing a plethora of books, articles, events and such about the disaster and aftermath.
Back in the ‘60s Hurricane Betsy was a pretty devastating hurricane where neighborhoods were flooded and people died. I wonder why that storm is not remembered like Katrina? Of course, anyone who lived through that storm has their own stories to tell.
New Graphic Novel Drowned City Puts You in the Heart of the Action as Hurricane Katrina Barrels Through New Orleans
But Katrina caused so much devastation and the uprooting of lives and families and the deaths of not only the 1800 or so that died during the storm and the days immediately afterwards but of hundreds of folks who later on either committed suicide, got cancer, strokes or heart disease from the stress of trying to make their lives right.
We’re talking about the stress of dealing with the government’s Road Home program, insurance companies, dishonest contractors, families pulled apart and scattered far and wide. And in general the people who flocked to the area to take advantage of and prey on those who were suffering.
To many people who are from New Orleans and live in the city, having to unwillingly move somewhere else is like pulling the plug on life support. You can perhaps survive but it ain’t New Orleans where people are plugged into an amazing rhythm of life like nowhere on the planet.
To get a real glimpse of what it was like to be in New Orleans August 29, 2005 when Hurricane Katrina sent its ravaging winds and flooded tides through this area, Drowned City, by author and illustrator Don Brown, is what you would call a graphic novel. But no, it’s not really a novel, it’s more like a graphic history of those days in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The artist did a similar thing in his book The Great American Dustbowl.
Told in comic book format Brown’s narrative tells what happened to people who tried to evacuate and those who were left behind, or just refused to move as the storm bore down on the city. It recounts the destruction of the seawalls and neighborhoods, the rescues from rooftops, the squalid and horrific conditions in the Superdome and the Morial Convention Center, the staggering failures of our politicians, and the struggles of people trying to survive and make sense of it all.
It is a story of tragedy and triumph and a salute to the resilient people of this region. The illustrations and the flow of the story are so effective that you feel in a way that you’ve actually gotten a real glimpse of the experience, transported back to when the city was hit by the big one, something that only a graphic novel such as this could do. It really puts you in the action.
It’s also a great little history lesson that would help to fill in the gaps of what people around the country thought happened and what really happened. I like that he doesn’t seem to take sides politically.
And for dialogue he uses statements from the people who were actually experiencing the storm and the devastation. It gives it a real sense of truth and let’s the people tell the story instead of made up statements being infused from the outside by someone who was not there.
Although I enjoyed the book very much (not sure if ‘enjoyed’ is the right word) I take issue with one thing stated on the cover flap. It implies that Hurricane Katrina affected the African-American community the hardest and says a weather disaster became a race disaster.
This ‘race disaster’ thing is something that has been promulgated by the media and those who take advantage of such notions always wanting to look at an unfortunate event where blacks are involved as having some kind of racial or racist overtones.
But thousands of whites also had their homes destroyed and flooded. The Lakeview community was one such place and it is now only in the last few years that it is coming back. If 80% of the city flooded do you not think that many white neighborhoods were among them? Of course there were.
But of course you never saw or heard about any of this from the news media. That kind of stuff doesn’t ‘sell.’ Their cameras were focused mainly on black people and their neighborhoods. Rarely was there any talk or footage of whites who had their homes and neighborhoods destroyed as well.
Let me tell you you the real race disaster. It was the New Orleans public school system and many of its administrators and teachers, mostly all black, that for years had stolen, squandered and ‘lost’ tens of millions of dollars that should have gone to the schools and the students’ education. But instead went into people’s pockets. So bad was it that many teachers were forced to provide their own school supplies for their students even to the point of having to buy toilet paper for the restrooms.
These schools provided sub-standard education and thousands of blacks suffered this at the hands of their own people. Some were graduated out of high schools who could barely read, write or cipher. The schools were so bad that the state had to take them over. I would say that our high crime rate had very much to do with young people getting a poor education and not getting proper direction in life.
Despite the tragedy of lives and homes lost and neighborhoods destroyed, which Drowned City does so well depicting in its 93 beautifully drawn pages, Hurricane Katrina did us a favor by blowing apart the New Orleans school system. Now almost all of the public schools are charter.
And finally after all these years, really decades, our young, black kids are getting a good education, one that challenges them and prepares them for the world so they can have a positive and lasting impact on our community.
I would not call that a race disaster. I would call that a triumph. And now New Orleans is considered to have THE best school system in the country. Race disaster? I don’t think so.
The real race disaster is black on black crime that’s now epidemic not only in New Orleans but other American cities as well. The real race disaster was the New Orleans public school system in effect stealing the future of thousands of black kids to line their own pockets, perpetrated by their own.
Hurricane Katrina was not a race disaster, but a human disaster on a grand scale. Everyone who lived in the city, rich, middle class and poor, was affected in some way or another. To say one class or race of people suffered more than the other is not a true portrayal of the facts. And it’s divisive.
But I don’t really blame the creator of this book for that belief. It was burned into the public psyche by the media within days after Katrina had drifted northward and turned into a mere rainstorm. And that belief has continued to this day.
All in all Drowned City is definitely worth having and experiencing. Brown has done an admirable job portraying the Hurricane Katrina disaster to this great American city, New Orleans, in a matter-of-fact, effective and, thankfully, unsentimental way.
Although it says it’s for teens and young adults I think anyone of any age would appreciate this book.
OK, so you’re wanting to cook up some good, authentic, New Orleans style red beans and rice? Well, go no further than watching this video and following right along with cook Gaston Lang.
Easy Cooking Authentic New Orleans Red Beans and Rice
So he uses only authentic locally produced-around-New Orleans ingredients. Of course, if you can’t get the andouille sausage just try to get something similar that’s tasty and spicy. You can use almost any sausage really although it won’t give you the same flavor as andouille. Italian sausage will work too.
Here are all the ingredients to make New Orleans red beans and rice. Note the pickled pork.
He adds pickled pork which I have never done and I’ve never have seen a recipe using that. So, of course, this will be something I have to do next time I make this.
Now if you want to mix it up and be a little adventurous you might want to try a variety of beans called Italian kidney beans or cannellini beans. The last few times I’ve used these beans I’ve really enjoyed the difference. Gives it a really rich flavor. I got ’em at Whole Foods and you can also order them off Amazon.
So there ya go. Just follow along with the video and pretty soon you’ll have you a mess of good old New Orleans red beans and rice.
New Orleans musicians Ivan Neville of Neville Brothers fame and Trombone Shorty recently completed an album, Real People, with California rapper Lyrics Born. (Odd name but kinda cool, all the same.)
New Orleans Musicians Preservation Hall Jazz Band Join Rap Artist Lyrics Born in Funny Video of Big Easy Culture
This video is a send up of New Orleans culture, very funny, winning, and engaging. Now I’m not crazy about most rap ‘music’, because I don’t think it’s music, but this guy actually does something different with it in the video of his song “That’s It” that’s fun, Latin and musical.
Bright sunny and funny, new video sends up New Orleans culture as a backdrop for his new song “That’s It.”
The video is bright, sunny fun, and looks like it’s shot somewhere in the Caribbean. But no it’s New Orleans, honestly and truly.
You can read more about the new album and who put together the video here at NolaVie.
Here is a quick and to the point video guide of New Orleans, America’s most charming city. They do a good job of highlighting all the great and interesting standout things to see and experience.
New Orleans: America’s Precious Jewel – A Beginner’s Guide – video
Of course, nothing is as good as actually being here and drinking in the atmosphere and taking in the city as the natives do.
This video makes one mistake. It says Mardi Gras is in February which is only partially true. It can also be in March depending on when Easter is.
A sunrise shot of Jackson Square from across Mississippi River with the stately St. Louis Cathedaral in the background.
For a great take on the seven things you must do to have a fabulous time in New Orleans you can do no better than to get this bestselling book on Amazon – Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour – written by yours truly.
What would New Orleans be without New Orleans music? Well, it would be a pretty dead place and the city would probably be some kind of backwater, a little sliver of misery on the banks of the Mississippi River. Our music is part and parcel of the Crescent City and without it the food would lack spice, the buildings would crumble, and Mardi Gras… well most likely would not even exist.
New Orleans Musicians Bobby J & Stuff Like That Featured in Small Business Revolution Documentary Demonstrating the Power of Persistence
It’s not easy being a musician in New Orleans. Although music is everywhere here, and I mean everywhere, to live in the city and make playing music your livelihood is really tough. You gotta be good, you gotta be resourceful, you gotta have connections, and music just has to be your heart and soul, like you couldn’t live if you couldn’t play your music.
New Orleans overall probably has the best musicians in the world, we got the beat, got the blood, got the spirit, got whatever it is that makes New Orleans music great.
This video is about Bobby Jordan and his wife Lisa who for 25 years has made playing music their bread and butter. They run it like a small business and they’ve managed to hold their own. Just to let you know, I’ve never heard of these guys, yet, they appear to be a popular and successful act.
Here’s more about them, taken from a press release I was sent:
Husband-and-wife duo Bobby and Lisa Jordan among 100 business builders featured in yearlong campaign celebrating the crucial role of small businesses in our communities
Bobby Jordan has only left New Orleans once – because Hurricane Katrina gave him no other choice. But after six weeks, his passion for playing music brought him back to New Orleans, which perhaps more than any other city is defined for the music played in its venues, its homes and its streets.
New Orleans musicians Bobby J and Lisa are true small business entrepreneurs.
For the past 25 years, Bobby and his wife Lisa have led Bobby J & Stuff Like That, a popular band that can be found playing weddings, corporate events and an array of other parties and venues. Bobby is lead singer and convened the musicians, while Lisa handles booking – in addition to also singing in the band.
Now, Bobby J & Stuff Like That is getting national attention from Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution documentary project. The Small Business Revolution, which also features “Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec, is a yearlong campaign that celebrates the vibrancy, variety and community impact of small businesses across the country.
Its latest story is a short film profiling Bobby J & Stuff Like That, one of 100 profiles of inspiring small businesses that will debut throughout 2015 at SmallBusinessRevolution.org. (Only 12, however, are being showcased in a video like Bobby J.)
Lisa, the singer, manager, and brains of the outfit.
As the new video shows, it takes passion and perseverance to sustain a successful band as a small business for a quarter century. But the music is in Bobby’s blood – and he knows how inextricable music is from both New Orleans’ culture and its economy. Bobby J & Stuff Like That is emblematic of the power of a small business to impact its community on multiple levels – and that’s one of the many reasons they attracted the Small Business Revolution.
Deluxe developed the Small Business Revolution to focus on the importance of personal touch and local involvement in an era when business is becoming increasingly impersonal. The campaign is capturing the stories of small businesses and their customers, families and friends – all of whom are a crucial part of what makes our communities whole.
“The hands-on customer service, the entrepreneurial spirit and the deep community involvement people find in the small businesses they frequent make all the difference,” said Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer for Deluxe Corp. “Telling these moving, inspirational stories and putting a spotlight on these owners is our way of celebrating the best parts of American business.”
The Small Business Revolution will unfold throughout 2015, as a part of Deluxe’s 100th anniversary celebration. Since 1915, Deluxe has helped small businesses and financial institutions grow and thrive by providing a range of business services, from websites and logos to social media and email marketing to checks and other financial services.
The Small Business Revolution will also award $25,000 to one small business later this year. Anyone can nominate their favorite small business at SmallBusinessRevolution.org, and Shark Tank’s Herjavec will help Deluxe choose the winner who best exemplifies the Small Business Revolution spirit. The person who nominates the winning businesscan see how it feels to be a “shark” by personally delivering the $25,000 prize.
“It is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than own the entire state of Ohio.” — Lafcadio Hearn…. New Orleans is one of the most magical cities in the world. There is something about this city that has a tendency to take hold of you and won’t let go. If you are born […]more →
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