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THE

Defender Picks

 

Drinking Culture

A Stroll to the Avenue



Gentle reader, the winds of change blow bleak. The first temperate days of the coming fall intersperse with the lingering, hot afternoons of summer. The conventioneers and tourists like migratory things begin their return to the French Quarter. The football season opens to wild, Sunday afternoon shouts that cheer the sunshine at intervals from the dim barrooms. Though it should be fun, I find a period of wandering melancholy, intimate as these days are with the passage of time. And thus wandering in a black mood, found myself at the door of the Avenue Pub. 


The Sunday Critic

All the Way Home: 
The Color Purple at ABCT



I doubt there’s another show on a New Orleans stage that better proves the primacy of the performer over the performed than The Color Purple, now in its closing weekend at the Anthony Bean Community Theater. Almost none of the songs (by the non-legendary team of Brenda Russell, Alice Willis, and Stephen Bray) rise above rudimentary. The beyond-complicated script is a hot mess, adapted (more from the beloved Spielberg film than from Alice Walker’s novel) by Marsha Norman, who must have set herself the task of offering a Cook’s tour through every trope of African-American theatre she could think of. There are scenes on the cotton fields, in the gospel church, at the juke joint, in Africa… everywhere but Harlem, I think. 


Drinking Culture

Crossing The Parish Line: Old Arabi Bar



Gentle reader, apropos of our continued oppression beneath the iron boot of the smoking ban, let us take a little trip. Nearby places guard a history of defiance against the tyranny of the Dread Council. And so in a time-honored tradition of New Orleans, let us traverse the Industrial Canal to avoid persecution. We are bound for The Parish, gentles, and a storied old neighborhood for a drink and a smoke at The Old Arabi Bar. 


Drinking Culture

Homedale Inn Provides Shelter from the Storms in Lakeview



Gentle reader, I wandered alone through the purple moor of Lakeview. Memorial Day had been swallowed up in a dense and silent gloom. A thunderstorm the size of Alabama hurtled toward the city from Texas and I needed a place to hole up. Friends, entering into an ancient neighborhood bar for the first time can be an unsettling business – being a strange face out of the storm. But I was in need of shelter, and by lucky chance, at the door of the Homedale Inn.


The Sunday Critic

Theatre Review: She Was Born



Last year a friend brought to my attention a quotation from the famed producer, playwright, and critic Robert Brustein that is much less sunny than he thought it to be. "The primary function of a theater is not to please itself, or even to please its audience. It is to serve talent." I take Mr Brustein to mean that theatre has no higher goal than to make it possible for genius to operate, fully and freely, whatever it takes.


Drinking Culture

Playing the Dive Game at Chuck's Sports Bar



Gentle reader, I found myself in a tavern as black and tattered as a footpad’s soul. The décor looked familiar, but the world had grown uncertain. I closed one eye to get my bearings. The bartender turned over a bottle of Jim Beam and let fall a glistening, caramel stream. One second. Two seconds. Three… Four? Gentle reader, not five! Six goddamned seconds?! And then, like a fire marshal with a tally counter, the barkeep clicked a milliliter of soda atop the stagnant liquor. Oh no, my friends! I was in Chuck’s!


Drinking Culture

Snake & Jake's & the Art of the Dive



Gentle reader, the accidental alchemy of a dive bar warrants investigation. The business model of a good dive seems ever a blundered spell, sown with shoddy building materials and cut corners. And yet, the result is somehow pleasing. No such strategy in other enterprises could thus succeed.  For never is it said, “I have purchased the foulest vehicle with the stickiest of seats from the surliest salesman this side of Styx! Hazzah!” Yet these words are said of the venerable dive bar. And so with a mind to intuit why, I crept then into Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge amidst a thick and foggy night to have a think.


Drinking Culture

Escaping Carnival at Mick's Irish Pub



Gentle reader, minor collapses are to be expected. Nay! Welcomed.  Kindly catastrophes of body and spirit burst forth like dryads from the oaks, slinging tiny fistfuls of poppy dust. And we are saved from ourselves. For the way to Mardi Gras is long, and along that way, we sometimes must rest.  My full intention was to write from some famous watering hole along the Uptown parade route, dear friends. But beset by the hepatic rigors of the past few weeks, strategic retreat was my only option. I needed somewhere out-of-the-way. Somewhere I could have a quiet drink and a few friendly bar games to salve my Carnival anxiety. And so it was that I made my way after a small ordeal into Mick’s Irish Pub on Bienville.      


Drinking Culture

FQ's M.R.B. Shows the Joy of Sports Bars & the Pain of Sports



Gentle reader, thanks be to God that football season is finally over. Anyone who thought the Saints were improved without Sproles stands now properly chastised. But for me, my friends, there yet remained the final, cruel technicality of a Detroit Lions playoff game, and no better bar exists for watching football in this city than M.R.B. on St. Phillip in the French Quarter.


Drinking Culture

NoDef's Bargrapher Hops Up to a Pop-Up at Carrollton Station



Gentle reader, a pestilence is sweeping across our city as it does every winter. Close quarters, questionable personal habits, and the inability of us service industry employees to call-in sick are the villains. But even the worst upper respiratory infection could not have kept me from Carrolton Station on Sunday where Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney of Herbsaint popped up their Sparklehorse Grill for the afternoon. 


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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

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Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt


B. E. Mintz


Stephen Babcock

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