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Defender Picks



October 4th

Anatomy of a Murder

Prytania, 10a.m.

Part of the Halloween Classic Series


Gay Day at da Zoo

Audubon Zoo, 10a.m.

Prideful adventure through the zoo


Saints v. Cowboys

Superdome, 7:30p.m.

Nola Saints take on Dallas Cowboys at home



Marigny Opera House, 8p.m.

World premier of this contemporary ballet


Taste The Rainbow

The AllWays Lounge, 9p.m.

Drag and burlesque presented by Dykeadence


October 5th

Mac McClelland

Tulane LBC, 8p.m.

Award-winning human rights journalist and author


In The Valley Below

Hi-Ho Lounge, 8p.m.

Also ft. The Moth & The Flame



Peace Officer

Zeitgeist, 7:30p.m.

Documentary about police militarization and brutality


Witness to Change: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment

Garden District Book Shop, 6p.m.

Sybil Haydel Morial’s memoir


Nikki Glaser

Freret St. Publiq House, 7p.m.

Comedian as a part of Hell Yest Fest



October 6th


Mardi Gras World, 8p.m.

Latch, Help Me Lose My Mind musicians



Zeitgeist, 9:30p.m.

Flick about child assassins


Night Bus to the Afterlife

Columns Hotel, 7p.m.

Mortality and the Gulf South


Tommy Malone

Chickie Wah Wah, 8p.m.

Nola native guitarist


Open Ears Music Series

Blue Nile, 10p.m.

This week ft. WATIV


October 7th


Champions Square, 8p.m.

English indie rock band


George Ezra

The Civic, 7:30p.m.

Also ft. Andrew Duhon


Brand New

UNO Lakefront Arena, 7:30p.m.

Alt-rock band from Long Island


Screwtape Letters

The Saenger, 8p.m.

Theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ novel


South Toward Home

Maple Street Book Shop, 7p.m.

Travels in Southern Literature


October 8th

ASAP Rocky

Champions Square, 7p.m.

Harlem rapper come to NOLA



The Civic, 8p.m.

Swedish heavy metal band


Twin Shadow

Republic, 8p.m.

Dominican-American musician


Ogden After Hours

Ogden, 5:30p.m.

This week ft. King Edward


Creole Son

Garden District Book Shop, 6p.m.

Account of Edgar Degas in Nola


October 9th

Ariana Grande

Smoothie King Center, 7:30p.m.

Pop musician known for licking donuts she doesn’t buy


Kacey Musgraves

Howlin’ Wolf, 6:30p.m.

Country and Western Rhinestone Revue


Blackest of the Black ft. Danzig

The Civic, 6:30p.m.

Also ft. Superjoint, Veil of Maya, Prong and Witch Mountain


Friday Nights at NOMA

NOMA, 5p.m.

Opening of Traditions Transfigured


La Traviata

Mahalia Jackson Theater, 8p.m.

Opera story of love and sacrifice


October 10th

Dwight Yoakam

Orpheum Theater, 8:30p.m.

Singer-songwriter and country music pioneer


Meg Myers

OEJ, 7p.m.

Smoky Mountain singer-songwriter


Moon Taxi

The Civic, 8p.m.

Nashville rock band



HOB, 7p.m.

Reggae from Cali


Suggestive Gestures

Zeitgeist, 9:30p.m.

Experimental feature and drag performance


Moonlight Market: A Celebration of 20 Years of CCFM

Reyn Studios, 7p.m.

Crescent City Farmers Market fundraiser


October 11th

Bent, Not Broken Gallery Talk

Ogden, 2p.m.

With Curator, Michael Meads


Odd Man Out

Prytania, 10a.m.

Part of Halloween Classic Series


Masters of Illusion

Saenger, 7:30p.m.

Magicians from the hit TV show


Papa Mali

Chickie Wah Wah, 8p.m.

George Porter Jr., Robert Hunter and Bill Kreutzmann

Desert Campaign

Lower 9 Food Access Coalition Identifies Obstacles to Food Desert, Names Goals

The Lower Ninth Ward has been a hot topic since Katrina devastated the area, but smatterings of new homes and nonprofits can only do so much for the neighborhood’s long-term revitalization. People need to eat, and the closest thing Lower Ninth residents have to a grocery store is a Wal Mart in Chalmette, three miles from their homes. 



The Lower 9th Food Access Coalition emerged from within the community, and they’re not interested in quick fixes. The area has been classified as a “food desert” since before the federal flood. The U.S.D.A. defines a food desert as any population of 500 or more that does not have a grocery store within a one-mile radius. The last time residents had a mid-sized grocery store in their neighborhood was 1987.


The coalition aims to identify the specific forces that stand in the way of food equality, eliminate those barriers, and attract sustainable commerce to the area.


Founder Jenga Mwendo was born in the Lower Ninth Ward and raised between there and New Orleans East. Mwendo said one of the most critical components of her team’s initiative was reaching the members of the community and taking their specific needs into account.


Rather than taking to the tweetosphere, Mwendo and her team began handing out fliers door-to-door in April of 2012.


“We really tried hard to make sure we reached as many Lower Ninth Ward residents as possible. We were aware that email and internet are not always the best ways to reach a lot of folks down here, so we made a very conscious choice not to advertise meetings that way,” Mwendo said. “We purposefully didn’t include the locations of the meeting [on the fliers]. Instead, we instructed people to contact us first to explain to them what it was about.”


The coalition also spoke at monthly Neighborhood Network Empowerment Association meetings, and they dropped off fliers at businesses up and down St. Claude and Claiborne. According to Mwendo, residents are battling preconceived notions of what low-income, African-American neighborhoods mean for business.


“[The Lower Ninth is] a primarily low-income, African-American neighborhood with very poor access to food. Grocery store operators will say the neighborhood is risky, and they make assumptions about the potential of crime and theft from the stores,” said Mwendo.  


However, the Lower 9 Food Access Coalition tells a different story. According to projections from a study conducted by DePaul University, LSU, and UNO, a grocery store could be a highly lucrative endeavor. Based on data from the 2010 U.S. Census which indicates the Lower Ninth holds 3,775 households, an estimated 2,000 of those would spend over $5,000,000 a year on food consumption.


Currently, 61 percent of the neighborhood’s residents are homeowners. Since over 30 percent do not own cars, the grocery store would need to be located on the St. Claude commercial corridor or on Claiborne Avenue.


“We’re still human beings, and we still need to eat. Everybody has the right to have access to quality food,” said Mwendo. The community leader asked rhetorically, “How do you rebuild a neighborhood that’s so devastated?” The activist also noted the catch 22 in play. “People won’t come back if certain amenities aren’t there, but business owners won’t come back if there aren’t a number of people back in the neighborhood,” she said.


There are currently ten businesses selling any kind of food in the Lower Ninth. Out of these, only four are black-owned, seven sell junk food, three sell limited fresh meat, and only two sell limited fresh produce.


Access to high quality food becomes a human rights issue when one considers the health implications of corner store dining. African-American communities experience a disproportionate rate of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. All of these illnesses are diet-related.


Mwendo said the community discussed and determined three primary solutions for their lack of food access. Lower Ninth residents would like a mobile grocery store, a healthy corner store, and a school-based grocery store.


“Overall, these are things that the [coalition] is committed to working towards,” said Mwendo. “Having our money stay within our community is a positive thing, and several people mentioned that there has to be ‘Mom n’ Pop,’ businesses owned by residents,” said Mwendo.


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Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Elizabeth Davas, Ian Hoch, Lindsay Mack, Anna Gaca, Jason Raymond, Lee Matalone, Phil Yiannopoulos, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham,

Staff Writers

Cheryl Castjohn, Sam Nelson

Theatre Critic

Michael Martin


Brandon Roberts, Rachel June, Daniel Paschall

Film Critic

Jason Raymond


Paolo Roy

Art Director:

Michael Weber, B.A.


B. E. Mintz

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Minced Media, Inc.

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock