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THE

Defender Picks

 

DIMANCHE

April 30th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds, all day

Final day of weekend one

 

Breakfest

Bayou Beer Garden, 9AM

The most important meal of the year

 

Movie Screening: The Invisible Man

Prytania Theatre, 10AM

1933 sci-fi horror classic

 

Dan TDM

Saenger Theatre, 3PM

YouTube superstar comes to town

 

Sunday Musical Meditation

Marigny Opera House, 5PM

Feat. guitarist and composer David Sigler

 

One Tease to Rule Them All

Eiffel Society, 7PM

Lord of the Rings burlesque

 

Joe Krown Trio

Maple Leaf Bar, 7PM

Feat. Walter "Wolfman" Washington and Russell Batiste, plus a crawfish boil

 

Blato Zlato

Bar Redux, 9PM

NOLA-based Balkan band

 

What is a Motico? 

Zeitgeist Arts Center, 9PM

Helen Gillet presents Belgian avant garde films

LUNDI

May 1st

May Day Strike and March

Louis Armstrong Park, 1PM

A protest for freedom, jobs, justice, and sanctuary for all

 

Movie Screening: Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History

Peoples Health Jazz Market, 6:30PM

CNN presents event, with post-screening conversation with anchor Brooke Baldwin

 

WWOZ Piano Night

House of Blues, 7PM
Back to the roots

 

Ooh Poo Pah Doo Monday Blues

Carver Club, 8PM

Treme club shifts its weekly show to the historic Carver Theatre

 

Poetry on Poets

Cafe Istanbul, 9:15PM

Evening of poetry with Chuck Perkins, plus live music

 

Brass-A-Holics

Blue Nile, 11PM

Famed brass all-stars play Frenchmen 

 

 

MARDI

May 2nd

Collison

Ernest N. Morial Cenvention Center 

Kick off day of tech conference

 

United Bakery Records Revue

Marigny Recording Studio, 3PM

First annual showcase of the label's artists

 

GiveNOLA Fest

Greater New Orleans Foundation, 4:30PM

Music from Irma Thomas, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Rebirth Brass Band

 

Tasting Tuesdays

343 Baronne St., 6:30PM

Chardonnay vs. Pinot Noir

 

Gojira

House of Blues, 7PM

Grammy-nominated French heavy metal 

 

Little Freddie King

Little Gem Saloon, 7:30PM

Stick around for Honey Island Swamp Band at 11PM

 

Neil Diamond

Smoothie King Center, 8PM

50th anniversary tour

 

The Mike Dillon Band

Siberia, 9PM

Feat. Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers

MERCREDI

May 3rd

Book Reading: Michael Fry

Octavia Books, 4:30PM

From "How to Be A Supervillain" 

 

Flower Crown Workshop

Freda, 6PM

Hosted by Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm and Studio

 

Pete Fountain Tribute

Music at the Mint, 7PM

Feat. Tim Laughlin

 

Erica Falls

The Sanctuary, 8PM

CD release show

 

Piano Summit

Snug Harbor, 8PM

Feat. Marcia Ball, Joe Krown, and Tom McDermott

 

The New Pornographers

Tipitina's, 8PM

In support of newest album 'Whiteout Conditions'

 

Pixies

Saenger Theatre, 8:30PM

Alt-rock icons

 

Piano Sessions Vol. 7

Blue Nile, 9PM

Feat. Ivan Neville

 

Twin Peaks

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Feat. Chrome Pony and Post Animal in support

 

New Breed Brass Band

Blue Nile, 11:55PM

Next generation NOLA brass

 

Tribute to Lee Dorsey

Pres Hall, 12AM

With Jon Cleary, Benny Bloom, & Friends

JEUDI

May 4th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds, all day

Weekend two kicks off

 

May the 4th Be With You

Tubby & Coo's, 4PM

Star Wars party

 

Jazz in the Park
Armstrong Park, 4PM

Russell Batiste and friends

 

Yoga Social Club

Crescent Park, 5:45PM

Get sweaty and centered 

 

Cuba to Congo Square Throwdown

Ashé Cac, 6PM

Live music, DJs, and dance

 

Mike Dillon

The Music Box Village, 6:30PM

Punk rock percussion

 

Herbs & Rituals

Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM

Class for women's health

 

Shorty Fest

House of Blues, 7:30PM

Benefit concert for his namesake foundation

 

AllNight Show 

The Historic Carver Theater, 8PM

Feat. Ian Neville, Nikki Glaspie, SSHH feat. Zak Starkey of The Who

 

Jurassic 5

The Howlin Wolf, 9PM

Feat. Blackalicious

 

Foundation of Funk

Republic NOLA, 9PM

Feat. George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste

 

Jazz: In and Out

Music at the Mint, 9PM

Live music to benefit the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp


Snakes in the Temple

5th Circuit Court Lamps at Center of Unfolding Courtroom Mystery



The twelve sit loosely coiled holding up large opaque globes of light in the West Courtroom. Noted by everyone who appears for court, or works in the building, no one has a clue how they got there. They are the brass snake lamps of the Fifth Circuit, the most enduring mystery of a New Orleans landmark.

 

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals building, named since 1994 after Judge John Minor Wisdom, turns 100 years old next year. The Court plans to celebrate the centenary with festivities coinciding with its annual judicial conference. Six hundred people - judges, spouses, and guests -- will be on hand.  Many will remember the landmark civil rights decisions issued by the Court, often written by Judge Wisdom. Others may roam the large marble hallways designed by James Gamble Rodgers in the style of Italian Renaissance Revival, marveling over the intricate interior.

 

For Jesse Cannon, Assistant Circuit Executive for Space and Facilities, the coming centenary offers a chance to show the wonders and mysteries unknown to people wandering nearby Lafayette Park or hurriedly passing the front doors at 600 Camp Street. Cannon, an architect, has been studying the Wisdom Building since he first arrived during a twelve-month pilot program back in 1987.  

 

"We've always had a desire to learn more about this building," Cannon says.

 

The rattlesnakes - yes, rattlesnakes - of the West Courtroom remain mystery number one.

 

Cannon knows that the 12 lamps - two in front, two in back, four on each side - came with the original decor of the building. He knows the U.S. Treasury supervised the two million dollar design and construction, completed in 1915.  But that's all he knows for certain, though he researches and deduces. 

 

"Wherever these fixtures were formed, the lighting fixtures in the other two courtrooms had to come from the same place," he says. "It would only make sense." 

 

Those lamps consist of traditional bald eagles, but each room has a different design. They decorate the East and En Banc courtrooms, where the Fifth Circuit always held court.

 

The West Courtroom, in contrast, housed the federal district court for the Eastern District of Louisiana until 1963. The snakes oversaw all manner of federal trials. The courts left in 1963 for renovation. Hurricane Betsy changed plans. The building spent years as a temporary school; children learning by the light of the snake lamps. 

 

When the Fifth Circuit returned to its home in 1973, court business and personnel had increased so much that the Appeals Court took over entirely.  Today, all three courtrooms - East, En Banc (where all the judges of the Fifth Circuit will hear a case) and West - are used regularly one week a month and as well during special sessions. 

 

But, why snakes? 

 

Sure, for a room that's filled with lawyers, what better symbol can there be than rattlesnakes?  But Cannon thinks the designers had more serious intentions.

 

"One of the interpretations is that the snakes represented good and evil, which here in the courtroom is a pretty ideal, convenient if you will, interpretation," he says. "Also snakes represented healing. Images of serpents were placed outside temples and other religious buildings several thousand years ago to protect those temples from evil."

 

Think of the Rod of Asclepius or the Caduces, the basis for the symbol still used today in medicine. Cannon, belonging to the prestigious Fellow American Institute of Architects, points out that the building was clearly designed to be a judicial temple by the architect. The decor in the great marble hallways is distinctly classical in its design. Other judicial buildings created during that era have the same Greek and Roman imagery. 

 

In the En Banc courtroom, he points to small, grotesquely gothic faces looking down from the hand-stained ceiling.  He sees intentionality in the creation of all these complex symbols. 

 

"The architects certainly wanted to evoke some sense of justice and the court system," he says. "They may have done the same research and came up with these symbols from past cultures."  The great hallways contain panoplies of classical imagery.

 

Like all mysteries, everyone's entitled to their opinion.  The Circuit Court library has a four-page history that says of the snakes, "Some say it is an homage to Texas.  Some say it is in recognition of a famous statues called Rattlesnake by Frederic Remington." 

 

Cannon today works with the General Services Administration on maintenance and restoration projects.  He's primarily concerned with keeping the historical integrity of the finishings and the fixtures that were part of the original construction, including those brass rattlesnakes.  He's located blueprints, photographs, and other drawings relating to the construction of the building.  He's recently gotten the original drawings from the National Archives that are now on display. 

 

"Over the last 27 years or so, we've been constantly looking for source material that will give us a better understanding and appreciation of the history of the building," he says. "So it's an ongoing process." 

 

Someday he and the rest of the staff of the Wisdom Building hope to solve the mystery of the brass rattlesnakes.

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Linzi Falk, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt


Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily