Brian Boyles Documents New Orleans' Super Bowl Boom

Brian Boyles' New Orleans Boom and Blackout: One Hundred Days in America's Coolest Hotspot examines the new New Orleans through the lens of the city's preparation for the Super Bowl 2012. His account examines the complicated interaction between government, monied interests, culture and the city and does so with a light but determined touch. Boyles lets people talks words and actions shape how we feel about them, but he doesn't let anybody off the hook. 

"The Public Practice" Celebrates Our Lives as Tourist Attractions

I was amused on Saturday that Kirsha Kaechele led with her chin to re-enter the contemporary art conversation in New Orleans. She has been vilified as a wealthy art dilettante, and her activities timed to coincide with the start of Prospect 3 put money at the center. She literally put up $100,000 for a gun buy-back program, and the recording studio in a car wash on Franklin Avenue was tricked out with faux luxe.

The Better Question

Recently, C.W. Cannon wrote at The Lens:

We need to accept that the explosive downtown cultural renaissance that Frenchmen Street presides over is the result of a romantic vision of what New Orleans should be, more than a continuation of how it has been. Frenchmen Street represents a recreation of New Orleans in a particular version of its own image. Change, yes, shaped by myth. 

Just days before, a family member of a French Quarter T-shirt shop owner wrote me, saying

More = Better?

Tuesday I received a press release trumpeting the success of New Orleans in attracting tourists, and it’s hard not to look at the announcement without at least a twinge of uneasiness. According to the study, New Orleans had 9.28 million visitors last year, and to the extent that the number represents money coming into the city, that’s a good thing.

The First Rule of New Orleans

If we have one duty to New Orleans, it's to not contribute to its caricature. We've spent years trying to assert that there's more to Carnival than boobs on Bourbon Street, that we're not drunkenly indifferent to work and the weather, and that there's more to our music than horns and accordions. This isn't a city of native "up from the pavement" talent, but a place where people at every level take music and creativity seriously, and just because the learning doesn't always take place in schools doesn't mean musicians aren't getting education in their craft. 

Life During Bowl Time

The Super Bowl is over, the lights are back on in the Dome, and know we're left with the second week of Carnival starting tomorrow. Here are a few random post-Bowl thoughts:

- It was clear this weekend that hip-hop and urban R&B are the music America parties to. Over the course of the weekend, Lil Wayne, Nelly, Ludacris, Big Boi, Flo Rida and Pitbull performed (that I'm aware of). Add to that Justin Timberlake, Janelle Monae, Santigold, The Roots, Diplo and Solange Knowles (doing a DJ set), and the evidence is hard to argue with.

How Disneylanding Happens, Pt. 29

[Updated] In today's T-P, James Gill analyzes a tourism "master plan"written for New Orleans by Boston-based consultants in 2009. I'd link to it, but I swear to God I can't find it on Nola.com (if anybody can, send me the link and I'll update). Gill sees the now-defunct hospitality zone proposal as a direct result of this consulting group's recommendations:

Pages