This Week’s Various

As always, unless otherwise noted, all images here copyright Deep Fried Kudzu. Ask me before using in any fashion. Thank you.

*Crushed* that Hubig’s burned down this morning.  The owners are already vowing to be back.  Glad I had one last week, and can’t wait to have another one, once they get rebuilt (hopefully still in the city).  

The NYT reported on the fire, and the tradition, too.

Sweet Mozell Benson, from the Alabama Craft: Tradition doc (she passed away last week):

Sharon McConnell Dickerson has done an amazing thing: lifecasts of Mississippi Delta Blues artists.  She’s lost her vision, but that hasn’t slowed her down.  She says, “In Mississippi, I can ride through the Delta’s endless cotton fields and empty landscapes and can almost breathe in the cotton fibers, smell the earth, and feel the heaviness of its moist air on my skin.  I can empty my mind and feel freedom.  It is within this simple landscape that I am finally home.”  Videos of her work here (including her lifecasting of Ruth Brown – love, love, love).

I saw ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild‘ almost three weeks ago in New Orleans — it opened there earlier than most of the country — and it’s good.  It’s different, and it’s almost impossible to describe, other than to say that it captures the kinds of over-the-top fantastical visions that children have and sets those aside this sort of terribly gritty realism that is to varying degrees everyday life.  In any case, the gentleman who plays Hushpuppy’s father in the movie is actually Mr. Henry from the Buttermilk Drop Bakery (with…buttermilk drops, a la McKenzie’s) in the 7th Ward. Oh, and I go to the AMC Elmwood Palace 20 in Harahan because there I can get a frozen margarita in a classy styro cup!  I grew up in a dry county; it’s still a big deal.

Frozen Margarita In Classy Cup at AMC 20

What Can Mississippi Learn from Iran? in the NYT Magazine hurts:

One of the people responsible for HealthConnect’s holistic, intensely personal approach is Dr. Aaron Shirley, who three years ago found inspiration for health care reform in an unlikely place: the primary health care system created in the 1980s in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The main issue in Iran back then was “disparities in health between its urban and rural populations,” he told me recently. “In the U.S., these disparities exist. The Iranian model eliminated the geographic disparities, so why couldn’t this same approach be used for racial and geographic disparities in the U.S.?”
Later that year, several Iranian doctors and administrators and their wives made their own trip to Mississippi. They were surprised by what they saw: “This is America?” they asked. In 2010, the Iranians returned for a month, calculating how many health houses Mississippi would need, as they had done in Iran.
Human Rights Watch calls the Deep South “the epicenter of the H.I.V. epidemic in the United States, with more people living and dying of AIDS than in any region in the country.” Blacks in Mississippi are dying from AIDS at a rate 64 percent higher than the nation’s average. In the delta, which stretches north and west of Jackson and is home to 560,000 people, H.I.V./AIDS is an immense but silent crisis. The state Department of Health estimates that half of H.I.V.-positive Mississippians currently don’t receive treatment.

Worth reading in its entirety.

George Rodrigue in Metairie
George Rodrigue Blue Dog, Yellow Dog in Metairie

Brett Favre is now an assistant high school coach at Oak Grove High School in MS.

The UK’s Guardian is asking for input on the Greatest American Novelist (the author has to have written at least four books, so there goes Nelle Harper Lee), and they’re down to 32.

Magnolia, Mississippi homes:
Homes in Magnolia, MS

They have three 1939 WPA/New Deal oil-on-canvas murals by John Fyfe at the post office: “Magnolia in 1880,” “Cotton Harvest,” and “July Fourth Celebration at Sheriff Bacot’s”
Magnolia, Mississippi Post Office Mural

The Philadelphia CityPaper doesn’t like everything that Regis Jansen from South Alabama does, but they write that ‘An Alabama boy gives Rex 1516 a (fairly) proper drawl.‘:

Perhaps that’s what inspired Jill Weber, of across-the-street wine bar Jet, and partner Evan Malone to turn 1516 into a restaurant with a “faded mansion” aesthetic. When she hired Alabama native Regis Jansen as the chef, that look earned an extra adjective: Southern faded mansion. What does this look like, you ask? Think distressed-wood floors and exposed brick, marble and mahogany. Think frosted-glass pendants large as ripe cantaloupes, dripping smoky light. Think a Louis XIV sofa that begs for Vampire Jessica or an equally lithe young creature to drape across it. Faded Southern mansion? As a Penn anthropologist, Weber should know.

The dreamlike ambience of this four-month-old restaurant is convincing, but it’s Jansen’s bayou breeding that imparts a truer sense of the South. The lanky 29-year-old is a life-sized licorice whip; it’s hard to imagine him growing up in Fairhope, outside Mobile, on a steady diet of his mom’s home cooking. When Jansen adapted her crawfish pot pie recipe for Rex 1516, “I had to cut the amount of cheese by three-quarters!”
The best way to end a meal at Rex, though, is the king’s gateau, a column of flourless chocolate cake cloaked in waves of airy peanut-butter mousse and garnished with peanut brittle and banana ice cream. The king to which this confection refers is, of course, Elvis Presley, he of the proclivity for peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches. But it’s hard to imagine any monarch, past or present, turning this dessert away.

I just looked at their menu, and one of the supper appetizers is fig bruschetta: goat cheese, rosemary, red wine poached figs, caramelized onion.  Yummm… And for dessert, I’ll have Sticky Toffee Bread pudding: Honey Brioche, Southern comfort coffee, dates, vanilla bean custard, fried mint, orange-maple whipped cream. Yes, please.  How about these cocktails

The Neshoba County Fair is going on now (thru end of next week).
Cabin at Neshoba County Fair

How to Rebuild the Mississippi Delta (and by here, they mean the river delta) at the NYT:
…Bonnet Carré redirected 10 to 20 percent of the Mississippi’s floodwater out of the river and into Lake Pontchartrain.

While the diversion mitigated the havoc created by the flood, it also provided a few scientists with an opportunity to do some research on land restoration in the Mississippi Delta as the Bonnet Carré’s floodwater dried out in subsequent months and left behind huge dunes of sand. Their findings, published this week in a Nature Geoscience letter, indicate that well-placed floodwater diversions can add significant amounts of land to the disappearing delta.

Our study “demonstrates that there’s a strong feasibility or potential to build new landscape in Louisiana,” said Jeffrey A. Nittrouer, a geologist at the University of Illinois and the lead author of the letter. He said the recent use of the Bonnet Carré spillway showed that by choosing the right place to build a diversion in the Mississippi and opening it at the right time, planners could build up a substantial amount of sediment in the delta.

Which is important, since the landscape is sinking, disappearing, and being ravaged by nutria.  Earlier this month, the NYT reported on how they are being eradicated in portions of Maryland.  There’s a show on SpikeTV that debuts this coming Tuesday about nutria hunters in Louisiana.  And meanwhile, you can feed nutria biscuits to your dog.

I extra-special love people on vacation (took this at the beach in Mississippi):

People on Vacation

The PNJ writes, with recipe, about Chef Blake Rushing’s terrine of Gulf shrimp and cole slaw, pickled aspic, wasabi tobiko, spicy mustard and hot pickled banana peppers from Pensacola’s Lee House B and B.

The Rural Studio has celebrated the building of 20K house v11 (Turner’s house).

Shug at the lake at Av’s high school:
Shug at ISS

As part of BP’s ‘Spirit of the Gulf’ series for Olympic athletes (gosh, BP.) and guests, Gulf Coast chefs are going to London to serve seafood dishes, including 160 lbs of gumbo.  The group includes chefs John Folse and Michael Sichel from Louisiana, Chris Sherrill and Alec Naman from Alabama, Chris Poplin and Calvin Coleman from Mississippi, and Paul Stellato of Florida.

HBO has released this in anticipation of Treme’s third season, debuting on September 23:

Jerry Mitchell in the C-L interviewed John Evans, owner of Lemuria Books in Jackson, who ‘compared reading a book to eating a meal, saying the difference between spending time with a real book versus an e-book is the same as savoring a hamburger versus swallowing a vitamin.’ Agree.  And Lemuria is a fine, fine book store.

If you ever wonder how to send a cease-and-desist and make it more nice than nastygram, see how much good will Jack Daniels has garnered in their response to the book, ‘Broken Piano for President’.

Freedom Riders, Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson MS
The Mississippi Museum of Art has received a grant from a American Association of Museum partnership and has “been selected to participate in Round 2 of the Innovation Lab for Museums – a unique incubation and prototyping program to foster programmatic and organizational innovation in the museum field.”

An 80-year-old, 40ft x 60ft painting that had served as a fire curtain was rediscovered at Montgomery’s Town Hall this month after years of being forgotten.

May you also one day buy a Ilya Bolotwosky at Goodwill for $9.99.

Charles Hagood of Moulton, who was a good neighbor and very well-known for his chicken stew (which is a food especially well-liked and traditional in northeast Alabama), passed away this month.

Chicken Stew:

Beautiful: the Bastille Day fireworks we saw in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago:
Bastille Day Fireworks

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