This Week’s Various

Brennan’s in the Quarter = closed, at least for the time being.  The T-P called this next part a bombshell, but a lot of us, I think, had quietly known this already:
Welsh dropped a bombshell Friday morning when he said that Ralph Brennan, the owner of a string of successful New Orleans restaurants, is a partner in Leggo / 4 and therefore has had a role in wrestling the restaurant away from his client.

His client being another Brennan.

Further in the not-a-surprise-really development is this:
Greg Beuerman, a spokesman for Ralph Brennan, said that the Leggo / 4 corporation that purchased the Royal Street property has been replaced by another business entity titled 417 Royal LLC., which will manage future developments of the restaurant. Ralph Brennan is a principal owner of 417 Royal LLC.

When asked whether Ralph Brennan planned to reopen Brennan’s, Beuerman replied: “Not the same restaurant. But it’s safe to say that a new restaurant is high on the list of possibilities.”

Gail Simmons, who’s in New Orleans for Top Chef, gave an interview to the T-P and said this about one instance of generosity in the city, from her season 5 visit:
It sort of culminated on this night we went to Gautreau’s for dinner. Sue is a “Food & Wine” Best New Chef, so I was really excited to eat at her restaurant. It was my husband and I and the head of our wardrobe department at the time and one of the guest judges on the show. We sat down next to a table of about eight sort of rowdy people. It was four couples who were out for dinner. They were about our age, and having a lot of fun. During dinner, someone brought us a bottle of champagne and said, “This bottle is from those people.” We looked at them thinking maybe they recognized me. They were like, “We’re so sorry we’re bothering you. We just want you guys to know we’re going to get drunk. We all have kids. We don’t get out very much, and we really want to have a good time tonight, and we want to make sure you’re having good time and we’re not bothering you.” We said, “Sure, that’s amazing, thank you.” They gave us a beautiful bottle of champagne.

They ended up finishing their dinner, and they left. We ended up closing down the restaurant, and were sitting with Sue and her team at the end of the day. We’re wrapping up at 1 a.m. and I said, “Sue, we just need to get our bill.” She said, “There is no bill.” I said, “Sue, don’t do that, please. We have to pay for our meal.” She said, “Oh, trust me. I would’ve been happy to give you a bill, but that table that left picked up your entire tab.” It was stuff like that that just blew me away. That does not happen in New York City.

Bedouin Village, Negev Desert, Israel
above: a Bedouin village we saw in the Negev from one of our trips to Israel

The Bedouin version of turducken is: eggs in fish in chicken in sheep in camel. Seriously.

From Time: Plight of Rural Schools Laid Bare in Dying Delta Town: With few teachers and little hope, Friars Point, Miss. illustrates the shortfalls of city-centric education reform

This hurts:
One promising young teacher decided she wanted to start a family outside of the Mississippi Delta. A second teacher left abruptly in the middle of the first semester with little explanation. A third took one spin through town before the school year started and never came back.

Schools across the country struggle to attract and keep good teachers. In this fading Mississippi Delta town of 1,200, a place with a storied history and a slender chance of economic revival, it’s an epic quest. Some residents have even allegedly set their own homes on fire, hoping the insurance money will enable them to start over elsewhere.

Teach For America has supplied the school with several motivated, talented instructors. But most leave after their two-year commitment ends—if they make it that long. “By the time you start to see the benefits, they are gone,” said Rhodes.

Here’s an opinion (not the most complimentary) from a TFA alum about the program, in the Harvard Crimson. Another program is City Year.  No matter what the answer to the teaching issue is, there’s a larger issue with fostering opportunity and positivity here.  What can we do, friends?

Alabamboo, Greensboro AL

Project M is now 10 years old.

Illinois Monument, Vicksburg National Park

A thoughtful article in The Atlantic: 150 Years of Misunderstanding the Civil War.

To memorialize 150 years since Vicksburg surrendered, about 20000 luminaries lit in memory of those lives lost from each state.

And from NPR: what those poor men ate.

West Theatre, Rockmart GA
Not mentioned in the piece, the beautiful West Theater in Rockmart, Georgia
From American Public Media: Historic Theaters Opening in Small Georgia Towns.

Canning, Neshoba County Fair
Preserving the Season’s Fruits with a Canning Evangelist, from NPR.

Dr. Charles Smith's Home, Hammond LA
above: from one of my visits to Dr. Charles Smith’s home in Hammond, Louisiana

At the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi now through November 23: Visions: Art Outside the Box

Five artists with Mississippi and Louisiana roots are represented whose works utilize a range of themes, styles and media. The works, which depict visions, fantasy worlds, life-long commitments, and craft, also reflect the individual life experiences of the artists.  Included: Theodore Brooks, Martin (“Marto”) Green, Charles W. St. Julien, Dr. Charles Smith, and Willie White.

Creative Loafing on The future of Big Chicken: Georgia’s orchestrating a makeover of the world’s most popular meat. Oh, and there are about 25 chickens for every one person in Georgia. P.S. if you thought Springer Mountain Farms, ‘Nestled in the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains‘ was a farm, it’s not, there’s nothing to visit, and according to the author, it’s a brand.

I’m the organic mommy too (thanks Whole Foods).  But I thought this part of the article was interesting:
At the end, I lingered over the final step, the packaging of chicken headed for grocery stores, and my eyes glanced upon the magic that they call “private labeling.” At the entrance of the processing plant, these chickens had all looked the same: big, flapping white birds. The end was a different story. In some of the packages, I noticed that light green color of “all-natural” marketing, the hue that telegraphs the spirit of words like “ANTIBIOTIC FREE” whether or not we really know what it means, enveloping packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. But in other packages, I noticed that bright yellow of conventional Styrofoam carrying skin-on multi-packs of chicken thighs. It was a sinking feeling, the realization of the consumer fear that what we’re buying is all the same. The strange twist, at least in the case of Fieldale’s products, is that those yellow conventional containers might be slightly better than you think they are.

…ordering chicken on Portlandia (and thanks to IFC for their promise of a season 4 and 5):

Also: Modern Farmer on Creating Cosmopolitan Chickens, One Hybrid at a Time

From NPR: Moonshine As Moneymaker? Eastern Tennessee Will Drink To That
“Some regions, like southern Virginia,” he tells us, “clasped onto the historical aspect of moonshine to try to promote it, but it hasn’t become as central to the character of the region as it has with the Smoky Mountains. In eastern Tennessee and the Smokies, you find people who respect the production of moonshine as a craft and its folkloric traditions. That’s what’s different about it.”

That history has even been memorialized in “Rocky Top,” one of Tennessee’s state songs, which references moonshine stills hidden in the hills. But until four years ago, tough laws made it virtually impossible for distillers outside of three counties to get a license for alcohol production. Entrepreneur Jim Massey acted as an independent lobbyist to change the law in 2009, making it easier for small distillers to enter the market.

Then something to raise the ire of moonshine connoisseurs and plenty of the rest of us:
“Just look at Ole Smoky,” he says. “They have more tourists coming through their craft distillery than Jack Daniels in Lynchburg. There are over 2 million visitors to the Smokies each year, and all those people are there for the novelty culture. It’s a win-win.”

There’s plenty to argue as to whether ‘Ole Smoky’ should be mentioned in the same breath as Jack Daniels and the commenters on the article are more than happy to go on about that.  Also that neutral spirits on the Parkway in Gatlinburg are drawing more than the good people making Tennessee whiskey in Lynchburg is just plain wrong.


YES.  Jerry Saltz writes of the Bill Traylor exhibit now through September 22 at the American Folk Art Museum:
The former slave Bill Traylor is one of the best American artists. Ever. Wrongly labeled an “outsider,” the man behind this spine-and-retina-tingling show (more than 60 drawings) had one of the greatest graphic sensibilities of the twentieth century.

It’s that time.  Bill Smith is once again offering honeysuckle sorbet at Crook’s Corner as of June 27th.  Recipe here.

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