Local poet Jennifer Reeser, who is a graduate of McNeese’s renowned MFA poetry program, has just published a new collection of her verse that’s titled Indigenous.
The title is likely a reference to the fact that Reeser has Native American roots. She’s known nationally for translating or reworking verse in Native American languages. But she writes many sorts of poetry, and her works are often seen in the pages of National Review. She is known for advancing the idea that conservatism is acceptable in contemporary poetry.
Here’s a brief review of Reeser’s new collection from Able Muse Press: “Jennifer Reeser’s Indigenous is, by turns, a celebration of her Native American heritage and a lamentation decrying the social injustice and tragedies endured. Through Reeser’s sublime craft and formal prowess, ancestral memories and spirits — both the immediate and the historical — are visited with chants, prayers, or rituals: be it imagined, culled, or translated in the backdrop of history, myth and lore. Reeser also immerses us in her mixed-race heritage, in the ‘bloody war / Inside of me, between the Red and White.’ This collection is as uniquely inspirational and thought-provoking as it is fun — a collection not to be missed.”
Indigenous is available from all major booksellers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s also available on Kindle and all other digital apps.
With the probable exception of Willie Nelson, there is no musician Texans love more than Lyle Lovett. Of course, he has a large base of fans here, not the least of which is SWLA’s large group of Texas transplants.
Lovett’s songs are unusual in several ways. He likes to tell long, folksy stories. And his music really is multi-genre. He makes obvious use of such diverse musical genres as country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues.
And then there are the quirky lyrics. His beloved song “Penguins” contains these lines: I go for penguins. Oh Lord, I go for penguins. Penguins are so sensitive. To my needs.
Texans have taken Lovett’s song “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas)” as a state anthem. The song lampoons outsiders who move to the state and try to act like Texans by doing such things as wearing boots and cowboy hats. The song’s key lines are: “That’s right, you’re not from Texas. / But Texas wants you anyway.” The lines were used for an ad campaign by the Texas tourism board.
You don’t have to go to Texas to hear Lovett’s off-kilter classics performed live. Lyle Lovett and His Large Band will be coming to the Heymann Performing Arts Center at 1373 S. College Rd. in Lafayette on August 13 at 7:30 pm. If you need more info, call 337-291-5555.
The Times-Picayune: 1837-2019
Most of us knew it was coming eventually. And now it’s happened. The Advocate has purchased the Times-Picayune newspaper.
But few expected the Advocate to gut the Times-Picayune quite as thoroughly as it did. Each staff member of the once prestigious paper was fired. Thus ended a newspaper legacy of 182 years.
This was one reaction: “The decision to fire the entire staff, in one fell swoop, has been roundly criticized on social media by the paper’s readers and among fellow members of the press.”
But there’s some debate about whether the whole staff is going. The same NPR report that was the source of the quote suggested that the T-P’s three Pulitzer Prize winners, and well-known food writer Brett Anderson, sports writer Jeff Duncan and columnist Jarvis DeBerry, will keep their jobs.
The deal for the T-P was made by Louisiana media giants John and Dathel Georges, who are now the most powerful people in Louisiana media. John Georges has built a business empire that is now producing more than $2 billion a year in revenue. His wife Dathel is heiress to a family fortune of close to $1 billion. John’s net worth is $380 million.
Three months after Georges started The New Orleans Advocate, the paper had more than 23,000 subscribers; the Times-Picayune had only 31,000. By 2015, The Advocate had passed the Times-Picayune. Many say this was due to Georges’ ability to lure top-notch journalists and editors from the Times-Picayune.
Is Jail An OK Place?
In a recent session of the state Senate, we got to see the difference between a politician who’s done his homework and one who hasn’t. The exchange between state Sens. Bodi White and J.P. Morrell concerned Louisiana’s bizarre practice of holding victims of sexual assault in jail until they agree to testify against their attackers. The practice is viewed askance by the rest of the country (and the rest of the world).
Let’s listen in as Morrell schools White:
“There are thousands of these cases and we only got data on seven instances. So how bad can it be?” White asked.
“Those seven cases were from one year in one parish,” Morrell replied.
“Well, except for one case, it wasn’t more than one day. Of course, nobody wants to go to jail — I don’t want to go to jail — but it is just one day. This is a tool our DAs need, because the rapists and abusers are going to keep doing it again unless we put them in jail.”
“It is an archaic practice that most DAs — including your own — have moved past,” Morrell responded.
“It’s a tool they need, and a tool that they like!”
“They liked non-unanimous juries, too. This bill is for victims. It is here at the request of victims’ rights groups.”
“This bill needs work,” said White.
Unlike many high-level politicians, White is not an attorney. He owns a security guard agency.
Imagine a politician saying in public that it’s nothing to go to jail as long as it’s just for one day. I begin to see why people think politicians are aloof and don’t have a realistic view of the world. If you’re going to rise to the level of state senator, and you’re not willing to do your homework, your best bet is probably to play the quiet game.
A new punk band recently formed in Baton Rouge. Nothing unusual about that. Every member of the group is female. Nothing unusual about that. Every member of the group is also older than 60. That’s the unusual part. Yes, four senior women play real punk music in front of Baton Rouge audiences.
The members of the band Your Mom started off as students in David Hinson’s Baton Rouge music program Adult Music Club. For several years, they played in a 10-member ensemble that focused on ‘80s soft rock covers.
After a few years, Hinson pulled the three women from the group and told them they’d be forming a punk band. He had them start learning songs by the Stooges and Ramones. “I didn’t like it,” said guitarist Sandy Brock. “Every practice, we would play some sample songs, and I’d listen and think, ‘Oh my God, shoot me now.’”
Hinson suggested the name Your Mom for the band. Debbie Roussel played drums and Dorothy LeBlanc played bass. Hinson figured the band needed a lead guitarist. He recruited another septuagenarian, Kay Lindsey. She’s the only one in Your Mom who’s worked as a professional musician. For 12 years, she played in several bands and toured Europe in the 1970s with two of them.
The women in Your Mom, who have now warmed to the punk sound, write their songs together. They have more than half a dozen original punk tunes, all with typical punk titles, such as “Drugstore,” “Dessert” and “Aluminum Foil.”
They start their shows by passing homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from a Tupperware container to members of the audience.
Brock has little patience with the occasional patron who makes a demeaning comment about the age of the band members. “I think it’s important to show them something different because, guess what, it’s going to be you. You’re not always going to be 27 and wearing high heels. One of these days, you’ll be my age and wear sensible shoes. But rock-n-roll is still there.
“What do you want us to play, Lawrence Welk? I’ve been listening to rock-n-roll since I was four or five. Why should I stop now?”
LeBlanc has extremely positive feelings about her band experience. “It’s the most courageous thing I’ve ever done. And when you do something courageous, you walk a little taller.” Listen to Your Mom at bit.ly/2GlbIk5.