Did you know there’s such a thing as the Hip Hop National Championship? There is. There’s also a Jazz National Championship and a Rock Championship.
I just learned about all this recently. Before, I’d never once thought about how a Rock Championship might work. Would rock engage all other forms of music that aren’t rock in a colossal war of dueling bands and emerge triumphant?
I have no idea. But then I’m old school. I was born before the Grammys were. (The first Grammy — then known as “The Gramaphone Award” — was given to the winner on NBC in 1959.)
Can you guess who won the latest Hip Hop National Championship? Did you guess the LSU Tiger Girls? Then you win.
The Tiger Girls finished first when they performed a hip hop dance routine to the tune “Like A Boy” at the recent championship dance off in Orlando, Fla.
Turns out the Tiger Girls are old hands at all this. They also finished first in Hip Hop in 2010. Who woulda thunk it?
The Tiger Girls couldn’t compete last year due to COVID problems. Director Pauline Zernott said that lost year just made the squad “more hungry” for this year’s title.
Some cynics may think that the Hip Hop National Championship is not all that big a deal. But it’s quite a clambake, as is evidenced by these very heavy comments from Tiger Girls assistant coach Payton Ibos:
“‘Like a Boy’ was curated and choreographed specifically for this team and all other female athletes who have been neglected in relation to their male counterparts. Our choreographers … were passionate about creating this routine for the positive message behind the empowerment of the female athletes in the dance industry, as well as for the recognition of dance as a collegiate sport with deserving student athletes.”
The Tiger Girls came to play in 2022. In addition to winning the national championship, they also finished No. 8 in jazz.
The Calcasieu Parish Schools Obstacle Course
A couple of national media correspondents to Louisiana are reporting that a year and half after Hurricane Laura, students and teachers at Calcasieu Parish schools are still walking around 55-gallon drums in the hallways that catch water leaking from unrepaired roofs. A story on the matter appeared in USA Today.
Poor Folks Make $55,000!
I’m not an economist. But I have a feeling that the fast food places so beloved by those in the Lake Area won’t be fully staffed as long as rent for a garden variety apartment in Lake Charles is $1,000 a month or more.
I’ve heard some vague suggestions that landlords will — for some reason or other — simply lower the rents at some point because they are too high for the average Joe to pay. But is there any solid evidence to support the notion that this will be the case?
Proposed housing in Moss Bluff that was the target of recent widespread public opposition was frequently called a “low-income housing development.” But it turns out you can make as much as $55,000 a year and live there. As you might suspect, it’s not Section 8.
But now to the part we’re concerned about — the rent. KPLC-TV reported that “rents will average 850 to 900 dollars a month.” $850-900 a month?
Is that what people are worried about? Since when did poor people pay $900 a month in rent? Since now, I guess.
Although the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman rarely writes about real estate, he recently posted this series of Tweets:
“And now for something completely different. What the heck is going on with housing? Not just that prices are soaring, but they’re soaring everywhere. Very unlike the 2000s bubble.”
“Now even sprawling metros and smaller cities are seeing huge price runups”.
“No agenda here. I’m just curious about why this time is so different.”
I hadn’t imagined that the rent inflation going on in Lake Charles is part of a nationwide phenomenon. But Krugman seems to be picking up on such a phenomenon.
It doesn’t make sense to me. But then again, not that much does. I’m not sure the whole situation bodes well for the long-term.
Chambers Tries To Smoke Out Kennedy
Gary Chambers, Jr., a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Kennedy, lit up Louisiana Twitterdom on Jan. 17 when he released a political ad that showed him contentedly smoking marijuana. In state media, the coverage of Chambers’ puffery was as big a story as the smoking itself.
To get to the heart of the matter, consider this photo cutline from the Times-Picayune: “Gary Chambers Jr. puffs on a joint while decrying the impact of anti-drug laws in his new campaign ad in the race for Louisiana’s U.S. Senate seat.”
In its comments section, the Times-Picayune picked up a lot of smiley face emojis for reporting that the gigantic object Chambers was smoking was a “joint.” I guess people were suggesting that calling what Chambers was puffing a joint was liking calling a battleship a Jet Ski.
Others could not resist the obvious puns, which are also known as “dad jokes.” One poster wrote that Chambers made “a blunt appeal to voters.” Another wag asked, “What toke him so long?”
The extremely unusual commercial elicited national media coverage, including a long segment of Steven Colbert’s show in which much of the commercial was aired. That segment featured what might be the most dramatic shot in the ad: one in which Chambers sits in a plush, leather armchair in the middle of a field, dripping in gold jewelry. He looks for all the world like the dapper OG. But OG or not, Chambers’ chances of beating Sen. John Kennedy come November are about as good as a snow ball’s chances in hell. Kennedy won’t even have to express his opinion about Louisiana legalizing marijuana unless he wants to.
Lafayette To Get Two Skateparks
For four years, skateboarders in Lafayette have been obliged to practice their hobby on city streets. The Dust Bowl, the city’s last public skatepark, closed in 2018.
But now, Lafayette’s skater community is on track to get two new skateparks. The City Council recently approved $250,000 for a new skatepark at Thomas Park, using funds from a federal COVID relief fund that sent upwards of $86 million to Lafayette. (In case that sounds like a lot for a skatepark, keep in mind that it’s been in the news lately that the government of Lafayette is subsidizing three local golf courses to the tune of $2.5 million in taxpayer dollars each year. The city is presently working on a plan to spend $1 million on new golf carts.)
The larger of the proposed skateparks could be as big as 30,000 square feet.
Devoted skateboarders worked for more than a year to get the proposal before the council. None other than the mayor-president’s wife, Jamie Guillory, has helped them advance their cause. She “took notice” (said Lafayette’s The Current) that skaters had no proper park and jumped at the opportunity to help them.
The primary mover in all this will be Daniel Roberts, manager of Rukus Skate Shop in downtown Lafayette. He will lead a committee of skaters who will help shape the project.
“The door is always open,” Roberts said. “It’s an ever-welcoming group …”
Developing alongside Roberts’ park is Magnolia LA, a private skatepark being developed by Lafayette native and longtime skater Ooti Billeaud, who runs Louisiana Concrete Skatepark, a nonprofit that provides information about and funds for skateparks in Louisiana.
“I always want there to be concrete skateparks, but there’s also a need for an indoor park here,” he says. “There will be multiple weeks where it’s raining every single day. And it might dry up, but it’s a buzz kill.”
Billeaud’s 4,000-square-foot indoor park will have a 2,800-square-foot wooden flat bottom skatepark. “Because it’s such a small space, the park has to be well-designed and fun,” he says.
Billeaud expects to be open by April — in time to host The Magnolia Jam BMX contest, which will take place on April 30 as part of Lafayette’s Festival International.
The new space will have a BMX retail shop and snack area.
“I feel like my whole life has led up to this,” says Billeaud. “I want to do two things: build BMX culture and skatepark culture in Louisiana.”
Since the Dust Bowl closed, “other cities and towns in the region have thriving skateparks, despite their smaller size and populations,” reports The Current. “I think it’s interesting because, at least locally speaking, skateparks have always been a really big success,” says Roberts. It all had me wondering, does Lake Charles have a park for skateboarders?