Mid-City Messenger

Nov 282016
As I draw on to the end of my fifth decade, I’m feeling reflective. Indulge me in a little reminiscence, and by all means come to my birthday party.


Earliest intimations of artistic pretense. The author took this pinhole photo of a snow-covered slope on his grandparents’ farm in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, circa 1974 (Bart Everson).

Out of Oklahoma

I was born in January of 1967, two days after the first Super Bowl in Los Angeles, and I was named after the Starr player. However, I was not born in California. A couple weeks later, in New Orleans, the first Endymion parade rolled. However, I was not born in Louisiana. I was born in Oklahoma. I was baptized in a church in Tulsa at the age of twelve days.

War was raging in Vietnam, but I knew nothing of that. There were over a hundred and fifty race riots across the United States that summer. And they called it the Summer of Love.

In the midst of all this, my parents moved from Tulsa to Norman, Oklahoma, so my father could enroll in grad school at the University of Oklahoma. He wasn’t worried about getting drafted. He’d already served in the peacetime army in Germany. In fact, he was able to attend college full-time because of the G.I. Bill.

That fall, while my father worked on his MBA, hippies levitated the Pentagon, part of the largest antiwar protest in US history. bart-everson-headshot-2013

Around the time of my first birthday, the Tet Offensive began. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood debuted on television; I would watch many episodes as I grew up. There was a general uprising in Paris in May of ’68, about the time my father finished his degree.

That summer, we moved to a suburb on the south side of Indianapolis. My father had gotten a job at a major pharmaceutical company headquartered there.

Cops beat protestors at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and Nixon was elected president.

Humans were venturing into space, and we landed on the moon when I was two. We gained a new perspective on the Earth, one which we are still struggling to assimilate. Continue reading »

Nov 222016


InspireNOLA Charter Schools achieved impressive academic results for the 2015-2016 school year at all three of the schools that it operates, continuing its status as the highest performing open-admissions charter network in New Orleans and Louisiana.

InspireNOLA’s two foundation schools, Alice M. Harte Charter School and Edna Karr High School, both achieved A letter grades for the second year in a row. Alice Harte’s school performance score (SPS) rose to a 104.3, with 45% of students scoring mastery or advanced on state assessments – far surpassing the district and state averages of 27% and 33%, respectively. Continue reading »

Nov 212016

(via Friends of City Park)

Celebration in the Oaks, the annual winter lights display at New Orleans City Park, opens this week, marking its 30th anniversary! As one of the most spectacular holiday lights festivals in the South, with more than 165,000 visitors to the month-long event, it takes a little magic and a ton of work to make this extraordinary display come to life. Continue reading »

Nov 212016
Third District Commander Gary Marchese walks through the Third District station (via Youtube)

Third District Commander Gary Marchese walks through the Third District station (via Youtube)

Last Thursday night I attended the NOPD 3rd District NONPACC meeting. NONPACC stands for New Orleans Neighborhoods & Police Anti-Crime Council, and serves as the monthly after-hours meeting between citizens and their police district command. Out of the many public meetings you can attend in New Orleans, I continue to find NONPACC meetings among the most informative and important. Depending on the Commander sitting at the table, they can also be among the most accessible meetings for citizens. 

Patrick Armstrong

Patrick Armstrong

The reason I feel this way is due in no small part to former 3rd District Commander Gary Marchese. While I am a relative new face at these meetings, having attended for less than a year, it was easy to see that Marchese had invested the time and effort building a positive atmosphere among the longer-term attendees. Understanding law enforcement policies and procedures can be heavy lifting if someone isn’t patient enough to explain things to you, and Marchese was great at patient explanations. If he didn’t have an answer immediately, Marchese was always good about finding out and getting back to you. Even on the hardest of questions, the Commander didn’t get flustered or frustrated with the folks who were asking, and there are a lot of hard questions the NOPD gets asked. I know I added my share.

But you build community trust in law enforcement by answering those hard questions honestly, and working through the hard answers together. Marchese never shied away from that, and it showed at 3rd District. He retired from NOPD earlier in November, and I hope the hardest question he has to answer from here on out is “would you like to see the dessert menu?” Congratulations on your retirement, Commander, and good luck with whatever is next. Continue reading »

Nov 142016

by Stephanie Standige
Special to Mid-City Messenger

Paul Varisco, father-in-law to Steave Gleason, introduces the 'Gleason' DVD at its premiere event at The Cannery in Mid-City, Nov. 2 (Stephanie Standige)

Paul Varisco, father-in-law to Steve Gleason, introduces the ‘Gleason’ DVD at its premiere event at The Cannery in Mid-City, Nov. 2 (Stephanie Standige)

The Gleason DVD premiere was held in Mid-City at The Cannery on Wednesday, November 2. Attendees mingled as they awaited raffle drawings, a speech from Steve Gleason’s father-in-law, Paul Varisco, and the debut of the documentary, Gleason. Guests enjoyed refreshments, elegant scenery, and Pearl Jam (Gleason’s favorite band) background music prior to the viewing of the film. Continue reading »

Nov 142016

The first results came in from Indiana, my home state. Us grown folk were not surprised, and we knew the final results would be different — or so we thought. bart-everson-headshot-2013

But my eight-year-old daughter was dismayed. As she contemplated the prospect of a Trump presidency, she wondered, “Why am I worried about studying for my math test if the world is about to be in an apocalyptic state?”

(I can’t even tell you what the ten-year-old neighbor boy said, or the Secret Service would be knocking on his door.)

Now that we’ve seen how it all went down, many of us are sharing her anxiety. The apocalypse is here, it seems. The sky is falling, only this is no Chicken Little fairy tale. It may feel like a nightmare, but this is for real. Continue reading »

Nov 072016

“Politics in New Orleans is the dominant industry.” – C. Ray Nagin

Patrick Armstrong

Patrick Armstrong

There’s been a huge increase in early voting participation across the country. Political scientists have this or that theory about what is going on, but if my friends’ social media profiles are any indication, I know a bunch of people voted early because they are sick and damn tired of hearing about this election. Family members and old high school friends have muted each other on Twitter to keep their respective ranting to a minimum. Yard signs were skipped this year because getting into it with the neighbors just wasn’t worth the trouble.  A few folks took a long weekend, and went off to the woods where signals wouldn’t reach their cellphones.

These friends and family of mine sent their absentee ballot in, or waited in line at their county clerk’s office, cast their vote and promptly tuned out the wall to wall news and internet memes that have clogged every avenue of our national information arteries for the last 18 months. They’re more done than that sausage you forgot to take off the grill at the tailgate and now the dog ain’t even interested. Over it doesn’t even begin to describe their emotions.  Continue reading »

Nov 022016

14520402_184760135265755_7203851278682141930_nBy Stephanie Standige
Special to Mid-City Messenger

Tucked on the edge of Lakeview near Mid-City is Chef Susan Spicer’s newest edition to the New Orleans restaurant scene. Spicer fell in love with the building when it was available, and the day she saw it was the day the idea for Rosedale, a unique restaurant with an interesting history, was born.

Continue reading »

Oct 312016

Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop announces a special edition of “Reading Between the Wines” at Pearl Wine Co. on Wednesday night with dark fantasy author and artist Brom.

Brom (Photo courtesy of Tubby & Coo's).

Brom (Photo courtesy of Tubby & Coo’s).

Brom will talk about writing dark fantasy at the book signing from 7 to 9 p.m., and Pearl Wine Co. will offer $5 glasses of wine for the occasion. Participants must pre-purchase books to reserve a spot.

Brom was born in the “deep dark south” in the mid-sixties, according to a press release by Tubby & Coos. He was an “army brat” and spent his entire youth on the move in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama.

“From his earliest memories Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful,” according to the release. Continue reading »

Oct 312016
A voter "cheat sheet" from some New Orleans Greens. More details at lagreens.org/news (Bart Everson).

A voter “cheat sheet” from some New Orleans Greens. More details at lagreens.org/news (Bart Everson).

I’m excited about this election. Aren’t you? No? I keep hearing how people are sick of politics this election cycle, but I’m excited because my name will be on the ballot — right near the top.

I’ll get to that in a minute. But first let me start at the bottom. Continue reading »