Sunday Reads: You say New Or-LEENS…I say New New AW-yunz

Let’s call the whole thing off! New Orleans, you’re still like family — flawed, yes, but oh so fun, even after 300 years

y mother called our city New AW-yunz. I say New OR-lens, although New AW-lens or New Or-lee-uns sometimes slides out of my mouth.

A local professor told me New Or-LEENS is the favored pronunciation in a few neighborhoods, but most of us say that only when singing “You know what it means to miss New Or-LEENS” or referring to Or-LEENS Parish. Or when commenting on our fellow New Or-LEEN-ians.

However it’s pronounced, it’s my home. It has its issues as any family does, but there’s nowhere on Earth I’d rather live.

If we don’t know how to pronounce our city’s name, it should be no surprise that although 2018’s calendar is filled with events commemorating the 300th anniversary of New Orleans’ founding, no one is sure of the exact date in 1718.

It’s complicated.

Okay, it is a travel piece…but it has some interesting nuggets to relay.

New Orleans has a history of influxes from population pools, said Campanella, a Brooklyn native.

“Sicilians were new once, and now we embrace their muffalettas and red gravy,” he said.

Before them were the Irish and the English and the French and Germans as well as the Spanish. Native Americans were in the area before Europeans arrived.

Slaves were brought here in 1719, the year after the city was founded; part of New Orleans’ shameful past is as a center of slave auctions.

Transplants especially preach the idea that New Orleans is unique among cities, Campanella said. That’s partly why in the 1960s people began referring to those hot squares of fried dough at Café du Monde as beignets — because they were different.

And in the 1970s preservationists and real estate agents began calling Orleans Parish neighborhoods faubourgs, a French word for suburbs.


Mardi Gras is a single day, two days from now. The season is Carnival, with a capital C, and lasts from the 12th night after Christmas (Jan. 6) through Mardi Gras, which is 40 days before Easter. Mardi Gras is the last bash before Lent begins the next day, which is Ash Wednesday.

Carnival parades start two weekends before Mardi Gras.

Most New Orleanians are fluent in Carnival speak. For example, a cousin told me, “I’m riding Chaos, fourth float, second position, neutral ground side.”

Translation? He’s a member of a men’s krewe, a private club called Chaos, sponsoring a parade and/or ball, and will be the second masked or costumed person on the fourth float, left side if you’re walking in the same direction as it rolls (another word) through the street. If he were on the right, he would say he’s on the sidewalk side.

New Orleanians call all street medians neutral grounds. (It’s a long story.) Streetcars run on the neutral ground of St. Charles Avenue, which is part of the traditional route of Carnival parades. We always refer to the left side of the float as the neutral ground side even on streets where there is no neutral ground.


Neutral grounds? Going from a phrase such as neutral grounds to the display of tRump’s party hacks today on the morning shows is a sad comment on the situation today.

White House Aides Try and Fail to Fix Trump’s Rob Porter Problem – Mother Jones

White House aides hit the Sunday news circuit to try to fix President Trump’s latest public relations nightmare: His defense of former staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned this week amid allegations that he abused his two ex-wives. Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly have been accused of failing to take the allegations of violence seriously and of protecting an abuser; on Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

Aides’ attempts to explain the defensive response from Trump and Kelly only raised more questions. In an interview Sunday, Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short said that Trump’s handling of the accusations against Porter has been shaped by the fact that the president himself has faced allegations of assault from more than a dozen women.

“I think the president is shaped by a lot of false accusations against him in the past,” Short said on NBC’s Meet the Press. Short described Trump as “saddened,” “disturbed,” and “disappointed” by the Porter situation, and he said that the president believes Porter’s resignation was the right move. But Short did not respond to directly to the question of whether Trump believes Porter is innocent.

White House advisor Kellyanne Conway also mentioned Trump’s accusers Sunday in response to the question of whether Trump believes Porter is innocent. “The president believes, as he said the other day, you have to consider all sides,” Conway told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on This Week. “He has said this in the past about incidents that relate to him as well.” Conway stressed that Porter “is no longer the staff secretary.”

Conway also responded to a Saturday tweet by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) that said, “If [Trump] wants due process for the over dozen sexual assault allegations against him, let’s have Congressional hearings tomorrow.” Conway suggested that media attention counts as due process: “Those accusers have had their day on your network and elsewhere for a long time. They were trotted out again late last year.”

Meanwhile, budget director Mick Mulvaney attempted to defend the handling of the Porter situation and Trump’s Saturday tweet, but the explanations were not very flattering to the White House. He said on Fox News Sunday that Trump and Kelly had a “very human reaction” to the allegations against Porter. Mulvaney is reportedlya likely candidate to become the next chief of staff if Kelly leaves the White House, but Mulvaney said Sunday that the rumors are “much ado about nothing.”

Mulvaney also defended the president’s Saturday tweet by suggesting it was a reference to casino magnate and former RNC Finance Chair Steve Wynn, who faces accusations of sexually harassing employees in his casinos for decades. Wynn, who stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts this week due to these allegations, is hardly a sympathetic figure.


This is the explanation for the tweets the article discusses above:

Trump believes the men – POLITICO

For President Donald Trump, the allegations that his now-former staff secretary was a serial domestic abuser are another #HimToo moment.

Never mind the FBI background check that found the allegations and restraining order credible enough to delay Rob Porter’s security clearance, or the close-up photos of the black eye Porter’s ex-wife says he gave her on vacation in Italy.

To the president, sitting in the Oval Office on Friday, the victim here seems to be Porter.

“It was very sad when we heard about it and certainly he’s also very sad now,” Trump told reporters. “He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent so you have to talk to him about that.”

Trump made no mention of the women. No denunciation of domestic abuse to line up with Vice President Mike Pence, who initially told reporters he’d catch up with the Porter drama when he gets back to Washington from his trip to the Winter Games in South Korea, only to later clarify in an interview with NBC News: “There’s no tolerance in this White House and no place in America for domestic abuse.”

On Saturday, the president tweeted: “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

Trump has been down this road before—many times— starting with two dozen women who’ve alleged he sexual harassed or assaulted them. His ex-wife Ivana Trump claimed once in a deposition that he raped her, in a rage over bad hair plugs. She later said she didn’t mean “rape” literally.

Gillibrand offers Trump ‘due process’ hearings on sexual assault allegations against him – ThinkProgress

Following the resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter over multiple accusations of domestic abuse, President Trump tweeted Saturday that he’s concerned people’s lives are being “shattered and destroyed” by “a mere allegation” without “due process.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) responded by offering Trump his own “due process” in the form of hearings about the many sexual allegations against him, prompting a retort from White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway that those women “have had their day.”


On Sunday morning, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney clarified on Fox News Sunday that it’s not clear Trump’s tweet referred to Porter, and could have been a reference to Steve Wynn, the former Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Two weeks ago, Wynn resigned over accusations he assaulted and harassed dozens of women. The RNC has said it’s planning to keepthe $200,000 Wynn donated to Republicans last year, insisting that he should be “allowed due process.” Despite the similar stories, Wynn has not really been in the news the last two weeks and wasn’t even mentioned on Fox & Friends Saturday morning — but Porter was.

Regardless of whom Trump was referring to, Gillibrand decided to offer him exactly what he was asking for: due process in the form of congressional hearings on the many sexual assault allegations against him.

“I don’t need a lecture from Kirsten Gillibrand or anybody else who protected and defended and harbored a sitting president who had sexual relations in the Oval Office and was impeached for lying. I don’t need a lecture from her or anybody else.”

Conway is referring to President Clinton, who was impeached in 1999 and served in office until 2001. Gillibrand didn’t take office until 2007, so it’s unclear how exactly she could have been protecting Clinton at the time. It’s true that Gillibrand is close to the Clintons and that they have campaigned for her. She said last November that in hindsight, however, she believes Clinton should have resigned over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

If anything, Conway’s retort shines light on the fact that the accusations against Clinton were actually investigated. Apparently she thinks that “due process” for Trump is simply the fact that his accusers have had airtime on television.


A few other links on that:

Conway unwittingly makes point about White House: ‘Why would someone like me and other women work there?’

Jeanine Pirro: Obama is to blame for Rob Porter domestic abuse scandal –

It is always Obama’s fault.

I guess this next abuser in tRumps midst will be also a product of an Obama presidency:

Trump campaign co-chair gets 20 years for sexual abuse and trafficking teens

Tea Party leader and former Trump campaign chair Tim Nolan has pleaded guilty and received 20 years in prison for human trafficking, reports

According to the report, Nolan, 71, a former judge, used drugs and threats of arrest to force women and girls under the age of 18 into sex acts.

Pleading guilty to 21 of the counts filed against him — for crimes committed dating back to 2004 — Nolan accepted a plea deal where he will serve  20 years in prison and pay a $100,000 fine, becoming eligible for parole in four years, his attorney stated.

Some of the incidents occurred in the summer of 2016 while Judge Nolan was serving as the chair of the Donald Trump campaign in Campbell County, KY.

This revelation comes after another one of tRump’s White House Staff resigns due to abuse accusations:

Second White House official departs amid abuse allegations, which he denies – The Washington Post

A White House speechwriter resigned Friday after his former wife claimed that he was violent and emotionally abusive during their turbulent 2½ -year marriage — allegations that he vehemently denied, saying she was the one who victimized him.

The abrupt departure of David Sorensen, a speechwriter who worked under senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, came as The Washington Post was reporting on a story about abuse claims by his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett. Corbett told The Post that she described his behavior to the FBI last fall as the bureau was conducting a background check of Sorensen.

White House officials said they learned of the accusations by Sorensen’s wife Thursday night, before The Post contacted the White House for comment.

“We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today,” spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement Friday evening.

In a text message to The Post, Sorensen said he stepped down because he “didn’t want the White House to have to deal with this distraction.”


White House Speechwriter Resigns Amid Abuse Accusations – The New York Times

That NYT link there pretty much gives the tRump side of things…typical abuse apologist.

This Axios article is giving a inside look into the background of Porter and Kelly:

Scoop: Rob Porter telling different story than John Kelly – Axios

White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter is telling associates that some senior White House officials strongly encouraged him to “stay and fight,” and claims he “never misrepresented anything” to Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Why it matters: This White House has a culture problem, starting at the top. The natural instinct is to defend/deny and show scant, if any, concern for the women alleging misconduct and harm. And when the going gets tough internally, the other natural instinct is to blame everyone but yourself.

Read it at the link…


Just a couple more articles before we end it: Woody Allen’s films move many people. It’s time to ask why | Cara Marsh Sheffler | Opinion | The Guardian

t is, hands-down, my favorite Onion headline of 2018: “Aspiring Actor Dreams Of One Day Publicly Voicing Regret For Working With Woody Allen.”

AO Scott, the New York Times film critic, voiced his own regret last week, joining Greta Gerwig, Colin Firth and a host of others. His contribution is notable because what is a film critic, if not the consumer who is first among equals? We all get to watch the movie and say what we want about it, but Scott gets to do so in the New York Times.

In “My Woody Allen Problem,” Scott muses over the outsized – and troubling – role Allen played shaping his own sensibilities. As Scott puts it, “Reassessment is part of the ordinary work of culture, and in an extraordinary time, the work is especially vital and especially challenging.”

Reassessment? It staggers the imagination: do we need to reassess 17-year-old Mariel Hemingway as a plausible love interest for a 44-year-old Woody Allen in Manhattan? Scott writes, “There is a powerful and understandable urge … to expunge the perpetrators, to turn away from their work and scrub it from the canon.”

While Scott goes on to say it’s never that easy, I believe we are reassessing the wrong thing. Scott, the critic, has taken it upon himself to examine his complicity in Allen’s enduring popularity; we, the audience, need to do the same.

And here is the crux of the matter:

Biography shouldn’t serve as a convenient excuse to let ourselves off the hook. It seems the more loudly we denounce a biography, the easier it is to drown out the voice in our heads that dares to ask, “So, why did you love his movies?”

I was raised by a Jew who loved Wagner. As such, my father never papered over the fact that Wagner was a rotten bigot. The larger lesson was this: sometimes terrible people make great art.

John Lennon wrote Imagine. He also beat women. Bernini made marble come to life. He also had his muse’s actual face slashed with a razor. However, Woody Allen is inconveniently alive. What’s more, he has tackled some of the crimes he stands accused of committing in his most famous movies.

If Woody Allen the man is too much intertwined with his art, it’s his own damn fault: he’s an auteur after all. That means Allen’s poor treatment of women didn’t just play out in a tabloid divorce, but also in dozens of movies many of us adored, paid to see, and that the Library of Congress deemed “culturally significant” and added to National Film Registry.

We cannot simply cross these movies off that list and wash our hands of the matter. We shouldn’t sit around saying, “Gee, wasn’t New York cool in the 70s,” and forget about that era’s sexism and sexualization of children. We lose a critical piece of our cultural knowledge – and our ability to recognize who we were so we can actually change – when we expurgate anything tricky or objectionable from the record.

Cara Marsh Sheffler argues that we should not rid ourselves of the previous work of Allen…that even though now he is no longer producing great film…meaning he is putting out crap, don’t forget the art he did produce.

The Time’s Up movement and the #MeToo moment need to reckon with what kinds of movies get funding going forward and move the needle toward progress for women. Also, to be sure, Allen is past his prime. However, his contributions are admired and are in the canon. And, I think, they ought to stay there for the same reason I don’t think the Met should trash all its Balthus: culture is messy because it reflects a messy world.

My hope going forward is that we can both allow ourselves to be moved by art while being forthright about where it came from. I’m all for being straightforward about biographical ugliness, but censoring museum collections or film catalogues in hindsight can erode our cultural heritage to a delusional extent.


We can have higher standards for men specifically and society in general while not telling ourselves all artists have to be good for their art to be useful or resonant. It’s far more important to ask why something can move us when such a terrible person created it – rather than just scrapping the whole thing with a glib hashtag.

We need to ask the harder questions if we are going to be honest with ourselves. The answers will be less flattering, but more worthwhile. Those answers will help us better understand our shared culture – and only then can we improve it and make it more genuinely, not just cosmetically, inclusive.

I will probably get flack for this…but I agree with Sheffler. There are a few Woody Allen films that I cannot deny, two of them being, Radio Days and Bullets Over Broadway…which I have to admit are in my top favorite list of movies. I find myself unable to renounce those films.

I guess I could say, some would call it hypocrisy…the shit Allen has put out for the last couple of decades are deserving of the disgust and shameful hashtags…and aside from his repulsive abusive past, they are indeed films that shouldn’t be seen by anyone.

All that being said…here is one last story for you, and yes it also centers around abusive men: Kentucky murder spree leaves 5 dead, including suspect

Five people, including a suspect, are dead after a string of killings Saturday in northeast Kentucky, authorities said.

Deputies in Johnson County, Ky., found two bodies in a home, then in the search for the suspect, Joseph Nickell, two additional people were found dead. Deputies say Nickell committed suicide.

“This has been a horrific murder spree,” said Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price. “There are no words to describe the heartbreak in seeing four lives taken due to the actions of one man. I have worked in law enforcement for 34 years. This is one of the most disturbing acts of violence I have ever seen.”

He says “horrific murder spree” …I say victims of domestic abuse, Kentucky man shoots dead 4 before killing himself | Daily Mail Online

Nickell, who is a self-identified conservative christian, lost his sister in 2017 to addiction. He has been arrested several times in the past and charged with public intoxication, domestic violence and assault, and fleeing or evading police, official arrest records show.

You say tomato, I say tomahtoe…you say New AW-lens, I say New Or-lee-uns…tRump says “falsely accused,” we say abusers… #metoo says obliterate, I say…”but isn’t it art?”  Fucking hell. Let’s call the whole thing off.

You say either and I say eyether
You say neither and I say nyther;
Either, eyether, neither, nyther
Let’s call the whole thing off!

You like potato and I like potatoe
You like tomato and I like tomahtoe;
Potato, potatoe, tomato, tomahtoe!
Let’s call the whole thing off!

The artwork for the post above is by Mayumi Oda, who is considered the ‘Matisse of Japan’…please go to her website to learn more about her and to see more of her work. About Mayumi Oda | Mayumi Oda

This is an open thread.

Look Into the Mirror of Your Mind, the Secret Home of Dakini by Artist Mayumi Oda – Look Into the Mirror of Your Mind, the Secret Home of Dakini | Mayumi Oda

33 Comments on “Sunday Reads: You say New Or-LEENS…I say New New AW-yunz”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    Running late, always.

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. Great article! Love your layout of the topic. Here’s my problem with MeToo. The self-righteousness of many spokespeople shifts the emphasis away from the true and deeper issues around abuse and instead becomes a perverse badge of honor… and power! Herd instinct or mob rule becomes a rallying cry. But do we pay attention to what we are saying? No.

    I was stopped in my tracks this week by the collateral damage suicide of the woman producer who did report Rose McGowan’s abuse by Harvey Weinstein at the time. But McGowan unfairly threw her defender under the bus, recently. And her defender fell on her own sword.
    We need to take care with the words we speak.

    • NW Luna says:

      We need to take care with the words we speak.

      Always. But often it seems that the careful words get buried in a flood of hasty words coming from somewhere else.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I had not heard of that story, re: McGowan and defender under bus…

      All this sort of comes from my thoughts on film…this is my favorite time of the year on TCM, it is 31 days of Oscar. And after watching films by directors who are or have been accused and convicted of abuse/rape/etc… and recent discussions by Tarrantino, can their work be separated from the man itself. I have to say, is it art. Yes. But should we celebrate the men, hell no. But don’t discount the art they produced.

  4. NW Luna says:

    I love Mayumi Oda’s work! Thank you, JJ.

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    So we are just watching the Olympics…and NBC cut out the performance of the skater who refused to meet with Pence. They showed the commentators remarks after his skate…how it was a brilliant thing…but no actual showing of the performance. Is this a punishment? Blackout on Rippon:

    Mike Pence Tangles With Olympian Adam Rippon Over Gay Rights Record

    Oh and btw, Rippon is third, the Canadian (who fell three times is first)

  6. Sweet Sue says:

    I saw Adam Rippon’s entire and wonderful performance tonight.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Sue, I wish we could have seen it. We were watching via the NBC Roku app using Sling as the TV provider. They did not even have a replay of his performance in the list of all the others that were offered. Only a mere 30 second clip montage of his jumps.

      I am probably being overly sensitive about it, but it pisses me off.

      • Joanelle says:

        Adam Rippon’s performance was incredible, we couldn’t believe the Candin who fell three times during his routine.
        Do they actually believe we didn’t see the difference?
        Cheating liars, it was out there for the world to see 😠

  7. RonStill4Hills says:

    It is always Obama’s fault.

    Wrong. It is OFTEN Obama’s fault.

    But it is MORE OFTEN Hillary’s fault.

    And it is frequently their fault together.

    It is NEVER Trump’s, nor any white male connected to Trump, fault.

  8. RonStill4Hills says:

    I am not wxactly displeased with the Obama’s pictures but I do not think hey look much like them.

    • NW Luna says:

      The article here?

      I know it’s the portraitist’s style, but Michelle Obama looks so flat and gives the impression she’s a remote, non-real woman IMO.

      With Barack Obama’s I liked the symbolism represented by the flowers, but couldn’t help wishing there was one to represent his mother too. And though the journalist thinks the greenery is like “ground cover” I saw it as as plants draping down over a wall and growing over the floor: Vibrant growth.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Obama looks a tad too old but I love the non-traditional backgrounds for both. Michelle’s portrait is lovely IMO.

    • quixote says:

      If those are the paintings, no, they don’t look much like them at all. ??? What’s up with that? Two seriously goodlooking people, no need to edit out jowls or wrinkles, and the painter couldn’t get a better result than that? Weird.

  9. Enheduanna says:

    Wow tRumpie’s even lost Fox News on the Porter thing:

    Sort of. Why they’re suddenly questioning this perfectly predictable scandal is beyond me.

  10. NW Luna says:

    • quixote says:

      I know where she’s coming from and, yes, absolutely, the risks from racism and misogyny are not the same. But Jesus-Freaking-Christ, um, sorry, in a world where no woman can walk down a street or take a bus without planning ahead, where the leading cause of non-accident-related death is male partner violence, etc., etc., etc. through the whole sorry story, in this world any woman has an all-too-good chance of not making it through the day due to some hate crime or other.

      Hate crimes, at this point, have the highest frequency and per capita incidence against women than any other targeted group. The ignorance of the violence permeating women’s lives is just a measure of how far we have to go to understand the true measure of sexism. We’re not there even for racism, but we’re even further behind when it comes to misogyny. I dearly love RBG, but a comment like that shows even she had to protect her sanity by not entirely getting it.

      • NW Luna says:

        I do agree with you, although I liked how RBG highlighted the risks faced during the civil rights movement (which haven’t gone away).

        Wonder how much is self-deprecation and/or non-analysis of “usual” circumstances. Women are so used to having to limit their movements and actions because of men’s hate crimes against them that this constant threat is seen as life as usual. Most women aren’t even aware of it as a hate crime. It’s a “bad neighborhood” or it’s “their fault for walking after dark” back from the grocery store, or …. etc. And the rape & death threats women receive for speaking out.

  11. NW Luna says: