All posts by CajunTomato

I am a 29-year-old New Yorker from the bayou. I write about the city that never sleeps, live music, and other kinds of mischief.
Florence Welch

Voodoo Fest 2015 Picks

Maybe it says something about New Orleans’ Voodoo Fest that I forgot the three-day event centered around Halloween was this weekend until a friend asked me who she should see on Friday. Maybe it also says something about me that I have no idea what day of the week it is most of the time.

Voodoo Fest aka Voodoo Music + Arts Experience traditionally features a handful of acts I want to see and a barrel full of acts I don’t for the $235 three-day admission price. This year’s lineup leans a little more toward my preferences in hip hop and rock music. No lie, I am kinda sad I am a pauper and unable to fly down on a whim for Voodoo. (Also: I am kinda sad I am a pauper, period.)

Below are my Voodoo Fest 2015 picks for those lucky enough to score passes.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Four Takeaways From His St. Joseph’s College Talk

Midway through his book talk at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn last week, the Atlantic columnist and MacArthur Genius Ta-Nehisi Coates described his need to understand as much about this world as possible while he lived, having no expectation of an afterlife. Coates, whose work highlights the evils of past and present American racism and the need to right these wrongs, described understanding as a “gift.” In turn, Coates’ gift – or at least one of them – is his innate ability to make others, myself included, understand the world in a radically different way, a more informed and nuanced way, than I had before I encountered his work.

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Five Classic Books on my 2016 Reading List

Grant “G-Ratt” Gautreaux, my friend and noted Bayou Book Club founder – yes, this is a thing because I just wrote into existence – asked a question about reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest today on Facebook that turned into an avalanche of discussion about seemingly 100 different authors and books.  Books and the ideas they present, it turns out, continue to hold weight for Reagan babies, like us, who are accused of no longer giving a damn about literature. So put that in your pipe, think piece writers, and smoke it!

The conversation’s far-reaching appeal made me ponder books I’ve read this year and books I aspire to read in 2016 – hence the tagline five classic books on my 2016 reading list. The books I am listing below are books I own that I haven’t completed yet – shame, shame. I hope they inspire you to read that unread classic on your shelf, as well.

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David Vitter

Really Times-Picayune? David Vitter for Governor?

These days, my hometown rag The Times-Picayune is skinnier than an Olsen twin, and about as knowledgeable on New Orleans as Mary-Kate and Ashley combined. The paper’s sagging finances and decreasing news hole – similar maladies afflict old media enterprises across the nation – is no excuse for its editorial board’s recent brain fart, uh decision, to back Sen. David Vitter for governor.

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Kendrick Lamar

2015 Favorite Song Nominees

It’s mid-October, cold weather is a-comin’ and I am unprepared mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. Surprise, surprise. As a means of blocking out the coming winter and ignoring other pressing matters, today I’ve decided to write about 15 songs – my 2015 Favorite Song Nominees, for lack of a better phrase – that will certainly factor prominently on my year-end list.

Songs are listed in alphabetical order according to title. With one notable exception I elected to limit myself to one song per artist Below,. I’ve included my Faves 2015 Spotify playlist, featuring these 15 songs and many, many others. Enjoy!

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Worshiping Steve Jobs: America’s Asshole Deity

Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs.

On Saturday night, I spent two hours watching the new Danny Boyle film, “Steve Jobs,” about the highly fictionalized relationship of an adopted megalomaniac and the daughter he didn’t acknowledge until it was dramatically expedient to do so. And then, as humans in 2015 do, I pulled out my phone as soon as the movie ended and scrolled my Twitter feed, where I came across an article about Jobs’ ubiquitous corporation, Apple, and other American corporate leaders stashing a combined $2.1 trillion, including $620 billion in taxable income, in offshore tax havens. At that moment, I wanted to go back in time and shot put my mezzanine movie seat at Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) on screen out of principle.

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The Inevitable Katrina Question, 10 Years Later


Among New Yorkers, there is no such thing as a rude or intrusive question. One’s salary and/or monthly rent is icebreaker fodder, as my friend and fellow NYC transplant Amalia discussed last night. People get down to business here, about other people’s business, because everything is a race to size one another up.

When I tell people I am from south Louisiana the inevitable Katrina question arises.  The conversational “leveebreaker” goes something like this: Hi, I know I just met you but can we skip the pleasantries and go right to tales of human suffering and vast leadership failures? My perspective, I warn them, comes from that of someone attending college 70 miles southwest of New Orleans in August 2005. Seventy miles southwest in the context of Katrina might as well be another planet – one far away from the death and devastation that befell New Orleans when the levees broke.

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Two Subway Nightmares, Two Very Different Responses

Photo courtesy of New York Daily News.

Photo courtesy of New York Daily News.

This weekend, as I entered the grounds for Afropunk Fest, a man patted me down from shoulders to ankles. I opened my bag, showed him its contents and received entrance. This process, I imagine, happened to thousands of people, all in an attempt to prevent gun violence, or any form of widespread violence for that matter. This is not a procedure unique to festivals. The same goes for sporting events – NFL, MLB, etc. We willingly encounter these safeguards, in order to ensure the reality of modern-day America – our frightening gun violence epidemic – doesn’t interrupt our mass entertainment.

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True Detective Season 2 Episode 6: 10 Thoughts

Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) goes knives out at an orgy in this week's True Detective. Photo: HBO/Lacey Terrell

Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) goes knives out at an orgy in this week’s True Detective. Photo: HBO/Lacey Terrell

Spoiler Alert: Old white men popping Viagra like there’s no tomorrow up ahead.

I found myself in a conflicted, possibly nonsensical head space after watching “Church in Ruins,” the sixth episode of True Detective‘s oft-criticized second season. I still don’t give a damn about any of the main characters outside Velcoro (Colin Farrell) yet with two hours left in this season I am invested in how the story ends. That doesn’t mean I am expecting some form of redemption depicted on-screen but I am no longer expecting my time will be wasted, either.

Don’t let me down, Pizzolatto. (Show creator/lead writer Nic Pizzolatto, that is.)

Below are 10 thoughts from True Detective Season 2 Episode 6.

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True Detective Season 2 Episode 4: 10 Thoughts

Taylor Kitsch, master thespian.

Taylor Kitsch, master thespian.

Spoilers Ahead: If you are not caught up on HBO’s True Detective, you might want to arm yourself … to the teeth.

Old Testament bloodbaths. Green and Black auras. Baby talk involving men who have trouble getting it up.

Tonight’s True Detective episode titled “Down Will Come” took its protagonists’ already shitty existences, shook ‘em up and sent them free-falling toward hard truths about themselves and the case they’re investigating, all the while killing the equivalent of half Vinci’s population. What a bloody spectacle.

Here are 10 thoughts from True Detective Season 2 Episode 4:

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