Category Archives: Da Bayou

A South Louisiana Native’s First Take On Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild in theaters now.

WARNING: Spoilers below. If you haven’t seen Beasts of the Southern Wild you probably should wait to watch the movie before reading this.

As I watched Beasts of the Southern Wild Sunday afternoon in San Francisco, I swelled with pride at the sight of my south Louisiana homeland and its residents portrayed on the silver screen in an accurate manner – perhaps outgunned by Mother Nature and other manmade forces but resilient and awash with joie de vivre to the bitter end.

I also marveled at the realization I had never seen anything like Beasts of the Southern Wild inside a movie theater, or a home theater, for that matter. Not only did it portray bayou people in a responsible fashion, instead of bumbling buffoons with cartoonish accents, but it starred a young black girl as a heroine and focused on the underwritten dynamic of a single black father “raising” his daughter. I used quotation marks around the word raising because at times it appeared Hushpuppy was the one raising her dad.

Eventually on-screen events snapped me out of my proud stupor. Specifically, images of glaciers breaking off into the sea set off alarms in my head. I heard prior to seeing Beasts of the Southern Wild that it had a global warming tie-in but did not know to what extent. Well, it’s hard to miss. The point director Benh Zeitlin tried to get across – global warming is destroying the Bathtub – failed to resonate with me. That’s being too kind. It felt wrong and slanted and hit with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the head.

Louisiana’s coast started eroding well before global warming became a political hot potato. Yes, I realize the idea that global warming has been the driving force behind erosion provides the film its zeitgeist appeal but it’s an appeal that is rooted in falsehood. Gradually disappearing barrier islands don’t make for a sexy film, I realize., but the heavy-handed global warming associations served as unwelcome distractions.

Zeitlin and crew got a lot right, though. It should also be noted my expectations for this movie were in the clouds. Therefore, if it reads like I am overly critical of this film it’s because I wanted this movie to be every bit as good as film critics declared it, and then some.

Pieces of it were.

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Stop Laughing: My Reflections On Getting Spanked As A Child

Don't spank me, bro!

My parents spanked me when I was a kid. They need not apologize. I didn’t turn out to be an alcoholic, a drug addict, or a maniac. If anything, I should apologize … for laughing at my mom when she spanked me.

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Examining 10-Year H.S. Reunion Questions

Future goals: Rollerderby enthusiast?

My 10-year high school reunion is this month, I think. This month or next … either way I am old as dirt.

I sent a Facebook message to the person coordinating the shindig informing them I wouldn’t make it. I live 2,500 miles away. Truth is even if I lived 2.5 miles from the reunion’s location I would not attend. I have no interest in reliving high school.

I received a reply with a series of questions – spouse’s name, number of children, future goals, and favorite high school memory – for a “memories book.”

So, about those questions …

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Beasts of the Southern Wild: My Most Anticipated Movie Of 2012

Beasts opens June 27

In my attempt to improve my ratio of good Terrebonne (La.) stories to bad Terrebonne (La.) stories, this morning I am sharing the trailer of Beasts of the Southern Wild. In case you missed it, Friday I called for Terrebonne’s sheriff to resign.

I admit I have not followed film offerings closely this year. I plan on seeing The Dictator and whatever actor Ryan Gosling comes out with next.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is my most highly anticipated film. Not just because it was shot in Terrebonne, a bayou parish where I once lived, but because of the fairy tale sense of wonder the trailer showcases. The visuals look dreamy and the bayou scenery feels like home. And little 6-year-old Quvenzhane Willis, from what I gather, is a force to be reckoned with.

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“Cajun Justice” Sheriff Should Resign Following DWI Intervention

King Vernon Bourgeois

Three weeks from now, millions of Americans will be introduced to “Cajun Justice” on A&E. I encourage you to read my post on why this TV show is/was/will forever be a terrible idea.

The Cajun culture has already been raped enough by outsiders looking to make a quick buck. A&E’s show promises to be no different, with its laughable references to treacherous swamplands and “Rougarous” and bloated comparisons of Terrebonne Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois to a king.

The cable channel’s likening of Bourgeois to a king seemed oddly fitting today after my old newspaper broke a story that he intervened during a DWI arrest involving an alleged drunk man driving a golf cart. It turned out the suspect’s family donated to Bourgeois’ election campaign four years ago.

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NOLA Times-Picayune’s Prison Piece Stirs Anger, Shame

Bobby Jindal: The Prison President?

As a person with familial ties to North Carolina, I am embarrassed for the state that it passed Amendment One last week. I am disgusted 6 out of every 10 voters there would cling to their bigotry, as if their actions were somehow noble or Biblical in basis. The state is more than tobacco-chewing rednecks slobbering over NASCAR drivers making left turns but outsiders wouldn’t know this based on their anti-gay marriage stance.

I come from a pretty backwoods, er backswamp, place myself. Lest I forget this, an article in Sunday’s New Orleans Times-Picayune reminded me in bold letters.

“Louisiana is the world’s prison capital,” the article’s headline and first sentence read. What came afterward made me curse under my breath and out loud, shake my head vigorously, and decry my home state’s fucked up way of treating its people — both criminals and non-criminals. (NOTE: The state’s court system is no better, as I detailed last April.)

If anyone wondered whether Louisiana were a third world country masquerading as a state in the first world they only need to read Cindy Chang’s piece to put aside their doubts. She did an excellent job reporting and writing the piece and the graphics that accompany it are fantastic too.

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New Orleans Rebirth: An NBA Franchise?

Rebirth Brass Band

Renaming the New Orleans Hornets would be, in theory, a wise move on new owner Tom Benson’s part. The name, a holdover from the team’s days in Charlotte, had no ties to New Orleans, and made the franchise seem distant to NBA fans in south Louisiana.

The only reason I prefaced my above statement with the phrase “in theory” is because the franchise could conceivably pick a name that would make it even harder for local fans to support the team. For instance, an ESPN affiliated web site reported the New Orleans Spirit and New Orleans Angels were the clubhouse leaders to become the team’s new nickname.

I hope the report is wrong. New Orleans Angels would immediately become one of the worst nicknames in professional sports history. New Orleans Spirit is slightly better, but is still ambiguous and fails to call to mind New Orleans.

So what should the team’s new nickname be?

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“Rougarou” Talk Says All You Need To Know About A&E’s “Cajun Justice”

Rarely in life does the term “Rougarou” say it all. A&E’s press release for its upcoming “Cajun Justice” reality TV show starring the Terrebonne (La.) Sheriff’s Office is one of those times.

To call this “reality” show, set to debut June 7, a farce is too kind. To call former Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois a publicity hungry shyster is perhaps just right.

Clearly, “Cajun Justice” is less about a law-enforcement department serving its community than it is a sheriff serving his ego. It is my belief Bourgeois should resign now.

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“Don’t, The Pastor Said (You’ll Go To Hell)”

I grew up attending a Southern Baptist church in south Louisiana. Both my parents were ordained Southern Baptist ministers, though they long since switched denominations. I ate from a buffet of fundamentalist hatred and bigotry each Sunday morning for 12 to 15 years. No surprise, then, I have issues with organized religion. Today, I’m reading a book about Iraq’s people called Night Draws Near. Some of the fundamentalist clerics author Anthony Shadid described within remind me of Southern Baptist ministers I have encountered. I don’t need to meet anymore fundamentalist holy men — whether Christian or Muslim.

NOTE: This is a composite sketch of Southern Baptist ministers I heard preach — I did not include my parents in the composite because they always struck me as moderate, even left-leaning (oh no!). The worst offenders were the revivalists. They would scream and stomp and work themselves into striking distance of a heart attack. All to rescue sinners like me. Also: I upped the tithe amount most pastors request. Call it artistic liberties.

Click below for “Don’t, The Pastor Said (You’ll Go To Hell)”.
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Kimmel Performance Begs Question: Big Freedia For President?

Freedia at Voodoo Music Experience 2011

If you have witnessed Big Freedia live, you know she knows how to unite a crowd, possesses boundless charisma, and is not afraid to put others to work. Azz everywhere, azz everywhere!

She should be running for president in 2012. I should be her press secretary. Need proof? Click here, here, and here.

Oh, and check out the Queen Diva performing “Excuse” on The Jimmy Kimmel Show! PS: If I had to pinpoint when I decided Big Freedia needed to run for president I would say it was around the 3:03 mark of her Kimmel performance. YOU ALREADY KNOW!

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