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Academy Award® Nominated ~ Achievement in Music (Original Song)

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl and Geot

‘Almost There’
Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

The Princess and the Frog

Click here for complete coverage of The Princess and the Frog, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

‘Down in New Orleans’
Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

The Princess and the Frog

Click here for complete coverage of The Princess and the Frog, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

‘Take It’
Music and lyrics by Maury Yeston

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‘The Weary Kind’
Music and lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Click here for complete coverage of Crazy Heart, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

Back to 44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars®Back to 44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars®

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Filmmaker Who Broke ACORN Story Arrested For Attempted Bugging Of Landrieu’s Office

Posted by: Audiegrl

James O'Keefe

James O'Keefe


A conservative activist who posed as a pimp to target the community-organizing group ACORN and the son of a federal prosecutor were among four people arrested by the FBI and accused of trying to interfere with phones at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.

Activist James O’Keefe, 25, was already in Landrieu’s New Orleans office Monday when Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, both 24, showed up claiming to be telephone repairmen, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office said Tuesday. Letten says O’Keefe recorded the two with his cell phone.

In the reception area, Flanagan, the son of acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan in Shreveport, and Basel asked for access to the main phone at the reception desk.

After handling the phone, Letten’s office said, they asked for access to a phone closet so they could work on the main phone system. The men were directed to another office in the building, where they are accused of again misrepresenting themselves as telephone repairmen.

They were arrested later by the U.S. Marshal’s Service. Details of the arrest were not available. A fourth man, Stan Dai, 24, was also arrested, but Letten’s office said only that he assisted the others in planning, coordinating and preparing the operation.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Federal officials did not say why the men wanted to interfere with Landrieu’s phones or whether they were successful. Landrieu, a moderate Democrat, declined comment Tuesday. She has been in the news recently because she negotiated an increase in Medicaid funds for her state before announcing her support for Senate health care legislation.

Bill Flanagan’s office confirmed his son was among those arrested, but declined further comment.

An FBI criminal complaint charging the men was unsealed Tuesday, and a magistrate set bond at $10,000 each after they made their initial court appearances wearing red prison jumpsuits.

Much more on the breaking story @ TPM

UPDATE: What Is The Pelican Institute?

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Hat tip Media Matters

With O’Keefe arrest, Breitbart develops new-found appreciation for “facts”

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A Tribute to Haitian Soldiers for Heroism in the American Revolution

Posted by: Audiegrl

Dedicated to the people of Haiti both in the US and abroad, please except our profound thanks, and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you…

Haitian Monument Statue in Franklin Square, Savannah, GA

Haitian Monument Statue in Franklin Square, Savannah, GA

After 228 years as largely unsung contributors to American independence, Haitian soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War’s bloody siege of Savannah had a monument dedicated in their honor. On October 9, 1779, a force of more than 500 Haitian gens de couleur libre (free men of color) joined American colonists and French troops in an unsuccessful push to drive the British from Savannah in coastal Georgia.

Chairman Daniel Fils-Aime

“We were here in 1779 to help America win independence. “ said Daniel Fils-Aime, chairman of the Miami-based Haitian American Historical Society. “That recognition is overdue.” “To see a monument in downtown Savannah and the commemoration of the involvement of the Haitian Americans, it’s a dream come true.” said Savannah Mayor Floyd Adams Jr. “This will help educate Americans but also Haitian youth about the significant contribution their ancestors made.” “The role of Haitian soldiers in the battle had long been ignored“, said North Miami Mayor Josaphat Celestin. “It means recognition for our efforts, that we were here all along, that Haiti was a part of the effort to liberate America and that they came here as free men, not as slaves,” Celestin said. “We hope this country will recognize this.”

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“It’s a huge deal,” said Philippe Armand, vice president of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America, who flew to Savannah from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. “All the Haitians who have gone to school know about it from the history books.”

Though not well known in the U.S., Haiti’s role in the American Revolution is a point of national pride for Haitians.

After returning home from the war, Haitian veterans soon led their own rebellion that won Haiti’s independence from France in 1804.


The Siege of Savannah

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The Siege of Savannah on October 9th, 1779 presents the Revolutionary War as a world conflict more than does any other engagement of the Revolution. The memory of this battle also reminds us of the fact that significant foreign resources of men, money, and material contributed to the eventual success of the cause of American independence. French, Polish, Native Americans, African slaves, free men of African descent, Germans, Hessians, Austrians, Scots, Welsh, Irish, English, Swedish, and American and West Indian colonials also participated as individuals or whole units in this most culturally diverse battle of the war. For six weeks this diverse force was assembled in three armies to contend for the possession of Savannah. This battle resulted in the largest number of casualties the allies suffered in a single engagement.

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The presence of the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue as the largest unit of soldiers of African descent to fight in this war is worthy of commemoration. The fact that their number was made up of free men who volunteered for this expedition is startling to most people and surprising to many historians. Their presence reminds us that men of African heritage were to be found on most battlefields of the Revolution in large numbers. As a new and relatively inexperienced unit, the Chasseurs participated in the siege warfare including the battle of September 24th and the siege of October 9th.

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The Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint-Domingue served as a reserve unit to American and French forces fighting a British contingent. As battered American and French soldiers fell back, the Haitian troops moved in to provide a retreat.

Twenty-five of their number has their names recorded as wounded or killed during the campaign. Over 60 were captured in the fall of Charleston eight months later. The British Navy captured three transports carrying Chasseurs; these soldiers were made prizes of war and sold into slavery. Other members of this unit were kept on duty away from their homes for many months as part of French garrison forces. A subsequent unit of Haitians was a part of the French and Spanish campaign against Pensacola where they faced some of the same regiments of British troops that their comrades faced in Savannah.

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The efforts of Haiti to secure its independence from colonial rule beginning in 1791 are remarkable for the fact that what began as a slave revolt was to ultimately succeed in prevailing over the resources of the French Empire and to form a government of Western Hemisphere Africans. Haiti, much smaller in population than the United States, was attacked by armies as large as those sent against America by Britain. The Haitian victory over the legions of Napoleon was achieved with much less foreign assistance than the United States enjoyed.

Henri Christophe

Henri Christophe, Click to enlarge

Many key figures in the Haitian War of Independence gained military experience and political insights through their participation in Savannah — most notably Henri Christophe, a youth at the time but in his adult years a general of Haitian armies and king of his nation for fourteen years. Many of the Haitian soldiers later fought to win their country’s own war of independence, crediting their military experience in Savannah. Influenced by both the events of the American Revolution and the rhetoric of the French Revolution, the people of Haiti began a struggle for self-government and liberty. The first nation in the Western Hemisphere to form a government led by people of African descent, it was also the first nation to renounce slavery.

Sources: Haitian American Historical Society, We Haitians United We Stand For Democracy, Wikipedia, and the Associated Press.


Help for Haiti~Learn What You Can Do

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Disney’s First African-American Princess Marks Studio’s Return to Old-Style Animation

Posted by Audiegrl

Among Disney’s Royal Ladies, Princess Tiana Is a Notable First

AP/Mike Cidoni—For most of the last century, the Disney ‘toon heroine was as white as, well… Snow White, the studio’s first feature-film superstar, who marked her debut in 1937’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

It would take some 60 years for the Disney artists to begin painting their leading ladies with all the colors of the wind, including the American Indian Pocahontas (1995), the Chinese Mulan (1998) and the Hawaiian Lilo (2002).

Only now, with “The Princess and the Frog,” have Disney animators put a black female front and center. Ironically, the inspiration for the new film came from two Caucasian men: current Pixar-Disney chief John Lasseter and the late Walt Disney himself.

The story really came from an initial idea of doing an American fairy tale, which hadn’t been done at Disney,” said “Princess” co-director Ron Clements. “And setting it in New Orleans, which is John Lasseter’s favorite city in the world. It was Walt Disney’s favorite city in the world … Out of that, it seemed natural that the heroine would be African-American.”

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Anika Noni Rose in Disney’s ‘The Princess and the Frog‘; ‘Dreamgirl’s‘ latest role is history making

Anika Noni Rose, famous for her role in 'Dreamgirls' both on Broadway and in the hit movie, stars in Disney's latest.

Anika Noni Rose, famous for her role in 'Dreamgirls' both on Broadway and in the hit movie, stars in Disney's latest.

NewYorkDailyNews/Joe Dziemianowicz—Anika Noni Rose has good reason to feel animated.

Her latest starring role isn’t simply high-profile — it’s downright historic.

The Princess and the Frog” leaps into local theaters on Wednesday, and her voice will be heard as Disney’s first animated black heroine: Tiana, a sassy go-getter out to rescue a bewitched prince from amphibian oblivion.

The tweaked Grimm’s fairy tale is set in jazzy 1920s New Orleans, but Rose, 37, a Tony winner best known from the movie version of “Dreamgirls,” says her connection to Tiana is rooted right at the core of the Big Apple.

Rose was in the middle of Times Square when word came that she’d landed the coveted regal role.

The producers “had been trying to reach me for quite a while, but I’m a New York girl,” says Rose. “I was trying to do 10,000 things at once and didn’t get the phone. I ended up running to the Disney office. Luckily they were nearby — and I was in sneakers.”

Those sensible shoes fit the character of Tiana, a chef who’s waiting tables until she can open her own restaurant.

Unlike other Disney princesses introduced with a trademark “I want” tune revealing their deepest desire (like the Little Mermaid, Ariel, who wants to “be where the people are“), Tiana’s first song, “Almost There,” is one of self-confidence and certainty.

She’s been saving and saving, and she’s got the down payment ready,” says Rose. “She sees her dreams coming true.”

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A Fairy Tale Beginning

Tiana, the heroine in the upcoming 'The Princess and the Frog.'

Tiana, the heroine in the upcoming 'The Princess and the Frog.'

Washington Post/Neely Tucker—In the 72 years since Walt Disney’s animated version of Snow White captivated audiences as “the fairest of them all,” there have only been eight such Disney princesses. Through these movies and a line of toys, dresses and figurines, the Disney princesses have become global, doe-eyed icons of childhood. Sleeping Beauty awakened by a kiss, Cinderella’s clock striking midnight, Belle waltzing in the Beast’s castle, Ariel with Prince Eric in the moonlit lagoon — these have become heroines whom parents the world over feel safe to let their young girls idolize and mimic. And while Disney has brought us nonwhite princesses before (see “Mulan,” “Pocahontas“), Tiana is a first.

The implied message of Tiana, that black American girls can be as elegant as Snow White herself, is a milestone in the national imagery, according to a range of scholars and cultural historians.

Her appearance this holiday season, coming on the heels of Michelle Obama’s emergence as the nation’s first lady, the Obama girls in the White House and the first line of Barbie dolls modeled on black women (“So in Style” debuts this summer), will crown an extraordinary year of visibility for African American women.

But fairy tales and folklore are the stories that cultures tell their children about the world around them, and considering Disney’s pervasive influence with (and marketing to) young girls, Princess Tiana might well become the symbol of a culture-changing standard of feminine beauty.

If this figure takes off, you’re looking at 30 or 40 years of repetition and resonance,” says Tricia Rose, a Brown University professor who teaches both popular culture and African American studies, citing the enduring popularity of Disney princesses at the company’s theme parks, on Web sites and in videos.

“It’s a very big deal,” says Leonard Maltin, the film historian, critic and author of “Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons.”

She’s the first modern American [Disney] princess, and that she’s black sends a huge message,” says Cori Murray, entertainment director for Essence magazine.

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My Families Experience at Disneyland…

Last night, while putting together this story, I mentioned to Ogenec, my own families experience at DisneyLand. At his request, I’ve added our story to this post.

1966 DisneyLand Guidebook

1966 DisneyLand Guidebook

When I was around 4 years old we drove to Los Angeles to visit our cousins and their kids. My Mom and Dad being older, offered to take us all out to DisneyLand. So it was me, Michelle (age 4), Peter (age 5), and Alex (age 8), and our two sets of parents. My dad purchased the groups admission and also a ticket book, which allowed us to ride all day. Believe it or not, it was only $5.00 for adults, and $4.00 for kids under 12, which back then was a lot of money to spend for just entertainment. My Dad gave the ticket book to my cousin George to keep in his back pocket. My cousin’s were very young parents, and couldn’t have been more than 25 or 26 at the time.

So we get to the first ride, and of course, we are all excited and squealing with joy, and guess what? The ticket book is gone. Someone stole it from George’s back pocket, man, was he upset. So my Dad, being 46 and the oldest of our group, takes charge and he and George go to find some manager to see what could be done. They were taken into a office, and sat in front of the secretary in the waiting room. By this point, they were getting kind of nervous… This was 1966, and there were not many other Black people at the amusement park, so they just assumed that we were all going to get thrown out for trying to scam the joint. LOL 😉

After about 15 minutes, a man comes out of the office, and asks my Dad and George to step in and sit down. He sat on the edge of his big desk and listened very quietly to their story. My Dad told him they didn’t want to disappoint their kids, and was there anyway they could get some ride tickets back, not all that were stolen, but just enough so the kids could ride a few times, and then we would all leave.

The man said, “That’s out of the question. You came here with your family, and someone robbed you, so that’s not your fault. Please take these ticket books, they are good for all weekend, and your family can ride as much as they want, and come back tomorrow if they want to.”

walt-disney1My dad and cousin got up, to shake this mans hand and thank him. My dad said, I’m sorry sir, I never got your name? The man said, my name is Walt Disney…..

True Story…

I’ve read different opinions on why Disney decided to create this movie. Some are not impressed, and have said that Disney’s motivation is more of a financial nature, rather than a move to foster any kind of diversity. Whatever Disney’s reasons, I’ll always remember my own families story, and have to believe somewhere, some place, Walt Disney is smiling…because for him, it was all about the kids.~~AudieGrl

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New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees and President Obama Team Up for Children’s Fitness

Posted by Buellboy

Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware, President Barack Obama, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu with Washington, D.C.-area children at the White House. Brees said it was the only time he had thrown a pass to someone wearing a Chicago Bears jacket.

Times-Picayune—In support of his United We Serve initiative, President Barack Obama and NFL stars Drew Brees, DeMarcus Ware and Troy Polamalu team up to highlight the importance of fitness for America’s children.

Obama joins Saints quarterback Brees, Steelers safety Polamalu and Cowboys linebacker Ware in a special public service announcement debuting during each of the three NFL games played on Thanksgiving.

The 90-second PSA is a joint effort of the NFL’s PLAY 60 campaign, a league-wide effort to fight childhood obesity by getting kids active for 60 minutes a day, and United We Serve, the president’s initiative encouraging all Americans to participate in community service.

The spot will continue airing throughout the rest of the season in a shorter format.

Through United We Serve, I have challenged all Americans to roll up their sleeves and engage in sustained service to strengthen our communities,” the president said. “For some of us that means volunteering at a soup kitchen or cleaning up a local park. For others, it means taking time to build a playground or volunteering your time to improve the life of a child.

Quarterback Drew Brees

No matter how we serve, we find common purpose when we dedicate ourselves to helping others. This holiday season, I am asking all Americans to find their own way to give back to their communities.”

The Saints’ Brees, who has been a national spokesman for the PLAY 60 campaign for the past two years, said, “We had about 25 minutes and did three different takes. I threw him a couple of passes. He was wearing his Chicago Bears jacket, so there was some ribbing about that.

Thanksgiving is a time when families come together, and it is also a perfect time to focus on the importance of keeping kids healthy and active,” Brees said. “I was honored to spend time with the president on an issue that is clearly important to him. I was also impressed by his wide receiver skills.”

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LA Governor Bobby Jindal Booed Loudly At Obama Town Hall

Posted by Audiegrl

obama-new-orleans-sg-cropped-proto-custom_3Once again President Obama proves that he out classes his Republican opponents by a mile. Earlier today during a town hall held in Nola, the president mentioned the name of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The audience replied with a resounding chorus of boos. So did the president agree with them (like his right-wing opponents would have) or did he show some real class by discouraging the booing?

No, no, Bob is doing a good job,” the president told the crowd at the University of New Orleans. “Bobby, if it makes you feel any better I get that all the time,” he continued, and the crowd laughed. More seriously, he added, “Even though we have our differences politically, one thing I will say is that this person is working hard on behalf of the state, and you gotta give people credit for working hard.” This time, the audience cheered.

That’s how this President rolls…

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Little Boy Asks Obama Why Do People Hate You ?

Posted by Audiegrl

obama-new-orleans-sg-cropped-proto-custom_3ABC News/Matthew Jaffe—President Obama, like any other President, has his fair share of critics. Even fourth-graders have noticed.

Why do people hate you?”, a fourth-grade boy asked Obama at a town hall event in New Orleans today. “They’re supposed to love you. And God is love.”

That’s what I’m talking about,” replied the President.

First of all, I did get elected president, so not everybody hates me,” Obama noted, before adding, “What is true is if you were watching TV lately, it seems like everybody’s just getting mad all the time. And I — you know, I think that you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt. Some of it is just what’s called politics where, you know, once one party wins, then the other party kind of gets — feels like it needs to poke you a little bit to keep you on your toes.”

And so you shouldn’t take it too seriously,” Obama told the boy. “And then, sometimes, as I said before, people just — I think they’re worried about their own lives. A lot of people are losing their jobs right now. A lot of people are losing their health care or they’ve lost their homes to foreclosure, and they’re feeling frustrated. And when you’re president of the United States, you know, you’ve got to deal with all of that.”

You get some of the credit when things go good. And when things are going tough, then, you know, you’re going to get some of the blame, and that’s part of the job,” he continued. “But, you know, I’m a pretty tough guy.”

You’ve just got to keep on going, even when folks are criticizing you, because — as long as you know that you’re doing it for other people, all right?” Obama concluded.

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