Wendell Pierce talks COVID-19, “Jack Ryan,” “Burning Cane,” and WBOK in interview with Kristine Froeba
New Orleans native, “Treme” and “The Wire” actor, Wendell Pierce is coming off of one of the most exciting periods of his career. And although COVID-19 has created a lull in almost everyone’s life and career, Pierce seems to be as visible as ever, both on the ground in New Orleans and on our collective streaming services. It is also Pierce’s instantly recognizable, dulcet tone that narrates the new Popeye’s NOLA Strong campaign released last week. It’s a video that caused more than a few locals’ eyes to well up. When the restaurant chain created its NOLA Strong family meal box, directing all profits to benefit the non-profit Second Harvest Food Bank, they called on Pierce.
Protests and demonstrations calling for social justice have continued across the country for months now, including here in New Orleans. Every night, groups in neighborhoods throughout the city come together at 6 p.m. on-the-dot to silently kneel, sit or stand for nine minutes to demand justice for George Floyd, who was murdered by police officers in late May, and to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. “The Kneeling for 9 Minutes movement is bringing together neighbors from all walks of life and various backgrounds who all want to see our country make more progress toward ending systemic racism and creating a more just and equitable society,” said resident Angie Breidenstine, an organizer of one of the Uptown nightly vigils. “Meeting every night is a way to keep the issues visible and central–for ourselves and for our community.”
Purposely gathering on neutral grounds during high-traffic hours at main intersections—such as Oak Street at Carrollton Avenue, Magazine Street at Napoleon Avenue, and Bonnabel Boulevard at Metairie Road — the demonstration is blatantly visible to the hundreds of cars that pass each evening. While some respond with snickers and shouts of opposition from rolled-down windows, most responses come in forms of car honks and chants of support.
The carpool line at the Child Development Program on Claiborne Avenue looked a bit different Saturday (May 16). Children’s heads popped up through sunroofs as teachers greeted the line of cars with cheers, waves, balloons and gift bags. Preschoolers were being treated to a drive-thru graduation. Of the 54 total students, ages 6 weeks through 4 years old, at the Uptown center, seven were graduating 4-year-olds. After being told by several parents that the sudden shelter-in-place orders brought on confusion to many of the children, particularly the older students, CDP staff members determined that they needed to do something to lift the children’s spirits.
I’m Joe Gerrity, local businessman, investor and Real Estate Broker. For my Yo Joe! column, I’ll be answering your real estate questions and providing market information special to New Orleans. New Orleans has seen an explosion in short-term rentals in recent years. In fact, an estimated 8,500 units were in operation until restrictions were passed in 2019.
There’s a new podcast in town, and service industry professionals are offering up their voices for it. The weekly podcast, titled We’ll Be Right Back: The Future of Hospitality, features interviews with professionals and organizations providing relief and resources as the industry manages amid COVID-19. As stated on its website, We’ll Be Right Back will “tell the stories of local business owners and employees in the service/hospitality sector and gig economy at-large in the Greater New Orleans Area impacted by the economic blowback of the coronavirus, as well as highlight the resources available to businesses and individuals alike.” Play the latest episode featuring Rachel Billow Angulo of La Cocinita. ?
“It’s important for New Orleans to have difficult, but hopeful and productive discussions as we chart a path forward in the wake of COVID-19,” said Greg Tilton, host and producer of We’ll Be Right Back.
Food, family and holidays are intrinsically linked, particularly in New Orleans where traditions run deep. With Passover starting today (Wednesday, April 8) and Holy Thursday (April 9) leading up to Easter Sunday, more families are planning their feast around these holidays at home due to COVID-19 self-quarantine rules. Gatherings will be far smaller and religious services will be virtual, but it’s still the holidays. Some will want a day off from cooking or may just want something special, picked up or delivered. Local restaurants, bakeries and caterers have filled the culinary void with to-go menus.
A week and a half into quarantine with COVID-19, I was shaking. I piled a blanket on top of myself and rocked side to side, occasionally moaning, nestling ever deeper into the joints of my couch. My heart felt like it was racing, my head pounded. Yes, according to my doctor, I most likely was infected with the coronavirus, but that’s not what was causing this. It had been 10 days since I was within 8 feet of another person, and I was having an anxiety attack.?
If you’re wondering how you can keep whiling away the hours while your normal activities are on hold, here’s a suggestion: Take advantage of the virtual public library. Although your neighborhood library is shuttered for the time being, the New Orleans Public Library still provides access to a wide variety of movies to stream, e-books to read, audio books to listen to and more. There are also plenty of resources to keep the kids entertained, help them (and you) master their homework and even prepare for the LEAP or the SAT. Now that you have more time on your hands, have you been thinking about tackling some of the projects you haven’t gotten around to? The virtual library can help.
COVID-19 can live up to eight hours on cardboard takeout boxes and up to 72 on Styrofoam containers, straws, cups and plastic bags, says a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Airborne droplets can linger in the air for three to four hours after a person has coughed or sneezed. What does that mean for locals who are supporting our beloved local restaurants and coffee shops? It means risk. Takeout and curbside service is a risk to the health of the workers and the customers, but how much?
Kendric J. Perkins opens an online chess games on his phone. One of students at Strategic Thoughts has just made a move, and now it is Perkins’ turn. “This is Isiaih,” Perkins said. “He might get me this game.”
This is the kind of homework Perkins assigns his students at Strategic Thoughts, the challenge of playing their teacher in online game of chess. On Monday (March 2), Strategic Thoughts will start a chess course in seven New Orleans Recreation Department locations.
It’s become one of the postcard images of Carnival in New Orleans — beads and other debris lining trees along the Uptown parade route, some to the point of being hardly recognizable. But parade-goers this season on the Napoleon Avenue portion of the route won’t take in any sights that like there — at least if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has its way. That’s because over the past week, the corps has installed more than 100 nets to block beads from latching onto trees on the Napoleon Avenue neutral ground — trees that have just been planted in the past month and are still getting used to their environment, according to corps spokesman Ricky Boyett. “The timing and impacts of Mardi Gras season have been a known factor in this project since its early planning. Netting has been placed to shield the trees from beads becoming wrapped around young branches,” Boyett said, adding that temporary fencing has also been put up around trees to keep pedestrians from walking on the developing root systems.
But what would likely be the most damaging for the trees actually wouldn’t be the beads themselves, according to Boyett, but their removal, which he said could damage new growth.