‘Sharknado 2′ panel discussion and viewing party is tomorrow in Lakeview

What could be better than a ‘Sharknado 2′ (trailer here) media panel and viewing party? The original Sharknado was such a success that it just begged for a sequel.

To observe this momentous occasion, I will take part in a panel discussion prior to the premiere of ‘Sharknado 2′ designed to help you “Survive the Sharknado.” All the details are below. Hope to see you there. Stay safe.

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Former LSU basketball coach Dale Brown’s story of stroke and survival

IMG_9411I had the privilege of serving as the Master of Ceremonies once again at the American Heart Association’s annual gala on Saturday. The night was filled with a fantastic array of silent and live auction items, great food, entertainment by Big Sam’s Funky Nation and a lot of money was raised for a great cause.

Former LSU head basketball coach Dale Brown, 79, was the featured speaker this year and he spoke from the heart… literally. Brown suffered a massive stroke 11 years ago and could not move. He told me he was paralyzed, but never lost consciousness. His wife took him to the emergency room and the doctor told Brown there wasn’t much hope. His carotid artery was 100% blocked and an operation would be too dangerous.

48 hours later, the artery was clear and Brown walked out of the hospital. No ill effects. Nothing. His doctors said they had never seen anything like it. An artery doesn’t just unclog. Brown called it a miracle.

IMG_9409Years later, Brown is still as sharp as ever and is an in-demand motivational speaker. Engagements across the country have filled most of his time since leaving the Tigers’ basketball team 18 years ago. Can you believe it’s been that long?

I asked him about the program that he built into a national power and the subsequent hard times it has experienced. Brown told me he absolutely believes that Johnny Jones, his former assistant, will rebuild the program and make it a national power once again. He emphasized the importance of keeping Louisiana athletes at home.

Brown still attends LSU basketball games and works out vigorously. For me, it was a treat to talk with him about the LSU teams that I grew up watching — teams that included the likes of Chris Jackson, Vernel Singleton, Stanley Roberts, Shaquille O’Neal, Geert Hammink, Clarence Caesar, T.J. Pugh and Ricky Blanton.

The winningest coach in LSU basketball history, Brown appeared in 15 straight national tournaments and is the second-winningest coach in SEC history behind Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp.

His stats:

  • 17 consecutive non-losing seasons
  • Only three coaches have won more conference championships than Brown
  • Brown won conference championships in three different decades.
  • Led his teams to two Final Fours and four Elite Eights
  • SEC Coach of the Year or runner-up nine times
  • Twice named National Basketball Coach of the Year

I hadn’t heard Dale Brown speak like he did Saturday night. I also got to share a table with him and he was a pleasure to be around. Nights like that are few and far between. If you ever get a chance to listen to him, or talk hoops with him, I highly recommend it.

 

Social Media Boot Camp at Brother Martin High School

I recently spoke to the senior class at Brother Martin High School about the benefits and pitfalls of social media. It’s an important subject I enjoy speaking about, and as the students wrap up their high school careers and set their sights on college, I think it’s critical for them to realize how easily a 140 character tweet, Facebook post or Instragram picture can haunt them, literally, forever.

When it comes to social media, you never know what’s going to stick. I use numerous real-life examples (including one that involves me) that are certainly attention-getting.

I enjoyed the talk and the students were attentive, receptive and responsive. For anyone interested, I can customize my presentation for any size group.

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Uptown parades: Okeanos, Mid-City and Thoth

Uptown Parades: Iris and Tucks

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Rock ‘n’ Roll 2014: A half marathon like none other

I’d run three half marathons before Sunday, but none were like the fourth.

The temperature was in the lower 60s at the start with spotty, dense fog, some misting and a bit of wind. Humidity was pushing 100%. The course was very wet, but there wasn’t a lot of puddling. No one needs to run on soaked feet for 13 miles. I felt pretty good when the race started. I went off in corral 4 at 7:02.

I hit the button on my watch, fired up some music and settled in for the run. The crowd was great, as usual. Despite the less-than-ideal weather, people with inspirational and funny posters lined the course and cheered and screamed. So much of a half marathon is mental; the posters and motivation along the way really help.

My time to beat was 2:08, but I was pretty certain the humidity would prevent me from accomplishing that. Still, I was hopeful and wanted to give myself a better chance in the second hour by pushing it a little harder in the first hour than I had in previous half marathons.

My 5k time (3.1 miles) was 27:39, about right where I wanted to be. The 10k time (6.2 miles) came in at 58:44, slower than I would have liked. To beat 2:08, I was going to have my work cut out for me. I know I have to get to the 10 mile mark at 90 minutes to have any kind of a chance to break two hours, much less 2:08. As usual, I rolled through mile 10 at 1:40. I’m remarkably consistent at hitting that mark at that time. I knew I wouldn’t break two hours, but I still had an outside shot at breaking 2:08.

Miles 8-9 into the French Quarter were tough. It was raining a bit and visibility was very low. The wind also picked up. And I knew what was just ahead. Mile 10 has always been a mental roadblock for me. That’s where the course turns up Esplanade at the end of the French Market. The last 3.1 miles are a straight shot up Esplanade and into City Park. I finally was able to stare mile 10 down and not let it beat me. Instead, it caught up with me around the 11.5 mark.

I pushed and pushed at the end, but just didn’t have it. My lack of adequate training, the elements and toe injuries did me in. In spite of it all, 2:13 is a very good time with which I am pleased.

My four half marathons look like this: 2:12, 2:08, 2:28 and 2:13. The 2:28 was the Jazz Half debacle last October during which much of the field wilted in the heat and humidity. Like in school, you throw out your worst one.

I don’t know if I’ll ever break two hours, or 2:08 again, but it’s fun playing the mental game and continuing to try.

Photos: Christmas lights at Lafreniere Park

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Brother Martin High School Unveils Commissioned Terrance Osborne Painting

IMG_5819Brother Martin High School took the wraps off a one-of-a-kind painting Saturday night. New Orleans artist Terrance Osborne was commissioned by the school to paint something that embodied the school’s image, character and beliefs. A giclee of the unique painting was presented to the public at Saturday night’s “Celebration of the Crest” at the Marriott hotel on Canal Street.

IMG_5812The original painting, titled “The Tradition Continues,” is already hanging inside of Brother Martin on Elysian Fields. The giclee, a high-resolution reproduction, was featured during the Live Auction part of the evening. I was asked to be the guest auctioneer when its moment in the spotlight came. The giclee sold for $2,700.

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I met Terrance at an event several months ago and hatched the idea of him doing a commissioned painting for Brother Martin after seeing he had done them for Jesuit, Dominican and St. Augustine high schools. We had to get in on the action. I put Terrance in touch with school officials, several donors stepped up and the painting happened. It was great seeing it all come to fruition Saturday night.

Thanks to Terrance for doing a fantastic job.

Kermit Ruffins, Rebirth and Bonerama highlight Halloween edition of ‘Jazz at the Park’

The final 2013 edition of ‘Jazz in the Park’ at Armstrong Park features a Halloween theme, of course.

Trick-or-treating starts at 2 p.m. and the final second line of the year gets started at 4 p.m.

The music starts at 5 p.m. with Bonerama, Kermit Ruffins & The Barbeque Swingers and Rebirth Brass Band.

A costume contest is also part of the fun.

More details HERE.

Krewe of Boo parking advisory from the NOPD

Parade’s formation location: Elysian Fields and Decatur St Formation time: 5:00pm

Starting time: 6:00pm

The parade will form on Elysian Fields Avenue and North Peters Street. It will turn right onto North Peters Street in an uptown direction on North Peters Street (against traffic against the flood wall). Upon reaching Dumaine Street the parade will continue in an uptown direction with the normal flow of traffic on Decatur to N. Peters, to Canal Street, where the parade will turn right onto Canal Street to Dauphine Street where it will u-turn to the opposite side of Canal Street to Tchoupitoulas Street where it will turn right on Tchoupitoulas Street to St. Joseph Street turn left onto St. Joseph Street to Convention Center Boulevard, and make a right turn against traffic onto Convention Center onto Henderson., and proceed to Mardi Gras World for disband.

NO PARKING ZONES:

On the river bound side of Elysian Fields Avenue between N. Peters and Royal Streets from 12:00pm, until 8:00pm.

On both sides of N. Peters Street between Esplanade Avenue and Conti Street from 4:00pm until 8:00pm.

NOPD Issues Parking Reminders Ahead of Several Weekend Events

CITY OF NEW ORLEANS ISSUES PARKING INSTRUCTIONS AND TRAFFIC
RESTRICTIONS IN ADVANCE OF UPCOMING WEEKEND EVENTS

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Today, the City of New Orleans issued reminders in advance of special events that will impact the normal flow of traffic including: Race for the Cure, Play Streets Ciclovía and Krewe of Boo Parade, all scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 26, 2013.

Race for the Cure

Beginning at 9:00 a.m., the runners will depart from Roosevelt Mall Street and Tad Gormely Stadium, proceed river bound with traffic on Roosevelt Mall to the museum, veer right with traffic around the museum to Lelong Drive, continue on Lelong to North Carrollton Avenue, turn right onto North Carrollton Avenue to City Park Avenue and turn left at City Park Avenue to Moss Street (uptown side), proceed on Moss Street on the uptown side of the bayou to Jefferson Davis Hwy to Bienville Street, turn left against traffic, river bound on Bienville Street to Jefferson Davis Hwy turn left onto Jefferson Davis Hwy (downtown direction) to Lafitte Street turn left onto Lafitte Street to Moss Street (downtown side), turn right onto Moss Street river side of the bayou cross Orleans Avenue and proceed on Moss Street to Esplanade Avenue, turn left on Esplanade Avenue cross over bridge continue around Beauregard Circle to Lelong Drive, to the museum, around Collins Diebol Circle with traffic to Roosevelt Mall Street to the finish line. The race will end at 12:00pm.

Play Streets Ciclovía Mid-City

At 9:00 a.m., 250 cyclists will depart from South Claiborne Avenue and Esplanade Avenue to Bayou Road and North. Broad Street and Esplanade Avenue and North Broad Street, looping back to Bayou Road to Esplanade Avenue and South Claiborne Avenue. The event, which will also include bike and physical physical fitness activities along Esplanade, will end at 12:00 p.m. The lakebound side of Esplanade Avenue will be closed to through traffic between North Claiborne Avenue, and up to Bayou Road and North Broad Street between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. to accommodate the event.

Krewe of Boo Parade

Starting at 6:00 p.m., the parade will form on Elysian Fields Avenue and North Peters Street. It will then turn right onto North Peters Street in an uptown direction on North Peters Street (against traffic against the flood wall). Upon reaching Dumaine Street, it will continue in an uptown direction with the normal flow of traffic on Decatur Street to North Peters Street, to Canal Street, turn right onto Canal Street to Dauphine Street where it will loop to the opposite side of Canal Street to Tchoupitoulas Street to turn right on Tchoupitoulas Street to St. Joseph Street to turn left onto St. Joseph Street to Convention Center Boulevard to make a right turn onto Convention Center Boulevard onto Henderson Street and proceed to Mardi Gras World. The disband area will begin at Convention Center Boulevard and Henderson Street. The parade will end at 9:00 p.m.

The parade will include no parking zones on the river bound side of Elysian Fields Avenue between North Peters Street and Royal Street from 12:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and on both sides of North Peters Street between Esplanade Avenue and Conti Street from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Parking enforcement personnel will be monitoring for illegal parking.

Uniformed police officers will be present at each event to assist with the efficient flow of traffic.

In addition, RTA services, including streetcar lines and bus service may be interrupted during these events. Details on route changes are available at http://www.norta.com.

Children’s Hospital Jazz Half Marathon

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Two Thumbs Up for Mid-City Panera Bread

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The new Panera Bread in Mid-City has been open for a grand total of two days. I stopped in tonight for a sandwich and some much-needed coffee.

I had no idea how much people were looking forward to this place opening. I mean I like Panera Bread and all, but I overheard FOUR people expressing their utter joy in the first five minutes I was here. As I sit at my table, there is a genuine happiness in the air. Seriously. One guy just talked proudly and loudly about how he was one of the first in line at the newly-opened Office Depot next door. What’s going to happen when Five Guys opens?! And Winn Dixie?!

The line moved fast and my food came out fast. After I ate, a worker passed through and gave me a free oatmeal cookie sample! Now that’s service.

Welcome to Mid-City, Panera.

A Perfect Day at City Park

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Judging Crawfish at St. Catherine

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I had the tough task of judging crawfish at the Old Metairie Crawfish Cookoff at St. Catherine on Saturday. Also helping reduce the crawfish population: Norman Robinson, Congressman Steve Scalise and WWL radio’s Spud McConnell.

It was a great time and the 27 teams boiled 8,500 pounds of crawfish!

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