booing a brickbat
To the Editor:
You guys really blew it with your brickbat to Tricou House ("Brickbats and Bouquets", Aug. 14) concerning the passing of Al Broussard. I'm not surprised though, it's been abundantly clear how little regard you have for Bourbon Street over the 13 years I've been here, because you never spend any time there. (Exception, Ronnie Virgets.) I understand the local stigma about how Bourbon Street is really just for tourists, so rather than doing your journalistic duty, you just stick with the stereotype.
Bourbon Street is the most famous street in the entire world. Why don't you come on down and spend a little time with us, see what you're missing? Maybe you'll learn something. Maybe you'll have a good time. Maybe you'll retract that brickbat that would have made the late, great Al Broussard very sad.
The Burlesque Queen of New Orleans
booing a brickbat, part two
To the Editor:
A brickbat for Tricou House? How awful. This can't be real. Was anybody from Gambit Weekly there at the funeral or second line parade for Al Broussard? Surely not, or they could not have missed the outpouring of love and affection for Mr. Broussard and the joy in his wonderful life, so much of it spent at Tricou House where the owner and staff were almost like family to him. How could they not be when he had played there several nights a week for at least 20 years that I know of, probably more? If a brickbat is due, I think it should be awarded this time to the writers of this usually amusing and pertinent column.
Editors' note: As Gambit Weekly documented in a feature article earlier this year ("95 on the 88s," April 24), and in an account last week of Al Broussard's jazz funeral ("Bourbon Street Parade," Aug. 21), Broussard enjoyed an abiding relationship with the Tricou House, its ownership and staff. The language in the press release about his death from a heart attack -- "Piano Legend Al Broussard Plays His Heart Out On Bourbon Street" -- might have raised a few eyebrows, but that is inconsequential compared to the countless raised spirits provided by the pianist at his musical home. Gambit Weekly retrieves the brick and offers a conciliatory bouquet in its place.
the play's the thing
To the Editor:
I recently received an email from my mother about a play called An Evening with Betsy ("Neither Wind Nor Rain," May 15). My mother and I are both St. Bernard natives who have since moved away. My parents eventually moved to Jacksonville, Fla., and I moved to New York City, where I am an actor currently in the revival of 42nd Street on Broadway.
I was very excited to read that such a unique and powerful piece of theater has been developed in St. Bernard Parish. Community theater groups almost always rely upon the tried and true for their various productions, and usually only as an outlet for those who enjoy performing as an avocation. An Evening with Betsy is clearly the product of artistically ambitious individuals who strive not only to entertain their audience, but hopefully to teach and enlighten them as well.
It is the goal of many actors to be part of the genesis of a new work. The existing canon of plays and musicals, from classical to modern, are our bread and butter -- but there is an excitement that comes with creating a new work. It has never been seen before; you are the first to speak those lines and embody that character. And it is equally thrilling to be one of the first people to see that work as an audience member. This unique opportunity has been given to the actors and audiences of St. Bernard.
One of the wonderful things about theater is that there is room for everything -- comedies, dramas, musicals, cabaret, opera, ballet, modern dance, Cirque du Soleil, and on and on. And often the most magical moments in any of these forms of theater occur when they touch our lives in a deeper way -- to remind us of our common bond, our humanity. It would appear that An Evening with Betsy offers this to its audience, particularly as it is being performed in the very community where the events of the play took place.
I fear the impact of live theater is often forgotten. Imagine seeing An Evening with Betsy presented entirely as a film or video. While still effectively haunting and touching, would it be as powerful? The screen gives us the safety of distance -- a detachment. Even when watching a play where the audience is never directly addressed from the stage, you are still an integral part of that performance. There is an exchange of energy between the actor and audience.
I don't mean to imply that theater is better than film or television, just inherently different. I guess I simply want to remind folks that it's there and encourage them to remember that a play (or musical) is still there as an option for that evening out. So, if you live in, or near, St. Bernard Parish, An Evening with Betsy is there for you. And if you've never been to a play before and you go to see this one, I hope you get hooked.
NOCCA Class of 1990
Editor's note: Although the regular run of An Evening with Betsy has closed, encore performances will be held Sept. 6-9 at Nunez Community College.