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Do What's Right

I am a fortunate organ recipient and very grateful to the donor family. Louisiana's laws are based on the Napoleonic Code, but that should not prompt elected officials to become little emperors, who wield their power and protect their territories ("Jeremy Davis' Gift," News & Views, Aug. 28).

A coroner who values procedures over a life and interprets regulations to suit him; an Attorney General who accuses humanitarians of murder -- still insists on their guilt after a grand jury declared them not guilty -- these personal power plays of politicians contribute to Louisiana's backward reputation, but elections are on the horizon.

Manfred Stumpf

Center Stage

Although I was amused by Kara Nelson's article on open-mics ("Best Way to Woo an Open-Mic-Night Host," Aug. 28), I feel she has done a disservice to a great local show that is attended, during the season, by more than just musicians and their friends.

I just celebrated my 10th year as the host of the acoustic open-mic night at Checkpoint Charlies. If you'd have told me years ago that I would host an open-mic for half that time I would have called you crazy.

I had a punk band who had their show canceled on their one night in New Orleans, they came to my acoustic open-mic to ask if they could play. They were great, really good surf-punk. A didjeridu player that studied for years in Australia still comes by when he's in town. When Hurricane Cindy came through, the power went out all through the Quarter and the Marigny, we lit candles and flashlights and kept on singing and playing. We were packed that night, and I'm willing to bet the best show in town.

Through the years, some of the people who've played at my show: Jeremy Lyons, Lynn Drury, Anders Osbourne, Pete Orr, Irene Sage, Mike West, Jeff and Vida, Caleb Guillot, Mad Mike, Pistol Pete and Popgun Paul, Ray Bong, Boo LaCrosse and Kara's duo, Psychogirlfriend. All of the above have come by to try out new material or keep their solo chops up.

Gatemouth Brown came to more than one open-mic. I couldn't talk him into borrowing my guitar, but he'd hang out and watch the shows. There are others who are playing right now on Tuesdays through this long hot summer whose names may one day be well known. Amazing songwriters, singers, flat-pickers, finger-pickers, acapella, spoken word, not to mention the lovely Alison on her ukelele.

Free Bird or Stairway to Heaven? Sorry not allowed. If you're a really pretty girl maybe you can sing Me and Bobby McGee, but probably not. Way overdone.

Countless entertainers and songwriters from all over the world, the local hotshots in whatever town they're from, have come here wanting to play in the most magical, musical place on earth: New Orleans. And at most of these shows there were people there, non-musicians that came and stayed because of the quality of entertainment.

As for wooing your local host for a show, Kara doesn't mention that what she and her partner lack in guitar skills, they make up for with clever, funny lyrics, good voices, really nice harmonies, friends in tow -- and they are both drop-dead gorgeous. These things will help you get a gig real fast. As for the crowd and the patronage, her story is true -- in July and August. Mine is true the rest of the year.

Jim Smith

Clean Up the Smear Tactics

I'm writing to express my disgust with the Democratic Party for its ads attempting to smear Bobby Jindal. I don't understand how it is ever right to mislead the public. They want us to vote for them? How could I ever vote for someone who blatantly twists the truth like that?

The Democratic Party needs to learn to stand on its own two feet and promote what it stands for. Don't try to convince me to vote for you by smearing the other candidates.

It's time we demand that candidates truthfully represent what they stand for and stop smearing other candidates.

Debbie Mickelborough
St. Amant

Quality Not Color

Mr. Arnie Fielkow, bowing to the black community based on race and race alone, said that the seat vacated (and rightly so) by Oliver Thomas, should be filled by yet another African American.

Politicians ask what race the politicians should be. We ask which politician is the best candidate to do our will.

Not surprisingly, you gave a bouquet to Mr. Fielkow's comments in your Aug. 21 issue ("Bouquets & Brickbats," News & Views).

Shame on you!

Ron Gurba Jr.

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