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A Beyoncé-free — but not a Solange-free — zone

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SOLANGE ON ZULU
Solange Knowles talked to Vogue at New York Fashion Week. Topic A: New Orleans. "When I'm there, my style is different than when I'm anywhere else," Knowles said. "It definitely brings out your inner bohemian." As for the city itself? "I really, really love it there. It is also one of those things you can't put into words, you can't really put your finger on what is so magical about it."

  Knowles also took a stab at explaining the Krewe of Zulu: "On Fat Tuesday there is a huge parade called Zulu, and it's really interesting because way back in the city's history, black people were only allowed to be in the parade if they were in grass skirts or other stereotypical costumes. So Zulu satirizes that, and those stereotypes are taken back. There's a big ball with 30,000 black people in ball gowns. You get your table and hang with your friends — it's awesome." ...

BOURBON, BARBECUE AND TESTOSTERONE
At The Bitter Southerner, veteran food writer Kathleen Purvis dropped a (polite) grenade when she called for more gender parity in — well, here's what she said: "Men are the new carpetbaggers of Southern food writing." Purvis makes a pretty good case that men now are the loudest and most numerous voices in the kitchen. Again, she deserves to be quoted: "The Southern food-writing world has been unduly influenced, usurped, yes, even invaded, by a barbecue-entranced, bourbon-preoccupied and pork belly-obsessed horde of mostly testosterone-fueled scribes from outside the region of my birth."

  Purvis calls out the editors of Cornbread Nation, the anthologies of food writing issued by the Southern Foodways Alliance — including New Orleanians Brett Anderson and Lolis Eric Elie. "Of the 353 authors I counted in seven books, 167 were male, 151 female," Purvis wrote. "Some years were downright unbalanced: Book 6, edited by Anderson (Brett, Brett, Brett!) featured the work of 34 male authors and 16 female." ...

THE DEW DROP TO RISE AGAIN?
"What Will It Take to Resurrect Legendary New Orleans R&B Venue the Dew Drop Inn?" Shelby Hartman asked in VICE. Hartman talked to Irma Thomas and the late Allen Toussaint (before his death in November 2015) about their memories of the Central City club/hotel, which was an oasis for African-American entertainers and audiences during the mid-20th century years of segregation before it closed in 1972.

  "If you were of any status, you played the Dew Drop," Thomas said. "This was the place during segregated times." Toussaint remembered R&B singer Etta James "strutting in wearing a sparkling white dress with platinum blonde hair and a white rhesus monkey on a diamond chain."

  Hartman talks with Kenneth Jackson about his hope of reopening the Dew Drop: "For now, they're depending on word of mouth to get the momentum going," she reports. The goal is $1.5 million for repairs; in January, the city loaned Jackson's working group $6,000 ...

DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Promoting his new movie Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte, New Orleans entertainer Varla Jean Merman (aka Jeffery Roberson) described how he got his start in the 1980s:

  "I'd just go to the bars and dress in crazy housewife drag," he told Out magazine. "And I had a baby in a baby carriage and I'd lock it up outside the bar like a bike and have people watch the plastic baby. And people would watch the baby for hours, just playing with him. It was so bizarre. I love New Orleans."

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