"There is something entirely appropriate about holding the State of the Union address on the same day as Mardi Gras. One is a display of wretched excess, when giddy and rowdy participants give in to reckless and irresponsible behavior. The other is a street festival in New Orleans." — Dana Milbank in The Washington Post.
"It's rare these days to find a movie that can so completely and utterly captivate such a broad audience, and that was one of the things that struck me about this movie. It managed to be beautiful, joyful and devastatingly honest." — First lady Michelle Obama, discussing the Louisiana-shot Beasts of the Southern Wild at a Feb. 13 White House panel featuring director Benh Zeitlin and star Quvenzhane Wallis, both of whom are nominated for Academy Awards — as is the film itself. Among those who gathered to talk about the movie were students from Batiste Cultural Arts Academy in the Garden District.