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Review: Be A New Orleanian: A Swearing-In Ceremony

Jim Fitzmorris performs a solo show at The Theatre at St. Claude.

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New Orleanians — the birthright, born-and-raised ones — are accustomed to asking new acquaintances where they went to school. Newly arrived New Orleanians learn that the question refers to high school. But it's not a bug, it's a feature: There are reasons locals are attached to their alma maters, and they're among the subjects addressed in the sermon, rant and orientation Jim Fitzmorris delivers about New Orleans bona fides in his latest solo show, Be A New Orleanian: A Swearing In Ceremony, presented at the theater he and brother Ryan Fitzmorris recently took over at AllWays Lounge. Their family traces its roots in the city back to the 1840s, and Jim's works have detailed all sorts of local lore and politics, from the changes at The Times-Picayune (A Truckload of Ink) to the evolving world of charter schools (Urban Education Smackdown). But Fitzmorris is not staking a New Orleansier-than-thou claim here. The show includes not residency requirements but qualitative criteria for a path to citizenship. People who arrived, were wiped out by post-Hurricane Katrina flooding and returned and rebuilt qualify, he says. He breaks down the defining characteristics of the city and its residents and welcomes newcomers, complete with his own naturalization ceremony.

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