Should Lee Circle be renamed Allen Toussaint Circle? Is that even a question? Some have argued that Virginia's Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, was "important" to New Orleans. But how? The Confederate president Jefferson Davis died here, and our charismatic Confederate general, P. G. T. Beauregard, returned home to Nola after the war to lead the local Unification civil rights movement--but it is hard to find evidence that Lee had any connection to New Orleans whatsoever. Louisiana was dragged into the war by powerful planters, not popular opinion. For New Orleanians, it was "la guerre Americaine." But Allen Toussaint, who died at 77 on November 10, was New Orleans personified, a Southern gentleman and musical genius of the first magnitude who brought sublime New Orleans joy to the world. Even his name, "Toussaint," means "All Saints," the beloved local holiday. Replacing the cold and distant Lee with Allen Toussaint is a no-brainer. To sign the petition: Click Here. More on Toussaint: Click Here (Be sure to catch his soliloquy on his Creole French childhood on the video, which captures a deep and loving current of the soul of our state. Gorgeous...) More on the Toussaint Circle movement Here.
Tony Fitzpatrick's Dime Stories
genii loci. Chicago's Tony Fitzpatrick (who survived a close call earlier this year) is a living avatar of all things unique and wondrous about his remarkable city. A true Chicago treasure, Fitzpatrick started out as a boxer and a bouncer before evolving into a fascinating artist, actor and writer. A master of the vernacular cadences of his city's streets and its greatest interpreter since Carl Sandberg, Nelson Algren and Studs Terkel, he's the real deal and his soulful, if not always saintly, eloquence illuminates his self - illustrated Dime Stories columns on the pages of Chicago's Newcity weekly magazine. It is rare that journalism achieves such heights of salty eloquence, but in this compendium edition of the same name, one gets the sense that Fitzpatrick's words are animated by battalions of profanely poetic Hibernian ancestor spirits railing at the dark, venal injustices of daily life while celebrating serendipitous earthly splendors that are free to all with eyes willing to see and ears willing to hear. (Or as Fitzpatrick's mama said about birds: "For a piece of bread, you can hear God sing.") Life may be a craps shoot, but the force of nature that is Tony Fitzpatrick has proven himself not only up to the task, but able to plumb the depths of the human cauldron and return with nuggets of brilliance. For more on Tony Fitzpatrick's Dime Stories, Click Here and Here.