No update yesterday: I was trapped in a grant review meeting up in Baton Rouge (say: BAH-tonk ruhj) where nine cretins–and I don’t use that term loosely–perused applications written by .orgs from all over this great state. During last year’s panel they slaughtered us–purely for political reasons, I’m sure–so I was expecting more of the same yesterday, but to paraphrase the late, great Sally Field, “They liked us! They really liked us!” The app (i.e. grant, technoboy/girl) written by yours truly placed second, which means we’re guaranteed funding. No, please. Sit down. No applause necessary.

Ed. note: Sally Field, though grating, is not technically dead. Yet.

In truth, the only disturbing part of the entire affair was the makeup of the committee. To their credit, it appeared that several of the folks looked as though they’d actually participated in grant review committees before. These same people made a number of insightful comments about the various apps under consideration. There were, however, a number of committee members who might have been brought up from ‘Ti Mamou (no offense, Martin) or Grosse Tete just for the occasion–people whose idea of art is, say, zydeco and two-stepping, and who think Alvin Ailey’s one of them there cute lil’ rascally chimpunks.

Sorry if that sounds really snotty–and I know it does–but I’m more than a little frustrated by the arts mentality ’round these parts. There are some really talented individuals here doing some great things, but unfortunately our economy’s based largely on tourism, which means that folk art and other traditional forms get the most attention and money. Just once, I’d like to see a modern dance company get more recognition than one of our ubiquitous jazz bands. Harumph! Snarl! Gnashing of teeth!

Thankfully, my frustration with Louisiana’s fascination with “indigenous” art forms was balanced somewhat by the site at which the review hearings were held yesterday. Typically, you see, the meetings convene at the old capitol–truly, one of the most bizarre state capitol buildings to be found anywhere. In fact, when it was undergoing restoration after parital damage sustained during the Civil War (which my grandmother genteelly referred to simply as “The War”), Mark Twain made this comment:

Pathetic enough that a whitewashed castle, with turrets and things… should ever have been built in this otherwise honorable place; but it is much more pathetic to see this architectural falsehood undergoing restoration and perpetuation in our day, when it would have been so easy to let dynamite finish what a charitable fire began….

But anyway, as I was saying, the meeting wasn’t held there. It was held, instead, at the Louisiana State Police Training Center. No, I didn’t get to wander around the showers, but, well, let’s just say I got a sugar buzz from all the eye candy.

And speaking of da cops, I’ve gotten a couple of links recently that have piqued my curiosity about life among the reform school girls. It seems there’s sort of two sides to the story. On the one hand, you’ve got seemingly nice guys trying to hook up with folks for fun (and presumably profit), and on the other, you’ve got semi-nightmarish/semi-erotic stories of unsolicited booty slams in tha slamma. How could those same nice boys from option one be participating in the allegedly rampant activities behind door #2? A conundrum, verily.

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