The Eagle Has Landed (in Little Rock)

On March 16, 1822, Captain Morris piloted the steamboat The Eagle to Little Rock, seventeen days after departing New Orleans.  This became the first steamboat to reach Little Rock.  The boat reached Little Rock at an early hour in the morning and Captain Morris, in order to arouse the town, fired a salute of several guns.

It did not stay in Little Rock, but headed upriver toward the community of Dwight Mission, founded by Presbyterians in what is now Pope County at the mouth of the Illinois Creek.  Due to low waters, it was unable to make it to Dwight Mission.  On March 19, 1822, it returned to Little Rock.  It then headed back to New Orleans.

Though it would be the McClellan-Kerr navigation project before the Arkansas River would become a permanent home to commercial river traffic, boats up and down the Arkansas River helped establish Little Rock as an important trading post.

Little Rock Look Back: THE EAGLE has landed (LR’s first steamboat)

On March 16, 1822, Captain Morris piloted the steamboat The Eagle to Little Rock, seventeen days after departing New Orleans.  This became the first steamboat to reach Little Rock.  The boat reached Little Rock at an early hour in the morning and Captain Morris, in order to arouse the town, fired a salute of several guns.

It did not stay in Little Rock, but headed upriver toward the community of Dwight Mission, founded by Presbyterians in what is now Pope County at the mouth of the Illinois Creek.  Due to low waters, it was unable to make it to Dwight Mission.  On March 19, 1822, it returned to Little Rock.  It then headed back to New Orleans.

Though it would be the McClellan-Kerr navigation project before the Arkansas River would become a permanent home to commercial river traffic, boats up and down the Arkansas River helped establish Little Rock as an important trading post.

Little Rock Look Back: The City welcomes Katrina evacuees

Hurricane KatrinaIn light of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey and City Manager Bruce Moore sprung into action to marshal resources to welcome visitors who found themselves in Little Rock. From greeting buses and aircraft that arrived with evacuees, to coordinating with churches and non-profits to distribute supplies, to working with area businesses to identify resources, Mayor Dailey, the City Manager and other City leaders worked diligently to offer assistance.

Mayor Dailey noted, “While we welcome these visitors to our City, obviously the timeframe for this stay was not of their own choosing. As they wait out the hurricane and its aftereffects, I wanted to extend this hospitality to them on behalf of all our citizens.”

One of the things the City did was distribute a list of the cultural institutions which had free admission. These museums offered a respite for people who were spending time in hotel rooms or temporary shelters. With economic futures uncertain, spending money on entertainment was not an option for many.  The chance to see exhibits for free was a break from the monotony of television coverage and endless waiting.

In addition to providing information on free and low-cost Little Rock attractions, the Convention & Visitors Bureau worked around the clock to identify available hotel rooms and other places where evacuees could stay.  Little Rock’s Animal Services division worked to find places to keep animals since some could not stay in hotel rooms.

With the breaking of the levee and the subsequent flooding, it became obvious that what many had expected to be a three-day absence from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, was going to be much longer.  The days turned into weeks; subsequently, the City shifted its focus into helping people find housing and jobs.

“I am proud of how Little Rock has responded,” said Mayor Dailey at the time. “From volunteers to utility workers, a number of our citizens are poised to go down there and help restore those basic necessities to the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. I am also proud to know that our hospitality and attraction industries in Little Rock are working to offer comfort and relief here. Perhaps most importantly, the compassionate smiles and words of encouragement extended by everyday men and women in Little Rock to our newest visitors are so significant.”

“I think we can never underestimate the value of helping our neighbors. When Little Rock has been beset by disaster, it has been the knowledge that other people cared about us that has helped as we worked to return to daily routines. While I am sorry that this situation has occurred, I am grateful that we can repay in some small way, all that others have done for us,” said the Mayor.

Ten years on, much has changed in Little Rock because of Katrina.  Some people who came here “temporarily” have stayed.  Others who returned have maintained ties with Central Arkansas friends.  Little Rock’s culinary and hospitality industry have benefitted from several of the newcomers who were brought here by Katrina.  There is perhaps a bit more diversity of beliefs, tastes, and accents because of this storm.

As they did with people stranded in Little Rock after September 11, the City’s cultural institutions opened their doors, their arms and their hearts to the Katrina visitors.  It proved again the healing power of not only the arts but also of hospitality.

Dave Anderson’s ONE BLOCK at Christ Church

IMG_0596In recognition of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Little Rock is showing a collection of Dave Anderson’s One Block photos.

Little Rock photographer Dave Anderson followed the reconstruction of a single block in New Orleans from 2006 to 2010. This delivers a powerful portrait of the storm’s ongoing physical and psychological impact on a neighborhood and its residents.

Using portraiture, still lifes and abstract images, Anderson’s photos document the evolution of both the street and its houses as residents literally rebuild their lives, exploring the very nature of community while testing its resilience. Anderson’s compassionate treatment of the neighborhood’s straitened financial circumstances and its courageous reconstruction has drawn comparisons to coverage of the Great Depression by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and other Farm Security Administration-funded photographers.

Seventy years later, between the devastation left by Katrina and the current housing crisis, the stability and permanence of the American home are once again in jeopardy, lending Anderson’s record a heightened, timely pertinence. One Block is an extension of Anderson’s optimistic belief that the good within each of us is what unites us, as well as his hope that this commonality will afford us the grace to both endure and emerge from our current turmoil.

Copies of Anderson’s book One Block are available for purchase at the church.

Films from creators of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” are featured at Arkansas Times Film Series

As part of the Arkansas Times monthly film series at the Ron Robinson Theater, tonight they will be showing a series of shorts from the creators of Beasts of the Southern Wild. The series is produced in partnership with the Little Rock Film Festival.

This will be a special presentation of short films and music videos from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Benh Zeitlen and others in Court 13–a New Orleans film and arts collective.

Following the screenings, Court 13 members Casey Coleman and Nathan Harrison will participate in a panel discussion.

The films being screened are:

  • “Glory at Sea”
  • “Death of a Tin Man”
  • Music videos from MGMT and Big Freedia

Tickets are $5. The screening starts at 7pm.

Little Rock Look Back: The Eagle Returns to Little Rock

eagleOn March 16, 1822, Captain Morris piloted the steamboat The Eagle to Little Rock, seventeen days after departing New Orleans.  This became the first steamboat to reach Little Rock.  The boat reached Little Rock at an early hour in the morning and Captain Morris, in order to arouse the town, fired a salute of several guns.

It did not stay in Little Rock, but headed upriver toward the community of Dwight Mission, founded by Presbyterians in what is now Pope County at the mouth of the Illinois Creek.  Due to low waters, it was unable to make it to Dwight Mission.  On March 19, 1822, it returned to Little Rock.  It then headed back to New Orleans.

Though it would be the McClellan-Kerr navigation project before the Arkansas River would become a permanent home to commercial river traffic, boats up and down the Arkansas River helped establish Little Rock as an important trading post.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band jazzes up South on Main tonight

The sounds of New Orleans come to South Main tonight at 8pm as the Oxford American magazine presents the legendary ensemble Dirty Dozen Brass Band at South on Main’

 

In 1977, The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club in New Orleans began showcasing a traditional Crescent City brass band. It was a joining of two proud, but antiquated, traditions at the time: Social and pleasure clubs dated back over a century to a time when black southerners could rarely afford life insurance, and the clubs would provide proper funeral arrangements.

 

Brass bands—the earliest predecessors of jazz as we know it—would often follow the funeral procession playing somber dirges and then, once the family of the deceased was out of earshot, burst into jubilant dance tunes as casual onlookers danced in the streets.

 

By the late ’70s, few of either existed. The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club decided to assemble this group as a house band and, over the course of these early gigs, the seven-member ensemble adopted the venue’s name: the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

 

Thirty-five years later, Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a world-famous music machine, whose name is synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-octane performances. They have revitalized the brass band not only in New Orleans, but around the world, progressing from local parties, clubs, baseball games, and festivals in their early years to touring nearly constantly in the U.S. and in over thirty other countries on five continents.

 

The Dirty Dozen have been featured guests on albums by popular artists including David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Dr. John, Widespread Panic, Modest Mouse, Dave Matthews Band, and The Black Crowes.

 

Tickets to Dirty Dozen are at http://www.metrotix.com, or by calling (800) 293-5949. All patrons require a ticket for entry. Tickets are general admission and are $25 each. Seating at tables is limited and available on a first-come, first-seated basis when the doors open at 6:00 PM.

 

No reservations are being taken ahead of time. To ensure the best possible seat, plan to arrive when the doors open. The concert starts at 8:00 PM, with food and drinks available for purchase at that time.