News + Notes
2020 New Orleans Film Festival
In a chaotic year where most New Orleans festivals have been scrapped, one festival hopes to safely continue amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The New Orleans Film Festival still plans to move forward with its 2020 event, albeit a month later than its usual October launch. While some details were still undisclosed at press time, this year’s festival will take place from November 4-22. It will be held mostly online, but festival organizers hope to have some live, in-person components like outdoor screenings (pending approval from city government).
Now in its 31st year, the New Orleans Film Festival has consistently brought world-class films and filmmakers to the Crescent City. In recent years, the festival has showcased future Best Picture winners like “Green Book,” “Moonlight,” and “12 Years a Slave,” as well as future crowd-pleasing box office smashes like “Knives Out” and “Ford v. Ferrari.” It has also championed the narrative and documentary works of Louisiana filmmakers, and will continue to do so in 2020 and beyond. For up-to-date information on the festival and to purchase tickets, visit the website at NewOrleansFilmSociety.org.
National World War II Museum
One of the Crescent City’s most popular museums reopened in June. The National World War II Museum requires mask at all times, and reservations for specific times on specific days must be made in advance at their website NationalWW2Museum.org.
City Park Tennis Complex
If you’re looking to play competitive sports while social distancing, tennis is one of your best bets. The City Park Tennis Complex is open seven days a week, but you must make reservations; call 483-9383 for more information.
The Big Door Prize
by M.O. Walsh
Baton Rouge-born author and University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop Director M.O. Walsh recently published his newest novel, “The Big Door Prize.” The residents of a small Louisiana town find their lives turned upside down when a mysterious machine appears at the grocery store. For $2 and a cheek swab, the machine tells users their life’s potential. The main characters are a husband and wife who believed they were perfectly happy until they discovered they were capable of much more.
“The Big Door Prize” has received starred reviews from both “Publishers Weekly” and “Booklist.” “Booklist” wrote “It’s hard to believe that Walsh wrote this moving novel long before the COVID-19 pandemic, for there is eerie prescience in its soulful message that gratitude and grace are not to be taken for granted and that life can be upended in an instant.”
On Aug. 4, LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, the longest tenured coach of any sport in SEC history, retired after 43 seasons at LSU.
In July, Xavier University of Louisiana received a $20 million gift from an anonymous donor, the largest donation in the school’s history.
October is when the weather usually starts to get a little nicer after New Orleans’ oppressive summer heat. Take advantage of the dropping temps with an excursion to the city’s newest park, Crescent Park. Located in the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods, the beautifully landscaped 1.4-mile trail hugs the banks of the Mississippi River. Along the way, you’ll see stunning views of both the river and the New Orleans skyline. There’s room on the trails for walkers, joggers and cyclists. Parking is available on the park’s eastern end at Mazant Street, as well as at the parking lot at Chartres Street and Piety Street located halfway through the park. Park hours are 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.