UNO Student Finalist in Film Awards

Interested in the Film Arts program at the University of New Orleans? Well go ahead and add another accolade to our growing list of accomplishments by faculty, staff, and students in the program! New Orleans (Hollywood South) is home to a booming film industry that has helped name Louisiana the world’s film production capital based on its high volume of major feature films shot in the pelican state. “…Louisiana surpassed California in 2013…with 18 of 108 major feature films…compared to 15 each in California and Canada.” Check out the full story from WWL.
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But the real excitement is over UNO’s graduate, James Roe, who has been named a finalist in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences 41st Annual Student Academy Awards. “It is the first time a UNO student has advance to the finals of the competition, which boasts a list of such past winners as Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis and John Lasseter.” The locally-shot paranormal thriller, AM 800, has been nominated in the narrative category, and includes scenes shot in UNO’s Early K. Long Library and on one of UNO’s many soundstages. Check out the full story from The Times-Picayune.

The winners will be announced on June 7, but check out some of the set building and production photos in the meantime.

Building the set on a soundstage at the Nims Center Studios

Building the set on a soundstage at the Nims Center Studios


Tunnel interior built at UNO's Nims Center Studios

Tunnel interior built at UNO’s Nims Center Studios


Working with state-of-the-art camera equipment

Working with state-of-the-art camera equipment


Film track and camera dolly set up on the second floor of UNO's Earl K. Long Library

Film track and camera dolly set up on the second floor of UNO’s Earl K. Long Library

The University of New Orleans is Happy

Pharrell may have been the one to have the giant hit single that sparked various videos all over the internet, but we here at UNO have been Happy on the lakefront all year! Check out some Privateers showing off their happy during Homecoming. Enjoy!

P.S. More stuff to come. I’ve been CRAZY busy with school work. Regardless, keep your eyes peeled for new stuff in the coming weeks :)

Feasting NOLA: Asian Panda

Welcome back to Feasting NOLA, where I talk about eating in and around New Orleans at some of the great unique and affordable restaurants peppered around our awesome city. I know what it’s like to be a poor college student (check out my Dining video), and that sometimes you just want a break from all the ramen noodles and cafeteria food, so I’m here to help!

Although New Orleans is known for a variety of spicy dishes like jambalaya, dozens of varieties of creole anything, and seafood concoctions, Asian cuisine hasn’t cooked up a huge slice of the restaurant pie in our world of crawfish and gumbo. However, it is with great pleasure, and in the spirit of fine, cheap, delicious cuisine scattered around UNO’s campus, that I bring you what many share a common love for – Asian Panda – some of the best around. The icing on the cake? It’s literally two blocks down from UNO.

Sesame chicken with fried rice (egg roll not pictured)

Sesame chicken with fried rice (egg roll not pictured)

Asian Panda, a Vietnamese wonder, specializes in a variety of classic dishes like sweet and sour chicken, beef and broccoli, kung pao shrimp and much, much more. All of the food is freshly prepared with the best vegetables and meats Louisiana has to offer, and is cooked entirely with pure vegetable oil. Unlike a lot of cheap Chinese takeout or your typical buffet meals, it tastes clean and healthy, and not overloaded with MSG and salt. You can even request a number of their dishes as ‘vegetarian’ and they will customize your meal, sans meat. But you aren’t at Asian Panda for your health; you’re there because you want quality food and and you don’t feel like spending more than $10.00 for it. Well, you’re in luck friends! This is yet another area where Asian Panda does not disappoint. In fact, you most likely won’t even have to spend $10.00, depending on what you order. Your maximum expenditures might not even crack $7.00! Awesome, I know. Calm down.
The family dinner: shrimp, chicken, crab, crawfish, vegetables with white rice (egg roll not pictured)

The family dinner: shrimp, chicken, crab, crawfish, vegetables with white rice (egg roll not pictured)

Asian Panda opens up as a buffet for lunch with tons of options offered from $7.00 (two entrees) and rice (they have killer fried rice!) or noodles. For dinner, and generally throughout the day, they serve combos that consist of a LARGE container of your entree choice with rice, noodles, and an egg roll…for only $8.00. And this $8.00 mound of food will undoubtedly serve you for at least one additional meal, even after you’ve had your first fill. It’s amazing considering the quality of the food.

From personal experience, I eat at Asian Panda pretty frequently…at least once a week, sometimes more. Don’t judge. I love the shrimp with garlic sauce, and I believe this is arguably New Orleans’ best kept Asian food secret. Check it out for yourself and you’ll see why!

They enjoyed their food quite thoroughly.

They enjoyed their food quite thoroughly.

Asian Panda:
6600 Franklin Ave, #A-6, New Orleans, LA 70122
504-288-3378
MENU

Bubble Party 2013

Better late than never, right? If you missed Bubble Party this past fall, go ahead and watch this for the next few months to adequately prepare yourself for next time. You’re welcome.

Hosted by Lambda Chi Alpha and the Student Activities Council

Feasting NOLA: Cafe Gentilly

Cafe Gentilly proudly waving a UNO flag.

Cafe Gentilly proudly waving a UNO flag.


In Feasting NOLA, I like to share some of the best places to eat at in the greater New Orleans area that are both delicious and affordable. For me, it’s a cool way to give back to a community filled with talented business owners and chefs, and I hope that it has some kind of impact on that person’s business. That being said, Cafe Gentilly, owned and operated by the fantastic Steve Herbert, is a new restaurant on Franklin Ave, literally blocks from UNO. Not only is the food fantastic and inexpensive, but the place is welcoming, fun, and Steve is always an entertaining fellow to chat with.

Before I talk about the actual restaurant, let me give you a little background on it’s owner, Steve. Steve is a kind, funny, and all around down-to-earth guy. He’s no nonsense in a good way, and he’s always game to sit down and chat with his customers while they eat. It also doesn’t hurt that Steve is a very well-known and talented chef. Before opening Cafe Gentilly earlier this year, he owned and operated the historic Abita Springs Cafe on the Northshore, which was picked as one of Tom Fitzmorris’ top restaurants in New Orleans.

The menu is extensive. And yes, breakfast ALL day.

The menu is extensive. And yes, breakfast ALL day.

The shrimp po' boy looking outright delightful.

The shrimp po’ boy looking outright delightful.

Cafe Gentilly is known for its breakfast (which is served ALL day), but the fare is mostly traditional New Orleans cuisine ranging from red beans and rice, to po’boys. And let me tell you, Steve made me a shrimp po’boy himself and it was seriously one of the best I’ve ever eaten. Ever. The pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce were crisp and fresh, the bread was crunchy and flaky, and the shrimp was seasoned and fried to perfection. It was amazing and I know that I will absolutely be back for another within the next few days. It also doesn’t hurt that everything is relatively inexpensive. The po’boy was only $8.00, and it was a real monster!

Because Steve also happens to be a UNO alum, Cafe Gentilly utilizes UNO’s own restaurant discount service, Privateer Perks. If you are a UNO student dining in, you can get a free sweet tea. If you’d rather get the food delivered, you get a free order of french fries. And Cafe Gentilly delivers to most locations in the New Orleans area with only a $20.00 minimum, which is a steal if you get a few friends together to pitch in for a meal!

Overall, Cafe Gentilly is a great restaurant with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The owner is friendly and talkative and the food is inexpensive and outright delightful. You owe it to yourself to go check out this terrific little place.

Thank you, Steve!

Thank you, Steve!

Cafe Gentilly:
5325 Franklin Ave, New Orleans, LA 70122
504-281-4220

Diversity Week at UNO

Last month, I had the chance to check out UNO’s Diversity Week, which took place from Oct 28 to Nov 1. Diversity Week includes a bevy of different activities put on by many of the student organizations on campus, all of which support diversity. There were over 45 events going on throughout the week, ranging from yoga at the Rec Center, a movie night, Jazz at the Sandbar, lectures, open mic night, an international tea party, and even a horror-themed production hosted by the Nippon Club.

Schedule of events. Yes, there was lots of free food.

Schedule of events. Yes, there was lots of free food.

Spoken Justice: Open Mic Night at the Cove (photo via Cat Polivoda)

Spoken Justice: Open Mic Night at the Cove (photo via Cat Polivoda)


I, personally, was able to attend the Open Mic night held at The Cove. The event was made up of a variety of different poets reading original works. To support the theme of the week, many of the poems focused on racial segregation, financial hardships, and the trials and tribulations of life in America. All of the young men and women who performed did an excellent job and I’d be more than happy to check them out again sometime in the future.

To get a better understanding of Diversity Week, I talked to the Assistant Director for Student Involvement and Leadership (SIL), LeeAnne Sipe, who was instrumental in making Diversity Week the huge success that it was:

Cameron: What do you have to do with Diversity Week?
LeeAnne: I am part of Diversity Cabinet [UNO doesn’t have a Diversity Affairs Office] which…is made up of students, faculty, and staff, who all get together and take it upon themselves to stand up for diversity on campus. The group also does the Cultural Cafes and different diversity events around campus each semester, but we make sure to take one week out of the year to really try to focus on opportunities that give students the chance to experience diversity. I think a lot of people take diversity in New Orleans for granted. I know we are in New Orleans and we are in the most diverse university in Louisiana and because of that a lot of people don’t think we need this, but I think that is exactly why we need it too. We get really numb to interacting with each other and oftentimes don’t have very genuine interactions. This week gives students a chance to really interact with each other.

C: Just for clarification, what exactly is the Diversity Cabinet?
L: Led by Peggy Gaffney in the College of Business, Diversity Cabinet is a collection of people on campus who want to promote diversity on campus through any way possible. Usually that’s through programming, like a book club every semester. For example, if an organization wants to do a diversity-inspired event, they can go to the Diversity Cabinet and get some funding. Basically, it helps get diversity inspired ideas out in the open for everyone at school to enjoy.

C: Is it you guys who are in charge of putting on the events?
L: What Diversity Cabinet does is they kind of set up the week and then they utilize a call-to-events type of system. What they do is they reach out to different offices. Obviously SIL works a lot with it because we program a lot, but we really just help with logistics. I know FYE [First Year Experience] did a lot of programming and our big push was really to reach out to student organizations because we have so many. We really wanted them to take advantage of the week.

Movie Night, hosted by Nippon: Nightmares in Japan

Movie Night, hosted by Nippon: Nightmares in Japan


C: What was the biggest event this year?
L: Our biggest event that was student-led was headed up by Nippon and Renshuu Douraku. It was called Nightmares in Japan, which was really awesome. It was all just student performances; Nippon even made a movie – a horror movie – to go along with the student performances to kind of tie everything together. It was just so cool to see such a niche community really opening up to the entire campus.

C: Did you get to go to any of the events?
L: Well, SIL holds Tuesday Teas with SAC, which allows us to tell students what’s going on each week. For Diversity Week, we did an International Tea and worked with Aramark [the food provider for UNO] to get a bunch of different teas from all over the country. It allowed us to talk a little bit about the history and background of these different teas and the countries they come from.

C: Would you say that, overall, the week went well?
L: Yeah, I would say it was very successful. It was definitely the most active Diversity Week as far as student life is concerned. I saw the most student organizations participate, the most offices, and easily the most events. We had over 50 events for that one week. Really just a lot of opportunities.

Mike Hoffshire (FYE Student Success Counselor) and more of the Coming Out Panel hosted by UNITY

Mike Hoffshire (FYE Student Success Counselor) and more of the Coming Out Panel hosted by UNITY


If you are interested in learning more about UNO’s wonderfully diverse culture, check out the official Facebook page. Also, check out the calendar of the events from this year to help give you a solid idea of what to expect next year.

**If you are interested, here some people you can get in touch with to help get you started with Diversity Cabinet and other student-led organizations on campus:

LeeAnne Sipe, Asst Director of Student Involvement & Leadership (lsipe@uno.edu)

Peggy Gaffney, Asst Dean, College of Business Administration (mjgaffne@uno.edu)

Nurab Khadka, Graduate Service Asst, Academic Affairs (nkhadka1@uno.edu)

A Night at the Saenger – Book of Mormon

Mormon-1
Ever since the day my mom told me of her past adventures as a singer, dancer, and actress in the “good old days” of the 1970s, I have had an unyielding interest in live performances and shows. Whether big or small, funny or sad, musical or not, there’s something about watching talented men and women sing, dance, and generally own their performances right in front of you is pretty astonishing. Thus, it was without much hesitation that I decided to see The Book of Mormon, in the newly reopened Saenger Theatre.

Written by the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon tells the gleefully offensive, tasteless, and reprehensibly hilarious tale of two Mormon Elders sent to Uganda to help convert the native people to the good book of Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ. The play is currently on Broadway, and has been since its debut in March 2011, and has won 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Without issuing a *spoiler alert,* the show so gloriously seeped in satire, comedy, and equally wonderful songs. For those worried that The Book of Mormon is racist, crude, and incredibly off-putting to any person with any remote religious affiliation, let me tell you that while it is all of those things, everything it pokes fun at is joyously self-aware and never really feels like it is reaching too far or pushing too hard. This is an uproariously funny show that had everyone in the entire theater, ages 18 through 70, all clutching their guts in pained (yet happy) laughter. It is offensive. It is mean. It is also perfectly written, musically superior, and a simply tremendous production from top to bottom. I still haven’t been able to shake the numerous catchy tunes from my head, and I just recently downloaded the album. My favorite so far is appropriately titled, “Turn It Off.”

But don’t turn this article off just yet-lets talk about the Saenger Theatre, which I had never been to prior to this show. The Saenger has been closed for years now, and was just recently (literally just months ago) renovated and reopened (more details here). It’s a beautiful theatre, especially invoking the vibe of Broadway. The Saenger boasts two floors, a large balcony, a huge stage, and a ceiling that is composed of stars and moving clouds. This cool effect gives off the feel of staring into the sky on a beautiful and clear starry night.
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Mormon-5In closing, it’s nice to know that we have such a prime venue to catch great shows in the heart of New Orleans. While The Book of Mormon’s run at the Saenger is unfortunately over, I think it goes without saying that it will undoubtedly play here again alongside many other great shows to come. Live Theatre has rediscovered its home in New Orleans and I was more than happy to discover it for myself by seeing this phenomenal show. Check out the Saenger when you can; it’s more than worth it.

Saenger Theatre
1101 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70112
504-525-1052