Book Review | The Infinite by Nicholas Mainieri

infinite mainieriIn New Orleans, a few years after Hurricane Katrina, high schoolers Jonah and Luz are in love. Each with a troubled past, having dealt with parental deaths and other difficult events, Luz and Jonah continue to struggle when they become pregnant and Luz’s father demands she return to Mexico. Jonah decides he must follow her across the border, but all bets are off when Luz doesn’t show up at her Grandma’s on time.

The Infinite is Mainieri’s first novel. It maintains a casual tone, using colloquialisms and interjecting Spanish. The text is clear, with the storyline being mostly easy to follow. Chapters are very short, making the book easy to pick up and put down. The characters are developed enough, and descriptions allow the reader to envision settings described. While violence occurs, it is not overly graphic or drawn out. This novel would work well for somewhat hesitant high school or college age readers, or others with short attention spans. Mainieri has crafted a very digestible read that keeps up a decent pace throughout. Check it out from a library near you!

I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading The Infinite, you may be interested in Mexico by Josh Barkan (2017). 

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Native Fashion – as seen in New Orleans, LA

Recently, I reviewed the publication Native Fashion Now for the Art Libraries Society of North America. Reading this exhibition catalogue got me thinking more about the influence and instances of Native American style in the modern art and fashion realms. On a recent trip to New Orleans, I documented some of these.

At the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans in Teen Art Exhibition: Voice of a New Era, I observed two interesting pieces, but am missing the caption for the blue one – sorry! Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Suit 2015 by Justin “Tugga” Cloud (beads, fabric, sequins, canvas, feathers, floss)

Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Suit 2015 Justin Cloud.

captured from cacno.org

 my photos:  

   

Saw this beaded piece at The Bead Shop on Magazine Street.

At Carmo, a Brazilian cafe specializing in vegetarianizing yummy foods, I spotted these lovely earrings, seed bead glass in a Native (inspired?) pattern.

Native style seed bead earrings

This fine lady was happy to talk about native fashion and also reminded me to share two great resources.

Beyond Buckskin (Mission Statement): “Beyond Buckskin empowers Native American artists and designers, advancing the quality of Native American fashion through education while providing an in depth podium for societal participation. Inspired by relevant historical and contemporary Native American clothing design and art, Beyond Buckskin promotes cultural appreciation, social relationships, authenticity and creativity.”

Native Max Magazine (Mission Statement): “Native Max Magazine’s mission is to bring the best indigenous talent and most empowering and engaging content across a range of media platforms like publishing, digital, interactive events, consumer products and services to a broader range of audience, and to invite the world to read the magazine and discover the Native American and First Nations cultures and stories; ultimately changing the way Native Americans and First Nations people are portrayed in the world.”

To read more about the Peabody Essex Museum’s exhibit, see their blog. The exhibit will be traveling to serval states during 2016 and 2017. My review of Native Fashion Now will be published in June.

Food Review | Cavan – Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA

Cavan First Floor Dining Area & Bar

Cavan First Floor Dining Area & Bar

About two months ago, Cavan opened it’s doors and front patio at 3607 Magazine Street. They are open for dinner nightly beginning at 4pm and offer a weeknight happy hour with specials from 4-6pm. Reservations are accepted for the first floor dining room in this restored 1881 mansion while walk-ins are accommodated on the second floor and patio areas. A history of the building, the “Cockerton House on the Historic Landmarks Commission’s register of national historic places,” is offered on the back of the menu, pictured below. Cavan is a member of the LeBlanc + Smith collection of restaurants.

THE FOOD

Each table receives a small serving of seasoned oyster crackers to accompany the drinks. We gobbled these up, quite tasty. Due to my onion allergy, ordering was slightly restricted, so we only tried two starters: Gulf Tuna Carpaccio and Old Bay Fries with Malt Aioli. The tuna was fabulous, obviously fresh and packed with flavor that shined through the avocado, cucumber, cracked pepper and soy sauce. The portion was generous, but I could have easily eaten two plates of this. The fries were a very thin style of waffle fry, seasoned with a spice mixture. The texture was just right, slightly crisp on the outside and warm and soft inside. The seasoning wasn’t entirely even, as would be expected, so I forfeited the more heavily seasoned fries to my accomplice and we both enjoyed the aioli.

The two dinners we ordered were the Butter-Baked Gulf Shrimp and the Half Roasted Chicken. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, save for one that was charred. They had great flavor and texture, again obviously fresh. The beer, rosemary and lemon sauce was very flavorful, good for dunking the bread hunks. Had I not eaten half of the chicken portion with my shrimp, I may have been left pretty hungry, but … The chicken was also spot on. It was tender and flavorful. The white meat portion seemed very generous and I enjoyed dipping it in my shrimp sauce. My partner enjoyed the dark meat, commenting on it’s juiciness, but added that the pesto sauce wasn’t particularly noteworthy. The salad was large and fresh (again), a great addition to the meal.

Since we couldn’t fill up on starters, we got two desserts: Key Lime Pie and the Daily Layer Cake, today’s was a blue velvet. The pie was very tart, just how I like it, with a good consistency. Again, I could have eaten two of these. The color of the cake was somewhat off-putting, but the flavor was great. I felt it was a little more gooey than ideal, but my partner had no qualms.

Overall, we had an excellent experience at Cavan and would certainly recommend it to others.

At the time I dined, the Cavan menu looked like this:

For more information about the Chefs at Cavan, check out this article from nola.com. There is a discrepancy between what that article says and what was listed on the menu at the time I visited. This Eater article talks a little bit about the restaurant’s opening in February.

Film Screening of Trouble the Water

A recent addition to the collection, Trouble the Water, was screened in house on Thursday. This film, documenting one family’s experience before, during and after Hurricane Katrina, provides viewers with an in-depth perspective on what really happened within New Orleans. Filmed and narrated mostly by Kimberly Rivers Roberts (aspiring rapper Black Kold Madina), the story unfolds to bring to light the details of surviving each day with Katrina. This film was an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature in 2009 and also won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize in 2008 for Best Documentary.

For reading recommendations on Coastal Communities, please see our reading list, here. For further reading on Flooding, please see this reading list. An abbreviated list of videos that Wisconsin’s Water Library carries can be seen here.

DVD cover photo from Trouble the Water film site.