Outside Reading — Bywater edition


A New Orleans Chef Navigates Disaster by Helen Rosner

Helen Rosner offers an exceptional profile of Nina Compton, one of the more famous Top Chef runners-up (because most viewers found it baffling that she was denied the top prize). Because Compton calls New Orleans home, the piece doubles as a heartfelt consideration of the unique ways in which that city has been tested in the past fifteen years, the global pandemic only the latest in several devastating blows. Compton — and the article — is girded by hope for the resilience of the independent restaurant industry and cut by worry that it might not.



Remembering Katrina and Its Unlearned Lessons, 15 Years On by Talmon Joseph Smith

And here’s New Orleans again, as Talmon Joseph Smith writes retrospectively about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and scathingly of all the ways our systems failed the citizens of the city and the region. As the citation of “unlearned lessons” in the headline suggests, there are plenty of parallels to the botched U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an act of of grotesquely negligent leadership that has resulted in the needless deaths of over 181,000 reported deaths and likely far more in the true tally. This article was published by The New York Times.



Trumpism Is a Racket, and Steve Bannon Knew It by Michelle Goldberg

In The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg does an exceptional job encapsulating the cynical scamming of those in the orbit of the amoral dolt who currently occupies the White House, using recently arrested bigot Steve Bannon as an exemplar of the cynical exploitation of desperate, unheard citizens. Mostly, I’ll admit, I included this article because it has a perfect and succinct definition of the buffoon’s lifelong approach to, well, everything: “a gaudy scam that monetizes grievance.”



NBA Players Needed to Do This by Jemele Hill

I already addressed, if briefly, my admiration for the political statement made by sports figures this week, especially NBA players. The Milwaukee Bucks, the team that plays their home teams right down the interstate from me, led the way, including pointed outreach to state legislators. Jemele Hill, writing for The Atlantic, explains why it was especially important for these players, from this league, to be the ones who made a stand.

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