Dear Readers— This issue comes to you a little later and smellier than usual, and I bet you can guess why. As of press time, AG HQ remains without power, thanks to the very late-season surprise hit of Hurricane Zeta. Judging from the citywide daze I feel around me, I bet a lot of you are with me when I admit I was not prepared—physically or psychically—for this storm and the full-palm smack it delivered. As a native of our fair city, I’ve grown up with storms all my life. I’ve done my best to prepare over the years, to steel myself against the chaos that each and every storm brings (and they really all have their own personality). But not this time. Adrienne and I had the batteries and the snacks, but we weren’t ready for four days (and counting) without power. The sheer irony of the beautiful weather, and half of the house being gas-powered hasn’t left us in dire straits necessarily (Hot showers, yes! Hot stove, no). But combined with our print deadline and every-fucking-thing else, Mother Nature has once again reminded us of how small and powerless (in oh so many ways) we truly are.
Yet ’tis the season to be grateful and give thanks, so let me start with Kevin Barrios, who lent me the Barrios family condo so I could set up shop and this issue could still be cobbled together over daylight hours (and while I truly miss the comforts of home base, this setup has brought me wistfully back to my tour managing days, where any place I found myself in that had a flat surface and wi-fi could become an instant HQ). Some of you may remember Kevin as the first real art director of this magazine circa several years ago, and his unique writing perspective still pops up here and there in our pages. I’d also like to shout out Kevin’s Dad, Mr. Mark, who may be one of our voter education guide’s longest, most dedicated fans. A pro-union and compassionate, devout Catholic and Louisiana Democrat, Mr. Mark always writes to us after major election guides with a mix of accolade and critique, both of which are very much appreciated by myself and the voter guide team.
Speaking of, y’all really, really showed up for this last edition of the guide. What began simply enough as a small service offered to the AG faithful—thanks originally and eternally to our Harm Reduction comrades—has exploded into a citywide phenomenon that only keeps evolving and expanding. Every election cycle and guide brings its ups and downs, but one thing has become clear to me throughout: the voters of New Orleans are hungry—starving even—for information when it comes election time, especially when the ballot is so dense and convoluted it almost seems like the system is trying to discourage interest. So whether you continue to consult the AG Guide, DSA’s intrepid work, or a number of other resources (or a combination thereof!), we hope this hunger to participate in this pit stop for democracy (but one of many!) continues. We’ll do our best to serve up something hot and filling (and maybe a ‘lil spicy too) each and every election—assuming of course, we ever have any more. I write to you on the approach to the November 3rd election, with little guess as to how this one lands. Good luck to us all on that front.
In keeping with the spirit of the season, I’d also like to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to the AG staff, many of whom often work through innumerable pains every month, which could include, but certainly are not limited to: pregnancy cramps, menstrual cramps, and run-of-the-mill cramps; sickness and death of family members and loved ones; day job stresses (or lack thereof); pet emergencies; haywire equipment and crashing computers; crashing cars, bicycles, and bookshelves; concussions (can you believe our staff had more than a few of these just this month?); relationship woes; power and internet outages; and on and on (and on and on).
There’s that old adage “The show must go on,” which to me has always been a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can be a rallying cry for actors and performers and such to work through endless obstacles, all in service to an expectant audience. On the other hand, it can seem like a cold, impersonal bludgeon upon which to beat mercilessly these same performers. I know with ANTIGRAVITY, we always try to walk that tight-rope between forging ahead, but calling it when the odds are so insurmountable it would be like taking off on a daredevil motorbike, knowing before you left the ramp you were never going to make it. Well, here we are, post-storm, pre-election, mid-pandemic; and it seems like for another issue at least, we’re gonna land that jump. So thank you to everyone who made that happen, and you, beloved reader and witness. Now time for a dark shower, a deep breath, and a prayer to Zeus so that our power may be restored, and we can start it up and head for that cliff all over again.
cover photo of Elgin Brown, a.k.a. AFKA, of Bag Season collective, by Matthew Seltzer