How to Find a Gift People Will Love Friday, Feb 5 2021 

Buying gifts can be challenging, and year on year, it can get more difficult. Knowing what gifts your friends and family will love will while staying unique and creative can be challenging. Knowing what to buy for friends and family can leave you feeling stressed and anxious, but, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. Here are some top gifts you can give that any recipient will be sure to love.

Donate or Give to Charity

Whether this is regularly or a one of donation, it all adds up. Whether you give time or money, it is always valuable and greatly appreciated, so why not donate what you can to the recipient’s favorite charity or organization. Find out what charity or non for profit organization your friend supports and then offer to support them too.

Sponsor a child

There are children right now all over the world who are unfortunately struggling. Whether they lack clothes, food, or education, they are vulnerable and need help. Providing sponsorship of a child for at least a year will make you and the recipient feel good, and it will make a difference to the child you are sponsoring too.

Create and give them a Hamper

If you have a good idea about what they love and enjoy, then why not put together your own hamper for them. From essential oils to CBD products from there is so much choice and variety, meaning you can create a hamper that is unique and personal to each individual. When you put together a hamper yourself (as opposed to buying one), you ensure that all of the items you buy will be both used and loved.

Protect endangered animals

There are animals at risk of extinction. Perhaps their habitats are being destroyed, or they are being overhunted. No matter what the situation, animals need assistance and help, and so do the organizations that are trying to save them. So, why not sponsor an endangered animal for your friend and help where you can. In return, they will most likely receive a once a year email update or a cuddly toy.


For some, chocolate may feel like an impersonal and easy choice when buying a gift; however, this doesn’t have to be true. The majority of the population enjoy these sweet treats every now and again, meaning it’s sure to be appreciated. Furthermore, many chocolatiers and stores are able to create personalized chocolate gift sets, where you can select a range of different flavours that you know your friend or family member will love.

When giving a friend or family member a gift, it is important not to get carried away spending money; remember that price is not everything. Spend how much you can afford to, but don’t feel pressured to spend more than you can as this will cause resentment and ill feeling. Remember that gift giving is supposed to be fun, and is supposed to show the recipient how much you care about them.

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Bike Stations to Display Black Lives Matter Message Saturday, Jul 11 2020 

Displaying a message for equality throughout Louisville. All lives do matter. But all lives will not matter until Black lives matter. 

Louisville Bike Share known as LouVelo (operated by CycleHop) has partnered with Louisville web designer and graphic artist, Mr. and Mrs. Smith LLC to display a series of posters on bike stations across Louisville featuring a message in support of Louisville’s Black Lives Matter movement. 

When asked as to why Black lives matter, Jason Smith, founder of the Louisville Web Design firm reacted “They matter since they are children, siblings, sisters, moms, and fathers. They matter on the grounds that the treacheries and injustices that they face take from us all — white individuals and non-white individuals the same. They take away our very mankind and humanity.” 

LouVelo wanted to send a message of hope and support for the residents of Louisville, KY. Matthew Glaser, General Manager of LouVelo said “We support Black Lives Matter and the equal and fair treatment of all.” 

The messages also display quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. such as “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle” to remind us that we must continue to work for change and progress. 

Other Louisville businesses chimed in too including Hilltop Tavern, on Frankfort avenue; The Louisville Jazz Society and Louisville Attorney, Graham Whatley who all sponsored posters in support of this message of hope and for equality in Louisville. 

About Mr and Mrs Smith LLC A Louisville Web design and Management company, specializing in creating amazing Web designs for local (Louisville, Kentucky) small – midsize businesses. To learn more about Why Black Lives Matter visit Mr and Mrs Smith LLC: Jason Smith, Founder; 502-295-7851, 

About Lou Velo LouVelo is Louisville’s official bike share company. The program launched on March 25, 2017 and consists of 320 bikes and 37 stations across Louisville, KY and Jeffersonville IN. LouVelo is operated by CycleHop with PBSC equipment and overseen by Louisville Metro. To access the bikes download Transit App. To learn more about LouVelo visit Matthew Glaser, General Manager; 502-643-0363, 

Castleman Statue Rode Out of Cherokee Triangle Monday, Jun 8 2020 


City wins court appeal, Mayor orders immediate removal

LOUISVILLE, KY. (June 8, 2020) —The John Breckenridge Castleman monument is being moved this morning from Cherokee Triangle, after a Jefferson Circuit Court judge ruled Friday afternoon that the city has the right to do so.

Crews began work at about 6 a.m. The statue is being taken to a city storage facility for cleaning, in anticipation of a move to Cave Hill Cemetery, where Castleman is buried; the plinth below it will be moved later. Negotiations with Cave Hill about the move are ongoing.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced plans to move the Castleman monument, as well as one of George Dennison Prentice, in August 2018, after reviewing a report issued two months earlier by the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee, which had created a guiding set of principles for evaluating existing and future public art and monuments in the city.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced plans to move the Castleman monument, as well as one of George Dennison Prentice, in August 2018, after reviewing a report issued two months earlier by the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee, which had created a guiding set of principles for evaluating existing and future public art and monuments in the city.

The committee held seven public meetings in 2018, gathering hundreds of comments from residents throughout the city before submitting its report to the Mayor. The Mayor said at the time that, “We all agree with the report’s finding that our city must not maintain statues that serve as validating symbols for racist or bigoted ideology – that’s why we relocated the Confederate statue near the University of Louisville” in 2016.

And, “While Castleman was honored for contributions to the community, it cannot be ignored that he also fought to continue the horrific and brutal slavery of men, women and children; heralded that part of his life in his autobiography; and had his coffin draped with both a U.S. and Confederate flag,” he said. “And while Prentice was founder and long-time editor of the Louisville Journal newspaper, he used that platform to advocate an anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant message that led to the 1855 Bloody Monday riot where 22 people were killed.”

The Prentice statue was moved into storage in December 2018. The Castleman move required a Certificate of Appropriateness because it is located in the Cherokee Triangle Preservation District. The Cherokee Triangle Architectural Review Committee denied the certificate in January 2019. The city appealed that decision to the Landmarks Commission, which approved the move in May 2019.  The Friends of Louisville Public Art appealed that decision to Jefferson Circuit Court, which denied that appeal, making way for today’s move.

In announcing his decision to move the Prentice and Castleman statues in 2018, the Mayor rejected the idea that moving them was an effort to erase history. “Moving these statues,” he said, “allows us to examine our history in a new context that more accurately reflects the reality of the day, a time when the moral deprivation of slavery is clear.”

Today, the Mayor said moving the Castleman statue from its public space sends an important message. “But the events of the past weeks have shown clearly that it’s not enough just to face our history – we’ve got to address its impact on our present. Too many people are suffering today because the promises of justice and equality enshrined in our Constitution are unfulfilled by a society that devalues African-American lives and denies African Americans justice, opportunity and equity. That’s got to change. People want and deserve action. We need a transformation.”

No decision has been made about how the Cherokee Triangle site will be used after the statue is moved. Sarah Lindgren, Metro’s Public Art Administrator, said any new proposal for artwork or monuments on public property would be reviewed through the city’s public art guidelines.

Information about the city’s review process for artworks in public places, including the Commission on Public Art guidelines and documentation of  the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee, can be found at

The Night I Said No to Little Richard Saturday, May 9 2020 

Of the Founding Fathers of Rock & Roll, the quintet whose mugs would be on Mount Rushmore, two were frankly more incendiary than the rest.

It’s not that Elvis, Fats Domino, and Bo Diddley weren’t rockin’ and rollin’ in a totally new fashion in the mid 50s.

It’s just that the music of the other two blasted from the tinny speaker of the 7 transistor portable radio I got for my Bar Mitzvah, the device I could put in my bike basket, and thereby take my life’s preferred soundtrack with me wherever I roamed.

One was Jerry Lee Lewis.

When you’re 12 years old and you hear “Great Balls of Fire,” you turn to your pal and scream, “Holy shit, did you hear what he just sang?”

To get a sense of how raucous Jerry Lee could be, youtube his ’64 concert at the Star Club in Hamburg.

(Aside: That Jerry Lee Lewis is the last of those Founding Fathers standing is one of the wonders of the universe.)

The other who pushed the boundaries of the new teen culture to other dimensions was Little Richard. RIP.

His songs propelled. They were insistent. They were outrageous.

And all those ladies he sang about — Long Tall Sally, Miss Ann, et al — they weren’t ladies at all.

Not only was Richard Penniman’s music from the other side of the tracks, you had to turn down a dark road and know exactly where you were going to get there. Then know the password to get in the door.

The cover of the first album I ever owned is that one at the lede. Bought for me by my hip grandparents, Max and Tillie Kaplan, at a music store in the then newfangled Northland Shopping Center in Detroit.

The last time I heard Little Richard in concert, it was sad really.

At JazzFest maybe 15 or 20 years ago. His first song ripped it up.

Then it turned to Vegas shtick, male dancers in thongs and all.

He was but a caricature of himself, which persona was cartoonish enough as it was.

Little Richard, like Jerry Lee really, had a constant inner struggle between the primal and spiritual. So, Richard Penniman would take periodic sabbaticals from rock and roll, and preach the gospel and life lessons according to Little Richard.

It was during one of those hiatuses in the late 60s or early 70s that I perpetrated one of the most egregious regrets of my life.

He gave a lecture at U of L.

And, for some unfathomable reason, based on some reasoning hard to comprehend in retrospect, I passed.

How stupid.

I mean, really, what was I thinking?

Apparently there were only a few people who showed up, and he was accessible, and I could have probably chatted him up for awhile.

That hole in my soul feels a bit emptier today, having learned of Little Richard’s passing.

He’d been in ill health for some time, and stopped performing years ago.

Anyhow, he was like no other, that Little Richard.

Here’s my favorite Little Richard tune, “The Girl Can’t Help It,” the eponymous title song of the lascivious ’56 movie, starring Jayne Mansfield.

— c d kaplan

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More JazzFest Musical Memories Saturday, May 2 2020 

Realizing it’s truly an impossible task — sharing my “favorite” JazzFest musical moments that is — I’ve decided to take a different tack for this last take on JazzFest for this year.

Because, I love it all. Even the days when I can hear umpteen different performers and none really grab on and don’t let go.

As I always say, that’s why I keep coming back. From day to day. From year to year. Even now in 2020, when I can only experience the event via WWOZ’s JazzFesting in Place.

So, here’s some quick mentions of some regulars, and I’ll give it up for this time around.

 * * * * *

Have I mentioned how much I cherish Allen Toussaint?

Duh, like only a gazillion times.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with He Who Is My Favorite New Orleans Musical Icon, my favorite musical icon period.

When still alive, Toussaint, except maybe way back in the day, never had a regular band that gigged together all the time, that toured. He was, until Katrina for sure, mostly a writer, producer, arranger. But a sometimes performer.

So, at his annual JazzFest sets, his ensemble was always a put together outfit. The upper echelon of NO players, of course, Men and women who have played with him through the decades. But, not playing regularly, the groups were often not as tight as one might hope.

Plus, his singing voice, never anything truly special, diminished over time.

But ya know, it was always Allen Toussaint with his incredible presence that bridged the gap between dapper and dazzle, and his sweet persona, and his amazing songs and charts.

So I tracked down this snippet of one of his endearing performances from a few years back.

(His 2009 set, which WWOZ aired Saturday as part of JazzFesting in Place, was seriously hot. Toussaint and band were hot hot hot. Unfortunately I couldn’t track down any video of that gig. Sigh.)

 * * * * *

The Gospel Tent is, well, the ultimate testament to feeling the spirit.

I’ve been there on an Easter Sunday, when I swear it was levitating.

I remember walking in once in the middle of a set by the mass choir from a church in Dallas, and so powerful was their sound and energy, it literally slowed my pace. Like walking into a strong wind.

And I’ve been in there, when a group just wouldn’t fire, or the crowd wasn’t ready.

Just a few examples here to give you a sense.

The first video of the Electrifying Crown Seekers is choppy — you’ll see — but a great example of just how out of control the place and performers can get.

Then there are gospel singers most of us have never heard of that make you think, “Why aren’t these people famous?”

Like Cynthia Girtley.

Or, a choir that just gets it on.

 * * * * *

I’m a sucker for cover songs.

I’ve always been fascinated at every concert anywhere by what song of someone else the artist or band might perform.

If it’s an oldie, I’m rarely not smitten.

Like when rising blues star, a recent New Orleans emigrant, Samantha Fish opened her first appearance ever at the Fest in the Blues Tent with Barbara Lewis’s sultry, “Hello Stranger.”

This isn’t from JazzFest, but I have to share anyway.

 * * * * *

Another personal peculiarity I mention often about my many annual treks to Fest, it’s rarely about the Big Name Acts.

With some exceptions.

Like Springsteen with his Seeger Sessions Band, at their first gig, at the first JF just eight months after Katrina.

As I’ve often written before of his so damn good so damn appropriate opening tune, he had me at Oh.

 * * * * *

OK, one more and I’ll get outta here.

Had to give a tip of the hat to Dr. John, New Orleans through and through.

His best gig at JazzFest might be his set from ’06. Sadly I couldn’t find a video from that one. (Track it down if you can, the audio might be in the archives.)

So I’ll just bid you my adieu with this New Orleans classic from Mac Rebennack:

— c d kaplan

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Favorite JazzFest Musical Memories, Part Trois Thursday, Apr 30 2020 

There’s a chat room where JazzFest obsessives like myself hang out.

For the acolytes, the Jazz Fest Forum  is a year round thing.

The denizens are called Threadheads, and most seem to know each other from hookups during Fest. Or otherwise. Liuzza’s seems to be the official unofficial meeting place. They also have a party every year during Fest called the Patry. With boffo lineups.

I’m sort of an outlier, an auxiliary Threadhead if you will, having come to the dialog later than most of the regulars. On the way to the Fest a few years back, in the Charlotte airport, I did meet a couple that helped start the Forum. And there’s the NRBQ-loving regular I chatted up a couple years ago between acts at the Gentilly Stage.

It’s a year round deal, but, as you can imagine, conversations ratchet up with the lineup announcement in January, and the posting of the Cubes a month out.

One of the regular threads will deal with lesser known, obscure acts that somebody’s heard in concert with a hearty “You gotta hear this group.”

I check them all out on youtube before making my daily plans. Weeks in advance, I must admit. Plus, disciple that I am, I also check out the ones I don’t know that might not have been recommended.

Which brings to my favorite tip of recent years . . .

. . . Bombino.

Real name: Goumar Almoctar. His lineage is that of a Tuareg tribesman. They’re nomadic, as I understand. Though my research is limited.

What I know is when I watched and listened to the first video, I put a big square around his time block on my Cubes. Which essentially means, “Don’t even think of meandering to another stage, and be there at the start.”

Whoever told us in that thread he was a must see was absolutely correct.

Bombino’s style is evocative and hypnotic. Think snake charmer music.

What I remember about his set, other than being transfixed and transformed, eyes closed, to another reality, is the guy who shouted as exiting the Blues Tent when the set was over, “Now that’s what JazzFest is all about.”

So I present this video of him at JazzFest, though I don’t remember if this was his first or second appearance. As you’ll note, the sound of the music is somewhat fuzzy, yet it’s a cool presentation.

Because it gives a real sense of what it’s like in the Blues Tent. Jammed. People locked into the music. People milling about looking for seats. People trying to dance in the aisles, and get up in front of the stage. The mix of hubbub and hot tuneage.

 * * * * *

You had to really experience the ultimate one hit wonder Ernie K-Doe in person to observe the true glory of his hubristic smile-inducing provenance.

The fellow was a character.

I recall hearing him in a small club, almost completely empty, in New Orleans in the early 70s before JazzFest became a thing. He prattled on about the old days, when he was the King of the Tulane frat house parties. And the magnificence and importance of “Mother In Law” of course.

To attempt to convey K-Doe’s engaging, cocky personality, I present a photo of his grave marker.

My favorite of the several times I heard K-Doe was at a Doo Drop Inn Revisted gig in a New Orleans hotel back in the 90s.

For a time, this was an annual evening show that was part of the festival, where they celebrated the iconic Crescent City rhythm and blues club.

There’d be a hot big band, conducted by Wardell Quezergue or Allen Toussaint or some New Orleans musical genius. Then they’d trot out the Dixie Cups and Al “Carnival Time” Johnson and Benny Spillman, and other hitmakers from the 50s and 60s.

The year I’m talking about, not sad to say the one in the video below, K-Doe was apparently in his cups a bit more than usual.

He did a couple of tunes. Ended with “Mother in Law,” during which he vamped, hoping to hold the stage as long as possible.

At some point, he admonished the crowd, “On your feet for Ernie K-Doe.”

Then, “Wave your handkerchief for Ernie K-Doe.”

Finally and emphatically, “On your knees for Ernie K-Doe.”

At which blissful oh so New Orleans moment, he was given the hook.

Here’s K-Doe at another year’s Doo Drop Inn Revisited. It gives a good sense of the fellow’s personality.

What I love about this set is that band leader Allen Toussaint is getting such a kick out of K-Doe, he can’t stop smiling.

K-Doe’s gravestone does get one thing so very right.

After him, there’s no other.

 * * * * *

I have no recollection of exactly how I came to the music of Daniel Lanois. Whether I knew he was a producer of a bunch of name acts like U2 and Dylan, or whether that came later?

But I got his own CD “Acadie” in the late 80s.

Loved its melancholy feel. Loved the unique sound of his guitar. His brooding songs struck a chord. Still do.

When I saw him on the schedule at JazzFest I rejoiced. One of my most anticipated performances there ever.

It was gray day, the clouds outlined in black, or so it seemed.

Perfect for Lanois.

There’s actually a CD of his JF performance from ’89, which I just discovered when doing some research for this. But the cost of same was a bit much.

Nor could I find a video of his gig there.

But . . . I did come upon this video of a searing performance of his signature tune, “The Maker.” You may know the song from Willie or Emmy Lou.

 * * * * *

Along with some other recordings, I gave a CD of Olu Dara’s album, “In The World: From Natchez to New York,” to some friends as a gift after I’d stayed at their home.

“How did you hear about this guy?,” I was asked.

Again, I hadn’t the slightest remembrance.

Again, I cherished the moment he’d be at JazzFest on the Congo Square stage. The Mississippi native made a second appearance a few years later.

During that first performance, my pal and I taunted a friend back home, whom we had been trying to get to come to Fest for years, and whom we knew loved Olu Dara. We phoned him during the set and let him listen for a moment or two, and abruptly hung up.

Olu Dara is Yoruba for “God is good.”

The jazz cornetist’s real name is Charles Jones III. Doesn’t have the same exotic ring, does it?

Through the years, he had a couple of zestily named ensembles. The Okra Orchestra. The Natchezsippi Dance Band.

Anyway, by the time he released that album and played Fest, his music had morphed into a truly intriguing mashup of jazz and blues and folk and African and reggae.


For reasons which should come obvious, this tune was all the rage for a good while after his performance at Fest.

The video is obviously from another gig.

More to come. Maybe. We’ll see if listening to classic sets over the next four days instigates more memories.

— c d kaplan

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Knowing What It Means To Miss New Orleans Sunday, Apr 19 2020 

Already consumed with the stark reality that my upcoming week was going to be considerably different than planned, I did not need a reminder.

There it was nonetheless when I sat down at my computer Sunday morning.

The Reminder: JazzFest tomorrow.


Not that my favorite thing to do in life, the gravitational pull of my year, started Monday. The festival wouldn’t have begun until 11:00 in the morning Thursday.

Just sayin’. Hearing some hot New Orleans outfit, like, say, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, or Flow Tribe, before noon on a workday, while savoring a frozen latte, is among life’s most endearing pleasures.

But Monday’s the day I start the trek down. At least since I’ve been driving instead of flying. No matter to explain, but I’ve got my reasons, and it works for me.

Stay overnight along the way in Mississippi. Get to the Crescent City around noon Tuesday. Check in and let the burg’s quintessential vibe wash over me. Take a jog through the Quarter. Dine with long time pals that night at, say, Clancy’s or GW Fins.

Spend Wednesday hanging out in the Vieux Carré, listening to in stores at Louisiana Music Factory, where I always hook up with similarly minded friends I’ve made through the years. Make a stop at Meyer the Hatter on St. Charles. Maybe drive up Magazine for more gratuitous shopping.

Annual night before Fest dinner with a varying group of good friends from home and hither and yon at Galatoire’s, or, more recently, Mosca’s on the Westbank for chicken a la grandé.

Thursday through Sunday: Festin’ in the day. Feastin’ in the evening.

That’s been what this coming week in April has been for me.

Every. Year. Since. 1991.

And several years before that, starting with my first Fest in ’76, when I went for a weekend, and ended up staying almost two weeks. Thank you, Marc, for the intro, thank you forgiving bosses, for your forgiving.

 * * * * *

A quick history, with my apologies to those who have been with me for awhile, who have heard the chronology too many times, such is my obsession.

I just need to get it out. I just need to vent.

First time, like I said, ’76. First JazzFest concert on Riverboat President. Allen Toussaint, Professor Longhair, Gatemouth Brown.

Fell in love with the whole deal.

Not sure why I didn’t make it back until ’80. Work obligations. Lack of funds. ??? Stupidity. Getting caught up for some reason with Derby Fever. I dunno.

By then, my life was unraveling a bit. Drugs. Alcohol. Got clean and sober in late ’82. And it took awhile before I felt comfortable returning.

New Orleans is . . . well . . . you know . . . New Orleans.

In ’88, that college chum who first introduced me to the whole thing demanded I return. Little Feat reunion was the hook.

After hearing Aaron Neville sing “Arianne,” I vowed never to miss JazzFest again.

Which I haven’t since ’91. Was there in ’89, and ’90, but was recovering from an accident in spring ’91, and c’est impossible.

(What helped me get through missing that year was a gift from a couple friends, who were working on a series of musician interviews for a Public Radio series. Sometime in the early spring of ’91, they interviewed Aaron Neville and had him tape a personal message for me. Which included a rendition of a song of hope he’d just written. I’ve still got the cassette, but, alas, no cassette player.)

I didn’t like missing it a bit.

I was back in ’92.

This year for obvious reasons I shall not be.

It hurts. It hurts so bad.

 * * * * *

As I write this, I’m somewhat calmer than earlier in the day.

I’m listening to WWOZ online, where the incredible New Orleans public music station is playing past sets from French Quarter Fest, another rave up down there, which always precedes JF by a week or two.

Ellis Marsalis from 2004. Panorama Jazz Band, including the amazing Aurora Nealand on alto sax from ’19. Astral Project with Johnny V on the traps from ’16.

The station will be running a Festing in Place musical cavalcade, during days and hours Fest was scheduled the next two Thursday through Sundays.

It shall have to suffice.

There won’t be any Crawfish Strudel.

There won’t be any of AJ’s sublime chocolate snoballs, to which I have a an addiction. There is no Chocolate Snoballs Anonymous of which I’m aware.

(I do have the memory of my moment there years ago with Allen Toussaint, my favorite musician of forever. That’s him and me in the attached photo.)

I won’t be at Marc and Jill’s next Sunday night for their annual crawfish boil.

But I shall abide.

JazzFest will be back.

The Good Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise, so shall I.

— c d kaplan



Paristown’s Fete de Noel will Stay Open through Jan. 12 Friday, Jan 3 2020 

Paristown’s inaugural Fête de Noël; a gift from Commonwealth Bank & Trust to remain open through Jan. 12th
Outdoor Ice-skating Rink a big success with Louisville Community

(Louisville KY – Jan. 2ND) – Due to overwhelming public support and demand for more outdoor ice-skating entertainment, Paristown has announced the hugely popular outdoor ice-skating rink which was slated to close on Jan. 5th, will now remain open through Jan. 12th. “Our inaugural Fête de Noël; a gift from Commonwealth Bank & Trust has been a huge success and the community support and feedback has been tremendous,” said Steve Smith, Paristown’s Managing Partner. Louisvillians can continue to skate through the beginning of 2020 on the same great 100’ x 40’ outdoor ice-skating rink which will maintain the same operating hours during the week-long extension.

According to Smith, “none of this would be possible without the support of our wonderful community partner, CB&T. Just like having a banker in the family, this local bank believed in the Paristown vision and stepped up early to commit to being the Presenting Sponsor of Fête de Noël which enabled us to collaborate and create this great new holiday attraction that has brought so much joy to our community.”

Established in 1854 along Beargrass Creek and just east of downtown Louisville directly off of East Broadway, the historic Village of Paristown is undergoing a major revitalization. Old Forester’s Paristown Hall, Stoneware & Co., and Christy’s Garden anchor the cultural arts and entertainment district. Plans for the Village Market were recently announced, with the remaining first phase of development, which includes two major historic restorations and the relocation and expansion of The Café, is scheduled to be completed during the first quarter of 2020.

For more information, go to:

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Mayor bullish on Louisville’s momentum, sees economic, cultural renaissance continuing into 2020 Monday, Dec 30 2019 


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (December 23, 2019) – From the renaming of Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport to multi-million dollar investments at Ford and UPS, to a greater focus on growing tech talent, Mayor Greg Fischer today outlined the city’s many achievements in 2019 and looked ahead to progress and momentum continuing into 2020.

“As we begin a new decade, it’s a great time to review our city’s progress and to look ahead. This is something we do regularly at Metro Government, where we believe in learning from the past, living in the present and preparing for the future,” said the Mayor. “That approach, along with years of hard work and a long list of community partners, has helped produce an incredible economic and cultural renaissance in Louisville.”

Since 2011, Louisville has added 83,000 new jobs and 3,000 new businesses, with more than $14 billion dollars of investment flowing into the city since 2014 alone. Nearly $1 billion of that investment is happening in west Louisville, an area of historic disinvestment that the city and its partners are working to reverse. 2019 marked the city’s 9th consecutive year of job growth since 2010, the bottom of the Great Recession and the city’s unemployment rate averaged 3.9 percent for the year.

Louisville Skyline


In briefings with local media, the Mayor outlined some highlights from 2019, including:

Helping lead the conversation around the future of work:

We’ve enjoyed a continued unbroken stretch of tech job growth.
Microsoft announced that Louisville will become a regional hub for artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and data science for the technology giant.
JP Morgan Chase’s AdvancingCities initiative awarded Louisville a $3 million grant for digital inclusion and economic resilience initiatives in low-income neighborhoods.
The city launched LouTechWorks, a major initiative to boost Louisville’s efforts to rapidly expand its tech talent pipeline.
CBRE named Louisville an “up-and-coming tech talent market.”

The continued tourism boom:
Thanks in part to Bourbonism – the act of enjoying Louisville’s unique local food and bourbon scene – the city welcomed more than 16.4 million annual visitors, representing $534 million total economic impact.
The city’s airport is now officially Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, part of efforts to build tourism around Louisville’s most famous citizen.
American Airlines launched nonstop services between Los Angeles International Airport and Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport in April.
The Kentucky International Convention Center hosted more than 130 groups, generating more than $92 million in estimated economic impact
More than 289,000 people attended Trifesta, the outdoor music festivals Hometown Rising, Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life held at the Kentucky Exposition Center over three weekends in September.
Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery became the latest bourbon attraction to open on historic Main Street, bringing the total of bourbon attractions to nine.
Kentucky Performing Arts opened Old Forester’s Paristown Hall, a $12 million, music/entertainment venue that can accommodate as many as 2,000 patrons.

Additional economic highlights:

UPS Worldport confirmed its commitment to Louisville with a $750 million investment that will result in 1,000 new jobs.

Ford announced a $550 million investment in its two Louisville plants in preparation for a new Escape and Lincoln Corsair.

Business owners Mike and Medora Safai transformed the old Axton Candy and Tobacco Warehouse into the bustling $1.6 million Logan Street Market, a 27,000-square-foot urban market in Shelby Park.

Construction began on the first new Beecher Terrace building, which will house low-income seniors, and is scheduled for completion in September 2020.

The Northeast Regional Library opened in June and has since checked out more than 319,000 items (highest in the system), served more than 116,000 visitors (2nd highest in the system behind the Main Library), and seen more than 8,000 children and 2,000 adults attend library programs and events.

Dare to Care partnered with Kroger to open the new Zero Hunger Mobile Market, part of an ongoing city effort to address food insecurity, and with support from the city and the Novak Family Foundation, Dare to Care broke ground on its new Community Kitchen in Parkland— tripling the size of its current facility.

Colonial Gardens opened in south Louisville with Union 15 and El Taco Luchador; two more restaurants coming soon.
The $28 million Republic Bank Foundation YMCA opened at 18th and Broadway, focused on strengthening community and improving health. It will be supported through partnerships with Norton Healthcare, Republic Bank & Trust, ProRehab Physical Therapy, and Family and Children’s Place.

Louisville Metro Animal Services opened its new shelter at 3516 Newburg Road.

Mayor Fischer said he was especially pleased to see Louisville in April become one of only four cities to receive What Works Cities Gold Certification — a national standard of excellence in innovative and efficient city governance.

“At a time of tight budgets and increasing need for the services we provide, this is a significant affirmation of our systems, our commitment to excellence, and the work that Louisville Metro Government employees are doing every single day,” he said.

In 2019, the city also took steps toward becoming a city of even greater equity and compassion, launching Lean Into Louisville, a community initiative to confront the history of all forms of discrimination, including the Synergy Project, designed to strengthen relationships between police and residents, and increase collaboration grounded in trust and legitimacy.

Russell: A Place of Promise received several grants to further its work of regeneration without displacement in Russell, ensuring that the people who built the soul of the neighborhood are a part of its redevelopment.

Also in 2019, Louisville celebrated 20 years of its Fairness Ordinance, launched the city’s first LGBTQ chamber of commerce, Civitas, and for a fifth year in a row, received a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Scorecard.

Continuing its record-breaking streak, the Mayor’s Give A Day Week of Service, in partnership with Metro United Way, broke its own world record with more than 235,000 volunteers and acts of service. And with city support, Evolve 502 continued building toward a system of wrap-around supports for all children and families and a promise scholarship.

When asked about the city’s looming budget challenges due to the growing pension costs, the Mayor said, “Though our economy is growing, the FY19 and FY20 budgets reflected challenges due to rapidly increasing pension costs, and the FY21 budget will as well. Going forward, we will work with state leaders and Metro Council to establish new streams of revenue to help us not only provide public safety and basic services to our residents, but also to focus even more attention on such complex issues as affordable housing, climate change and homelessness.”

The Mayor noted that he’s looking forward to more exciting announcements in 2020, including the opening of the first phase of the Louisville Urban League’s Norton Sports Health Athletics & Complex in the Russell neighborhood and the opening of Lynn Family Stadium in Butchertown, which will serve as the centerpiece of the $200 million stadium district, as well as home to Louisville City FC and Louisville’s National Women’s Soccer League team, Proof Louisville FC.

The Mayor also reminded residents of the upcoming 2020 Census, noting that participation is critical to ensuring the city receives the federal funding it needs and deserves. Learn more about the Census 2020 Complete Count at

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A Jolly Old Show — Rusty Talks with Zack Pennington and Jeff Stum Friday, Dec 20 2019 

Ho Ho Ho! The Rusty Satellite Show is feeling extra jolly this season, bringing you more of the most interesting people in the ‘Ville. And throughout January, you’ll be hearing the interviews I’m recording this week with politicians, artists, actors and more as I recover from ankle surgery.

Zack Pennignton is already on Rusty’s Wall of Fame

Of course you’re gonna love this show. What is it you think this town really needs? Did you say a karaoke bar? Zack Pennington, the extraordinary entrepreneur who brought you the city’s first axe-throwing venue, is planning a karaoke bar like no other.  So figure out your go-to karaoke song and head down to NoreABar — coming soon to NuLu. Zack has moved to Texas, sort of, but still spends plenty of time here.

We’ve accepted that Kentucky is in the race for last to approve any sort of marijuana legalization, but Jeff Stum is betting on CBD as the next big thing. He’s the man behind Hectare’s, a series of CBD products to give you energy, or help you relax. It’s made from Kentucky hemp, grown on a farm in southern Kentucky. You remember Jeff from his previous appearances here, promoting a Chai Tea (that didn’t make it) and Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey (which is thriving). I caught up with Jeff at Diamond’s Pub & Grub in St. Matthews, and recorded before a live audience of two.

Rusty alumni in the news include GLI boss Kent Oyler, who is stepping down there, and handing things over to Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, a wise pick. And Marc Murphy, Ricky L. Jones and Aaron Yarmuth were among those attending and speaking at an downtown rally called Impeach and Remove, one of hundreds of national events encouraging the removal of Trump.

Jeff Stum and me at Diamonds Pub and Grub

I put consecutive show #337 together at the ReMax Properties East studio, where the Sokoler team was just named one of the top ReMax team in the nation. This podcast is sponsored by my friends at the Eye Care Institute and Heuser Health.


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