RT6: Ashley Morris Award Nominations

Mominem handled this post last year, so I'll just copy most of what he wrote:

One of the now traditional events at the Annual Rising Tide Conference is the recognition of the winner of the annual Ashley Morris Award. In 2011, we are again pleased to open up the nominations to the entire New Orleans Internet Community. We are asking everyone to submit their nominations for this award by commenting on this post.

Photo by Emily Ardoin

The Ashley Morris award was established in 2008 to honor and remember one of the founding members of Rising Tide, Dr. Ashley Morris. It is presented in cooperation with Hana Morris. The award is given annually to someone who embodies Ashley's fierce passionate defense of New Orleans, its people and its culture.

Past recipients are:

2006 Dr. Ashley Morris (retroactively and posthumously). Ashley was a major figure in the New Orleans Internet community and beyond. He carried his love for New Orleans literally on sleeve, or rather under it in the form of a very large fleur-de-lis tattoo. His famously fierce and profane reactions to any attack on New Orleans became legendary in the months and years after the Federal Flood. His larger than life personality still resonates as one of the inspirations for the Treme character Creighton Bernette, played by John Goodman. Bernette has been known to speak words originally written by Ashley. Ashley's blog is still available, check out the greatest hits.

2007 Matt McBride (retroactively). Matt chronicled the construction of the temporary pumps and other features of the flood protection system of New Orleans. Matt's detailed research and on site observations showed that a committed person with the right knowledge can make a difference. Matt continues to cover the work on New Orleans Flood Protection at Fix the Pumps.

2008 Karen Gadbois quoting from Gambit's January 2009 recognition of Karen as A New Orleanian of the year for 2008;
... armed with little more than a laptop and a digital camera, singlehandedly blew the whistle on the New Orleans Affordable Housing scandal, which she documented on her blog, www.squanderedheritage.com. The result? An FBI investigation, admiring writeups of her efforts in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and new respect for the power of the citizen blogger.
Karen later won a Dupont Award for her work with Lee Zurik on a 50 part series exposing problems with NOAH. She also has since founded The Lens, a non-profit investigative news site that works with WDSU Fox8 on joint investigations.

2009 Ashe Dambala a.k.a. The American Zombie. Writing anonymously about the shenanigans in the City Hall IT department publishing rumors and reports from insiders Dambala had the whole Meffert/Nagin scam long before it surfaced in the main stream media. He had the goods and Meffert is now under indictment. Jason Berry has revealed he is Dambala.

2010 Clifton Harris who writes at Cliff's Crib. Cliff consistently offered a personal, poigniant, and self-evaluating insight to culture in New Orleans. His posts are ardent defenses of New Orleans even as they drive stinging criticisms into the very things that strangle this city.

While he may not display the in-your-face emotion of the late Dr. Morris, Cliff has consistently written with equal parts humor, heartbreak, and defiant resiliency on a host of topics that include, but are not limited to, sports, politics, education, popular culture, and the African-American community. His writing has also been featured A Howling in the Wires.

2011 - ? That's where you come in, gentle reader, as the nominations are open. Robust explanations of why your nominee should recieve this award are helpful, but, like a lot of things connected with Rising Tide the qualifications are flexible and subject to subjective interpretation. Non-eligible individuals include Rising Tide organizers and previous Award recipients. Nominations will close at 5pm Central on Wednesday, August 17th, and the Rising Tide organizers will meet to decide which of the nominees will recieve the glass block.

The Award will be announced at Rising Tide 6, August 27.

Rising Tide NOLA INC, reserves final responsibility for all decisions.


  1. I'd like to nominate Slabbed.

    I'd also like to nominate Library Chronicles.


  2. Keep in mind, as is the case with Library Chronicles, that this year's Rising Tide organizers are ineligible for consideration.

  3. I put a vote in for Slabbed as well. Also Cenlamar.

  4. Great noms. I'll throw Drake Toulouse's Disenfranchised Citizen into the mix, because it regularly and tenaciously followed and dissected the response to the biggest local/national disaster story over the past year (oil spill). Also, Drake's blog tackled other issues, both local and national, with insight and force. Certainly a great year of blogging.

  5. To back up my support for slabbed, sop81_1 has given substantial coverage to the Jefferson Parish Scandals, something many New Orleans Bloggers have given little attention, like it's in some far away planet.

    I think disqualifying everyone involved in Rising Tide disqualifies some of the best bloggers in New Orleans.


  6. I'd like to nominate Nola Anarcha for presenting a consistent anti-authoritarian voice on local issues. http://nolaanarcha.blogspot.com/ Yes it's a radical voice, and plenty of people will find plenty to disagree with. But Ultimately this perspective enriches the dialog in our community and expands our sense of what's possible.

  7. I would second everything everyone has said about Slabbed.

    But also I would like to nominate Blackened Out not only for its informative and forward-minded examination of New Orleans cuisine and dining but also for some of the most engaging and often humorous writing to be found on the local internets these days.

  8. I can nominate more than once? In that case: Brad V of Inside the Footprint. http://insidethefootprint.blogspot.com/ Relentless coverage of the razing of a neighborhood, asking the questions that need to be asked.

  9. Since my first nomination was TOO HOT FOR TV I'll toss in a vote for Cenlamar.

    Zack Kopplin would be another good choice, but he's not old enough to drink right?

  10. I'd like to nominate Brian Denzer, for his previous contributions at his original "People Get Ready" blog and more recently for his work with NolaStat. His work maybe hasn't been as flashy or splashy as previous Ashley Award winners, but it's been quiet, steady, relentless, consistent, and truly significant to the betterment of New Orleans. What I value immensely about Brian's work is that he's built something to help advance the cause of government accountability using empirical data -- in other words, developing the tools for successful practice in government and public officials -- as opposed to the much easier task of simply whistle-blowing and exposing the failures and foibles of government and public officials.

  11. I'd like to second several possibilities: Lamar, Blackened Out and the artist formerly known as Schroeder.

  12. I'd like to throw two names back out there:

    Brian Denzer has achieved more than most of us when it comes to finding ways to leverage the available tech for the common good. He is my number one candidate for this year's award.

    Coming in second is Lord David (transparency: LD is a former HumidCity blogger). If you'd like to know why go re-read cousin Pat's nomination above, it's spot on.

  13. CenLamar. He's been highlighting the arts of Louisiana for as long as I can remember; and has been central in helping push a progressive narrative in Louisiana ...

    And he's been instrumental in helping implement Louisiana New Leaders Council, an organization dedicated to finding young progressive leadership, and developing them.

  14. Here's a couple o' thoughts:

    Rick Prose - founder and tireless leader o' lowernine.org; rebuilding the Lower Ninth Ward with few volunteers & fewer resources - but getting ten homes a year back to livable! Rick and his team don't have the budget or donations of MIR9 or Habitat For Humanity - which makes their work that much more important and a somewhat harder task...though the people who own these homes are no less thankful to move back - ask lowernine.org's neighbour Roy, who helped Rick start this.(FYI, Roy is Kermit Ruffin's double - minus the trumpet)

    Rex Dingler - sure, he's an artist and we expect artists to be a little outspoken, but Dingler has put everything he has into promoting beauty & culture amongst the entropy and apathy since the Federal Flood. From replacing missing street signs immediately following, to "Take It It's Yours" art shows (free art to brighten & improve the neighbourhood AND people's homes) and giving inner city kids a chance to create and learn through art...and he still holds down an honoured position as a boat Captain!

  15. Too bad Library Chronicles is not eligible. The Yellow Blog has, this year, stepped up on many fronts where cranky, but well-researched and documented, commentary is needed.

    That said, I'd nominate Slabbed, because it's there that I have been clued in to the bigger picture of the Metro area, beyond my NOLA comfort zone.

    CenLamar deserves a nod, too, for connecting the dots up in Alec. I have come to enjoy his commentary - and tweeting - very much and wish him well as he embarks on his law school adventure. I'll miss his Cenla perspective.

    And with the recent GAO report on the ongoing COE pumps fiasco, why not throw in Fix the Pumps one more time as well?

  16. The Lens would like to nominate Mark Moseley for his opinion pieces: http://thelensnola.org/author/mark-moseley/ . Mark's work is always thoroughly researched and presented with vast context and sharp wit.

  17. Brian Denzer and Rex Dingler for the public contributions that exceed their respective blog posts.

  18. For "fierce passionate defense of New Orleans," I'd say the Inside the Footprint blog deserves strong consideration. Purely original reporting, delivered in both quantity and quality. I rarely make it inside the footprint myself, but Brad V.'s work takes me there on a daily basis.

    Also, despite his public vitriol on Twitter to many of us (myself included), I want to make sure that Editilla's name is at least thrown in the ring. Again, "fierce, passionate defense of New Orleans" seems to describe his efforts perfectly, even when we disagree.

    Finally, one of my favorite general slice-of-life commenary blogs is Beerfooddude by Craig of Janitas. Great writing, brutal honesty, admirable outlook about the perils of entrepreneurship in New Orleans: http://beerfooddude.livejournal.com/

  19. I would like to nominate dakinikat at the sky dancing blog http://skydancingblog.com/ and Robert's Uptown Messenger http://uptownmessenger.com/

    Further, I think that Guy's name should be thrown into the ring, too, for his unapologetic defense of science fiction and Annie May.


  20. So, now that the yellow blog is liberated from the pressure of being an Ashley Morris nominee, maybe there should be a designated Librarian's award-- the one (only one!?) writer/activist/politician/New Orleanian Jeffrey says is the one who killed it this year. OR... the Yellow Blog Award could go to the one who managed to be more annoying than Rita Benson while still being dedicated to the uplifting of the People of New Orleans. Or both.

  21. Brian Denzer's been doing his thing for a while.

    Slabbed is starting to really take off.

    I'd also be nice to get someone doing some spill blogging.

  22. Thanks for all the submissions, y'all. We got all the nominees together and the RT organizers made a decision last night.

    The winner will be announced at the conference, Saturday, August 27.

    Thanks again.