Katrin on set

Katrin von Niederhausern outside Jamila's Cafe during filming of the re-enactment of Homer Simpson's culinary tour of New Orleans.

How and why two tourists recreated the 'Simpsons' culinary tour of New Orleans, NOPL eases fines for youth, voter registration deadlines loom ever nearer, New Orleanians will rally at the 'We the People' march, and Gambit will interview candidates seeking the paper's endorsement. Here's what you need to know in New Orleans this week.

How two tourists recreated New Orleans ‘Simpsons’ video

Perhaps even more impressive than the precision of Swiss tourists Janine Wiget and Katrin von Niederhausern’s viral re-enactment of Homer and Lisa Simpson’s iconic culinary tour of New Orleans is the fact that the duo visited 54 New Orleans restaurants in a week to make it possible.

The minute-and-a-half video shows the scene from the 2018 “The Simpsons” episode “Lisa Gets the Blues” in which Homer eats his way through the city side-by-side with another video of Wiget and von Niederhausern recreating each shot themselves — eating the same foods at the same settings with the same facial expressions and mannerisms, all filmed from the same angles.

Wiget and von Niederhausern had visited New Orleans several times in the past few years and had another trip planned for this summer. The friends have a tradition of commemorating their travels with videos (usually involving dancing), so when they watched the New Orleans-themed episode of “The Simpsons” together for the first time in February, they immediately knew what their next video would be.

“When we saw this episode, we looked at each other and we knew that we were going to recreate the scene,” Wiget said. “We actually came up with the idea both together, like it's clear that we need to do it because we both love ‘The Simpsons’ and we love the city so much.”

There was just one problem: Von Niederhausern would only be in the city for a week. Pulling this off, they realized, would require meticulous planning, ensuring the endeavor was as efficient as possible. They printed a storyboard of each shot in the TV scene as well as a giant map of the city — marking the locations of all the restaurants, their addresses and opening hours.

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Simpsons storyboard
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Katrin on set
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Katrin on set at Mulate's
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Betsy's Pancake House
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Brennan's

“We basically planned every day because we had to film about eight scenes every day, so we went to eight places every day,” Wiget said. “So we didn't have to drive back and forth so often we really had to schedule which restaurant are we visiting on which day.”

When the week arrived, Wiget and von Niederhausern set off with their map, storyboard, cellphones and tripod. For shots inside restaurants, the duo had to get staff and management in on the project, as it required them to partake in some unusual activities.

Since they didn't have the creative liberties with the shots that the animators of “The Simpsons” had, getting the right angle often meant moving furniture around, sitting or lying on the floor, setting tables on top of trash cans or in the streets and even entering construction zones.

One shot shows Homer and Lisa dining at Emeril’s — the restaurant’s logo on the window behind them. But when Wiget and von Niederhausern arrived, they realized the logo was actually on the door of the restaurant, and had to convince the manager to let them put a table in front of the door.

“We were afraid that the people would not like it if we were doing this because maybe we were disturbing the guests and they don't want us to do that,” Wiget said. “But actually all of them were really excited about it and so happy.”

The project proved to be a great way to get to know the city because it led them to meet people and visit restaurants they otherwise may have never visited.

Their favorite? Betsy’s Pancake House. They visited on a Sunday morning, when the restaurant was crowded with patrons coming in after church, and ordered a stack of more than a dozen pancakes.

“All the ladies that were working there were so lovely, and they were so excited about the project,” Wiget said. “When they came out with the plate of pancakes, the whole restaurant turned silent. That was just a funny moment.”

Wiget estimates the endeavor cost about $500 total, which is less than they were expecting, she said. For some of the po-boy scenes shot outside restaurants, they were able to rearrange the sandwiches and reuse them, which helped reduce costs. Plus, they saved money by not going out every night.

“We were so tired from filming every day that we would just not go out in the evening. We would have spent just as much money in bars or on food if we would've gone out,” Wiget said.

The video has amassed about 600,000 views on YouTube since being published Aug. 23. But Wiget said they did not expect the video to be such a hit while creating it.

“Very often, like several times in the day, we were asking ourselves, what are we doing here? We are in New Orleans, we could all just enjoy the vacation and see the live music and go dancing, but instead we're doing this all day long,” she said. “But yeah, we still did it, and it really was just a fun project. We didn't know how the people would react, and we were very surprised about this huge feedback that is so positive.”

Some of that positive feedback has come from people they met in the city during their seven-day filming period.

“We're just so happy to meet all these amazing people and all these,” Wiget said. “We're just big fans of the city.” — KAYLEE POCHE

NOPL to eliminate late library fines for 'youth materials'

Last year the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL) eased fines for materials returned late by providing auto renewal for books and items that weren't being requested by another patron.

Now it's going one step further: discontinuing late fines entirely for "youth materials."

"With 44% of New Orleans third-graders being unable to read at a third-grade level and 40% of New Orleans high school students being held back at least one grade," NOPL said in a statement, "the Library wants to do all that it can to ensure that youth materials are always accessible to everyone."

The new policy went into effect Sept. 1.

"Late fines for books, CDs and DVDs are $.20 per day and while that is a relatively small amount, it can quickly add up over time and often results in not only lost materials, but lost Library users," NOPL's statement says. "This especially impacts children and teens who can’t always control when they can get to a Library to return materials."

Any materials that are checked out for more than 90 days will be charged to the user's account.

NOPL is also participating in Mayor LaToya Cantrell's "summer amnesty" program, which provides a one-time waiver program for fees up to $100. That program ends Sept. 3. To get the fees taken off your library account, visit any NOPL branch. — KEVIN ALLMAN

September voter registration deadlines approaching

Election Day is approaching sooner than you might think — and voter registration deadlines will be here even sooner.

The Oct. 12 ballot will contain both local and statewide races, including primaries for governor, secretary of state and lieutenant governor. The deadline to register to vote in this election is Sept. 11 (in person or by mail). Those registering online through the GeauxVote portal on the secretary of state’s website have until Sept. 21 to register.

Early voting for the Oct. 12 election is Sept. 28-Oct. 5 (not including Sunday, Sept. 29) from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Individuals who need absentee ballots must request them by Oct. 8 at 4:30 p.m. and get them to the Registrar of Voters via mail by Oct. 11 at 4:30 p.m. (with the exception of military and overseas voters).

If no candidate receives a majority of the vote during the primary, there will be a runoff election Nov. 16 between the two candidates who received the highest numbers of votes. The deadline to register to vote in the general elections is Oct. 16 in person or by mail and Oct. 26 online.

Early voting for the runoff begins Nov. 2 and ends Nov. 9 (with the exception of Sunday, Nov. 3) from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Absentee ballots must be requested by 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 and received by the Registrar of Voters by 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 15. — KAYLEE POCHE

New Orleanians to rally for change at We the People March Sept. 21

With the absence of the Women’s March in New Orleans this year, some residents were looking for another march to participate in — one that would cover a wide array of issues and bring people together. Co-organizer Cynthia Sheridan hopes the We the People March on Saturday, Sept. 21 will fill that void.

Sheridan said the march is for people who are unhappy with government leaders and want to advocate for a variety of social justice issues.

“You don't have to necessarily agree with every position everybody takes who comes to this march,” she said, “but come to show that you believe that there needs to be a change in our government right now.”

The event will be a solidarity march with the national We the People March on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. But New Orleans organizers will add local flair to the mix with a second line, costumes and art. Sheridan also said she plans to work with a local group to create puppets as tall as 5 feet.

Organizers are developing a playlist of songs to be sung during the march, such as Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and The Beatles’ “Come Together.”

“We're encouraging people to be expressive and to be New Orleanians, so it could be anything,” Sheridan said. “We want it to be not necessarily a party atmosphere but an atmosphere of coming together and restoring our energy.”

Attendees will convene on the sidewalk in front of Louis Armstrong Park and march to New Orleans City Hall, where various social justice organizations — including prison rights, immigrant rights and environmental activist groups — will be present on the terrace, offering information about their services and how to join. This part of the event will serve as a networking opportunity for organizations and volunteers in the city.

“A lot of these grassroots organizations have needs, and if people hear about them at this one networking event, then hopefully they will get some of those needs met,” Sheridan said.

So far, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Congress of Day Laborers and Immigration Services and Legal Advocacy (ISLA) are among a growing number of participating organizations.

The rally will last from noon to 2 p.m. — KAYLEE POCHE

Attention candidates for public office

Gambit soon will interview candidates who are interested in the paper’s endorsement in the Oct. 12 primary. Gambit endorses candidates for statewide office and those seeking public office in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. We do not endorse in judicial elections.

As we’ve done in past statewide elections, we will ask candidates for legislative and council district offices to respond to detailed questionnaires. In statewide and parishwide races, we will conduct in-person interviews. Candidates who are interested in Gambit’s endorsement should call Linda Lachin at (504) 483-3111 or email lindal@gambitweekly.com for more information.