Coming up in this week's Gambit (available in newsboxes on Sunday and online Monday):
I've got the cover story: a look at the long, strange history of Louisiana's covenant marriage law....
Noah Bonaparte Pais remembers the late Antoinette K-Doe, and previews the 50th anniversary of Tulane's mighty radio station, WTUL-FM....
Clancy DuBos examines race and responsibility between the mayor and city council (column already online here)....
In our monthly Health & Wellness section, Kandace Power Graves tours a new state-of-the-art breast reconstruction hospital on St. Charles Avenue....
Rex Duke reviews every Carnival parade and hands out his golden crowns, along with the reader's choices for the best of the season....
...and we announce our nominees for this year's Big Easy Theater Awards.
Don't forget 60 Minutes on Sunday night -- Morley Safer interviews Gov. Bobby Jindal:
He's been called the Republican Obama and some think he may run for the presidency some day. But his opposition speech after the president's address to Congress this week caused some to say he's too young and inexperienced. Morley Safer profiles the governor of Louisiana.
See you on the newsstand.
Its way too early to tell whos even going to qualify for mayor nine months from now, or who will make the runoff 11 months from now, but this much seems clear already: The next round of citywide elections will be the most racially polarized in memory. Thats a damn shame, and theres plenty of blame to go around.
But rather than just assign blame, maybe we should talk about responsibility. Not in the sense of whos responsible for getting us in this mess, because thats just another way of playing the blame game. Rather, lets talk about responsibility in the sense of all of us being responsible for getting us out of this mess.
Ill start with our elected officials, who have a responsibility to put personal, petty differences aside and deal with whats best for the city.
The obvious case in point is the ongoing feud between Mayor Ray Nagin and the City Council. It started out as an honest, though heated, difference of opinion over the city budget. It escalated into a war over patronage contracts and then a race-baiting trap set by the mayor. Unfortunately, white council members walked right into the trap and made things worse.
Tammy Stewart, a candidate for Juvenile Court Judge in New Orleans in the April 4 special election, picked up key endorsements this past week from DA Leon Cannizzaro, City Council President Jackie Clarkson, Civil Sheriff Paul Valteau, Clerk of Criminal Court Arthur Morrell and Clerk of Civil Court Dale Atkins.
Stewart, a Democrat, faces fellow Democrats Jason E. Cantrell and Gary Wainwright in the special election to succeed former Juvenile Court Judge C. Hearn Taylor, who retired earlier this year.
Gov. Jindal told the story in a way that made it sound like he was assisting Harry Lee in the sheriffs office as rescue boats were being turned away which the governors office now says wasnt the case. The first responders heroism during Katrina is something that Louisianians hold sacred, and people are upset that Gov. Jindal framed the incident as if he was one of those first responders.
No word on whether "people" are upset that the Dems are now working those first responders' heroism as shamelessly as did Gov. Jindal.
Meanwhile, the Jindal office provides this YouTube video to Politico.com, and Politico notes:
Gov. Bobby Jindal's office, stressing that he visited Sheriff Henry [sic] Lee in the heat of the Katrina crisis, sends over a video of the late sheriff recalling the storm and its aftermath.
In this video, Sheriff Harry Lee recalls Jindal arriving "the day after" the storm and says, "He was there all the time."
Lee doesn't recount or date the story of red tape delaying rescule boats in the video.
by Clay A. Smith
Photograph by Jonathan Bachman
Despite a mercurial season the New Orleans Hornets can still see an opportunity to climb up in the Western Conference. Tyson Chandler is glad to be back-in a big way. Chandler has given the Hornets reason to celebrate.
The Hornets' center has stepped up his play as of late, and in his return helped lift New Orleans past the Sacramento Kings with a double-double that included ten rebounds and fifteen points. This is good news for the Hornets because a determined Chandler could spark a big second half for New Orleans.
But Chandler isnt the only Hornet improving his play. David West had 24 points and nine rebounds against the Kings. Finishing with 30 points West's rebounds and free throws were key in helping New Orleans nip the struggling Detroit Pistons 90-87. Small forward James Posey gives New Orleans solid minutes off the bench- a bench that is arguably the least productive in the N.B.A.
But perhaps gone unnoticed has been the emergence of Rasual Butler. New Orleans is happy to get anything out of the shooting guard position in the absence of anything resembling a shooter since the un-coachable J.R. Smith left for Denver, but Butler has carved a nice little niche for himself. Butler averages just over ten points a game and since the loss to Boston on February 11th, he has scored at least 12 points in every game (except against Detroit) - including 21 in a loss against the Utah Jazz and 31 in a loss against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Look for the Hornets to make a push with upcoming games against some sub par teams from the Eastern Conference. They'll start with the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that's lost three of their last four games. Then they'll play the 26-32 New Jersey Nets who, if not for a controversial buzzer beater by speedster Devin Harris, might have lost six of their last seven instead of just five. And they'll finish up against the Philadelphia 76ers who, at 28-28, shouldn't pose that much of a threat to a team with playoff aspirations.
That story about Sheriff Harry Lee that Gov. Bobby Jindal told during his address to the nation Tuesday night? Aw, just forget you heard it:
A spokeswoman for Bobby Jindal says the Louisiana governor didn't intend to imply that an anecdote about battling bureaucrats during Katrina directly involved the governor or took place during the heat of a fight to release rescue boats.
The spokeswoman, Melissa Sellers, said the story Jindal told in his response to Obama actually took place some days later in Lee's office -- though still in Katrina's chaotic aftermath -- as Lee was "recounting" his frustrations with the bureaucracy to someone else on the telephone.
Roll tape on what Bobby not-intending-to-imply:
During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine. When I walked into his makeshift office I'd never seen him so angry. He was yelling into the phone: 'Well, I'm the Sheriff and if you don't like it you can come and arrest me!' I asked him: 'Sheriff, what's got you so mad?' He told me that he had put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. The boats were all lined up ready to go -- when some bureaucrat showed up and told them they couldn't go out on the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration. I told him, 'Sheriff, that's ridiculous.' And before I knew it, he was yelling into the phone: 'Congressman Jindal is here, and he says you can come and arrest him too!' Harry just told the boaters to ignore the bureaucrats and start rescuing people.
Sorry for misunderstanding you, governor.
Armon Mosadegh, who was arrested and sent to Orleans Parish Prison on a misdemeanor marijuana charge, is expected to be released from prison today on a 701 release. Mosadegh is one of 135 clients currently represented by Orleans public defender Chanta Parker, who is featured in this weeks cover story, Playing Defense: Is the Constitutional Right to Legal Counsel Becoming Endangered in New Orleans?
A 701 release occurs when the district attorneys office fails to formally charge a defendant within a specified amount of time (45 days for a misdemeanor and 60 days for a felony, unless it a case that could result in life imprisonment or capital punishment, then the district attorneys office has 120 days).
Mosadegh spent 51 days in OPP before Judge Gerald Hansen of Orleans Parishs Magistrate Court ordered his release based on Parkers petition.
Lenten vows of temperance will be sorely tested this weekend as the rev-up to St. Patrick's Day gets a particularly early start at Finn McCool's Irish Pub.
On Saturday, the women's Irish cultural organization Daughters of Lir will hold a fundraiser at the Mid-City pub, which includes their annual Lovely Legs Competition. Male contestants are invited to bring their own theme music on CD which will be played as they strut their stuff and have their legs judged by the crowd. Winners get the honor of bearing the Daughters of Lir banner before the group during the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 14. The party starts at 9 p.m.
The next day, Sunday, March 1, Finn McCool's hosts a hooley, or traditional Irish dance party. A ceili band will play fiddle, bodhran drum and tin whistle, and traditional Irish step dancers led by local instructor Joni Muggivan will perform. Muggivan ,a local prodigy of Irish dance, has been performing around the region for most of her life and has studios in Metairie, Baton Rouge and Mandeville. The hooley is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the pub will serve Irish potato stew.
Finn McCool's proprietor Stephen Patterson says Sunday's party should serve as a traditional prelude for many pub regulars planning to head downtown for a night of Celtic punk courtesy of the Flogging Molly show at House of Blues later on.
The Food Network will hold an open audition this Saturday for locals interested in being in a reality show based in New Orleans.
The concept pits two teams against each other, competing in various food-related challenges at a series of New Orleans restaurants and other locations.
The network isn't looking for just any old avid eater however. Here's the description from the local casting agency, Anne Massey Casting:
"We are looking for high-energy, dynamic and competitive two-member teams
(husband and wife, parent and child, two good friends, two co-workers,
etc.) who are between the ages of 25 and 45, and who have some connection,
knowledge and experience in the food industry.
NOTE: We are NOT looking for people who just enjoy a good meal. But if
you are a chef, caterer, professional baker or something along those lines
we want to meet you!"
Prospective team members must audition together. Auditions will be held this Saturday, Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Clearview Mall's Clearview Room, located across from the mall's food court.
The show is scheduled for a May taping in New Orleans. For more info, email Anne Massey Casting at email@example.com
Seems that Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele was being interviewed by ABC radio host Curtis Sliwa last night when they had this exchange:
Curtis Sliwa: Now, using a little bit of that street terminology, are you giving him any slum love, Michael?
Michael Steele: (laughter)
Curtis Sliwa: Because he is -- when guys look at him and young women look at him -- they say, Oh, that's the slumdog millionaire governor. So, give me some slum love.
Michael Steele: I love it. (inaudible)...some slum love out to my buddy, Gov. Bobby Jindal is doing a friggin' awesome job in his state. He's really turned around on some core principles -- like hey, government ought not be corrupt.
"Friggin' awesome," Mr. Steele.
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