The Louisiana Justice Institute (LIJ) says that Mayor Nagins recent decision to close City Hall on Fridays due to budget restraints will affect voter turnout in the upcoming Municipal Primary Election, which includes the mayoral and City Council ballots.
By closing City Hall on Friday and Saturday, the mayor is cutting out 3 of the 7 early voting days at the primary early voting location, says Jacques Morial, co-director of LIJ, a civil rights advocacy organization. Early voting for the primary election runs from Jan. 23-Jan. 30.
Morial says that this is a substantive change in voting procedure, and that, according to the federal Voting Rights Act, an alteration like this must be pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice. Morial says that his institute has been in contact with DOJ officials regarding this, and that neither the city nor the state has requested the required pre-clearance.
LIJ has filed a letter of complaint with DOJ. Morial says that under the Voting Rights Act, DOJ can order that City Hall be open, so that voting is not disrupted.
Its just typical of City Hall, Morial says. They just dont consider the consequences at all of what they do.
Sweet Gals in the Lower Garden District has closed. The casual café first opened in October, serving a breakfast and lunch menu specializing in crepes and egg dishes.
The restaurant's storefront space at 1906 Magazine St. was previously home to J'Anita's. That restaurant closed last spring and relocated its operation to the tavern kitchen at the nearby Avenue Pub.
Sweet Gals opened not long after new owners revived the long-shuttered Jackson restaurant right next door, and at the time it looked like a mini boom was underway on that block of Magazine Street. It will be interesting to see what comes along next.
He ended up in handcuffs after being pulled over for speeding on I-10 on the Carrollton overpass. Maybe he was out celebrating the Vikings loss that handed the Saints home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Until 4:30 in the morning. Yup. That should also explain why he was speeding, no doubt rushing to get home so he can catch up on film. Oh and the not having his registration? Surely the 13-0 start had his full attention and then he became extra focused on football after the two-straight losses.
Yea, I see no way this becomes a distraction this week. The Saints sure know how to stumble into the playoffs.
Photo by Mark Folse
You've probably already heard that the traditional New Year's Eve bonfire won't be lighting up Mid-City this year (go here to read Gambit's story about the bonfire drama last year). Tonight, Mary Hogan of the group Save the Bonfire sent out the official message:
Thank you to everyone who pledged a donation to keep the bonfire burning for 2010. Unfortunately, although we came very close to meeting our funding needs, the liability and legal paperwork prevent us from moving forward.
There will be no legal bonfire this year. Anyone attempting a fire will be subject to arrest.
We're hopeful that next year we'll have in place all that is necessary to have a bonfire. Watch this space for details.
From what we understand, the group was only a few dollars shy of its goal ... but getting a signatory (who might be legally responsible if anything went wrong) was the snafu this year. Bonfire bummer.
Amazing photo lifted from Palestra.net
That incredible picture up there is to remind our readers that there are, in fact, two college football teams playing in the Sugar Bowl and one of them isn't named Florida. Cincinnati, if you recall, is the team without a coach being coached by a guy who's about to leave to coach somewhere else.
Speaking of coaches and coaching, who's coaching Florida? Meyer resigned and came back (which "experts" say he can totally do if he gets treatment for his health conditions) but he's not going to be coaching in the Sugar Bowl because of his leave of absence. That leaves this guy with the task of coaching Florida in a game no one seems to want to coach in and is fast on track to falling into irrelevancy among the bevy of bowl games around the corner.
But back to the matter of Cincinnati and how the media is covering them (or rather, how the media isn't covering them). Even a Google News search for "Sugar Bowl Cincinnati football" turns up more Florida stories. Urban Meyer has stolen the Sugar Bowl from more than just his players, he's stolen it from the Bowl itself. Unless some eight-overtime insta-classic thriller befalls the game, this will probably be remembered as the "Meyer Bowl".
Hit the jump for a long recap of the Cincinnati press conference this morning, because Florida news is everywhere else you look.
The LA Weekly carries a cover interview with Anne Rice, late of the Garden District and now living in Rancho Mirage, Ca. Nothing really new in this piece, other than the fact Rice seems to have taken the Mission Inn in Riverside, Ca. as her new touchstone, using it in her fiction and signing her latest, Angel Time, there. Here's the online trailer for the book:
Grim rumblings from Walter Pierce of The Independent in Lafayette:
A biopic about the life of late New Orleans author John Kennedy Toole, still years away from the screen, is getting a head of steam, according to Maxim Entertainment president Blaine McManus. After two and a half years, an Ignatius Rising script based on the eponymous 2001 biography by René Pol Nevils and Deborah George Hardy (LSU Press) is complete and fundraisers are planned in Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans (dates undetermined) to raise $50,000 for a packaging/development fund. McManus says the fund is designed to ensure the movie is fully developed and produced in Louisiana by a Louisiana production team.
Awful news for anyone who loves A Confederacy of Dunces, or who knows the Toole family, simply because Ignatius Rising is such bad source material. I reviewed it back in 2001:
The dichotomy between Toole's often raunchy novel and the lace- curtain gentility that his mother sought for herself is central to this story, or should be. One wonders if Mrs. Toole, who describes herself in one letter as "a woman of intelligence, culture, and many gifts," saw herself lampooned in blowsy Mrs. Reilly, whose fingers were "chafed from years of scrubbing her son's mammoth, yellowed drawers," hiding empty muscatel bottles in the oven of her roach-infested kitchen. Nevils and [Deborah George Hardy] never even raise the question; indeed, they seem completely uninterested in Toole's fantastical characters.
Ah, well; they still haven't figured out a way to film Confederacy -- maybe this will fall by the wayside, too. There's always hope.
Last but not least: Will Coviello interviews Poppy Z. Brite in this week's Gambit. We'll link the story here when it goes online later today.
Photo lifted from the UF Library Web site
While the Saints were busy pissing away an otherwise lovely Sunday afternoon in the Superdome, Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators were just arriving in town and talking to the media in advance of their Sugar Bowl game against Cincinnati.
As if Tim Tebow's last game being against and undefeated Cincinnati team looking to legitimize their national championship claims wasn't dramatic enough, Meyer up and decided to announce his resignation yesterday because of health reasons. Though now he's taken that back and says he will just undergo a "leave of absence". Walking away from $20+ million a year and a college football empire you've built is understandably a tough decision, but when you've had health concerns for more than 10 years and your wife has to pack your desk with snack to keep you from starving on the job, at least an extended vacation is an order.
But while Florida players and fans are probably in a tizzy over the last 48-hours, everyone in the Cincinnati has had more than a weak to come to terms with the fact that, while undefeated, they're still Cincinnati and your coach won't give a second thought to jumping ship in favor of coaching at Notre Dame.
Hit the jump for a full transcript from Florida's press conference (note: It's really long):
Photograph by Jonathan Bachman
Three weeks ago, all the talk was about the Saints' potentially undefeated season. Last week's loss against Dallas seemed like a hiccup; up until that point the Saints had played good (and sometimes great) enough to earn their first-round bye. A Minnesota meltdown in Carolina also gave the Saints a chance to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Now, after a completely stunning 2017 overtime loss to the Buccaneers, the Saints appear to be reeling and there's no telling when they'll get back in control.
Playoff football, as anyone who follows the NFL can attest, is a much different animal than the regular season. A loss to Tampa is awfully disappointing, but the Saints will live to play another day. There's no such luxury in post-season football and there's an added pressure to perform at the highest level. Against a broken, two-win Buccaneers team, the Saints struggled to get a victory. How will they fare against Minnesota, Philly or any other formidable playoff opponent? The New Orleans defense showed some of its early-season form with two interceptions the huge fourth-down stand with just under five minutes left, but they also let up 439 yards to a Tampa Bay offense ranked 29th in the league. No to mention the Black and Gold were completely unable to stop Cadillac Williams in overtime (he had nine carries for 40 yards in the period). The offense, after a hot start, failed to score a second-half point, with a Marques Colston fumble and a missed field goal leaving desperately need points on the field.
Teams have overcome defensive shortcomings in the past (most famously, the 2007 Colts who won the Super Bowl despite a poor rushing defense) but it's an issue that needs to be addressed. After starting the season 13-0 with all kinds of aspirations, the Saints must now take a good long look at themselves and see if they can't once again grasp the mojo that powered them through the first three quarters of the season.
Sorry, Tom, Hartley missed wide left. Yea, we thought it was as good as in, too.
2009 was the Year of Living Madly. Our elected officials went mad. The public got mad. And everyone was mad about Dem Saints. In this week's Gambit, we look back at the year in news, politics, art, music, stage and environmentalism. Here's to 2010.
There never seems to be a recession in Louisiana political hijinks, as 2009 proved many times over. This was a year of tectonic shifts in the local political paradigm, and the coming year promises to bring more big changes. Herewith, our annual list of the Top 10 Political Stories:
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