Thursday, September 30, 2010

Introducing Gambit's new website

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 3:07 PM

We're rolling out a completely revamped website at Best of New Orleans, redesigned from the ground up. As news consumers, we've had many of the same frustrations with newspaper websites as you have, and the new Gambit has been designed to be less cluttered, easier to navigate, and very easy to search. Here are some of the highlights:

Your new Gambit.
  • Your new Gambit.

New content every day on the main page. News doesn't happen once a week, and you'll find stories from Gambit writers posted in a more timely fashion. You can also share any story on Facebook, Twitter, Digg or del.icio.us with one click.

A simplified navigation bar. At the top of every page you'll find the categories NEWS, ARTS, MUSIC, FILM, EAT+DRINK, HEALTH, SHOPPING, CLASSIFIEDS, and WIN (where we post the latest Gambit giveaways and contests — and we're always giving away something).

The most complete listings in town just got easier to navigate: our new listings search box is on the top right of every page. You can specify dates, categories and neighborhoods to find the best things going on around town. Once you've made your pick, send yourself an email reminder or add to your iCal calendar with one click. (And our revamped movie listings page is like none other.)

The Blog of New Orleans is joining the Gambit site. At the top of the Gambit site will be the three latest posts from our blog, and you can click on them to read the entire blog, which has also been redesigned to be easier on the eyes.

Our columnists — Clancy DuBos, Chris Rose and Blake Pontchartrain — will have permanent homes on the front page, where you can access their latest columns easily.

• A box on the front page features the Top 10 most viewed stories, most commented-upon stories and most shared stories on Twitter and Facebook. See what other people are talking about.

Social media: Our Facebook and Twitter feeds will be updated in real time on the front page.

More video. Besides YouTube, we'll be posting informative and fun video from Hulu, Vimeo, cable news, Comedy Central and more. We'll also be presenting news from our partners and friends at WWL-TV (your favorite news station in our annual Best of New Orleans poll), including Clancy DuBos' political analysis, music writer Noah Bonaparte Pais' Thursday morning weekend picks and CUE editor Missy Wilkinson's monthly guide to fashion.

Finally: ease of search. Gambit content reaching back to 2001 is completely free to access, and now we've made it easier to find.

Please forgive any temporary bugs you might find as we get the new Gambit rolled out online. If you have any praise, complaints, suggestions or general feedback, we'd love to hear from you.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Death in Central City

Posted By on Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas and leaders from Mardi Gras Indian organizations and Social Aid and Pleasure Club (SA&PC) communities held a press conference this afternoon at City Hall to address the death of Jeremy Galmon, the 2-year-old who died after being caught in a fusillade of gunfire at First and Dryades streets in Central City on Sunday afternoon. Galmon was in a car near an intersection where a second-line parade had passed several minutes before, and his death was once again misreported by some media outlets as having some connection with the second line culture.

Calling it a “tragic day in the history of the city of New Orleans,” Landrieu made a plea to the public to find Galmon's killers: “We know there were people on the street who know who did this, and it is not acceptable now not to come forward. You have to trust enough in the police and the community to come forward.” Serpas made a direct appeal to "the parents of the shooters to turn them in.” Pastor C.S. Gordon of New Zion Baptist Church addressed the murderers directly, asking them to come forward. “I believe you have a heart. I believe you recognize what has happened,” he said, adding, “None of us is beyond the grace and the love of God.”

presser presser

Pastor C.S. Gordon of New Zion Baptist Church, flanked by Mayor Mitch Landrieu and NOPD chief Ronal Serpas, urged the shooters of 2-year-old Jeremy Galmon to turn themselves in to police.

More under the jump, including the reaction from Mardi Gras Indian and Social Aid and Pleasure Club leaders....

Continue reading »

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Some strange, unfamiliar numbers

Posted By on Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 5:20 PM

temps

Well, hello, gorgeous.

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This definitely isn't last season any more.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Now that you've had a day to digest it, just take another moment and think about the Saints' 27-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Think about Drew Brees' brain-fart of an interception, Garrett Hartley's horrendous kick, and Sean Payton calling that time out on the would-be blocked kick in overtime. Feeling nauseous? Good. Time for the imaginary food!

Hartley sour face

Hot Gumbo:

  • Drew Brees - This guys is so good that, on a day he threw two interceptions (including one that led to a Falcons touchdown), he still had a better passing rating (111.1) than Matt Ryan (108.8). Brees also had 365 yards to Ryan's 228 and Brees completed as many passes as Ryan had pass attempts. Get this man his own gumbo flavor already!
  • Lance Moore - Six receptions, 149 yards, a 72-yard punt return, two touchdowns and Lance Moore continues to show how this is the deepest, if not best, wide-receiving corps in the League. This may also be the most frustrating group of receivers for fantasy football owners, only 11% of which owned Moore in Yahoo! leagues.
  • Jo-Lonn Dunbar - Dunbar was a presence all over the field for the Saints in a game where the defense didn't seem interested in stopping the run. Dunbar had 10 total tackles, including two for a loss in what was an otherwise woeful defensive effort.

Spoiled Crawfish

  • Tony Gonzalez - I think it's insanely unfair that this man can put up 110 receiving yards and a touchdown when he's 150 years old and I can barely get up to the new press box without getting winded.
  • Michael Turner - He had nearly three times as many rushing yards as the entire Saints offense and pretty much sealed the game (along with Snelling) as they methodically wore down the Saints' defense throughout the game, helping the Falcons dominate time of possession 45:50 to 27:15. Don't forget to suck the head, Mike!
  • Sean Payton - A lot of Saints fans were perplexed at why Payton decided to go for the field goal with a first down in overtime. First of all, Hartley had just made a 32-yard field goal to force the game into overtime and overtime attempt he missed was from 29 yards. Second of all, any number of things can happen on a field goal try where you may want to have an extra down or two. Third of all, arguing about whether or not Payton should have kept running the ball overshadows the real controversy: Payton calling a timeout before the Saints blocked the Falcons' punt. Of course, there's no way Payton could have known his defense would have blocked the punt. But then again, maybe he should have bothered to tell his players that he'd be calling a timeout, so that they wouldn't waste all their energy blocking a kick that wouldn't have counted anyway.
  • Saints Rushing Game - The Saints had 12 rushing yards in the first half on their way to a paltry 43 for the game. This team is quickly spiraling into the 2008 version of itself when every opposing defense knew that the Saints had to throw the ball if they wanted to move down field. Brees had 38 passing attempts but only handed the ball off 16 times. That needs to change if the Saints want to get back to their winning ways.
  • Matt Ryan - Remember last year when this guy was injured? Yea, that was sweet.

Room-temperature Abita

  • Garrett Hartley - Seven months ago, Hartley made a 40-yard field goal to put the Saints into the Super Bowl. After Sunday's 29-yard miss, it took ESPN's Adam Schefter all of two hours to report that Hartley's job is in jeopardy. Drink up, Garrett, tis the life of a kicker in the NFL.

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The Ponderosa Stomp's big weekend

Posted By on Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 2:49 PM

In case you missed the Ponderosa Stomp, there were some notable highlights. Ronnie Spector sang "Happy Birthday" to Stomp founder Dr. Ira Padnos Saturday on the mainstage. But one of the unexpected highlights was The Relatives, a gospel, soul and R&B band from Dallas (pictured in a TV appearance from 1974). The band wasn't originally scheduled, but its record company, Heavy Light Records, called Padnos and said it wanted to send the band anyway. The band brought the house down with an ecstatic set of funky R&B and soul. And for an encore, two of the bandleaders presided over a marriage ceremony in the Voodoo Garden later that evening. Other highlights included Duane Eddy's closing set, Red Simpson, the name in truck-driving music (yes, he sang "Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves"), giving the crowd a preview of a new song he's working on about booze goggling, and Sugar Pie DeSanto (known for the 1960 RY&B hit "I Want to Know") pulled a man on stage to dance with her, but mostly with her clinging to him with her legs wrapped around his waist. Barbara Lynn plays somewhat regularly in New Orleans, often in showcases arranged by the Stomp, but she showed she can still sling a guitar as well as any R&B and blues player from her home state of Texas.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

YOUNG MEN OLYMPIAN JUNIOR BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION 126TH ANNIVERSARY PARADE SUNDAY 1-5pm

Posted By on Sun, Sep 26, 2010 at 5:36 AM

YOUNG MEN OLYMPIAN JUNIOR BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION

126TH ANNIVERSARY PARADE SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2010 – 1-5 P.M.

Start: Young Men Olympian Junior Benevolent Association, Inc. Hall, 2101 South Liberty Street. Up S. Liberty to Simon Bolivar. Up Simon Bolivar Ave. to LaSalle St. to Washington Ave. Left on Washington Ave. to Dryades St. Down Dryades Street to Second Street.

Stop: Sportsman's Lounge, 2433 Dryades St. Back out Second St.

Stop: 1922 Second Street. Back Second to Danneel St. Left on Danneel to Third St.

Stop: Bean Brothers, 2600 Danneel. Up Danneel St. to Louisiana Avenue. Out Louisiana Avenue to LaSalle St. Right on LaSalle.

Stop: Wood's Barber Shop Yard. Down LaSalle St. to Washington Ave. Left on Washington Ave. to S. Claiborne Avenue. Right on S. Claiborne Avenue to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Out MLK.

Stop: Club S&S (formerly Club Bali), 2600 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Down MLK to Simon Bolivar Blvd. Right on Simon Bolivar to Jackson Ave. Right on Jackson Ave. to South Liberty St. Right on S. Liberty to Josephine St.

Disband: Home of the Young Men Olympian Junior Benevolent Association, Inc., 2101 S. Liberty Street.

Parade Chairmen:

Alfred “Bucket” Carter

Richard Martin, Sr.

Stephen Solomon, Sr.

Jerome Temple – Grand Marshall

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Gambit's endorsements in the Oct. 2 elections

Posted By on Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Voters across Louisiana will go to the polls this Saturday, Oct. 2, to cast ballots in some very important local and state primaries. The only statewide office up for grabs is the lieutenant governor’s office, which became vacant when Mitch Landrieu took the oath of office in May as New Orleans’ new mayor. Locally, there is a race for public service commissioner, several elections for judge in New Orleans, school board races in all parishes outside Orleans, and special elections for Jefferson Parish president and state senator in Senate District 2. Two charter changes round out the ballot in Orleans Parish, and voters statewide also must decide whether to adopt two state constitutional amendments.

Gambit urges all readers to vote next Saturday. We believe judges should be appointed, not elected; we therefore make no endorsements in judicial elections. Elsewhere, we make the following recommendations:

Lt. Governor:

Jay Dardenne

While we were impressed with all who sought our endorsement in this race, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne stands out as the candidate most ready to step into the lieutenant governor’s job. He served 15 years in the state Senate, where he was a leading voice for reform, and for the past four years he has served as Louisiana’s secretary of state and chief elections officer. A moderate Republican, Dardenne is the only candidate in this race who has held statewide office. His record as a public official is scandal-free.

As secretary of state, Dardenne led the effort to expand early voting days, sites and hours — and to reduce the number of costly special elections during the “off season.” He worked with elections officials in other states to fight election fraud while streamlining his office during difficult fiscal times. His office also oversees several state museums, and he instituted standard policies to govern them while eliminating admission fees.

The primary role of Louisiana’s lieutenant governor, in addition to being a heartbeat away from the governor’s office, is to shepherd the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Dardenne has long championed Louisiana’s unique culture, both as a professional speaker and as an elected official. He recognizes the critical importance of New Orleans’s hospitality industry and cultural tourism, and he promises to maintain the lieutenant governor’s office in New Orleans, which Landrieu opened after his election in 2003.

Jefferson Parish President:

John Young

Jefferson Parish voters are choosing a new parish president because former Parish President Aaron Broussard resigned in January amid a growing scandal. Now more than ever, Jefferson voters need a voice of integrity and reform at the helm of parish government. Council President John Young is the consensus choice to fill that role, and we heartily recommend his election.

Young has consistently bucked the good ol’ boy system that seems to prevail in Jefferson Parish, even in the face of significant political opposition. He has championed transparency at every turn and spoken out loudly against the kinds of backroom deals that led to the unfolding scandals in Jefferson. Political opponents say he does not work well with others, but when others conduct public business behind closed doors or in ways that do not represent the best interests of the people, the people need someone who won’t go along with the crowd.

Going forward, Young will have to show that he can work with the council in order to achieve his goals as parish president. We trust that he knows the importance of evolving from “outsider” to “consensus builder” — without sacrificing his core principles — in order to succeed in his new post. We also trust that the council will work with and not against a new parish president who likely will receive a huge voter mandate for reform.

Public Service Commissioner District 3:

Lambert Boissiere III

The Louisiana Public Service Commission regulates utilities, phone companies and common carriers within the state — outside of Orleans Parish. Its five members comprise perhaps the most important regulatory body in state government. The PSC’s 3rd District hugs the Mississippi River from New Orleans to the outskirts of Baton Rouge and includes parts of Jefferson, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes. Incumbent Lambert Boissiere III was first elected to the PSC in 2004 and now serves as its chairman.

A former constable of First City Court, Boissiere has grown into his new job well. He guided PSC adoption of a plan to help hard-hit utility companies recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita without severely and immediately impacting ratepayers. Boissiere supports the search for low-cost alternative energy sources and increased transmission capacity statewide, which he says will help keep electric rates low. He also has supported PSC legal action against out-of-state utilities that seek to pull out of cost-sharing “system agreements” with Louisiana power companies. That action has saved Louisiana ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars in higher rates.

The PSC’s work is highly technical and critically important to local and statewide economic development efforts. Regulators must strive to balance the rights of consumers with utilities’ rights to a fair profit. This requires level-headedness and prudence — and we believe Boissiere has both. We urge his re-election.

State Senate District 2:

Michael Darnell

Voters in eastern New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward will choose a new state senator to replace Ann Duplessis, who resigned to join the administration of Mayor Mitch Landrieu. This district was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina and still struggles in many ways. We believe attorney and former Interim City Councilman Mike Darnell is best qualified to serve as the district’s new state senator.

Darnell served honorably on the council when former At-Large Councilman Oliver Thomas resigned in 2007. A former city prosecutor who also has served as a temporary judge, Darnell is well versed in public service and the law. He likewise understands the importance of coalition building to get legislation passed, and he has the skill sets to step into the Senate and be effective immediately.

NORD Charter Change: YES

Voters across New Orleans will be asked whether to restructure the city’s long-suffering Recreation Department, which once was a national model. The proposed City Charter amendment would take day-to-day operation of NORD out of the mayor’s office and put it under a 13-member independent commission, most of whose members would still be appointed by the mayor. However, commissioners would serve fixed terms and have full authority to hire a recreation director. A separate, publicly created foundation would be charged with raising private donations to help rebuild the city’s treasured playgrounds. We wholeheartedly support this proposition.

Critics claim that the change would “privatize” NORD. That is patently false. NORD and its functions would remain as public as ever — but its new structure would give it a more secure funding base. This new model is based on the nation’s most successful public recreation programs. Our kids deserve the kinds of opportunities presented in reforms such as this. We urge all our readers in New Orleans to vote YES on the NORD charter change.

S&WB Charter Change: YES

Also on the ballot in New Orleans is a proposed charter change that tweaks City Council membership on the Sewerage and Water Board. At present, both at-large council members as well as one district council member serve on the S&WB. The amendment would require that only one at-large council member be appointed to the board, along with two other council members. We support this change.

Amendment 1: FOR

Two state constitutional amendments also appear on Saturday’s ballot. Amendment 1 would advance the starting date for annual legislative sessions. Sessions would end sooner and be limited to the same number of days as they are currently. By starting earlier, lawmakers would not bump up against the end of the fiscal year as they approach the end of each session. We support this change.

Amendment 2: FOR

Amendment 2 would keep employees in the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) out of the Civil Service system. While we generally support civil service protection for state workers, GOHSEP is unique among state agencies for its military command-like structure. Its employees must be available 24/7, anywhere in the state, to handle life-or-death situations. A governor needs flexibility in making personnel decisions in this office. We urge our readers to vote FOR Amendment 2.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Burger King drag queen robber sentenced to 247 years in prison

Posted By on Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 9:46 PM

The security-cam footage of the crime went viral: a New Orleans Burger King employee opens the drive-up window, only to be confronted with a man in a snugly-fitting floral-print dress accessorized with a gun, who climbs through the window in search of the restaurant's loot:

The man, Darryl Robinson, was found guilty last month of robbing the BK and a nearby McDonald's while in drag, and today state district judge Julian Parker used Louisiana's habitual offender statute to deliver a whopper of a sentence: 247 years in prison.

Robinson's sentencing brings to an end a brief spate of cross-dressing Crescent City crime stories from 2008, the most notable of which was the gang of transvestites that invaded Magazine Street clothing shops in the summer of that year. At the time, Richard Webster of New Orleans CityBusiness earned the admiration of his journalistic peers when he crafted this sentence: "The transvestites first appeared in March when they raided Magazine Street like a marauding army of kleptomaniacal showgirls, said Davis, using clockwork precision and brute force to satisfy high-end boutique needs."

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Stomp of Approval

Posted By on Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 8:49 PM

The Ponderosa Stomp's weekend of events kicked off with an announcement at the former site of J&M Studios (838 N. Rampart St.), which is now a laundromat. Cosimo Matassa's (pictured seated left) studio was home to legendary recording sessions by Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew (pictured seated right), Lloyd Price, Little Richard, Smiley Lewis, Professor Longhair, many local R&B legends and national acts who came to record with studio bands producing what was known in the 1950s as the New Orleans sound. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has designated the site a historic rock ’n' roll landmark. Ceremonies commemorating the designation will be included in the Cleveland museum's Nov. 8-13 American Masters Series honoring Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. (Photo by Gary Loverde)

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Win diamonds, tickets to a gala and a few minutes with Sean Payton

Posted By on Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 11:02 PM

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How much would you pay to meet Sean Payton, have a chance to win a $10,000 piece of custom-designed diamond jewelry and make a donation to Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation and attend the foundation’s Black & Gold Gala? You can do it all for just $20, but you only have one more day to buy a ticket. Payton and his wife Beth will draw the winning raffle ticket at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at Aucoin Hart Jewelry (1525 Metairie Road, Metairie, 834-9999; www.aucoinhart.com).

Aucoin Hart’s designers made the 18-karat gold one-of-a-kind fleur de lis pendant glitter with 300 pave set diamonds — weighing in at 3.5 carats — in black, gold and clear diamonds. Raffle tickets are $20 each or six for $100. You can purchase them at the store, by calling Aucoin Hart or visiting its website. In addition to the pendant, the winner will win two tickets, valued at $500 each, to the Play It Forward Foundation’s Black & Gold Gala Oct. 1 in the Superdome. Proceeds from the gala benefit Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster.

It’s not all about the diamonds, however. Before the drawing, Payton will autograph his new book Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Books will be on sale at the jewelry store, but there is a limit of two per person.

You don’t have to be present to win the raffle.

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