Thursday, May 31, 2012

Latest Louisiana anti-bullying bill update

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 5:50 PM

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Friday, June 1 update: The State Senate adopted the House amendments for Senate Bill 764 (The Tesa Middlebrook Anti-Bullying Act) with a 37-0 vote.

While the Louisiana legislature has turned away most of the anti-bullying bills proposed in the last several years, one is now in the Senate awaiting final approval. It already has the support of Gov. Bobby Jindal. Senate Bill 764, authored by state Sen. Rick Ward, D-Port Allen, is named the Tesa Middlebrook Anti-bullying Act, named after the 17-year-old Pointe Coupee Parish student who hanged herself from her school’s bleachers earlier this year. Yesterday afternoon, within minutes of its introduction, the final version of the bill passed 97-0 in the state House. (Read the Gambit cover story, "Bullied To Death," here.)

Despite a big push from Rep. Austin Badon and state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson in 2011, bullying bills failed against conservative legislators and the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF). This year, despite overwhelming support from educators and national groups on mental illness and equal rights protection, similar bills in the state House and Senate failed.

Last month, state Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge, pulled her bill from committee when it was amended to remove the language for which she specifically wrote the bill — it spelled out bullying as harassment for a student’s race, religion, illness or disability, and sexual identity or orientation. The Senate Education Committee refused to back an identical bill by Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, D-Baton Rouge. The bills faced strong opposition from the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF). An LFF-friendly bully bill by state Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, exempted philosophical, political or religious beliefs from being considered bullying, but that bill was also pulled.

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"Save the Picayune" protest set for June 4

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 5:33 PM

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Supporters of The Times-Picayune and its employees will gather in the parking lot at Rock 'n' Bowl in Mid-City Monday, June 4 at 5:30 p.m. "to send a message," according to organizer Anne Rolfes. "It is a gathering to deliver the news to [parent company] Newhouse that we want our paper every day."

The event, which Rolfes says will be a tailgate with live music, is to be held the day that T-P employees will begin to find out whether they will lose or keep their jobs as the paper prepares to move to what owners Advance Publications is saying is a digital future — with news updates around the clock at nola.com (as they are now) and newspapers published Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

"People from all walks of life are upset about it," says Rolfes.

The announcement of the rally said a coordinated cancellation plan — of both newspaper subscriptions and advertising — will be discussed as a possible way to get the attention of Advance Publications.

The protest comes on the heels of Advance signaling that it's heard some of the most vociferous complaints made by the paper's local readership. The garish new "yellow journalism" color scheme of nola.com disappeared early this morning and was replaced by a more sedate blue and gray. Advance also made the color switch at al.com, the web portal for its Alabama newspaper group (The Birmingham News, the Press-Register of Mobile and The Huntsville Times), where layoffs are also expected to begin next week. The renamed Alabama Media Group will be publishing its papers three times weekly as well.

This morning, editor Jim Amoss delivered a memo to The Times-Picayune newsroom staff, reiterating the three-day-a-week printing schedule, but adding, "I want to dispel some rumors: There could be some salary adjustments, depending on changes in job descriptions. But most people will make what they make today, if not more." [Full memo after the jump.]

New T-P publisher Ricky Mathews was back in town this week, once again meeting with newspaper executives and others at the Windsor Court Hotel. Among the meetings, Gambit has learned, was one with Anne Milling, a member of the paper's board of directors and one of the main figures behind Save the Picayune (a Facebook campaign unrelated to next Monday's protest). Amoss was also present.

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Press release: City creates new office to coordinate NOPD's "aorta of corruption"

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Moments after Travers Mackel broke the news on WDSU, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office sent out a press release (below) announcing the creation of the Office of Police Secondary Employment, which will oversee paid details for New Orleans Police Department officers. It will be headed up by John Salomone, a retired Amy lieutenant colonel. Salomone will report to Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin.

Such a paid detail office, outside of the police department, has been expected for a while, as part of a consent decree between the NOPD and the US Department of Justice. Negotiations on the long-awaited agreement are "98 percent" complete, Landrieu said in his May 22 State of the City address.

You can access last year's report on the NOPD by the U.S. Department of Justice, which says the following — "It is widely acknowledged that NOPD’s Detail system is corrupting; as stated by one close observer of the Department, the paid Detail system may be the 'aorta of corruption' within NOPD" — here.

MAYOR LANDRIEU MOVES FORWARD WITH OVERHAUL OF POLICE PAID DETAIL SYSTEM, APPOINTS FORMER MILITARY OFFICER TO RUN INDEPENDENT OFFICE

Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel John Salomone to Run Police Secondary Employment Office; Will Report to CAO


NEW ORLEANS, LA—Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced a major step forward in his efforts to reform the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) by creating the Office of Police Secondary Employment to be run by retired Army Lieutenant Colonel John Salomone. Salomone, who has 21 years of military service and who never served as a police officer, will report to Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin. Landrieu first announced that the City would move forward with the independent office last week in his 2012 State of the City Address.

“We have not waited on the consent decree to reform the NOPD,” said Mayor Landrieu. “I have confidence that Lieutenant Colonel Salomone will be able to set up a new, independent organization that better manages secondary employments for police officers. This will be a complete overhaul of the old paid detail system.”

Last year, Mayor Landrieu gave NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas a mandate to completely and totally overhaul the NOPD paid detail system, which he had already included in his 65-point plan for transforming the department in summer 2010. Since that time, Administration officials and the U.S. Department of Justice have been negotiating the terms of a consent decree that will guide systemic reform of the NOPD. The overhaul of the paid detail system is a key part of those reforms.

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Review: work by Patricia Cronin at Newcomb Gallery

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Memorial to Marriage by Patricia Cronin
  • Memorial to Marriage by Patricia Cronin

This is not what you might expect from a feminist art show. Patricia Cronin’s All Is Not Lost expo at the Newcomb Art Gallery is in many ways like stepping into the past. All the watercolors on the walls depict mysterious classical sculptures that might have appeared in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun, but are in fact renderings of the neoclassical works of Harriet Hosmer, a successful 19th century sculptor from Massachusetts. Art historians overlooked Hosmer’s legacy, perhaps because she was part of a reportedly sapphic coterie of female artists in Rome whose proclivities might have been too hot for earlier art historians to handle. Amounting to catalogue raisonne, or inventory of her work, Cronin’s images, if sometimes ghostly, are so evocatively and deftly rendered that some almost seem to breathe, as we see in Medusa, whose stony gaze under serpentine locks evokes cool marble statuary even as her pert torso suggests softer and warmer stuff. The contemplative figure of the tragic nymph Oeone comes across as one of those female archetypes of unapproachable perfection, but The Fountain of Siren is a more baroque confection, with a sassy seductress above, cavorting fauns below.

The most powerful piece in the show is a sculpture, her slightly larger than life, white marble Memorial to a Marriage. A Hosmer-esque depiction of Cronin and her partner, New York art star Deborah Kass, embracing in bed, nude under their Carrara marble sheets, it is a full-size, three-quarter ton replica of the one they had installed in the Cronin-Kass plot in New York’s Woodlawn Cemetery. Of course they are not remotely dead yet, but beyond making a statement about same sex couples, it also romantically affirms the finality of marriage as expressed in the line “in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” Although marriage might have seemed only a remote possibility in 2002 when the original sculpture was made, Cronin and Kass were officially married in the state of New York in 2011.

Through June 30
Patricia Cronin: All Is Not Lost
Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, 865-5328

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French connections and Parisian peculiarities

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 9:00 AM

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  • Courtesy of Olivier Magny.

Parisians are obsessed with cherry tomatoes, and they're crazy for sushi. They feel guilty about sweets, yet they can justify any dessert so long as it includes salted caramel, which they find “makes indulging almost enjoyable.”

Every Parisian under age 50 wears jeans, but they consider people who wear white socks beneath contempt. And while many Parisians like to disdain Americans as being stupid, or at least without culture, these same Parisians fall into two categories: “on the one hand, people whose favorite after-work occupations consist of watching CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, or Sex and the City; on the other, people who worship Woody Allen and Philip Roth.”

“Parisian are avid consumers of American culture and at the same time are fiercely convinced that such a thing does not exist,” writes Paris native Olivier Magny, who includes all of the above observations in his book “Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi.”

Magny seems to have no hang-ups about American culture. He’s especially fond of New Orleans food in general and one Southern lady in particular. That would be his fiancée, for whom this author and wine expert moved from France to New Orleans.

On Saturday, June 2, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., he’ll sign copies of “Stuff Parisians Like” and discuss both Parisian peculiarities and wine at Vine Dine, a wine shop/wine bar reviewed here a few weeks ago.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Central City quintuple shooting suspect turns himself in

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Leo Riles
  • Leo Riles

One of the three alleged gunmen suspected of opening fire on a child's birthday party — killing two people and injuring three — in Central City yesterday turned himself into police today.

The shooting on the 1200 block of Simon C. Bolivar left two people dead, including a five-year-old girl. A 33-year-old woman, who was caught in the crossfire while driving nearby, also died.

The suspect, 18-year-old Leo Riles, was booked with two counts of first degree murder after turning himself into the New Orleans Police Department's 6th District station this morning, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said at a press conference today.

Police have not identified the two other shooters believed to have been involved and, as of this writing, have no suspects.

(Continued after the jump)

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Save the Picayune petition

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2012 at 2:48 PM

No, I don't really believe in online petitions, either. But they don't hurt anybody, so what's the problem?

Former Times-Picayune reporter Rebecca Theim has joined up with Anne Milling's newly formed group — with the self-explanatory name Save the Picayune — and put up a petition at change.org. The petition has 88 "signatures" as of this writing. Here's the accompanying statement, in part:

Few believe a three-day-a-week newspaper, significantly reduced staff and a mediocre website is an acceptable alternative to today's Times-Picayune.

Please voice your displeasure with this decision by joining with employees, New Orleans residents, community activists, newspaper lovers and anyone who values the role a great newspaper plays in a free society by signing this petition to implore the Newhouses to maintain the publishing frequency and proud legacy of The Times-Picayune.

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Restaurant R'evolution revving up

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Espresso-crusted vension carpaccio with shaved chocolate and walnuts.

We've been hearing about Restaurant R'evolution for nearly two years now, after Louisiana chef and all-around culinary entrepreneur John Folse and the high-profile chef Rick Tramonto, formerly of Tru in Chicago, first announced they would collaborate on a major new restaurant in New Orleans. Next week, we'll finally get to see how all those plans add up. Restaurant R'evolution is slated to open for dinner on Monday, June 4 inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

Updates released along the way have left little doubt that the chefs' plans would be ambitious. While many restaurant trends are heading more casual these days, Restaurant R'evolution is dialing in a luxurious, grand restaurant experience.

They call it a "r'evolution"� but in this way it also seems like a bit of an experiment. It's been quite some time since a new restaurant with such an ornate setting and such a vast, intricate - and pricey _ menu has come along in New Orleans (Victor's, the former restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, comes to mind). So even though Restaurant R'evolution has yet to serve its first meal, the place does invite the question of how it will fit in the city's dining scene.

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ABC News' Rob Nelson on The Times-Picayune "corporate beancounters"

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Rob Nelson worked at The Times-Picayune for seven years before moving to WWL-TV and then ABC World News Now. This morning, during World News Now's "Morning Papers" segment, he talked about the upcoming cutbacks at the T-P, calling them "a hurtful and damaging decision for the city" and slamming the Newhouse "corporate beancounters" as he got more and more wound up about the fate of the paper.

"You need a drink, Rob," says his co-anchor.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

UNO conducting performing arts survey

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 5:51 PM

The University of New Orleans graduate program in arts administration is conducting a survey of local interest in performing arts events. Several local arts organizations, including Southern Rep, the New Orleans Opera Association, New Orleans Museum of Art, the New Orleans Fringe Festival and the New Orleans Arts Council, helped develop the survey. Results will be shared with the public.

The online survey is here. Responses are confidential.

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