Thursday, July 26, 2012

NOLA Media Group to print special "Saints Monday" editions this fall

Posted by on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 9:06 PM

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As Gambit has reported previously, the NOLA Media Group will be distributing a special "Saints Monday" edition during football season.

The company made the announcement tonight after a day that saw Saints owner Tom Benson make public his desire to buy the paper — and after the NOLA Media Group took a public shellacking from Sen. David Vitter.

According to NOLA.com, the Saints Monday editions will be delivered free to subscribers, or be available for 75 cents in newsboxes. It will be a tabloid, like the paper's Lagniappe section, rather than a broadsheet.

More details:

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WWNO-FM and NPR to announce partnership with NewOrleansReporter.org

Posted by on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 6:25 PM

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The University of New Orleans (UNO) and its NPR affiliate station, WWNO-FM, have called a press conference for Friday morning for the announcement of "a major new initiative." The initiative is NewOrleansReporter.org, the fledgling newsroom being put together by Greater New Orleans Inc. president Michael Hecht and Educate Now! head Leslie Jacobs. (The project was previously called both NOLANow.org and NOLA Beat; the neworleansreporter.org domain was registered just yesterday.)

A fundraising letter being circulated this week among New Orleans business leaders says NewOrleansReporter.org "is based on extensive discussions with industry experts, and aims to be a national model for next-wave journalism. TheNewOrleansReporter.org will be hosted by UNO, and will partner with WWNO and National Public Radio (NPR)."

The letter also says NPR is investing $250,000 in kind in the project (though that dollar amount may be an estimate and is subject to change), and "has decided to make New Orleans its 'beta' market to develop a robust online platform for its affiliates nationally."

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Sen. David Vitter urges Newhouse to sell The Times-Picayune

Posted by on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 3:57 PM

U.S. Sen. David Vitter
  • U.S. Sen. David Vitter
Sensing a trend today? On the heels of Tom Benson releasing a letter to Steven Newhouse asking Newhouse to sell The Times-Picayune (and getting an immediate no), now Sen. David Vitter has released his own letter to Newhouse — and specifically criticizing NOLA.com yes he went there.

Louisiana's junior senator went on to boast that he personally has "far more Facebook followers than your whole enterprise." OH SNAP.

Steven Newhouse
Chairman
Advance Publications
950 Fingerboard Rd.
Staten Island, NY 10305

Dear Steven Newhouse:

In light of your decision to only print the Times-Picayune three times per week, and the multiple credible buyer groups that I know want to buy the paper and continue it as a daily, I urge you to enter into serious negotiations with them. Then I urge you to sell.

Maybe you truly believe that your new model for the Times-Picayune will serve the region well. I do not. More importantly, no citizen of the region whom I've spoken to about this does. And I literally mean no one. This includes everyone at the Times-Picayune itself that I've spoken to.

First, no digital platform, no matter how good, can completely replace a printed daily in substance, use, and significance to the community. This is particularly true in large, important segments of the population.

Second, you have a terribly inadequate digital platform which has actually gotten worse since your announcement. The new format has been universally panned (and I agree). And this is reflected in the numbers. As a single member of our Congressional delegation, I actually have far more Facebook followers than your whole enterprise.

Third, from a pure business perspective, you're about to get smoked. The Advocate and others are moving in to fill the void you are creating. And TP subscribers, including me, will be eager to cheer them on by trading our subscriptions.

For all of these reasons, do the right thing. Sell.

Sincerely,
David Vitter
United States Senate

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Sources: Rep. Helena Moreno eying a run for District B council seat

Posted by on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 3:28 PM

State Rep. Helena Moreno
  • State Rep. Helena Moreno
The contest for the District B seat on the New Orleans City Council became a three-way race this morning when Dana Kaplan, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, announced she would begin collecting the necessary signatures to appear on the November ballot. (Broadmoor Improvement Association president LaToya Cantrell and Eric Strachan, former chief of staff to councilwoman Stacy Head, have already announced they will be running.)

But now a fourth name has surfaced: that of State Rep. Helena Moreno.

Sources tell Gambit that Moreno has been seriously considering jumping into the race for District B, which encompasses the CBD, Warehouse District and Garden District as well as parts of Central City, Mid-City and Uptown.

Reached by phone this afternoon, Moreno was noncommittal but didn’t deny the reports, telling Gambit, “I’ve had a lot of supporters and many elected officials urge and encourage me to run for this seat.”

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Anthony Davis: Redskins fan?

Posted by on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Anthony Davis in a blanket and Redskins cap
  • Photo from Kevin Love's Instagram
  • Anthony Davis in a blanket and Redskins cap

So the New Orleans Hornets No. 1 pick in the NBA draft is on his way to London from Barcelona with Team USA basketball and falls asleep wearing a Redskins cap. Team USA teammate Kevin Love snaps a pic and puts it on his Instagram. Twitterverse subsequently explodes.

This is a bittersweet picture for New Orleans sports fans. First, there's Davis, representing the future of New Orleans basketball wearing a hat that isn't black or gold or have a fleur de lis. In fact, it's the hat of a team that the Saints will be playing in Week 1 (a team that, coincidentally, has their very own super-hyped rookie). This is also not the only time Davis has been pictured with a Redskins cap so there may very well be a trend here. Second, there's Chris Paul, representing New Orleans' past, hugging and (we can only assume) drooling on a pillow. It's all so much to take in.

For now, though, let's not overthink things and just enjoy the fact that even superstar NBA players/Olympic athletes look just as silly as the rest of us when they fall asleep on a plane.

h/t to everyone on the internet for pointing this out

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Crabmeat galore at Annunciation Restaurant

Posted by on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Annunciation (1016 Annunciation St., 568-0245) serves contemporary Creole cuisine, but its chef, Steven Manning, jokes that at the moment it can seem “like a crabmeat and vegetable restaurant.”

Take a look at his menu (posted below) and you’ll see what he means. Crabmeat features prominently among the choices, including risotto with crabmeat, lobster and shrimp; pasta with crabmeat and grilled tomatoes; sautéed drum with crabmeat; and soft shell crab topped with still more crabmeat in meuniere sauce.

The dish that tells more of the tale of Annunciation, however, is the fried oysters topped with brie. That dish, after all, is a signature appetizer of Clancy’s, the Uptown stalwart where Manning was chef for many years until leaving earlier in 2012 to develop Annunciation with business partners. The restaurant opened just last week.

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WWL-TV: Tom Benson interested in purchasing Times-Picayune

Posted by on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 11:14 AM

WWL-TV has obtained a copy of the letter sent to Steven Newhouse yesterday by Tom Benson — owner of the New Orleans Saints, the New Orleans Hornets and WVUE-TV — indicating Benson's interest in purchasing The Times-Picayune.

In the letter, Benson writes, "I would welcome the opportunity to speak to you about my interest in purchasing The Times-Picayune, with others. If this is something that is an option, we can initiate this at your earliest convenience."

Past attempts to discuss potential purchase of the paper have been rebuffed by the Newhouse family.

Benson is one of the two potential buyers alluded to by Gambit in a story yesterday, which included this photo of a "Save the Picayune" sign that Benson and his wife Gayle are now displaying on their lawn:

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How is BP's Gulf Coast promotion going?

Posted by on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 6:15 PM

When BP announced earlier this month that it's sending chefs and musicians from the Gulf Coast to the 2012 Olympics in London, which officially kicks off this week, there was mostly positive press from Gulf papers proud to send their hallmark chefs and cuisines to thousands of potential future tourists as part of the oil giant's "Spirit of the Gulf" promotion.

But last week, U.K.'s The Guardian, under the headline "BP's 'spirit of the Gulf' Olympics hospitality is hard to swallow," didn't exactly roll out the welcome mat: "BP has co-opted the phrase 'spirit of the Gulf' as a promotional device to position itself as the gatekeeper to the region's culture and cuisine," and quotes frequent oil disaster source and shrimper Dean Blanchard. Writer Laurie Tuffrey writes:

In the light of the Louisiana memorial's litany of loss, it's hard to say exactly how BP has promoted the Gulf Coast. Ravaging ecosystems and destroying community livelihoods, though, probably wouldn't make the list.

This Olympic marketing move looks, at best, horrifically ironic and, at worst, like rubbing salt (or should I say oil?) in the wound.

Then there are the protests, which range from full-scale billboard smears to kind of funny small-scale theater (which you apparently will be arrested for).

Mother Jones, which points back to this blog, writes that BP is sending a message that "Everything's fine in the post-spill Gulf; the 2010 spill and any ill effects from it are dead and gone."

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New Orleans City Council to NOLA Media Group: publish seven days a week or sell

Posted by on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Tomorrow's New Orleans City Council agenda has two medium-biggish items: selection of an interim councilperson for District E, and consideration of an ordinance to create an new economic development district in the Carrollton-Palmetto neighborhood. But there's a third item of interest on the agenda.

More than two months after word leaked that Advance Publications planned to scale back print publication of The Times-Picayune this fall, the council appears likely to take a stand in the form of a resolution — publish seven days a week or sell the paper to someone who will:

45. RESOLUTION — NO. R-12-284 — BY: COUNCILMEMBERS CLARKSON,
GISLESON PALMER, GUIDRY, HEAD AND HEDGE-MORRELL

Brief:
Urging the Times-Picayune to take any and all necessary
actions, including sale of the newspaper, to ensure the
uninterrupted continuation of seven-day-a-week print
publication of its newspaper for the benefit of its loyal
readers in New Orleans, the Gulf Coast region, and
throughout the country.

Such resolutions are more symbol than substance, of course — and the Newhouse family and local executives have already said no, no, no on more than one occasion, most recently July 10 in response to a letter from some heavy-hitting community leaders.

Things have been largely quiet behind the scenes since then, though a spokesperson for the Save the Picayune crowd says they may redouble their efforts soon — and that there are indeed two credible potential owners ready to sit down and talk with the Newhouse family, who owns the paper.

In any case, the Save the Picayune group has managed to get one of its lawn signs in the front yard of a certain football team-basketball team-TV station owner:

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Tour de Plates

Posted by on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Gnudi at a Mano, an example of its focus on southern Italian regional cooking.
  • Ian McNulty
  • Gnudi at a Mano, an example of its focus on southern Italian regional cooking.

Summer is typically a bit slower for New Orleans restaurants, many of which respond with any number of creative specials to entice local diners. Some of these specials have become annual traditions, and a few of them revolve around culinary tours of different regions and countries.

One such program is underway at RioMar, where chef Miles Prescott has taken the helm in the kitchen (Adolfo Garcia, RioMar’s original chef and co-founder, recently sold his share in the restaurant to focus on his other projects, as Brett Anderson at the Times Picayune reported earlier). These dinners explore mostly Spanish regions, and Prescott says the focus is on the contemporary style of restaurant cooking in these areas rather than strictly traditional dishes.

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