Wednesday, January 30, 2013

NFL Experience opens: Deuce, the Lombardi, "epic" and peanut M&Ms

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Fans pose with the Lombardi trophy.

St. Augustine High School's Marching 100 blasted through the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and at its lead were Louisiana State Police, looking crisp in blue and really pissed off (or stern, can't tell), surrounding Deuce McCallister, whose gloved hands carried the Vince Lombardi Trophy down a red carpet to its glass-cased throne under a massive portrait of itself.

That long-winded sentence is to say that people really love the Lombardi trophy. When the NFL Experience opened this afternoon, New Orleans Saints fans were first in line. When McAllister smiled and strolled (albeit in a cloud of armed protection surrounded by a layer of flashing cameras) with the Lombardi, fans were locked in its not-so-distant memory tractor beam — a token of the Super Bowl XLIV win, the beloved Deuuuuuuce chant, "party with the Lombardi." Instant heart-tugging nostalgia set in for those first-in-the-door Saints fans.

Though some out-of-town visitors squinted and asked, "Who is that?" (but not in that way overplayed ironic way of saying "Who Dat.")

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Report: La.'s poorest pay more than 10% of income in state, local taxes

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 4:31 PM

A national survey of state and local tax codes by Washington think tank the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) shows that Louisiana's poorest residents pay the highest levels of state and local taxes as a percent of income — more than twice the relative burden on the state's highest earners — due in large part to combined local and state sales taxes.

The ITEP study comes as the state's political leaders ponder a major tax code overhaul. Gov. Bobby Jindal has called for the elimination of personal income and corporate taxes, possibly replacing the revenue with increases in sales taxes, already among the highest in the country.

According to the study, released this month, the poorest 20 percent of state residents — average income $10,000 — pay 10.6 percent of their income in state and local taxes on average, with the overwhelming majority coming from sales taxes. Louisianians in next 20 percent — $22,000 average income — generally pay 10.5 percent, again mostly in sales taxes. In contrast, the wealthiest one percent — a group whose average income is $979,000 — pay only 4.6 percent of their income in state and local taxes, with the largest share coming from personal income taxes.

Under its current laws, the state did not make it into ITEP's list of the ten most regressive tax systems, where the poorest residents have the highest tax burden. In fact, Louisiana's poorest 20 percent actually pay a smaller share of taxes than the national average for the same group: 11.1 percent. The burden on the next 20 percent, however, is above the national average of 10 percent, and the burden for the richest Louisiana residents is below the national average of 5.6 percent.

The report's findings suggest Jindal's plan could mean significantly higher taxes on the poor. Four of the states on the list don't levy a personal income tax. These include the two most regressive in the country, Washington and Florida, where the bottom 20 percent pay 16.9 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively, of their income in state and municipal taxes. Tennessee, another state on the most regressive list, collects taxes on interest and dividends from investments but not on regular income. Known as the Hall Income Tax, it produced only $184 million during the 2011 fiscal year, less than two percent of $10.5 billion total state tax collections that year.

The governor's office has pledged to mitigate the impact of any sales tax increase for the poor. But with the state legislature set to convene in April, Jindal is yet to release the details of the plan.

Read the full report “Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States" whopaysreport_1_.pdf

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Gambit TV: The Super Bowl and Twitter

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Last night on WWL-TV's 10 p.m. news, Scott Satchfield spoke to Gambit editor Kevin Allman about Mayor Mitch Landrieu's attempt to crowdsource the wisdom of the city's Twitter community for the benefit of Super Bowl visitors under the hashtag #BestofNOLA. (And speaking of Twitter: Satchfield is @Satchfield, while Kevin is @NOLAKevin.)

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King cake in The New York Times

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Dwight Henry of Buttermilk Drop Bakery
  • © FOX SEARCHLIGHT 2012
  • Dwight Henry of Buttermilk Drop Bakery
Julia Moskin of The New York Times took New Orleans' king cake tradition to the world this morning. Some lovely quotes in there, including a few from Buttermilk Drop Bakery king (and Beasts of the Southern Wild star) Dwight Henry:

Most important, each king cake conceals a bite-size figurine, usually of a baby that traditionally represents Jesus. (The year after Katrina, Haydel’s Bakery made them in the shape of a FEMA trailer.) Whoever finds the baby in his slice has to hold the next party and buy the next cake — thus, the continuity of king cake season is preserved. “My mama would get so mad at us if we got the baby,” Mr. Henry said, smiling as he remembered his childhood in the Lower Ninth Ward. “King cake was expensive back then.”

It's a really nice story with some fine observations, but it's not a New Orleans story unless there's one tiny quibble, and it comes over the description of Charles Mary and Charlotte McGehee, who run Debbie Does Doberge:

The pair are just the kind of young, endearingly single-minded food entrepreneurs commonly spotted in Brooklyn and Portland, Ore., who carry a torch for tradition but yearn to express their creative urges.

New Orleans has always had those people, long before the first Bushwick beard was grown or the first wacky vegan doughnut was fried. They may not be glamorous, self-promoting, young, attractive or white; they may have gone unnoticed by the national media until just recently; but, yeah, they've always been here.

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Media Day is an event of football & flash

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 1:40 PM

A large contingent of media members await Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis at Media Day on Tuesday.
  • GUS KATTENGELL
  • A large contingent of media members await Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis at Media Day on Tuesday.

The spectacle that is Super Bowl media took place inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Tuesday

There were a few story lines that stood out to me. Media used to be a day where media could have a one stop shop of story lines and players all in one location. The chance that a player could say or do something that could create controversy made it exciting as well.

As media day grew so did the spectacle as it is more about being an entertainment show at times then talk about “X’s and O’s”. Super Bowl 47 credentialed over 5000 media members with a large number of then from other countries and those reporters tend to have a bit more flare to their coverage than we see here stateside.

Entertainment shows love to have fun at Media Day

Tuesday there were clowns, a super hero, fans in the stands, Saints players Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Sproles, and a quarterback’s girlfriend turned celebrity for a few seconds on television were just a few of the highlights.

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Gambit TV: Clancy's Commentary

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Yesterday, Jay Cicero, head of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, made it official: New Orleans intends to make its case to bring the Super Bowl back in 2018.

Last night in his WWL-TV commentary, Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos said it’s not too early to plan for Super Bowl LII.

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Greatest pep talk you have ever heard, guaranteed.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 9:46 AM


I don’t usually post this kinda stuff so you know the instigator has to be bringing something pretty incredible to take me off topic. Self-ordained ‘Kid President’ Robbie Novak of Henderson, Tennessee has garnered over four million views so far with his adorable pep talk video. Impeccable comedic timing, cherub face, and bursting at the seams confidence... I could eat this kid with a tiny spoon! Anytime you’ve got a precocious Black man child quoting Robert Frost and Journey lyrics, you’ve hit entertainment gold.

There’s a whole ‘Kid President’ series featured on YouTube’s soulpancake channel, brainchild of actor Rainn Wilson (a.k.a. Dwight from “The Office). His channel’s stated mission: to help you “open your heart without feeling like an idiot.”

Best three minute time investment you’ll make today, guaranteed.


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Follow your girl on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube; Holla at me at bigredcotton@gmail.com.

Brass bands and bubbly at the Little Gem Saloon

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 7:50 AM

little gem saloon
  • IAN MCNULTY
  • Food and music share the billing at the Little Gem Saloon.

The Little Gem Saloon, the combination restaurant/bar/music venue, has added a Sunday brunch service with brass bands performing each week.

The buffet-style brunch and show costs $35 (drinks are extra) and features dishes in step with chef Robert Bruce’s Creole menus at lunch and dinner. Oxtail strew, broiled fish and roasted quail are on the buffet, and you can partake in the build-your-own bloody Mary bar for $15 or bottomless sparkling wine for $12. Brunch is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Sunday.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tara Ciccarone v. Clean Zones, the Super Bowl and Jazz Fest

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM

The Sacred Shrine of Bon Jovi.
  • The Sacred Shrine of Bon Jovi.

The ACLU successfully challenged the city's Clean Zone ordinance on the grounds that it violated free speech rights covered by the First Amendment. (The zone's rules have been changed.) One of the plaintiffs in the suit was Tara Ciccarone. Her name rang a bell with Gambit contributor Marta Jewson, who interviewed Ciccarone two years ago about the Bon Jovi Shrine.

Ciccarone originally created the Shrine in 2009 in response to similar Clean Zone issues during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Ciccarone lived on Maurepas Street, blocks from the Fair Grounds Race Course and some of her neighbors had been issued citations for illegally vending in a Clean Zone set up around the festival. Since Ciccarone is an artist who makes and sells jewelry, she was concerned that she could not sell her jewelry from her home.

Her response was a bit abstract — and also referenced local grousing about whether Bon Jovi should be booked to play Jazz Fest — but she put up the shrine and a can of Aqua Net and set out a jar for donations. The shrine drew limited attention in its first year, but she maintained its presence on her porch. It got limited attention the second year as well, when Bon Jovi was not in the Jazz Fest lineup. But when Bon Jovi was scheduled again in 2011, it got a lot of attention, especially as word of the shrine spread over the Internet. Ciccarone says the both Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis and Bon Jovi's brother eventually visited the shrine.

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Super Bowl Media Day photo roundup

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 5:14 PM

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Boy was that a whole lot of craziness that just went on at the Superdome.

Having never been to a Super Bowl Media Day before, I don't know if there's much I can really offer other than saying that for one hour, each team is subjected to a barrage of questions and photographs from infinite angles. There's a lot of silliness, humor and fun mixed in with actual reporters covering the actual game.

In the interest of brevity and because #mediaday is trending and this is a thing that is part of our reality now, I'm just gonna let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

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