Friday, March 29, 2013

Fourth annual FilmOrama begins next Friday

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 6:21 PM

The fourth annual FilmOrama — the New Orleans Film Society's spring showcase of new and classic foreign, independent and documentary film — begins next Friday, April 5, at the Prytania Theatre. Highlights of the week-long festival include the local debut of On the Road, director Walter Salles' adaptation of Jack Kerouac's "unfilmable" book; I am Devine, the story of filmmaker John Waters' cinematic muse; Getting Back to Abnormal, a documentary on New Orleans City Council member Stacy Head's bid for re-election; and Sound City, Dave Grohl's documentary on a legendary California recording studio. Classics to be screened at this year's FilmOrama include Fellini's 8-1/2; Pride and Prejudice; Bunuel's Belle du Jour; Eraserhead; and The Shining.

The full schedule for FilmOrama 2013 is available here.

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Abramson bill gives hospital lease to Ochsner if Children's won't reopen

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 5:26 PM

State Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, filed legislation today that would allow the state to lease New Orleans Adolescent Hospital (NOAH) to Ochsner Health Systems in June should Children's Hospital does not agree to reopen NOAH for child and adolescent mental health services.

The bill follows last week's dispute after the lawmaker announced to the New Orleans City Council that Children's signed a lease and agreed to reopen the hospital, which Children's denied.

Children's spokesman Brian Landry confirmed the hospital signed the lease in order to meet the deadline and continue negotiations with the state, adding that Abramson was "accurate with the current lease agreement requirements, but what's also in that lease is our ability to cancel the lease. He knew we were intending to cancel the lease if we're unsuccessful in lifting the restrictions.

The lease requires Children's to reopen NOAH and provide services similar to those it provided before its closure, pursuant to a 2012 law that authorized the lease.

“If [Children's] fail to exercise the agreement under their right of first refusal, the bill provides that we can move on to the next person," Abramson said in a phone interview today. And the next person is Ochsner.

(More after the jump)

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Moshe Kasher and Natasha Leggero in New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Comedians Moshe Kasher and Natasha Leggero do standup at One Eyed Jacks Monday. It's a junket for the two Los Angeles-based comedians, and they are joined by Reno 911!'s Tom Lennon, as well as local comedians Chris Trew and Ariel Elias. Kasher is the driving force behind the show because he's a fan of New Orleans. It's Leggero's first performance in the city. Interviews with both are part of this preview, which addresses the hairy wrists he works for jokes in the clip above.

Leggero was a child actress and went to college to appease her mother, she says. She earned a degree in theater criticism from Hunter College in New York. Then as she was starting her comedy career in Los Angeles, she saw a comic on stage who had also moved from the East Coast to L.A., and that comic was simply criticizing life in California. Leggero says she realized she could simply stand on stage and "critique society." She has had parts on a number of shows including Burning Love, Reno 911!, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and others. Like Kasher, she's a regular panelist on Chelsea Handler's E! show Chelsea Lately. Below is a compilation of Leggero's critiques of various celebrities, performers and news items.

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For Gretna Mayor: Belinda Constant

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Voters in Gretna go to the polls this Saturday (April 6) to elect a new mayor. Incumbent Mayor Ronnie Harris has decided not to seek re-election after serving for 28 years as the city’s chief executive. Two candidates — Councilmembers Belinda Constant and Vincent Cox — are running to succeed Harris. Both offer voters a wealth of experience in Gretna city government, but we believe Constant is the best choice to lead Gretna into the future.

A former administrator of Jefferson Parish’s drug court, Constant joined the council in 2005, shortly before Hurricane Katrina. The storm’s arrival gave her a steep learning curve in city government, but her prior experience as a civic leader (she was a founder of Gretna’s art walk and its farmers market) gave her a solid footing in her new position. We believe Constant will bring to the mayor’s office a good combination of understanding and appreciating Gretna’s uniqueness as a small but historic community and a determination to modernize the city’s aging infrastructure so that it can realize its potential for economic development. She is endorsed by the Alliance for Good Government, the Jefferson Chamber PAC and the AFL-CIO, among others. We add our endorsement as well.

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I’ll have what he’s having

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Jindal-bong.jpg


There’s a classic scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally where Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal are sitting in a crowded deli arguing about whether a man can tell when a woman fakes an orgasm. Crystal insists he can tell — and that no woman ever faked it with him. To prove him wrong, Ryan begins a show-stopping sexual soliloquy that, well, climaxes with her screaming, “Yes! Yes! YESSS!” — and pounding the table with both hands. She then casually picks up her fork and smugly continues eating as a sheepish Crystal and a stunned deli full of gawkers look on.

At a nearby table, an older woman puts down her menu and says to her waiter, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

I thought of that scene recently when I learned that Gov. Bobby Jindal had concluded that raising the state sales tax by 1.88 cents was not enough to cover the revenue that would be lost by eliminating the state income tax, as he proposes. The governor now wants to raise the sales tax by 2.25 cents — giving Louisiana a total state sales tax of 6.25 percent.

At first, I thought it was an early April Fool’s joke. It wasn’t.

Surely, I thought, the governor must be smoking some serious herb, which is legal now in some of the states he may have visited recently. His plan to give Louisiana the highest combined state and local sales tax rates in the U.S. was already considered D.O.A. in the House of Representatives — and that was when he was “only” seeking to increase the state sales tax by 1.88 cents.

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Nagin, feds file joint motion for delay of trial

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and U.S. Attorney Dana Boente mutually filed a request today to delay a criminal trial against Nagin until October. Nagin, who pleaded not guilty to 21 felony counts in February, was originally set to begin trial at the end of April. However, as today's motion says, it's a large and complex case.

From the joint motion:

"The nature of the present prosecution is complex and involves an extensive amount of electronic and documentary discovery. The current posture of the case makes it unreasonable, taking into account the exercise of due diligence, to expect adequate preparation for pretrial proceedings and trial prior to April 29, 2013."

Read the motion to continue trial: Nagin_Delay.pdf

Pigeon Town Steppers annual Easter Sunday second line parade

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 10:46 AM

THE ORIGINAL MEN PIGEON TOWN STEPPERS
AND
LADIES PIGEON TOWN STEPPERS
SOCIAL AID & PLEASURE CLUB
ANNUAL EASTER SECOND LINE

 
SUNDAY, MARCH 31st 1-5PM

 
"All Eyes on Me"

(route details after the jump!)

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Landrieu: jail consent decree could mean layoffs and sweeping cuts

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Yesterday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for a special New Orleans City Council meeting to discuss the proposed federal consent decree for Orleans Parish Prison — namely how the millions of dollars to pay for it would cripple the city’s budget.

Today, Landrieu said a consent decree with Sheriff Marlin Gusman and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) — on top of the consent agreement to reform NOPD — “cannot be paid for in this fiscal year without raising taxes or substantially gutting city services.”

“During this fiscal year, the sheriff, DOJ, federal judges are all riding up to tell us and the taxpayers of the city to write a blank check and hand it over,” Landrieu said. “We will not voluntarily write an ambiguous, unjustified sum of money to the Orleans Parish sheriff’s office.”

Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin laid out four possible budget scenarios if the city accommodates the $22 million (and growing) cost of the prison consent decree: all city employees would be furloughed 30 days this year; the city would lay off 779 employees; all city departments would take a 45 percent cut; or, in what the city expects to be the most realistic scenario, a combination of 305 layoffs, 15 furlough days for all city employees, and 6.3 percent cuts in other departments and services.

Landrieu’s chief concern is the potential cost to public safety. “If we are forced to make these cuts, they will be real … and throw our entire criminal justice system in disarray,” he said. Kopplin outlined dire cuts to city services, from police and fire to NORD camps and Parks and Parkways.

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Gusman slams mayor's "last-ditch attempt" to get out of OPP consent decree

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Responding to Mayor Mitch Landrieu's claims today during an emergency City Council meeting that enacting a proposed federal consent decree for the Orleans Parish Prison would result in mass layoffs, furloughs, operating cuts or some combination, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman offered a blistering assessment of what he called a "last-ditch attempt" by Landrieu to shirk his responsibilities.

"Today's City Hall spectacle was a last-ditch attempt by the mayor to deflect attention away from a problem he knew was coming for many years," Gusman said at a press conference, which began even as the emergency meeting was in session. "The city of New Orleans has failed to fulfill its legal obligation to adequately pay for the care and custody of the city's inmates."

A fairness hearing, determining whether the OPP consent decree is necessary, is scheduled for Monday, April 1 in U.S. District cost. That will be followed by a trial on funding, the disputed issue, in May.

Landrieu said the consent decree will add $22 million in additional costs per year, or $110 million over five years.

"I have no idea where he got that from," Gusman said, noting that the consent decree, as written, would be lifted after two years of compliance.

But according to a July 2012 email from Gusman's attorneys to the city and the Justice Department, recently submitted to federal court, $22 million is in line with the Sheriff's Office's own numbers. And, since that estimate is mostly comprised of personnel costs, most of that would appear, at least, to be long-term, if not permanent.

(More after the jump)

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Big Easy Theater Awards winners announced

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 6:26 PM

The cast of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson performs at the Big Easy Awards.
  • Cheryl Gerber
  • The cast of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson performs at the Big Easy Awards.

The Foundation for Entertainment, Development and Education (FEDE) announced winners for theater performances in 2012 at the 25th Annual Big Easy Theater Awards Monday, March 25, at Harrah’s New Orleans.

Special honors included a Lifetime Achievement Award for Luis Q. Barroso, an actor, director, producer and educator. Southern Rep artistic director Aimee Hayes was named Theater Person of the Year and won Best Actress in a Drama for her role as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Jefferson Performing Arts Society’s The Light in the Piazza captured five awards, including Best Musical and Best Director of a Musical, which went to Butch Caire. Southern Rep’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire won four awards, including Best Drama. The NOLA Project’s A Behanding in Spokane won Best Comedy.

Proceeds from this event benefit the FEDE, which awards grants to support arts education and development.

The event was sponsored by Gambit, Harrah’s New Orleans, Adler’s Jewelry, Abita Beer, Ketel One and Crown Royal.

Award winners after the jump.

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