The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning that same-sex couples cannot be denied federal benefits given to other couples. The ruling strikes down a part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which prevents married same-sex couples from receiving health, tax and other federal benefits.
"DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment," wrote justice Anthony Kennedy in the court's 5-4 decision. In the majority rule were justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were in the minority.
The court also dismissed Proposition 8, the California law banning same-sex marriage there. The decision paves the way for California to reinstate same-sex marriages. (Twelve states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages.) The DOMA ruling means the federal government must recognize marriages in those states.
At 5:30 p.m. today, the Forum for Equality and several other organizations host a "Day of Decision" rally in Jackson Square:
Forum For Equality will rally in New Orleans with ACLU Louisiana, Human Rights Campaign, LGBT Community Center and PFLAG-New Orleans to explain the decision, what it means for Louisiana couples and to support the freedom to marry.
Come with your partners, wives and husbands! Bring the entire family! Invite along your friends, neighbors, allies and co-workers! Don’t forget your signs, banners, and flags! And wear RED! Press, organizations, and individual community members are all encouraged to attend.
The Prytania Theatre has announced an expansion of it summer movies series for children from one film per month to three. The screenings are scheduled for Friday and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. Tickets are $5.75. Here's the lineup for July and August:
July 5 & 6 — Shrek
July 12 & 13 — Muppet Treasure Island
July 26 & 27 — Mary Poppins
August 2 & 3 — Chicken Run
August 23 & 24 — Charlottes Web
August 30 & 31 — Babe
The tagline for the food truck Food Drunk is “chef inspired, alcohol influenced cuisine,” so it seems fitting that the this mobile vendor’s latest regular deployment is the equivalent of keeping afternoon office hours at an Irish pub.
Food Drunk is scheduled for the foreseeable future to be outside Finn McCool’s Irish Pub in Mid-City each Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (and extending to 5:30 p.m. beginning in July). On Wednesdays, a different vendor, the NOLA Truck, will be serving there during the same time frame.
Where is Chalmatia? Ask any Chalmatian, as the residents of a certain St. Bernard Parish city are sometimes known, and you may get an educated guess, but in this Contemporary Arts Center expo it’s more like a state of mind. The work of Louisianian Daneeta Jackson and her Swedish expat partner Patrick Jackson, Chalmatia is a stream of consciousness, word-and-image narrative that depicts a fictionalized version of a familiar place. The artists’ statement describes a fractured landscape of “broken strip malls, empty lots, and bare cement slabs that once supported a thriving community — a place largely defined by what’s no longer there.” Like the Louisiana town in Walker Percy’s dystopian novel Love in the Ruins, things have fallen apart here. People get by on nostalgia or make believe as their lives assume mythic qualities.
In a written account, a resident describes a girl with a luminous hula hoop (pictured) amid a row of ruined townhouses. “When I saw her on the slab I thought I was imagining things again... She only comes out at night.” Nearby, Carmella is fixing up Mr. Ralph’s old place. Mr. Ralph drowned in the storm while saving his three dogs, but Carmella “prayed his soul right up to heaven.” And then there’s Destiny who, tired of playing in the ruins, went to work on Bourbon Street when she turned 18. Things are no longer dire in the real St. Bernard, and the Jacksons freely admit to taking poetic license. “Some of what you read in here is true,” and other parts are “beautiful lies.” But their stories, despite the local setting, have become more universal and it doesn’t take much to read into Chalmatia the fate of places like Staten Island or other New York suburbs after Hurricane Sandy, or El Reno, Oklahoma, in the wake of the tornado. We live in a land increasingly made up of survivors with their own tales to tell.
Through Sept. 8
Chalmatia (shall-MAY-shuh): A Fictional Place Down the Road: Mixed media by Daneeta and Patrick Jackson
Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., (504) 528-3805
Hucklebuck: A frozen treat made of flavored syrup and water. Also known as a huckabuck, frozen cup, iceberg, cool cup or cold cup.
“No, not anymore,” she responds, a hint of longing in her voice. As I hang my head a little, feeling embarrassed for even asking the question, she shouts, “Well, there might be a lady by the park, but I don’t know.”
I thank her and skip toward my car, hearing a dog bark and thinking about how I called Hope Street "Dog Street" when I was a girl, since there were so many vicious-looking dogs there.
I quickly realize a tan pit bull is chasing me. The nice things I’ve read about pit bulls from their advocates leave my mind and are replaced with 6-year-old Megan’s memory of Uncle Bobby Sardie’s German Shepard leaping up and biting his hand, getting blood everywhere on Easter morning.
“Get it away from me!” I shout repeatedly, wishing I would have just walked to my car instead of skipping there. Thankfully, the dog’s owner calls it back to herself and away from me.
Safely in my car, I begin to wonder if my search will be fruitless. I see a man around my age and ask him the status of hucklebuck ladies in the 7th Ward. He confirms their absence. I turn down New Orleans Street, thinking of the hucklebuck ladies around Hardin Park I knew growing up, like Miss Thibodeaux who always had double- and triple-color ones. Perhaps hucklebuck ladies are casualties of Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods or maybe of 9/11.
John Raphael, who led a crusade against violence in New Orleans as pastor of New Hope Baptist Church and on the streets where he frequently held days-long vigils, died of cancer at age 60 this morning.
Raphael's father, John Raphael Sr., was the city's first African-American police officer. Raphael also served in the force for 15 years then joined New Hope as its pastor in 1988.
In 2008, Raphael led Yes We Care to push for citywide anti-violence campaigns — which culminated in a March 28, 2009 rally at City Hall with 3,000 attendees. Raphael spent the last week of each year at the intersection of Claiborne Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, where he fasted and prayed to end street violence.
In 2011, Raphael told Gambit that New Orleans needs community-wide efforts to help at-risk young men in New Orleans.
We have to encourage them, we have to push them, and there is a lot of grassroots and groundwork that has to be done. I think churches can play a tremendous role. Some people have to get up every morning and look for a way to change their lives. Others will sit and wait — one day something's going to happen. But they'll get up if they have someone giving them a hand, saying, 'Listen, what's going on in your life and what can I do to help?' You have to help them, give them some alternative.
There are those things as a city and as a community we can't hide anymore. We can't shove them under the rug and pretend it's not there. We have to respond to it.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued a statement this morning:
I have personally relied on the wisdom and counsel of Pastor Raphael over the years, not just because of what he said, but because of how he lived. Pastor Raphael will be dearly missed.
Whether he was preaching on the corner, fasting for days on MLK, mentoring young people, or challenging us all to do more to end the death and violence on our streets, Pastor Raphael was consistent and responsible in challenging us all to do our part to reflect the love of God and improve our city. May our thoughts and prayers be with the Raphael and New Hope families.
I focused mostly on special offerings from local breweries, breweries-in-waiting, and homebrewers. Even with that self-imposed limitation, there were many new beers to try. Established local commercial breweries like NOLA Brewing, Covington Brewhouse, Tin Roof, Chafunkta and Parish Brewing all contributed something new and different. I particularly loved the single hop IPA variations that Andrew Godley of Parish Brewing had on hand (Pacifica, Calypso, and Chinook) as well as all three items that the Covington Brewhouse brought - Anonymous IPA, Cosmosis Black IPA and their Bayou Bock on cask.
I was able to sample, for the first time, the wares of several breweries that are in the process of getting up and running. I loved Great Raft’s Ermahgerd Hops double IPA and their Reasonably Corrupt Schwarzbier (black lager). The Old Rail brewpub will be opening in Mandeville July 17 and brought two excellent beers to share, their Cowcatcher Chocolate Milk Stout and one of the best ESBs I’ve had since moving to Louisiana, their Echo Sierra Bravo. Can’t wait until I can hang out at the bar and enjoy several imperial pints of it next month. Also loved Gnarly Barley’s coconutty Porter Rican and balanced Hoppopotomus IPA.
More beer geekery under the cut!
Earlier this month, English band Mumford & Sons canceled a string of U.S. tour dates, including a stop in New Orleans, following the hospitalization of band bassist Ted Dwane for a blood clot in his brain. This morning, the band announced its rescheduled dates — and Dwane's recovery.
Firstly and most importantly, we are pleased to report that Ted is making a steady recovery from his recent operation; thank you so much for your messages of support.
The band performs at Mardi Gras World on September 16. Previous ticket sales will be honored. You can sign-up for presale "invitations" here.
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