Members of the Baton Rouge LGBT community are raising questions about the “2012 Municipal Equality Index,” a new report from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
The HRC, the country’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, gathered data on more than 100 U.S. metro areas on their laws and policies regarding gays and lesbians, and presented each city with a score from 0 to 100. Only two cities in Louisiana were evaluated, and Baton Rouge scored 2 out of 100 — one of the worst scores in the nation. (In contrast, New Orleans received a 79, while Jackson, Miss. got an 8 — six points higher than Baton Rouge.)
Now there’s talk that LaBruzzo could be running again for a legislative seat — this time from Baton Rouge — and soon.
LaBruzzo reportedly moved to Baton Rouge earlier this year — coincidentally, into the House district of Rep. Clif Richardson, R-Central, who announced his resignation last week, effective Jan. 2. Richardson has been battling cancer for some time.
Under the cut: More details, and what LaBruzzo says ...
Over time, it offered refuge to not only abandoned babies but also to individuals afflicted with terminal illnesses. That it was originally named the New Orleans Home for the Incurables was no accident, even if the sound of it today causes health professionals to cringe.
The home initially had an all-female board — 29 years before women secured the right to vote — and their leadership defined the New Orleans Home for the Incurables as a private, nonprofit, nondenominational facility of last resort. It remained that until 1978, when the state of Louisiana bought the home.
The state quickly dropped the “incurables” label and renamed it the New Orleans Home and Rehabilitation Center. The institution’s honeymoon with the state didn’t last long. Practically every governor since has tried to sell off or transfer the home. The task of pushing back fell upon former Sen. John Hainkel, in whose district the home sits. Thanks to Hainkel’s longevity in the Legislature, he kept the center open during his lifetime and protected it from deep budget cuts.
When Hainkel died in 2005, state lawmakers renamed the facility the John J. Hainkel Jr. Home and Rehab Center, known more commonly around the city as Hainkel Home. At the same time, Bobby Jindal, then a congressman from Jefferson Parish, also convinced Congress to rename the Hammond post office in Hainkel's honor.
Today, the Hainkel Home is one of the few remaining options for Medicaid and Veterans Administration patients in the New Orleans area — but it has no champion with Hainkel’s legendary clout. Jindal, now in his second term as Louisiana’s governor, wants to shutter the facility.
That was Gov. Bobby Jindal speaking to Politico’s Jonathan Martin last week about the future of the Republican Party after the Nov. 6 elections. If you want to see just how much the elections shook up the GOP, look no farther than Jindal’s attempt to disassociate himself from some of his party’s platforms — many of which he once heartily embraced.
Less than a week after the elections, Jindal tried to grab the national spotlight with a political high-wire act: promoting himself as both a traditional conservative and a forward-thinking guy. The interview got him lots of positive attention — and he doubled down on it at a meeting of the Republican Governors Association, twitting Mitt Romney for rationalizing his loss in the presidential election.
We are at a loss to understand why, but then again, we know the truth about Jindal. Because so few in the media bother to question Jindal’s self-serving pablum, we’ll make it easy for them to compare Bobby Jindal 2.0 to Bobby Jindal’s record.
Legalize Louisiana, a campaign to reform marijuana laws in the state, organizes another round of statewide rallies Thursday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m.
The campaign held several rallies earlier this year from New Orleans to Shreveport. It aims for "an active movement creating health and justice in Louisiana" and advocates the industrial hemp business, decriminalization for personal use, and taxing and regulating commercial use in the state. In May, the group's Facebook page had nearly 6,000 likes. Today, it has more than 6,600.
Marijuana use isn't exactly legal in Louisiana, though there is an obscure law, enacted in 1978, allowing patients with a prescription to get it filled through a state source — though there's no way of obtaining it legally. The state's medicine cabinet is empty.
In New Orleans, a simple possession charge for marijuana was registered as a municipal offense in 2011. The penalties remain the same — it hasn't been "decriminalized" — but it moves the charges out of the criminal court system. Penalties for simple possession could include a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.
Find a list of tomorrow's rally and march locations below the jump.
DIG Baton Rouge got an interesting interview with Rollins about why he's touring right now:
When someone says, “Oh, this safety net is making America into a nanny state” — then again, if you think you’re such a rugged individualist, then you won’t be using my road, a public road. You better know how to get to work. That’s a taxpayer road. I use the same street you do to get to the venue. That’s a community. I’m going to stop at the red light. I think we all agree on red means stop, green means go, orange means accelerate dangerously. If we all agree on that, that makes us a community. I don’t like the idea of the United States being 50 angry little countries. The Civil War was fought to really bring us together. It took a lot of dead bodies to do and we’re together now.
Gregory Rusovich, chair-elect of Greater New Orleans Inc., and Suzanne Mestayer, chair of the Business Council of New Orleans, were among the community leaders on hand to welcome the Baton Rouge paper into the market. "Economically, our region has the hot hand," Rusovich told the crowd, adding, "We deserve a daily paper, and thanks to The Advocate and the Manship family, we will have that daily newspaper."
Advocate publisher David Manship was there to introduce the staff of the New Orleans bureau, all of whom were former Times-Picayune staffers: bureau chief Sara Pagones; reporters Kari Dequine Harden, Danny Monteverde and Allen Powell; photographer John McCusker; sportswriter Ted Lewis; and Sara Barnard, head of sales for the New Orleans bureau. Carl Redman, executive editor for the Baton Rouge paper, was also on hand. In the back of the room were former T-P columnist Angus Lind and former City Hall reporter Frank Donze, both of whom had stopped by to check out the scene.
"It's exciting and nervewracking all at the same time," Monteverde said. "I think we'll do well, though it may take us a while to get our land legs."
In response to the cutbacks at The Times-Picayune, the Advocate of Baton Rouge has opened a bureau and will begin printing a New Orleans edition Monday. Now — en garde, y'all! — the T-P strikes back, announcing it will expand its Baton Rouge bureau and begin distributing a Red Stick version of the T-P, as well as create a Baton Rouge-focused landing page for NOLA.com:
A customized Baton Rouge version of the NOLA.com website and a Baton Rouge edition of The Times-Picayune, as well as targeted home delivery in the Baton Rouge metro area will be in place by the end of the year, said Ricky Mathews, NOLA Media Group president. The company will also make available for purchase in Baton Rouge the new "Black and Gold Extra" publication to be printed after Saints games on days The Times-Picayune doesn't publish a print edition. The Black and Gold Extra launches Oct. 1 with complete coverage of the Saints game against the Green Bay Packers and other NFL coverage.
The Baton Rouge managing editor will be Carlos Sanchez, a veteran journalist who may be able to feel the pain of all the fired Times-Pic employees — he was laid off as editor of the Waco Tribune-Herald in Texas last year.
Advocate publisher David Manship is said to be in meetings right now; we'll update this post with his reaction.
UPDATE: Here's Manship's statement on the move:
"The Advocate will begin home delivery of its New Orleans edition throughout the metropolitan regional area on Oct. 1. We are excited to provide a printed, local daily newspaper to the New Orleans area — and the response we have received to date has been very strong.
NOLA Media Group announced today that they will open a Baton Rouge bureau to report on Baton Rouge news. We wish them well with their new venture in Baton Rouge as we begin providing New Orleans with a new daily printed newspaper."
"Easy Pay" (credit card and checking account autodebit) subscribers to The Times-Picayune got a letter today from director of circulation Philip H. Ehrhardt, explaining the paper's new price point when it goes to thrice-weekly publication starting Oct. 1. It's going from $18.95 per week to $16.95 for what's being called an "enhanced" paper. (The website Dump the Picayune has scanned a copy of the letter.)
Ehrhardt tells subscribers with questions to visit the NOLA Media Group's customer care page at www.nola.com/customercare ... which is where you'll find this:
On the T-P's subscription page, you can still subscribe to the 7-day edition, which is going away in two weeks, but there's still no 3-day option:
In other newspapering news, The Advocate — which begins distributing its new New Orleans edition Monday — is having a kickoff party Monday at 10:30 a.m. at Rock 'n' Bowl. Its subscription page seems to be working.
"We definitely need more than 1,000," he told Gambit this morning. "I'd like to get 20,000. But we're looking at 5,000 to 10,000, and I think that’s easily obtainable based on the response we got yesterday."
The Advocate's push into the New Orleans market, of course, is in response to The Times-Picayune's scaling back to thrice-weekly publication as of Oct. 1, concentrating its news gathering online at NOLA.com under the name NOLA Media Group.
"We still believe in the printed newspaper every day," Manship said. "We don’t doubt the importance of digital — we have a website and an app; we even have an e-edition, so we feel like we are there. We just felt like the people of New Orleans were very strong toward their reading of the Picayune seven days a week. So we thought we’d step in and fill the void."
Under the cut: Manship discusses distribution, advertisers, and office space for The Advocate's new New Orleans bureau ...
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