Thursday, February 23, 2017

New Orleans JCC bomb threat follows wave of anti-Semitism in U.S.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 6:00 PM

click image The Jewish Community Center on St. Charles Avenue in 2011. - INFROGMATION
  • The Jewish Community Center on St. Charles Avenue in 2011.

Young children, seniors and staff were ordered to leave the Jewish Community Center (JCC) on St. Charles Avenue following a bomb threat called into the center this morning. The threat is among more than 60 similar threats at Jewish centers across the U.S. in 2017.

"The reported bomb threat at JCC deemed non-credible, is clear. FBI is investigating," Mayor Mitch Landrieu wrote on Twitter. "Be clear, anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in NOLA."

While the bombs themselves are "hoaxes," the threats and waves of anti-Semitism across the U.S., as the Jewish Community Center Association of North America has said, are very real. In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Director John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey, Florida U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy and New York U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley — along with dozens of members of Congress and Jewish-led groups — demanded swift federal action.

"Federal law enforcement agencies must do everything within their power to punish those responsible for the threats that have already taken place, to prevent future threats from occurring, and to ensure these threats are never converted into action," Murphy said. "These phone calls have a severe economic, as well as emotional, impact."

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Editorial: Troy Brown must go

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 9:48 AM

State Sen. Troy Brown and his attorney, Jill Craft, appeared before the Louisiana Senate’s Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion Feb. 15. - MANSHIP SCHOOL NEWS SERVICE
  • State Sen. Troy Brown and his attorney, Jill Craft, appeared before the Louisiana Senate’s Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion Feb. 15.

Despite two arrests on domestic abuse charges in the last 15 months — and two convictions on misdemeanor charges related to those arrests — state Sen. Troy Brown won’t step down. Sadly, Brown’s refusal to resign his Senate post has left many in the Louisiana Democratic party crawfishing on his fate: condemning him but not demanding his ouster. This should be an easy call.

Brown, D-Napoleonville, was arrested twice on charges of abusing two different women — one his wife, the other his “side friend.” In both cases, Brown pleaded no contest, effectively conceding the charges against him. His excuses and apologies have ranged from claiming a brain injury that prevented him from remembering the first incident to citing the Bible and claiming God’s forgiveness.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Louisiana Senate to consider Troy Brown's expulsion or suspension on Monday

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 4:16 PM

State Sen. Troy Brown and his attorney, Jill Craft, appeared before the Louisiana Senate’s Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion this morning.
  • State Sen. Troy Brown and his attorney, Jill Craft, appeared before the Louisiana Senate’s Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion this morning.

The Louisiana Senate’s Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion denied several requests from Baton Rouge attorney Jill Craft, who is representing Sen. Troy Brown, D-Napoleonville, as it deliberates, via differing resolutions, Brown’s expulsion for a pair of domestic violence misdemeanors.

The committee will hear the expulsion resolution by Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, and the six-week suspension resolution by Sen. Yvonne Colomb, D-Baton Rouge, during the hearing Monday before the Senate membership, which comprises the select committee in this matter.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Juvenile justice reform discussed at screening of They Call Us Monsters

Posted By on Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 3:40 PM

A scene from They Call Us Monsters.
  • A scene from They Call Us Monsters.

When she was 16, Misty Jenkins made some mistakes. The worst, she said, was getting involved with a boyfriend who ultimately ended up robbing and killing a cab driver.

Jenkins was there when the crime happened, and was found guilty of second-degree murder. Under law at the time, she was sentenced to life in jail, without the possibility of parole.

“I kind of shut down after that, for quite a few years,” Jenkins told a packed audience at a community forum Feb. 6. “I didn’t feel like there was any hope for me left.”

Jenkins and others who had previously been sentenced to life without parole as children told their stories at a forum presented by The Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition, a network of organizations whose staffing is provided in part by the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR).

The anecdotes were told at the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center following a screening of the film They Call Us Monsters, a documentary that follows three boys facing extreme prison sentences.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Landrieu calls for expanded surveillance, strict bar rules under citywide crime plan

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 6:00 PM


A sweeping surveillance plan calls for 200 cameras throughout several New Orleans neighborhoods, while New Orleans bars will have to close their doors (but not close for the night) at 3 a.m. as a network of law enforcement tightens pedestrian traffic. The rules are part of a citywide plan from Mayor Mitch Landrieu with the cooperation of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), Gov. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana State Police (LSP), the FBI and members of the New Orleans City Council.

The $40 million plan adds surveillance cameras to 20 "hotspots" through the city to be monitored by NOPD, as well as license plate readers at more than 100 intersections, "remote sensing technology" to detect weapons, and bomb-sniffing K-9 units. Bourbon Street will be pedestrian-only for major events and will go permanently pedestrian-only when the city finalizes a traffic plan, likely within four to six months. Bourbon Street will also have more lighting.

"When you go on Bourbon Street, everything you do will be seen," Landrieu said at a press conference Jan. 23.  "Do I need to let that sink in?"

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Things have got to get better": a memorial to New Orleans murder victims since 2007

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 1:40 PM

Nakita Shavers, whose brother Dinerral Shavers was murdered in 2006, reads the names of murder victims at the Silence Is Violence 10-year anniversary outside City Hall Jan. 11.
  • Nakita Shavers, whose brother Dinerral Shavers was murdered in 2006, reads the names of murder victims at the Silence Is Violence 10-year anniversary outside City Hall Jan. 11.

On Jan. 11, 2007, hundreds of New Orleanians rallied outside City Hall following a violent 2006. That year, 162 people were killed, including band director and musician Dinerral Shavers, marking New Orleans with the highest per capita murder rate in the U.S. Shavers' death — and the Jan. 4, 2007 death of filmmaker and artist Helen Hill in her own home — sparked the group Silence Is Violence to campaign for peace and demand citywide protection from gun violence, especially in its most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Ten years later, following a violent 2016 in which 174 people were killed, a small crowd had gathered on the wet steps of City Hall to memorialize victims of violence from the last decade — not with a march, but with a solemn reading of the names of more than 2,000 people who have been killed in New Orleans since 2007. Family and friends of the victims — along with District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman — read the names of all of them, starting with Corey Hayes, 28, who was killed on New Year's Day 2007. Towering nearby was a sculpture by artist Mitchell Gaudet, an annual piece reflecting the previous year's murders with large pieces of broken glass representing each victim, and two revolvers mounted toward each other at its center.

"It's surreal to be here 10 years later," said Nakita Shavers, whose brother Dinerral was killed Dec. 28, 2006.

Deborah Reeder, whose son Chester Reeder III was killed near a Super Sunday parade in 2009, read the list of victims from that year. "It's difficult for me to read — my son is on this list, so bear with me," she said. "For all the names that will be read, I am sorry for our loss."

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Editorial: Jeff Landry is Louisiana's Barney Fife

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 2:32 PM

Not Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
  • Not Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
In a classic episode of The Andy Griffith Show, Sheriff Andy Taylor leaves town for the day, turning law enforcement over to his hapless, preening deputy Barney Fife. When Andy returns, he finds Barney has arrested half the town on charges such as “unlawful assembly” (Aunt Bee gossiping with friends outside the courthouse) and expects praise for cracking down on crime in Mayberry.

Turns out Louisiana has its own Barney Fife — Attorney General Jeff Landry.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

John Waters: Filthier and Dirtier coming to the Joy Theater March 18

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2016 at 3:56 PM

John Waters.
  • John Waters.

Filmmaker/writer/artist John Waters, who last visited New Orleans in 2013 and 2015 (review), will make a return appearance March 18, 2017 at the Joy Theater with his new one-man show Filthier and Dirtier.

Waters was on the cover of Gambit in 2010 and spoke to us again in 2015, describing the time he lived in New Orleans and his love for the city's institutions, like Tennessee Williams, A Confederacy of Dunces, the "bus named Desire" and the Corner Pocket.

Tickets go on sale Jan. 5, 2017 at 11 a.m.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Y@ Speak: and now we elect a new treasurer

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Louisiana and everyone else suffer a post-election comedown and forthcoming withdrawal. Meanwhile: Donald Trump in Baton Rouge, Newell Normand on TMZ, the Hayes trial and more in this week's edition.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"Deviant," Southern Mississippi Juggalo rappers in love, bring killer clown music to New Orleans

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 12:07 PM

Ratchet (standing) and Sukkew (crouched), the members of Deviant
  • Ratchet (standing) and Sukkew (crouched), the members of Deviant
Are you living your dreams? Ratchet and Sukkew are living theirs. Together they're Deviant, a married Juggalo rap duo from a small town in Southern Mississippi. On Wed., Oct. 12 at Southport Hall, they're opening for horrorcore rap legends Twiztid, a huge opportunity for a couple who only this year made the jump from fans to musicians.

After stumbling on Deviant's first music video, Lurkin', I tracked the power couple down for a conversation about their upcoming show, police harassment of Juggalos and how wedded bliss mixes creatively with their lyrical themes of dismemberment, maiming, and torture — the gruesome tropes comprising the rap subgenre known as horrorcore.

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