Monday, February 22, 2016

Louisiana musicians rally for Bernie Sanders

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 5:20 PM

Vermont Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. - CREATIVE COMMONS/AFGE
  • Vermont Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders is a Buckwheat Zydeco fan. And, according to Buck, it's mutual. Dozens other Louisiana musicians are preparing for several concerts to benefit the Democratic senator's presidential campaign in advance of the state's March 5 primary.

New Orleans Musicians for Bernie Sanders
hosts a fundraising drive and concert at 30/90 Frenchmen (520 Frenchmen St.) at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, with music from Claude Bryant, Russell Batiste Jr., Phil Breen, Carlo Ditta, Joe Krown, Billy Iuso, Brian Stoltz, Marc Stone, and Jimbo Walsh, among others.

Musicians Eric "Benny" Bloom, Billy Franklin and Luke Quaranta also assembled Bern Fest at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Maple Leaf Bar (8316 Oak St.). The concert and crawfish boil includes music from Eric "Benny" Bloom & Gemini, Smoke 'N' Bones, Pirate's Choice and the Sam Price Duo. Admission is $10.

And in Lafayette, there is Bernie Man. The event features Chubby Carrier, Steve Riley, Terrance Simien, Cedric Watson and members of Feufollet and GIVERS, among others, including an "all-star Cajun and zydeco jam," a discussion forum and silent auction. The event is 2 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28 at Warehouse 535(525 Garfield St.) in Lafayette. Admission is $10.

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Krewe du Vieux meets Krewe du Bernie? — and your chance to download this year's Le Monde de Merde

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 3:20 PM


One side effect of a compressed Mardi Gras season seems to be everything happening at once — and that surely will be the case in the Faubourg Marigny Jan. 23, when the raunchy satirists of Krewe du Vieux roll through the streets just hours after a planned rally and march for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders starts in Washington Square Park. 

Organizer Lawrence Dunn says he's applied for the proper permits with the city, and neither he nor city officials saw any problem or conflict with Krewe du Vieux.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Donald Trump heading to Biloxi, Mississippi for campaign stop

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 1:50 PM


Scarred talking pumpkin Donald Trump will ride a carriage made of DVD box sets of The Apprentice to Biloxi, Mississippi to ring in the New Year. It's Trump's first visit to the state and among his first in the South since campaigning for president of the United States, a very real thing he wants to do.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, Trump appears at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center (2350 Beach Blvd., Biloxi). Mississippi’s presidential primaries are March 8. Trump's performance art piece is among several events for humans that night, including Arrival from Sweden: The Music of Abba at IP Casino.

At least one group, Gulf Coast Against Trump, will protest the event. "This blatantly racist, elitist hypocrite is trying to divide us even more and would do more harm than good if elected," the group says on Facebook. "Take a stand and let Donald and the rest of the United States know that we will not tolerate this."

Trump doesn't have New Orleans or Louisiana on his calendar — yet. Earlier this month, Mayor Mitch Landrieu called Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from traveling into the U.S. "absolutely disgraceful" and compared him to David Duke. "Mr. Trump’s brand of politics is dangerous; it makes our nation more dangerous and weakens our ability to defend against terrorists," Landrieu said. "Together, we can defeat ISIS by strengthening ties with our Muslim friends, not alienating them with ignorant, hateful statements.”

Admission is free. Parking is $5.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Da Winnas & Da Loozas: A 2015 Louisiana campaign recap

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 11:23 AM

Jefferson Sheriff Parish Newell Normand, left, and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond were two of "da winnas" in Louisiana's recent elections.
  • Jefferson Sheriff Parish Newell Normand, left, and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond were two of "da winnas" in Louisiana's recent elections.

A friend of mine told me this anecdote about six weeks before the Oct. 24 primary: Months ago, when U.S. Sen. David Vitter was still pretending to care what people thought of him, he asked former Gov. Mike Foster to identify his (Vitter’s) biggest weakness as a candidate for governor. Foster responded, “David, people just don’t like you.”

Leave it to Paw-Paw to tell it like it is.

Several months and millions of dollars later, Louisiana voters gave Vitter the same answer.

As a result, the guy who seemed inevitable last May proved to be unelectable in November — so much so that he announced his political retirement during his concession speech. Vitter lost in a landslide to state Rep. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat from Amite, who decided to run in 2013 while on a fishing trip with his legislative seatmate and close friend, state Rep. Sam Jones, a Democrat from Franklin, which, coincidentally, is also Mike Foster’s hometown.

The end of the David Vitter Era coincided with the end of the Bobby Jindal Era. How ironic that Louisiana’s two leading Republicans, who cannot stand one another, both bowed out within days of each other.

Which brings us to our recap of the political carnage in the wake of Louisiana’s statewide elections, known for more than 30 years as Da Winnas and Da Loozas. For the uninitiated, I focus not on the names that appeared on the ballot but rather on the players and forces that shaped the campaign and its aftermath. For them, the election results mean four years of either exhilaration or exile. Let’s get on with it, starting with …


1. Teacher Unions — After eight years in exile, teacher unions (and all unions) finally have a governor again. Edwards made it clear shortly after his victory that he won’t dismantle charter schools or vouchers, but he will help public employee unions survive the existential threat posed by so-called “paycheck protection” legislation, which would outlaw union dues check-offs. He also will put real money back into public education.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Y@ Speak: unpopular

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 3:06 PM

Bobby Jindal, Rob Ryan and David Vitter pack up their book bags, sling them over their shoulders and scan the cafeteria for somewhere, anywhere, anyone. Also this week: Refugee hysteria, Allen Toussaint, election night and po-boys.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Twitter reacts to Jindal dropping out of the race

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 6:25 PM

Gov. Bobby Jindal has suspended his run for president. Twitter was there. Here's what it had to say as the news dropped.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Y@ Speak: forgetting

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 12:40 PM

As the Bard wrote... I have almost forgot the taste of fears.

There was once a time I'd shiver at the thought of a losing season. Now I've seen true horror: a winless Pelicans, a tortured Saints, and king cake in November. Also: Alabama rolls out the welcome wagon and Mayor Mitch Landrieu rides a bike.

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David Vitter addresses prostitution scandal — indirectly — in new ad

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 12:30 PM


Since his famous 2007 press conference at which he admitted to a "very serious sin," Sen. David Vitter has kept mum about the prostitution scandal that has dogged his career. As he's run for Louisiana governor, however, his opponents and others have raised the matter again. This weekend, an ad by Vitter's opponent, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, made direct reference to prostitutes and drew nationwide attention.

Now the Vitter camp seems to have taken another tack, with an ad called "Hard Times."

"Fifteen years ago, I failed my family," Vitter says, addressing the camera. "but found forgiveness and love. I learned that our falls aren't what define us, but rather how we get up, accept responsibility and earn redemption." 


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Friday, November 6, 2015

Our other endorsements in the Nov. 21 runoff

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 2:36 PM

In addition to the all-important runoff for governor, several other key races are on the Nov. 21 ballot.

In those remaining races, Gambit makes the following endorsements:

Lieutenant Governor: Billy Nungesser

The job of Louisiana’s lieutenant governor is two-fold: be ready to step up and become governor if there’s a vacancy in that office; and oversee the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. We like both candidates who made the runoff for this office, but we give the nod to former Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser. Nungesser has a passion for all things Louisiana and a proven record of standing up for what he believes is right regardless of who might be offended. During the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, he was the face not only of his parish but also for all of coastal Louisiana — and he gave voice to the frustrations of millions affected by the spill. He will bring that kind of leadership to an office that was well served by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.

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Split narratives in governor's race

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 12:16 PM

Democrat John Bel Edwards (left) is winning the endorsement war as Republican David Vitter (right) doubles down on his racially charged anti-Obama ads.
  • Democrat John Bel Edwards (left) is winning the endorsement war as Republican David Vitter (right) doubles down on his racially charged anti-Obama ads.

When you’re 20 points behind with only three weeks left in a bitterly contested statewide election, what do you do? If you’re Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter running for governor of Louisiana, you double down on the strategy that got you there in the first place.

Sounds crazy? Don’t laugh — it just might work.

Coming out of the Oct. 24 primary, state Rep. John Bel Edwards had momentum. He led Vitter by 17 percentage points, finishing with 40 percent of the vote to Vitter’s 23 percent. Three early runoff polls had Democrat Edwards 12-to-20 points ahead of Republican Vitter.

Also in Week One of the Nov. 21 runoff, Edwards got a big endorsement from the Louisiana Sheriffs' Association. The Spygate scandal was back in the news, raising renewed concerns about Vitter’s political black ops.

But Week Two showcased Vitter’s fundraising advantage. He doubled down on his racially charged anti-Obama TV ads — ignoring criticism from sheriffs who say Vitter is lying about Edwards’ record. By the end of the week, Vitter’s strategy came into sharp focus: He’s writing off black votes and betting the house that 70 percent of Louisiana’s white voters hate President Barack Obama more than they dislike or distrust David Vitter.

Fear and anger have long been favorite arrows in Vitter’s political quiver. As the four-week runoff neared the half-way mark, they became his only weapons.

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