Jefferson Parish

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bernie Sanders fires up New Orleans-area crowd at Pontchartrain Center

Posted By on Sun, Jul 26, 2015 at 8:08 PM

Vermont Sen. and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders takes the stage at Pontchartrain Center.
  • Vermont Sen. and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders takes the stage at Pontchartrain Center.


Vermont Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders roused the Democratic faithful tonight in a rally at Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.

A button vendor outside Pontchartrain Center was wearing a "Feel the Bern" T-shirt and vending Sanders campaign buttons — one for $5, three for $10.

Before the rally, Sanders made an appearance at the home of Dr. Gilda Reed, a University of New Orleans professor and former candidate for Louisiana's 1st Congressional District. Addressing about 40 people in Reed's living room, Sanders asked what Louisiana voters were concerned about — the answers included a raise in the minimum wage, universal health care, a ban on fracking and GMOs. Sanders said Vermont labels genetically modified foods, expressed his view that "corporate media" deflects attention from important issues and asked whether the people in the room thought Louisiana would support a raise in the minimum wage to $15 per hour. (The answer: yes.)

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Jefferson Parish becomes first in the state to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Posted By and on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 11:15 AM

Celeste Autin and Alesia LeBoeuf, both employees of the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Courts office, applied for and received a marriage license in Jefferson Parish this morning. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Celeste Autin and Alesia LeBoeuf, both employees of the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Courts office, applied for and received a marriage license in Jefferson Parish this morning.

As of this morning, Jefferson Parish is issuing marriage licenses to any adult couple who applies, confirmed a spokeswoman for Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer.

One couple already has applied, she said. That couple is Celeste Autin and Alesia LeBoeuf, both employees of the clerk's office, who were wed at 10:32 a.m.

The couple is from Marrero and met in high school. They've been together 38 years.

"It's not so much about being the first one to get the license as it is just getting a license," LeBoeuf told Gambit.

Michael Robinson and Earl Benjamin, who were turned away from receiving a license in Orleans Parish on Friday, are now filling out paperwork for a Jefferson Parish license.

Earl Benjamin fills out a marriage license form in Jefferson Parish. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Earl Benjamin fills out a marriage license form in Jefferson Parish.

Earl Benjamin and Michael Robinson back in Orleans Parish with their Jefferson Parish-issued marriage license, awaiting Judge Paula Brown, who will perform their ceremony. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Earl Benjamin and Michael Robinson back in Orleans Parish with their Jefferson Parish-issued marriage license, awaiting Judge Paula Brown, who will perform their ceremony.

Orleans Parish, along with every other parish in the state, is still waiting on advice from Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association. As of yesterday, Gov. Bobby Jindal said the state would comply with Friday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling only after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its own ruling — a position that legal scholars said was unsupported. 

This is a developing story.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gov. Bobby Jindal announces candidacy for President to cheering crowd

Posted By , and on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 5:13 PM

Gov. Bobby Jindal announced his candidacy for president this afternoon at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. - CHARLES CODY SILER
  • CHARLES CODY SILER
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal announced his candidacy for president this afternoon at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.

As expected, Gov. Bobby Jindal today announced he would seek the Republican Party's nomination for President in the 2016 election. His campaign made it official this morning, hours before Jindal was set to make the formal announcement at Kenner's Pontchartrain Center.

Though the "Geaux Bobby" logo announcement featured the words "New Orleans" and a silhouette of the city's skyline, Jindal actually made his announcement to a crowd of about 1,500 at the Pontchartrain Center, about a 25-minute drive from downtown New Orleans, in a speech carried live on Fox News and C-SPAN3. 

A crowd that organizers estimated at 1,500 picked up "Geaux Bobby" signs and American flags at the door, massing in front of a giant American flag in front of which the candidate would speak. (Some who had RSVP'd for the event reported getting cancellation notices just hours before Jindal was set to speak.) In the crowd: Tea Party stalwarts state Rep. Lenar Whitney, R-Houma and Col. Rob Maness, as well as Stephen Waguespack, head of the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry.

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What you need to know about Gov. Bobby Jindal's announcement today

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 11:12 AM

The official "Geaux Bobby" koozie.
  • The official "Geaux Bobby" koozie.


Is Gov. Bobby Jindal going to announce he's running for president today?

Come on. There's even a koozie. And here's the official announcement.

Where will the event be held?

Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. 

Will there be protests?

A Facebook group has been organized for those who wish to protest. As of this morning it had 3,639 members, but no telling how many will show up. They'll gather on the levee across from Pontchartrain Center at 3:30 p.m., and organizers say they've coordinated with the Kenner Police Department.

Are there hashtags?

Need you ask? The campaign has designated #GeauxBobby (see koozie), while the protestors have colonized #NeauxBobby.

Will Gambit be covering?

We'll be livetweeting from inside Pontchartrain Center, as well as from any protests, at @The_Gambit and at our special event tweet stream @The_GambitLIVE.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Watch: Jindal to Wall Street Journal: I'll keep the American dream from becoming the European nightmare

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 1:18 PM

Gov. Bobby Jindal told The Wall Street Journal: "We don't just need a Republican in the White House; we need a Republican that's going to make big changes."
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal told The Wall Street Journal: "We don't just need a Republican in the White House; we need a Republican that's going to make big changes."


Gov. Bobby Jindal's "Geaux Bobby" event will be held Wednesday at Kenner's Pontchartrain Center, where he'll end all the suspense and let us in on his decision whether or not to run for the Republican nomination for president. He sat for an interview Friday with The Wall Street Journal's Reid Epstein, and outlined the case he'd make if he does run:

If I run, it'll be to make big changes in D.C. My big concern is President Obama is in the process of changing the American dream into the European nightmare — defining success as government dependence, government spending, government borrowing. We don't just need a Republican in the White House; we need a Republican that's going to make big changes.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Dear national media: Here's where to grab a New Orleans meal on the day of the Jindal announcement

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 3:57 PM

Dear National Media: Here's how to get from MSY to the Pontchartrain Center, site of Gov. Bobby Jindal's announcement. You'll notice you go nowhere near New Orleans.
  • Dear National Media: Here's how to get from MSY to the Pontchartrain Center, site of Gov. Bobby Jindal's announcement. You'll notice you go nowhere near New Orleans.


Dear National Media:

We hate to break it to you, but — despite what your plane ticket says — you're not going to be coming to New Orleans for "Geaux Bobby: A Special Announcement From Gov. Bobby Jindal."

The speech actually will be delivered in the city of Kenner, a completely separate city (and, yes, suburb of New Orleans) that's conveniently located close to Louis Armstrong/New Orleans International Airport. It's a straight shot up Williams Boulevard to Pontchartrain Center (14 minutes by car; we do not recommend taking the bus), and it goes nowhere close to downtown New Orleans.

Yes, that means there's not likely to be time for gumbo at Commander's Palace, a shrimp po-boy at Parkway Bakery or fried chicken at Willie Mae's. 

However! There are a few good places to eat on Williams Boulevard. Check out these choices:

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jefferson Parish says no to Uber

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 5:39 PM

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The Jefferson Parish Council voted to reject the expansion of transportation company Uber during its April 29 meeting, but it’s hard to say whether the Parish rejected Uber or whether the company rejected the Parish. In an email statement the day before the vote, Uber representatives wrote: “Unfortunately, Councilmembers are now considering changes to the existing draft that would threaten our ability to bring uberX and the jobs it creates to Jefferson Parish.”

Neither the bill nor the amendments passed, but Councilmember and co-sponsor of the bill Ben Zahn told Gambit that Uber supporters have failed to mention two important “facts” regarding consumer safety. “Uber must comply with the same application process that is required of other transportation/ride services in Jefferson Parish,” Zahn said in an email, “which mandates ‘pre-employment’ drug screenings of its drivers. All transportation/ride services must submit to a complete background check through a ‘fingerprint’ database, as opposed to a private company screening service.”

“We had been working on this legislation because when you look at Uber for the last five years, they have completely transformed the transportation industry,” Councilmember Cynthia Lee-Sheng told Gambit. “They are adding new cities all the time. I thought we should be proactive about putting forth a regulative framework, while at the same time ensure the safety of our individuals. At end of the day, Uber wasn’t even backing the legislation.”

Uber’s local general manager Tom Hayes said in a statement that “Jefferson Parish deserves the same access to safe rides and greater opportunity that residents in neighboring Orleans Parish, Baton Rouge, and hundreds of cities around the world depend on. We look forward to continuing to work to bring ridesharing to Jefferson Parish.”

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Beach Boys and LeAnn Rimes headline Family Gras Feb. 6-8

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 10:27 AM

The Beach Boys perform at Family Gras.
  • The Beach Boys perform at Family Gras.

The Beach Boys and LeAnn Rimes will headline Jefferson Parish's 2015 Family Gras. The lineup includes Allen Toussaint Friday, Feb. 6, The Beach Boys, Becky G and Cowboy Mouth on Saturday, Feb. 7, the Creole Sting Beans, Amanda Shaw and Rimes Sunday, Feb. 8, and others. Show times will be announced later. Admission is free.

The annual Carnival celebration takes place on the neutral ground of Veterans Memorial Boulevard across from Lakeside Shopping Center. Attendees can view parades on the Metairie route and there is an art market, food vendors and a VIP area.

Attendees can view the Krewe of Excalibur and Krewe of Athena parades Friday. The Krewe of Caesar parades Saturday. The Krewe of Atlas canceled its scheduled Sunday parade for the second year.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Scalise seems to acknowledge he spoke to white supremacist conference in Metairie in 2002

Posted By on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 at 4:48 PM

The May 7, 2002 edition of Gambit carried information about the white-supremacist meeting held in Metairie at the Best Western Landmark Hotel. After Louisiana blogger Lamar White Jr. reported this weekend that Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, was in attendance and spoke to the group, Scalise's office put out a statement that seemed to acknowledge the fact, but insisted Scalise had "never been affiliated with the abhorrent group in question."
  • The May 7, 2002 edition of Gambit carried information about the white-supremacist meeting held in Metairie at the Best Western Landmark Hotel. After Louisiana blogger Lamar White Jr. reported this weekend that Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, was in attendance and spoke to the group, Scalise's office put out a statement that seemed to acknowledge the fact, but insisted Scalise had "never been affiliated with the abhorrent group in question."

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie — the newly minted Majority Whip and the third highest-ranking Republican in Congress — seemed to confirm to The Washington Post today that he spoke to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), a white supremacist organization, in 2002.

In a statement, Scalise aide Moira Bagley Smith wrote, "He has never been affiliated with the abhorrent group in question":
Throughout his career in public service, Mr. Scalise has spoken to hundreds of different groups with a broad range of viewpoints. In every case, he was building support for his policies, not the other way around. In 2002, he made himself available to anyone who wanted to hear his proposal to eliminate slush funds that wasted millions of taxpayer dollars as well as his opposition to a proposed tax increase on middle-class families. He has never been affiliated with the abhorrent group in question. The hate-fueled ignorance and intolerance that group projects is in stark contradiction to what Mr. Scalise believes and practices as a father, a husband, and a devoted Catholic.
The news of Scalise's 2002 speech was first broken over the weekend by Lamar White Jr., whose CenLamar website covers Louisiana politics. 

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rep. Steve Scalise whips rivals, becomes House Majority Whip on first ballot

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Rep. Steve Scalise speaking at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans in 2011. - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Rep. Steve Scalise speaking at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans in 2011.


U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, became the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives this afternoon when he was elected Majority Whip in the first round of balloting.

Scalise defeated the current chief deputy whip, Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, as well as Rep. Marlin A. Stutzman of Indiana for the post. He succeeds Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who ascended to Majority Leader after the reigning majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, was defeated last week in a primary and resigned the position.

Scalise has represented Louisiana's 1st Congressional District since 2008, and chairs the powerful Republican Study Committee.

So: what does a whip do? The Washington Post has a good primer on the duties, along with job descriptions for the two senior positions, Speaker of the House (currently held by Rep. John Boehner) and Majority Leader. For more on Scalise's sudden turn of good fortune, read Clancy DuBos' column this week, "Steve Scalise and the Butterfly Effect."

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