Louisiana

Friday, February 24, 2017

Budget fight is all politics

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 6:51 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards (left) and state Attorney General Jeff Landry tussled over budget cuts in the special session, but Landry's motivation is more political than economic.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards (left) and state Attorney General Jeff Landry tussled over budget cuts in the special session, but Landry's motivation is more political than economic.


On the surface, the special legislative session that ended last week resembled a small step in the right direction. Gov. John Bel Edwards and recalcitrant ideologues in the House of Representatives hammered out a budget deal to cover a $304 million hole in the current fiscal year's budget — without any last-minute votes on hastily cobbled compromises.

Beneath the surface, however, the partisan divide is as wide and as deep as ever between Edwards and leading House Republicans, with the GOP-controlled Senate generally in the governor's corner.

If you think fiscal policy drives Louisiana's budget discussions, think again. It's all politics.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Interview: Reginald Buck, Mutual UFO Network state director

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 9:27 AM

JONAS BENGTSSON (CREATIVE COMMONS)
  • JONAS BENGTSSON (CREATIVE COMMONS)

Earlier this week, we brought you reports of an alien's plans to land a UFO on Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday. Should you happen to spot the alien — or a UFO at any other time — Reginald Buck, Louisiana's state director of Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), is ready to document your sighting.

Buck has been involved in UFO investigation since 2009, when a mysterious object appeared outside his window on a flight from Laredo, Texas, to Houston.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

State Sen. Troy Brown resigns; Senate was set to vote on expulsion Monday

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 4:05 PM

State Sen. Troy Brown, announcing his resignation this afternoon.
  • State Sen. Troy Brown, announcing his resignation this afternoon.
State Sen. Troy Brown, under fire from colleagues and constituents over two misdemeanor charges of domestic violence, abruptly resigned his office this afternoon — four days before the full Senate was set to vote on his expulsion or suspension.

"It is readily apparent to me that a fair and impartial hearing before my peers will never transpire," Brown said, adding that the Senate "tore down the very fabric of our government" by holding expulsion hearings based on misdemeanor charges.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Legislature tries to hash out solutions to $304M state budget shortfall

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 6:05 PM

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told the Finance Committee consideration is being given to funding alternatives, but that Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is pursuing its original proposal.
  • Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told the Finance Committee consideration is being given to funding alternatives, but that Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is pursuing its original proposal.
The Senate Finance Committee Tuesday moved forward with a resolution, primarily for the benefit of their wavering House colleagues, that would employ $119 million of the rainy day fund as part of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ budget proposal to close a $304 revenue shortfall.

House Republicans have expressed reluctance to do that, instead seeking additional budget cutbacks.

The resolution, sponsored by Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, and six members of Senate leadership was moved to the Senate floor without action to expedite House movement on the matter. Earlier in the day, House Republicans and Edwards met to thrash out differences.

“I am very concerned if we don’t get into using some of the rainy day fund some of those programs that are much needed and much used. . . may very well get hurt,” Alario said. “The clock is running.”

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Two state senators plan to introduce measure to expel Troy Brown from Louisiana Legislature

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 5:27 PM

State Sen. Troy Brown.
  • State Sen. Troy Brown.
Two Louisiana state senators said today they will introduce a measure to expel state Sen. Troy Brown, D-Napoleonville, from the Legislature following pleas of no contest in two separate domestic abuse allegations since he was elected in 2015.

State Sens. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, and Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, told reporters they will file an expulsion resolution after the opening of the special session, which opened Monday night. They said they expect the issue to be resolved by the end of the special session on Feb. 22.

“Any time an elected official breaks the law, it erodes the public’s trust,” Hewitt said. “There is zero tolerance for illegal or unethical behavior from our elected leaders and I believe this resolution is a step in that direction.”

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Krewe du Vieux sends up the world in a crowd-pleasing, profane parade

Posted By on Sun, Feb 12, 2017 at 2:31 AM

"The Russians Are Coming" was a Krewe du Vieux float by subkrewe Krewe of Comatose, parodying President Donald Trump's cozy relationship with Russia — featuring him being sodomized by Vladimir Putin. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • "The Russians Are Coming" was a Krewe du Vieux float by subkrewe Krewe of Comatose, parodying President Donald Trump's cozy relationship with Russia — featuring him being sodomized by Vladimir Putin.

Carnival's most irreverent walking krewe, Krewe du Vieux, rolled (or is it staggered?) tonight through the Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter. This year's theme — "The Crass Menagerie" — was interpreted widely by KdV's 17 subkrewes.

The theme was elastic — perhaps too much so. Floats and marchers encompassed everything from the "Audubondage Zoo" to Wikileaks — and, of course, plenty of barbs thrown at President Donald Trump. Many of the marchers made reference to the president's famous "grab them by the pussy" quote, with people strutting down the street dressed as vaginas and the traditional "Pizza Sluts" brigade bringing all matter of genitalia to the route. Comatose had a funny float featuring Trump being sodomized by Russian president Vladimir Putin ("The Russians Are Coming").

Krewe of K.A.O.S. had a winner with "Orange is the New Black," which somehow mashed up the TV show of the same name, Trump's odd skin color and A Clockwork Orange, with marching "droogs" dressed like Malcolm McDowall in the film A Clockwork Orange. Krewe du Mishigas sent up Trump's immigration executive order with a clever throw called the "Alien Visa Application," and there were "I Voted" stickers with Putin instead of George Rodrigue's Blue Dog, but many of the throws and handouts weren't as inspired as in years past.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

At Planned Parenthood rally Feb. 10, supporters embrace the new activism

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 6:33 PM

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At the edge of Duncan Plaza facing Perdido Street, several protesters formed a wall.

Holding up signs with messages including "No more wire hangers" and "Don't tread on me" (with a drawing of a uterus), they made a human barrier, preventing a small group of counter-protesting anti-abortion activists from entering a rally in support of Planned Parenthood that took place Friday afternoon.

"Taking away people's access to health care is violence," one man said, addressing the counter-protestors.

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Lafayette's Festival International reveals 2017 lineup

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 10:00 AM

GIVERS performs at 2017's Festival International de Louisiane with Tom Tom Club and others. - COURTESY GIVERS
  • COURTESY GIVERS
  • GIVERS performs at 2017's Festival International de Louisiane with Tom Tom Club and others.

The 31st annual Festival International de Louisiane returns to downtown Lafayette April 26-30. The festival's lineup spans a broad range of Louisiana artists and their international counterparts, sometimes at the same time — this year, Lafayette's GIVERS performs with Tom Tom Club, Mokoomba and Dickie Landry. Also on the bill are Balkan Beat Box, Red Baraat, Dengue Fever and dozens others.

GIVERS latest album is 2015's New Kingdom, its first following the 2011 breakthrough In Light. Joining the band at this year's festival is Tom Tom Club, the "Genius of Love" outfit founded by Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads, and Zimbabwe's Mokoomba and Louisiana legend Dickie Landry, a genre-spanning performance that typifies the festival's collaborative spirit.

The full lineup is below.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Y@ Speak: "undefeated"

Posted By on Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 6:15 PM

Incorrigible Saints fans briefly, reluctantly, put on MAGA hats for a lil' schadenfreude. Meanwhile, Drew Brees is making Campbell's Chunky Grilled Chicken & Sausage Gumbo™ great again.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

State budget cuts may imperil Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 5:15 PM

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Head of Planning Bren Haase presents the 2017 Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection Feb. 1. - MATT HOUSTON
  • MATT HOUSTON
  • Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Head of Planning Bren Haase presents the 2017 Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection Feb. 1.

The Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection unanimously recommended adoption of the 2017 Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast Wednesday, but worried possible forthcoming budget cuts could jeopardize some projects.

This year’s plan focuses on flood risk reduction and resilience, and applies new science to existing restoration projects in the state. It includes 120 projects that would build or maintain 800 square miles of land and could reduce expected storm damage by $150 billion over the next 50 years.

Louisiana would spend about $50 billion on the projects through 2067, half earmarked for restoration and the other half to risk reduction.

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