New Orleans Life

Monday, April 4, 2016

Y@ Speak: endangered species

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 6:45 PM

Dear Bird Lover Basketball Fan:

Our Pelicans need your help. One by one, these men are forced to wear suits and sit down instead of running for a few hours in their natural habitat: shiny, shiny wood in multimillion dollar state-of-the-art arenas. Please, think of the bird men.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Y@ Speak: Easter'd

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Ah, spring. Roaring in like a mutant crawfish man. And here come the two-dimensional cubes, Popeyes and boundin-filled bunnies.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

The USA vs. Big Freedia: on "affordable housing" in New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 6:15 PM

Several fans shouted their support for Big Freedia as the queen of bounce walked to a black SUV parked outside U.S. District Court on Poydras Street. That afternoon, Freedia pleaded guilty in a case that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Though Big Freedia had depended on public assistance for housing, as her career took off — in the studio, on TV, on stages around the world — she no longer qualified to receive it. Freedia relied on Section 8, shorthand for the Housing Choice Voucher program, which subsidizes a portion of rent through a local public housing agency, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In New Orleans, that agency is the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO).

On March 16, Freedia faced U.S. District Judge Lance Africk and pleaded guilty to receiving those vouchers. According to federal prosecutors, Freedia, over five years, was earning more income than the threshold for voucher eligibility. Freedia admitted to the charges in the weeks before her hearing.

"Housing vouchers are a vital lifeline for many people I know in New Orleans and around the country, including struggling artists," Freedia said in March 1 statement following the U.S. Attorney’s announcement of her charges. "I truly believe there needs to be more programs for artists and musicians to teach basic financial literacy and planning. Coming from where I came from, I know that I could have used that kind of assistance.”

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Confederate monuments can't be moved until appeal is heard, says 5th Circuit

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 11:36 AM

A federal appellate court put the brakes on the city’s plans to remove three Confederate monuments and a statue honoring a white supremacist revolt.

A March 25 ruling from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction against Mayor Mitch Landrieu and city officials, preventing the removal of the monuments before the plaintiffs have a chance to have their appeal heard. The monuments’ removal was decided by a New Orleans City Council vote in December following Landrieu’s proposal and several public meetings. The Monumental Task Committee, the Louisiana Landmarks Society, the Foundation for a Historical Louisiana, and Beauregard Camp No. 130 filed a suit against the city following that decision, but their case was dismissed in federal court.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Y@ Speak: Gleesus

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM

People were rude to the multimillion dollar TV show! Sad! Why can't everyone just respect the major network that gets a free pass to block traffic downtown for a weekend while continuing a post-Katrina "resurrection" narrative?  #NotAllMusicals!

Also this week: Big Freedia, St. Joseph's altars, Super Sunday, a floating ant pile and a grim entry in #NOLAscanner history.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fines approved for marijuana possession

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 4:20 PM

Getting caught with a joint in New Orleans is likely to result in a fine, not handcuffs, following the the passage of a citywide ordinance reducing penalties for simple possession.

A measure from District A City Councilmember Susan Guidry, who also chairs the Council’s Criminal Justice Committee, introduces fines for possessing fewer than 14 grams of pot: $40 for a first offense, $60 for a second offense, $80 for a third, and $100 for a fourth and subsequent offenses. The measure received unanimous support from councilmembers and is expected to get Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s approval; it goes into effect 90 days later.

Nearly 30 New Orleans musicians — including Kermit Ruffins and Phil Frazier of Rebirth Brass Band — endorsed the measure, which also has the support of marijuana advocacy and criminal justice reform organizations.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Y@ Speak: "Buku feast"

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Cheesecake aficionado Future can't get food off his mind.

Uncontested for several years, the #NOLAscanner hashtag for local police scanner coverage — a veritable gold mine of the city's diverse and imaginative criminal activity and children who refuse who go to school — has a critical rival: Jefferson Parish.

Also in this week's edition: collard greens and corn bread with Big Freedia and Friends at the 2016 Buku Music + Art Project, emerging from the 311 Day vape cloud, updates from the New Orleans Saints, and a look at some of the flooding around Louisiana. 

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Monday, March 7, 2016

It's The Best, Greatest Y@ Speak, OK?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 3:15 PM

Donald Trump gets a warm New Orleans welcome and Louisiana voters head to the polls and to #ProTip election day hacker Chris Rose. Also: the earth's days are numbered as #NOLAscanner gets climax-of-Ghostbusters-level strange.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

New penalties for pot possession set for New Orleans City Council vote on March 17

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 2:35 PM


Smoking a joint in New Orleans could land you a fine, not an arrest, if the New Orleans City Council approves an ordinance that reduces penalties for simple pot possession.

In January, District A City Councilmember Susan Guidry introduced a measure to expand a 2010 ordinance that gives police officers more discretion in handing first-time offenders a municipal summons. Her new measure extends that discretion to all simple possession offenses, whether for a first strike or fourth (or fifth, or sixth).

Under those proposed rules, officers have the discretion to give verbal and written warnings for first and second possessions of 14 grams or less of marijuana. But today, council members approved Guidry's amendment that turns those warnings into fines. The latest draft of the ordinance includes $40 for a first offense, $60 for a second, $80 for a third and $100 for fourth and subsequent offenses.

"It has become clear to me that the provision in the original draft, the warning provisions ... are not practical or possible at this time," said Guidry, adding that police don’t have the resources to track previous warnings and subsequent offenses. Voting on the ordinance, however, "is too important to delay," she said.

Guidry stressed that officers still would have the discretion to apply state law to possession arrests. "This ordinance, especially as amended, would not limit anything about current police practices or procedures," she said. "This law would merely extend that choice to all possessions."

The council held off from voting on the newly amended ordinance — the council votes Thursday, March 17.

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Lyft launches in New Orleans area

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 9:00 AM

The app-based ride service Lyft (featuring tell-tale pink mustaches on its cars) launches in New Orleans on March 3. - COURTESY LYFT
  • The app-based ride service Lyft (featuring tell-tale pink mustaches on its cars) launches in New Orleans on March 3.

Ride-hailing app Lyft hits New Orleans streets at noon Thursday, March 3. Drivers will begin offering rides in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles and St. Tammany parishes. Lyft won't offer rides to or from Louis Armstrong International Airport yet, but company representatives say they're working on an arragement with MSY.

The company — which has roughly 315,000 drivers picking up 5 million passengers a year in 200 cities — now shares the road with its other app-based competitor Uber. Lyft users use a peer-to-peer service on the iOS or Android app by hailing a ride from nearby drivers (in pink mustache-equipped cars) with payment all handled through a mobile device.

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