New Orleans Life

Monday, February 9, 2015

Y@ Speak: Mardi Gras 2015, Week 1

Posted By on Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 12:12 PM


Anthony Davis reigns as King of Basketball, while nerds, dogs and tiny vulgar shoeboxes reclaim the streets. Also in this week's massive Mardi Gras edition: #JindalPortrait-gate, the return of Wobble Cop, measles, Brian Williams, and poor float bathroom etiquette.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Y@ Speak: super bowling

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 12:45 PM


Whether you hung out on Twitter and "just watched it for the commercials" or stood 2 feet from the screen and screamed for three hours, you survived Super Bowl Sunday — and for those in Krewe du Vieux, a super bowl on Saturday. Also in this Carnival-high edition of Y@ Speak: Drew Brees throws a football terribly, Curren$y watches Pocahontas, and New Orleans celebrates the life of Bo Dollis.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Y@ Speak: kicked out

Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 12:58 PM


Last week saw the passage of a smoke-free ordinance banning smoking and vaping in bars and casinos and Rita Benson LeBlanc's firing from the Benson Empire. Elsewhere, Gov. Bobby Jindal could use a spelling refresher and a "spiritual revival," Exhibit Be holds its grand finale, and your neighbors are blowing leaves around out of spite.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Orleans City Council passes smoke-free ordinance banning smoking in bars and casinos

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 2:50 PM

click image The New Orleans City Council unanimously passed a citywide ban on smoking in bars and casinos. - MICHAEL OCAMPO/FLICKR
  • MICHAEL OCAMPO/FLICKR
  • The New Orleans City Council unanimously passed a citywide ban on smoking in bars and casinos.

In three months, most of New Orleans will be smoke (and vape) free. At today's New Orleans City Council meeting, its members unanimously passed an ordinance from councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Susan Guidry that prohibits smoking and using electronic cigarettes in bars and casinos citywide.

"We have to change for the better to meet the needs of our people," Cantrell said.

Cantrell announced her intention to introduce a smoke-free ordinance in July 2014. It received the endorsements of Mayor Mitch Landrieu as well as health department director Charlotte Parent and several local and national health organizations. A first draft was introduced in November, and its final draft includes amendments from several other City Council members. In its final form, the smoking ordinance allows smoking only in the following places:

  • existing cigar and hookah bars
  • vape shops
  • outdoor areas (like patios and courtyards) at bars, restaurants and casinos
  • at smoking and vape conventions and Mardi Gras balls

Cigar bars are defined as a bar that has generated 10 percent or more of its annual gross income from cigar sales and humidor rentals. (It also excludes smoking cigarettes.)

Smoking will be prohibited in all bars and casinos (Harraha's and the Fair Grounds gaming area). An amendment was passed removing the 5 feet distance rule, and Bourbon Street also was singled out — smoking there from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue is allowed without any distance requirement on its street and sidewalks. The ordinance goes into effect 90 days after Landrieu signs it.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tonight: MACCNO hosts "zoning, music and culture" meeting

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Members of the Music and Culture Coalition outside City Hall in 2014. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Members of the Music and Culture Coalition outside City Hall in 2014.

The Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans (MACCNO) grouped musicians, bars, venues and their advocates and other residents in the wake of music venue closures and other New Orleans cultural events in 2012. Tonight, MACCNO hosts the first of two call-to-action meetings on zoning, and how New Orleans' Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) "has — and will — impact music and cultural traditions" in the city.

Tonight's meeting will focus on music venues on Rampart Street, how people can protect neighborhood music venues, and what changes need to be made to reflect those challenges in the CZO, which determines the rules under which buildings can operate. The meeting also will include how the CZO "has historically treated culture in the city" as well as a breakdown of the latest CZO draft.

The meeting is 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at The Golden Feather (704 N. Rampart St.) and admission is free and open to the public. A second meeting will be held March 4 at Tulane City Center (1725 Baronne St.).

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Y@ Speak: #JazzFestTBA

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 11:20 AM

Among New Orleans Carnival traditions is arguing about the Jazz Fest lineup and the festival itself. While the city tears itself apart and sets fire to the streets in anticipation of a "TBA" announcement, we look back on your festival predictions, Bob Breck, parade updates and impending smoking ban.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Home decorating tips from HGTV's John Gidding of Curb Appeal

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 3:15 PM

John Gidding has a master's degree in architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.
  • John Gidding has a master's degree in architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.
This weekend, the NOLA Home Show hosts more home improvement experts, professionals and celebrity guests than you can shake a spade at. Among them is John Gidding, architect turned host of HGTV's Curb Appeal. On the show, he helps homeowners make their house exteriors more eye-catching.

Gambit interviewed Gidding for tips on maximizing the appeal of porch-centric NOLA homes.


Gambit: As I’m sure you’ve noticed, New Orleans has some beautiful architecture. What do you like about the homes here?
John Gidding: I've always been drawn to porches, covered verandas and balconies — all of which are expressed beautifully and in a multitude of ways in New Orleans. They're a much appreciated extension of the interior and a way of bringing in the exterior, but what I love is the sense of community they engender. Neighborhoods with porches and balconies encourage the kind of casual, unplanned interactions among neighbors and passersby that create stronger communities with the additional benefit of better upkeep and maintenance. Just what the Curb Appeal guy likes.

G: What does "curb appeal" mean, and is it something only people selling their homes should be concerned with?
JG: It was initially a real estate term. When people pull up to a house for sale, it's the first thing to judge by -— but HGTV's long-running show with the same name has taken the term to a broader platform, and for good reason. All too often, home improvements are for the benefit of an upcoming sale — when they'd be much better appreciated by the inhabitants of the home as they lived in it. This is especially true for curb appeal: it affects your neighborhood, it improves safety, and also impacts how you feel when you get home. These are things that people should create for themselves and benefit from, and that's why I think Curb Appeal has developed broad appeal.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Y@ Speak: The Battle of New Orleans

Posted By on Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 1:00 PM

As Louisiana celebrated the 200th anniversary of Chalmette exploding with cannons and silly hats, we spent last week reflecting on the latest battles of New Orleans: smoking bans, crime, and the proper times for eating king cake. Also: New Orleans nerds invade the Wizard World Comic Con and Drew Brees thinks pancakes are a sandwich.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Drawn and (French) Quartered: A spate of violent crime in the Vieux Carre has some blaming Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Posted By and on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 5:05 PM

Paul Melancon, a French Quarter bartender, says he's moved out of the neighborhood, partly because of safety concerns. - JEANIE RIESS
  • JEANIE RIESS
  • Paul Melancon, a French Quarter bartender, says he's moved out of the neighborhood, partly because of safety concerns.


John Hoff has owned and managed Fahy’s Irish Pub on the corner of Toulouse and Burgundy Streets for 20 years. Tourists staying in the hotel across the street often come into the bar for a cocktail before they explore the Quarter, and Hoff says they sometimes ask him if the neighborhood is safe. His answer, he says, has always been the same for two decades.

Until about six weeks ago.

“I generally would tell them, ‘Yes, it’s safe, just be careful,’” Hoff said. “‘Be aware of your surroundings’ and stuff. Lately I can’t honestly say that. When tourists walk in and say, ‘Are we safe in this neighborhood?,’ I can’t honestly say yes.”

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sid vicious? Former trash king Torres fires at Mitch Landrieu over French Quarter safety

Posted By on Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 10:18 PM


In this screengrab from a television ad, former French Quarter garbage collector Sidney Torres IV criticizes Mayor Mitch Landrieu for not keeping the French Quarter safe. - YOUTUBE
  • YOUTUBE
  • In this screengrab from a television ad, former French Quarter garbage collector Sidney Torres IV criticizes Mayor Mitch Landrieu for not keeping the French Quarter safe.

If anyone should know about trash in the French Quarter, it's Sidney Torres IV, whose SDT Waste & Debris Services kept the Vieux Carre sparking clean and lemony-fresh under a city contract in 2007, continuing for several years after Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods. After a fallout between Torres and the city in 2010, the city eventually went with a less lemony-fresh garbage contractor, and the man who was nicknamed "Trashanova" for his luxuriant hair and tight T-shirts moved on to other business concerns, including a Bahamian resort. But Torres retains a home on Esplanade Avenue just out of the French Quarter (where he's had scraps with a neighboring business over noise concerns).

Torres' house was broken into in December during a stubbon crime wave in the French Quarter and surrounding areas, and that seems to be the impetus behind his latest venture: a commercial criticizing Mayor Mitch Landrieu for not keeping the French Quarter safe. In the 30-second ad, Torres says:

"The French Quarter's under siege by criminals. You may ask what qualifies me to comment on crime in the French Quarter. I'm a resident and my company cleaned every inch of that neighborhood. I know it like the back of my hand." 


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