New Orleans Life

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Orleans bars going non-smoking? Yes, if LaToya Cantrell has her way

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 3:43 PM

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There’s an annual ritual in Baton Rouge, and it goes like this: A bill to ban smoking in bars and casinos is sent to the House and Senate floors and offered up as sacrifice —practically burned alive on the floor — to ensure that no bill like it shall ever pass. This ritual was performed for several years — until 2014.
This year, legislators targeted electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, and banned their sale to minors. One other idea, to include e-cigs in the state’s Smoke-Free Air Act (which prohibits smoking in restaurants and other workplaces), was quickly snuffed out.

Despite the political ritual in homage to Big Tobacco, some smoking bans have succeeded. On Aug. 1, a state law (passed in 2013) goes into effect to ensure state college and university campuses have a smoke-free policy in place. The University of New Orleans is extending the ban to include all tobacco products (except e-cigs). Private universities have joined in; Tulane’s smoke-free campus policy is effective this semester, and Loyola has formed a committee of students, faculty and staff to draft a smoke- and tobacco-free campus policy for fall 2015.

And in several Louisiana cities and parishes, recent smoking bans — not unlike the ones immolated in Baton Rouge — are already in place. In Alexandria, Monroe, West Monroe and all of Ouachita Parish, smoking is prohibited in bars and near public buildings.

If New Orleans City Council District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell has her way, New Orleans could be next.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Y@ Speak: @BeingYONCE

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM


Before Beyonce and Jay-Z unhinged their jaws and ate the City of New Orleans, we got maybe a little too drunk, bought a llama, ordered Uber ice cream, and went to Shamrock, and somebody (cough Wendell Pierce cough) passed out at our house. Also, Rob Ryan ate three airport pizzas, and Scott Walker mesmerized audiences by... cleaning his closet.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The "Zack and Addie" story comes to TV

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 1:50 PM



Investigation Discovery premieres "Hurricane Love," the latest episode from Handsome Devils, a true crime dramatization and narrative series about "real life lady killers," tonight at 8 p.m. The episode follows the much-publicized post-Katrina deaths of Addie Hall and Zack Bowen. Here's the network's episode description:

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Orleans City Council tightens short-term rental restrictions

Posted By on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 3:25 PM

The New Orleans City Council voted 6-0 in favor of tightening restrictions on unlicensed short-term rentals (such as those offered by AirBNB) at its July 10 meeting.

The City Council voted to rewrite “vague” language in the city’s comprehensive zoning ordinance regarding “transient vacation rentals” as "rentals in a dwelling, hotel, motel, timeshare building, motor lodge, boarding and lodging home, trailer, tourist court or tourist home to nonresidents with duration of occupancy of less than thirty (30) days." The rewrite removes a requirement that a rental occur “over the course of one or more years."

Councilmember at-large Stacy Head said the amendment addresses the "growing number of unregulated, illegal and some problematic short-term rentals" that are "not paying their fair share of taxes and competing at an unfair advantage."

"We got to put together a way to regulate, at times restrict, and harness the dollars from them," she said. "This is the first step."

Proponents of the restrictions, many of whom owned bed and breakfasts, asked for better regulation and stronger enforcement of nonpayment of taxes for what they said amounted to unfair competition. Opponents included members of the Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity, who requested the City Council consider legalization, registration, reasonable regulations and enforcement for short-term rental arrangements. Several owners of AirBNB properties also spoke against the new restrictions, saying the service allowed tourists to explore other parts of the city.

What do you think about short-term rentals in New Orleans? Take our poll.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ray Nagin sentenced to 10 years on federal corruption charges

Posted By and on Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Former Mayor Ray Nagin leaves U.S. Federal Court in downtown New Orleans this morning after U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan sentenced him to 10 years at FDC Oakdale Prison in Oakdale, La. Nagin did not speak after the sentence was laid. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Former Mayor Ray Nagin leaves U.S. Federal Court in downtown New Orleans this morning after U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan sentenced him to 10 years at FDC Oakdale Prison in Oakdale, La. Nagin did not speak after the sentence was laid.


Former Mayor Ray Nagin, who was convicted on 20 of 21 federal charges in February, was sentenced this morming to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $84,000 in restitution. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Helen "Ginger" Berrigan, who presided over Nagin's trial earlier this year. Before the sentencing, Berrigan denied the defense's request to delay sentencing, saying there was "no real justification" in doing so.

Berrigan recommended the former mayor serve his term at FDC Oakdale Prison in Allen Parish in central Louisiana, where former Rep. William Jefferson is currently serving out his own federal sentence. Nagin must report to Oakdale Sept. 8.

The length of the sentence was somewhat surprising to court watchers; Mark St. Pierre, the City Hall tech vendor who also took a chance on going to trial on federal bribery charges related to Nagin rather than accept a plea deal, had received a 17-year sentence after being convicted on all 53 counts against him. Legal analysts, citing federal guidelines, had predicted sentences of 15 years and up. But Berrigan had wide latitude In sentencing, and she cited Nagin's age (58) as part of her decision.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Y@ Speak: #EssenceFest

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 12:38 PM


It purple rained all over the place, from fireworks to Prince to... nope, just those things. This week's Y@ Speak looks at some 2014 Essence Fest highlights to local pols reacting to Hobby Lobby and if New Orleans was built for bumper cars.

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mimi's in the Marigny cancels live music; Buffa's faces "noise" lawsuit

Posted By on Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 7:12 PM

Buffas
  • INFROGMATION/FLICKR
  • Buffa's

Update, July 7: Buffa's court date has been rescheduled for July 22.

Thanks to everyone who showed up yesterday showing their support and signing notarized documents showing Buffa's has had live performances in excess of the 10 year period required by the city to qualify for a non-compliance exemption. With your help, we hope to put this matter to rest once and for all on the 22nd.

Mimi's in the Marigny — one of the central venues in the ongoing conversation about music permitting and noise ordinances — has suspended its live music schedule. As first reported this afternoon on NOLA.com, Mimi's music programming is taking a brief hiatus, though staff there haven't confirmed why.

Meanwhile, Buffa's Bar & Restaurant announced on its Facebook today that the watering hole and entertainment spot now faces a lawsuit from 1011 Esplanade Avenue Inc., alleging that it has violated the city's noise ordinance. The post also says the suit challenges Buffa's mayoralty permit allowing live music, though the venue has been a longtime fixture for music in the neighborhood.

In 2012 we provided the city with 53 letters from Buffa's patrons and musicians substantiating the long history of live music at Buffa's. The city accepted these letters as proof and we assumed that would be the end of it, as long as we paid for the permit each year.

At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Buffa's will host a notary public to notarize signed affidavits supporting the business, and it invites the public, "especially if you either performed or attended a live performance prior to the year 2000. Bring your letter to Buffa's this Sunday and have it notarized. If you already wrote a letter on our behalf, we will have a copy ready for you to review and an affidavit stating it is truthful."

Buffa's and 1011 Esplanade Avenue Inc., an address held by Sidney Torres IV, will take up the suit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court next week. Holly, an employee at the bar who did not give her last name, said the staff was puzzled, not only because the music in the back club was not too loud and because Torres, who has lived next door to the bar for several years, has been a customer in the past, and has "always been really nice to everyone here."

Holly mentioned that Torres has been a customer at Buffa's before, and "he even brought Kid Rock, so I don't know what all this is about."

The news comes nearly two years after a string of music venues and bars were forced to shuffle schedules as the city of New Orleans began cracking down on permits. Mimi's was able to resume its music programming shortly after, but early last year, it suspended its schedule again following a lawsuit from neighbors and residents. Last fall, Mimi's received its permit to host live music, though neighbors and residents who filed the lawsuit promised to fight it.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Y@ Speak: the heat is on

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 1:18 PM


It's summertime in New Orleans. It's hot and violent and due for a vacation from both of those things. A week after New Orleans officials celebrated its award of "most liveable city," a group of people were shot on Bourbon Street. Here's a look back at a taste of swampy weather, shootings and Keanu Reeves oberving a Jefferson Parish murder trial.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Y@ Speak: chicken boxing or boxed chicken

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 12:41 PM


Which do you prefer? Mild or spicy? Boxed or boxing? This week New Orleans asks the tough questions: Common Core or not? Where do all the vape stores come from? Would you like a weed lollipop? What is soccer?

Your questions answered, kind of, in this week's Y@ Speak.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Satchmo SummerFest lineup announced

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 3:25 PM



The full lineup for the 14th annual Satchmo SummerFest was announced this morning, with three days of free music and seminars held at and around two stages at the Old U.S. Mint August 1-3. An opening reception will be held July 31 at the Hotel Monteleone.

More than 40 bands and performers will be playing. Among this year's headliners: the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, James Andrews, Wycliffe Gordon, Glen David Andrews, Original Pinettes Brass Band and Kermit Ruffins' trumpet tribute to Louis Armstrong. For more information on the panels, check out the Satchmo SummerFest website — and go under the jump for the full lineup of artists, stages and times.

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