News & Politics

Thursday, December 1, 2016

New Orleans short-term rental laws get final vote

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 4:30 PM

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Following several years of debate, New Orleans officials passed a series of ordinances Dec. 1 to legalize, and enforce, short-term rentals. With input from Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration, Airbnb and the City Planning Commission, the New Orleans City Council passed several ordinances that amend the city's governing zoning code to include rules for short-term rentals on websites like Airbnb and HomeAway in New Orleans.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The fight for $15 an hour in New Orleans

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 3:00 PM

A New Orleans Fight For $15 protest marches on Rampart Street Nov. 29.
  • A New Orleans Fight For $15 protest marches on Rampart Street Nov. 29.

Sharika Evans grew up working in fast food. But, she said, the minimum wages she's received — at $7.25 an hour — are not enough to support a family, her health care, utilities and her bills, Evans said she was fired from the McDonald's on Canal Street following a Fight For $15 protest at the restaurant earlier this year. She held the doors open to protesters.

Around 5 p.m. Nov. 29, more than 100 service workers and supporters marched, with a brass band, from Armstrong Park on Rampart Street to Canal Street near the McDonald's between Royal and Bourbon streets. Protesters blocked car and streetcar traffic in all directions for nearly an hour and linked arms, demanding $15 an hour and the ability to unionize. Six people sitting at the intersection were arrested but released with citations for obstructing street traffic.

"The pay we get doesn't reflect the work we put into it," Evans told Gambit.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Transgender Day of Remembrance event in New Orleans planned in Congo Square

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Outside City Hall, BreakOUT! announced New Orleans plans for a Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilience/Resistance at Congo Square Nov. 20. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • Outside City Hall, BreakOUT! announced New Orleans plans for a Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilience/Resistance at Congo Square Nov. 20.

At its first event in 1999, a Transgender Day of Remembrance memorialized Rita Hester, a transgender woman killed in Massachusetts. Now held annually in nearly 200 cities around the world, the international Transgender Day of Remembrance recognizes victims of transphobic violence, and in its third year, an accompanying Transgender Day of Resilience serves as a call to action.

In New Orleans, those demands include access to education, health care, housing, employment and safety. New Orleans' Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilience/Resistance event is planned for 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at Congo Square in Armstrong Park. The event — coordinated by New Orleans LGBT youth organization BreakOUT! — galvanizes New Orleans' trans and gender non-conforming youth of color to not only demand equitable, safe access to care, housing and employment but to underline the strength among them.

“We won't back down," said Nathalie Nia (Nate) Faulk in a statement. "We plan to meet unprecedented levels of repression with unprecedented levels of determination and resilience."

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Jeff Landry, Louisiana’s culture warrior-in-chief

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 11:40 AM

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is going toe-to-toe with Gov. John Bel Edwards in court — but it's all posturing to suit his own ambitions. - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is going toe-to-toe with Gov. John Bel Edwards in court — but it's all posturing to suit his own ambitions.

Republican state Attorney General Jeff Landry, ever eager to grandstand on any issue that he thinks will position him to run for governor in three years, has appointed himself the state’s culture warrior-in-chief over the issue of LGBT rights. In doing so, Landry has cast himself in opposition not only to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards but also to Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

In a post-election interview with 60 Minutes, Trump was asked directly about the issue of marriage equality. “It’s irrelevant because it was already settled,” Trump said. “It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done.”

For emphasis, Trump added, “These cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled — and I'm fine with that.”

It’s more than a tad ironic that Donald Trump, who’s notorious for speaking in vague generalities, is schooling Landry on the fine points of constitutional law, but irony has always been lost on a showboat like Landry. He’s too busy looking for the cameras.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Editorial: Our pledge to you

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 9:00 AM

President-elect Donald Trump. - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • President-elect Donald Trump.

America’s political landscape will change dramatically after the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in January 2017. Already there are mixed messages coming from his transition team as to some of the promises he made while running. For now, we can only go by the man’s words and how they may affect Louisianans.

In the weeks and months to come, we will be keeping an eye on the following:

• The president-elect has promised to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but has provided few details. As of mid-November, more than 339,000 previously uninsured Louisianans are receiving health care through the ACA. We promise to outline their options and find out from doctors which screenings, tests and procedures they should get done now should the ACA go away — with a special focus on women's health care. (Meanwhile, the open enrollment period continues through the end of January; visit ldh.louisiana.gov.)

• The president-elect has made it clear that he does not believe in climate change and promises to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and key environmental protections. We promise to speak out for clean air, clean water and Louisiana’s fragile coast.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Winnas & Loozas of the fall 2016 election

Posted By on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ clout was apparent in the elections, particularly his support of Democrat Foster Campbell in the U.S. Senate race. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards’ clout was apparent in the elections, particularly his support of Democrat Foster Campbell in the U.S. Senate race.

The acrimonious campaigns of 2016 set new lows even by Louisiana standards, but as always Election Day leaves in its wake a fresh set of political victors and vanquished. And because we love elections so much here in the Bayou State, we get to have one more before it’s all over — the U.S. Senate runoff Dec. 10.

That Senate showdown no doubt will have its share of fireworks, but in the end it isn’t expected to be close, which means it’s already time to take stock of the carnage. Herewith our post-election recap of Da Winnas and Da Loozas, starting with …

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hundreds rally, march against Trump for a second night in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 10:20 PM

A Nov. 10 march ended at Lee Circle.
  • A Nov. 10 march ended at Lee Circle.

A second night of protests in New Orleans attracted hundreds of people marching through the French Quarter and organizing future protests and community action in the wake of Donald Trump's presidential election. A Nov. 9 march — in solidarity with thousands of other Americans in several U.S. cities the day after the election — attracted media scrutiny for graffiti and vandalism. The group at the Nov. 10 protest admonished the vandalism, which the group attributed to a handful of people who acted out of step with most of the protestors marching that night.

Tonight's march through the Quarter, including two passes down Bourbon Street, gained supporters (and a few middle fingers and boos) as it wound from Lee Circle and back with police escorts blocking traffic. One couple in Denver Broncos jerseys cheered the group as it passed the CBD, then joined in.

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The party and protest: Election Day and aftermath in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 12:45 AM

Hillary Clinton, mounted to a box of tissues, at Twelve Mile Limit on Election Day.
  • Hillary Clinton, mounted to a box of tissues, at Twelve Mile Limit on Election Day.

On Nov. 4, 2008, a crowd spilled out of One Eyed Jacks and onto Toulouse Street. Inside, a shoulder-to-shoulder audience of a few hundred people watched, through tears, as then-President-elect Barack Obama embraced his family and Vice President-elect Joe Biden while DJ Soul Sister blasted Parliament.

On Nov. 8, 2016, on the dance floor at One Eyed Jacks, a dozen people quietly sat behind a few small tables. A few others stood at the bar. A screen above the stage ticked a few more electoral votes to Donald Trump. There were no cheers.

At 8 p.m., a crowd — in solidarity pantsuits, homemade "Nasty Woman" T-shirts and patches and pins — packed into Twelve Mile Limit in Mid-City, turned to CNN as early voting returns started painting the map. Boos for red states. Cheers for blue ones. Cheers for Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth's election to the Senate. Boos for Marco Rubio's reelection to the Senate in Florida.

Crowds across town gathered for watch parties as the polls closed, high off the momentum from voting and in the company of friends, comparing TV results with updates on Twitter. Less than 24 hours later, a Trump effigy burned at Lee Circle.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mayor Landrieu to Trump: "reconcile the divisive rhetoric" by reaching out to African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and women

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 12:37 PM

CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER

Following Donald Trump's election to U.S. President and Hillary Clinton's concession speech, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu congratulated the president-elect and encouraged him "to reconcile the divisive rhetoric from this campaign" by reaching out to African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and women. "One of the greatest aspects of our democracy is the peaceful transition of power," he said.

Landrieu also extended "sincere gratitude and appreciation" to Clinton "for her lifetime of sacrifice and service for our country. America is a stronger country because of her contributions."

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Protesters hit with pepper spray at Dillard as David Duke enters Senate debate

Posted By on Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 11:45 PM

Students and supporters protesting against David Duke at Dillard University Nov. 2.
  • Students and supporters protesting against David Duke at Dillard University Nov. 2.

With the admission of white supremacist, former Ku Klux Klansman and neo-Nazi David Duke into a final debate in Louisiana's crowded race for U.S. Senate, protesters at Dillard University demanded Duke be removed from campus and for the university to condemn his campaign.

But as protests continued outside the doors of the Georges Auditorium, police pepper sprayed into the crowd, sending protesters running for cover, and several people were detained as they tried to make their way inside.

Students were anxious, scared, and frustrated with other protestors and fellow students, but none was defeated. Passing a microphone to students and supporters throughout the night, each speaker celebrated the history of the university, the civil rights advocates who came before them, and their goals for social and racial justice long after Duke's appearance. But all criticized the university's administration for even allowing him to be there.

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