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10 Things to Know in New Orleans This Week: Dec. 8, 2015 

The D.A. takes on the NRA; New Orleans comics take on The Fat Jewish; and a rally to welcome Syrian refugees

click to enlarge leon_cannizzaro_2011-photo_by_cheryl_gerber.jpg

Photo by Cheryl Gerber

1. The DA and the NRA
"If the NRA truly wants to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, then I invite them to come to the table and be a part of the solution rather than an organization with a single word vocabulary — 'No.'" — Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, in an open letter to the National Rifle Association, which routinely opposes all gun control measures in Louisiana

2. Sen. Troy Brown's troubles
State Sen. Troy Brown has agreed to surrender a key committee post in the wake of allegations that he punched his girlfriend in the eye in New Orleans on Nov. 28. Brown will step down as vice chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee until the case — which includes a charge of domestic simple battery after an argument at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans — is resolved. Brown, incidentally, sponsored legislation in 2014 that created the Louisiana Domestic Violence Prevention Commission.

  "Back in 1991, I suffered a life-threatening automobile accident which resulted in brain damage, which caused some short-term memory loss which I have always considered to be minor," Brown said in a statement to WVUE-TV. "However, as a result of this incident and other recent memory concerns, I am consulting with a neurosurgeon to see if social alcohol consumption is now affecting my cognitive functions in ways it has not previously."

  Brown's arrest triggered another problem. According to WWL-TV, he told officers his address is 36518 Francine Circle South in Geismar. That address is outside his Senate district. The Geismar address is nearly 30 miles from a Napoleonville address he used to qualify for office in September.

3. New Orleanians to welcome refugees
A "Rally to Welcome Syrian Refugees" will begin at One Canal Place (365 Canal St.) at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19. Rally organizers planned a demonstration to "peacefully urge officials and members of the New Orleans area to open their hearts and find remorse and compassion for our fellow human beings."

  Catholic Charities, which helped resettle Vietnamese families in the 1970s, is among organizations helping refugees from the Syrian civil war, resettling two families in the New Orleans area. In a statement, Catholic Charities described its involvement with Syrian refugee families as "minimal."

  "It is important for the community to know that anyone resettled through our program is referred from the United States State Department after extensive security checks and background screenings," the statement reads. "This is not a fast process but one that can take months and even years to complete."

4. Buku's 2016 lineup: Future, Fetty, Ferg
The Buku Music + Art Project returns to Mardi Gras World for its fifth annual event March 11-12, and its first round of announced headliners and performers includes Pretty Lights, Future, Fetty Wap, A$AP Ferg, CHVRCHES and Crystal Castles. Also on the bill are Miike Snow, Earl Sweatshirt, AlunaGeorge and D.R.A.M.

  Louisiana artists on the schedule so far include Mystikal, Juvenile, Fly Boi Keno, Givers, Donovan Wolfington and DJ Soul Sister. More artists will be announced early next year. General admission is $189.50 for a two-day pass.

5. New Orleans comics vs. The Fat Jewish
Josh Ostrovsky, the social media personality and pop culture nuisance known as The Fat Jewish, admitted lifting countless social media posts from comedians and other accounts and broadcasting them to millions on social media without attribution. Earlier this year he told Vulture, "I now realize that if I couldn't find a source for something, I probably shouldn't have posted it in the first place."

  He leveraged his online presence with a modeling contract, radio show and a book deal — he brings his Money Pizza Respect book tour to the Republic (828 S. Peters St.) at 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. Local comedians are not happy — waves of negative comments on the event's Facebook page from local comics, all asking about Ostrovsky's joke theft, were removed. More than 200 people have clicked "attending."

6. Those funky meters
The New Orleans City Council approved Mayor Mitch Landrieu's $601.7 million 2016 budget on Dec. 1, despite continued pushback against Hizzoner's plan to boost downtown parking meter rates. The plan increases hourly rates from $1.50 to $3 in the French Quarter, CBD and Warehouse District and extends meter times to 10 p.m.

  Chris Lane, who helped organize opposition to the plan with New Orleans Citizens for Fair Parking, asked the council to delay a vote. Downtown service workers started a social media campaign, #NOLA- 2WayStreet, to raise awareness of the plan's potential burden on already-strained downtown workers. Cane & Table bar owner Nick Detrich tweeted a photo with a dry erase board reading, "I bartend in New Orleans and already pay $3,800 per year for parking. Raising that to $7,800 is unaffordable. Please keep parking affordable for NOLA service industry."

7. Petition asks Landrieu to move Bayou Classic
Following a violent weekend in the French Quarter during the Bayou Classic, a Change.org petition ("MOVE BAYOU CLASSIC OUT OF NEW ORLEANS") gathered more than 2,000 signatures.

  "Every year the Bayou Classic comes to our city and destroys the city and turns the streets into a war zone," the petition reads. "We, the citizens of New Orleans, demand that you stop allowing this event to take place in our city. Let these schools host this event in their own city's [sic] and in their own stadium. Let their taxpayers fund the overtime for police and security."

8. Wisner Bridge construction begins
Drivers, beware. Construction of the Wisner Boulevard Bridge begins Thursday, Dec. 10 and will continue through spring 2017. The bridge, covering I-610 along Bayou St. John, will be rebuilt with two travel lanes in each direction and pedestrian and bike paths. Lakebound traffic will detour via Desaix Boulevard and St. Bernard Avenue. Riverbound traffic will take Harrison Avenue and Marconi Drive.

9. N.O. housing group launches
HousingNOLA hosts a panel discussion and launch at the Myrtle Banks Building (1307 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.) at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 10. Read its preliminary reports on the state of affordable housing in New Orleans at www.housingnola.com.

10. Seeking nominations: New Orleanian of the Year
Gambit seeks nominations for its annual New Orleanian of the Year honor, a designation given to a local resident (or two) who made outstanding contributions to the area in 2015. Elected officials are not eligible.

  All nominations must include a brief biographical sketch and the reasons you believe the person deserves recognition.

  Email entries to response@gambitweekly.com, and put "New Orleanian of the Year" in the subject line. No phone calls, please. Nominations must be received by Wednesday, Dec. 9.

  The New Orleanian of the Year will be announced in Gambit's edition of Jan. 5.

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