This story has been updated to reflect U.S. District Court's Aug. 8 announcement that Big Freedia's court date has been rescheduled.
1. City adds $500,000 to Zika defense
New Orleans officials haven't reported any local transmissions of the Zika virus, but Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the allocation of $500,000 last week to "aggressively target" the virus carried by mosquitoes. State officials have counted 17 travel-related cases in Louisiana.
The announcement followed last week's travel warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising pregnant women and their partners to avoid the downtown Miami area. New Orleans will up its insecticide spraying, and teams from the New Orleans Health Department and Mosquito & Termite Control Board are "literally going door to door," Landrieu said, to remind residents how to help prevent mosquito breeding and bites: Dump standing water at least once a week, properly dispose of trash (particularly old tires) and limit outside activity and/or wear long sleeves outdoors.
Interim Health Director Jeff Elder warned people traveling to or from South America to use mosquito repellent for up to two weeks after their return to avoid transmitting the disease to local mosquitoes.
In May, Landrieu urged the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Steering and Policy Committee to approve President Barack Obama's request for nearly $2 billion for a national Zika-related response. "Mosquitoes don't respect politics," Landrieu said Aug. 3.
2. Quote of the week
"Violence is everywhere, that's a given. However, when you give a baby a trumpet, that is their peace. When you give a baby a pair of drumsticks, that is their healing." — New Orleans native, teacher and The Voice star Tonya Boyd-Cannon in "The Fight to Salvage New Orleans's Music Identity," The Atlantic's Aug. 2 story on the city's charter-dominated school system and its lack of music education programs that "embrace the city's jazz roots."
3. Short-term rentals debate continues Aug. 9
The New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) is expected to vote this week on a set of recommendations from its staff outlining proposed changes in the city's zoning laws to allow short-term rental services such as Airbnb. The proposals will include ideas for how the city can enforce the regulations.
The latest draft of the report suggests four types of short-term rentals, including the controversial use of entire homes or apartments not occupied by the owner. The CPC will then vote on those recommendations before they're sent to the New Orleans City Council, which has the final say. In a July Gambit cover story, City Council members Jared Brossett, Susan Guidry and Stacy Head expressed concerns over whole-home rentals. Guidry said they pose the "biggest threat to the quality of life of our long-term residents." Councilwomen LaToya Cantrell and Nadine Ramsey said they want input from the CPC and the public before voting on recommendations.
The CPC meets at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9 in the City Council Chamber.
4. Big Freedia sentencing scheduled Aug. 25
U.S. District Court Judge Lance Africk is scheduled to sentence bounce artist and reality TV star Big Freedia, who pleaded guilty in March to using Section 8 housing vouchers despite earning an income that disqualified the artist from receiving them.
Following her March hearing, Freedia was ordered to submit to drug testing. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Freedia tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine. In July, Freedia was ordered to a Volunteers of America halfway house and told to suspend all upcoming shows and tours unless approved by the court.
Freedia is set to be sentenced Thursday, Aug. 25. She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
5. VP candidate Tim Kaine headed to N.O.
Hillary Clinton's running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, will make an appearance in New Orleans at a Clinton campaign fundraiser Aug. 10. The stop marks Kaine's first appearance in Louisiana after his acceptance of the Democratic vice presidential nomination, and it's among only a handful of Clinton campaign stops in New Orleans. Clinton spoke to supporters in Baton Rouge last September, and Bill Clinton spoke to several hundred supporters at Ashe Power House Theater in March. The fundraiser is at chef Donald Link's private events space, Calcasieu, in the Warehouse District.
6. Last week for property assessments
Property owners in New Orleans have one week to discuss or appeal taxable assessments on their properties with the city's Assessor's Office. The last day to have a discussion in person during the open rolls period is from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15. Online appeals are accepted through Thursday, Aug. 18 via www.nolaassessor.com.
Assessor Erroll Williams clarified in a statement that property owners shouldn't dispute their assessment because they believe their taxes are too high. "That is a discussion to take up with the taxing authorities," he said. "You should see me because you think the value placed on your property is inaccurate due to estimations on its size, comparable sales or market values."
Here's where to go: New Orleans City Hall (1300 Perdido St., fourth floor), Algiers Courthouse (225 Morgan St., first floor), Lakeview Christian Center (5885 Fleur De Lis Drive, secnd floor), and Uptown River Garden (1851 Rousseau St.).
7. Cade disqualified from school board race
Ethan Ashley of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans will likely represent District 2 on the Orleans Parish School Board after incumbent Cynthia Cade's disqualification last week, just days after qualifying in the November race had ended.
Orleans Civil District Judge Kern Reese ruled that Cade hadn't filed her taxes and had falsely signed paperwork claiming she did. District 2 represents parts of Gentilly and Lakeview.
Ashley joins several other candidates running unopposed. In Uptown's District 5, Eldon Anderson withdrew from the race against Ben Kleban, making Kleban the victor. Incumbents John Brown in District 1, which includes New Orleans East and the Lower 9th Ward, and Sarah Usdin in District 3, which includes parts of Gentilly and Lakeview, won re-election when no one qualified to run against them.
8. Sidney's coming to CNBC
In a June Gambit cover story, garbage mogul and developer Sidney Torres — who launched his second foray into trash services with his IV Waste this month — teased several upcoming TV projects. There's the Fox cop drama APB, based on his "Uber of policing" app French Quarter Task Force; there's a series from Langley Productions (the company that developed Cops); and last week, CNBC announced it will air a reality series in prime time based on the businessman in 2017. CNBC announced the series with a profile on Torres with the headline "New Orleans' 'trash king': How private entrepreneurs can help the public."
Meanwhile, the Vieux Carre Commission cited Torres last week for several unpermitted additions, including skylights, to a historic renovation in the French Quarter.
9. DeRay vs. Baton Rouge police
Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson is suing the Baton Rouge Police Department in the wake of his July 9 arrest during a weekend of protests after the police killing of Alton Sterling. Mckesson was among nearly 200 protesters who were arrested that weekend. Last month, Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore announced that some 100 protesters, including Mckesson, won't be prosecuted.
The Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also led a lawsuit against several Baton Rouge officials last month, along with the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, Black Youth Project 100 and the Louisiana chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.
10. Free movies
at the Orpheum
The Orpheum Theater is running a second round of films as part of its free Summer Film Series Aug. 8-23. Doors open at 6 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, Aug. 8-23 and tickets are free — concession sales on Monday nights benefit the Tipitina's Foundation. Here's the schedule:
West Side Story (Aug. 8), Caddyshack (Aug. 9), An American in Paris (Aug. 15), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Aug. 16), Mary Poppins (Aug. 22) and Raider of the Lost Ark (Aug. 23).