1. JON'S COMING HOME
Jon Batiste and Stay Human — bandleader and house band for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert — return to New Orleans for the band's first club performance in the city since the late-night gig began in September 2015. Stay Human will headline the Civic Theatre during the second week of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at 10 p.m. Saturday, April 30. Tickets are $25. (The band also performs earlier that day at Jazz Fest.)
Batiste, a Kenner native and graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, has shown comic chops on The Late Show, teaching Colbert how to "hang" on Frenchmen Street and how to play jazz.
2. Tell us how you really feel
"Bobby Jindal was a better cult leader than Jim Jones. We drank the elixir for eight years. We remained in a conscious state — we walked to the edge of the cliff, and he watched. And guess what? Unlike Jim Jones, he did not swallow the poison. What a shame." — Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, during the Metropolitan Crime Commission's annual awards luncheon last week.
Normand was just getting warmed up: "The fact of the matter is that he's now out there on Twitter and on public spaces trying to rewrite history — and we hadn't even figured out what history is. We know we face a $2 billion to $2.2 billion budget shortfall next year, somewhere between $700 million and $900 million between now and June 30. And he's trying to get everybody to believe that he did a phenomenal job."
Normand added, "We did this to ourselves, myself included, because I endorsed that idiot."
3. Primary day March 5
The Louisiana presidential preference primary is March 5, but if recent numbers are any guide, voters won't be overrunning the polls. "Historically the presidential preference primary turnout is between 10 and 15 percent," Meg Casper, press secretary for Secretary of State Tom Schedler, told Gambit, "except in [President Barack] Obama's first election in 2008, when it was close to 25 percent and again in 2012 when it was close to 20 percent."
4. Focusing on
youths and poverty
The New Orleans City Council's first-ever meeting of its Youth Services and Empowerment Committee spotlighted New Orleans' child poverty crisis, from the burdens on working-poor families to the ways economic stress disrupts brain development and enforces neighborhood violence. One in three New Orleans children lives in poverty — the committee aims to identify and discuss what makes a child "poor," what the city is doing to help and where the gaps are. Last year, The Data Center released its child poverty report and youth index, finding that as of 2014, more than 78,000 children live in poverty in New Orleans, 22 percentage points above the national average.
New Orleans children also "are having a rough beginning" right at birth, said Data Center senior research fellow Vicki Mack. In 2013, 12.5 percent of children were born with low birth weight — compared to 10 percent statewide and 8 percent nationwide. The city's infant mortality rate is 9.3 per 1,000 live births, compared to 8.7 statewide and 6 nationwide.
5. Guidry challenges Cannizzaro's criminal justice strategy
New Orleans District A City Councilwoman Susan Guidry's push to see fewer teenagers enter the adult criminal justice system pits her against District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro in a debate over the DA's transfer of juvenile offenders to Criminal District Court. Guidry wants to create a screening process to determine whether certain juvenile offenders should be tried in "adult" courts. In a letter to Guidry, Cannizzaro warned that changes to his office's criminal justice strategy "without any regard to the effect such a reduction would have on public safety" could have "dangerous" results.
More than a dozen local, state and national criminal justice officials and advocates discussed youth transfers at the Council's Feb. 24 Criminal Justice Committee. According to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the DA transfers more than 80 percent of its cases involving 15- and 16-year-olds to Criminal Court, where young offenders are tried as adults. Guidry's push has the support of Orleans Juvenile Court Judge Candice Bates-Anderson, Orleans Public Defender head Derwyn Bunton, Criminal District Judge Laurie White, some members of the City Council and others.
6. Duke: Vote for Trump
Former state representative and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke stopped short of endorsing Donald Trump for president, but he told his Internet radio audience last week that "voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage."
On his website, Duke warns, "Jewish NeoCommies (progressives) and Jewish NeoConservatives (NeoTrotskyites) have united tribally to unleash a flood of excrement upon Donald Trump, whom they see as a real threat to their Jewish Establishment agenda."
"David Duke endorsed me?" Trump said, when reporters asked him about it. "OK, all right. I disavow, OK?"
7. The coach stays
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton told NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk he is close to finalizing a deal to stay with the team for four or five years. Payton, who has led the Black and Gold for 10 years and is its 10th full-time coach, is among the league's most highly paid coaches, at a rumored $8 million per year.
8. Moody's darkens fiscal mood
As if Louisiana didn't already have enough fiscal woes, what with former Gov. Bobby Jindal leaving the state nearly $3 billion in the hole — last week Moody's Investors Service downgraded the state's bond rating. For good measure, Moody's added a "negative outlook" to its assessment of Louisiana, signaling another potential downgrade. The downgrade came as state House members reached a compromise with Gov. John Bel Edwards and passed a watered-down version of the governor's proposed, temporary one-cent sales tax hike.
9. Verret inaugurated at Xavier University
Xavier University formally inaugurated C. Reynold Verret last week as the sixth president of the university, succeeding Dr. Norman Francis, who stepped down last year after 47 years. Verret, a native of Haiti, has been in the position seven months.
10. Going Greenway
Friends of the Lafitte Greenway — stewards and advocates of the 3-mile trail cutting through Bayou St. John and into the French Quarter — hosts its 10th annual hike this week, its first since the pathway's completion.
Hikers meet at 10 a.m. March 5 at Congo Square in Armstrong Park, and the 3-mile guided hike (which includes mid-hike entertainment from Capoeira New Orleans, Crescent Lotus Belly Dancers, Hey Now Hooping and Zulu Tramps) ends at Second Line Brewing (433 N. Bernadotte St.), with environmental demonstrations and food trucks. A free shuttle takes hikers back to Armstrong Park. More info: www.lafittegreenway.org/hike2016.