1. A HOUSE VOTE
On Oct. 6, the New Orleans City Council will determine whether — and how — short-term rentals (STRs) can legally operate in the city. That vote will follow several years of debate among city agencies, residents and those who rent homes and apartments to visitors ("Commentary").
On Sept. 27, residents and members of three neighborhood groups (Neighbors First for Bywater, the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association and Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association) paraded outside City Hall — complete with coffins for "affordable neighborhoods" and "actual neighbors" — to protest whole homes and apartments rented to tourists staying in residential areas. In August, the New Orleans City Planning Commission removed whole-home rentals in residential neighborhoods from its recommendations to the City Council.
Last month, Airbnb launched a $1 million ad campaign in New Orleans, arguing its users are able to "earn a little extra money" to help pay mortgages and bills. STR proponents also stood on the steps of City Hall Sept. 29 to urge city officials to "support home-sharing."
2. Quote of the week
"Mayor Kip Holden Incurs Overage Charges for Excessively Phoning It In" — Headline on the Baton Rouge satire website www.theredshtick.com, which claimed, "Verizon has billed Kip Holden's wireless account for tens of thousands of dollars in additional fees over the past 12 months due to the term-limited Democrat habitually phoning it in as mayor of Baton Rouge."
3. CABL sets debate table
The Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) last week announced the five U.S. Senate candidates who have been asked to participate in CABL's Oct. 18 debate, which will be broadcast statewide by Louisiana Public Broadcasting. They are U.S. Representative Charles Boustany, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, attorney Caroline Fayard, U.S. Rep. John Fleming and Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy. Campbell and Fayard are Democrats; the others are Republicans.
Notably missing from the debate invites: Rob Maness, the retired U.S. Air Force colonel who made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2014; and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who has drawn national attention but is barely a blip in statewide polls.
CABL's criteria for debate participation included at least 5 percent support in statewide polls and $1 million in campaign contributions.
4. Dancers file lawsuit over 21-plus state law
Several Louisiana strip club dancers have filed a lawsuit challenging the state's recent law banning dancers under age 21 from working in strip clubs. The law — which went into effect Oct. 1 — is challenged by three dancers from New Orleans and one from Baton Rouge who argue that the ban is overly broad and, despite arguments from lawmakers, there is no evidence that age restrictions help combat human trafficking. The dancers (listed as Jane Doe) filed the suit Sept. 22. The state is to respond by Nov. 22.
5. Federal judges: No ruling on monuments, yet
A panel of federal appellate court judges hasn't made a ruling in a lawsuit over whether New Orleans officials can remove four Confederate-era monuments. On Sept. 28, a three-judge panel at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from attorneys for the city and attorneys representing four groups that sued local and federal agencies to block the city from removing the monuments.
According to a statement from Mayor Mitch Landrieu's press secretary, Hayne Rainey, the city remains "steadfast in [its] commitment to taking down the four monuments voted on by City Council" but is under the court's order to not remove them while the case is pending. Rainey said. "We understand the public's frustration with the timing of this process and ask for continued patience as we move forward."
6. One note-worthy
A documentary that chronicles the return of local musicians to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the floods will have its world premiere Oct. 16 at the New Orleans Film Festival.
The film, One Note at a Time, tells its story through "the prism of the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic" and examines both the resurgence of the local music scene and the ongoing need for health and wellness services for the city's culture bearers. Dr. John, Kermit Ruffins, Irma Thomas, Ellis Marsalis, Ben Jaffe and "Uncle" Lionel Batiste all appear in the film. For more information, visit www.neworleansfilm- festival.org.
7. Saints-Falcons matchup sets lowest ratings record
If it's any consolation: Few people tuned in to see the New Orleans Saints get shellacked by the Atlanta Falcons in the team's home opener Sept. 26. According to Sports Media Watch, the Monday Night Football telecast drew a puny 5.7 rating — "likely the lowest in the history of Monday Night Football," Sports Media Watch wrote.
A big part of the reason, of course, was the competition: the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, which drew 80.9 million viewers, according to Variety (and that's not including online viewership). The next presidential debate is Sunday, Oct. 9, but the Saints won't have to face the Falcons again until Jan. 1, 2017 — the last game of the season.
8. Passings: Buckwheat Zydeco, Joe Clay
Louisiana native and zydeco ambassador Buckwheat Zydeco — a fixture at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival — died Sept. 24 after fighting lung cancer. Zydeco, aka Stanley Dural Jr., had been one of the state's biggest exponents of zydeco music, from touring to appearing on late-night talk shows to a performance of "Jambalaya" at the 1996 Summer Olympics closing ceremonies in Atlanta.
Gretna-born rockabilly pioneer Joe Clay died Sept. 26. At the age of 18, he sat in with Elvis Presley at Pontchartrain Beach, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and had minor hits with "Duck Tail" and "Sixteen Chicks." His career stalled until the rockabilly revival of the 1980s, when the school bus driver became in demand again and began touring. "I had no idea what rockabilly was," he told Gambit in 2007. "It was just something I felt, so that was what I did."
9. Twangin' the Dome
With LSU's Tiger Stadium unavailable due to scheduled renovations, Bayou Country Superfest will move from LSU Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge to the Superdome for its next Memorial Day weekend event, May 26-28, 2017.
The mammoth country music festival typically focuses on mainstream country arena performers. The music lineup will be announced Dec. 1.
10. Brian Wilson, Tony Bennett to playthe Saenger
Just in time for the holidays, crooner Tony Bennett will return to New Orleans for a Dec. 7 concert at the Saenger Theatre. Bennett has visited New Orleans many times before, notably at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the 2015 Jazz Fest, where his set with Lady Gaga at the Gentilly Stage was plagued with sound problems. A painter, Bennett also created the 2010 Jazz Fest poster (a portrait of Louis Prima).
In January, Beach Boys founder and massively influential songwriter Brian Wilson announced a world tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark album Pet Sounds. Wilson announced he would perform the album in its entirety "for a final time" on dates spanning all of 2016 — and, now, into 2017. The composer returns to Louisiana with a performance on March 29, 2017 at the Saenger.