Xavier University and a host of environmental groups are hosting a public screening 7 p.m. Monday, March 22, of PBS investigative journalist Bill Moyers' special report Trade Secrets: A Moyers Report.
In the program, Moyers opens up internal chemical industry documents subpoenaed by Louisiana attorney Billy Baggett Jr. ("The Chemical Papers," March 21, 2001). The documents reveal "how the industry has kept information from the public for decades," says event co-organizer Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.
In addition to the screening, the event includes a presentation by residents of the six communities in the petrochemical industry-rich "Cancer Alley" region, titled "Living with the Truth of Trade Secrets." Also scheduled to appear at the screening and reception are Adam Babich of the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic; Linda Walker and Ann Petit of the New Orleans League of Women Voters; Linda Calvert, director of the Mayor's Office of Environmental Affairs; and Barbara Vincent of the Sierra Club.
The six-candidate race is heating up in the April 7 special election to fill the Civil District Court Division L seat vacated by Judge Max Tobias. A run-off election for the citywide seat, if necessary, will be May 5.
The talk of the campaign is the resurrection of Morris Reed, an attorney who has been searching for a winning race since he gave up a Criminal Court judgeship in an unsuccessful bid to unseat arch-foe District Attorney Harry Connick in 1996.
Reed, who recently won a partial civil judgment as a lawyer for 1,000 Gentilly residents in a tank car fire and leakage suit, says he has spent $75,000 on the campaign so far and has budgeted $160,000 for the primary election alone. He is making a campaign issue of the tank car case, saying the 14-year wait to get a partial judgment in Civil District Court was "unfair" to residents.
Connick, who is backing attorney Janet Ahern in the race, recently predicted that Reed would lose the current race for judge, then "lose another race for DA."
"I think that's cute," Reed chuckles. "But we're not focusing on Harry Connick right now."
A Reed win would spoil the district attorney's hopes of an April 7 sweep for Connick candidates Ahern in Division L; Nolan Lambert in Division I and Madeleine Landrieu in Division E.
Rounding out the Division L field are political newcomers Darryl Harrison, a protégé of political king-maker Bernard "Bunny" Charbonnet; Pamela Gibbs, who is backed by civil rights lawyer Ron Wilson; and Kenneth W. Andrieu, an insurance defense lawyer and ad hoc judge of First City Court. Andrieu has worked as a law clerk for Judge Tobias and retired state Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Moon Landrieu.