Will Coviello on the homegrown troupe that's bringing its holiday show to the Joy Theater this month
As New Orleans' Lightwire Theater advanced on the NBC competition show America's Got Talent in the summer and fall of 2012, judges Howard Stern and Sharon Osbourne repeatedly called the group a "million-dollar act." The live audience at the group's audition performance in St. Louis gave Lightwire a standing ovation.
Alex Woodward talks with District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro about new approaches to New Orleans' domestic violence problem
The New Orleans Family Justice Center (FJC) occupies a second floor of the U.S. Post Office building on Loyola Avenue. It houses 15 agencies, including a 24-hour crisis line, legal clinics and mental health counselors — and it's home base for not only the New Orleans Police Department's (NOPD) domestic violence unit detectives, but also the Orleans Parish district attorney's domestic violence prosecutors.
Louisiana has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the nation. In this series by Alex Woodward, we take a look at the problem and what's being done to combat it
Louisiana's domestic violence problem
Alex Woodward on how New Orleans is combating one of the nation's highest rates of domestic violence
Jeanie Riess on poets-for-hire, a poetry 'brothel' and more
Coffee shop patrons on Frenchmen Street are accustomed to hearing
the quiet clicking of computer keys. But at a small intersection at Frenchmen and Royal streets, the clackity-clack of a few metal Underwoods (or maybe Remingtons) rings down the street, stopping tourists struck by sudden nostalgia.
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Last month, Arizona Sen. John McCain told Fox News' Greta van Susteren that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is the "ultimate experiment in social engineering." Never mind that nearly every other developed country in the world manages to provide health care to its citizens without falling under the yoke of socialism.
Hard to believe, but it was less than two months ago when our dysfunctional Congress failed to enact federal budget funding and thereby shut down most of the United States government, sending citizen approval of the Senate and the House to below-the-basement levels. At the time, most of the blame landed at the feet of Republicans.
When the computerized system that debits Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards — aka food stamps — went down for a few hours last month, it generated lots of national attention. Two Walmart stores in northern Louisiana continued to accept the cards without checking spending limits, which outraged Louisiana's U.S. Sen. David Vitter (among others).
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They get what they deserve
The Al Copeland Foundation donated $25,000 to LSU Health Sciences Center to benefit cancer research.
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Candidates line up
for February election
Several people whose names are expected to appear on the Feb. 1 ballot held their official kickoffs last week, including Orleans Parish School Board President Ira Thomas, who has announced his intention to challenge Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman (for more on the race, see Clancy DuBos' "Politics," p. 16). Thomas made his announcement Dec. 5 at the Reserve of Orleans banquet hall in the 7th Ward.
"Many good friends and supporters have encouraged me to run for Governor in 2015 — to bring my focus and leadership to the challenges we face as a state. We started to consider this as a family over Thanksgiving.
Race for Palmer's seat is wide open
Mayor Mitch Landrieu may face an easy race for another four years in office as the week of qualifying opens, but his City Council majority appears to be on the bubble on the eve of citywide elections. Two of the mayor's consistent council allies — at-Large Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson and District D Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell — are term-limited.
Cantrell's motion provides
extended housing for
The New Orleans City Council closed its Dec. 5 regular meeting with an old topic — a discussion of the size of Orleans Parish Prison (OPP). This time the impetus was Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman's proposed expansion of the jail.
Fighting Louisiana's 'outlaw quadrupeds'
Drones were in the news last week after a Dec. 1 60 Minutes report on Amazon.com's plan to use drones to deliver packages — but a more interesting and less speculative use for the unmanned flying vehicles appeared in The Economist: the use of drones to eradicate feral hogs. A group called Louisiana Hog Control is using drones with heat-seeking cameras and laser pointers to pinpoint the location of wild pigs, which are then shot on the ground by hunters.
All the news that doesn't fit
• The Louisiana National Guard has not been able to handle benefit enrollment requests for same-sex couples due to wording in the state constitution — despite a new federal law that allows same-sex couples to obtain benefits. Last week, a workaround was found: Some employees at state National Guard sites will now enjoy federal status when it comes to handling the paperwork ...
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) announced plans to make sweeping changes to the state's Office of Public Health for its oversight of Women, Infants and Children (WIC) at the beginning of 2014, after an audit released Nov. 25 showed WIC had poor oversight, was overcharged by vendors and didn't follow up with vendors whose products were expired and conditions were unsanitary. The Louisiana Legislative Auditor's office found the state was overcharged more than $600,000, and that the Office of Public Health neglected to verify grocery prices charged through the program.
De Minimis damage edition
"If you're worried about coastal restoration — if you're worried about the sustainability of this area, I wonder why you're worried about a scrape on a heart attack patient." — Louisiana "coastal czar" Garret Graves at a Nov. 21 meeting, defending the state's oil and gas industries while suggesting the blame for coastal erosion more properly lies with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The national LGBT lobbying organization Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released its second annual ranking of U.S. cities according to their gay-friendly policies, and once again New Orleans was the only Louisiana city to earn a near-top mark. The Crescent City got 91 of 100 points on HRC's "Municipal Equality Index," while Baton Rouge received only 7 points.
The Magnolia Marketplace planned at South Claiborne Avenue and Toledano Street will open in March 2015 with six national retailers
As the New Orleans City Council voted Nov. 21 to increase the sales tax by 1 percent in the shops in the planned Magnolia Marketplace shopping plaza, Central City residents voiced concern that the city's highest sales taxes will be in one of its poorest neighborhoods.
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