New Orleans Life

Monday, March 20, 2017

Y@ Speak: driving out the snakes

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 6:30 PM

If someone didn't crawl through your bedroom window and ask to use the bathroom or pass out in front of your door wearing a green plastic hat, did St. Patrick's Day even really happen? After five million years of frat-level-wasted tourist amateur hour, we get to everyone's favorite time of year: caterpillar season. But first, let's look back at a week of some local internet stuff:

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Y@ Speak: too lit

Posted By on Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 6:56 PM

You know what they say: There are two types of people in this world — people who throw eggs at tow trucks, and people who aren't heroes.

Also this week: health care, the Saints, people at Buku who are overwhelmingly lit, and now-former U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite's perfect Friday reference.

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New pothole solution? Call an anarchist

Posted By on Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 4:16 PM

Workers are busy repairing this pothole on Stafford Place in Lakeview. - SHARESSA G.
  • SHARESSA G.
  • Workers are busy repairing this pothole on Stafford Place in Lakeview.

New Orleans has tried the city's two official "pothole killers," the Pimp My Pothole program and stuffing potholes with Mardi Gras beads. In England, an artist called Wanksy paints penises around potholes in an effort to get local government to speed up the repair process.

Now Portland, Oregon is trying another method: Portland Anarchist Road Care.

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Luck of the Irish keeps rain away at Irish Channel parade (slideshow)

Posted By on Sat, Mar 11, 2017 at 6:57 PM



A rainy forecast caused organizers to push back the start time for Saturday's Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day parade, but there were only a few sprinkles as marchers made their annual stumble down Magazine Street.

Featured this year: seemingly half the city's men in kilts and ill-fitting tailcoats, obligatory bagpipes, Irish dancers, a Braveheart-themed marching group and floats that loosely honored movies and pop culture; plus the usual medley of absurd handouts and throws (lacy panties, Irish Spring soap, St. Patrick's Day beads, boxes of Lucky Charms, instant ramen noodles, Cheetos, potatoes, red bell peppers, carrots and cabbage).

If you missed today's parade, don't worry — another week of St. Patrick's Day events is in store in the city.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Transgender community offers policy changes to city officials and NOPD

Posted By on Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 9:30 PM

Jada Mercedes Cardona, left, leads a town hall meeting March 10 with New Orleans City Councilmembers Jason Williams and LaToya Canttell with NOPD's LGBT liaison Frank Robertson.
  • Jada Mercedes Cardona, left, leads a town hall meeting March 10 with New Orleans City Councilmembers Jason Williams and LaToya Canttell with NOPD's LGBT liaison Frank Robertson.

Jada Mercedes Cardona knew at 4 years old. "It felt right. I ran to my mom to tell her what I discovered, and what was going to happen now?" Cardona told a crowd at First Unitarian Universalist Church. "Instead of being received with hugs, kisses, understanding and love, I got beaten, and made to proclaim, several times, that I would never repeat those words to anyone again."

Cardona began transitioning at age 35, after living as a gay man, and was tortured by low self-esteem and "a cycle of hate I still struggle with today" — an "internalized oppression," she said, "so much so that you can't see anything good about yourself."

"Living in one's truth isn't easy," Cardona said.  "I lost everything from living in my truth."

Cardona founded the transgender advocacy group Transitions Louisiana, which hosted a town hall meeting March 10 following the recent deaths of three transgender women in Louisiana — including two people in New Orleans — after one of the most deadly years for transgender people in the U.S.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Concerts for Indigent Defense to put spotlight on Louisiana's public defense crisis

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 7:16 PM

New Orleans' Chief District Defender Derwyn Bunton. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • New Orleans' Chief District Defender Derwyn Bunton.
March 18 is the 54th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, a landmark ruling guaranteeing the right to counsel for defendants who can't afford an attorney. But public defense for the indigent in Louisiana — which relies on fines and fees to fund its public defenders — has been at the center of a "constitutional crisis" in which caseloads overwhelm under-funded and under-staffed offices, halting many cases altogether while the state struggles with a perpetual budget mess. A recent lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center takes aim at the state's public defense services.

"Without adequate representation, there is no justice," New Orleans Chief Defender Derwyn Bunton said in a statement. "Our entire system fails and poor people are the ones hurt the most.”

New Orleans, appropriately, will host the first event in a planned series of national concerts to raise awareness of the right to counsel and the crises faced by public defenders offices nationwide. The New Orleans installment of Concerts for Indigent Defense features the Original Pinettes Brass Band, Zena Moses and Rue Fiya, Junko Beat (also featuring Orleans Public Defender Will Snowden), Caren Green, Mystic Beez, Casme, Britney Chaunte, Dedrick West, K.Levy, Justin Parker and others. In conjunction with the anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the concert begins 5 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at WonderLand Production Studios (3233 St. Bernard Ave.). The concert also will be streamed on its website.

"The Supreme Court says you have a fundamental constitutional right to have a lawyer, and yet state after state, if you're poor and accused of a crime, you often don't have access to a decent lawyer at all," says event founder Stephen Saloom. "If you do, it’s not in a timely fashion. When they represent you they are often overwhelmed by a caseload that nobody thinks is appropriate."

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Y@ Speak: #RexComus 2017

Posted By on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 6:55 PM


Only 305 days until Carnival 2018 begins. You will probably start making your costume in 343 days. We're now in that rare pre-festival season no man's land. Enjoy it while it lasts. Here are some #RexComus highlights (and a drinking game), plus a few other things people managed to write online after Tuesday.

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Friday, March 3, 2017

Town hall on transgender violence follows recent murders in Louisiana

Posted By on Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 6:00 PM

A memorial during 2016's Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience in Armstrong Park.
  • A memorial during 2016's Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience in Armstrong Park.

Following the deaths of Ciara McElveen and Chyna Gibson in New Orleans and Jaquarrius Holland in Monroe, advocacy group Transitions Louisiana will host a town hall on transgender violence next week. The meeting is 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Friday, March 10 at First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans (2903 Jefferson Ave.). NOPD's LGBT liaison Sgt.​ Frank Robertson and At-Large City Councilmember Jason Williams also will be present. The violence in 2017 follows two of the deadliest years for transgender people in the U.S., including several deaths in Louisiana.

"This is a crucial moment in New Orleans and ​in ​the country itself," Transitions Louisiana Executive Director J. Mercedes Cardona told Gambit.

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Local artisans Mark and Ann-Marie Derby get national spotlight on Handcrafted America

Posted By on Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Mark Derby of Derby Pottery & Tile demonstrates how he casts his handmade tiles in front of the Handcrafted America film crew. - COURTESY OF SIMONE MCDOWELL OF INSP
  • Courtesy of Simone McDowell of INSP
  • Mark Derby of Derby Pottery & Tile demonstrates how he casts his handmade tiles in front of the Handcrafted America film crew.

Handcrafted America is a cable TV show dedicated to showcasing artisans around the country that still make things the old-fashioned way, by hand. Each episode features three artisans that are arguably the best in their trade, interviewed by host Jill Wagner in their own workspaces. Wagner takes an immense pride in introducing viewers to the makers of crafts mundane (brooms) and elaborate (chess sets hand carved from Hawaiian Koa wood).

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sidney Torres does The Deed tonight on CNBC

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 1:16 PM

Sidney Torres, seen here in thoughtful repose, stars in The Deed, which premieres tonight on CNBC. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Sidney Torres, seen here in thoughtful repose, stars in The Deed, which premieres tonight on CNBC.

Developer/trash magnate/local celebrity Sidney Torres' new TV show, The Deed, premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on CNBC. According to the network, it's an "unflinching look at how fortunes are really made in the unpredictable and cutthroat world of real estate flipping and development." (It's also only four episodes, so no big commitment.)

Two things to do while you're waiting: read Gambit's cover story on Torres from June 2016 ("Is this your next mayor?") and let Sid teach you how to renovate a bathroom (below). Here's how he does it (from our cover story):
Dodging plastic sheets descending from the ceiling and piles of wood, tools and extension cords on the floor, Torres arrives in the master bathroom, which is encased in marble sourced from a quarry on the Tuscan coast of Italy near Forte dei Marmi, where a waiting list including Saudi princes queues for slivers of its ancient white stone. It's a painstaking process that begins with carving the rock, injecting a block of marble with epoxy and letting it sit for three days before it's cut into slabs revealing butterfly-like patterns. Then it's covered in another epoxy, placed on an oven rack for eight hours, polished and repolished to a pristine finish.

  Torres had it cut into a bathtub.

  "You can sit like Tony Montana and look at the TV," he says. "Remember that? Scarface?"


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