Thursday, May 25, 2017

After 13 years, DJ Soul Sister closes out her weekly Saturday night dance party

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 4:30 PM

DJ Soul Sister's weekly Hustle dance party at Hi-Ho Lounge ends May 27.
  • DJ Soul Sister's weekly Hustle dance party at Hi-Ho Lounge ends May 27.
After more than a decade of dance parties set to rare groove and addictive funk and soul pulled from a seemingly infinite stash of vinyl records, DJ Soul Sister's popular Saturday night dance party will no longer be held on a weekly basis.

"I might change my mind in a couple years, but right now, every Saturday is out," she says. "I'm not afraid of change and this is what it is."

Hustle — Melissa Weber's nearly 13-year-old Saturday night dance party — will hold its last weekly edition May 27 with guest DJ Mannie Fresh. It's also the show's 13th anniversary. "Now it's going to be serving two purposes," Weber says.

Hustle will return as a semi-regular event, beginning 11 p.m. Saturday, June 24 at The Orpheum Theater's below-ground space The Ice Pit. Weber also will preside over a monthly "Soulful Takeover" show beginning Friday, July 7 at One Eyed Jacks.

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Remembering Bill Broadhurst: The lion who never roared

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 3:15 PM

Bill Broadhurst, the longtime Louisiana political strategist who died May 22 at 77.
  • Bill Broadhurst, the longtime Louisiana political strategist who died May 22 at 77.

The old political lions are leaving us, one by one. Each one’s passing leaves a void that cannot be filled — and reminds us that we won’t see their kind again. We lost another lion on May 22 when attorney, consultant, political strategist and lobbyist Bill Broadhurst died at his home in Crowley. He was 77.

In addition to the many hats Billy wore so well, he was also my friend. As a political insider, he taught me a great deal about Louisiana politics. As a trusted friend, he taught me just as much about life.

In the end, we both learned that the lessons of politics truly are the lessons of life, because the same things matter in both arenas: relationships; respect; trust; honor; loyalty.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Minimum wage bill killed in state Senate Finance Committee

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 4:36 PM


The state Senate Finance Committee, buttressed by warnings that any mandated increase in the state minimum wage could cost jobs, today killed a bill that would have raised the state’s minimum wage from the federal minimum of $7.25 to $8 in 2018, and to $8.50 in 2019. The vote was 7-3.

Washington, D.C. and 28 other states have a minimum wager higher than the federal minimum of $7.25. Only three have a lower employment rate than Louisiana, according to Louisiana Budget Project Director Jan Moller. States must at least match the federal minimum.
Both the debate and the voting on Senate Bill 153 by state Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, fell along party lines. Most Republicans argued businesses will make up for the increased expense by eliminating low-wage jobs or raising the cost of products.

“Instead of trying to raise the wage that could drive jobs away, we should be focusing on our economy,” state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, said. “If you raise the minimum wage, you might be jeopardizing those very jobs that earn that $7.25.”

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Editorial: Anybody here seen our old friend John (Kennedy)?

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 2:20 PM

  • Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

Shortly after taking office in January, U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy told The New York Times, “There’s this feeling among many in America that it’s harder than ever to get ahead in our country, that it’s easier than ever to do nothing. There’s a feeling that the people in Washington don’t listen and they don’t care. ... And they want something done about it. They’re entitled to be listened to and heard.”

We agree, which is why we’re puzzled that it’s so difficult for constituents to catch Kennedy’s ear these days. Consider this:
During Senate recesses in February and April, Kennedy held no town hall meetings in Louisiana — unlike Sen. Bill Cassidy, who met constituents (and braved some fury) in Metairie in February. Unhappy with Kennedy’s seeming unwillingness to meet the public, constituents held a protest on the steps of the Hale Boggs Federal Building in March (with Kennedy’s face on a “missing” milk carton) and another in April at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, where voters asked questions of an effigy of the senator. A similar gathering was held in Baton Rouge on the LSU campus that month.

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State Senate rejects expanding domestic abuse protections to same-sex couples

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 1:41 PM


The state’s domestic abuse laws will continue to exclude same-sex couples after a bill to extend the law’s protections failed in a 17-14 Senate vote. But the measure may not be dead.

House Bill 27 by State Rep. Patrick Connick, R-Marrero, proposed striking “of the opposite sex” from the law’s definition of a household member to extend domestic abuse protections — such as sentencing enhancements for abusers and greater protections for victims — to same-sex couples. Currently the law only applies to married couples, whether same-sex or heterosexual, and heterosexual couples who are cohabiting.

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New Orleans Wine & Food Experience highlights, Grand Tasting moves to riverfront

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 1:40 PM

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience takes place May 25-28. - COURTESY NOWFE
  • The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience takes place May 25-28.

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is this weekend (May 25-28), and it features more than 1,000 wines from more than 100 wineries and food from more than 75 New Orleans’ chefs.

Kicking off the festival’s 25th year on Thursday (May 25) are a host of wine dinners at restaurants throughout the city. This year, 25 restaurants, work with winemakers and wine reps to serve prix-fix dinners accompanied by wine pairings.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Landrieu: New Orleans is "fully compliant" under Jeff Sessions' "sanctuary" definition

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 5:56 PM

New Orleanians marched against President Donald Trump's immigration orders in January. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • New Orleanians marched against President Donald Trump's immigration orders in January.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said New Orleans "is not and has never been a sanctuary city" following a memo from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that clarifies President Donald Trump's executive order to crack down on so-called "sanctuary" policies prohibiting local cops from working with federal immigration authorities. Sessions' definition of "sanctuary" policies appears to keep New Orleans out of federal scrutiny, for now.

"It appears that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security heard the call from mayors and police chiefs — that our local police should be focused on fighting violent crime and building trust with the communities they serve,” Landrieu said in a statement.

Landrieu has repeatedly ensured New Orleans' compliance with the feds in regards to people living in the country illegally — the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), under a federal consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice, does not ask about an individual's immigration status, but the department is not explicitly prohibited from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Landrieu sent a letter to Sessions last month detailing NOPD's policies and urging the feds to "stay focused on the real problem and stop scapegoating the immigrant communities and cities."

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Preview of works by Prospect.4 artists

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 3:04 PM

  • Courtesy of the artist and Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles
  • White Rain, 2017, by Genevieve Gaignard.

Prospect.4 Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker announced the names of the 73 artists selected for the exhibition opening Nov. 18 and running through Feb. 25, 2018. There's work by artists from around the globe, as well as some collages by Louis Armstrong. Yoko Ono also has work in the show. Works and installations will be on view at 17 museums, galleries, venues and public spaces around new Orleans.

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Prospect.4 artists announced, Trevor Schoonmaker previews expo

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 2:12 PM

Artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker previews Prospect.4 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. - PHOTO BY J CALDWELL
  • Artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker previews Prospect.4 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Prospect.4, the fourth installment of the international contemporary art expo founded by Dan Cameron, opens Nov. 18 and runs through Feb. 25, 2018. Trevor Schoonmaker, the head curator at Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art is the artistic director of Prospect.4. He released the names of 73 artists selected for the triennial and previewed the expo in remarks at the Ogden Museum for Southern Art Tuesday.

Schoonmaker titled the expo "The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp," a phrase he says was inspired by jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp, who said jazz is the lotus in spite of the swamp. "The title is the metaphor of the lotus flower," Schoonmaker says. "That is a beautiful flower that rises through the swamp. It's about the ability to rise above one's circumstances. ... Art brings the invisible to light."

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Bill on domestic violence protections for 'dating partners' moves to full state Senate

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 1:40 PM

State Rep. Helena Moreno.
  • State Rep. Helena Moreno.

A Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee favorably dispatched a bill to the full Senate for final debate Tuesday that would provide dating partners the same protection afforded spouses.

Dating partners involved in domestic abuse cases only can be charged with simple battery under current law. Domestic abuse battery carries more severe penalties. Louisiana is one of nine states where domestic abuse law does not recognize dating partners and does not allow the same protection as spouses.
House Bill 223, by State Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans, creates a new section of law for dating partners, which is the same as the domestic spousal abuse law, except it does not ban the guilty dating partner from owning a firearm for 10 years.

The presence of a firearm in an abusive relationship increases the chances of a homicide by about 500 percent, according to the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Moreno’s bill would trigger a federal ban on firearm possession for more intense acts of violence, such as burning or strangling the victim, or for repeat offenders.

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