Saturday, August 19, 2017

Massive crowd in New Orleans marches against white supremacy and in solidarity with Charlottesville

Posted By on Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 7:00 PM

Large crowds filled Decatur Street in front of Jackson Square and on the steps across the street. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Large crowds filled Decatur Street in front of Jackson Square and on the steps across the street.

As temperatures reached above 100 degrees, Nana Anoa Nantambu sang from a microphone to a growing crowd at Congo Square. Hundreds of people sang along as she led them through "we're gonna stand" and replaced "this little light of mine" with "standing for justice and freedom."

Rev. Marie Galatas asked the crowd to bow its head and pray in silence for Heather Heyer, the woman killed by in Charlottesville, Virginia, during protests against neo-Nazis and fascists rallying in the city to support a Robert E. Lee monument.

On Aug 19, hundreds of people in New Orleans gathered to honor Heyer and victims of attacks in Charlottesville and also challenge city leaders to reconsider Jim Crow-era landmarks with a renewed call for their removal, particularly as the city begins to celebrate its tricentennial. Take 'Em Down NOLA — the latest incarnation of local activists and civil rights advocates demanding the removal of Confederate monuments — organized the Charlottesville solidarity march from Congo Square in Armstrong Park to Jackson Square.

"To the people of Charlottesville, we stand with them," said Take 'Em Down NOLA organizer Malcolm Suber from the steps across from Jackson Square, "and we stand against oppression, we stand against exploitation, and we stand against racism."

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Cedric Richmond on Steve Bannon's departure from the White House

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 5:16 PM

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. - CREATIVE COMMONS/MICHAEL VADON
  • Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, who heads the Congressional Black Caucus, issued this statement today on the departure of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon (who was, according to President Donald Trump's administration, not fired):
"Firing Steve Bannon is not enough because the issue of him working in the White House has never only been about him. It's also been about the racist and discriminatory policies he's helped draft and implement which hurt African Americans and other communities or color. So yes, Bannon needs to go — as do other white supremacists working in this Administration — but the policies need to go too."
Bannon immediately returned to working for Breitbart News, according to the website, where he will serve as executive chairman.

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Terminator 2: Judgement Day returns to theaters in 3-D

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 5:06 PM


Iconic 1991 sci-fi epic Terminator 2: Judgement Day has been converted to 3-D by its director, James Cameron, and will open locally at the Elmwood Palace theater next Friday, Aug. 25. As part of the 3-D process, the film was given a full 4K restoration, which will also make a big difference for future non-3-D home viewings. The difference is obvious even on your laptop or phone — check out the trailer below.

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Review: Logan Lucky

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 3:54 PM


It seemed a huge loss when writer-director Steven Soderbergh announced his retirement from filmmaking at age 50 in 2013. Soderbergh played a major role in establishing a new era of American independent film through his groundbreaking 1989 debut feature Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Over the next 24 years, he made little-seen masterpieces (The Limey), brave experimental films (Schizopolis) and beautifully crafted Hollywood blockbusters (Ocean’s Eleven).

Soderbergh’s career reached an almost absurd level of success in 2000, when he made Traffic and Erin Brockovich. Both films earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, meaning Soderbergh competed with himself in two major Oscar categories. (He won Best Director for Traffic.) Even more impressive is Soderbergh’s Extension 765 website, where he manages to post illegal homemade mashups and re-edits of classic movies directed by other people. What’s not to love about Steven Soderbergh?

Those who follow his career were not surprised to find Soderbergh’s retirement involved creating innovative television like Cinemax’s The Knick — especially since his exasperation with Hollywood was a major factor in what now must be called a hiatus. Soderbergh’s return to feature filmmaking is Logan Lucky, a near-perfect blast of summer entertainment the director made outside the Hollywood studio system. He pioneered new ways to retain creative control of his film (and its marketing campaign) while successfully tapping into a wide theatrical distribution network that long has been the primary benefit of that system.

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Ogden hosts eclipse-viewing party Aug. 21

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 3:28 PM


Ogden Museum of Southern Art will host an eclipse-viewing party Aug. 21. (No matter what it seems like, it's just a celestial phenomenon, not a sign of the end times.)

On Monday, patrons can view the eclipse from the museum's rooftop terrace from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Water and soft drinks are sold and the La Cocinita food truck will park in front of the museum for post-event snacks. Eclipse glasses are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission to the event is $6.75; museum members get in free.

New Orleans will only witness partial effects of the eclipse, as opposed to the so-called "totality" experienced elsewhere. If you're in the mood for a last-minute road trip, here's a list of the best places where you might catch the event. Also recommended: Annie Dillard's mind-blowing essay about witnessing a total eclipse, which is available online through Monday.

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Mayor Sisyphus and his legacy

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 2:11 PM

"Sisyphus," Franz von Stuck
  • "Sisyphus," Franz von Stuck

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s legacy always was destined to be a mixture of successes and failures. Such is the fate of all mayors, though history seemed likely to paint Landrieu in mostly positive hues — until recently. The Aug. 5 flood and revelations of systemic dysfunction at the Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) now threaten to overshadow Landrieu’s accomplishments as mayor.

Which is why he’s working overtime to whip the S&WB (and his legacy) into shape before he leaves office next May 7.

Given the almost daily dose of bad news about S&WB operations and infrastructure problems, Landrieu has a Sisyphean task. That we’re now in the peak of hurricane season raises the stakes for everyone.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

New Orleans City Council approves $34 million drainage budget after August flooding

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 6:55 PM

Street flooding in New Orleans Aug. 5. - PHOTO BY WILL COVIELLO
  • Street flooding in New Orleans Aug. 5.

The New Orleans City Council has approved nearly $34 million to cover drainage repair and flood response in the wake of August flooding and systemic failures throughout the Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB) and Department of Public Works (DPW). That $34 million includes $22 million for repairs through DPW and $11.9 from the general fund to target drainage and bulk up future flood prevention.

But members of the Council dodged a vote to approve two new appointments to the S&WB without assurance from City Hall that they're qualified, particularly after the last several days of dysfunction.

More than $14 million from bond funding already is budgeted for catch basin and drainage repair. Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration requested $11.9 million from the general fund, including $7.8 million for emergency drainage repairs, $650,000 for alarm systems and warning signals, $3 million for Homeland Security readiness, and $500,000 for a so-called "after-action" report to determine what went wrong throughout the city's S&WB system before, during and after Aug. 5 floods. Landrieu opened a request for proposals for that report Aug. 15.

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Editorial: After Charlottesville

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 6:09 PM

Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017. - CREATIVE COMMONS/ANTHONY CRIDER
  • Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017.

Watching the images and hearing the words out of Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend was depressing, sickening, infuriating — and necessary. Necessary because the country got a good look at the people who call themselves the “alt-right,” which is their sanitized term for neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Klansmen and other haters who feel emboldened in America today. It’s also necessary because some of them are planning similar rallies in Boston, San Francisco and elsewhere in the coming days and weeks.

Some of the malefactors who caused harm in Charlottesville also were in New Orleans during the weeks surrounding the hotly contested removal of four Confederate monuments. It’s easy to say New Orleans was lucky it didn’t have the chaos and death that marked Charlottesville, but it was more than luck. It was planning.

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Rene Brunet Jr., theater owner and passionate film enthusiast, dies at 95

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 5:51 PM

Rene Brunet, proprietor of the Prytania Theater, photographed in the theater's projection room in 2014. - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • Rene Brunet, proprietor of the Prytania Theater, photographed in the theater's projection room in 2014.

Rene Brunet Jr., who spent his life running New Orleans movie houses, was a familiar face at the Prytania Theatre, which he bought in 1996. Brunet died Thursday. He was 95.

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New Louisiana Children's Museum facility breaks ground in City Park this month

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 3:05 PM

An aerial rendering of the new Louisiana Children's Museum facility in City Park, which breaks ground this month. - IMAGE BY MITHUN
  • An aerial rendering of the new Louisiana Children's Museum facility in City Park, which breaks ground this month.

This month, the Louisiana Children’s Museum (LCM) officially breaks ground on its new home in City Park, with ambitious plans to offer ground-breaking programming to improve child welfare in New Orleans.

“Our focus on interactive learning and play remains the same,” says Julia Bland, CEO of LCM. “Another big focus is on parent education. It’s the adults that make the decisions … and to be able to help parents in their most important role as their child’s first teacher is exciting.”

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