Thursday, January 31, 2013

City files motion to vacate NOPD consent decree, cites federal misconduct

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 7:36 PM

The New Orleans City Attorney's Office has filed a motion to void the New Orleans Police Department consent decree. The motion was filed late this afternoon, barely making the deadline U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan set when she signed the decree on Jan. 11.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a strong proponent of 492-point consent decree after it was unveiled last summer, recently changed course, citing the $55 million cost of implementation on top of expected costs associated with the Orleans Parish Prison consent decree, which was preliminarily approved by Judge Lance Africk on Jan. 22. The city indicated it would file a motion for relief when Morgan approved it this month.

The city's motion alleges misconduct on the part of DOJ in three areas, including the involvement of disgraced former Assistant United States Attorney Sal Perricone as a DOJ "point person" during negotiations.

Finally, the city makes a procedural argument, saying the court has denied it the right to withdraw from the consent decree, and noting that the court cannot force it to comply with a consent decree to which it does not consent.

From the city's memorandum in support:

—Failure to Disclose Costs to Fix Orleans Parish Prison (“OPP”) Until After NOPD Consent Decree Executed

With full knowledge of the City’s financial constraints, the DOJ waited until after the NOPD Consent Decree was executed to hit the City with DOJ’s estimate to implement the OPP consent decree.

—DOJ’s Designation of Sal Perricone as the U.S. Attorney’s “Point Person” During the NOPD Consent Decree Initial Investigation and Negotiations

Mr. Perricone attempted to become the Superintendent of Police during the Landrieu administration1 and his subsequent blogging related to Mayor Landrieu, Superintendent Ronal Serpas, the timeliness of the signing of the proposed consent decree, the appropriateness of a court-appointed police monitor, secondary employment (“paid details”), and the need for DOJ intrusion in the reform process. Reports have shown that Perricone was the originator of the comment that the paid detail system was the “aorta of corruption” in the NOPD.2 Such invective in a public forum by the DOJ’s representative who was engaged in the negotiations wholly undermines the integrity of the negotiation process.

—The Consent Decree’s Secondary Employment Provisions May Run Afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)

During the negotiations, the DOJ insisted upon secondary employment provisions in the Consent Decree, which is particularly interesting in light of Mr. Perricone’s extreme focus in his blogs on “paid details.” Even more interesting is the fact that the City had already demonstrated its un-waivering commitment to reforming secondary employment by instituting certain important reforms before it even began negotiations with the DOJ, and secondary employment was not related to the constitutional policing issues the Consent Decree was intended to address.

The issue of whether those provisions are FLSA compliant remained pending and unresolved on January 11, 2013, when the Court reversed course and signed the original Consent Decree which it had previously indicated that it would not sign without modification.

"The city invited DOJ to participate in the reform of NOPD. The city originally believed that DOJ would be a partner with the city to improve the NOPD. This belief no longer exists, and justifiably so," it says.

Reached by email, mayoral spokesman Ryan Berni declined to elaborate on the filing or provide further comment, writing only that the document speaks for itself.

Read the memorandum in support and check back for updates: ConsentMemo.pdf

(Details from the court filings after the jump)

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Doug and Gene Meyer's installation opens at Longue Vue

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Whether the objet d'art is a rug, a dress or an interior, if Doug and Gene Meyer designed it, it's likely to feature a graphic, jarring-yet-subtle interplay of color. "It's a real discipline," Gene says of the color selection process. "We don't like anything to look too pretty."

Doug and Gene Meyer
  • Doug and Gene Meyer

It's fitting that the multitalented brothers chose the sprawling Longue Vue House and Gardens (itself a multidisciplinary collusion of murals, landscape architecture, paintings and interior design) as the site for a retrospective installation. The opening reception is from 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31 at Longue Vue (7 Bamboo Road; 504-488-5488) and the installation will be on the site through March 31. The brothers shared a few words about color, design and what the installation holds in store for visitors.

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Beyonce: "I love haters."

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 4:40 PM

"Would you guys mind standing?"

Beyonce stepped onto the stage as an American flag graphic waved on the stage-sized screen behind her. She launched into a flawless, a capella rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," ending with, "Any questions?"

That pretty much evaporated any redundant questions about her performance at President Barack Obama's inauguration, during which she performed with a pre-recorded track to the national anthem. That reveal shocked the press, or those who doubted her talent — which Beyonce Bureau Chief Lauren LaBorde or myself would be happy to remind you is limitless.

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Film Society to screen Oscar-nominated short documentaries tonight; has nothing to do with the Super Bowl

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 3:52 PM

A temporary respite from Super Bowl madness can be found at the Prytania theater at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Thursday, January 31, as the New Orleans Film Society sponsors a one-time screening of this year's Oscar-nominated documentary shorts. The three-hour program compiles five films made by American directors and will include a much-needed intermission.

Inocente paints a vivid portrait of a talented but homeless teenage artist at the time of her first gallery show; King's Point delivers a harrowing vision of what's it's really like to live in a seniors home in Florida; Monday's at Racine explores the meaning of physical beauty in our culture through the story of a salon that opens its doors for free to female cancer patients one day each month; Open Heart tells the story of a group of children from Rwanda as they travel 2,500 miles to the Sudan for treatment at the only free pediatric heart clinic on the entire continent of Africa; Redemption presents a series of small, personal portraits of those who survive in New York City by collecting bottles and cans.

Ticket prices at $8.50 for NOFS members and $10.50 general admission. More information here.


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Feed a cop for Mardi Gras

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Local neighborhood associations and businesses, led by Gulf Coast Bank & Trust, are raising money to give a morning boost to New Orleans cops during Mardi Gras season. The program is called “Adopt A Cop Mardi Gras Breakfast” and, well, the name is pretty self-explanatory. Businesses and individuals can contribute as little as $5 toward coupons that will be used to provide hearty breakfasts to local cops on the mornings that they are called upon to work extremely long hours — most of them on their feet — during Carnival.

The program was launched after Hurricane Katrina for cops in NOPD’s Third District (Lakeview and Gentilly) by Gulf Coast Bank & Trust officer Nancy Lytle. It expanded to several other districts in recent years and this year will help cops in special NOPD divisions as well as in the districts. It includes morning meals in district stations as well as tailgates along parade routes on Sunday (“Bacchus Day”) and on Mardi Gras. Volunteers do the cooking, Lytle tells Gambit.

“The officers are on their feet all day, year after year, with very few breaks — rain, shine, cold, windy — and they work several straight days like this,” Lytle says. “This program gives everyone an opportunity, for a nominal donation, to say ‘thanks’ to the officers.”

Five-dollar coupons are available at all Gulf Coast Bank & Trust locations and at many businesses across town. Lists of participating businesses are available at NOPD district stations. For more information, call 539-7281 or email

Gambit TV: 3-Day Weekend A&E picks, Super Bowl edition

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Gambit's Kevin Allman stopped by WWL-TV's New Orleans Tonight yesterday to talk with Sheba Turk and Tamica Lee about some of the big events leading up to the Super Bowl, while Noah Bonaparte Pais did the same thing today on the WWL Eyewitness Morning News.

While many of the big parties are either invite-only or sold out, there's a four-day festival in Woldenberg Park that starts tonight, with dozens of local bands, food booths and other fun — and admission is free. Alex Woodward breaks down the schedule here.

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Here's the schedule for Super Bowl Boulevard music and food fest

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Lost Bayou Ramblers
  • Lost Bayou Ramblers

That is, Verizon's Super Bowl Boulevard, the free four-day music and food event from Super Bowl XLVII spanning Woldenberg Park from Jackson Square to Canal Street.

The festival opens tonight with the delivery of the Super Bowl XLVII numerals by barge — they'll arrive at 6:30 p.m. The music starts at 5 p.m. There's also food from 17 restaurants and vendors, all serving 50 dishes, from crab cakes and bread pudding to hot dogs from Vaucresson's Sausage Company.

Find more info about the event in Gambit, and check below for the full daily lineup.

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New Orleans bars on Spike TV's Bar Rescue

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Jon Taffer Back For Season 3
Spike Full EpisodesSpike Video ClipsSpike on Facebook

Bar Rescue is a reality show in which a veteran bar manager and consultant swoops in and tries to renovate and rescue a bar in a just a few days. The third season begins airing on Spike TV on Sunday, Feb. 10, and it features a Bourbon Street bar. The season also includes an Uptown Bar.

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Ten great moments in Beyonce history

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Downtown New Orleans is abuzz with excitement, traffic and swarms of athletes, celebrities, athlete-celebrities and media types, which means only one thing — the Beyonce concert is quickly approaching.

OK, fine. It’s the Super Bowl and Beyonce is the halftime entertainment. But for those of us who only care about cheese dips, making sure someone is DVR-ing the Puppy Bowl and that this thing ends before Girls, Sunday’s event is a Beyonce concert bookended by some large men throwing footballs around. Anderson Cooper would agree with me.

To honor this momentous occasion in which pop star royalty is in our midst and will grace us with her performance at the 2013 expensive commercial showcase — ugh, OK, the Super Bowl — here are 10 great moments in Beyonce's career.

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Review: They Call Me Baby Doll

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 9:50 AM

They Call Me Baby Doll

A photo of Baby Dolls circa 1932.
  • A photo of Baby Dolls circa 1932.

For decades, the Baby Dolls were among the more enduring mysteries of New Orleans’ African-American Carnival celebration. Women dressed in vintage baby bonnets and short, frilly skirts showing off their legs and strutting their stuff were fixtures in Zulu parades for ages, but by the 1960s they began to fade away, possibly due to emerging concerns about negative stereotypes. By then, few recalled their history or cared. In recent decades, the Baby Dolls experienced a modest revival that became more robust after Hurricane Katrina, but it took a new book, The “Baby Dolls”: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition, by Kim Marie Vaz — and this subsequent Presbytere exhibition of images, costumes and memorabilia — to finally put it all in perspective.

In Vaz’s telling, they were pioneering feminists. The first such group, the Million Dollar Baby Dolls, were not only the first all-female Mardi Gras marching society, they also played by their own rules. Founded in 1912 by black sex workers at the unofficial Uptown red-light zone in response to a Carnival celebration at the then-legal Storyville district, they reportedly decided to call themselves “baby dolls” because that’s what their pimps called them, and their little girl costumes were more revealing than anything women dared to wear on the streets at the time. Proud of their prowess, they even tossed dollar bills as throws.

The early Baby Dolls could be a raucous lot compared to their modern counterparts, as some of the older depictions made clear, even as their baby costumes cast their bawdy shenanigans in high relief. Their influence was such that they eventually spawned many “respectable” copycat groups, and in the oldest known photograph, a circa 1932 procession (pictured) there is no way to tell if they were sex workers or imitators. As with so much of this city’s history, the available historical documentation only underscores the depth of the underlying mysteries.

Through February
They Call Me Baby Doll: Mixed-media exhibition on Carnival Baby Dolls
Louisiana State Museum, Presbytere, 751 Chartres St., (504) 568-6968

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