New Orleans Life

Monday, March 27, 2017

Y@ Speak: briefly

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Before we enter the fifth season (Festival), we prepare the trinity: Disaster capitalism, football stuff and Ken Polite dancing his way out of court. Also this week: Most of New Orleans didn't vote, and Louisiana's members of Congress were first in line to console the president.

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After more than 200 drug-related deaths in 2016, New Orleans Coroner says city "in the midst of an accelerating public health crisis"

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 12:21 PM

A naloxone kit of the kind carried by first responders. The antidote comes pre-measured in a
single-dose syringe that is easily converted into an inhaler, which allows for safe,
easy intranasal administration. - PHOTO BY DORA SISON
  • Photo by Dora Sison
  • A naloxone kit of the kind carried by first responders. The antidote comes pre-measured in a single-dose syringe that is easily converted into an inhaler, which allows for safe, easy intranasal administration.

More than 200 people died from drug-related causes in 2016, more than double the number of similar deaths from 2015. Compared to 2015 deaths, the number of people who died with the synthetic opioid fentanyl in their system more than tripled.

According to a report recently released by New Orleans Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse, of last year's record 211 drug-related deaths, 166 involved opiates — compared to 81 in 2015. Forty-eight people died with fentanyl in their system. There were 13 fentanyl-related deaths in 2015, when there were 93 drug-related deaths overall.

“New Orleans is in the midst of an accelerating public health crisis of drug-related deaths, driven chiefly but not exclusively by the ongoing national opiate epidemic," Rouse said in a statement.

2016, Rouse said, was "likely the first time that drug-related deaths have surpassed homicides in the history of New Orleans."

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Harrah's blames New Orleans nonsmoking laws for drop in local revenue

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 6:58 PM

Harrah's New Orleans. - CREATIVE COMMONS/MOREBYLESS
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/MOREBYLESS
  • Harrah's New Orleans.

The smoking ban in New Orleans has driven Harrah’s customers away.

That was the argument March 21 from Caesar’s Entertainment, the global casino enterprise that owns Harrah’s New Orleans Casino & Hotel. Representatives testified to the state’s Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force a $70 million loss in gaming revenues since the parish implemented the ban two years ago.

Company president and CEO Mark Frissora, company South regional president Dan Real and task force chairman Ronnie Jones all acknowledged the correlation.

But 24 hours later, Cynthia Hallett, the president and CEO for Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, called those accusations “baseless.”

Real said Tuesday he does not expect the parish to repeal the ban, nor is the company actively lobbying against it. And Caesar’s Entertainment executive vice president of public affairs and communications Richard Broome said the company accepts the smoking ban.

“We don’t want to dwell on the smoking ban,” Broome said. “But it has had an impact on revenue. That’s incontestable.”

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Gambit TV: Entertainment picks March 24-26

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 10:01 AM

Music critic and tacoficionado Noah Bonaparte Pais makes a stop at WWL-TV to share weekend picks: another exciting series at the Music Box Village, a new documentary about house ball culture and more.


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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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