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Monday, April 18, 2016

The New York Times (once again) pisses off New Orleans Twitter

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 2:32 PM


Artist's conception of the corner of Magazine and Nashville Streets in the "Uptown" area of New Orleans.
  • Artist's conception of the corner of Magazine and Nashville Streets in the "Uptown" area of New Orleans.

The New York Times
loves writing about New Orleans, but the city doesn't always reciprocate the love — particularly when the writer isn't Campbell Robertson or Rick Bragg.

Whether provoked by Kalegate, a snotty dismissal of the Erin Rose's customers as dentally challenged, or a hitherto unknown faubourg of attractive young white people known as "Central City," New Orleans Twitter has been quick to snap back like an alligator, cher, when it feels our unique urban gumbo (aiiieeee!) has been dissed by the Gray Lady. 

So pity poor Florence Fabricant, who visited Kenton's recently and liked it:
A little piece of New York is thriving in New Orleans. Mani Dawes, below right, an owner of Tía Pol in Chelsea, and her husband, Sean Josephs, below left, who owns Maysville in the Flatiron district, have relocated their family to the Big Easy. Easier indeed: Ms. Dawes’s mother is there to help with babysitting. In a somewhat remote yet up-and-coming neighborhood west of the Garden District ...
The problem, as New Orleans Twitter was quick to point out, is that the corner of Magazine and Nashville streets is about as "remote" as the corner of East 86th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan (and both intersections have a Whole Foods within a block or so). In fact, Magazine and Nashville's remote yet up-and-coming neighborhood already has a name, and it's not UpGarDist or MagNash. It's, well, Uptown.

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Krewe du Vieux meets Krewe du Bernie? — and your chance to download this year's Le Monde de Merde

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 3:20 PM

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One side effect of a compressed Mardi Gras season seems to be everything happening at once — and that surely will be the case in the Faubourg Marigny Jan. 23, when the raunchy satirists of Krewe du Vieux roll through the streets just hours after a planned rally and march for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders starts in Washington Square Park. 

Organizer Lawrence Dunn says he's applied for the proper permits with the city, and neither he nor city officials saw any problem or conflict with Krewe du Vieux.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The national press performs its autopsy on Gov. Bobby Jindal's presidential campaign

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 5:35 PM

Gov. Bobby Jindal. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Bobby, we barely knew ye ... but you've got a friend at the National Review, who thought you were the best candidate in the field ...

‘A CAREENING PANDER-FEST’
The Washington Post’s Chris Cilizza comes to praise Jindal, saying that when he first spoke with gubernatorial candidate Jindal 12 years ago, “he was one of the most impressive candidates for any office that I had ever met.” Cilizza also calls him “a guy with real policy chops and, unlike many policy-oriented elected officials, a nuanced understanding of politics” — and then Cilizza buries him: “The presidential campaign Jindal actually ran, which ended Tuesday, was the opposite of the one I — and lots and lots of other political types — thought he would: It was a careening pander-fest in which Jindal chased news cycles relentlessly by seemingly trying to make the most outlandish and over-the-top statement possible to stand out.” ...

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

More layoffs at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 12:45 PM

In June 2012, newly minted Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Mathews announced the paper was here to stay.  The paper fired more than 200 employees that year. Today, managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune met with the remaining employees, firing 28 full-time and nine part-time "content staffers."
  • In June 2012, newly minted Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Mathews announced the paper was here to stay. The paper fired more than 200 employees that year. Today, managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune met with the remaining employees, firing 28 full-time and nine part-time "content staffers."


Managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune carried off an expected round of layoffs this morning, firing some of the paper's longest-serving reporters alongside more recent hires. In a statement released after the firings, NOLA Media Group President Ricky Mathews said the firings included "28 full time and nine part time content staffers," or "21 percent of the overall content operation's full-time employees."

James Varney, whose career spanned nearly 26 years at The Times-Picayune, was among those fired, as was Paul Purpura, who began at the paper in 1999 and worked a variety of beats in his 16-year tenure. John Pope, whose career began at the old States-Item in 1972, no longer will be a staff writer, but will continue to contribute to the paper.

Andy Grimm, who was hired away from the Chicago Tribune to cover federal courts, also was let go, as were reporter Ben Myers and graphics reporter/editor Dan Swenson. Benjamin Alexander Bloch, who covered coastal parishes and the Gulf of Mexico, was fired, as was Dinah Rogers, the paper's assistant photo editor and a 24-year employee.

Music writer Alison Fensterstock, a former Gambit music columnist, was let go, as well as Cate Root, who posted about events around town and covered the city's burgeoning comedy scene. David Lee Simmons, a former Gambit staffer who covered the entertainment scene, also was fired. 

Lyons Yellin of Gambit's TV partner WWL-TV reported that "almost all" the prep sports staff was let go.

Several sources said that the sackings were carried out in offices on a lower floor of One Canal Place, rather than in the newsroom. 

Mathews was quoted as saying:

"It's a difficult day for us and our colleagues who are losing their jobs. We wish them the very best. Aligning our costs with the business realities faced by media organizations around the country is a tough challenge. But it's also important for our readers to know that we remain the largest and most experienced news staff, and the most widely read newspaper and website in the area."

The cuts were not unexpected. In June, Advance Publications, which owns NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, indicated that NOLA Media Group would be merging with the company's Alabama Media Group to form a "Southeast Regional Media Group" (later renamed "Advance Media Southeast"). Two days later, managers met with employees to talk about the company's future. "They're being pretty upfront about the fact there will be layoffs," one reporter told Gambit at the time. A report from Alabama mentioned that the company would be finding "operational efficiencies" within the merged companies. ("Unlike the last major round of cuts," Gambit reported then, "sports, arts and feature reporters also are at risk in this round of cuts.")

Since then, reporter Adriane Quinlan left in July, moving to Atlanta, while Rebecca Catalanello — whose series on abuse and neglect at New Bethany Home for Girls received national praise — left the paper earlier this month, taking a job as Assistant Director of Publications and Communications at the University of New Orleans. Grace Wilson, the website's "Community Engagement Specialist for Entertainment," left in August. Earlier this month, longtime Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss stepped down to take a role as editor-at-large for Advance Digital, the Internet arm of owner Advance Publications. The new editor is Mark Lorando, former state and metro editor of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.

In 2012, the paper was thrown into tumult when The New York Times reported it soon would be going to a three-day-per-week production schedule, catching Times-Picayune employees by surprise. The company subsequently fired more than 200 people, 84 of whom worked in the newsroom, as it underwent what it called the "digital transition." At the time, Amoss promised, "We will continue to have by far the most complete and the most formidable news-gathering muscle in this community, and readers will just have to hold us accountable to that promise that I'm making."

This is a developing story.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Chicago Tribune columnist wishes for a "Hurricane Katrina" to clean up Chicago

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 7:39 PM


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Well, that was a shitstorm — and we're not talking about the first few minutes of the New Orleans Saints' preseason game. A member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board is wishing for a "Hurricane Katrina" to strike and help clean up what she sees as her own corrupt city.

Kristen McQueary, who is an actual member of the Chicago Tribune's actual editorial board, met with Mayor Mitch Landrieu and somehow came away with the notion — well, I'm not sure what's more wrongheaded, that Katrina "fixed" things in New Orleans or that a Chicagoan would want the people of Chicago to go through something similar:

Envy isn't a rational response to the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

But with Aug. 29 fast approaching and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu making media rounds, including at the Tribune Editorial Board, I find myself wishing for a storm in Chicago — an unpredictable, haughty, devastating swirl of fury. A dramatic levee break. Geysers bursting through manhole covers. A sleeping city, forced onto the rooftops.

Apparently it takes a Katrina (or, more accurately, a federal levee disaster) to clean up what McQueary calls Chicago's "rot." Not surprisingly, social media is going nuts in both cities. Is McQueary a troll, a cheap provocateur or just ... I dunno?

I've invited her to discuss the column over coffee when I'm in Chicago in early September. So: what about it, Kristen? I'm buying. I'll bring you beignet mix.

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Friday, August 7, 2015

John Georges: "I’m not planning to run, but I’m not saying I’m not running" for Louisiana governor

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 11:43 AM

John Georges.
  • John Georges.
Businessman John Georges, who bought the Baton Rouge Advocate in 2013 and subsequently expanded the paper into New Orleans and Acadiana, announced last weekend he would step down as the paper’s publisher in September, naming the newspaper’s general manager and COO Dan Shea as the paper’s incoming publisher.

The move raised speculation that Georges may run for Louisiana governor, as he did in 2007, since the publisher changeover will happen shortly before qualifying in the statewide elections. Shea officially will become publisher on Sept. 1; qualifying for the Oct. 24 primary is Sept. 8-10.

“I’m flattered by the attention, but a lot of this is a coincidence,” Georges told Gambit, adding that he had discussed passing the publishing torch with Shea a year ago. “Is there a scenario I would run? Sure. I’m monitoring it, but I don't know under what scenario I would run.”

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More staff cuts ahead for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 5:06 PM

Three years ago today, newly minted Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Mathews took the paper's front page to announce the paper was here to stay. This week, managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune are meeting with employees, warning of another round of layoffs to take place in the next six months.
  • Three years ago today, newly minted Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Mathews took the paper's front page to announce the paper was here to stay. This week, managers at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune are meeting with employees, warning of another round of layoffs to take place in the next six months.


Two days after executives at NOLA Media Group, publisher of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, announced the company would be merging with the Alabama Media Group to form a new "Southeast Regional Media Group," managers at the media company's offices in One Canal Place met with reporters to announce the newsroom would shrink — again.

"They're being pretty upfront about the fact there will be layoffs," said one newsroom staffer. Another joked grimly that it may be "2012 redux" — referring to the firings of some 200 Times-Picayune employees in 2012, a move which riled the city for months and made national news, complete with a report on 60 Minutes.

Director of State and Metro Content Mark Lorando spent part of today and yesterday meeting with small groups within the paper, several people told Gambit. Lorando described layoffs as "deep" to one employee.

The restructuring is scheduled to take place in the latter half of 2015 and be complete by early 2016, said sources with knowledge of the plan.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jindal's New York Times op-ed on same-sex marriage garners plenty of attention — and rumblings of a boycott

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 11:17 AM

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Gov. Bobby Jindal is fond of putting his name to op-ed pieces in many national publications, but his guest editorial in this morning's New York Times ("Bobby Jindal: I’m Holding Firm Against Gay Marriage") has already garnered more attention than most.

As the state legislature battles with a projected $1.6 billion budget shortfall and LSU announces it's preparing a preliminary bankruptcy plan, Jindal chose to double down, triple down, quadruple quintuple down on same-sex marriage, conflating "big business and the radical left," accusing corporations of "bullying our state," and slamming Hollywood (and, by extension, Hollywood South).

"Hollywood and the media elite are hostile to our values and they tip the scales to our liberal opponents at every opportunity," Jindal wrote, not explaining why the state continues to give away millions of dollars in film tax credits to "people hostile to our values." 

(Meanwhile, just yesterday the governor was wishing Hollywood and the media elite a happy birthday.)

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The timing was odd, considering a Washington Post/ABC News poll released this morning showed support for same-sex marriage among Americans at an all-time high (61 percent) — while a Quinnipiac poll of likely GOP voters found Jindal's support for the 2016 presidential nomination sitting at a firm 1 percent.

Below the cut: a sampling of social media reaction to Jindal's op-ed  ...


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Monday, March 16, 2015

New Orleans native Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, talks about his 40-year career in newspapers

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 10:04 PM

Dean Baquet (left), executive editor of The New York Times, was interviewed by WVUE-TV's Lee Zurik tonight at Loyola University. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • Dean Baquet (left), executive editor of The New York Times, was interviewed by WVUE-TV's Lee Zurik tonight at Loyola University.

Dean Baquet, the New Orleans native who rose from The New Orleans States-Item to become executive editor of The New York Times, was the speaker tonight at the 6th annual Ed Renwick Lecture Series at Loyola University, which packed the university's Nunemaker Hall with a crowd of students, faculty and a good number of local journalists, many of whom worked with Baquet at The Times-Picayune.

"My life is a story about what's wrong with New Orleans and what's so great about it," Baquet said, mentioning that he came up as the son of a Treme bar owner duriing a time when New Orleans largely was segregated. "I don't remember being outside Treme except when my father would go to the French Quarter to buy cigarettes for his bar. I don't recall going Uptown or any place beyond Canal Street when I was a teenager." (The current generation of the Baquet family owns Li'l Dizzy's Cafe in Treme, and Dean Baquet's brother, Terry Baquet, is a top editor at The Times-Picayune.)

Baquet, who has covered politicians from former Gov. Edwin Edwards to President Bill Clinton, said his first exposure to the world of politics came when he was a student at St. Augustine High School. Then-Gov. John McKeithen spoke to his class, which left a negative impression, but it was a speech by then-Mayor Moon Landrieu in the St. Aug schoolyard that stuck with him. 

He enrolled in New York's Columbia University and came home to New Orleans during his sophomore year, homesick. "I walked into the newsroom of the States-Item almost 40 years ago. I was lost, unsure, I was a sophomore at Columbia University with intense but scattered reading habits, making B's and C's."

He stayed, because "somewhere in there I picked up a relentless ambition that has pushed me to this day."

His biggest lesson? "Everyone has a story if you just listen and shut up."

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Gov. Bobby Jindal meets the press — and it doesn't go well

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 10:46 AM

Gov. Bobby Jindal's appearance on Morning Joe  was the capper on a week of disastrous profiles, skeptical reporters and bad economic news. - SCREENCAP FROM MSNBC
  • SCREENCAP FROM MSNBC
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal's appearance on Morning Joe was the capper on a week of disastrous profiles, skeptical reporters and bad economic news.


When you’re running for president, you have to do a lot of things you’d rather not do. Tops on that list if you’re Bobby Jindal is talking to the press, something he’s been loath to do during his seven-plus years as Louisiana’s governor. Because Jindal is officially contemplating a run for president next year (in truth, he can’t wait to run), he met a room of skeptical reporters at a Washington, D.C., breakfast earlier this week to start rolling out his policy bona fides.

By all accounts, it did not go well.

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