Saturday, June 24, 2017

Former U.S. Senate candidate Maness urges veterans' groups to boycott New Orleans

Posted By on Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 4:31 PM

click image Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a candidate for the Louisiana Senate last year, suggests veterans' groups boycott New Orleans. - MOUNTAINMAN23/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a candidate for the Louisiana Senate last year, suggests veterans' groups boycott New Orleans.

Last year, Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness was running for the U.S. Senate to represent Louisiana. Today he suggested veterans boycott New Orleans, the state's largest city.

On the syndicated Lars Larson Show, which was broadcast this week from WBRP-FM in Baton Rouge, Maness said veterans' organizations should avoid holding events in New Orleans due to the controversial takedown of four Confederate-era monuments in the city.

"Don't use racism and slavery and those sort of things to attack men who were serving their countries" at the time, Maness told Larson.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: Baby Driver

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:13 PM


British writer-director Edgar Wright has built a successful career on reimagining familiar film genres. His “Cornetto Trilogy” brought fresh ideas and unexpected laughs to the zombie movie (Shaun of the Dead), the cop picture (Hot Fuzz) and the sci-fi epic (The World’s End). One key element shared by all these films is a well-chosen popular-music soundtrack that helps elevate Wright’s work above that of many of his genre-hopping peers.

None of those films set the stage for Wright’s innovative and entertaining Baby Driver. The story of a young getaway specialist trying to extricate himself from a life of crime, the film draws some inspiration from movies with classic car-chase sequences such as Bullit or The French Connection. But Baby Driver quickly moves beyond its predecessors in hopes of pioneering a new way to integrate music and film on screen.

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Review: Annie Get Your Gun

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 5:41 PM

Jason Dowies and Katie Howe star in Annie Get Your Gun. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL PALUMBO
  • Jason Dowies and Katie Howe star in Annie Get Your Gun.

For eons, women have played the weaker sex so men could feel stronger, but that ploy just never sat well with Annie Oakley (Katie Howe), a backwoods sharpshooter and subject of the 1946 musical, Annie Get Your Gun. The show’s main character, who was based on a performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, longs for attention from her competitor Frank Butler (Jason Dowies), but cannot bring herself to let him win. Throughout the musical, currently running at Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane University, Annie and Frank vie for the title of world’s best sharpshooter, a contest that quickly becomes an obstacle to their relationship.

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The Ind, once Lafayette's alt-weekly, ceases publishing

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 5:30 PM

The Independent's final print issue ran earlier this year before it moved to online-only. Today, IND Media announced the suspension of its publications.
  • The Independent's final print issue ran earlier this year before it moved to online-only. Today, IND Media announced the suspension of its publications.
The publishers of IND Media announced today the suspension of, the Lafayette-based news website that housed the former alt-weekly and alt-monthly newspaper The Independent, which went online-only earlier this year. Publisher Cherry Fisher May also announced the suspension of the email newsletter The INDsider, business publication ABiz and the recently launched arts and culture magazine The Current.

The Current, which released three issues, will remain suspended while publishers are "exploring an ownership restructuring that would allow it to resume operations," according to the IND Media announcement. The final INDsider newsletter runs June 30.

The Independent launched in 2003 with a focus on smart, often-irreverent takes on hard news, investigative journalism and local arts and culture reporting. Its office on Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette put the paper in the heart of the city. In 2012, it went from a weekly to a monthly. In 2017, the paper moved to online-only.

"It's a very sad day for Lafayette journalism," said Scott Jordan, a former Gambit editor who served as The Independent's first editor from 2003 to 2008. "The Mays have a long history of fighting the good fight and trying to do good things in the community, from investigative journalism, to philanthropy, to their events arm. It doesn't feel real that they wouldn't be around in publishing a newspaper."

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Shotgun Cinema presents two screenings this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 2:03 PM

  • Cameraperson

Local film collective Shotgun Cinema presents a pair of boundary-pushing film screenings tonight, June 23 at 7 p.m. at Tigermen Den (3113 Royal St.), and Saturday, June 24 at 8 p.m. at New Orleans Photo Alliance (1111 St. Mary St.).

Friday night's film is Cameraperson, a documentary by celebrated cinematographer Kristen Johnson (Citizen Four, Fahrenheit 9/11) that explores the ethical complexities of committing real lives to film for documentaries.

On Saturday night it's "Full Aperture: Ladies Shooting Punks," a program of three short films by female punk-identified filmmakers: The Vision Machine (Peggy Ahwesh), I Was a Teenage Serial Killer (Sarah Jacobson) and Portland (Greta Snider). Tickets are $7 and available at the door. More information is here.

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Louisiana lawmakers, activists urge Sens. Cassidy and Kennedy to condemn Senate health care bill

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana.

With the release of a 142-page draft early Thursday morning, the Senate finally revealed its much-anticipated (and, by many, dreaded) plan that could make good on the long-term Republican promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare.

The bill's release offered the first opportunity for the public — and many underinformed senators — to view and critique the Senate's plan, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Before its reveal, the bill already had come under fire for an unusually secretive drafting process featuring no public hearings and little debate on the Senate floor.

Within its text: higher premiums for older people, the elimination of the individual and employer mandates (you won't have to carry insurance, and employers don't have to provide it for you), a year-long freeze on Planned Parenthood funding, fewer subsidies to help people buy insurance and cuts to federal Medicaid dollars which support the working poor, 40 percent of American children and people with disabilities. (An easy-to-read breakdown is being updated at The Washington Post.)

Throughout the state, a chorus of lawmakers, public health observers and activists have begun to speak out against this health care plan. But the power lies with Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy, who will now turn their attentions to the legislation ahead of a potential vote next week.

Perhaps due to the bill's length and complexity, they have yet to comment extensively on the bill's details. Instead, they've leaned on familiar rhetoric from the past several weeks.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Louisiana's child care assistance program to start waiting list July 1

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 5:55 PM


Louisiana's aid program to help cover the costs of child care will open a waiting list as the program braces for "overwhelming demand" with a limited budget. Eligible families must apply by June 30 to secure a slot, according to an announcement from the state's Department of Education. On July 1, they’ll immediately be added to a waiting list.

The federally funded Child Care Assistance Program offers child care support for low-income working parents or parents in job training or in school. Recent eligibility requirement changes bumped the number of recipients to 18,000 as of last month. "If and when funding becomes available," the program will contact waitlisted households, according to the department. After one year on the wait list, families have to reapply. Waitlisted households will be given 30 days notice before the lists are purged.

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The 2017 New Orleans mayoral race: A familiar but unique election scenario

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 4:18 PM

Who's moving in next year?
  • Who's moving in next year?

No two elections are alike, but this year’s race for mayor of New Orleans reminds me (so far) of the 2002 mayor’s race. Ray Nagin won that contest, but don’t panic. I don’t see another Nagin in our future. What looks familiar is the slow pace at which the field is taking shape and the lack of a clear front runner, at least as this stage.

Now consider this factoid: the last three mayors didn’t announce their candidacies until shortly before qualifying. That’s what leads some to whisper that we haven’t yet heard the name of the next mayor.

Of course, two of those three late-entry candidates were named Morial and Landrieu. They didn’t need to start early. The third was Nagin, and he won mainly because the eventual front runner, then-state Sen. Paulette Irons, imploded in the final weeks.

I don’t see any of this year’s candidates imploding, but I do see other parallels between this year’s race and the one that gave us Nagin.

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Review: It’s Only a Play

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 3:22 PM

Cecile Monteyne, Sean Patterson and Leslie Castay star in It's Only a Play. - JOHN BARROIS
  • Cecile Monteyne, Sean Patterson and Leslie Castay star in It's Only a Play.

The 1980s Broadway theater community, known all too well by award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, comes to life on the stage of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in It’s Only a Play, presented in conjunction with The NOLA Project. (McNally updated the work in 2014 so celebrity names, cultural references and personalities seem contemporary.) A show business parody, the cast is a collection of dramatic egotists coming together for an opening night gala at the producer’s home. As the playwright, the producer, the director, an actress, a supportive friend, a drama critic and a coat check person anxiously await New York newspaper reviews, their personal eccentricities are in plain sight.

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Editorial: 'Smart on crime' one of the successes of the 2017 Louisiana legislative session

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 2:41 PM

State Rep. Joe Marino, I-Gretna (right). - SARAH GAMARD | MANSHIP SCHOOL NEWS SERVICE
  • State Rep. Joe Marino, I-Gretna (right).
The 2017 regular legislative session has been widely — and rightly — criticized for its failure to produce long-term fiscal reform. Yet, despite lawmakers’ failure to work together on fiscal issues, they showed true bipartisanship in succeeding on another, equally important front: criminal justice reform. The long-term impact of that success cannot be overstated.

After decades of pretending to be “tough on crime,” lawmakers finally enacted policies that reflect what enlightened law enforcement leaders have known all along: we cannot jail our way to safety. Spurred by objective data from the Pew Charitable Trust, a yearlong study by the bipartisan Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force, and critical support from conservative as well as progressive voices across the state, lawmakers passed a package of 10 bills that significantly overhaul Louisiana’s sentencing, probation, parole and re-entry laws.

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