Friday, June 15, 2018

New Orleans City Council and Airbnb prepare for war

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 2:20 PM

PHOTO BY THE ADVOCATE STAFF
  • PHOTO BY THE ADVOCATE STAFF

The battle over city regulation of short-term rentals (STRs) escalated recently when Airbnb stopped showing city license numbers on its New Orleans listings, making it more difficult for the city to enforce its STR ordinance. According one City Council member, the move may actually hurt Airbnb’s local hosts more than the city.

“I’m befuddled,” said District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, who led the council’s recent effort to start reining in certain types of STRs. “What it does is make all the local hosts noncompliant under the current ordinance” and therefore subject to fines up to $500 a day.
The council on May 24 unanimously adopted a widespread (though not citywide) moratorium on “temporary” STR licenses. Those licenses allow absentee owners to operate “whole home” STRs, which have overtaken some historic neighborhoods. The moratorium does not affect “accessory” STRs, which allow local homeowners to rent out one or more rooms or half a double or duplex. The moratorium also does not affect STRs in commercial corridors.

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New taco concept Barracuda coming to Tchoupitoulas Street

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 10:17 AM

Brett Jones will open Barracuda, a modern casual taco concept, on Tchoupitoulas Street. - COURTESY BRETT JONES
  • COURTESY BRETT JONES
  • Brett Jones will open Barracuda, a modern casual taco concept, on Tchoupitoulas Street.

Barracuda, a new taco concept, is coming to Tchoupitoulas Street this fall.

The casual eatery will occupy a small space at 3984 Tchoupitoulas St., near Constantinople Street, and include a large outdoor dining area.

“We want to do a super simple menu with great techniques,” Jones says. “There will be very specific tacos — not Tex-Mex,”

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Todd Pulsinelli to leave August to open restaurant in Uptown

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 9:54 AM

Chef Todd Pulsinelli will open his new restaurant Warbucks in early fall on Magazine Street. - COURTESY TODD PULSINELLI
  • COURTESY TODD PULSINELLI
  • Chef Todd Pulsinelli will open his new restaurant Warbucks in early fall on Magazine Street.

Todd Pulsinelli made a name for himself as the executive chef of Restaurant August, chef/restaurateur John Besh's fine dining flagship restaurant in the Central Business District. Pulsinelli is departing to open his own restaurant, which will take a much more casual approach.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

With investigation looming, Entergy power plant opponents want fresh vote

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 5:45 PM

A rendering of the proposed gas power plant in New Orleans East.
  • A rendering of the proposed gas power plant in New Orleans East.

The New Orleans City Council is getting closer to selecting a firm to investigate the use of paid actors who supported Entergy’s construction of a gas-fired power plant in New Orleans East. A selection review committee will evaluate the proposals June 15, and the City Council could take it up June 21. A selected firm will likely have a contract by mid-July.

"I'd rather lean on the side of being thoroughou than fast to get it done, " said At-Large Councilmember and the City Council’s utilities committee chair Helena Moreno June 14. Moreno said the Council’s goal is to first ensure a thorough investigation, and “would then like it done in timely manner.”

But, as reported by The Lens this week, emails between Entergy and a PR firm already begin to reveal how the astroturfing campaign took shape. “I’m not going to be making any comments until the investigation is complete and the facts speak for themselves,” Moreno said.

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Editorial: Senator Soundbite goes after Gov. John Bel Edwards

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 1:11 PM

U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy.
  • U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy has become the darling of the Washington press corps for his colorful turns of phrase. They are captivated by his faux-homespun utterances, such as his absurdly ubiquitous “I’d rather drink weed killer” than support the Affordable Care Act. His popularity on the soundbite circuit obscures the fact that Kennedy — who graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University and earned law degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Oxford — is a very erudite man. And a painstakingly ambitious politician.

So he had to know that calling for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ resignation during a recent interview with KPEL-FM, a Breaux Bridge radio station, would reverberate far beyond Acadiana. “He's a liberal Democrat and he wants his way,” Kennedy, a Republican, said of Edwards, a Democrat. “He thinks he has a mandate. He thinks his mandate is to tax and spend like they do in Massachusetts and California.”

Putting aside the ridiculous notion that Edwards is a liberal — his pro-life, pro-gun stances are anathema to national Democrats — Kennedy’s reference to Massachusetts and California is puzzling on several counts. For starters, both those states are doing far better than Louisiana by just about any metric.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Stephen Rea releases World Cup book and covers Russia 2018 competition

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 5:25 PM

Soccer fan and writer Stephen Rea.
  • Soccer fan and writer Stephen Rea.

The U.S. is not among the 32 nations participating in the the FIFA World Cup, which begins June 14 when host nation Russia faces Saudi Arabia. The U.S. is missing the tournament for first time since 1990. Its elimination on Oct. 10, 2017 was a shocking disappointment for many U.S. fans. But it was a big letdown for Stephen Rea, a local writer and native of Northern Ireland. He had almost finished a book that was supposed to be an American soccer fan’s companion guide to the cup when a loss to Trinidad & Tobago, then ranked 99th in the world, eliminated the U.S.A. from the tournament.

“I was in Northern Ireland when it happened,” Rea says. “It took a catalog of events to converge (for the U.S. finally to be eliminated). As the night went on, I could sense it was happening. I was following it on my phone at 2-3 in morning.”

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Advocate columnist Dan Fagan is very, very disappointed in the World Naked Bike Ride, New Orleans

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 3:30 PM

Trixie Minx, grand marshal of the 2018 New Orleans World Naked Bike Ride, flashes a smile. - PHOTO BY SOPHIA GERMER/THE ADVOCATE
  • PHOTO BY SOPHIA GERMER/THE ADVOCATE
  • Trixie Minx, grand marshal of the 2018 New Orleans World Naked Bike Ride, flashes a smile.

What's the matter with kids today, with their vaping and their Buku and their twerking and their bubble tea and their naked bike rides?

Advocate columnist Dan Fagan caught wind of Saturday's World Naked Bike Ride in New Orleans, and he was not happy about it, not one little bit:
Something happened this past weekend in New Orleans that reminded me of how different it must be for parents raising kids today than it was in the 1970s. The World Naked Bike Ride 2018 proudly displayed 300 bicyclists riding the streets of New Orleans — some scantily clad, others completely naked, leaving nothing for the imagination.
To which I say: Good. If it takes a few hundred bare butts and boobs on wheels to slow the once-bohemian Faubourg Marigny and Bywater from further turning into bland upscale oatmeal incredibly expensive real estate, bring on the nekkid bicyclists — and the marching bands and the drag queens and the bears in assless chaps [ed. note: all chaps are assless] crossing the street from the Phoenix to Mag's 940.

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Upstairs Inferno screens at Broad Theater June 23

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:00 PM

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In this week's cover story, Gambit editor Kevin Allman took a look at a new book about the Up Stairs Lounge fire, which claimed the lives of 32 of people at a French Quarter gay bar in 1973. A screening of an award-winning documentary about the fire with an accompanying panel discussion takes place at the Broad Theater June 23.

The 2015 documentary Upstairs Inferno includes interviews with survivors, witnesses and family and friends as well as news footage and images. Director Robert L. Camina appears at the panel immediately following the film, joined by Marilyn LeBlanc-Downey and Skip Bailey, the sister and nephew of one of the fire's victims.

There are several other events around town this month commemorating the 45th anniversary of the fire, including a memorial service and second line hosted by LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana at St. Mark's United Methodist Church (1130 N. Rampart St.). That service begins 5 p.m. June 24.

The screening begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 23. Tickets are available online

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New Orleans 'unlikely' to meet housing affordability goals, while housing remains 'out of reach' for minimum wage workers

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 10:40 AM

thinkstockphotos-146884413.jpg

New Orleans renters would need to earn an hourly wage of at least $19.15 to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment, according to a recent housing report.

New Orleans’ spotlight in Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center also reports that minimum wage earners — relying on the state’s federal-set hourly rate of $7.25 — aren’t able to afford even a one-bedroom apartment, unless they’re working 88 hours per week, up from 84 hours per week in 2017.

The city even falls short of poorly ranked statewide averages, which would require an hourly wage of $16.63 for a modest two-bedroom rental.

The report's measure of "modest" housing is one in which a renter's income is not "rent-burdened" by spending 30 percent or more of that income on housing costs. More than half of New Orleans residents are renters — half of all renters put at least 30 percent of their income towards housing, and 80 percent of people earning less than $15,000 a year spend more than half their income on rent.

That analysis follows a progress report from HousingNOLA, which in 2015 revealed plans for a 10-year affordable housing strategy. HousingNOLA admits it’s “unlikely” the city will be able to meet a goal of 2,500 units by September — a goal of 750 units is more realistic, but “if, any only if” the city can find money to pay for a plan to house formerly incarcerated people in August. Only 190 new affordable units were brought online in the last eight months.

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Nine Inch Nails adds third show at Saenger Theatre

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 9:09 AM

PHOTO BY JOHN CRAWFORD
  • PHOTO BY JOHN CRAWFORD

After selling out shows on its 2018 "Cold and Black Infinite North America" tour, Nine Inch Nails have added several dates, including one more night in New Orleans.

Following a sold-out two-night stand at the Saenger Theatre Nov. 23-24, NIN and The Jesus and Mary Chain have added a third show on Nov. 25. Tickets for that show go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, June 15.

Hundreds of fans in New Orleans waited in some brutal heat for hours when the exclusively in-person ticket sales event opened on May 19. Remaining tickets were eventually released online and promptly gobbled up.

NIN's Bad Witch, a third EP in a trilogy including Not The Actual Events and ADD VIOLENCE, is due June 22. Here's single "God Break Down the Door":

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