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I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week (Nov. 21, 2017) 

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PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD

1. TECH COMPANY SAYS IT PLANS TO HIRE 2,000 AT NEW ORLEANS OFFICE
A multi-billion-dollar IT company expects to open its New Orleans office in January 2018 and says it plans to hire 2,000 people within the next several years. At an announcement outside the Superdome Nov. 13, Mayor Mitch Landrieu called DXC Technology's arrival a "game changer" and "a transformational moment." Greater New Orleans Inc.'s Michael Hecht said it "emphatically validates New Orleans as a place for business and tech."

  For its New Orleans office, DXC will begin hiring 300 IT and other staffers, aiming for 2,000 over the next five years. Average salaries in New Orleans will be around $60,000. Executive Vice President Stephen Hilton told Gambit that as DXC opens, "we'll be hiring skilled IT professionals" — not necessarily recent graduates, but the company will look to the "huge influx" of students as it begins to scale.

  Gov. John Bel Edwards said the company's arrival also will contribute $64 million in tax revenue from 2018-2023 with an estimated $3.2 billion regional economic impact and the creation of roughly 2,500 new indirect jobs.

  Hecht and business groups have pitched New Orleans as a "low cost, high culture alternative" to other tech cities — particularly as companies look to cut down on labor costs by moving to relatively "cheaper" areas with lower costs of living compared to saturated tech hubs. Earlier this month, DXC CEO John Michael Lawrie suggested the company was doing that.

  DXC was lured to Louisiana with a $115 million tax incentive package, parts of which the state will use to fund faculty and curricula within the state's university systems to build a skill-specific jobs pipeline, along with nearly $19 million in performance-based grant funding.a

2. Quote of the week
"I'm the most investigated, stable man that the country could have ever given the keys to nuclear weapons to, so you can blow me!" — Rob Maness, candidate for the Northshore's District 77 Louisiana House seat, on his weekly WGSO-AM "Iron Liberty News" program.

  Maness was irked at a caller who referred to him as an "extremist."

3. Church offers sanctuary to man facing deportation
On Nov. 15, Jose Torres — standing among immigrant advocates and local faith leaders, along with his two U.S.-born daughters, ages 2 and 8 — announced First Grace United Methodist Church would provide Torres sanctuary after he had been threatened with deportation by federal immigration authorities. First Grace provides meeting space for the immigrant advocacy group Congress of Day Laborers and offers shelter to women and children through Hagar's House. The church will provide Torres "a safe place to be in our community and have some degree of safety," Pastor Shawn Anglim told Gambit.

  Torres arrived in the U.S. from El Salvador in 2005 and endured forced labor on a Texas ranch before arriving in New Orleans following the levee failures. He previously had sought a visa as a survivor of human trafficking and had been granted a stay of deportation to remain with his family in the U.S., but immigration authorities placed him in detention and sought his deportation after Torres received a DUI in 2013. Torres was placed on probation in connection with the traffic offense, paid fines and completed community service and substance abuse counseling.

  Congress of Day Laborers and local faith leaders spoke against strict immigration policy from the administration of President Donald Trump, and Torres called for strengthening anti-bias policing policies in New Orleans and expanding those protections to Jefferson Parish.

4. Louisiana senators split on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore
Sexual harassment allegations against Alabama GOP U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore roiled the party last week, with some Republicans defending Moore (and discounting his accusers), while others, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, called for Moore to step aside.

  Louisiana's senators were split on the issue. U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, who had initially supported Moore, distanced himself from Moore's campaign in a weekend tweet: "Based on the allegations against Roy Moore, his response and what is known, I withdraw support," Cassidy wrote.

  As of press time last week, though, U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy stuck by Moore while leaving himself some wiggle room. "I don't want to get into credibility," Kennedy told Meet the Press Daily on Nov. 15. "I want to wait until there's a full investigation, then I'll make a judgment about the facts and credibility at that time."

  It's not clear what "investigation" Kennedy referenced, and time is running out. The Alabama special election, in which Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones, is set for Dec. 12.

5. 'NOPD Online' launches, allowing citizens to file their own police reports for non-emergencies
New Orleans residents who need to report property damage, lost items or theft (including auto theft) now can do it themselves with "NOPD Online," a website that guides victims of crime through the basics of filing a non-emergency police report with the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). Reports filed will be given a case number so NOPD officers can follow up, and the reports can be downloaded for free for insurance purposes.

  Not included in the new service are crimes on an interstate or on the Crescent City Connection (which need to be filed with Louisiana State Police). Also not included are cases where there's a known suspect. All such crimes must be reported in the traditional manner by calling the cops.

  In a news release, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said, "The NOPD Online reporting system will allow citizens to report non-violent crimes quickly and easily, and enable our department to continue focusing manpower and resources on protecting public safety. It's a win-win, for the city and for our officers." To file a report, go to www.nola.gov/nopdonline.

6. Ugly attack mailers in last days of the mayoral race
Mayoral candidates Desiree Charbonnet and LaToya Cantrell each were the subject of widely disseminated attack mailers in the final week of the New Orleans mayoral campaign last week. The "Truth in Government PAC" sent out an eight-page mailer bashing Cantrell in not-even-thinly-veiled racist language, with an angry-looking photo of Cantrell labeled "Straight Outta Compton" (Cantrell was born in the Southern California city) and noting both her husband, attorney Jason Cantrell, and her father-in-law, Criminal Court Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell, were born in Detroit. The mailer also addressed the credit card brouhaha that has dogged Cantrell, noting that an attendee at a San Francisco dinner hosted by Cantrell was from Oakland, California, and stressing that Cantrell used her city-issued credit card to travel to "Ghana, West Africa."

  Meanwhile, the Not For Sale NOLA PAC, an anti-Charbonnet group which has been heavily funded by charter school supporter Leslie Jacobs, sent out a mailer titled "Desiree Charbonnet's Corrupt Krewe." The mailer was emblazoned with an image of Charbonnet wearing a crown and claimed "French Quarter strip clubs" were "pouring cash into Desiree's campaign" and highlighted three of her supporters: attorney Ike Spears, bail bondsman Blair Boutte and political consultant Billy Schultz, referring to Schultz as "Desiree's political hatchet man."

7. T-Swift to headline Superdome in 2018
Following the release of her sixth album reputation, pop music overlord Taylor Swift has announced dates for her 2018 stadium tour. She'll make her first headlining visit to the Superdome on Sept. 22.

  Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Dec. 13. A fan pre-sale event begins now through Nov. 28 via Taylor Swift Tix through Ticketmaster Verified Fan.

8. Thanksgiving turkey giveaway from Cash Money Records founders
Cash Money Records founders Bryan "Birdman" Williams and Ronald "Slim" Williams continue their annual Thanksgiving tradition this week — giving away 1,500 turkeys to New Orleans families. The 21st annual giveaway is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21 at New Home Ministries (1616 Robert C. Blakes Sr. Drive), with turkeys supplied by Walmart and sides and fixings from Rouses. Q93.3-FM DJs will supply the music, and there's entertainment from NOLA Games on Wheels.

  2017 is a milestone year for the label, founded in New Orleans in 1991 and edging past more than 20 years as a massively influential pop cultural heavyweight. Birdman, with house producer Mannie Fresh, recently celebrated 20 years as rap duo Big Tymers, and current label star Drake broke streaming records (also held by Drake) for his March album More Life.

  And on Nov. 23, Juvenile will perform his landmark third album 400 Degreez, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year.

9. NPR's Ann Powers to speak at Old U.S. Mint
NPR music critic Ann Powers will head to New Orleans to discuss her latest book, Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music, with a Q&A and discussion with New Orleans music writer Alison Fensterstock. The book — named after the excised lyrics from Little Richard's New Orleans-recorded hit "Tutti Frutti" — explores the history of pop music and its relationship to gender and sexuality, and how eroticism got wrapped up in American music.

  The free book talk is 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21 at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint.

10. Trans Day of Remembrance at Congo Square Nov. 25
BreakOUT! New Orleans will hold its third annual "Trans Day of Remembrance, Resilience and Resistance Celebration" from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 25 at Congo Square in Armstrong Park. The event, which follows the national Trans Day of Remembrance Nov. 20, memorializes those who were killed as a result of transphobic hate crimes. This year's event will include a shakedown dance contest, free HIV screenings, performances and food.

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