1. OH, BABY. OH, BROTHER.
Goodbye, New Orleans Zephyrs. Hello, New Orleans Baby Cakes. The much-discussed renaming of the city's AAA baseball team took place at Zephyr Field last week, and indeed the winning name was the New Orleans Baby Cakes, complete with a logo of a snarling king cake baby jumping out of a king cake and wielding a bat. (The names deemed less worthy? Night Owls and Tailgators.)
"Delete your marketing department," advised former sportscaster Keith Olbermann. But is the New Orleans Baby Cakes any more unusual a name than other Triple-A franchises such as the Albuquerque Isotopes or the El Paso Chihuahuas?
We'll have a few months to get used to it, as the Baby Cakes won't take to the diamond until spring 2017. Meanwhile, what of Zephyr Field? The Crib? The Nursery? The Bakery?
2. Quote of the week
"Where do we start on day one? We're going to go big and go bold. I'd like to see us get rid of Obamacare." — U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metai- rie, tweeting about his Nov. 16 appearance on Fox News.
3. Council issues 'anti-hate' statement
The New Orleans City Council passed a resolution earlier this month to promote "the elimination of hate, violence and discrimination" in New Orleans in advance of the Nov. 8 presidential elections. But in the wake of the results and protests following the selection of Donald Trump, the City Council issued an "anti-hate" statement. "Our communities have seen dangerous levels of divisive rhetoric and violence due to this past election cycle," the Nov. 11 statement reads. "While the City Council of New Orleans supports the First Amendment right to peaceful protest in this time of great transition for our country, we condemn hateful speech and actions directed at any person or group."
On Nov. 3, District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell mentioned "dangerous levels of anti-Muslim and racist rhetoric" during Trump's campaign. The resolution, she said, "sends a clear message that love really does trump hate.
"During this moment of change, we encourage dialogue but denounce harmful speech, threats, and violence," the statement reads. "We seek peace but understand the visceral fears of our marginalized residents; we assure New Orleans that the Council is prepared to work through this time of unease and stand strong for the future of our country."
4. NOPD: Response times improved
The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) says it has made strides in reducing response times to emergency calls, which came under fire after WWL-TV and The New Orleans Advocate found some of the longest waiting times in the U.S. in its 2015 "NOPD: Call Waiting" series.
According to NOPD data, the average response time to emergency calls so far in 2016 is just under 15 minutes, compared to nearly 20 minutes during the same time in 2015. Response for all 911 calls in 2016 is just under one hour and 15 minutes, shaving off nearly 15 minutes from last year. NOPD also says that within the first two weeks of November, officers responded to 90 percent of emergency calls in less than 18 minutes.
5. Landry vs. Edwards: this week's edition
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry will have to wait until Nov. 29 to hash out Landry's attempts to block the governor's executive order banning LGBT discrimination in state contracts. At the presumed hearing date Nov. 16, Judicial District Court Judge Todd Hernandez set a new date once lawyers for Edwards and Landry agreed on what the hearing would entail.
Landry argues Edwards' order is unconstitutional, and he asked the court for a preliminary injunction that prohibits Edwards from enforcing it. (See Clancy DuBos' column, p. 10.)
6. David Duke, American Nazi Party approve of Trump's chief strategist pick
President-elect Donald Trump last week named Steve Bannon, a former executive with Breitbart News and a hero to many in the white supremacist movement, as his chief strategist. Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke cheered the selection, telling CNN, "I think that's excellent ... You have an individual, Mr. Bannon, who's basically creating the ideological aspects of where we're going. And ideology ultimately is the most important aspect of any government." Rocky Suhadya, head of the American Nazi Party, echoed Duke's approval.
7. Fayard, Campbell and the mysterious tweet
Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, the Democrat who's facing off against Republican state Treasurer John Neely Kennedy in the Dec. 10 U.S. Senate runoff, last week got the endorsement of his Democratic opponent in the primary, Caroline Fayard. Fayard, who had suggested in primary ads that Campbell was tied to white supremacist David Duke, issued a statement saying in part, "Foster Campbell will protect President Obama's legacy and fight for the same Democratic Party values that Secretary [Hillary] Clinton, myself and so many others have championed."
The endorsement came after a cryptic tweet by Campbell's campaign manager, Mary-Patricia Wray: "I sincerely apologize to @Caroline_Fayard, her family & campaign for my attacks," Wray wrote. "They are fine people & don't deserve such treatment." Shortly after Fayard's endorsement, however, Wray's tweet was deleted.
8. Meeks out at LCADV
Beth Meeks — who has helmed the advocacy organization Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) since 2010 — will step down as executive director at the end of 2016. Meeks will join the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington D.C., while Mariah Wineski, LCADV's current director of public affairs and ally engagement, will serve as the organization's interim director.
LCADV acts as a statewide coalition for shelters, programs, resources and other services for survivors of domestic violence and their families. Louisiana consistently ranks among the most dangerous states in the U.S. for women. The Violence Policy Center's 2016 report ranks Louisiana No. 2. Meeks has overseen significant statewide legislation protecting survivors and helped secure federal funding.
9. Van Jones coming to Dillard
CNN pundit and author Van Jones, a fiery critic of President-elect Donald Trump, will deliver the Justice Revius O. Ortique Jr. Lecture on Law and Society at Dillard University Jan. 24, 2017 — four days after Trump is inaugurated. Jones was scheduled to speak last week, but had to cancel. "Having Mr. Jones come to Dillard after the inauguration of our next president should make for a very interesting lecture," Dillard spokesman David Grubb said in a statement, "and we expect the same level of enthusiasm when he arrives in January." The lecture is free and open to the public.
10. Sting, Bruno Mars, Norah Jones on 2017 concert calendar
New Orleans' 2017 concert calendar is starting to flesh out with several high-profile artists hitting theaters and arenas early next year. In support of his album 57th & 9th, Sting will perform at UNO's Lakefront Arena Feb. 22 — smack in the middle of Carnival parade season. Singer-songwriter Norah Jones is at the Saenger Theater March 4. After his Voodoo Music + Arts Experience head- lining slot, The Weeknd returns to New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center May 9. And, booked out nearly a year in advance, Bruno Mars is at the Smoothie King Center Oct. 21 during a massive world tour with 24k Magic.
Meanwhile, New Orleans continues its nostalgia showcases (last week, it was Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio and Vanilla Ice at the Lakefront Arena) with "The Total Package" tour at the Smoothie King Center on May 19. What's inside? New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and Paula Abdul.