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I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week (Nov. 8, 2016) 

Next week, the New Orleans Zephyrs will be gone for good. The team will announce its new crowdsourced name at a home field ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 15. The event is closed to the public, but fans can watch the unveiling via Facebook Live beginning at 5:30 p.m.

  The Triple-A ball club fielded criticism, or at least snark, earlier this year when it revealed the seven contenders for its new name. But unless this all has been a giant publicity stunt, the team formerly known as Zephyrs will become either the Baby Cakes, the Cajun Crawfish, the King Cakes, the Night Owls, the Po'boys, the Red Eyes or the Tailgators. (Unfortunately, "none of the above" is not an option.)

2. Quote of the week
"This Senate race has been colorful in the way that Louisiana politics can be. One candidate suggested he would prefer drinking weedkiller to keeping Obamacare; there was an ad starring a terrorist goat; and there have been allegations of hiring prostitutes — something that has dogged the incumbent (David) Vitter, who lost the governor's race last year to Democrat John Bel Edwards." — National Public Radio's Debbie Elliott, reporting on the Louisiana U.S. Senate debate held by Raycom Media that featured white supremacist David Duke. (See Commentary, p. 8, and News, p. 10.)

3. Isaacson to City Planning Commission
Writer and editor Walter Isaacson was named to the City Planning Commission last week by Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Isaacson, a New Orleans native, now serves at the head of the Aspen Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, and is the chairman emeritus of Teach for America. He also served as editor of TIME magazine and president of CNN.

  "As we approach our city's tricentennial celebration in 2018, I am confident Walter will serve as a change agent and ambassador as we continue our march to building the New Orleans of our dreams," Landrieu said in a statement.

4. Main library to close for two weeks
The New Orleans Public Library's main branch will be closed for repairs Dec. 5 through Dec. 18, according to a memo from city librarian Charles Brown. The renovation will include a complete replacement of the building's main electrical circuit, which was installed when the library was built in 1958.

  Two of the library's other 13 branches currently are closed: the Nix Library in Carrollton closed for its own renovations in mid-October, while the Mid-City Library closed Oct. 22 in preparation for moving to its new location in the former Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street. That opening date is scheduled for sometime around Thanksgiving.

5. Jeff Parish School Board, Chamber of Commerce slam Yenni
The board of directors of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce formally requested last week that scandal-plagued Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni step down. It was the end to a week in which the Jefferson school board voted unanimously to forbid Yenni from going to any school facilities. (He already had been banned from New Orleans Catholic archdiocesan schools.)

  It's the latest rebuke for Yenni, who is the subject of a recall petition and who has been asked to step down by the parish council, as well as the city councils of Kenner and Harahan and a number of Jefferson Parish public officials. Speaking to WVUE-TV last week, Yenni called the school board ban "a little outlandish," and repeated that he had no intention of resigning. "You know, anything that I've done has not affected my oath of office," he said.

6. Donna Brazile out at CNN
Kenner-born political advisor and pundit Donna Brazile offered her resignation to CNN last month after a WikiLeaks hack of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's emails revealed Brazile had shared at least one debate question with the Clinton campaign. Brazile has denied wrongdoing in a series of carefully phrased statements, but CNN issued a statement saying, "We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign."

  Brazile was vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee and served as interim chair during much of the 2016 campaign.

7. Cantrell introduces anti-hate resolution
New Orleans District B City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell introduced a resolution Nov. 3 to promote "the elimination of hate, violence and discrimination against any constituents or citizens." The resolution, in advance of the Nov. 8 election, condemns "all hateful speech and violent action directed at Muslims, those perceived to be Muslims, immigrants and people of color," and "rejects political tactics that use fear to manipulate voters or to gain power or influence."

  "In this election season, we have seen dangerous levels of anti-Muslim and racist rhetoric," Cantrell said, adding that "this resolution sends a clear message that love really does trump hate," echoing a popular anti-Donald Trump refrain.

  The resolution also says the council commits to policy agendas affirming civil and human rights, and "reaffirms the value of a pluralistic society, the beauty of a culture composed of multiple cultures, and the inalienable right of every person to live and practice their faith without fear."

8. Maureen Dowd coming to Tulane
Maureen Dowd, the acid-ton-gued, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist known for her acerbic political commentary and insider-y conversations with Washington bigwigs, will speak at Tulane University's Lavin-Bernick Center Nov. 16. Dowd will discuss the peculiarities of this election cycle as explained in her book The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics. The event takes place at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Admission is free. A book signing follows.

9. Hollywood South impacts in N.O.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu's Office of Cultural Economy says the city lost roughly 1,000 jobs following the Louisiana Legislature's cap on the state's film tax credits program.

  At a budget hearing in front of the New Orleans City Council Nov. 2, Scott Hutche-son, adviser to the mayor for cultural economy, said the region saw a considerable drop in the number of film projects in town, and fewer productions want to start work in the state and risk not receiving an exemption if reimbursements hit the $180 million cap.

  According to Hutcheson, the New Orleans area saw a $200 million drop in film-related spending since the 2015 decision by the state Legislature.

10. Benefits for musician Dave Rosser
Longtime New Orleanian Dave Rosser — guitarist for Afghan Whigs, Gutter Twins and The Twilight Singers — recently was diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer. Afghan Whigs will host two benefit performances in December — in New Orleans and Los Angeles — with all proceeds going toward Rosser's medical care. At the Civic Theatre Dec. 10, the band will perform all of 1996's Black Love on its 20th anniversary, with Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age), Ani DiFranco, Morning 40 Federation, King James & the Special Men, and CC Adcock & the Lafayette Marquis. The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50.

  "Dave Rosser has been my close friend and bandmate for over a decade now," Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli said in a statement. "By doing these shows for him we hope to ease any financial stress he may face as he pursues treatment to combat his illness. [One hundred percent] of the proceeds for these shows will go to his medical care. I'm hopeful that folks will come out and show their support for Dave who will be performing with us."

  The band also performs Dec. 14 at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles, with Lanegan, Carina Round and Moby.


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