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I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week (Oct. 31, 2017) 

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Photo by Cheryl Gerber

1. MUSIC LEGEND FATS DOMINO DIES AT 89
Rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues legend Antoine "Fats" Domino died Oct. 24. He was 89.

  With his signature rolling piano sound and the help of longtime producer and collaborator Dave Bartholomew, Domino helped build the foundation for New Orleans R&B and inspired dozens of rock 'n' roll artists, including Elvis Presley and The Beatles, who often credited Domino for his immeasurable influence on pop music.

  The Domino family issued a statement saying, "We are all touched by the outpouring of love and tribute for our father. He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by those he loved and those who loved him. His music reached across all boundaries and carried him to all corners of the world."

  Domino lived on Caffin Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward throughout most of his life and through Hurricane Katrina. After he was rescued following flooding from the levee failures, he lived with family in Harvey.

  Dozens of fans and family friends left notes, flowers, candles and signs outside the famous yellow house's gates on Oct. 25 following news of his death. In 1999, Domino gave a rare career-spanning interview to Gambit's Scott Jordan at Domino's home.

  "We're all blessed," Domino said. "People tell me my music did something for them, and it works both ways. I just love music, that's all. I really appreciate that the people have been nice to me and bought my records all these years. I want them to know I love them, too."

  Memorial service plans were not announced by press time, but there will be a memorial second line in the 9th Ward at 5 p.m. Nov. 1, stepping off from Vaughan's Lounge.

2. Quote of the week
"This president speaks in hyperbole. And hyperbole is interpreted by some as lies, and by the president it's interpreted as just his exaggeration. ... I kind of look at the issue before us, what is the core, and if I get distracted by, well, is the hyperbole a lie or is it not a lie?" — Sen. Bill Cassidy on MSNBC's Morning Joe, explaining President Donald Trump's frequent lying as "hyperbole."

3. Council requests data from DA's office
Following a contentious budget hearing in September, members of the New Orleans City Council issued a formal call to New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office for specific data sets on the number of cases accepted by the office, as well as conviction rates, juvenile offenders transferred into the city's Criminal Court and details about material witness warrants and subpoenas.

  City Council President Jason Williams and District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry, who chairs the Council's Criminal Justice Committee, sent a letter Oct. 23 requesting the data by Nov. 20.

  The City Council previously requested better communication and transparency between the DA's office and the council committee. A budget presentation last month turned into a heated argument between Cannizzaro and council members over the DA's use of so-called "fake subpoenas" uncovered by nonprofit investigative news website The Lens.

  The DA's office did not respond to a request for comment from Gambit.

4. Early voting starts this week
The general election isn't until Nov. 18, but early voting starts this week — one day early, thanks to the federal Veterans Day holiday. You can cast your early ballot Nov. 3-11, except Sunday, Nov. 5 and Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 10. The New Orleans ballot will include runoffs for mayor and City Council District B and District E seats, as well as a race for Civil District Court Judge, Division J. Statewide, Louisianans also will select a new treasurer.

5. Judge rules for The Lens in 'fake subpoena' lawsuit
Orleans Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese gave New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro until the end of November to turn over "DA's subpoenas" to nonprofit investigative news website The Lens via a public records request delivered after its bombshell reporting about the office's use of "fake subpoenas." The request covers documents within a 16-month period beginning January 2016.

  Earlier this month, the ACLU of Louisiana filed a suit alleging the DA oversaw an "illegal scheme of fabricating subpoenas" that forced victims and witnesses to submit to interrogations and that the DA's office presented "fraudulent" documents to get judges to issue arrest warrants.

  In a statement following the ACLU lawsuit's filing, Cannizzaro said, "No individual who alleges that they were aggrieved by my office's policies and practices has contacted me. I look forward to addressing these allegations in federal court before a fair and impartial tribunal. I look forward to litigating these issues in a venue where naked allegations must be supported by substantive proof."

6. Finally some good news on the transportation front
At a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Board of Commissioners meeting Oct. 24, Transdev Director of Infrastructure Martin Pospisil announced he expects the intersection at Canal Boulevard and City Park Avenue to reopen to traffic by the end of November.

  The intersection has been closed since July for work on the Cemeteries Transit Center Project, which will extend the Canal streetcar line across City Park Avenue toward Canal Boulevard transit shelters to facilitate rider transfers to connecting bus lines. Pospisil said the rail connection for the streetcar line is 90 percent in place, and the surrounding intersection is on track to open late next month.

  There's still work to be done. In December, RTA will test the line and train streetcar operators and bus drivers. Pospisil says the project currently is on time and under budget, and if the weather holds (i.e., no significant rainfall), he anticipates work will be completed on schedule. Streetcar service is expected to begin at the intersection during the first week of January 2018.

7. AG Landry to keynote conference of climate change skeptics
On Oct. 13, a pipeline owned by LLOG Exploration Company leaked an estimated 672,000 gallons of oil in 5,000-feet-deep water about 40 miles off the coast of Venice, Louisiana.

  Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry will head to Houston in November to deliver a keynote address — along with the vice president of LLOG Exploration Company — at the America First Energy Conference, an event held by climate science skeptics and the powerful conservative think tank The Heartland Institute, which has a major position paper titled "The Global Warming Crisis Is Over." Landry is among several speakers from other oil and gas companies, as well as U.S. Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt.

  Among topics covered at the conference are "The Future of Coal," "Benefits of Ending the War on Fossil Fuels" and "Reforming EPA." The conference is Nov. 9.

8. NOPL offering free streaming of arthouse and classic movies
Great news for lovers of arthouse and classic cinema: The New Orleans Public Library (NOPL) is offering free subscriptions to Kanopy, a free streaming service with more than 30,000 titles — including those from the Criterion Collection, as well as film festival award winners, documentaries (including those by Ken Burns), PBS series, independent cinema, foreign films, classics, shorts and more.

  Users with a library card can go to the Kanopy website, create an account and immediately begin streaming as many as 12 free movies a month. Kanopy works on Android and iOS devices, and there's a Roku app as well.

  A quick browse through Kanopy's library shows dozens of New Orleans- and Louisiana-related titles, including Tchoupitoulas; Mosquitoes and High Water: Islenos, A Root of America; The Sons of Tennessee Williams; Bayou Maharajah; Getting Back to Abnormal; and Dirty Energy: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster —Firsthand Stories from the Louisiana Bayou.

9. 300 candles for the city
The city's long-discussed tricentennial celebration is coming to life. Last week, several signature NOLA 300 sculptures were installed in New Orleans City Park and on the riverfront, and on Nov. 14, a five-hour conference titled "NOLA 300: The Past, Present and Future of New Orleans" will be held at the Orpheum Theater. Mayor Mitch Landrieu will lead a list of 19 speakers that includes Leah Chase, Deacon John Moore, Steve Gleason and former Mayor Marc Morial, and there will be performances by Moore, Mardi Gras Indians, the St. Augustine High School Marching Band and DJ Swamp Boogie. The conference is 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Orpheum, with an after-party going until 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available at www.eventbrite.com.

10. Maroon 5, Johnny Mathis on the 2018 concert schedule
Pop band Maroon 5, which headlined one Saturday at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, returns to town June 14, 2018 for a show at the Smoothie King Center. It's an early stop on the band's Red Pill Blues tour, named for its new studio album, which comes out this week. Tickets go on general sale Nov. 4.

  And speaking of smoothies: Johnny Mathis (Columbia Records' longest-signed artist) will bring his Voice of Romance Tour to the Saenger Theatre Jan. 25, 2018. Tickets are on sale now.

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