Friday, April 7, 2017

Performances, artist talks reflect on Louisiana's coastal crisis

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Tina Freeman's photographs at "Living With Climate Change" at the River House in Poydras.
  • Tina Freeman's photographs at "Living With Climate Change" at the River House in Poydras.

Louisiana is in the middle of an existential crisis. The state braces for more impacts to its already-decimated coasts and prepares for massive cuts programs that preserve them, while answering to elected officials' ongoing denial of climate change as they rubber stamp oil production. This weekend, pair of shows — on either sides of New Orleans' dual waterways — brings attention to south Louisiana's dependence on and increasing vulnerability to them, as the realities of climate change and environmental degradation threaten the future of the communities relying on them.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Scientists and fishermen share Deepwater Horizon stories at Feb. 6 event

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 1:08 PM

An aerial view of Grand Terre Shows leaked oil flowing up against a sand berm.
  • An aerial view of Grand Terre Shows leaked oil flowing up against a sand berm.

At a live storytelling event held Monday, Feb. 6, oceanographers, restoration ecologists and fishermen take the stage to share personal accounts of their experiences during the Deepwater Horizon disaster, when over 130 million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico in the largest spill in U.S. history. The show is sponsored by the Story Collider podcast, which organizes and records storytelling events related to science.

As President Donald Trump's public comments on energy continue to reflect a pro-drilling stance, events like this can highlight some of drilling's risks for coastal communities, including ongoing struggles for Gulf animals, fish and plants and an estimated $94.7 million cost to area commercial fishermen.

The free event takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Club XLIV and Encore at Champions Square. Registration is recommended.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Editorial: Our pledge to you

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 9:00 AM

President-elect Donald Trump. - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • President-elect Donald Trump.

America’s political landscape will change dramatically after the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in January 2017. Already there are mixed messages coming from his transition team as to some of the promises he made while running. For now, we can only go by the man’s words and how they may affect Louisianans.

In the weeks and months to come, we will be keeping an eye on the following:

• The president-elect has promised to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but has provided few details. As of mid-November, more than 339,000 previously uninsured Louisianans are receiving health care through the ACA. We promise to outline their options and find out from doctors which screenings, tests and procedures they should get done now should the ACA go away — with a special focus on women's health care. (Meanwhile, the open enrollment period continues through the end of January; visit ldh.louisiana.gov.)

• The president-elect has made it clear that he does not believe in climate change and promises to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and key environmental protections. We promise to speak out for clean air, clean water and Louisiana’s fragile coast.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Art activists Liberate Tate present "Insides/Outsides" talk in New Orleans Oct. 18

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 2:03 PM

Liberate Tate's "Human Cost" installation. - AMY SCAIFE
  • Liberate Tate's "Human Cost" installation.

The activist art collective Liberate Tate, best known for its unsanctioned and guerrilla-ish installations and performances in London’s prestigious Tate Galleries, delivers a “lecture-performance” at Pelican Bomb Gallery X next week in an event presented by Bureau of Change.

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

On the Clock: Bob MacLean, Audubon Nature Institute senior veterinarian

Posted By on Sat, Sep 3, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Katie Christiensen hangs with Southern white rhino Macite, one of veterinarian Bob MacLean's patients.
  • Katie Christiensen hangs with Southern white rhino Macite, one of veterinarian Bob MacLean's patients.

In a metal outdoor stall adjacent to her enclosure, the 5,000 pound, 53-year-old Southern white rhino Macite bumps her big prehistoric head lightly against the bars. The horn at the end of her nose looks like an ancient relic, but she scrapes her giant flat feet in the dust just like a cow shuffling in a pen on a hot day. 

Around Macite’s enormous backside, veterinarian Bob MacLean uses a hand brush and a gel to clean, disinfect and pack the chronic pressure sores (similar to human bedsores) on the elderly rhino’s back legs. She’s thought to be the oldest living female of her kind, and MacLean’s team is doing its best to keep the sores from growing. It’s part of a litany of tasks large and small that make up his role as senior veterinarian for the Audubon Nature Institute

“We’re trying to keep it from going systemic,” he says, as he finishes rinsing the sore. “We’re treating her every day.” 

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Y@ Speak: after the flood

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 6:35 PM

The media's response, the lack of a response from the media, the governor, Trump, important phone numbers and donation information, rescue and relief, and neighbors helping neighbors  — a week of tweets following Louisiana's August flooding.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

NOLA Bike to Work Day rescheduled for April 20

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 1:54 PM


With rain in the forecast for the next several days, the Bike Easy organization has issued a media alert rescheduling NOLA Bike to Work Day. The event was originally set for Wednesday, April 13; it's been moved to Wednesday, April 20. On that day, riders can join groups departing from their neighborhoods and meet in Lafayette Square from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. to celebrate bike commuting. 

More information about NOLA Bike to Work Week activities can be found on the Bike Easy website.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Anba Dlo festival and symposium is Oct. 17

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Tank and the Bangas perform at the Anba Dlo festival at the New Orleans Healing Center.
  • Tank and the Bangas perform at the Anba Dlo festival at the New Orleans Healing Center.

Anba Dlo includes a symposium focused on water issues and a Halloween festival featuring live music, a costume parade, a midnight Voodoo ritual and more. The free event is Saturday Oct. 17 at the New Orleans Healing Center.

The festival takes its name for the Haitian creole term meaning "beneath the waters." The event starts with its annual Water Symposium (noon - 4 p.m.), which examines New Orleans' relationship with water from scientific, civic, artistic and spiritual perspectives. Travers Mackel moderates the event, and Propeller's mentoring program will hold a pitch contest at the symposium. 

A Halloween costume parade will include the Radical Faeries, Cherry Bombs, Star-Stepping Cosmonaughties, Roux La-La, Pussyfooters, Icons for Peace, Otter and the Pony Girls, Skinz N Bonez, Muff-A-Lottas, BateBunda and Gang Flag Vern. It begins at 6 p.m. at Franklin Avenue and Royal Street, heads to Frenchmen Street and ends at the Healing Center. 

The festival features music by Tank and the Bangas, Sweet Crude, 101 Runners, BateBunda and others and burlesque performances by the Primrose Dolls. There also are art installations, psychic readings, crafts, food, acrobats, interactive experiences and water altars.

A portion of festival proceeds benefits A Studio in the Woods and Tulane University's Environmental Law Clinic.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Severance tax exemption cost La. $1.15 billion

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 4:52 PM


Louisiana’s severance tax suspension for horizontal gas wells cost the state nearly $1.15 billion in fiscal years 2010 through 2014. During that time, higher education and health care suffered massive cuts in state general funding, which means students, families and the poorest citizens of the state suffered so that energy companies could reap larger profits.

That is the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from the latest report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office. A report released Monday, August 24, by the auditor’s office cites the Louisiana Department of Revenue’s (LDR) annual Tax Exemption Budget to back up its figures.

Worst of all, the severance tax exemption on horizontal gas wells cost the state money that it will never recoup, even if lawmakers were to suddenly repeal the exemption, according to the auditor’s report. That’s because the exemption applies to the most productive period of a well’s life — the first two years. Production from horizontal gas wells declines significantly during the two-year suspension period and does not bounce back afterward.

“Approximately 98% of the revenue loss from fiscal years 2010 through 2014 was from horizontal wells drilled for natural gas,” the report stated. “Most of these wells are located in the Haynesville Shale in northwest Louisiana. According to [the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, which keeps tabs on oil and gas production in the state], all of the Haynesville Shale horizontal wells’ best production is in the first two years. Because production dwindles significantly after the first two years, some operators may never pay severance taxes.”

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A New Orleans City Park tree-sitting protestor speaks out

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 2:54 PM

A partially killed live oak within the construction zone. - JULES BENTLEY
  • A partially killed live oak within the construction zone.
As a longtime, dues-paying Friend of City Park, it took me a while to get on board with the effort to save the wild public land that City Park CEO Bob Becker and the Bayou District Foundation nonprofit want to turn into a high-end golf course. The campaign seemed too little too late, or worse, an example of people who didn't live through the trauma of the flood but romanticized a wrecked version of the city.

The arguments against rebuilding the golf course accreted gradually— learning just how much that wild stretch meant to so many New Orleanians from all walks of life, learning how dire the economics of golf are in 2015, and learning about the sinister neoliberal elements of the "East Lake model" that the Bayou District Foundation, chaired by George H.W. Bush, seeks to emulate. When it was shown to me that, despite originally promising to only restore land that had previously been golf course, several far older cypress and live oaks and a fat slice of the Couturie Forest were being consigned to the ax, I was swayed.

The tree-sit protest ongoing in one of the now fenced-off public area's threatened cypress is, as far as I know, without local precedent. In the mid-'90s, a group of Loyola faculty and students sat at the base of a cypress tree that the University's then-president wanted to cut down. "We lasted for weeks, but then the end of the semester came," said Dr. John Clark. "We were sitting, and it was a tree, but I'm not sure that made it a tree-sit." Now, Dr. Clark is among many New Orleanians who've begun spending free time at Harrison Circle to show support for the young people in one of the threatened trees. Yesterday, after four days in the tree, one of the sitters came down. I spoke to her the evening of her descent.

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