News & Politics

Friday, May 19, 2017

With the removal of Robert E. Lee's statue, what's next for the monuments and New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 10:00 PM

Robert E. Lee's statue was removed from its pedestal May 19. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Robert E. Lee's statue was removed from its pedestal May 19.

At 11 a.m, a single PA speaker packed into a wagon blasted Ginuwine's "Pony" and Blackstreet's "No Diggity" as a small crowd gathered outside Lee Circle to watch a fourth Confederate-era monument come down.

Robert E. Lee's statue —  16 feet tall, 8,000 pounds, in his Confederate uniform, arms crossed, facing north — would remain on his pedestal, where the statue stood since 1884, for only a few more hours. At a few minutes after 6 p.m. May 19, a crane lifted Lee off the tower to cheers from a growing crowd.

At 3 p.m., Mayor Mitch Landrieu addressed an invitation-only crowd inside Gallier Hall, his period at the end of a nearly three-year sentence arguing for the removal of Confederate-era monuments from New Orleans' public space. In his impassioned 20-minute address, Landrieu challenged the city to acknowledge and reconcile its ugly past while building a more inclusive society. If not, he said, "then this will all have been in vain." Meanwhile, two members of the construction crew tasked with their removal placed the crane's hook to the straps wrapped around Lee's statue.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Protesters fear the worst at 'die-in' against American Health Care Act

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:59 PM

dsc_0942.jpg

As a thick miasma of Trump-Russia news clouded the national consciousness, a small group of demonstrators staged a "die-in" May 19 to draw focus to the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Around noon Friday, a dozen or so activists — many of whom belong to the Metairie and New Orleans chapters of national progressive group Indivisible — stood in front of Tulane Medical Center, some carrying signs shaped like tombstones. One woman was dressed as the Grim Reaper, with a cardboard scythe that said "Trumpcare." The funereal theme was meant to highlight potential loss of insurance coverage (and, by extension, life) related to the AHCA, which recently passed the House of Representatives.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

House proposal on Uber and Lyft: Newton's First Law of Bad Government

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:50 PM

clancy-1.jpg

Sir Isaac Newton reduced much of what we know about the universe to a handful of precise mathematical formulas. Good thing Sir Isaac isn’t around today to try to make sense of the Louisiana Legislature. He’d surely go mad.

Or perhaps, upon noticing the extravagance with which hordes of unctuous lobbyists are pushing a bill to regulate web-based transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, he might be moved to formulate his First Law of Bad Government: A proposed law’s awfulness is geometrically proportional to the number of lobbyists hired to secure its passage.

That is surely the case with House Bill 527 by Rep. Kenny Havard, R-Jackson, which might otherwise be called the No Lobbyist Left Behind Bill.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Beauregard monument is removed from pedestal outside City Park

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 4:51 AM

A monument fo P.G.T. Beauregard is removed early May 17. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • A monument fo P.G.T. Beauregard is removed early May 17.

The peripheral block party scene at Confederate-era monument removals and demonstrations has become a nearly-weekly ritual. During the seven-hour stretch from when removal crews arrived and when a statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard was lifted from its pedestal outside City Park, people kayaked on Bayou St. John to get a closer look, pulled up beach chairs along the water, popped Champagne, brought beer and coolers, and then a brass band showed up.

The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) separated the crowd with a series of barricades at Moss Street and Esplanade Avenue facing Beauregard. Barricades stretched from across the bridge down Esplanade in front of the Shell gas station on Moss, with more around City Park, stretching across Carrollton Avenue. On one side of Esplanade were a couple dozen monument supporters, who draped Confederate flags over the barricades and waved several others, including a half-Stars and Stripes and half-Confederate flag, a flag that said "President Trump," and two flags symbolizing the 3 Percenters. Supporters chanted "where's Mitch?"

A saw cut into the statue's base where it meets the pedestal as crews hovered above in cherry pickers to strap Beauregard to a crane using yellow straps.

Among people in the crowd: musicians Terrence Blanchard and Nicholas Payton, as well as Angela Kinlaw, Michael "Quess" Moore and Malcolm Suber with Take 'Em Down NOLA.

Continue reading »

Tags: , ,

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bill to allow anonymous health risk surveys in high schools fails in Louisiana Senate

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 6:00 PM

condom.jpeg

Louisiana has the seventh highest rate of teen pregnancies in the U.S. among kids aged 15-19. Half of all new STD diagnoses in the U.S. are among young people — Louisiana leads the U.S. in rates of gonorrhea and syphilis, and it has the second-highest rate of chlamydia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A bill from state Sen. Yvonne Colomb, D-Baton Rouge, would allow the state's departments of health and education to administer an anonymous survey to school districts to gauge risk behaviors among high school students. The CDC survey already is administered in 42 other states. In Louisiana, the survey omits questions about sexual activity but does ask about drug and alcohol use, among other behaviors. Colomb's Senate Bill 85 would allow those questions on the survey.

Proponents argued that with access to the full scope of risk behavior data among young people, the state could apply for more funding for programming to accurately reflect student behavior and help lower the state's high rates of STDs and unplanned pregnancies. A similar bill won House approval last year, and Colomb's bill cleared the Senate's Health and Welfare Committee last week.

But after pushback from conservative opponents, the bill failed by a vote of 14-22 during Senate debate May 16. The bill is scheduled for reconsideration in the Senate May 17.

Continue reading »

Tags: ,

Desiree Charbonnet plans 'important announcement' Mon. May 22

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 3:17 PM

Desiree Charbonnet.
  • Desiree Charbonnet.

Former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet, who stepped down from her judgeship last month in what was seen as preamble to joining the New Orleans mayor's race, has invited supporters to "an important announcement" May 22 at the Sheraton Hotel New Orleans.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, May 15, 2017

Louisiana House passes bill that aims to put monument removal to a vote

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 6:53 PM

During demonstrations on May 7, monument opponents stood behind a supporter who gave the finger to other opponents at Lee Circle - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • During demonstrations on May 7, monument opponents stood behind a supporter who gave the finger to other opponents at Lee Circle

Despite powerful testimony from several black lawmakers urging the Louisiana House of Representatives to vote against a measure that aims to prevent the removal of Confederate monuments, the bill passed by a vote of 65-31 on May 15. It now heads to the Senate.

House Bill 71 from state State Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, prevents "altering, removing, relocating, or destroying a memorial, including any structure, plaque, statue, or monument that is located on public property and that commemorates specified wars in U.S. history." It also prohibits renaming or rededicating statues, streets, bridges, buildings and parks that are named "in memory of or named for any historical military figure, historical military event, military organization, or military unit." It doesn't list the Civil War among those events, but rather the "War Between the States."

Continue reading »

Tags: , ,

Friday, May 12, 2017

SMOR poll: no easy answers

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 4:20 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards out-polls President Donald Trump in a recent survey. - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards out-polls President Donald Trump in a recent survey.

The annual spring survey of Louisiana voters by Southern Media and Opinion Research (SMOR) has mixed news for our state’s politicians. That shouldn’t surprise, given the mixed signals coming out of Baton Rouge.

The bad news for all elected officials is a majority of the state’s voters (52 percent) think Louisiana is going down the tubes, or, as pollsters call it, “headed in the wrong direction.” Roughly 32 percent believe we’re headed in the right direction, while 16 percent don’t know where we’re headed. Considering state lawmakers currently are vexed over how to solve a massive budget problem, the latter group actually may have got it right.

The good news for Gov. John Bel Edwards is he continues to get positive reviews overall despite voters’ gloomy outlook for the state. The bad news for him is that his numbers have slipped since just last autumn. His latest “job performance” ratings show him with an overall 53.8 percent “positive” rating compared to a 42 percent “negative” rating.

Continue reading »

Tags: , ,

House approves bill adding "dating partner" protections to domestic violence laws

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 3:00 PM

mirror.jpeg

Legislators in Baton Rouge agree that "dating partners" — not just spouses and family members — should be included in domestic violence protections. The Louisiana House of Representatives voted May 11 to extend those protections, including preventing offenders from carrying firearms, to dating partners — a distinction applied in 41 other states.

The House voted 59-30 to approve New Orleans Democratic state Rep. Helena Moreno's House Bill 223, which now heads to the state Senate for approval.

It's a significant arm twist to the National Rifle Association (NRA), whose grip on legislators effectively killed several measures over the years that would prevent violent offenders from possessing firearms. The NRA argued "dating partners" encompasses too broad a group — despite reports from the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence showing that, in 2016 alone, 60 percent of Louisiana's intimate partner homicide victims were not married to their abuser.

Continue reading »

Tags: , ,

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Jefferson Davis comes down, second of four Confederate-era monuments removed in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 6:20 AM

A crane lifts a statue of Jefferson Davis off its pedestal May 11. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • A crane lifts a statue of Jefferson Davis off its pedestal May 11.

Just after 5 a.m. May 11, the city removed the statue of Jefferson Davis from its pedestal overlooking Canal Street in Mid-City. The monument to the former president of the Confederacy — captured 152 years and one day to the date of the statue's removal — is the second of four Confederate-era monuments scheduled for removal by the city. Crews removed the Battle of Liberty Place obelisk last month.

Dozens of law enforcement surrounded Canal Street and Jefferson Davis Parkway, blocked in all directions as construction crews brought in a crane, a Budget rental truck with materials, and other equipment. Crews wore dark clothing, helmets and body armor, as they did during the Liberty monument removal.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Submit an event Jump to date

Recent Comments

© 2017 Gambit
Powered by Foundation