By Tracy A. BuccinoIn response to Mr. Courreges’ recent piece regarding NORTA fare increases (“Necessary or not, RTA fare hike makes New Orleans two bits closer to unaffordable“), I suggest that one way to increase revenue without socking it to the poor, elderly, and others with no alternative would be to increase the single-ticket price while keeping the monthly-pass price the same or perhaps even lowering it. I would also suggest offering discounted monthly passes for the same categories (and perhaps others) that are currently offered for the single fares.
Should applications for jobs with the City of New Orleans ask if a person has any previous felony convictions? Mayor Landrieu, to his credit, says no.
Referred to as “banning the box,” cutting this query from employment applications won’t do away with background checks. It would, however, prevent a “yes” answer from eliminating an otherwise qualified candidate from the interview process based on biases against those with criminal records. Background checks, as they should, would come down the line once that person is considered for hiring; and even then, a felony conviction won’t be an employment barrier.
Things that work well in other cities often don’t work in New Orleans. The recent dust-up about the Vera Institute and their lucrative Pre-Trial Services contract funded by the City of New Orleans boils down to a lack of trust on the part of criminal justice officials.
The Vera Institute (VI for short) analyses each arrested individual’s record and determines their likelihood to return for trial if allowed bail. VI provides this information and their recommendation on bail to the court, whose officials make a final bail decision.
For as long as I’ve known her my wife has had it out for ligustrums, while I’ve always found crepe myrtles to be, well, creepy. But I’m also a weirdo who doesn’t see the need to willy-nilly go Lawnmower Man on Mother Nature in the name of progress. Or, maybe I’m just quizzical as to why in the lower leg of the Napoleon Ave drainage project the neutral ground trees were decimated recently, while earlier in the project above St. Charles Avenue the greenery was saved and replanted nearby in Samuel Square. Incongruity and the decisions made by bureaucrats and contractors go together like peas and carrots, I tell ya. (Still waiting on that oak to be trimmed across the street from me, but I digress.)
News travels fast in New Orleans. On Sunday, my inbox began piling up with reports of an altercation that allegedly took place over the weekend. Altercations in New Orleans are no big news, but here the incident allegedly occurred between an employee of the Taxicab and For Hire Bureau, Wilton “Big Will” Joiner, and Wendy Bosma, a tour guide operating the in the French Quarter.
From what I gather (here’s a WWL report on the incident), it happened like this: On November 9, 2013, Bosma was conducting a Haunted History Tour down Royal Street near Governor Nicolls. She was guiding a tour group near the infamous LaLaurie Mansion (made more famous by “American Horror Story: Coven” currently airing on the FX Network).
Bosma claims that Joiner approached her and claimed that was closer than 50 feet to another tour group in violation of the law. Joiner demanded her tour guide license, which was pinned to Bosma’s purse. Bosma refused, noting that she was the only guide on the street. Joiner then suddenly reached out and grabbed her license and identification off of her purse.
Mayor Landrieu could be encouraging his CAO Andy Kopplin to enter the At-Large Council race against Stacy Head in order to preserve his legacy when the Mayor runs for Governor, according to the hottest rumor circulating among politicos lately — and the theory may make some sense.
I am a cat person, but we remain feline less for the moment. My oldest developed an allergy recently, and I chose my offspring over my rat decapitator we had had since a wee kitten rescued post-K, all mangy and feral. Not a tough call, but have you ever been brought a headless rodent with its noggin neatly next to its lifeless body? It’s impressive. And repulsive. And in short, quite a skill. Her name was Rita (yes, named after the storm – she did have a sister named Katrina who died a few years ago), and like most cats, self sufficient and less than encourageable; such are these creatures. And therefore and in my experience quite unlike the other preferred domesticated pet: your household dog.
Among the plethora of regional “only in New Orleans” who dats, where yats, and duck fats, what makes one feel more like a local than the timeless event of gathering foodstuffs we commonly call “makin’ groceries”? I put the origin to my French-immersed 11-year-old, and she walked away perplexed, but more like, “duh.” In French “to buy” translates as acheter (ash-atay), but we are talking academic-France French here, right? So you don’t simply buy your food, you of course “do the market” or faire la marche’. Ergo “to do” and parallel that in “to make” and, voila, one makes one’s groceries. One tween eye roll later, I knew I was on to something.
Graphic artist legend Emory Douglas — whose work is on display now at the McKenna Museum in New Orleans — is responsible for crafting the Black Panther Party’s iconic visual identity, capturing the era’s intensity through fiery artwork that rose above the rhetoric and subterfuge of the day to reach an embattled community in ways words were unable to articulate.
Loyola University has staked out a clear position on its St. Charles properties: “We are not tearing down any mansions.”
However, many local residents are less than sanguine regarding Loyola’s intentions. Loyola presently owns the Fabacher Mansion in the 7300 block of St. Charles Avenue. The proposed comprehensive zoning ordinance will change the zoning on this iconic property from RM-4 (moderate residential density) to EC (Educational Campus).
One of the earliest memories I have of my father remains a wrestling match with a Christmas tree, trying to persuade it to stand just so. Come to think of it, that was actually an annual event. Flying nettles, sweaty brows, and errant gruntled pseudo-curses on par with A Christmas Story Darren McGavin battles with the home boiler. Years go by, decades really, a couple of kids get raised, a couple of marriages pass on, and in 2010 the world of medicine gave my pop a terminal diagnosis, only he proved them wrong. He’ll tell you he should be dead, but today he turns 73.
This past week, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal ordered the reinstatement of yet another New Orleans police officer on grounds that the NOPD violated the “Police Officer’s Bill of Rights” by taking too long to investigate his misconduct.
Thomas McMasters illegally arrested two women in 2009 for prostitution loitering, which requires a conviction for prostitution within the previous year. McMasters, however, failed to check for a previous conviction and neither woman had one. Since women don’t appreciate being mislabeled as whores (imagine!), they filed complaints. McMasters admitted during the investigation that he knew the law but simply didn’t follow it.
It’s election season in New Orleans and we couldn’t be more excited!
Danatus King, a lawyer and nine-year president of the New Orleans chapter of the NAACP, announced his candidacy for Mayor last Sunday to members of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club. It was a perfect place to start, in the heart of the black community which still hasn’t fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina.
On a sleepy stretch at Loyola and Third in the heart of Central City amid a myriad of churches (some with an active congregation, some not so much), there sits a veritable historic housing preservationist’s dream, a 19th Century relic in what would otherwise appear to might have been a corner grocery or barroom. But not so fast, judges of book by covers! Look closer at the empirical data and ask some of the older area locals, and this hiding-in-plain-sight wood frame structure was by all accounts (or those willing to provide accounts) once upon a time a place unequivocally identified as the neighborhood brothel, dba The Dream Boat Inn.
Over the last year, I’ve met dozens of incredible people both personally and professionally, and I’ve followed up most of these encounters with some sort of thank you — digital, but more often tangible.
I’ve sent greeting cards and handwritten notes, which are no easy task being that my penmanship has never been even mediocre and the physical act of writing sometimes pains me. Not only have I sent notes to the new folks who have entered my life, but I’ve also mailed a variety of correspondence to my old friends and colleagues as well to remind them how amazing I believe they are.
Update, Oct. 25: Subsequent to writing this piece, I was notified by the mayor’s office the woman in the WWL story upon which this piece was based had rented the car she was ticketed for, and that she was thus still responsible for the ticket. While that information does change the story, it still presents some issues about the camera system, which are addressed in a postscript below.
Those traffic cameras certainly are insidious. It was once assumed that you could avoid getting a red-light camera ticket, at the very least, by simply not owning a car. That commonsense presumption has now been proven false.
So who gets to decide how many judges are too many? Mayor Mitch Landrieu has strong feelings on the subject, based on his own experiences when he was in the private practice of law and his observations from the mayor’s office. There are too many judges and the money devoted to supporting empty courtrooms and under-worked judges could be better spent if the money was instead in the city’s general fund, Landrieu says.
Even Tulane alum Allan Katz thinks that Mike Perlstein of WWL and Gordon Russell of the Advocate certainly did a bang up job on their first-rate investigation regarding Tulane’s century-old scholarship program. Like many old habits in New Orleans, there is an aversion to change. But change is definitely necessary for this program.
I brought my kids to the park yesterday. As the temps are getting cooler and it’s a little overcast and drizzly this week, their boundless energy seems more so, and invariably the question arises: “Daddy, can I take my shoes off?” Okay, they’re 2 and 4, and yes, they should be asking “may I,” but no matter how hard you try, such corrective linguistic preferences breeze in and out of tiny ears, especially when all they want is to get toes to ground. I almost always answer “yes.”
We were pleased to hear Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s remarks yesterday in Washington. The epidemic of youth committing crimes is a national problem that every city faces. New Orleans and many American cities are strapped for cash and don’t have the available resources to implement clear solutions. It would be great if Congress allocated funds to create innovative programs that would address the problem.
But we think the real issue lies in economic equity for young African Americans. With the unemployment rate of African-Americans in New Orleans reaching almost 50%, it is quite easy to see why young men (and young women) commit crimes every day. The future does not seem bright for them. Excellent programs like Each One Save One and the new male mentoring program at McDonogh #35 High School can and do address the problem. But much more is needed – jobs are needed for adult black males and females and for their children.