Freret Street will host two different rallies tonight (Wednesday, Dec. 4), a Christmas-themed roundup of food trucks at Dat Dog, and a $50-per-person fundraiser for Mayor Mitch Landrieu at Publiq House headlined by the Brass-A-Holics.
Recent complaints about the City’s Taxi Cab Bureau, its director Malachi Hull and several members of his staff lead us to ponder whether it is time to replace the Taxi Cab Bureau with a state-of-the-industry Taxi and Limousine Commission modeled after New York City’s, which was created more than 40 years ago.
We could not let this week pass without commenting on the 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death. Allan was a reporter at the States Item Picayune when Kennedy died and actually met and talked with Lee Harvey Oswald during a trip to the newsroom just weeks before. Allan’s memory of Lee Harvey Oswald 50 years ago is that Oswald was considered a very weird, insignificant guy who was an advocate for Fidel Castro, not a very popular point of view in 1963 New Orleans. At the time, Danae was in junior high school in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
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.
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.
Public housing and public works will be the topic of a discussion led by labor activist Jay Arena on Saturday morning at the monthly Gillespie Memorial Community Breakfast at First Unitarian Universalist Church.
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.
It’s no surprise to us that the OIG and the Legislative Auditor have been bearing down on the New Orleans Police Department. Once people know you are weak, everyone comes around to take a punch. The OIG’s claim of police “marking down crimes” in the 8th District, the French Quarter, is nothing new. That kind of stuff has been going on since the 1980s.
A crowd of almost 200 people packed the Lakewood Country Club last night for retired judge and former mayoral candidate Nadine Ramsey’s kick-off for the City Council District C race against incumbent Councilmember Kristin Gisleson-Palmer.
Ramsey’s strong turnout, especially by the faith-based community who laid hands on Ramsey, sets the stage for a tough race at a time when African-American voters in Algiers feel empowered by their recent big victories including newly elected Algiers Constable Ed Shorty, Algiers Clerk of Court Darren Lombard and Second City Court Judge Teena Andersen. They say it is time for Algiers white elected officials to step aside. If District C African-American voters embrace Ramsey, not just in Algiers but in the French Quarter, Treme, the Marigny and Bywater, Gisleson-Palmer will have her hands full.
As speculation heats up about possible candidates in the upcoming New Orleans city elections, Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell so far faces only one announced challenger in her first bid for re-election: bounce artist Marlon “10th Ward Buck” Horton.
The two judicial seats on Saturday’s ballot will head to a runoff next month, whittling the eight-candidate field down to Stephen Jupiter and Clint Smith in Traffic Court and eliminating one person for a runoff between Harry Cantrell and Mark Vicknair for Magistrate.
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.
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.
“The Orleans Parish School Board has been forced to bring Ellis Construction back to finish the new gym at [Eleanor McMain High School] on South Claiborne Avenue — after staff kicked Ellis off the job for inadequate disadvantaged business participation,” writes Danielle Dreilinger of The Times-Picayune in a review of recent Orleans Parish school facilities issues. Ellis is charging $10.2 million to return — 7 percent higher than the original $9.5 million contract — and will have less participation from disadvantaged businesses, saying that the available subcontractors have changed, Dreilinger reports.
Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for overseeing the construction of four major drainage canals around Uptown New Orleans, the federal-government shutdown caused the agency to miss a planned public meeting Thursday about the beginning of the latest phase on Jefferson Avenue.
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.
Archie Jefferson, younger brother of a former Congressman from a once-powerful political family, is marketing the South Broad Street home where his wife was found murdered last year as a bed-and-breakfast, apparently without a license, according to a report by David Hammer of our partners at WWL-TV and Claire Galofaro of The New Orleans Advocate. After Sandra Peters Jefferson was beaten to death last May, Archie Jefferson was a “person of interest,” but no charges were filed, Hammer and Galofaro report.
But Bascle, confined to a wheelchair by muscular dystrophy, says he remains just as serious about making New Orleans accessible to people with disabilities as he was when he ran for mayor in 2010.
“It’s been four years,” Bascle said. “Stuff that I thought would be done by now still isn’t.”