Friday, June 23, 2017

Louisiana lawmakers, activists urge Sens. Cassidy and Kennedy to condemn Senate health care bill

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana.

With the release of a 142-page draft early Thursday morning, the Senate finally revealed its much-anticipated (and, by many, dreaded) plan that could make good on the long-term Republican promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare.

The bill's release offered the first opportunity for the public — and many underinformed senators — to view and critique the Senate's plan, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Before its reveal, the bill already had come under fire for an unusually secretive drafting process featuring no public hearings and little debate on the Senate floor.

Within its text: higher premiums for older people, the elimination of the individual and employer mandates (you won't have to carry insurance, and employers don't have to provide it for you), a year-long freeze on Planned Parenthood funding, fewer subsidies to help people buy insurance and cuts to federal Medicaid dollars which support the working poor, 40 percent of American children and people with disabilities. (An easy-to-read breakdown is being updated at The Washington Post.)

Throughout the state, a chorus of lawmakers, public health observers and activists have begun to speak out against this health care plan. But the power lies with Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy, who will now turn their attentions to the legislation ahead of a potential vote next week.

Perhaps due to the bill's length and complexity, they have yet to comment extensively on the bill's details. Instead, they've leaned on familiar rhetoric from the past several weeks.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Louisiana's child care assistance program to start waiting list July 1

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 5:55 PM


Louisiana's aid program to help cover the costs of child care will open a waiting list as the program braces for "overwhelming demand" with a limited budget. Eligible families must apply by June 30 to secure a slot, according to an announcement from the state's Department of Education. On July 1, they’ll immediately be added to a waiting list.

The federally funded Child Care Assistance Program offers child care support for low-income working parents or parents in job training or in school. Recent eligibility requirement changes bumped the number of recipients to 18,000 as of last month. "If and when funding becomes available," the program will contact waitlisted households, according to the department. After one year on the wait list, families have to reapply. Waitlisted households will be given 30 days notice before the lists are purged.

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The 2017 New Orleans mayoral race: A familiar but unique election scenario

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 4:18 PM

Who's moving in next year?
  • Who's moving in next year?

No two elections are alike, but this year’s race for mayor of New Orleans reminds me (so far) of the 2002 mayor’s race. Ray Nagin won that contest, but don’t panic. I don’t see another Nagin in our future. What looks familiar is the slow pace at which the field is taking shape and the lack of a clear front runner, at least as this stage.

Now consider this factoid: the last three mayors didn’t announce their candidacies until shortly before qualifying. That’s what leads some to whisper that we haven’t yet heard the name of the next mayor.

Of course, two of those three late-entry candidates were named Morial and Landrieu. They didn’t need to start early. The third was Nagin, and he won mainly because the eventual front runner, then-state Sen. Paulette Irons, imploded in the final weeks.

I don’t see any of this year’s candidates imploding, but I do see other parallels between this year’s race and the one that gave us Nagin.

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Review: It’s Only a Play

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 3:22 PM

Cecile Monteyne, Sean Patterson and Leslie Castay star in It's Only a Play. - JOHN BARROIS
  • Cecile Monteyne, Sean Patterson and Leslie Castay star in It's Only a Play.

The 1980s Broadway theater community, known all too well by award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, comes to life on the stage of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in It’s Only a Play, presented in conjunction with The NOLA Project. (McNally updated the work in 2014 so celebrity names, cultural references and personalities seem contemporary.) A show business parody, the cast is a collection of dramatic egotists coming together for an opening night gala at the producer’s home. As the playwright, the producer, the director, an actress, a supportive friend, a drama critic and a coat check person anxiously await New York newspaper reviews, their personal eccentricities are in plain sight.

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Editorial: 'Smart on crime' one of the successes of the 2017 Louisiana legislative session

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 2:41 PM

State Rep. Joe Marino, I-Gretna (right). - SARAH GAMARD | MANSHIP SCHOOL NEWS SERVICE
  • State Rep. Joe Marino, I-Gretna (right).
he 2017 regular legislative session has been widely — and rightly — criticized for its failure to produce long-term fiscal reform. Yet, despite lawmakers’ failure to work together on fiscal issues, they showed true bipartisanship in succeeding on another, equally important front: criminal justice reform. The long-term impact of that success cannot be overstated.

After decades of pretending to be “tough on crime,” lawmakers finally enacted policies that reflect what enlightened law enforcement leaders have known all along: we cannot jail our way to safety. Spurred by objective data from the Pew Charitable Trust, a yearlong study by the bipartisan Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force, and critical support from conservative as well as progressive voices across the state, lawmakers passed a package of 10 bills that significantly overhaul Louisiana’s sentencing, probation, parole and re-entry laws.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Congressional Black Caucus, led by U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, declines Trump's request for meeting

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 6:17 PM

The executive board of the Congressional Black Caucus meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in March. The group now has formally rejected a Trump administration request for another meeting. - THE WHITE HOUSE/BENJAMIN APPLEBAUM
  • The executive board of the Congressional Black Caucus meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in March. The group now has formally rejected a Trump administration request for another meeting.

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), a group of 49 lawmakers led by New Orleans-area U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, today formally rejected a 12-day-old request from President Donald Trump to meet with the president.

According to POLITICO:
Lawmakers in the 49-member group each received an invitation last week from Omarosa Manigault, the-reality-TV-star-turned-White-House-aide who has pitched herself as an unofficial liaison to the CBC.

“As requested by the president, we would like to schedule a follow-up meeting with the entire membership of the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss issues pertinent to your members,” Manigault wrote in the invitation, obtained by POLITICO.

But multiple CBC members said they were put off that she signed the invitation as “the Honorable Omarosa Manigault,” saying she hasn’t earned that title nor has she helped raise the profile of CBC issues within the White House as promised.

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Guy Fieri and Cowboy Mouth host free show at Tipitina's

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 5:00 PM

The mayor of Flavortown. - COURTESY GUY FIERI
  • The mayor of Flavortown.

Cowboy Mouth and Guy Fieri. Guy Fieri and Cowboy Mouth. Cowboy Mouth. Guy Fieri. Cowboy Mouth. Guy Fieri.

Hearing their names, together, felt like a warm breeze. Familiar. Comforting. It all made sense. The golden-haired godhead of smashing food into one's mouth meets the mouth itself. Guy Fieri. Cowboy Mouth. Planets aligned.

Guy Fieri — large food eater last seen in New Orleans reuniting with the Hot Boys during All-Star Weekend — will once again grace our gravy-soaked Flavortown on his Rockin' Roadshow this Sunday, June 25 at Tipitina's with a performance from Cowboy Mouth.

Guy Fieri, the Cowboy Mouth of food, and Fred LeBlanc, the Guy Fieri of Cowboy Mouth, apparently have an undeniable magnetism, a 20-year friendship that began with a courtship dance at a Cowboy Mouth concert in California. The rest, they say, is history. Tell 'em, Doug:
The story goes that LeBlanc — and this will surprise no one who's ever seen Cowboy Mouth — left the stage, waded into the audience, and climbed atop the table where Fieri sat.

LeBlanc says he doesn't remember calling the crowd's attention to Fieri's blonde brush-cut hair, but the celebrity chef says he did — again, could anyone doubt this? LeBlanc said he probably recognized Fieri as the most likely hell-raiser in the audience.
Ah, yes. Classic Guy. Classic Fred. Raising hell to the tune of "Jenny Says" at a seated concert. Their friendship joins the annals of New Orleans food-and-music camaraderie, alongside Emeril Lagasse and Sammy Hagar. May they be blessed with 20 more years of companionship.

Cowboy Mouth performs at Guy Fieri's Rockin' Roadshow at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 25 at Tipitina's (501 Napoleon Ave.). Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

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Summer specials at Carrollton Market, Josephine Estelle, Brown Butter

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 3:08 PM

Carrollton Market is extending their brunch service and adding a weekly family-style dinner this summer. - COURTESY CARROLLTON MARKET/FACEBOOK
  • Carrollton Market is extending their brunch service and adding a weekly family-style dinner this summer.

Uptown bistro Carrollton Market (8132 Hampson St., 504-252-9928) is extending its weekend brunch service and adding a weekly family-style dinner event for summer.

Chef and owner Jason Goodenough and his team will serve a three-course family-style dinner every Wednesday from June 28 through the end of July.

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There's a blood drive at Twelve Mile Limit June 24

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 11:00 AM


Mid-City neighborhood cocktail bar Twelve Mile Limit and local blood bank The Blood Center will host a blood drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

At the event, donors can enjoy appetizer specials and may be eligible to receive a T-shirt from The Blood Center; they also get $5 off food at the bar. In donating, they'll help replace the city's easily-depleted blood supply. (Blood shortages are a recurring problem nationwide — as recently as January, the American Red Cross pleaded with the public to donate blood and platelets to mitigate a winter shortage. Without appropriate blood reserves, hospitals often can't proceed with planned, lifesaving surgeries and transplants.)

Make sure to eat a full meal before donating, and bring a photo ID. (And presumably, don't drink until after you donate.) Donors must be 16 years old and meet a short list of eligibility requirements.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: The Passenger by Kaori Maeyama and Tastier by Leslie Friedman

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 4:50 PM

Through a Glass Darkly by Kaori Maeyama
  • Through a Glass Darkly by Kaori Maeyama

Driving down desolate city streets on a dark night can be a dreary experience. But on misty, rain-cooled evenings there also are times when the reflections of random city lights dancing off the walls of shadowy buildings can make those same sights seem alive. The rhythmic flow of glistening city streets seen from a moving car can slip into an almost hypnotic realm reminiscent of dreamy ambient music or lyrical modern jazz riffs.

Kaori Maeyama’s nocturnal cityscape paintings in the show The Passenger at Staple Goods look starkly abstract at first, but in works like Through a Glass Darkly (pictured), dusky forms and luminous highlights suggest office towers, overpasses and traffic rendered with a cinematic sense of motion. In some, the steel trusses of the Huey P. Long bridge are conveyed by luminous slashes in inky patinas that evoke the dense mists over the Mississippi River.

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