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James Gill: Street-naming tussles have long history

The recent, ill-advised decision to rename parts of two New Orleans streets puts Jack Maguire in mind of a similar idea rejected 20 years ago. Then-City Councilman Joe Giarrusso wanted to change Poydras Street to Victor H. Schiro Avenue in honor of the 1960s mayor. But Schiro’s widow, Sunny, and Maguire, his director of public relations at… Continue reading →

James Gill: Gay rights ‘protection’ bill contains some tortured logic

Gay people, you have a new champion in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Meet Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, who has filed a bill that he says will protect you if, one day, “an overzealous, uber-conservative governor” should want to punish you for approving of same-sex marriage. “Wait,” you are saying. “I’ve heard of this Johnson.… Continue reading →

James Gill: Latest sad turn in LEH controversy

Michael Sartisky

The allegation that Michael Sartisky is an art thief cannot be allowed to stand. That it is a lie is apparent from the very lawsuit the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities filed against him. The LEH not only accuses Sartisky of running off with its pictures but depicts him as a malingerer — another demonstrable falsehood.… Continue reading →

James Gill: Gray might have perfect mind for politics

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  New Orleans City Council District E Councilman James Gray.

James Gray is obviously correct to pooh-pooh any suggestion that the suspension of his law license renders him unfit to remain on the New Orleans City Council. Gray can’t practice law for the next two years because the state Supreme Court established that he told lies, failed to honor his commitments and glommed onto other people’s… Continue reading →

James Gill: Adversarial? ‘Bellicose’ seems more like the relationship between New Orleans DA's and Public Defender's offices

Defense attorneys who publicly revealed a rape victim’s name are making a big song and dance about the ethical lapses of New Orleans prosecutors. We pride ourselves on America’s “adversarial” criminal justice system, but that sometimes seems to mean that the kettle is obliged to call the pot black. In New Orleans these days, moreover,… Continue reading →

James Gill: Yesteryear had some ugly buildings, too

Advocate photo by VERONICA DOMINACH --The HDLC denied the demolition of six buildings on Canal and Tchoupitoulas street to make way for a 21-story Marriott Hotel in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

Any plan to build a huge hotel in the center of New Orleans will bring on an attack of the vapors among preservationists, and the latest one is indeed a depressing prospect. But, after reading repeatedly about greedy developers who are out to destroy still more of our architectural gems, I went for a… Continue reading →

James Gill: Bobby Jindal might stand out in Iowa -- as a 'financially irresponsible ideologue who wrecked healthcare and higher education'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the free market Club for Growth winter economic conference at the Breakers Hotel Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)

Political experts quoted in The Advocate say that the peculiarities of the presidential nominating system give Gov. Bobby Jindal a chance. Clearly, we need either to change the system or bring in a fresh supply of experts. If these guys are right, we must tremble for the future of the republic. Their rationale is that… Continue reading →

James Gill: Is Broussard’s rise Buddy Lemann’s fault?

Advocate staff photo by Jim Mustian --  Defense attorney Arthur "Buddy" Lemann walks of of the Federal courthouse in New Orleans Wednesday, November 5, 2014. He had been defending former New Orleans police Officer Donald Nides in a case there. Nides killed himself last night.

Perhaps you are wondering how former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, two years into a 46-month federal prison sentence, could afford to hire such a leading light of the defense bar as Buddy Lemann. The answer is he couldn’t. Lemann provided his services gratis on the whimsical grounds that Broussard’s predicament is all his fault. Lemann… Continue reading →

James Gill: A duke’s sad legacy to history

State Library of Louisiana photo -- The Duke and Duchess of Windsor at the Boston Club, Carnival Day, 1950.

Among the most oft-told tales from the history of Carnival in New Orleans is the visit paid by the former King Edward VIII of England and his wife, the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The implication has always been that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, as they were then styled, honored the local swells with their presence.… Continue reading →

James Gill: Louisiana's coastal decline a national problem; does President Obama care?

Does President Barack Obama hate Louisiana? Citing a newspaper headline asking that question, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, at a recent budget hearing, seemed to think the answer is yes. While we cannot know what is in Obama’s heart, it would be reasonable to assume that Louisiana is not his favorite state. We don’t… Continue reading →

James Gill: Bobby Jindal misses chance to court extremists

Bobby Jindal must be kicking himself for letting Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, steal his thunder. That could have been Jindal making the Limeys howl with derision by refusing to say whether he believed in evolution. But when Jindal was in London a few weeks ago, there was no time to address the issue, because reporters kept asking… Continue reading →

James Gill: How the Stelly plan’s demise has doomed Bobby Jindal, too

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), a potential 2016 GOP candidate, speaks at a APPs State luncheon discussion on Common Core at the Mayflower Hotel on Feb. 5, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Picking out just one dumb move to blame for the stillbirth of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign may seem quite a stretch, but the numbers match uncannily. Jindal’s hopes always seemed the product of a disordered imagination, but even he must see that the dream is over now that the rest of… Continue reading →

James Gill: James Gill’s real role in Katrina

Modesty has so far prevented me from detailing my exploits immediately after Katrina struck, but the time has come to set the record straight. I think I owe it to Chris Kyle and Brian Williams, sticklers, like me, for the truth. So here’s how it went down, to the best of my recollection. It had been… Continue reading →

James Gill: Cambre case shows prosecution gone wild

Advocate staff file photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- St. Tammany District Attorney Walter Reed, right, and his publicist Morgan Stewart drive away from the St. Tammany Parish Courthouse in July, after Reed announced to his staff that he would not seek re-election.

After 30 years as St. Tammany and Washington parishes district attorney, Walter Reed declined to seek re-election last year. The decision was not entirely spontaneous, for the feds had launched an investigation of his myriad alleged misdeeds. It could be a while before the old prosecutor finds out whether he will wind up on the other… Continue reading →

James Gill: TOPS costs soar, and universities flounder

At this rate Louisiana will wind up blowing its entire higher education budget on scholarships. Your kids will qualify for a free ride to college but will major in twiddling their thumbs. There’ll be no money to pay faculty; the campus grass will be waist high. OK, that isn’t really going to happen. Bobby Jindal… Continue reading →

James Gill: A smoking ban’s haze of amendments

The finer points of the smoking ban in New Orleans may remain to be worked out, but that’s jake with City Council President Stacy Head. There will be plenty of time to tweak it before it goes into effect, Head noted several times during a raucous public hearing at which the ordinance was amended some 100… Continue reading →

James Gill: A small lesson in investment deals

High finance make your head swim? Relax. If you’re not smart enough to understand how institutional investors plan their deals, I am here to explain. To accomplish this public service, we will need an example. Fortunately, one is at hand right here in Louisiana, where the Teachers’ Retirement System is about to make… Continue reading →

James Gill: Bobby Jindal evidently figured making a fool of himself with 'no-go zone' comments a price worth paying

In this Sept. 26, 2014, file photo, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

A Christian convert from a Hindu family in the U.S. would need a good reason to go all the way to London in order to dilate on Islam to a think tank named in honor of a U.S. Senator. That said senator was a Democrat from Washington state, and the transatlantic orator, a… Continue reading →

James Gill: Traffic Court’s jobs program for slackers

ADVANCE FOR SATURDAY, JAN. 10 AND THEREAFTER - Longtime New Orleans Traffic Court clerk Noel Cassanova poses for a photo in front of the Municipal Traffic Court on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015. Cassanova retired this week after working at the court for nearly four decades. (AP Photo/The Advocate, John McCusker)

The only traffic court left in this country is in New Orleans, where an authoritative voice has joined the call for its abolition. Noel Cassanova certainly knows what he is talking about when he says the court is surplus to requirements, because he just retired as its clerk. Now that he has… Continue reading →

James Gill: John Guandolo’s new line of work

Whenever it was time for Lori Mody to listen to then-New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson’s shakedown spiel, she would get wired up and jump in a car with FBI agent John Guandolo. One time, Guandolo waited outside for four hours while Mody regaled Jefferson with tales of her problems with men. Guandolo… Continue reading →

James Gill: State Capitol chain gang, now in session

While atheist billboards sprout roadside between Louisiana and Pensacola, Florida, drivers on Interstate 10 in Lafayette are confronted with one touting Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola Warden Burl Cain as a gubernatorial candidate. This is definitely a case of different strokes for different folks. Indeed, nonbelievers should be especially careful not to wind up doing time on… Continue reading →

James Gill: La. Medicaid not geared for chronically sick

Here is some consolation for poor folk denied regular health care because of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to accept the federal dollars that would pay for an expansion of Medicaid: You may not be missing much. The way Jindal’s Health Department runs Medicaid, its coverage is inadequate anyway if you get chronically sick. Here is some… Continue reading →

James Gill: Brits not excited about battle’s anniversary

The Battle of New Orleans was fought 200 years ago Thursday, so the anniversary hoopla promises to be more intense than usual. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has announced a series of events to “commemorate this historic battle and recognize our steadfast relationship with Great Britain since the War of 1812 ended.”… Continue reading →

James Gill: Scalise didn’t know? Who’s he kidding?

To accept an invitation from Howie Farrell and Kenny Knight, then act surprised they were fronting for David Duke, is like turning up at a rally with Goebbels and Goering and wondering how come there are swastikas all over the place. When Steve Scalise gave a speech to Duke’s European-American Unity and Rights Organization in 2002, no… Continue reading →

James Gill: AFA’s message not exactly ‘goodwill towards men’

Tupelo, Mississippi, has given us Elvis Presley and the American Family Association. The AFA was founded in 1977, the year Presley died, and would no doubt have joined the outraged chorus had it been around at the first sight of his swiveling hips. The rock the AFA is into is the Rock of Ages, and its strait-laced… Continue reading →

James Gill: High-tech deal turns into high living for Moye

Stroll into Baton Rouge talking airily of economic development and some state official will probably walk up and hand you a check. Say you’re in high tech, and out will come a pen to add a few zeroes. Maybe it doesn’t work quite like that, but Louisiana is so sold on the idea that the route… Continue reading →

James Gill: A pandering contest on Common Core

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was presumably taking a swipe at Gov. Bobby Jindal when, during a recent speech in New Orleans, he averred that politics and education shouldn’t mix. Jindal, gracious as ever, had greeted Duncan by issuing a statement inviting him to learn his lesson from U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s failure to win re-election.… Continue reading →

James Gill: Restoration races against time

Louisiana’s $50 billion coastal restoration plan comes with two slight problems. It is not guaranteed to work, and we don’t have the $50 billion. The scientific challenge has been compared to the one faced by NASA when it was shooting for the moon. Lobbying Congress for the requisite funds, meanwhile, may be like reaching for the… Continue reading →

James Gill: Democrats to rise again in South, but experts don't see it happening soon

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., speaks to supporters as she concedes defeat in her Senate runoff election against Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. Left is her husband Frank Snellings. Cassidy denied Landrieu a fourth term, calling his Senate victory "the exclamation point" on midterm elections that put Republicans in charge on Capitol Hill for President Barack Obama's last two years in office. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The Democrats will rise again in the South, but the political scientists don’t see it happening any time soon. Will Rogers’ celebrated crack — “I am not a member of any organized political party; I am a Democrat” — applies in spades around here these days. The Democrats are clearly in worse disarray than they were in… Continue reading →

James Gill: Comedy of errors at sheriff’s office

Finding something that Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman has done right would test the skills of the greatest sleuth, and New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux must be glad that isn’t his job. Instead, Quatrevaux is tasked with identifying misdeeds and inefficiencies in public agencies, and Gusman continues to provide him with plenty of opportunities. Their… Continue reading →

James Gill: Anti-smoking movement gets puritanical

An ordinance before the New Orleans City Council that would ban smoking in bars and open public spaces may follow the national trend, but that just shows that the nation ain’t what it used to be. The American prejudice has traditionally run in favor of personal liberty and the free market, but the… Continue reading →

James Gill: Anti-smoking movement gets puritanical

An ordinance before the New Orleans City Council that would ban smoking in bars and open public spaces may follow the national trend, but that just shows that the nation ain’t what it used to be. The American prejudice has traditionally run in favor of personal liberty and the free market, but the… Continue reading →

James Gill: Edwards not going down without a fight

Advocate staff file photo by Travis Spradling -- In this March 17, 2014, file photo, former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards speaks at the Baton Rouge Press Club in Baton Rouge, La. With enthusiasm and vigor that belie his 87 years, Edwards is running for Congress in south Louisiana in what would be his second political resurrection.

It has always seemed a bit like an old rocker’s farewell tour — possibly because, to his fans, former Gov. Edwin Edwards is an old rocker — but it does have the trappings of a serious campaign. In the works, for instance, is a last-minute media blitz in which Edwards will play up the links between… Continue reading →

James Gill: Technicality? It’s called the U.S. Constitution

The lament that some criminal got off on a “legal technicality” is naturally a common one, for we have a bunch of legal technicalities to choose from in this country. We even have an official list of them for crafty defense attorneys to exploit. It’s at the back of the U.S. Constitution. It is true that… Continue reading →

James Gill: Former juror still makes no difference

It’s supposed to be a runoff, but it looks more and more like a retrial as Victor Durand, former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ recalcitrant juror, attaches himself to the campaign. Make that the recalcitrant juror from the trial Edwards lost. There was one the first time he went on trial, too — Clifford West — but that, in… Continue reading →

James Gill: Officials waving a big unconstitutional stick

JFK was still alive, so New Orleans DA Jim Garrison had not yet had a chance to earn his global reputation as a crackpot. He did, however, come across as a bit of a wildman when he called a news conference in 1962 to denounce the city’s criminal court judges as lazy, incompetent and… Continue reading →

James Gill: It’s dog-eat-dog on talk radio

Elbert Guillory evidently doesn’t like Chihuahuas, else he wouldn’t have called Ted James one. Perhaps Guillory, a Republican state senator from Opelousas, saw himself as the big dog around here when he grew irritated with James, a Democratic state representative from Baton Rouge. Guillory terminated a discussion on a radio show by hanging up the phone… Continue reading →