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Rheta Johnson: The spirit of New Orleans can’t be dampened

Rain falls differently here, in entire puddles, not individual drops. Nobody stops. Not for a little rain. The homeless street youth shrugs and shakes the wet from his dreadlocks, the bag ladies pull their plastic ponchos over tousled heads, the tourists squeal and run for the nearest bar. The day before New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival… Continue reading →

Jeff Sadow: Democrats change tune on contract limits

My, what a difference a couple of years can make for Democrats in Louisiana’s House of Representatives, for whom the litmus test for legislation depends largely on whether their party occupies the Governor’s Mansion. Last week, when no-party state Rep. Dee Richard stumped for his House Bill 74 in front of the House Appropriations Committee,… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Landrieu’s ‘Violence in New Orleans’ speech tinged with exasperation

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks about violence will displaying a photo of Ka'Nard Allen at Tulane University's Dixon Hall in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Allen lost his cousin 5-year-old cousin Briana Allen at his birthday party to a gun violence and he was also wounded in the neck, his father was killed by gun violence, and Ka'Nard was also grazed by a gun in the face during a mass shooting at a second line.

From the outside, it’s not entirely clear what New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu was getting at when he made what was billed as a major address on violence in New Orleans last week. Was the main goal of the emotional hourlong speech at Tulane University to explain how intractable the problem is? How it’s intricately tied… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: A man buries his daughter, then his wife

For about 10 minutes last Saturday, I stared at Richard “Cooter” King, a man I have grown to admire over the years. My admiration is even stronger now. This is a column about love, loss and a man’s strength. I don’t see 84-year-old King very often, probably about twice a year at the most. But… Continue reading →

Letters: Real ID is a real good idea, but who’s going to pay for it?

The letter from Jim Harper regarding Real ID in the April 22 edition of The Advocate was a little misleading. Real ID was passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2005 during the Bush administration. It requires that air travelers carry a form of ID that complies with the requirements of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration (both… Continue reading →

Letters: A secession suggestion to solve the problems of New Orleans

The latest brouhaha from the Louisiana attorney general on the “sanctuary cities” issue and the meddling by the Legislature on the issue of the Civil War monuments presents New Orleans with an interesting dilemma. It’s nice to see they’re paying attention, but it’s really none of their business. Regardless of where you fall on the… Continue reading →

Letters: Disturbing display of historical ignorance

I happened to be at the National World War II Museum recently showing around a former Middle East adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. We were accompanied by another museum member. We were stopped by a gentleman who had some questions for us. He asked, “When was Pearl Harbor?” Followed by, “Didn’t we drop the atomic bomb… Continue reading →

Grace Notes: Is it too much to ask Airbnb hosts to meet basic safety measures?

Anyone who follows politics, particularly of the conservative variety, is bound to be familiar with certain Big Government bogeymen, from the all-powerful Nanny State to bureaucrats out to regulate people’s lives. But Big Fire Marshal? Really? State Rep. Helena Moreno, a New Orleans Democrat who, like many other city officials, is trying to… Continue reading →

Our Views: A caution to renters over safety of short-term stays

In a legislative committee, the good intentions of safety have collided with the worry about regulation and red tape, but there also is a healthy debate about the impact of short-term rentals over the Internet for full-time innkeepers. The panel eventually shot down legislation that would have required people who… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Here's why Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards shifted right on food stamps policy

AP file photo: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards

During his winning campaign for governor last fall, John Bel Edwards sharply criticized outgoing Gov. Bobby Jindal for trying to cut benefits provided through the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps. Once elected, Edwards successfully petitioned President Barack Obama’s administration to reverse Jindal’s move and keep the benefits in… Continue reading →

Letters: Let’s update, not remove, New Orleans monuments

Advocate file photo by MATTHEW HINTON--The sun moves behind the statue of Confederate Robert E. Lee at Lee Circle in New Orleans shortly after the city council voted 6-1 to remove the Lee statue, a statue of Confederate Jefferson Davis, Confederate P.G.T. Beauregard, and a monument memorializing a White League white supremacist uprising, in New Orleans, La.

As someone who can see both sides of the New Orleans monument removal issue, I would like to propose what I think is a reasonable solution to the controversy. The monuments are a part of our history, honoring causes and people that were once respected and admired. Removing them will not erase the… Continue reading →

Our Views: Punished for a conscience behind bars

Amid all the self-dealing of the Burl Cain empire at Angola, an inmate appears to have been the ethical conscience of the place. Now, he’s been transferred to a punishment ward at another facility, transparently for blowing the whistle on the officials who have made the Louisiana State Penitentiary into a prison enterprise for the politically connected.… Continue reading →

Letters: Pope’s gesture to refugees not enough

On April 16, Pope Francis, along with the patriarchs of the Orthodox Christian Church and the Church of Greece, visited Syrian refugees on the Greek Island of Lesbos in what was billed as an attempt to highlight the plight of Syrian refugees as the European Union plans to deport the refugees back to Turkey. In a gesture… Continue reading →

Letters: Thomas column correct and hurtful

The Advocate deserves considerable credit for the straight-forward reporting of Cal Thomas in the column “Saudis practice mafia tactics.” It’s an astounding revelation, clearly correct and 100 percent hurtful in every possible way. Come on, Congress, show some real guts for a change; pass the bill with bipartisan support. Allow us as a nation to record our… Continue reading →

James Gill: Gun control plans in New Orleans a misfire

To judge from online comments, gun enthusiasts are frothing at the mouth over an ordinance New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu seems likely to get adopted by the New Orleans City Council. It does not take much to reduce Second Amendment zealots to that condition, and, naturally, they are greatly alarmed when Landrieu and council members claim to… Continue reading →

Guest column: Anti-media attacks have dark history in America

Dane Strother

The press being held in pens at presidential rallies, verbally assaulted, jeered and taunted creates an environment where Donald Trump’s call for loosening libel laws is more than an idle threat. If anyone believes that a full censure of the press cannot happen here in America, one only needs to look here in America to know it can.… Continue reading →

Letters: Don’t put 17 year olds in juvenile system

I recently retired from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office with 28 years of service. Fourteen years of that was either working at juvenile court or in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, which I think makes me qualified to comment on Senate Bill 324 to keep 17-year-olds out of adult jails and place them in a… Continue reading →

Our Views: Uphold Holden’s veto, work on real plan for north Baton Rouge

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden is right to worry about the long-term financial implications of a sweeping ordinance intending to spur economic development in north Baton Rouge. We support his veto of this ordinance, an election-year proposal that we feel needs a good bit more work before it can be considered a realistic approach to community… Continue reading →

Lanny Keller: A ruthless pragmatism for Louisiana’s benefit

Former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu tells the story of how the Superdome was built in downtown New Orleans. He was a member of the New Orleans committee working on it, and had been a political foe of Gov. John McKeithen, the backer of the project. The projected cost of the Dome was too high to provide… Continue reading →

Letters: Republicans are paying for their sins

The apparent reason for the popularity of Donald Trump is that he is not a politician. The people are fed up with the politicians who promise anything to get elected or re-elected and then don’t do what they promised. The GOP is in deep trouble for their past sins. We can only hope that… Continue reading →

Letters: Show readers who sided with Jindal

I think the names of all the members of the Legislature who voted with former Gov. Bobby Jindal should be on the front page of The Advocate so we can identify our enemy. With this information, I can decide how I vote the next time I see their names on a ballot.… Continue reading →

Letters: Lawmakers culpable in state’s fiscal crisis

Listening to the radio and reading the newspaper (yes, I stop at a store and pay for a paper), I finally realized why people say that Jindal bankrupted the state and how politicians screw up on hypothetical questions about laws. These people need to go back to grammar school or high school and take or… Continue reading →

Letters: Not the welfare abuser you imagined

Recently, The Advocate published a story highlighting my concerns about threats to TOPS funding as a father of 11 children. To summarize responding comments on The Advocate and other online forums, I should consider myself a quite irresponsible welfare recipient. One commenter from Lakeview objected to even a single student receiving TOPS at his expense.… Continue reading →

Grace Notes: Louisiana’s dismal health-crisis ranking shows another lost opportunity from past 8 years

Former Gov. Bobby Jindal loved to talk about lists. He particularly loved to talk about lists that give Louisiana credit for having achieved some benchmark or risen in some ranking, usually in the area of ethics or business-friendliness. If he were still in office, I doubt he would be going around citing the results of a new… Continue reading →

Loyola professor guest column: With public, charter schools in Louisiana, what's the best governance structure?

Luis Miron

By endorsing Senate Bill 432, the Recovery School District and its administrative staff likely are writing themselves out of employment. SB 432, which would end state takeover of the majority of public schools in New Orleans and eventually return charter schools to the Orleans Parish School Board, raises a broader question: What is the most effective governance structure… Continue reading →

Grace Notes: By paying off Ku Klux Klan, ex-Louisiana Gov. John McKeithen let down his white supremacist supporters

File photo -- Former Gov. John J. McKeithen and his wife,left, with State Treasurer Mary Evelyn Parker and State Senator Francis (Hank) Lauricella, a member of the Superdome commission.

If John McKeithen were still alive, he might justify the secrecy surrounding payments he arranged to the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s by saying that it “ain’t real cool to put out there” that you’re doing business with such folks. Those, of course, were the words of another Louisiana governor, Mike Foster, who decades later would… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: Fees or taxes? Lawmakers weigh options to fill gaps in next year’s budget

Associated Press star reporter Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, April 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Prohibitions against considering taxes in the current legislative session haven’t slowed all efforts to raise revenue to patch together next year’s budget. Statewide elected officials, state boards and agencies that have taken — or are threatened with — cuts are seeking to boost user fees, increase penalties for regulatory violations or levy new charges on people and… Continue reading →

Letters: ‘Lightning Joe’ Collins worthy of statue

It is shameful the way Louisiana has treated the memory of its most distinguished military heroes. In 1997, our state Legislature — a body not known for its wisdom — voted to remove a statue of the legendary leader of the Flying Tigers, Lt. General Claire Lee Chennault from State Capitol grounds in order to make room… Continue reading →

Letters: Cuba’s streets put New Orleans’ to shame

I was a traveler to Cuba this past November participating in a sailboat regatta. The coverage from President Barack Obama’s visit reminded me of the streets in Havana; they are in such good repair that they put our New Orleans streets to shame. Steven Campbell retired commercial banker… Continue reading →

Political Horizons: Not much give in competing visions of the budget

Say Washington and the first thought is, the place where nothing gets done. But even during the partisan gridlock a few years ago — with the nation days from financial default — there’s also the image of Democratic President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, then the head of the GOP majority, smoking cigarettes and sipping… Continue reading →

James Gill: Work-release much better than the pen

The old gang gathered round, astonished that he had showed up in the neighborhood. “I busted out,” he said, puffing out his chest. “They can’t keep me caged up.” Boy, this was like being in a James Cagney movie. Everyone was keen to find out how he pulled it off. “I just walked up the… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: The sins of the mighty aired in the courthouse during Danziger case

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Former New Orleans Police officer Arthur Kaufman, center, enters the Hale Boggs Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Metairie, La. Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Five officers were sentenced in the case where New Orleans Police Department officers fired at unarmed civilians on September 4, 2005, killing two people and wounding 4 others, and later tried to cover up the shooting by blaming one of the civilians.

While many eyes were on the long-awaited end to the epic Danziger Bridge case last Wednesday, something else extraordinary was happening at the federal courthouse in downtown New Orleans. Even as the five former New Orleans officers prepared to plead guilty in the high-profile post-Katrina shootings, two other former law enforcement officials faced allegations that they… Continue reading →