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Edward Pratt: Remembering my own days of student protest

Andrew Jones (photo via WWL-TV)

I am conflicted about the actions of Andrew Jones, the Amite High School valedictorian who chose to take a position on facial hair that he knew would result in him being denied participation in graduation ceremonies. On the one hand, I believe in standing up against rules you consider unfair and kind of stupid. After all, Amite… Continue reading →

Criminal justice reform sees real progress

Years of progress reforming Louisiana’s criminal justice system is bringing real results, and we are now on the precipice of true systematic change to our justice system that could make Louisiana a model for the nation. After devoting over 40 years to public safety and reforming Louisiana’s prisons, it is exciting to witness how our state… Continue reading →

Guest column: Walkable cites driving urban renewal

Pres Kabacoff ORG XMIT: BAT1602171357240701

New Orleans’ post-Katrina recovery has flowed partly from an animating vision: the idea of revitalizing historic neighborhoods across our city, from the Warehouse District, Historic Central Business District and Lower Garden District to Marigny, Bywater and Algiers. Walkable neighborhoods are sparking the revival of communities as great places to live, work and play — walkable, energy-efficient, culturally dynamic… Continue reading →

Letter: Bensons certainly have invested in community

In response to Shirley Laska’s letter that ran May 8, I feel compelled to respond to her questions as they relate to what impact Tom and Gayle Benson have on our community and if profits from their teams have been reinvested in our communities in New Orleans and across the Gulf South. The unequivocal answer to… Continue reading →

Letter: Think twice about ads attacking Edwards’ voucher stance

Over the last few weeks, I couldn’t help noticing all the ads on TV calling Gov. John Bel Edwards a “liar” with respect to school vouchers. Considering the frequency of the ads, it was obvious this was not a grass-roots campaign. So I did a some research on the organization that was paying for them … the American… Continue reading →

Letters: N.O. needs homicide awareness program

Recently, I joined the group Mothers Against Violence in New Orleans. As with the many marches, processions, gatherings, I find a show of concerned people that is not effective in ending violence. I do agree with the premise that violence is everyone’s problem in New Orleans. Unfortunately, we usually see an extreme majority of black people attending the… Continue reading →

Letters: Adults should set good examples for teenagers when on the road

Teen drivers often make mistakes and sometimes get into crashes. That’s true everywhere, but a new report pegs Louisiana as one of the worst states for teen drivers. What is truly disturbing about the report from carinsurance.com are the reasons behind Louisiana’s bad ranking are so fixable. The report says Louisiana is the third-most dangerous state for… Continue reading →

Our Views: Super Bowl machine chugs on

If the billionaires who own the NFL’s 32 teams held the Super Bowl in a town where they could pass a good time, the game would be in New Orleans every year. But the NFL is a business, so sometimes its owners feel obliged to stage their grand event in sleepy towns like… Continue reading →

Our Views: Time for LeBlanc to go

For the fourth time in less than half a year, a member of Burl Cain’s family has resigned from the state prison system under a cloud. The legendary Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola warden retired last year after The Advocate asked questions about his business deals with two investors linked to state inmates.… Continue reading →

Letter: Attorney general powers cause disagreement

Your editorial misused the words “power grab” to describe the Legislature’s decision to utilize a separate appropriation bill to appropriate funds for the operation of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. For years, the editorial pages of this and other newspapers throughout the state have lamented, with justification, the awesome powers wielded by… Continue reading →

Our views: Leaders made, not born

Few communities have even one citizen as useful as Mary Frey Eaton, who died at 91 after having compiled a remarkable history of civic and political leadership in Baton Rouge. There has been much appreciation for her role as a stabilizing force on the Metro Council during three terms, ending… Continue reading →

James Gill: Defender bill an odd way to reform

There was nothing particularly unusual about the case of David Brown. Prosecutors failed to disclose evidence that might have helped him, and he wound up on death row. The U.S. Supreme Court will soon consider whether to cancel his date with the executioner. That wouldn’t be particularly unusual in an appeal out of… Continue reading →

Letter: Charter school organizations are lacking in accountability

What if I told you that an educational nonprofit, in existence for only three years, could bypass local school boards and taxpayer oversight, essentially becoming its own school district, empowered to create new schools across multiple parishes? That it would garner control of state and local taxes and be allowed to grab 2 percent of each… Continue reading →

Letters: Debunking ‘facts’ of climate change

Brian Warren’s recent letter on the “facts” of climate change is replete with errors. First, the claim that 97 percent of scientists affirm man-made disastrous climate change is a myth, not a fact. Read “The Myth of the Climate Change ‘97 percent,’ ” page A13 of the May 27, 2014, Wall Street Journal for a thorough debunking of… Continue reading →

Letters: Whose right is it to choose a bathroom?

Because President Barack Obama, in his infinite wisdom, has decreed that transgender people may use whichever bathroom they choose, then under equal rights, don’t I have the same freedom of choice? Why can’t I share the ladies’ facilities with them? I’m sure it would upset most females and also get some laughs from others. Or is… Continue reading →

Letters: Pension boost is irresponsible

The Advocate’s recent editorials recommending against the pension cost-of-living adjustment for retirees in the state retirement systems are exactly on target. The Louisiana House and Senate passed this bill with barely any discussion, which will only add to the poor funding status of these plans. Each of the retirement systems are about 60 percent funded, which translates to… Continue reading →

Letters: Voted for change but things stay the same

Louisiana just finished having the worst governor in our esteemed history, and now the worst Legislature. What are these people thinking? With all of our budget problems, wouldn’t you think they would be trying to fix them? No, that would make way too much sense. These people think cursive writing, getting around… Continue reading →

Grace Notes: Louisiana House panel makes right call to reject bill blocking Landrieu initiative

The goal of New Orleans’ Hire NOLA initiative is quite simple: To put public money to use in pursuing a public goal. Yet this is one of quite a long list of New Orleans efforts that various legislators have sought to stop this session. So kudos to the House Transportation Committee, which this week Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: TOPS shortfall may be Gov. Edwards’ strongest bargaining chip as budget showdown looms

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signs a bill to expand and jump-start Louisiana's medical marijuana program, on Thursday, May 19, 2106, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

For a man who won the election last fall by a more-than-comfortable 12-point margin, Gov. John Bel Edwards is visibly struggling to get lawmakers to follow his lead. One major plank of his campaign, a modest $1.25-an-hour minimum wage increase, appears stalled. Another high-profile proposal, a bill to make it easier for women to pursue allegations of… Continue reading →

Letters: Destination health care is finally here

Destination health care can be a powerful economic development engine. Consider that in Houston, 25 percent of all hotel stays are people visiting the Texas Medical Center. Here in the greater New Orleans area, we have a similar opportunity. The VA is a regional center for our servicemen and women. Ochsner already is treating patients and training… Continue reading →

Guest column: “Sanctuary” bill would damage regional economy

Mitch Landrieu

Above all else, public safety is New Orleans’ top priority. When I became mayor of New Orleans in 2010, I immediately requested that the Department of Justice step in to help reform the New Orleans Police Department. At the time, the public demanded that policing practices in our city be constitutional and consistent with all federal,… Continue reading →

Letters: Juvenile parole eligibility time is too long

The Louisiana Legislature is attempting to relax the “lock ’em up and throw away the key” mentality toward juveniles given life sentences without parole for first- and second-degree murder offenses in Senate Bill 127 and House Bill 264. These two bills provide the possibility for parole after serving a minimum of 35 years. With… Continue reading →

Letters: UMC expansion benefits thriving tourism industry

In the decade since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has had much to celebrate. In August 2015, University Medical Center, home of the Reverend Avery C. Alexander hospital, opened its doors. This $1.2 billion academic medical center is an asset to the New Orleans hospitality industry as it has quickly become a regional destination for health care.… Continue reading →

Grace Notes: TOPS might be Gov. Edwards’ best bet to secure special session next month

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Participants enjoy the free food and information booths at LSU's Fall Fest celebration on Oct.. 2, 2015, at the LSU Parade Ground.

This much is clear from what how the legislative season has gone so far: Just about everyone, Republican and Democrat, wants to fully fund the TOPS college scholarships for next year. In the immediate term, that may be the program’s doom. Read between the lines of the action, and of Advocate writer Tyler Bridges’Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman: Who’s your Crawdaddy contest winner

With over 140 entries this time, you folks were on fire! We had lots of head-sucking, tail-pinching jokes and picked our favorite one of those. We also had lots of political humor and picked some of those. And we had several just plain wacky, funny, completely off-the-wall ideas and we picked several of those. Really great job this… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: From equal pay to minimum wage, Gov. Edwards’ agenda takes a beating in Legislature

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

It would be kind to say Gov. John Bel Edwards’ legislative agenda is struggling in the Louisiana Legislature. It might be more direct to say much of that agenda is in tatters. The governor’s equal pay bill has been killed, his minimum wage proposal is stalled and much of his education package never even got out… Continue reading →

Our Views: Give New Orleans flexibility in new contracting rules

With the state in a mess, and New Orleans arguably in its best shape in decades in terms of local government finance, it seems an odd time for the Louisiana Legislature to decide to intervene in city policies, but it keeps happening this legislative session. A bill by Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, would… Continue reading →

Letters: Black Lives Matter shouldn’t fixate on cops

Kudos to Steve Gardes and his letter on May 13, “Stronger families can cure social ills” and Joseph Bellande III’s letter on May 14, “Media has set agenda against police officers.” They are right on target about our crime problem. And now put into that mix the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and we have a most serious… Continue reading →

Letters: Legislation would help ex-offenders get jobs

Louisiana state legislators are making incredible progress and working together in a bipartisan manner! That is not a statement you hear very often about most issues, but it is true about current efforts to pass criminal justice reform legislation. For too long, Louisiana’s justice system has put in place unnecessary barriers for rehabilitated ex-offenders to successfully… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: McFarland, Havard spark talk about sexism

I didn’t really feel like sitting down to write this column Friday morning. I wasn’t feeling sick or anything, just not in the mood. Then a thought occurred to me: Maybe I could call in female. I never would have conjured up such an idea up on my own, so credit goes to state Rep. Jack… Continue reading →

Jeff Sadow: Sanctuary bill a big test for Edwards

This week, a collision between good policy and electoral politics seems certain, with the stakes high for Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards. Edwards campaigned as a liberal wolf in conservative sheep’s clothing by professing views to the right on select issues. That strategy fooled enough of Louisiana’s center-right voters to cast their lots with one of the… Continue reading →

James Gill: Tax law possible boon to manure industry

Louisiana farmers will get to avoid paying sales taxes on what they feed their critters if they sell what comes out the other end for fertilizer. That is the logical outcome of a recent state Supreme Court decision, according to Jeannette Knoll in a somewhat mischievous dissent. When ranchers get wind of this, the dung market should… Continue reading →

Letters: Keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone

From the moment we begin preparing for our learner’s permit test, we are taught the importance of being safe and responsible drivers. Parents, driver’s education teachers and other seasoned adults caution new drivers and share just how dangerous taking your eyes off the road can be, even if just for a second. While many of us… Continue reading →

Our Views: Politics over police work when it comes to illegal immigration?

Given the political grandstanding over illegal immigration, we’re afraid that every immigration-related issue could embrace emotion instead of facts. So we urge the Louisiana Senate to study thoroughly a proposal to threaten state aid to cities that are, in the eyes of anti-immigration politicians, “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants. After about an hour of… Continue reading →

Our Views: Gov. John Bel Edwards should keep plan for charters

Much of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposals on education already are in the legislative boneyard, but a bill that would potentially restrict future growth in charter schools is headed for a showdown vote in the House. This is a vote that the governor’s side should not win. The argument for Senate Bill… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: 'Lack of decorum' at graduations a sad comment on the times

If someone my age complains about something that teenagers, twentysomethings and thirtysomethings are doing, then we are relegated to the so-called “get-off-my-lawn” group of stereotypical, middle-age Americans. The young critics say folks like us yearn for a time that is gone and needs to be forgotten. This is what you hear: “Look, old dude, you’ve had your… Continue reading →