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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 →

Our Views: Potentially cutting WISE college fund typical of Louisiana budget's chronic mismanagement under Bobby Jindal

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during his prayer rally,

When the so-called WISE fund was launched, a look behind the news releases showed far less in new money for state colleges than the $40 million advertised. Typical of the chronic mismanagement of the state budget under Gov. Bobby Jindal, a lot of the advertised benefits for colleges were one-time money that was shuffled around in… Continue reading →

Letter: Kyle’s legacy extends beyond military service

The controversial film “American Sniper” has sparked debate across the country and the flames have been fanned by incendiary remarks on each side. I had the opportunity to meet with Chris Kyle on a handful of occasions while on the nonprofit fundraising circuit, including once in Baton Rouge only months before his murder at the hands of… Continue reading →

Letter: Ensuring La. teachers a retirement for the long term

As a member of the Board of Trustees for the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) for the past 24 years, I often get asked questions about the board’s investment goals and strategies. Our primary goal is to ensure the system’s portfolio has the right mix of investments to fund retirements in the long term. A recent… Continue reading →

Letter: Prayer meeting coverage was attack on Christians

I’ve never written to The Advocate ever. The recent front page was AMAZING! I am entering retirement years and was so excited to see all these pictures of Christians coming together because I am one. As I began to read the article, I couldn’t believe how Elizabeth Crisp bent and twisted the entire thing. This went… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Jan. 15, 2015

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Our Views: Rich history on Teche

Photo provided by Iberia Tourism -- Tour du Teche V takes off Friday and last through Sunday along Bayou Teche from Port Barre to Patterson.

The story goes that the matron of The Shadows on the Teche, the antebellum landmark in New Iberia, was faced with a stark offer. Take the oath of allegiance to the United States and get food from the federal steamboats playing Bayou Teche. She thought this pledge a betrayal of her husband and sons away in the Confederate… Continue reading →

Letter: As DWI offenses grow, so should punishment

You do a service to our community by publishing the daily list of arrests for drunk driving, or DWI, in Baton Rouge. I am amazed at how many third- and fourth-time repeaters there are, suggesting that efforts to make drunk driving unattractive are failing. Surely one DWI is forgivable, and maybe even a second could occur to the… Continue reading →

Letter: Readers need protection from global warming ‘tripe’

This letter is being written in response to Daniel P. Poulin, a real estate executive in Metairie. He asks that The Advocate stop printing “tripe” consisting of inaccurate, badly informed and downright fraudulent letters about climate change. I agree. I think you should also not print letters or articles that explain the ugly “physics” of… Continue reading →

Letter: Obama shows no respect for Churchill’s legacy

I thoroughly enjoyed Cal Thomas’ column about Boris Johnson’s wonderful book, “The Churchill Factor, How One Man Made History.” I own the book, and it is a fine piece of work about the 20th century’s greatest statesman. Every student of history would do well to read it and learn what makes a true leader. As Thomas points… Continue reading →

Letter: U.S. stands proud with France in time of tragedy

The article in “Our Views” in the Jan. 17 edition of The Advocate, “Our Cousins in Mourning,” touched me and my family greatly. “Je suis Charlie” summed up our feelings in a way so rarely achieved by three short words. It also expressed the feelings of an entire state, Louisiana, perhaps a nation, the United States. It expressed… Continue reading →

Lanny Keller: Downtown Baton Rouge is booming; what's the next step?

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --  A ceremony celebrating the topping off of the IBM building downtown at the corner of Lafayette and North streets was held  in December.

Maybe it’s become a cliché, but the “tipping point” for downtown Baton Rouge has probably already happened — a boom in both commerce and residential living has marked 2014 and shows signs of more progress this year. The sense of change in the years since 1998 brought town planner Andres Duany to Baton Rouge for the… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Bobby Jindal can't do a thing about same-sex marriage possibly becoming law; that's the way it should be

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks to a crowd, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Baton Rouge, La. Gov. Jindal continued to court Christian conservatives for a possible presidential campaign with a headlining appearance at an all-day prayer rally hosted by the American Family Association. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

If the U.S. Supreme Court wraps up this year’s session by declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right — a scenario far more probable than not, most knowledgeable observers predict — tourism officials in New Orleans will be ready. According to a recent Gambit story, the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Jan. 27, 2015

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Our Views: John Kasich, GOP leader on Medicaid

Associated Press file photo by JAMES NORD -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich

The leader among Republican governors favoring Medicaid expansion is John Kasich, of Ohio, and he’s not backing down on the need to provide insurance for the working poor. Kasich defended the policy in a meeting with Republican legislators in Montana, where the GOP-led bodies had opposed expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The mini-debate over… Continue reading →

Letter: Parents don’t want failure as an option for their kids

According to Caroline Roemer Shirley, executive director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (guest commentary Jan. 21) failure is necessary. It is what drives the wheels of charter law in Louisiana. A child and her parents are not burdened when a charter experiment fails two years into elementary school and that child’s educational future is turned… Continue reading →

Letter: Atlas Foundation condemns the attack in France

We sadly came to learn about the incident that took place in Paris, France recently. Killing innocent people at their work, on the streets, on their duties cannot be explained by any teaching, any philosophy and any ideology regardless of its location. However, we witnessed it once again with a great sadness. We hope and pray that no… Continue reading →

Letter: Wood pellets shipped overseas from South destroying forests

I am concerned about our Southern forests being devastated to provide wood pellets to be burned for fuel in Europe. Our trees store carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which we need to breathe. We need our trees to keep our air as clean as possible. Why should we clear cut our hardwood forests to export this natural resource… Continue reading →

In Toon With Walt: We have a winner!

Wow, Folks! Every time we hold one of these contests I say how much I enjoy reading your entries but this time I was literally laughing out loud! All of your punch lines about the joy of falling gas prices were smart, witty and just flat out funny. This time we had 213 entries with… Continue reading →

Letter: Restoring Gulf Coast is best outcome from BP disaster

Tracking the trials and legal decisions in the aftermath of the 2010 BP disaster has been a long, sometimes frustrating and complicated process. The lawsuit to hold BP accountable for the destruction in the Gulf of Mexico resulting from the largest oil spill in U.S. history began in 2013. This lawsuit deals with violation of… Continue reading →

Letter: Too many struggle for basic needs in Louisiana

As we recently celebrated the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., many working individuals and families found themselves struggling to afford health care in Louisiana. Furthermore, Louisiana’s health care system has seen the effects of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s policy-making. Most disturbing is the governor’s decision not to accept federal Affordable… Continue reading →

Letter: Muslims should denounce terrorism

Philosophical discussions about people devoted to an ideology are seldom as effective in describing reality as is behavioral observation of those people. When applied to devotees of Islam, philosophical discussions have seemingly created three categories into which Muslims can be placed — radical extremist, moderate and peaceful. Philosophically defining these categories can lead to quite a… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: No good news expected from revenue panel

The depth of Louisiana’s budget problems gets a firmer number Monday, with lawmakers bracing for even worse news than the gaping $1.4 billion hole that already has them spooked. The state’s income forecasting panel will take a look at the continued downward spiral of oil prices and adjust Louisiana’s revenue forecast to account for the drop. Little… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Jan. 25, 2015

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: In defense of Bobby Jindal, his 'no-go zone' comments are an inconvenient truth based on ton of facts

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks to a crowd, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Baton Rouge, La. Gov. Jindal continued to court Christian conservatives for a possible presidential campaign with a headlining appearance at an all-day prayer rally hosted by the American Family Association. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

What is wrong with you people? I mean, really, what is your problem? You people, you media jackals, are having crazy attacks because Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal dared say there are areas in Europe, heavily populated by Muslims, which effectively are “no-go zones” because police and other non-Muslims are largely unwelcome.… 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 →

Our Views: Jindal’s take on culture

Of the crop of potential presidential candidates in 2016, few can speak more directly to the twin issues of immigration and assimilation than Gov. Bobby Jindal. He made headlines last week with an ill-advised endorsement of the notion that European countries are losing control of Muslim-dominated parts of their cities. The urban legend… Continue reading →

Washington Watch: Jindal’s public persona, history inspired strategy

If you didn’t know Gov. Bobby Jindal, you might think he was the sort of reactionary, know-nothing, anti-intellectual demagogue who gives knuckle-draggers a bad name. He’s scheduled to speak this month in Florida before a Catholic business organization whose anti-gay attitudes are so controversial that several other invitees have dropped out of the… Continue reading →

Our Views: A warning on new law

There are few things more vexing in schools than special education. A new state law is intended to help more students get to a high school diploma, but the U.S. government is signaling that the state’s effort could conflict with federal law. It’s not a case of the feds making trouble for the poor state of Louisiana,… Continue reading →

Letter: Jindal refuses to invest in La.

On Jan. 9, Louisiana House Speaker Chuck Kleckley came out like Clint Eastwood in a Western flick, standing up tall to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s latest plan to cut $370 million from Louisiana higher education. He says he won’t back the budget plan. But let’s be clear-minded. Kleckley is Jindal’s paramour. He has done and will continue… Continue reading →

Ed Pratt: Keeping it off, up to a point

Tuesday night, more than a full year after spending a year losing weight, I stepped on my scale and guess what I saw? Well, you’ll have to wait until later in this column before you get the answer. Please, don’t cheat. Just wait. If you are a regular reader of my column, you know that I… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Jan. 23, 2015

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: The bigger Bobby Jindal tries to go, the smaller he looks in quest to get attention he craves

Gov. Bobby Jindal may have billed his European swing as an economic development mission on behalf of Louisiana, but his primary agenda has been obvious to anyone who’s turned on a television set, logged onto the Internet or followed his PR operation via email or social media. Far more than state business, Jindal’s trip was all… Continue reading →

Our Views: Happy 10th for the Shaw

It’s a fixture now, the centerpiece to a downtown blossoming socially and economically. At one time, though, the space that is now the Shaw Center was the old brick “auto hotel” and a collection of other mostly abandoned buildings and parking lots — a problem that could almost come out of a textbook of urban… Continue reading →

Letter: Pope’s pilgrimage to Philippines deserves more media coverage

It is sad indeed that coverage of the Pope Francis visitation “pilgrimage” to the Philippines doesn’t get more focus on local TV and newspapers. Here is front-page interest. I think it should be. People have a hunger for historical events. Our children, youth and young adults, all of us, are inspired by news of encouragement,… Continue reading →

Letter: Quarter more perilous than most realize

I am a 58-year-old New Orleans resident. I grew up at the Lakefront, Lakewood South and at my grandmother’s home on Audubon Place until raising my children in a safe Metairie. I’ve also graduated from Tulane. The point is, I understand New Orleans from the core and from many perspectives. My wife and I became empty… Continue reading →

Letter: Governor’s attack on Obama hypocrisy

I watched in amazement the other night as Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s biggest hypocrite, blasted President Barack Obama’s plan to give two free years of community college to students. How does Louisiana’s biggest liar have the nerve to blast anyone? He sent children from Louisiana public schools to private/Catholic schools on Louisiana taxpayers’ dime,… Continue reading →

Letter: Miss Manners needs a lesson in etiquette

Please, please, please can we get a different etiquette column besides Miss Manners? The columnist is becoming increasingly snappish with her responses, and it makes me angry and indignant. Am I the only one who has complained? Heather Betz homemaker Baton Rouge… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: Data should drive school reform

New Orleans has always done things differently from the rest of the country, and nowhere is that more true today than in public education. City schools were failing even before Hurricane Katrina destroyed critical infrastructure, drove out residents and decimated the tax base. Neighborhood schools no longer held the same logic with entire neighborhoods washed away. Under… Continue reading →