Storms moving east from Texas made a mess of New Orleans and surrounding areas from early Monday morning through the evening. High winds following the squall line blew a Union Pacific train off of the Huey P. Long Bridge trestle in Elmwood, knocked down a Wisner Park home, delayed flights, and left 17,000 without power as the sun came up on Tuesday.
Lawmakers from both parties say Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s national political ambitions are a distraction from his role in Louisiana as he takes heat for a $1.6 billion budget shortfall threatening colleges and health care services. Meanwhile, his approval rating dips into the high 20s and low 30s. Jindal, who is pushing a Louisiana religious freedom bill, titled the “Marriage and Conscience Act,” wrote a New York Times op-ed criticizing corporations that “recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials,” vowing that Louisiana “won’t back down.”
New Orleans Jazz Fest 2015 will reopen on Thursday (April 30) as scheduled after sustaining relatively minor damage from the storm that roared through the New Orleans area earlier in the week, spokesman Matthew Goldman said Tuesday. Even though Monday’s deluge added water to the already-soggy Fair Grounds, Goldman said the drainage system and time – three days without hundreds of thousands of feet – should help the infield dry out.
4. Up in Smoke
As of April 21, smoking and vaping indoors is illegal in the Crescent City. While violations can be reported by dialing 311, Mayor Mitch Landrieu says that an enforcement plan will not be ready until June of this year. Until those guidelines are written and approved, no fines will be levied against violators, though bars and clubs that have been reported for indoor smoking will be notified of the call and may receive an educational visit to further explain the rules.
A federal jury in New Orleans on Monday convicted Hollywood producer Peter Hoffman, his wife Susan Hoffman, and New Orleans attorney Michael Arata of conspiracy and mail fraud for cheating Louisiana’s oft-criticized film tax credit program, delivering U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite’s office a victory after a two-week trial that featured reams of accounting records. The verdict marked the latest black eye for a generous subsidy program repeatedly gamed by filmmakers here, and could give a boost to continuing calls for legislative reform of the Louisiana Motion Picture Incentive Act.
Maryland’s governor activated the National Guard on Monday as the city of Baltimore announced a curfew for all residents in response to a turbulent day that began with the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, the nation’s latest victim of police brutality, and ended with rioting by rock-throwing youths, arson, looting, and at least 15 injured police officers. The violence that shook the city broke out in the late afternoon in the Mondawmin neighborhood of northwest Baltimore, where Mr. Gray’s funeral had taken place.
The Supreme Court heard historic arguments beginning Tuesday in cases that could make same-sex marriage the law of the land. The case stands to offer the first public definition of marriage: whether states can continue to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, or whether the Constitution gives gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. The court is hearing extended arguments, which also will explore whether states that do not permit same-sex marriage must nonetheless recognize such unions from the 36 states (and the District of Columbia) that already recognize these unions.
New Orleans native Neesa Peterson is now parking her NYC-born Imperial Woodpecker snoball cart at the St. Roch Market on weekends (Friday through Sunday) for the summer. The cart can still be found during the week at the Spanish Plaza at Riverwalk Marketplace (across from Harrah’s) daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“Something Rotten,” conceived and written by former Baton Rouge resident Karey Kirkpatrick and his brother Wayne, received a Tony Award nomination for Best New Musical. Additionally, part-time New Orleans resident Michael Cerveris got one of a dozen nods for “Fun Home” — as best leading actor in a musical — and NOLA native Patricia Clarkson received a nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for her work in the revival of “The Elephant Man.”
Arizona-based resort company Enchantment Group announced this week that it has acquired The Cove, a resort on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, from New Orleans businessman Sidney Torres IV. The former SDT Waste and Debris owner purchased the 1960s-era resort in 2012 and opened it a year later after an extensive renovation and a $12 million investment.