REG-GIE! REG-GIE! REG-GIE! REG-GIE! Saturday, Apr 29 2006 

"With the number 2 choice of the 2006 NFL draft, the New Orleans Saints select Reggie Bush, running back, USC." This is the best news to hit New Orleans since Mayor Nagin announced we were getting free wireless internet. (What happened with that, by the way?) Anyway, think the Hornets were fortunate when Chris Paul dropped to the fourth pick in last year's NBA draft? That pales in comparison to today's news. As New Orleanians are wont to say this time of year, "We're going to the Super Bowl!!!"

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Ruminations on an Election Tuesday, Apr 25 2006 

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One of the biggest surprises of the mayor's race was the embarrassing performance of former council member Peggy Wilson (R), who finished eighth (behind the only intermittently lucid Kimberly Williamson Butler (D)) with only 772 votes. As of her campaign's last reporting, Wilson had spent $100,282.19, or $129.90 per vote. If she had just given that money to the city, maybe we'd be able to afford that tax-free city.

Although her Republican counterpart, Rob Couhig (R), surged at the end of the mayor's race with strong debate performances, he failed to overcome zookeeper Ron Forman (D-R-D) for third place. Few expected Couhig to make the runoff, but one Republican strategist groused the candidate was MIA on election day. Although his campaign did send automated telephone calls to Republican households from his wife (you know, the one who repeatedly points to him in the commercials), he had no visible presence of supporters, yard signs, and flyers on election day.

In contrast, gardener Quentin "No BS" Brown (N) proved to be an indefatigible campaigner in his bid for the open Council District B seat. Brown, renowned for his handwritten yard signs and R-rated slogan, was on the Uptown corner of St. Charles and Napoleon at the crack of dawn (with a bullhorn no less) and was one of the last to leave. With 654 votes (only 118 less than Peggy Wilson), Brown actually defeated Rev. Marshall Truehill Jr. (D) (626 votes – 146 less than Peggy Wilson) and nearly edged out 30-something lawyer Shane Landry (D) (680 votes – 92 less than Peggy Wilson). Working in Landry's favor, however, was the fact that the voters could hardly afford to lose to the council one of the city's few remaining lawn care workers.

Other 30-something candidates fared better, including District B candidate Stacy Head (D), who will face the incumbent in the general election, and District C run-off opponents James Carter (D) and Kristen Gisleson Palmer (D). Look for Gen X favorites Landry, Gerald DeSalvo (D), Sal Palmisano (R), and Sanjay Biswas (R) to run again in future races.

DeSalvo may have fallen short in his bid to unseat incumbent Marlin Gusman (D), but the result was far from evident in a comparison of election night partes. While DeSalvo and his supporters rocked and karaoke'd into the night at Ditcharo's – including a serenade by the candidate himself – a lonely Gusman was interviewed by a television crew against the backdrop of a cavernous, empty ballroom. By the way, DeSalvo, with 31,479 votes, had over 40 times as many votes as Peggy Wilson.

Political scientists are probably studying the showing of civil clerk of court challenger Douglas Castro (R) against likeable incumbent Dale Atkins (D). After qualifying just before the deadline, Castro essentially went into hiding and refused to debate, campaign, or even respond to interview requests. In fact, it is believed but not confirmed that Castro's barmates at Ditcharo's convinced him to enter the race and that he could have been cited for a QUI (qualifying under the influence)). Nevertheless, Castro received a respectable 16,713 votes (15,941 more than Peggy Wilson), suggesting that 18 percent of post-Katrina voters were determined to vote against the incumbent, regardless of the opponent.

Speaking of incumbents, the powerful assessors unfortunately fared well, with the only winning IQ candidate being the Sixth Municipal District's Nancy Marshall. (Two others forced a runoff.) On election day, Marshall took a seat on a bench outside the Creole Creamery, hobbled by a twisted ankle that prevented active stumping. Yet she managed to handily defeat Albert Coman, whose mother gave him the job when she retired last summer and who whored himself after Katrina by slashing assessments of undamaged houses. It will be fun to watch Marshall, an extremely tough litigator, antagonize the rest of the board over the next few months, especially if she's the only I.Q. candidate left standing. Think Peggy Wilson, in her anti-Morial days, on steroids.

During WDSU's election night coverage, Alec Gifford showed us he doesn't just look like a crazy old man. As election returns rolled in, and Nagin's share hovered around  35 percent, Gifford repeatedly wondered aloud what the percentage of votes had been cast for the other mayoral candidates. Oblivious to the thousands of viewers screaming at him through their television sets, Gifford never did realize all he needed to do was subtract Nagin's share from 100.

WDSU viewers who hung in there and kept watching the coverage after Nagin's "victory" speech were treated to the ominous scene of a sinister-looking Jesse Jackson and his bodyguards slithering away from the ballroom floor. If you think Jackson is only interested in voting rights, think again. The idea of a chocolate city having a white mayor, even a progressive one with a strong civil rights record like Landrieu, is repulsive to the anglophobic Jackson.

Finally, for those of you scoring at home, here's The Weathers Report's endorsement scorecard:

Wins – 3

Losses – 7

Runoffs – 5

Stay tuned.

Election Day! Saturday, Apr 22 2006 

The Uptown corner of St. Charles and Napoleon was quite the scene on this monumental election day. Supporters waved signs, motorists honked horns, and candidates hugged and shook hands. The Weathers Report was on the scene, as always.

000_0223_1.JPG Landrieu and Forman, frontrunners to meet Nagin in the runoff.

000_0214_1.JPG Handsome DeSalvo-for-Criminal Sheriff supporters.

000_0224_1.JPG Landrieu and former Saints executive and council-at-large candidate Arnie Fielkow.

000_0229_1.JPG Holy Moses, unofficial Saints mascot, stumps for Fielkow.

000_0207.JPG Fielkow, with his very own campaign fire truck?

000_0227.JPG No, Forman took over the lease at noon.

000_0217.JPG Soon-to-be-former candidate for civil sheriff.

000_0228_1.JPG Lawn care worker/council candidate Quentin Brown, promising "No BS."

Developing . . .  

 

 

 

Endorsements for New Orleans Elections Friday, Apr 21 2006 

The Weathers Report is pleased to announce the following endorsements for the New Orleans elections on Saturday:

Civil Sheriff: Paul R. Valteau, Jr., Democrat

Valteau runs an efficient and user-friendly civil sheriff's office and is one of the only incumbents we are endorsing.

Criminal Sheriff: Gerald DeSalvo, Democrat

Criminals are escaping from the jail even when there isn't a hurricane bearing down on us. And even the ACLU thinks the incumbent's performance during Katrina was abysmal. DeSalvo is a rising star in the city and deserves a shot to serve as criminal sheriff.

Clerk, Criminal District Court: Millard Collins, Democrat

Collins' experience as an attorney in the clerk's office and novel ideas – including bar coding all evidence to be used in upcoming criminal trials – make him the strongest candidate for this important if not prestigious position.

Clerk, Civil Court: Dale Atkins, Democrat

She actually supports consolidating her job with the Clerk of Criminal District Court, which is commendable. Plus, her only opponent has been AWOL since qualifying ended.

Assessors: The IQ Ticket

First District, Maria Elliott, Democrat

Second District, Jackie Shreves, Other

Third District, Errol George, Democrat

Fourth District, Chase Jones, Democrat

Fifth District, Ron Mazier, No Party

Sixth District, Nancy Marshall, Democrat

Seventh District, Charlie Bosworth, No Party

Unlike the cowards at the Times-Picayune and Gambit-Weekly, the Weathers Report does endorse the IQ Ticket. This is not the finest group of politicians ever assembled, by any stretch, as evidenced by their cheesy website and clumsy, unsuccessful attempt to place the "IQ" nickname on the ballots. In fact, the IQ ticket may actually end up doing more harm than good, with the powerful assessors claiming a mandate for the status quo when most, if not all of the incumbents, actually prevail. Regardless, the election of even one of the IQers could raise some eyebrows in the Legislature, where the reforms must begin. Vote IQ.

Mayor: Mitch Landrieu, Democrat

Please see our prior post for details.

Councilmembers at Large, 2 to be elected: Arnie Fielkow, Democrat.

He lost his job with the Saints for resisting Benson's efforts to abandon the city. He worked miracles as the head of non-football operations, selling out game after game at the Superdome, even with Aaron Brooks as quarterback. Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson, Democrat, and Oliver M. Thomas, Democrat, are strong candidates also. Honorable mention goes to Roger Wilson, who played Mickey Jarvis in Porky's, because he played Mickey Jarvis in Porky's.

Councilmember, District A: Jay Batt, Republican.

He kept Daneel Park from becoming a FEMA trailer park, which is more than enough for an endorsement from The Weathers Report. We like our pal, Sal Palmisano, Republican, too. We hope they get in a runoff together and manage not to kill each other by election day.

Councilmember, District B: Stacy Head, Democrat.

She's a lawyer with experience putting blighted houses back into commerce, which is exactly what this city needs. If this were not such a serious election, we would give strong consideration to a candidate with less means, Quentin R. Brown, No Party. His theft of roofers' signs and then handwriting his name and his "No More BS" slogan on the back of them was extremely creative.

Councilmember, District C: Jane Ettigner Booth, Democrat.

She was a tough and respected member of the City Planning Commission, and pushed for reforms of the city's antiquated zoning laws. The city badly needs her expertise.

Councilmember, District D: No endorsement.

Councimember, District E: Anyone but the obnoxious incumbent, Cynthia Willard-Lewis.

Mitch Landrieu for Mayor Monday, Apr 17 2006 

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“We only have one chance to rebuild New Orleans, and our margin for error is zero,” says state lieutenant governor and New Orleans mayoral hopeful Mitch Landrieu. He says he’s the leader who can restore the city’s credibility, make a plan, and then make it happen.

The Weathers Report agrees. Landrieu is the best person to lead a post-Katrina New Orleans because he has credentials, connections, charisma, and cross-cultural appeal. A veteran of Louisiana politics, he served for 16 years in the Louisiana Legislature, and built a strong reputation as a non-partisan bridge builder and fiscal conservative. He also has a record of reform. Long before it became hip to be IQ, Landrieu led a push, albeit an unsuccessful one, to consolidate the city’s seven assessors. As lieutenant governor, he has been an effective CEO of the state’s tourism industry, boasting a return of $15 for every $1 spent in marketing the state’s unique culture.

Unlike in past elections, where maverick political outsiders were in vogue, New Orleans desperately needs a professional politician at the helm. Landrieu’s polictical savvy and extensive connections around the state and in Congress will serve us well in bringing in badly needed (and deserved) state and federal dollars and restoring the relations that were so badly damaged in the aftermath of the storm.

Of course, we’ll miss C. Ray Nagin’s charm, wit, and affability, which served him so well in the days before Katrina. But Landrieu is equally as likeable, and even dons the same minimalist haircut. In all seriousness, the new mayor needs to be a telegenic spokesman who can convince middle class residents to return and persuade American business to reinvest in our city. Landrieu has the mojo to make that pitch.

Finally, Landrieu has the ability to reunite the city. He’s the only candidate in the race, aside from Nagin, who will draw substantial biracial support at the polls. More importantly, he’s likely the only candidate who can beat Nagin in a runoff. Notwithstanding the histrionics of the NAACP and the other civil rights groups that have fought to postpone the election as racially discriminatory, black voters will continue to be the most substantial voting bloc in the race. And while Nagin has never fully garned the support of the black community, his strong war chest and incumbency advantage make him a lock for the runoff. In a runoff, minority voters would vote in droves against any one of the “Uptown” or Republican candidates, namely Ron Forman, Rob Couhig, and Virginia Boulet. Yet enough black voters will vote for Landrieu, whose family has a strong civil rights records and extensive connections in the black community.

Thanks and apologies are in order to Rob Couhig, the straight-talking lawyer and entrepeneur who has a wonderful vision for this city, strong leadership qualities, and would make an excellent mayor. But even post-Katrina, it is mathematically impossible for a Republican to win a citywide race in this town. The Weathers Report predicts Couhig will run a surprise third in the primary (ahead of the bumbling Forman) and endorse Landrieu for mayor by the end of the month. He will do so because our margin of error really is zero, and Landrieu is our best hope for recovery.

Pancho’s Tells New Orleans “¡Adiós!” Saturday, Apr 8 2006 

New Orleanians hungry for seconds have raised the Mexican flag for the last time. After closing its doors for Hurricane Katrina, Pancho’s Mexican Buffet is refusing to reopen its only area store, citing extensive hurricane damage.panchos.gif

In an e-mail obtained by The Weathers Report, a Pancho’s spokesperson claims the store was “severely damaged during the hurricane and rendered inoperable.” She added “it is no longer safe to operate there” and that they “have closed that location indefinitely.”

The news comes as a blow to the dozens of the New Orleans residents who inexplicably enjoyed the all-you-can eat buffet’s substandard food and service. When learning of the closure, Mexican food connoisseur and Pancho’s Birthday Club member Meredith Pinkerton was quoted as saying “NOOOOOOOOOO!” On Wall Street, shares of Proctor and Gamble, makers of Pepto-Bismol, were down 22 cents a share. dine_in_banner.gif

It is unclear why Pancho’s either lacked insurance or is refusing to utilize its insurance proceeds to restore safe operations. Speculation centers on management’s possible fear that the area lacks the necessary Hispanic work force.

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Ms. Pinkerton,

Thank you for contacting us via our webite. We appreciate your loyalty and support, as well as your comments. As you know, our store in Metairie, LA was severely damaged during the hurricane and rendered inoperable. Since it is no longer safe to operate there, we have closed that location indefinitely. We currently have no plans to rebuild there or relocate elsewhere in the area. We do appreciate you letting us know you miss us in Metairie, and we hope to see you some time soon at any one of our 30+ locations throughout Texas, New Mexico, Oklhoma (sic), and Arizona. Thanks for letting us know how you feel.

Regards,

Kristi Wallace, Marketing Coordinator

Tiger Fans to Visit Indiana Tourist Attractions Sunday, Apr 2 2006 

capt.nad24604020445.ncaa_final_four_lsu_ucla__basketball_nad246.jpg A surprisingly terrific LSU basketball season came to an abrupt end Saturday night as UCLA routed the Tigers by the score of 59-45. The defeat left hundreds of Tiger fans stranded in Indianapolis with unwanted championship game tickets, extra nights of hotel rooms, and no return flights until Tuesday. (As reported by WAFB-9, those who forked over the big bucks for tuition to the Big Dance include lifelong Tiger fans Bill and Cherie Peters.)

Take heart, Tiger fans. The Weathers Report is pleased to review five Indiana tourist attractions. As shown below, all of these hotspots are favorable alternatives to enduring Monday night's championship game between the repugnant Florida Gators and UCLA Bruins:

1. Amish Acres and Heritgage Resort – Relive the simple pleasures of yesteryear and experience the lifestyle of the Amish (not to be confused with the Mennonites) through guided tours, farm animals, craft demonstrations, and quaint shops. Think you're hip and cool because you have a blog? Think again. Even the Amish have one. They won't drive a car, but who can resist a ride down the information superhighway?Amish_Hot_Tub_Close_Up__.jpg

2. Studebaker National Musuem – Displays a variety of automobiles, wagons, carriages, and military vehicles related to the Studebaker Corporation, including four carriages used by presidents of the United States.

3. Dan Quayle Center and Vice-Presidential Musuem – Dedicated to the man many believe made President George H.W. Bush "impeachment-proof." Highly recommended by Tiger fan and Quayle acolyte Roger W. Kitchens.

4. RV and Mobile Home Hall of Fame – Tiger fans fortunate enough to arrive in Indy in their own RVs will especially appreciate this RV manufacturing and retail mecca. Houses a collection of antique trailers, memorabilia, historic photographs and artifacts of the Recreational Vehicle/Motor Home industries, and pays tribute to the likes of Elmore Frye, who pioneered the "10 wide" trailer.

And finally . . .

ballofpaint.jpg5. The World's Largest Ball of Paint – It's a baseball with over 19,100 coats of paint on it. A couple from Alexandria, Indiana has spent the past 28 1/2 years painting the same baseball, which now weights 1,700 pounds. For those Tiger fans with a need for perspective, just one look and you'll feel much better about spending a few days and a few bucks dedicated to LSU basketball.

Seriously, here's to a great season of LSU basketball. Good luck to Tyrus Thomas and Big Baby Glen Davis, who will almost certainly head to the NBA, given they are projected to be super-high picks in the upcoming draft.