Downtown Revitalization Wednesday, May 31 2006 

If a newly unveiled downtown revitalization project becomes reality, upper Poydras Street will be transformed into a National Jazz Center, including a six-block park with an amphitheater, education center, and rehearsal studios. The lime green 50’s-era city hall and courthouse would be vacated and moved across the street, and a tailgating park would be built over a new tunnel on Poydras Street.

Unfortunately, the Army Corps of Engineers, having realized its incompetence in building the levees necessary to protect the city, is expected the lobby against the plan in favor of its own design. Thanks to John H. Musser V for forwarding it:

ATT172511.jpg

Advertisements

Theater Review: “G–damn Bitch Set Me Up!” Monday, May 22 2006 

"G–damn Bitch Set Me Up!" exclaims the congressman, echoing Marion Barry's famous line from 1990. He has just learned that the woman who has ostensibly funnelled him $100,000 for bribing a high jefferson, william.jpegranking Nigerian official is actually an FBI informant. And that the FBI has it all on tape. And that the FBI has raided his house and found the cash in his freezer back home.

The play of the same name, "G–damn Bitch Set Me Up!," opened at the Uptown Theatre in New Orleans yesterday. William Jefferson (D) plays the lead role of the star-crossed New Orleans congressman, who is actually the victim of a Republican plot to divert attention from the lobbying and corruption scandals threatening to derail their re-election efforts.

Although mildly entertaining at times, the play leaves much to be desired. Its tired portrayal of a Louisiana Democrat falsely accused of accepting bribes in exchange for his official duties has worn thin with audiences, especially coming so soon after "Is that $20,000 in your Pocket or are you Just Happy to See Me?" starring Sen. Cleo Fields (D) and Gov. Edwin Edwards (D). The dialogue, which includes implausible lines like Jefferson's "All these damn notes we're writing to each other as if we're talking, as if the FBI is watching," to the wire-wearing FBI informant, is simply too corny for sophisticated tastes.

Yet the supporting cast is stellar, with Paul J. McNulty playing the overzealous federal prosecutor (below) and Lori Mody as the wealthy business woman-turned-mcnulty.jpegpawn of thelori mody.jpegbrett pfeffer.jpeg Republican establishment (believed to be pictured near left). Nice performances are also given by the zany duo of former Jefferson aide Brett Pfeffer (believed to be pictured right, on right) and telecommunications CEO Vernon Jackson (far right), who perplexingly copvernon jackson.jpeg plea deals with federal prosecutors, as well atiku.jpgas Robert Trout rtrout.jpg(left) and Abubakar Atiku (right), who are hilarious in their portrayals of Jefferson's overwhelmed defense lawyer and Nigeria's gregarious vice-president, respectively.

"G–damn Bitch Set Me Up!" is set to run through this fall, when Louisiana's Second District could, but probably will not, elect a new representative to Congress.

New Orleans Elections: Chocolaticity Retained; City to Reunite and Push Forward Sunday, May 21 2006 

New Orleans is still chocolate after all, with five out of six black candidates defeating white candidates in the historic post-Katrina runoff elections.  With the help of Republicans determined to turn back Democratic superstar Mitch Landrieu, Nagin was re-elected by over 5,000 votes. Gracious in defeat, Landrieu resolved to work with the mayor as the state's Lieutenant Governor to rebuild the city. In turn, Nagin thanked President Bush for his commitment to send federal money and declared it "time for us to be one New Orleans." Below are the election day sights captured by The Weathers Report photographers:

Scenes from the Nagin victory party:

000_0254.JPG000_0264.JPG000_0266.JPG000_0261.JPG

Republican strategist Roger Kitchens and mayoral candidate Rob Couhig celebrate Nagin's victory (left); Republican criminal clerk of court candidate Sanjay Biswas and companion (right).

000_0262.JPG000_0258.JPG

The Couhigs re-enact their first commercial with The Weathers Report correspondent Mike Pinkerton.

000_0263.JPG

Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu concedes and pledges to work with Mayor Nagin to reunite and rebuild the city.

000_0251.JPG

Spiderman takes time out from fighting crime to campaign for the ultimately successful Stacy Head.

000_0242.JPG<><>

Runoff Election Endorsements Friday, May 19 2006 

The Weathers Report is pleased to make the following endorsements for the New Orleans runoff elections:

Mayor – Mitch Landrieu

The Lt. Governor has the tools to unite this broken city and set a path for reconstruction.

Council-at-large – Arnold Fielkow

He has an uncanny an enviable ability to send crazy old people into a blind rage. First, he gets fired by Tom Benson for wanting to keep the Saints in Louisiana and then granny storms out of a debate early and calls him an SOB. Let’s see what this guy can do with some real power.

Council District A – Jay Batt

If his whiny liberal opponent wins office, you’re looking at FEMA trailers in Audubon and Daneel Park. No, not really, but she is annoying.

Council District B – Stacy Head

This election is the bellwether post-Katrina election. It pits an incumbent alphabet souper (UTNO, BOLD, YAPA, ACORN) backed by the same collection of losers (like the soon-to-be indicted William Jefferson) that have been running this city into the ground, against a smarter 30-something maritime lawyer and home preservationist. This is a classic white-black, old school-new school battle that never would have taken place but for Katrina. Head will win by a nose.

Council District C – James Carter

A real-life criminal defense lawyer, he reminds us of Eugene from The Practice. No Plan B, just Carter for District C.

bio_harris.jpgjames.jpg

Clerk of Criminal Court – Nick Varrecchio

Resembles the District B race, except this guy’s also getting substantial support from the black community. The Louisiana Weekly even endorsed him.

Assessor (1st Municipal District) – Maria “IQ” Elliot

Her opponent is the best of the seven assessors, and she’s probably the least qualified to run for anything, but we’ve got to support the IQ Ticket. We can’t wait for the Legislature to fix this serious problem.

Assessor (4th Municipal District) – Chase “IQ” Jones

His opponent is Betty Jefferson, sister of the soon-to-be indicted William Jefferson. Nuff said?

Times-Picayune Endorses Landrieu; Ignore the GNOR Thursday, May 18 2006 

000_0222_1.JPGKudos to our venerable competitor, the Times-Picayune, for finally coming around and endorsing Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu for Mayor of New Orleans. Sure, the editorial board sulked for a few weeks after its anointed savior, Ron Forman, wandered aimlessly, got creamed in the debates, and ultimately finished a distant third in the primary. And unlike its front-page endorsement of Forman in the primary and Nagin four years ago, the paper discretely buried Landrieu's lukewarm endorsement in the editorial page. Also, by delaying the call until three days before the election, it precluded Landrieu from heralding the nod in his last round of TV ads. No worries, the Landrieu camp must be saying. They've had City Business, Gambit, Louisiana Weekly, and of course The Weathers Report, in the can for weeks.

* * *

Brickbats, as the Gambit would say, to the Greater New Orleans Republicans for endorsing the incumbent. GNOR, which is not an official wing of the Republican Party, but rather a club of Young Republicans who grew up and shortened the name, announced its support for Nagin today.dead elephant.jpg (Full disclosure: this correspondent is, or at least used to be, a member of the organization.) I'm convinced the Board members must live in Metaire. Anyone who has actually endured the sluggish and listless recovery in the city proper and is still voting for Nagin is either, to put it mildly, retarded or racist. In fact, a closer look at the GNOR's "10 Reasons to Vote for Nagin," shows the group is most concerned with keeping down a rising-star Democrat. As if it's better for Orleans to limp along with lame duck Nagin. Wrong answer, guys. This election is about leadership and it's too important, oddly enough, to "play politics." Also, Jesse Jackson must think it's hilarious that the lily white crowd at GNOR is endorsing Mr. Chocolate City. You remember that speech, where the mayor channeled MLK and longed for the days where whites were a minority, relegated to token posts like Registrar of Conveyances? On this one, let's ignore the GNOR.

Hurricane Humor Tuesday, May 9 2006 

It hasn't been the requisite 22.3 years, but Hurricane Katrina jokes have been making the rounds since the days after the storm. Here's a mild one from Dick Derbes of Baton Rouge. Perhaps he heard it from Smiley Anders.

gate.jpg

St. Peter reports to work one morning at the Pearly Gates and discovers a huge crowd waiting to come inside. Based on the odd accents and disproportionate number of old Aaron Brooks jerseys – his favorite team is the Saints – he quickly realizes the entire flock is from New Orleans. He rushes to God's office to find out what to do.

God tells him the bad news. "A terrible storm has hit the Gulf Coast. Then the levees breached and New Orleans was flooded. Hundreds of people died and are headed this way. Just make sure they're comfortable and process them through as quickly as possible."

Peter takes a moment to reflect on this astonishing development and hurries back to his post. A moment later, he frantically races back into God's office. "GOD!!! THEY'RE GONE!!!," he cries.

"What????, God exclaims in shock. "The people are GONE???"

"NO," says Peter. "THE PEARLY GATES!!!"

Couhig endorses Cuckoo Clock; More Election Day Photos Thursday, May 4 2006 

In a stunning disappointment, former mayoral candidate Rob Couhig (R) has endorsed Mayor Nagin for re-election. Couhig says he is supporting the man he portrayed as a chocolate cuckoo clock in his television advertisements during the primary campaign because Nagin is someone “who understands business.”

Perhaps, but the problem is that Nagin doesn’t know the first thing about governing. Nagin’s handling of the evacuation, storm and immediate aftermath was satisfactory, or at least forgivable under the circumstances. But his incompetence, pandering, and utter inability to provide even the most basic services to city residents since then is inexcusable. Where else in the industrial world do fed-up residents resort to making their own homemade street signs???

Here are some more photographs from the primary election last month:

000_0221.JPG

The Lt. Governor works the crowd.

000_0215_1.JPG

“My brother-in-law owes me big time.”

000_0213_1.JPG

Sadly, this is the closest Forman ever got to getting a black vote.

000_0209.JPG

“No BS” Sign #546.

000_0210.JPG

Quentin Brown supporter with bona fide printed campaign gear.
000_0219.JPG

Don’t rear end this guy. One call, that’s all.

000_0222.JPG
Mitch and council-at-(very)-large candidate Alden G. Hagardorn (R)