1. 2016: MORE DRUG DEATHS
IN NEW ORLEANS THAN HOMICIDES
The 2016 numbers were particularly stark among people who died with the synthetic opioid fentanyl in their system — more than triple the number from 2015.
Last year, the city made naloxone, which can reverse the effects of a heroin or opiate overdose, available without a prescription at University Medical Center and several drug stores. First responders from EMS and the New Orleans Fire Department also carry naloxone, which they've used hundreds of times already. New Orleans Police Department officers do not carry it.
New Orleans Health Department Medical Director Joseph Kanter urged people struggling with substance abuse to seek addiction treatment. "Opioid addiction is a medical illness. It's not a character flaw," Kanter told reporters March 27. He said the Metropolitan Human Services District (504-568-3130) is the city's "front door" for treatment services, which are available to under- or uninsured people. Kanter also urged people to destroy unused prescription painkillers, which can be dropped off anonymously at a box at 1116 Magnolia St.
2. Quote of the week
3. Speaking of 'sanctuary cities' ...
New Orleans is among 36 U.S. cities and counties asking a federal court judge to stop Trump's executive order that threatens to cut federal funding to so-called "sanctuary" cities. Under Trump's order, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lists New Orleans among U.S. cities that "limit cooperation" with federal immigration authorities. The U.S. Office of the Attorney General and DHS have yet to clearly define "sanctuary" policies.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu has repeatedly denied New Orleans' role as a "sanctuary" city and ensured the New Orleans Police Department's (NOPD) cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). NOPD does not investigate immigration status.
"The NOPD's policy makes New Orleans safer because individuals are more likely to report crime and victims and witnesses can testify without fear of being questioned about their immigration status," Landrieu said in a statement. "We are focused on fighting crime, and we will not move officers off the street to join President Trump's deportation force. This Executive Order is unconstitutional, and denying critical federal funding to cities will only make us less safe."
4. ACLU files suit over
In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Riley v. California that, in most cases, police need a warrant to search a person's cellphone.
"Everyone has a right to photograph what they see, including actions of the police, as long as they don't interfere," ACLU of Louisiana Director Marjorie Esman said in a statement. "In addition, cellphones are by law private and can't be searched without a warrant."
5. You're paying for bad streets
Combined with "extra vehicle operating costs," the city's deteriorating roadways and traffic accidents where roadway conditions may have played a role may bump up the annual cost of maintaining a vehicle to an average New Orleans driver to more than $2,000.
6. Holocaust Museum
official to speak about
Luckert, National World War II Museum senior historian Robert Citino and Amanda Nimmer of Quantum Communications will discuss "What responsibility do journalists, technology companies, governments and individuals have to keep the world safe?"
The discussion begins at 6 p.m. April 4, with a 5 p.m. reception beforehand, and it's open to the public. Admission is free. In addition, the National World War II Museum has an exhibit of Nazi propaganda on view through June 18.
7. More monument mess
The bill also aims to prevent changing street and park names, bridge dedications "or areas" named for any "historical military figure" or military event, organization or unit. The measure is pending in the House Committee on Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs and will be considered during the Legislature's annual session, which begins April 10 in Baton Rouge.
8. Sidney Torres gets The New York Times treatment
"Much the way Mr. Trump dismissed questions about his checkered private life," the Times reported, "Mr. Torres, who sports a man bun, predicted few voters would care about his having had a child out of wedlock with a model or recoil at an Instagram account that is heavier on images of his Gulfstream jet than of gumbo. In fact, Mr. Torres readily volunteers that he was asked to relocate his private jet when Mr. Trump used a local hangar for a rally last year. 'I believe everybody should have the opportunity to have nice things,' he said."
As usual, Torres was coy about whether he might run for New Orleans mayor (though he asserted he would put $4 million of his own money in the race if he did get in).
9. Chaz Fest returns
The daylong festival returns noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 (between Jazz Fest weekends, per tradition). More artists and a schedule, as well as food vendors, will be announced later. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door.
10. Cantrell officially
joins mayor's race
The only other announced candidate is former Judge Michael Bagneris, though many familiar names are expected to join the race. Among the possibilities: State Rep. Walt Leger, State Sen. JP Morrell, Councilman At-Large Jason Williams, Judge Desiree Charbonnet and real estate developer Sidney Torres. Qualifying is in July.