1. David Sedaris, Monty Python's Cleese and Idle headed to N.O.
Author and humorist David Sedaris heads to New Orleans in October for new readings of his work and a book signing. Sedaris appears at the Orpheum Theater at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25. Tickets are $55-$65.
Comedy legends and Monty Python founders John Cleese and Eric Idle appear in New Orleans to close a North American tour of their acclaimed two-man show Together Again at Last... For the Very First Time. The duo promises "storytelling, musical numbers, exclusive footage and aquatic juggling" at the Saenger Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Tickets are $63.75-$103.75.
2. Quote of the week: Biden on police
"We owe you, we owe you, we owe you." — Vice President Joe Biden, one day after his address to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, at the vigil for three Baton Rouge police officers who were killed in July. Biden — among speakers including U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson — was first to mention Alton Sterling, who was killed by Baton Rouge officers July 5. Biden reminded the audience that Sterling's aunt had embraced the father of fallen officer Montrell Jackson after his death.
Biden also discussed the importance of community policing and for officers to better understand their neighborhoods. The NOPD's Community Policing Advisory Board will attend the Greater St. Stephen Ministries' "Lord, Save My House" event from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016 at A.L. Davis Park. NOPD also hosts a forum on community engagement 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church (2515 FranklinAve.).
3. New Orleans among least affordable cities for 'millennial' first-time homebuyers
Add another one to the list: Not only is New Orleans an increasingly unaffordable city for renters, it also is among the most difficult places to buy a home for first-time buyers, according to a recent Bloomberg analysis. For first-time buyers in New Orleans ages 25 to 44, New Orleans ranked 27th on the list of the most expensive places. The study showed New Orleans with an "affordability cushion" of just $27,407 — meaning the median household income here is that much higher than the minimum salary required for a mortgage.
4. NOPD budget
New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Superintendent Michael Harrison says overtime and retirements contribute to the department's $2 million deficit. At the New Orleans City Council's July 27 Criminal Justice Committee mid-year budget hearings, Harrison said NOPD is on pace to spend $1 million more in overtime than in 2015, due to favorable weather during Carnival and other festivals and an increase in citywide events. Harrison also noted NOPD's response in the wake of global terror attacks. "We've had to expend more personnel on special event coverage," he said. "We've been really preparing and deploying to make sure we have adequate and proper safety coverage."
Harrison explained the retirement of 28 officers has cost $800,000 in accrued leave and vacation times. NOPD is on pace to hire 150 recruits this year — but the department has lost 70 officers this year from attrition, retirement or death. NOPD currently employs 1,172 officers including recruits, still several hundred officers short of the department's manpower goal.
5. Initial Tulane
Avenue improvements coming this month
When officials with the Regional Planning Commission first announced a $10 million beautification project to a stretch of Tulane Avenue in Mid-City, they described a plan that would "significantly improve visual quality" along the corridor, as well as enhance pedestrian and bicycle mobility and safety. Five years and nearly $5 million later, officials still tout final plans for a safer, wider street reduced from six lanes to four, thanks to improvements that will extend from South Carrollton to South Claiborne avenues. What didn't make the cut, however, are features that could have helped "reinvent" Tulane Avenue, as neighbors had hoped.
After delays and a year of construction, the first phase of that project is finally slated to be finished by the end of August. But some elements will be missing after this round of construction, including green space that was in the original 2011 design, as well as trash cans, bike racks and LED lighting.
6. 'Night Out'
in New Orleans
Community groups nationwide will hit the streets Tuesday, Aug. 2 for a national Night Out for Safety and Liberation event. In New Orleans, the event is hosted by Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children, Voice of the Ex-Offender and BreakOUT! from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. along the 3600 block of Frenchmen Street.
The event serves as an alternative to National Night Out (also Aug. 2), an event organized by National Association of Town Watch to emphasize police and community partnerships. Night Out for Safety aims to redefine community safety as "one that is focused on how we can build equity, power, and opportunity in our communities" rather than "police as a pathway to safety." The 33rd annual National Night Out Against Crime in New Orleans is Tuesday, Oct. 18.
7. Abortion laws won't be enforced, for now
State officials won't enforce new laws regulating abortion rights until a federal judge determines whether to grant an injunction to block the laws. Earlier this year, the Louisiana Legislature passed several measures limiting abortion in the state, including a 72-hour waiting period between a consultation and an abortion and banning most second-trimester abortions. Both restrictions were set to go into effect Aug. 1.
8. Thieves nab New Breed gear
New Orleans' New Breed Brass Band had their instruments and clothing stolen July 22 in Oregon while only three days into a month-long U.S. tour. "Our vehicle was broken into in the parking lot of our hotel. Our possessions were stolen, including our instruments and clothes," the band wrote on Facebook. As of press time, the band raised more than $7,000 — easily surpassing its $5,000 goal on its GoFundMe campaign site (www.gofundme.com/2fya4ms). The band raised more than $3,000 within the first 24 hours.
9. Strip club limits on hold until September
The New Orleans City Council will have to wait until this fall to decide on recommendations from the City Planning Commission (CPC) about whether to limit strip clubs in the French Quarter. The CPC voted July 26 to delay sending its study to the council in order to gather more feedback. It likely will vote on those recommendations in September before sending them to the council.
The CPC staff study recommends zoning changes to limit strip clubs to one for each block on Bourbon Street on top of a citywide ban. The City Council also placed a moratorium on new clubs in the French Quarter following an ordinance banning dancers under 21.
10. Baptist convention on voting rights
Thousands of members of the Progressive National Baptist Convention will meet in New Orleans this month with a focus on voting rights in the face of the 2016 Presidential election and following last year's 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.
The group — founded in 1961 during the civil rights movement — meets Aug. 8-12. "The resurgence of racism, the future of the Supreme Court, the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, the future of the Affordable Care Act, policing tactics, and a biased criminal justice system, all make it imperative that we wake up and sound the alarm to stir our people to participate in this year's election," according to convention President James C. Perkins.