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I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans This Week, June 14, 2016


1. Voodoo Fest reveals 2016 lineup
Arcade Fire, Tool and The Weeknd will headline the 2016 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, the 18th annual edition of the Halloween weekend festival at City Park. Also on the bill are G-Eazy, Band of Horses, Kevin Gates, Die Antwoord, Foals, Porter Robinson, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, DJ Mustard, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, Shakey Graves, Wild Belle and others. There are more than 65 acts on four stages.

  Voodoo 2016 is Oct. 28-30. Three-day general admission tickets are $140 and three-day LOA VIP tickets are $400, on sale at

2. "Welp!" of the week
"We did the best with what we had." — State Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden, chairman of the Louisiana House Democratic Caucus, spoke for many state lawmakers after last week's frustrating passage of Louisiana's 2016-2017 operating budget. "We're not happy with this budget and the governor's not happy with it," Reynolds added. In his address to an ensuing special session, Gov. John Bel Edwards warned, "I'm not just asking you to get the job done: I'm asking you to get the job done right and to do it right now. The people of Louisiana are demanding this."

3. GOP lawmakers scuttle most of Gov's tax plans
It didn't take long for the Republican-dominated Louisiana House of Representatives to put the kibosh on key elements of Gov. John Bel Edwards' tax bills. The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Democrat Rep. Neil Abramson of New Orleans but with a GOP majority, scuttled Edwards-backed measures to generate more revenue via various business taxes and individual income taxes. The committee passed a smattering of small tax increases, but nowhere near the $600 million in taxes that Edwards was seeking. The special session must end by midnight June 23.

4. Whole-home short-term rentals back on the menu
A new report from the staff of the New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) suggests allowing entire homes to be rented out on short-term rental services such as Airbnb. The commission rejected the practice of "whole home rentals" in its January report to the New Orleans City Council. Despite continued objections from the CPC and some council members, the planning staff issued another round of recommendations for various types of short-term rentals — including whole homes in residential neighborhoods.

  That report will be the subject of the next CPC meeting at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14 in City Council Chambers. The commission then will forward its recommendations to the council, which has the final say. A recent data scrape from Inside Airbnb found nearly 75 percent of listings in New Orleans are for entire homes.

5. City planners to study French Quarter strip clubs
The deadline for submitting comments to the New Orleans City Planning Commission for its study of "adult live entertainment venues" is June 20. The study fol- lows the New Orleans City Council's request for a report on the state of the French Quarter's strip clubs after the January passage of a city ordinance raising the age of dancers from 18 to 21. The CPC's staff report will be available June 21, and a public hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. June 28. A final report will be submitted to the council in July.

  Despite a "joke" amendment from state Rep. Ken-neth Havard, R-Jackson, to place age and weight limits on dancers, lawmakers passed a bill raising the minimum age of adult dancers to 21. It takes effect Aug. 1.

6. The Music Box Village to open in Bywater
The ambitious musical architecture project The Music Box returns to Bywater this fall at its permanent location and adjoining warehouse workshop on Rampart Street.

  In 2011, arts organization New Orleans Airlift invited artists to piece together houses as musical instruments. The first village opened on Piety Street, with performances from Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, Quintron and many others. Its next iteration as the Roving Village welcomed new structures, artists and performers in City Park during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2015. The Music Box also appeared as "Outposts" in Shreveport and Tampa Bay.

  "We're back on our home turf in a romantic, beautiful and secluded yet accessible location with what we really needed: a beautiful plot of land and an adjoining warehouse to service our maintenance-heavy project," said Airlift founder Delaney Martin.

  The former metal fabrication warehouse serves as a workshop, and its neighboring "forest" will house the Village and and will hold public viewings, concerts, performances and other ticketed events.

7. Louisiana to "ban the box"
State agencies can't ask potential hires about their criminal records on a job application, thanks to a "ban the box" law signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards on June 9. The measure goes into effect Aug. 1, when Louisiana joins 23 other states with similar laws that "ban the box" (referring to criminal background check boxes on applications), preventing state employers from evaluating hires based solely on their criminal histories.

  The measure from state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge, applies only to the state's appointed "unclassified" workers, not "classified" state workers hired through the Civil Service system. State employers still can conduct background checks and ask about criminal histories in person, but supporters say the measure is the first step in criminal justice reform post-conviction and incarceration. New Orleans approved a similar measure in 2013.

8. "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."
Louisiana students won't have to recite a passage from the Declaration of Independence next school year. A bill by state Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, remained stuck in a state Senate committee at the closing of the state Legislature's annual session on June 6 and therefore is dead at least until next year. House Bill 1035 "requires" (unlike the Pledge of Allegiance or prayer, which are optional) students in fourth through sixth grades to recite a passage every morning. African-American lawmakers opposed the bill, arguing the passage's "all men are created equal" phrase did not apply to their ancestors when it was written and thus would offend black students forced to recite it. Hodges responded, "The founding fathers did not give us slavery. Slavery existed way before."

9. Pirates Alley Cafe can be a bar
The city Department of Safety and Permits has reversed a decision that jeopardized the future of popular French Quarter watering hole Pirates Alley Cafe. The bar, which opened in 1996, previously was denied a nonconforming use zoning permit and license to operate as a bar. (It's designated a restaurant in an area that prohibits bars.) Owners Tony Seville and Thais Solano announced they would have to close if their permit was denied. Last week, the city reversed its ruling after the owners successfully argued the cafe has operated as a bar with the city's knowledge for more than 10 years.

10. Higher ed gutted, more cuts coming
The latest state budget figures show that higher education sustained 45 percent of all cuts in state funding since 2009 — and more cuts are on the way unless state lawmakers raise additional revenue in the ongoing special legislative session. Between fiscal years 2009 and 2015, lawmakers and then-Gov. Bobby Jindal cut colleges and universities by a total of $764 million — the highest-percentage cut in the nation.

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