1. SATCHMO SUMMERFEST MOVES TO JACKSON SQUARE
The 16th annual Satchmo SummerFest — the August festival celebrating its namesake's birthday with jazz, brass and funk bands — will move to Jackson Square from its previous home at the Old U.S. Mint. The lineup for the Aug. 5-7 festival includes the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Big Sam's Funky Nation (pictured), Bill Summers & Jazalsa, Kermit Ruffins, Brass-A-Holics, Catherine Russell, Yoshio Toyama & the Dixie Saints, Jeremy Davenport and a tribute to Louis Armstrong featuring James Andrews, among others.
Music is spread across three stages, including a new "Back o' Town" stage on the second floor of the Louisiana State Museum Arsenal (600 St. Peter St.), and two stages at Jackson Square. Satchmo Symposium panels and film screenings will be held at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, and there is a morning jazz Mass at Treme's St. Augustine Catholic Church, second lines, dance lessons, children's activities and other events.
The formerly free festival started charging admission for its 2015 event. The festival charges $5 admission each day. For more information: www.fqfi.org/satchmo.
2. Quote of the week
"These — are coconuts. In Louisiana, when someone has courage and fortitude and the ability to stand up when others stand back, we say that she or he has coconuts." — Former state Sen. Elbert Guillory, now a candidate for Louisiana's 4th Congressional District seat in Congress, in a strange online ad where he hoists a pair of coconuts and makes a not-thinly-veiled plea for testicular fortitude in Washington D.C. Guillory made headlines a few years ago when he switched from Democrat to Republican, and made headlines again when he brought up the sport of "chicken boxing" in a discussion of cockfighting: "I'm not a fan of cockfighting," Guillory told The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, "but I love to go and watch some chicken boxing."
3. "Independent jail compliance monitor" in at OPP
After years of wrangling over Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman's management of the perennially troubled Orleans Parish Prison and threats of a takeover by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. District Judge Lance Africk announced Gusman would give up day-to-day control of prison management and the duties handed over to a "compliance director." Gusman will choose the monitor from three candidates selected by Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration, the DOJ and the MacArthur Justice Center. Landrieu, a frequent Gusman foe, called the move "transformative." (For more, see Commentary, p. 9.)
4. "Baby cakes"?
As promised, the New Orleans Zephyrs are renaming the team and giving fans the chance to select the new name. But when the seven finalists were announced last week, there wasn't much enthusiasm for any of the choices: the Crawfish, the Po'boys, the Baby Cakes, the King Cakes, the Night Owls, the Red Eyes and the Tailgators. Voting continues through July 8 at www.zephyrsbaseball.com.
5. Hell Yes Fest scores Silverman, Minhaj
New Orleans comedy festival Hell Yes Fest announced some of its 2016 lineup, which features a headlining set by Sarah Silverman at the Saenger Theater Oct. 16 and other performances by Nick Swardson, Ron Funches and The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj, among others. The festival takes place Oct. 7-16 with hundreds of standup, sketch and improv shows staged at the Joy Theater, NOLA Brewing, The New Movement, Hi-Ho Lounge and Art Garage. For more information: www.hellyesfest.com.
6. NOPD makes progress on rape reports
A devastating audit in 2014 detailed several New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers' mishandling of rape reports and sexual assault cases and a culture within the department that refused to believe rape is a crime. That report from the New Orleans Office of Inspector General (OIG) brought sweeping changes to NOPD, including a city-led Sexual Violence Response Advisory Committee to recommend and oversee those changes.
Last week, the OIG released a report detailing "significant improvements" and a dramatic turnaround within NOPD and its reporting of rapes. In its review of 154 sex crimes-related calls for service from October through December 2015, the OIG found NOPD included proper documentation for all cases and properly classified more than 99 percent of all calls for service — and "upgraded" 78 of those calls to more serious offenses.
7. Fines for pot possession — unless you're busted by State Police
Getting caught with a joint by a New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officer is likely to land you a ticket, not in jail. Following the passage in March of a citywide ordinance introducing fines for simple pot possession, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison told the New Orleans City Council last week his department intends to follow the new law (in effect June 22). The measure calls for a fine for possession of fewer than 14 grams of pot: $40 for a first offense, $60 for a second offense, $80 for a third and $100 for a fourth and subsequent offenses.
Louisiana State Police, however, are likely to stick to state law, which calls for a penalty of 14 days in jail and a $300 fine for a first offense and up to eight years in prison for multiple offenses. The new city rules also don't apply to minors, who can't be issued a summons. New Orleans District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry, who introduced the law, said she also plans to draft a similar measure for juvenile offenses.
8. Sex workers to hold New Orleans
conference in July
The 6th annual Desiree Alliance conference "Addressing Justice" will be held in New Orleans July 10-15. The national group describes itself as "a coalition of sex workers, health professionals, social scientists, professional sex educators and their supporting networks working together for an improved understanding of the sex industry and its human, social and political impacts." Local hosts include the groups Women With a Vision, BreakOut and SWOP NOLA.
9. WWL-TV: More trouble for Mayfield
Former New Orleans Library Foundation President Irvin Mayfield spent more than $18,000 on a five-day trip to New York, WWL-TV's David Hammer reported last week — including $1,400 on one breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton. It was the latest revelation regarding Mayfield, who had redirected more than $1 million of foundation money to his New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO). Mayfield has refused to comment. Meanwhile, a billboard urging "MAKE NOJO PAY" has gone up near the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market, which Mayfield built and which houses the orchestra.
10. Record legislative sessions end, more cuts coming
State lawmakers adjourned last week after spending a record 19 near-consecutive weeks in two special sessions and one annual session. The second special session ended June 23 with lawmakers giving Gov. John Bel Edwards less than half of the $600 million in additional taxes he sought. When Edwards took office in January, the state faced a current-year deficit of nearly $1 billion and a projected $2 billion deficit in the fiscal year that begins Friday, July 1. Lawmakers have passed nearly $1.5 billion in taxes this year, which means many state agencies — particularly higher education and health care — face an eighth consecutive year of significant budget cuts.