1. JINDAL TO TRUMP'S CABINET?
A Wall Street Journal report last week about President-elect Donald Trump's transition team and potential cabinet included one very familiar name: Gov. (and former presidential candidate) Bobby Jindal. Jindal, of course, headed the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals at age 24, a position to which he was appointed by then-Gov. Mike Foster. As governor, Jindal emerged as a national voice against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which Trump has vowed to repeal.
During his abortive bid for the GOP presidential nomination, Jindal put forward several plans, including one on health care, which includes planks on cross-state health insurance plans, cracking down on fraud, establishing health savings accounts and several anti-abortion measures, including "strengthening conscience protections for businesses and medical providers." Much of this is in line with what Trump promised to do in his first 100 days in office, including a full repeal of the ACA, the establishment of health savings accounts and letting states manage Medicaid funds.
Throughout his own presidential campaign, Jindal slammed Trump relentlessly, calling him (among other things) "a narcissist and an egomaniac," and "a shallow, unstable narcissist" and said Trump looked like he had "a squirrel sitting on his head."
2. Quote of the week
"We're going to have one party ruling this country, and Obamacare is done." — Democratic pundit and Clinton family ally James Carville, summing up last week's election results on MSNBC. Carville added, "The diplomatic and financial consequences. ... I hate to say it, but I hope, please God, let me be wrong."
3. Kennedy, Campbell head to Senate runoff Dec. 10
From the earliest returns in the U.S. Senate race, it was clear state Treasurer John Neely Kennedy would be advancing to the Dec. 10 runoff. In a second tier below him, U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell jostled for second, with Campbell ultimately placing in the runoff. Campbell is a Democrat; Kennedy a Republican. The final total: 25 percent for Kennedy, 17 percent for Campbell. Boustany came in a close third at 15 percent.
Also no surprise: U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond were re-elected to their respective District 1 and District 2 seats with only token opposition.
4. Managing 'the hotel
As New Orleans officials update the city's laws regulating short-term rentals, the city will begin staffing a department to oversee enforcement and permitting. The city's Department of Safety and Permits previewed the new Short Term Rental Administration during a budget hearing before the New Orleans City Council Nov. 7. The department will have a manager, four inspectors and two IT staffers, positions that will be filled by next month. Short-term rental listings companies like Airbnb have agreed to share their data with the city, and the city will begin contacting listings owners in January. City officials, using a timeline that puts the rules in place by April 1, 2017, will plan for the short-term rental administration staff to begin issuing licenses and permits.
5. Bike sharing coming next year
New Orleans will begin a bike-sharing program in late 2017. Earlier this month, the New Orleans City Council approved a plan for New York-based Social Bicycles to build up to 70 stations with 700 bikes that can be rented out and returned to other stations around town. New Orleans Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Hebert expects the company to roll out fee plans on monthly and daily rates, with a $20 annual rate for lower-income residents. A $15 monthly plan will allow up to one hour of use a day; hourly rentals will be set at $8. The city plans to collect 2 percent of all revenues above $2,500 for each bike.
6. Shelter numbers
The Louisiana SPCA (LA-SPCA) took more than 13,000 calls for service in 2015 while seeing a 20 percent increase in the number of adoptions, placements in rescue groups and transfers to other shelters. "That is a huge number in one year to accomplish," said Chief Executive Officer Ana Zorrilla, who outlined the group's budget — and financial stresses — to the New Orleans City Council Nov. 9.
The group is a private organization contracted by the city to handle service for companion animals. "These services are not a luxury or an extra," Zorrilla said. "They are critical to maintaining our community the way it is right now." Its calls for service range from reports of strays and animals chained in yards to attacks by animals. The group sheltered more than 5,600 animals in 2015. The LA-SPCA projects a $586,000 deficit in 2017, which Zorilla says could affect city services — the organization could eliminate after-hours and weekend emergency services, which typically involve bite cases or responding to animals hit by cars or found in storm drains. The city has a $1.8 million contract with the organization, with a self-generated revenue of $673,000. Zorilla says the LA-SPCA expects $3.5 million in expenses.
The city's minimum wage increase also is expected to cost LA-SPCA an additional $100,000. "We fully believe this is the right thing to do," Zorrilla said, adding, "There is a real financial impact we're not able to absorb or fundraise around."
7. Trump protests result in no arrests
No arrests were made but one citation was issued following the first of several protests Nov. 9 beginning at Lee Circle after Donald Trump's election to the presidency. About 200 people gathered at the base of the Robert E. Lee monument and spoke against hate- and fear-mongering, offering support to women, people of color and the LGBT community. A march sprang from the rally and made its way toward the French Quarter; a small group vandalized the monument and several walls in the Warehouse District with anti-Trump graffiti. The exterior windows of Chase Bank also were broken. The protest was among several throughout the U.S. that night, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities.
8. Black and gold and Union Jack
Playoffs or not, the New Orleans Saints will face off against the Miami Dolphins sometime after the first of the year — in the NFL's international series. No date or venue has been announced by the league. The Saints first played in London in 2008 in a matchup against the San Diego Chargers; this is only the team's second NFL game abroad.
9. Billy Joel to headline Smoothie King Center in 2017
Veteran singer/songwriter Billy Joel will play a show at Smoothie King Center Feb. 10, 2017. Joel last appeared in New Orleans in 2013 at the Jazz & Heritage Festival with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. (He also made an unannounced appearance at the Hotel Monteleone's Carousel Bar, where he played a surprise set of tunes.)
A presale for American Express card members begins Mon. Nov. 14. Tickets go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Fri. Nov. 18.
10. Ready for more debates?
The runoff election for the U.S. Senate seat held by David Vitter will be Dec. 10, and at least two televised debates have been set. Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, a Democrat, and Republican state Treasurer John Neely Kennedy have been invited to participate in a Dec. 1 faceoff hosted by Louisiana Public Broadcasting/Council for a Better Louisiana, and another the next night hosted by Nexstar and Baton Rouge station WVLA-TV.
The last Senate debate earlier this month — hosted by Raycom Media and held at Dillard University — was widely criticized for its format (no students or journalists were allowed to be in the audience) and its methodology, which put white supremacist David Duke onstage with the five leading contenders. In last week's primary election, Duke received only 3 percent of the vote, well below Raycom's standard for inclusion. To top it off, the debate was pre-empted on Raycom's New Orleans station, WVUE-TV, due to Game 7 of the World Series.