1. FATS SENT HOME, WITH LOVE
From Vaughan's Lounge in Bywater to the gates of his black-and-yellow former home-turned-landmark on Caffin Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward, an enormous crowd joined an All Saints' Day second line parade honoring New Orleans rock 'n' roll legend Antoine "Fats" Domino, who died Oct. 24 at age 89.
Trumpeter and bandleader James Andrews led the parade, which included the Original Big Nine Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Pigeon Town Steppers, baby dolls, horn players, percussionists, dancers and hundreds of fans marching with them.
Outside Domino's former home, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Dr. John, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Charmaine Neville and members of Domino's family addressed hundreds of fans. "If it wouldn't have been for people like Fats Domino, Dr. John, Al 'Carnival Time,' I wouldn't have a foundation to keep this music going around the world," Andrews said. "Rest in peace to the real king of rock 'n' roll, Fats Domino."
Formal funeral plans will be announced later.
2. Quote of the week
"I remember that Fats always worked the house to the maximonium, playing long sets and pushing the piano across the stage with his belly. He was a good man, and that goodness came through in his music. That's why people all over the planet responded with their hearts. ... Spiritually he was off the charts, and that will always be in my memory banks about Fats." — Dr. John, remem- bering the late Fats Domino in Variety magazine.
3. Council requests $1M from general fund for early childhood education
The New Orleans City Council has requested $1 million from the city's proposed $647 million 2018 budget to include funding for early childhood education.
"This budget allocation would not require any additional taxpayer dollars," Council President Jason Williams said in a statement Nov. 1. "It simply moves money in the general fund to where we need it most: investing in our young people from the very start."
The funding would supplement dwindling state resources to provide 100 seats for pre-K and child care programs. According to the City Council, fewer than 16 percent of at-risk New Orleans children up to age 3 have access to publicly funded child care.
Louisiana remains one of the most difficult states for young children of color and children from immigrant families, according to an October report detailing disparities in child development throughout the U.S.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2017 Race for Results used a composite score on a scale from one to 1,000 (the higher the number, the better that group's health outcomes). The report scored development for black children at 276 and Latino children at 466, while white children scored 625.
The report also found that roughly 74,000 children in Louisiana have at least one parent who is an immigrant. The report recommends policy makers invest in keeping families together and in their communities, help immigrant children meet developmental milestones and increase economic opportunities for immigrant parents.
4. Court sides with Landry over Edwards in LGBT rights ruling
A Louisiana appeals court ruling sided with state Attorney General Jeff Landry, who challenged a 2016 executive order from Gov. John Bel Edwards that bans discrimination against LGBT people in government and state contracts. On Nov. 1, a three-judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed a lower court ruling from late last year.
The Nov. 1 ruling held that because the state Legislature had failed to include "gender identity" as a protected class in amendments to anti-discrimination language, Edwards' order "constituted an unconstitutional interference" in the legislative process. In a statement, Landry said the ruling "affirms a notion of basic civics that the Legislature makes the law, not the governor." But Landry previously has challenged the concept of gender identity, telling the Family Research Council in 2016 that "the good Lord doesn't build us in that particular way."
In a statement, Edwards said the administration will "thoroughly review the ruling before determining" its next steps. Louisiana Trans Advocates and Forum for Equality also "are in conversation with the administration" to determine whether to pursue an appeal, which could put the issue before the Louisiana Supreme Court.
5. Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace now open
2017's short period for open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace began Nov. 1 and goes through Dec. 15.
According to the New Orleans Health Department, more than 24,000 people signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace in 2016, and 83 percent of people were eligible for financial assistance.
For more information visit www.nola.gov/marketplace or call (800) 318-2596.
6. Workplace Justice
Project to host mayoral
debate Nov. 9
Former WDSU-TV journalist Camille Whitworth will moderate a New Orleans mayoral candidate forum this week to discuss "The State of Working New Orleans: The Industries That Sustain the Status Quo." Candidates LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet will attend.
Workplace Justice Project, a workers advocacy organization, hosts the forum from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9 at Algiers Auditorium (2485 Guadalcanal St.).
7. NOPD gets pay raise for 2018
New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers will see a 10 percent raise in January 2018, and sergeants and lieutenants also will see bumps in their salaries following the New Orleans City Council's unanimous passage of a new NOPD pay plan pitched by Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Landrieu signed the ordinance Oct. 31.
Aimed to boost retention and morale with competitive salaries, the new pay hikes follow a 15 percent raise in 2015. The new raises will require approximately $9 million from the city's budget.
8. More free brake light 'clinics'
The New Orleans chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) inspired several chapters around the U.S. with its brake light repairs, where volunteers replaced car tail lights for 67 drivers at two clinics in August and September — free of charge. Now the service is being done in other cities.
DSA New Orleans holds another "Gimme A Brake (Light)" clinic from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at 2940 Destrehan Ave. in Harvey.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, traffic stops made up 42 percent of contacts between police and citizens in 2011. Three percent of all stops resulted in a search of the driver, vehicle or both. In a 2017 report that collected data from 31 states between 2011-2015, The Stanford Open Policing Project found black and Hispanic drivers are twice as likely as whites to be searched when they are stopped.
"Changing a brake light is not typically difficult or expensive," writes Kaitlin Marone with DSA New Orleans. "However, being stopped by a police officer for having a brake light out can be both."
9. Little Freddie King injured in bike accident
Blues guitarist Little Freddie King has returned home from a weeklong stay at University Medical Center following a recent bicycle accident. The 77-year-old musician injured his spine and neck after hitting road debris, flipping over his handlebars and landing on his head while riding his bike on Poland Avenue. King was wearing a helmet.
"He is feeling much better and needs to regain his strength," King's drummer and manager Wade "Wacko" Wright said in an email to Gambit. After seven days, doctors will "evaluate if surgery is still required."
On Oct. 31, King wrote on Facebook to thank family, friends and fans for wishing him well in his recovery — and to address bike and street safety in New Orleans: "Sooner or later, the [mine] field of 'potholes' will eat up your skinny tire, or the big black garbage cans lying in the street that cause you to swerve into traffic, or the piles of building debris people like to throw into the street along the curb will bring you down. I can attest. If I didn't have my helmet on, my brains would still be on Poland Ave. Be safe bikers, this ain't California."
10. Acro-Cats set to pounce in December
The Amazing Acro-Cats — an all-feline "circus" of rescue cats that perform tricks (when they feel like it) — once again returns to New Orleans next month. For several years, the circus has meowed into town in December for a series of holiday-themed performances. Ringmaster Samantha Martin promises attendees can watch "cats jump through wreaths, roll an ornament, push a sleigh and perform an array of other seasonal tricks." (Yes, these are housecats, not big cats, and as such are prone to wandering offstage or into the audience, as they demonstrated during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.)
Fifteen performances will be held at AllWays Theatre from Dec. 1-17, and a portion of ticket sales will benefit the Jefferson SPCA. For more information, visit www.circuscats.com.