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I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week (Sept. 12, 2017)

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1. Louisiana reacts to dissolution of DACA
Advocates for the rights of immigrants and their families are demanding New Orleans officials and candidates for citywide office ensure the safety of immigrant communities following President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program has granted U.S. entry to more than 800,000 "dreamers" who came to the country as minors — including more than 2,000 in Louisiana.

  Latino parent advocacy group Nuestra Voz NOLA and the Congress of Day Laborers, part of the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice, organized a rally outside City Hall Sept. 6, attracting dozens of immigrants and their families and calling for elected officials to preserve DACA protections.

  President Barack Obama's 2012 DACA order shielded from deportation people who came to the U.S. at age 16 or younger — provided they met several requirements, including school enrollment and background checks. Approved applicants received a work permit and protection from deportation for up to two years, after which they must renew. DACA recipients are not eligible for federal benefits, including health coverage through the federal marketplace, and they must pay taxes.

  In June, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joined a letter with attorneys general from 10 other states asking for Trump to cut DACA before the groups pressed the issue in court. Landry praised Trump's decision. "I applaud President Trump for phasing out DACA," Landry said in a Sept. 5 statement. "This executive amnesty was another example of the Obama administration bypassing Congress to advance its radical agenda."

2. Quote of the week
"They were oblivious." — Gen. Russel Honore in a post-mortem interview with The Bayou Brief about Hurricane Harvey's impact in Texas and what state and local leaders did wrong. Honore said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott didn't mobilize enough members of the National Guard or send sufficient requests for federal assistance. He also argues Houston should have evacuated in phases, starting with elderly and disabled residents in nursing homes in flood zones. "When you're in a disaster, you are not in total control; the disaster is in control," Honore said. "If the disaster was not defeating you, it would not be a disaster; it would be an inconvenience. In a disaster, people's lives are going to be lost. People's property is going to be lost. Animals are going to die. Infrastructure is going to be destroyed. A disaster will make you look incompetent and stupid, and it's worse when you're surrounded by water."

3. Candidates to discuss flood risk
The Urban Conservancy and Greater New Orleans Foundation will host a forum with candidates for New Orleans mayor about storm water management as well as the city's role in coastal erosion and restoration and how it's prepared for the inevitability of living with water.

  The forum is 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 at the New Orleans Jazz Market (1436 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.). Participating candidates include Michael Bagneris, Ed Bruski, LaToya Cantrell, Desiree Charbonnet, Brandon Dorrington, Troy Henry, Matthew Hill and Johnese Smith.

4. Residents demand a tour of the pumps
New Orleans residents from Algiers, Gentilly, Pontchartrain Park and New Orleans East sent a letter to the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB) requesting guided tours of pumping stations in each neighborhood.

   "We have serious concerns about the functionality of pumps and drains in our neighborhoods and want to obtain a better understanding of the problems and solutions as the Sewerage and Water Board works to restore pumping/drainage capacity and mend relations with citizens," Pontchartrain Park resident Jerome Wilson said in a statement. Wilson's car was flooded during Aug. 5 floods.

  City officials said they will work with S&WB leadership to review and respond to the request.

5. Jazz in the Park unveils free concert lineup
People United for Armstrong Park's annual fall concert series Jazz in the Park kicks off this week. Concerts run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays from Sept. 14 to Nov. 2.

  Here's the schedule: Erica Falls and Darcy Malone and the Tangle Sept. 14; John Boutte and Kevin Stylez Sept. 21; Partners-N-Crime & The Big Easy Band and Lil Glenn & Backatown Sept. 28; Mike Soulman Baptiste and Michael Ward Oct. 5; Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco HellRaisers and Tonya Boyd Cannon Oct. 12; Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet and New Breed Brass Band Oct. 19; Rebirth Brass Band and Escalade Oct. 26; and Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes and Wild Magnolias Nov 2.

6. Discuss the future of the RTA
You'll have four more chances to sound off about the future of public transit in New Orleans at a series of public meetings held by the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) this month. The RTA's Strategic Mobility Plan is the agency's 20-year vision for the city's transportation network. The RTA relied on public input to better understand supply and demand and how to better connect people to their jobs from their homes.

  This round of meetings looks at proposed "packages" of transit improvement. It will be followed by another round of meetings in late fall that will look at early drafts of the plan for review. Here's the schedule: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at New Orleans East Library (5641 Read Blvd.); 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at North Kenner Library (630 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner); 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at Algiers Regional Library (3014 Holiday Drive); and 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 at New Orleans Main Library (219 Loyola Ave.).

7. NOPD updating 'community policing' plans
The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) is distributing a survey this month to gather input from residents about how NOPD can best engage with people in each district.

  Feedback from the surveys will inform NOPD's district-specific "community policing" plans. Questionnaires ask how police should improve communication and engagement with neighborhoods and kids, and what issues are of the greatest concern in each neighborhood, including streets, crime, drugs and traffic, and where police should focus their attention on those issues.

  NOPD is collecting responses through Sept. 30. Find a link to the survey at www.nola.gov/nopd, or call (504) 658-5080 for more information.

8. Mayor, City Council candidates to tackle energy issues
The Alliance for Affordable Energy — which advocates for affordable and environmentally responsible energy use and policy in Louisiana — hosts two forums this month to get input from candidates for New Orleans mayor and City Council on energy issues, from costly bills to clean energy consumption.

  A mayoral town hall is scheduled 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Sept. 12. The City Council forum is scheduled 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Sept. 20. Participating candidates are to be announced. Email info@all4energy.org or call (504) 208-9761 for information.

9. Neighborhood groups hold District B candidate forum
New Orleans City Council's District B covers parts of Uptown through Faubourg Bouligny to Central City, the CBD, Broadmoor, and parts of Mid-City. Several neighborhood groups will host a forum with six candidates running for the District B seat at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, at St. George's Episcopal Church (4600 St. Charles Ave.).

  The forum will be moderated by Stephanie Grace of The New Orleans Advocate and Robert Morris of UptownMessenger.com. Participating candidates include Jay Banks, Eugene Ben-Oluwole, Seth Bloom, Catherine Love, Timothy David Ray and "Action Andre" Strumer.

  "We all believe our council person is the critical gatekeeper to having our concerns and issues addressed," Hope Meyer, president of the Bouligny Improvement Association, said in a statement. "We encourage everyone to attend and make an educated and informed vote."

10. Tulane seminars to discuss race and public health
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine hosts a series of seminars this month exploring racial disparities in health and access to communication. All seminars are held at the school at 1440 Canal St.

  Flozell Daniels, president of the Foundation for Louisiana, joins "Investing in Justice: Truth Telling, Racial Healing and Transformation" from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 in Diboll Auditorium.

  Earl Nupsius Benjamin and Michael Robinson discuss "A Symptom of Bigger Issues: Exploring Black LGBT Health Disparities" from noon to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 21 in Room 1210.

  Health Education and Communications Manager Rebecca Majdoch and epidemiologist Sumrita Bindra discuss "Is Your Data Unintentionally Promoting Disparities? Framing Data to Send the Right Message and Promote Community Inclusion" from noon to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 28 in Room 1210.

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