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I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week (Sept. 5, 2017)


While Louisiana sent rescue groups and opened its doors to shelter Texas residents hit by Hurricane Harvey, the storm retreated to the Gulf of Mexico and made a third landfall along the Texas-Louisiana border Aug. 30, then weakened as a tropical depression as it moved northeast out of the state. Though most of Louisiana escaped the storm's heavy rains, more than 500 people in Calcasieu Parish were rescued from rising floodwaters, which impacted roughly 5,000 people in the parish over a three-day inundation.

  The state opened three shelters in Lake Charles and Alexandria with enough space for 4,000 evacuees. "It only makes sense to accommodate as many people from Texas as they need us to accommodate," Gov. John Bel Edwards said Aug. 31.

  Roughly 1,000 Louisiana National Guard members were activated throughout east Texas and south Louisiana. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries also rescued more than 1,300 Texans and 157 pets (as well as 28 people and two pets from Louisiana).

2. Quote of the week
"I Think I Can. I Think I Can." — Banner posted on the South Broad Street pumping station Aug. 28, as the National Weather Service predicted 3 to 6 inches of rain could fall on New Orleans due to Tropical Storm Harvey.

3. Mayoral candidates to discuss local music industry Sept. 11
Mayoral candidates Michael Bagneris, LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet will participate in a forum discussing the future of New Orleans musicians — and whether they'll have a voice in City Hall — in a city that fears losing musicians as it changes.

  The forum — presented by The Ella Project, OffBeat Media and The Recording Academy — is 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11 at the Carver Theatre (2101 Orleans Ave.).

  Writer Lolis Eric Elie will moderate a panel with Offbeat publisher Jan Ramsey, Black Men of Labor co-founder Fred Johnson, Melissa Weber (aka DJ Soul Sister) and music writer Larry Blumenfeld.

  Candidates will discuss their plans, if elected, for building on New Orleans' "reputation as a beloved music city" and how music and performance will flourish "in concert with continued neighborhood development." Candidates also will discuss other ways they'll work with the music community and whether candidates will work with artists to address quality of life issues, education, housing and public safety.

  Performers face many challenges, ranging from stagnant wages and the rising costs of living to a lack of reliable transportation and housing as the city continues a slow, expensive process of rebuilding an entire infrastructure. The music community includes bars and other music venues, bartenders, music shops and others in its orbit.

  According to the city's Office of Cultural Economy, "cultural industries" in New Orleans were responsible for more than 37,000 jobs and represented 14 percent of the city's workforce in 2016. While more than 40 percent of that number was in food and drink, nearly 30 percent was in entertainment. More than half those "entertainment" businesses are music venues.

4. Meet the mayoral candidates — and Big Freedia
A group called the Millennial Voter Engagement Initiative will host "Millennials Matter: Mayoral Forum" at Cafe Istanbul at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15. The event will feature a performance by bounce artist Big Freedia.

  LaToya Cantrell, Troy Henry, Michael Bagneris, Hashim Walters, Manny Chevrolet Bruno, Derrick O'Brien Martin, Johnese Smith and Tommie Vassel are among the mayoral candidates who have pledged to attend, and the group expects more will participate.

  "The five most important issues for millennials voting in the poll included public safety/gun violence, economic growth/jobs, health care, livable wages and K-12 education — these will be the main focus of the forum," organizer Clarke Perkins said in a statement. "Millennials will vote on the two candidates they feel best represent our platform. Those candidates will then be officially endorsed by the MoVE Initiative."

5. Candidates to discuss housing issues
New Orleans' affordability issues, housing and residential displacement will be the focus of a forum with New Orleans City Council and mayoral candidates hosted by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center (2200 Lafitte St.). WWL-TV's Eric Paulsen will moderate.

  Participants include mayoral candidates Michael Bagneris, LaToya Cantrell, Desiree Charbonnet and Troy Henry; Council At-Large candidates Joe Bouie, Helena Moreno, Jason Coleman and Jason Williams; District A candidates Joe Giarrusso, Tilman Hardy and Aylin Maklansky; District B candidates Jay Banks, Seth Bloom and Timothy David Ray; District C candidates Kristen Gisleson Palmer and Nadine Ramsey; District D incumbent Jared Brossett; District E incumbent James Gray and challengers Dawn Hebert and Alicia Plummer Clivens.

6. Blanco: Texas has no 'sensible evacuation formula'
As Hurricane Harvey doused Houston, finger-pointing began as to the wisdom of evacuating the Texas Gulf Coast and counties up to Houston. A Daily Beast report focused on the mixed messages being sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who advised Houstonians to evacuate in advance of the storm, while Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and emergency officials called the storm a "rainmaker" and said, "In Harris County: very limited to select communities. Local leaders know best."

  The Daily Beast also quoted former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who was in office during Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures in New Orleans, as saying, "It's not apparent to us watching that they have developed a sensible evacuation formula. ... You have to allow people in the southernmost regions to get out the quickest. You can't tell everyone to leave at the same time or you end up with gridlock, especially in a big urban center."

  Blanco said 1.3 million people were evacuated from New Orleans before Katrina hit. That same year Houston officials ordered evacuations for Hurricane Rita and was criticized for the ensuing gridlock.

  Blanco also was quoted as saying, "There is always a lot of finger-pointing, even when it's semi-successful. A disaster creates a situation people find untenable and the citizenry suffers, and they want someone to blame."

7. Blood drive to help south Texas blood centers Sept. 6
The Blood Center will hold a Hurricane Harvey relief blood drive Sept. 6 at Warren Easton Charter High School (3019 Canal St.). Healthy individuals over the age of 17 are asked to supply blood to replenish south Texas blood centers. Those who donate will receive a T-shirt and a ticket to The Mortuary's annual Halloween haunted house. The drive will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

8. Blue Dog resurrected for Houston
In 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, artist George Rodrigue produced a "Blue Dog" painting showing the familiar canine with a cross on its chest, floating in water on an American flag. Sales from that silkscreen print, We Will Rise Again, raised $700,000 for disaster relief, according to the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA).

 Rodrigue died in 2013. The foundation and Rodrigue's family will re-release the print with sales benefiting schools in Texas and Louisiana damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

  "The blue dog is partly submerged, and its eyes, normally yellow, are red with a broken heart," Rodrigue explained in 2005. "Like a ship's SOS, the red cross on the dog's chest calls out for help."

  The 27- by 18-inch silkscreen prints will sell for $500. Visit for more information.

9. Exhibit maps 200 years of protests
Tulane's Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design will unveil an exhibit chronicling and mapping New Orleans protests and demonstrations from the late 19th century through the present, from voting rights and union strikes to Black Lives Matter. "Sites of Resistance" maps locations from 1863 through the 1980s and has an interactive component documenting the '80s to the present.

  The exhibit opens at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 and runs through Feb. 5 at the Small Center (1725 Baronne St.).

10. Issa Rae to speak at Dillard
Actor and writer Issa Rae — star and creator of HBO's Insecure — will speak at Dillard University this week as part of the university's Brain Food lecture series. Rae will speak inside Georges Auditorium at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6. Admission is free.

  Following the success of her web series Awkward Black Girl, Rae worked with comedian Larry Wilmore to create Insecure, now in its second season on HBO. Her memoir The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl was released in 2015.

  Dillard's 2017-2018 Brain Food series also includes national security analyst Malcolm Nance Sept. 20.

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