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New Orleans' year in photos

A photographic retrospective of 2017

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New Orleanians rarely need an excuse to parade in the streets, whether it's Mardi Gras, a second line or an impromptu New Orleans Saints victory party. In 2017, however, there were two new reasons people were in the streets: the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and the removal of four Confederate-era statues — both of which stirred strong feelings locally and nationally.

  2017 also was the year New Orleans elected its first woman mayor in its 299-year history, the year a surprise flood unearthed serious problems with the city's infrastructure and the year an 89-year-old native son and rock 'n' roll pioneer left us for good. Here are a few of the year's events in visual form.


JANUARY

PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD

President Donald Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 20. In response, "J20" protests took to the streets all over the country, including this one on Canal Street and a "jazz funeral for America" at the riverfront. Trump easily swept Louisiana with 58 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton's 38 percent, but Clinton got 81 percent of the vote in Orleans Parish to Trump's 15 percent. It was not the last anti-Trump protest of the year in the city.

PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST

The presidential inaugural weekend of street demonstrations continued Jan. 21, with the international Women's March happening in major cities and small towns across the country and worldwide. On a gloriously sunny day, more than 10,000 people marched through the Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter to Duncan Plaza, decked out in all matter of costumes and plumage — showing that New Orleans can have a good time and be deadly serious in the same moment. The 2018 Women's March is set for Jan. 20.

PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST

FEBRUARY

Mardi Gras 2017 was marred when a driver plowed into a crowd along the Krewe of Endymion parade route in Mid-City, injuring more than two dozen spectators. Early concerns that the disaster might have been terrorist-related were put to rest when the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) announced the arrest of Neilson Rizzuto, a Northshore resident that NOPD said was legally drunk when he drove into the crowd. In April, Rizzuto pleaded not guilty to numerous offenses.

PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD

  A much happier time was had at the Krewe of Muses parade, whose Dr. Seuss-themed floats included "Yat in Da Hat," "And to Think That I Saw It on Bourbon Street," "Yertle the Turtle Soup" and, in a salute to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, "Mayor Shiney McSheen and His Resilience Machine."


MAY

PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER

PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER

PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER

A two-week campout/showdown at the Jefferson Davis monument in Mid-City was mostly peaceable, with monument defenders squaring off against those who supported its removal. On May 1, however, passions spilled over: Bottles and eggs were thrown, mace or pepper spray was used on at least one counterprotester, and New Orleans police took several people into custody (including one legal observer, which inflamed the crowd). The monument eventually was removed May 11 to cheers from protesters.


PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy is a doctor, and his support for overturning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) came with several plans of his own for replacements. A Cassidy town hall in February at the Jefferson Parish Public Library was his attempt to advance his own "Patient Freedom Act," but audience members and protesters there weren't having it. In the following months, people picketed Cassidy's Metairie office in protest of the ACA repeal, and in July, three people were arrested at Cassidy's office during a protest. This photo was from a May demonstration.


PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD

The controversy over the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans reached an apex May 7, when out-of-town white supremacist groups faced counterprotesters at Lee Circle. Two weeks later, the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was taken down as Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered a speech that got national attention (and praise), in which he said, "I knew that taking down the monuments was going to be tough, but you elected me to do the right thing, not the easy thing — and this is what that looks like."


AUGUST

PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN

On Aug. 5, the rain came ... and came ... and came. More worrisome was the fact that it didn't go away, and longtime residents quickly became concerned there was a serious problem with the pumping system and the storm drains. They were right. A special meeting of the New Orleans City Council found the Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB) was woefully unprepared for flooding, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu cleaned house there, sacking several top officials. As residents dried out their cars (and in some cases, their homes and businesses), flooding concerns rocketed to the top of the issues in the upcoming mayoral and city council races.


SEPTEMBER

PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST

President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action against Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and deport minors who had come to the U.S. under its auspices — people known as "Dreamers" — spurred protests around the country, including in New Orleans, where as many as 2,000 could face deportation.


NOVEMBER

PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD

Nov. 1 is All Saints' Day — but this year it also was All Fats' Day as New Orleans said goodbye to favorite son Antoine "Fats" Domino, who died Oct. 24 at the age of 89. Rather than staging a traditional jazz funeral, thousands of New Orleanians gathered at Vaughan's Lounge in Bywater for a second line to Domino's old house on Caffin Avenue.

  As Alex Woodward reported, "The procession brought with it all the sights, sounds and smells of a neighborhood second line — dancing on utility boxes and rooftops, kegs in shopping carts and Heinekens in Igloo coolers, barbecue sandwiches smoked in the beds of trucks, bicycles with slow jams coming from portable speakers — but on a massive scale, concentrating citywide joy and a celebration of life into one main thoroughfare and Domino's block on Caffin Avenue. On a Wednesday."


PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER

New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell was elected as the city's first woman mayor in mid-November, defeating opponent Desiree Charbonnet in the mayoral runoff. During the runoff, however, Cantrell was slammed for her use of a city-provided credit card, and state Attorney General Jeff Landry has begun investigating the matter. Cantrell will be sworn into office in May 2018, during the height of the city's tricentennial celebration.


DECEMBER

PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD

Whee! New Orleans finally got a municipal bike rental program. Blue Bikes rolled out this month with 70 bike stations and 700 bicycles, but several press conferences about it during the year presented photographers with plenty of opportunities to get a shot of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his biking prowess. (He didn't wear a helmet.)


PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN

After being closed for months of construction on an extension of the Canal Cemeteries streetcar line, the intersection of Canal Street and City Park Avenue finally reopened to traffic in December. A new transit hub for riders was built on the lake side of the busy intersection, and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) currently is testing the new streetcar tracks. The Canal Cemeteries streetcar will finally cross City Park Avenue in January 2018, according to the RTA.

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