07 May 2018 | Various Sources | Hawkins Bay Dispatch – This Day
This Day – 07 May 1718
La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) was founded in Spring of 1718 (May 7 has become the traditional date to mark the anniversary, but the actual day is unknown) by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, on land inhabited by the Chitimacha.
The French colony was ceded to the Spanish Empire in the Treaty of Paris (1763). During the American Revolutionary War, New Orleans was an important port for smuggling aid to the rebels, transporting military equipment and supplies up the Mississippi River. Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez successfully launched a southern campaign against the British from the city in 1779.
Nueva Orleans (the name of New Orleans in Spanish) remained under Spanish control until 1803, when it reverted briefly to French rule. Nearly all of the surviving 18th-century architecture of the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) dates from the Spanish period, notably excepting the Old Ursuline Convent. [Wikipedia]
New Orleans Museum of Art
One of the most famous living American photographers, Lee Friedlander has been visiting Louisiana since 1957 to document New Orleans jazz and to make artful street photographs.
Lee Friedlander in Louisiana is the first major exhibition in any institution to examine the full scope and influence of Friedlander’s work in the region on the history of photography.
05 May 2018 | Stephen Hiltner | New York Times
NEW ORLEANS — Glancing at the street signs on a stroll through uptown and downtown New Orleans can serve as a kind of shuffled-up history lesson. The references to French royalty, to prominent Spaniards, Creoles and African-Americans, and to words derived from American Indian tribes betray a complex past, one indelibly linked to the array of cultures that have found their way to the center of a city approaching its tricentennial.
But a handful of signs — Saigon Drive, My-Viet Drive, Tu-Do Drive — in Village de l’Est, a neighborhood at the city’s eastern edge, some 15 miles from the French Quarter, hint at an immigrant community that, in many respects, has existed only on the margins.
For decades, Village de l’Est has been home to several thousand Vietnamese-Americans — not the largest such community in the country (those are found in California and Texas), but one of the most concentrated. Yet, “even here in New Orleans,” said Cyndi Nguyen, seated on her front stoop, “a lot of people don’t know much about our culture.”
Like many of her fellow residents, Ms. Nguyen, who is 48, settled here with her parents as part of a wave of refugees who escaped from Vietnam beginning in 1975, after the fall of Saigon. (Many of the initial refugees were tied to the United States presence in Vietnam, either as soldiers or civil servants. Others feared religious persecution.)
A large portion of the population here — including Ms. Nguyen’s father, 68, once a fisherman, and her mother, 65, who peeled shrimp at a seafood company — was drawn to New Orleans by the promise of the southern Louisiana fishing industry, and with sponsorship from the local Roman Catholic Church. And for the first 30 years, Ms. Nguyen said, the close-knit community existed in something of a cocoon, kept at arm’s length from the rest of the city by language and cultural barriers and by its isolated location.
All of that changed in 2005. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, along with a series of struggles in the hurricane’s aftermath, forced the Vietnamese community to assert itself politically, starting with successful campaigns to restore city services to Village de l’Est and, more prominently, to oppose the establishment of a nearby landfill. Less than five years later, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill — which affected the community disproportionately, given its ties to the seafood industry — precipitated another round of community activism and civic engagement that was centered on the creation of alternative economic opportunities and the pursuit of compensation for widespread loss of income.
Then, more recently, came another seminal event: Ms. Nguyen won a seat on the New Orleans City Council in last year’s municipal election. When she takes office on Monday, she will be the city’s first Asian-American council member.
Now, 43 years after the fall of Saigon and almost 13 years after Katrina, the Vietnamese enclave within Village de l’Est is changing, in some ways drastically, and many residents think the community is nearing another inflection point. Some of the strongest ties that once bound people together here — particularly the reliance on a shared language and religion — are beginning to fray within the younger generations, many of whom are no longer fluent in Vietnamese and, following a general trend, are less invested in the Roman Catholic Church. Greater access to education, and the subsequent job prospects that such access provides, are also driving younger Vietnamese-Americans increasingly farther from New Orleans East — especially in light of a dearth of local economic opportunity.
04 May 2018 | Michael Isaac Stein | The Lens
Last October, about 50 people in bright orange shirts filed into City Hall for a public hearing on Entergy’s request to build a $210 million power plant in eastern New Orleans. Their shirts read, “Clean Energy. Good Jobs. Reliable Power.”
The purpose of the hearing was to gauge community support for the power plant. But for some of those in the crowd, it was just another acting gig.
At least four of the people in orange shirts were professional actors. One actor said he recognized 10 to 15 others who work in the local film industry.
They were paid $60 each time they wore the orange shirts to meetings in October and February. Some got $200 for a “speaking role,” which required them to deliver a prewritten speech, according to interviews with the actors and screenshots of Facebook messages provided to The Lens.
“They paid us to sit through the meeting and clap every time someone said something against wind and solar power,” said Keith Keough, who heard about the opportunity through a friend.
He said he thought he was going to shoot a commercial. “I’m not political,” he said. “I needed the money for a hotel room at that point.”
They were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements and were instructed not to speak to the media or tell anyone they were being paid.
But three of them agreed to talk about their experience and provided evidence that they were paid to endorse the power plant. Two spoke on the condition that they not be identified, saying they didn’t want to jeopardize other work or get in trouble for violating the non-disclosure agreement.
Another attendee, an actor and musician who played a small role on HBO’s “Treme,” told WWL-TV he was paid to wear one of the orange shirts at a meeting of the council’s utility committee.
Paying people to create the illusion of grassroots support is known as astroturfing. Although it’s misleading, it appears to be legal. The Lens couldn’t find any prohibition against such activities, and Louisiana’s lobbying laws only cover money spent directly on public officials.
But Councilwoman Stacy Head called what happened in those meetings “disturbing.” Councilwoman Susan Guidry, the only member of the Utility Committee to vote against the plant, called it “morally reprehensible,” saying, “I think it had a phenomenal impact on public opinion.”
The two men who recruited and organized the actors, Garrett Wilkerson and Daniel Taylor, appear to be from out of town. In our story about the October hearing, Wilkerson offered an apocalyptic prediction about what would happen to New Orleans if the power plant weren’t built.
It remains unclear who was behind the effort, but Guidry has a guess. “How can you not link Entergy to this?” she asked. “Who else would have paid all these people to come there and say they want a gas-fired power plant?”
Entergy New Orleans did not respond to repeated requests for comment. The company told WWL-TV, “Entergy New Orleans did not pay anyone to attend.”
05 May 2018 | The Advocate |Photos: Shawn Fink
Young New Orleans residents tried their hands at budgeting, setting goals and giving back to the community during the ninth annual Lemonade Day in Louisiana.
The event, part of a national organization dedicated to cultivating entrepreneurship, was brought to Louisiana by John Georges, publisher of The Advocate, and Todd Graves, owner of Raising Cane’s, in 2010. The program runs participants through a business plan as well as spending strategies.
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