I appreciate The Lens' laserlike focus on subjects of critical interest to the New Orleans area. The more eyes watching and reporting on these subjects, the better for the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
New Orleans’ soulful second-line tradition marred by violence — global post | Religion blogger and author Jason Berry explains the ritual of the second line, and quotes this observation by trauma physician Prateek Adhikari, who grew up in New Orleans: “It seems like family holidays are when see we some of these mass casualties. It’s easier to find someone and it doesn’t matter if people are in the way of the fire. … That’s part of the way of life in New Orleans.”
Wheel’n and Deal’n: Changing how DWI’s are prosecuted – Fox 8 WVUE | Now being developed, a new statewide DWI tracking system may add more rigor to DWI prosecutions. Fox 8 investigated some of the nearly 1,600 DWI cases handled in New Orleans in 2012. Most resulted in guilty pleas at Orleans Traffic Court. But some of those pleas appeared questionable:
One Marrero woman was arrested for DWI in June of 2011, just six months after pleading guilty to DWI in Jefferson Parish. Her case file notes the prior conviction, that she hasn’t complied with her probation in Jefferson Parish, and that she continues to drive on a suspended license.
A second-offense DWI could have meant mandatory jail time. But the city attorney’s office allowed the woman to plead guilty to first-offense DWI, for a second time.
Owen Courreges: The moral hazard of flood insurance — Uptown Messenger | Courreges points out that artificially low flood-insurance rates are built into the real estate market in many low-lying areas. Removing the government subsidies that keep flood insurance rates relatively low in these places may have far-reaching effects on entire communities.
Government & Politics
David Vitter’s resurrection — Gambit | Stephanie Grace looks at the political resurrection of Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who is arguably Louisiana’s most intriguing politician. Less than six years ago, many thought Vitter would resign after he was linked to Jeane Palfrey, the “D.C. Madam.” According to Grace, Vitter’s resurrection is “a tale of luck, aggressiveness, what some would call outright shamelessness — and shrewd political strategy.” I’d add that there’s no one quite like Vitter. For better or worse, he goes his own way. He may be the least understood, yet most successful Louisiana politician in the past 20 years. The article speculates that Vitter may run for governor. I would expect him to do so, since a third term in the U.S. Senate would run counter to his advocacy of term-limits.
More than 1,100 Caddo and Webster students have signed up to participate in what some say are questionable Course Choice programs. According to parents, students, and Webster and Caddo education officials, FastPath Learning is signing up some students it shouldn’t — in many cases without parent or student knowledge.
Ground breaking for Magnolia Marketplace — a two-story mall on nearly seven acres off South Claiborne Ave. at Toledano St. in New Orleans — is slated for the third quarter of this year and a bit later than planned. Meanwhile, friction between the mall and nearby First Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, built in 1916, has eased. Life-long First Calvary member Jocquelyn Marshall said her church seems satisfied with an accord ironed out early this year with the help of New Orleans Councilmember LaToya Cantrell.