Posts tagged Mayor Nagin

Agreement Reached Between N.O. Mayor, Council Members Over Budget Restores Parade Reviewing Stands

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by Mike Hoss / Eyewitness News

Posted on January 5, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 5 at 10:04 PM

NEW ORLEANS — An agreement has been reached between Mayor Ray Nagin and members of the New Orleans City Council to restore some of the funding that had been cut for several city services.

Negotiations have been ongoing on this issue since last month, with officials trying to reach a compromise between the two budgets: the mayor’s budget and the council’s budget. Significant cuts went into effect this week, but around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, all the parties said they had reached an agreement on the 2010 budget with many of the services restored.

Among the services that were restored include blight hearings, as the city tries to get some of the blighted properties back into the market; money for the District Attorney’s Office; juvenile and municipal criminal courts; emergency services; and the parade viewing stands at Gallier Hall for Mardi Gras now has the funding for the city to put them up and take them down.

“I’m happy to say that through our collective discussions with the mayor, and Dr. Hatfield and councilmember Morrell as budget chair, we have restored a number of the cuts that were made that the public wants restored,” Fielkow said.

Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said while they could not restore everything, that’s just the nature of the budget process. “Again, I want to reiterate what our council president said, and what Dr. Hatfield and what the mayor agreed to: we looked at critical issues that had to be restored,”¬†she said.

A four-day work week at City Hall remains in effect. Friday it will stay closed, and its new schedule will stay from Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Just keep in mind that even though we are only open four days a week, our employees are working 35 hours a week,” said Dr. Brenda Hatfield, chief administrative officer. “And so actually the day is extended until 6 o’clock for services, and some people in the community like that.”

So where does the new money come from? It comes from new revenue projections. The mayor had his budget, with the revenue projected at about $462 million, and the City Council was a little lower at $455 million. The compromise for the new budget for 2010 is somewhere around $460 million.

The issue now goes to the City Council on Thursday. They must first vote unanimously to put it on as an emergency agenda item, and then it must be a simple majority vote of the council to pass, once again, the 2010 budget.

Mardi Gras Day Wrap Up

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Mayor Nagin led Zulu this morning down Jackson Avenue on horseback. Zulu, celebrating its 100th anniversary, was early for the first time in recent memory. Nagin was wearing a Roman leather gladiator costume with no sleeves. I received 5 coconuts after the 12 or so Duke, Maid, past King/Queen, and Special Zulu position floats. My favorite coconut this year is from the “Big Shot Crew” (see picture below). In the past, Zulu coconuts came with the coconut milk intact. Now, the milk is removed on most of the coconuts, which helps preserve them.

Edna Karr Band at Zulu 2009
Zulu was led by New Orleans’ own Edna Karr High School. Since Katrina, there has been a change, mostly for the better, in high school marching bands. Edna Karr leading Zulu typifies this change. In the past, Edna Karr and Sara T. Reed’s bands were indifferent. Now they are approaching the same league as perennial powerhouses St. Augustine, McDonough 35, and in the female high schools, St. Mary Academy and Xavier Prep.

I borrowed my son’s bicycle to travel from my parade headquarters on St. Charles Avenue to Jackson Avenue. I left Zulu when it was half over as I wanted time with my wife to see the sights on St. Charles Avenue before Rex.
David & Meg Carnival Day 2009

The crowd for Rex on St. Charles avenue between Napoleon and Louisiana Avenues was relatively light. This was very unexpected. It was heavier over the weekend, especially on Bacchus Sunday. Bacchus Sunday is an all day affair, with parades from 11 am through 9 pm. Mardi Gras Day is from around 7 am to around 1 or 2 pm, when the trucks finish uptown.

One of the coolest aspects of Rex is they are one of only two krewes that utilize wooden wagon wheels on wooden float carriages. Proteus the day before Rex is the only other krewe using old wooden wagons with wood-spoked wheels.

The newest float beds of the older two krewes, ironically, belong to his majesty Rex, built in 1951 after the old Rex den on Calliope Street burned. The most unusual Carnival wheels that require a wheelwright are the light carriage wheels belong to the krewe of Napoleon’s mini-floats; these are built on the beds of buggies purchased from a French Quarter carriage company.

Who maintains the wooden wheels? You need a master wheelwright, and the last one I knew who maintained the wheels for the oldest krewes was Earl Wyman. He’s long gone, so who does that job now? There are no listings for master wheelwrights in the New Orleans Yellow Pages.

Rex wooden float wheels
Rex wooden wagon wheels 2
Rex has followed the recent trend of most New Orleans parading krewes of broadening out their throw selection. Rex has thrown plush Boeuf Gras the last few years. This year, they also threw a very large plush Boeuf Gras. For dozens of years, Rex threw a very basic, bland medallion. Now they have an entire line of Rex beads and medallions. They have thrown a standard 16 oz cup for years and now they have a second, more colorful, larger cup.

Two of my favorite throws I caught for 2009 (see photo) were a Muses decorated shoe and the Big Shot Crew Zulu coconut. Muses had an couple of wild electric logo toys- a round mirror with lights and a fan that doesn’t cool very well but provides a very entertaining light show with the Muses name revolving and appearing & disappearing. 2009 Zulu coconut and Muses decorated shoe
Muses was once again the clear leader in number of innovative throws. Here’s a partial list of throws that I found on Craigslist for sale on Monday, February 23:
The “Top Secret” throw, a poster sized print up with a description and likeness of all their floats, and amusing writings on each float.
A shoe bracelet in the colors of silver, red and black.
A light up crystal necklace that blinks and is heart shaped. Still sealed in package, with an “M” on it.
A light up blinking bead still sealed. It says “Muses 009 License to Swill” on it.
A stuffed alligator with Muses written on it.
A hard to get hand-held fan to cool you off in summer. When the soft blades go around the word “Muses” lights up and revolves several ways. Very cool.
Muses bead maze games.
A Muses street sign bead.
A light up ring, just twist to activate blinking.
Combination light up flashlight/bottle opener.
And the big prize throw- the highly coveted radio, including neckstrap, ear buds, and automatically scans to pick up all stations.

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