After Katrina, neoliberals replaced New Orleans' schools with charters, which are now failing

After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was shock doctrined through a massive, neoliberal transformation, the centerpiece of which was a replacement of the public school system with a system entirely made up of charter schools. Read the rest

Dr. John, the New Orleans music icon born Malcolm John Rebennack, dies at 77

A legend of American music has departed.

His name was Malcolm John Rebennack, or Mac Rebennack, but we knew him as Dr. John. Read the rest

Help rebuild 3 historically Black churches in Louisiana

As the world mourns what was lost in the devastating fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, the country's elite have pledged nearly half a billion euros towards the rebuild. Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted this morning that the company will contribute a yet-unspecified amount as well. Read the rest

Yikes: A massive swarm of mayflies cover Louisiana gas station

Kenny Hickman stopped to get a tank of gas from a station on Military Road in Slidell, Louisiana and discovered it was covered in A SWARM OF MAYFLIES! So, instead of pumping gas, he shot this video which his wife Sandy Callegan Hickman posted on Facebook. It will undoubtedly make your skin crawl.

FYI: This site tells you ways to "survive" a mayfly swarm.

(Digg) Read the rest

One quarter of New Orleans' catch-basins were clogged to uselessness with 93,000 lbs of plastic Mardi Gras beads

London has fatbergs: glistening, multiton agglomerations of fat, sanitary napkins, "flushable" wipes, human waste, dirty diapers, used condoms, and delicious strawberry jam; New Orleans has 93,000 pounds of plastic Mardi Gras beads. Read the rest

Teacher removed from public education meeting in handcuffs after asking why superintendents get raises but teachers don't

Deyshia Hargrave is an English teacher at Rene Rost Middle Schools in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana; on Monday night, she attended a special meeting of the local school board and, when called upon comment period, politely asked why the board superintendants had voted themselves a raise while the teachers in the school district have been subjected to a long-term pay-freeze. Read the rest

Family calls cops for help with harassment, cop shoots their dog and complains about the cost of the bullet

Kelli Sullivan called the Evangeline Parish, Louisiana Sheriff's Department for help with a difficult neighbor who'd harassed her family; when the Sheriff's Deputy arrived, he shot their rat terrier in the head in front of her children, then griped about the expense of the valuable hollow-point bullet he'd squandered on killing their beloved pet. Read the rest

Louisiana's public defender's office is largely nonexistent so poor people just plead guilty

Louisiana has always been a backward place for criminal justice, the only state in the union that funds its public defenders' office with conviction fees, leaving a public defender's office that averages $238 spent on each accused. Read the rest

Undercover reporter spent four months as a prison guard in a Louisiana pen run by CCA

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is one of the world's largest private jailers; it runs prisons and immigration detention centers across the USA (and is diversifying into halfway houses, mental health center, and surveillance for poor neighborhoods). Mother Jones's Shane Bauer went undercover at CCA's Winn Prison in Louisiana, the state with the highest incarceration rate in the world, and spent four months meticulously documenting the way that CCA destroys the lives of the prisoners in its care and its own employees, while paying its CEO $3.4M/year. Read the rest

Louisiana townsfolk terror-freak over Hebrew "welcome home" sign

Several residents of Rapides Parish called the sherriff's office to report a "terror message" on a sign that actually said "Welcome home, Yamit," in Hebrew. Read the rest

'Death comes soon' to U.S., wrote Facebook user believed to be Louisiana gunman

The white male shooter who attacked movie theater patrons in Louisiana appears to have been a Christian Tea Party member who supported Westboro Baptist Church.

Spontaneous jam: USMC & HS marching band, Mardi Gras

Matt sends, "video I caught of a spontaneous jam session that happened in front of me at Mardi Gras 2015: A USMC band and a bunch of high school band members met in the streets and suddenly launched into 'St. James Infirmary.'" Read the rest

Meet Zack Kopplin, the 19-year-old who started winning battles against teaching creationism in Louisiana public schools when he was 14

IO9 profiles Zack Kopplin, a 19-year-old, five-year veteran of the fight against teaching creationism in Louisiana's science classes. Kopplin was a student when the a law came into effect allowing teachers to bring creationist material to class, and he took up the cause, winning a battle that prevented the exclusion of evolution from Louisiana science classes altogether. Kopplin has been vilified by state legislators and creationists, but refuses to give up the fight. If I can raise a kid with this much sense, savvy, passion and ethical commitment, I'll consider my life to have been worthwhile:

He also has his eyes set on vouchers. After an Alternet story came out about a school in the Louisiana voucher program teaching that the Loch Ness Monster was real and disproved evolution, Kopplin looked deeper into the program and found that this wasn't just one school, but at least 19 other schools, too.

School vouchers, he argues, unconstitutionally fund the teaching of creationism because many of the schools in these programs are private fundamentalist religious schools who are teaching creationism.

"These schools have every right to teach whatever they want — no matter how much I disagree with it — as long as they are fully private," he says. "But when they take public money through vouchers, these schools need to be accountable to the public in the same way that public schools are and they must abide by the same rules." Kopplin is hoping for more transparency in these programs so the public can see what is being taught with taxpayers' money.

Read the rest

Creationist fifth grade science textbook used in Louisiana public school

On Buzzfeed, Andrew Kaczynski reproduces pages from About Science 5, a fifth grade science textbook used in some Louisiana public schools, which teaches Biblical creationism alongside of evolution as the origin of life. As the publisher's page says, "Science 5 focuses on man's use of God’s creation and design."

Here Is What Louisiana Schoolchildren Learn About Evolution Read the rest

Crazy stuff they'll teach in Louisiana's publicly funded charter schools

Louisiana governor (and retired exorcist) Bobby Jindal has signed an aggressive charter school bill that will transfer millions in tax dollars to religious academies run by evolution-denying, homophobic, climate-change-denying Christian extremists. Mother Jones's Deanna Pan went for a dig through these schools' official texts and discovered that Louisiana's publicly funded education system will soon tell some of its luckiest students that the KKK "achieved a certain respectability" by fighting bootleggers; "the majority of slave holders treated their slaves well;" dragons might be real; "dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time," and many other fun facts.

3. "God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ."—America: Land That I Love, Teacher ed., A Beka Book, 1994...

7. The Great Depression wasn't as bad as the liberals made it sound: "Perhaps the best known work of propaganda to come from the Depression was John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath…Other forms of propaganda included rumors of mortgage foreclosures, mass evictions, and hunger riots and exaggerated statistics representing the number of unemployed and homeless people in America."—United States History: Heritage of Freedom, 2nd ed., A Beka Book, 1996...

10. Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson were a couple of hacks: "[Mark] Twain's outlook was both self-centered and ultimately hopeless…Twain's skepticism was clearly not the honest questioning of a seeker of truth but the deliberate defiance of a confessed rebel."—Elements of Literature for Christian Schools, Bob Jones University, 2001

"Several of [Emily Dickinson's] poems show a presumptuous attitude concerning her eternal destiny and a veiled disrespect for authority in general.

Read the rest

Judge okays exclusion of damaging emails from BP oil spill trial

A judge has granted requests from defendants in the BP oil disaster case to exclude various emails from trial. The details of the emails are an interesting read. For instance: At Halliburton's request, the court will not include an email from a BP geologist to a colleague in February 2010 which offered "thanks for the shitty cement job." (Reuters) Read the rest

Louisiana commissioner proposes ban on public pajama-wearing

Caddo Parish, LA commissioner Michael Williams is sick and tired of being able to discern guys' penises through their pajamas at WalMart (apparently, the men of Caddo like to go to WalMart in their jammies, which is pretty boss if you ask me -- I live in my jimjams). He's proposed a local ordinance to prohibit the wearing of pajamas in public.

"Pajamas are designed to be worn in the bedroom at night," said Williams, likely after extensive research on the history and design of pajamas. "If you can't [wear them to the] courthouse, why are you going to do it in a restaurant or in public?" (Um, because those aren't courthouses?) Williams also invoked the "slippery-slope" argument, of course. "Today it's pajamas," he said, "tomorrow it's underwear. Where does it stop?" Seems to me there's only one further step once you get to underwear. This guy is really not that imaginative.

If Pajamas Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Wear Pajamas Read the rest

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