5) Literature in Motion
The French Quarter will be filled with pages turning, authors signing, panels convening and, of course, Stanley Kowalski impersonators hollering as part of the 23rd annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. The festival, which begins Wednesday and continues through Sunday, showcases national and regional scholars, writers, and performing artists. Programs include panel discussions, theatrical performances, lectures, literary walking tours, musical performances, a book fair and more, including the annual Shouting Contest where folks take turns belting out famous lines from "A Streetcar Named Desire." Tickets, schedules and other details are available online at www.tennesseewilliams.net.
4) Sentencing of State Official in Film Case
Louisiana’s former film commissioner is due in court for sentencing this week for accepting bribes as he administered the state’s film industry tax-credit program. That program has been widely praised for dramatically increasing the amount of film and television business coming to Louisiana in the years since it was created. But a federal probe alleged a kickback scheme in which former commissioner Mark Smith received cash payments from Malcolm Petal, the former head of the production company Louisiana Institute of Film Technology, who would then receive more marketable tax credits than normally allowed. Smith pleaded guilty to the government’s charges in September and Petal pleaded guilty in December. Smith is set to be sentenced Wednesday, March 25.
3) City Park Golf Plan
City Park’s board of commissioners meets Tuesday, March 24, for the first time since the public airing of a proposal to develop a $46 million golf complex at the park. If commissioners approve the plan, construction could begin this year. The plan is supported by the Bayou District Foundation as part of a larger plan to redevelop areas around the nearby St. Bernard housing complex, while others have voiced opposition to devoting so much of the park to golf courses. The two-phase plan would begin with a $24.5 million project to build an 18-hole championship course, clubhouse, driving range and other facilities while the second phase would devote about $21.5 million would include another 18-hole golf course, a 9-hole course and a golf teaching facility. The commissioners’ meeting begins at 4 p.m. at the park’s Pavilion of the Two Sisters. The master plan is available online at www.neworleanscitypark.com.
2) African American Rally Against Crime
Thousands of African American residents are expected to gather this Saturday, March 28, in Armstrong Park for a demonstration against violence and crime in New Orleans. The event is led by a coalition of religious leaders, educators and community activists and seeks to bring together approximately 10,000 black residents to collectively declare a "ceasefire" in their community. Organizers say the event is a response to a plague of violent crime that overwhelmingly involves black people as either victims or perpetrators. They see the event as a symbolic expression to restore pride, reaffirm the value of life and reclaim disenfranchised children, families and neighborhoods within the African American community. The event begins at 10 a.m. For details, see www.yeswecareno.com.
1) Jefferson Trial Expected in School Corruption Case
An Orleans Parish School Board corruption case involving Mose Jefferson, political strategist and brother of former Congressman William Jefferson, could begin this week. A judge has set the trail date for today, March 23. Jefferson is accused of bribing former school board president Ellenese Brooks-Simms to win her support for a computer-based curriculum he was selling on behalf of a local vendor. Brooks-Simms pleaded guilty to related charges in 2007 and cooperated with the FBI in gathering evidence against others. In a separate case, Mose Jefferson and his sister Betty Jefferson, the Fourth District tax assessor, are accused of taking money for their own use from nonprofit groups purportedly created to help low-income black residents in Central City.
Ian McNulty is a freelance writer in New Orleans and contributing writer for New Orleans Magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.