5) Saint Days Parades
Irish and Italian cultural heritage are the inspirations for a pair of public parties this weekend in New Orleans. The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club will stage its 62nd annual parade on Saturday, March 14, beginning at 1 p.m. Uptown. For details, go to www.irishchannelno.org. Later that day, the Italian American Marching Club hosts its annual St. Joseph’s Day Parade, beginning at 6 p.m. at Canal and Chartres streets. For more information, go to www.italianamericanmarchingclub.org.

4) Corps Plans for New Orleans, St. Bernard
The Army Corps of Engineers continues its series of meetings this week to outline and get feedback on plans to reduce storm damage in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish from future hurricanes. A meeting on Wednesday, March 11, concerns the Bayou Dupre
Control Structure, improvements to the Caernarvon Floodwall and the Chalmette Loop Levee in St. Bernard Parish. The meeting convenes at Lynn Oaks School, 1 Lynn Oaks Dr., in Braithwaite, and begins at 6 p.m. For more information and meeting schedules, go to www.nolaenvironmental.gov.

3) Quarter, Downtown Trash Services Switch Hands
The responsibility for trash pick-up at thousands of downtown addresses is set to switch this week. Last month, the Nagin administration told the contractor responsible for trash pick-up in the CBD and French Quarter to end service to businesses and multi-unit properties, which must by law contract for their own waste disposal. The abrupt end of service caught many off guard, however, and trash quickly accumulated in the city’s main tourist district in the build-up to Mardi Gras. The administration soon backed off and gave those property owners until March 15, this coming Sunday, to hire their own provider.

2) Deadline for City Hall to Reduce Car Fleet
The size of the city’s car fleet and questions about government compliance with its own laws will likely surface this week. In February, the New Orleans City Council passed a resolution calling on City Hall to reduce the fleet of take-home vehicles for city employees in order to meet the legal limit of 60 such vehicles. The resolution gave the Nagin administration until March 13 to comply. The resolution is a response to the first report from the Inspector General’s office, which found that the city had long-violated the law by maintaining a fleet of hundreds of cars for employees at taxpayer expense. The Nagin administration has argued that the law is outdated.
1) Jindal to Present State Budget
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s executive budget is due to the Legislature by March 13. This year’s budget process is likely to be more complicated than ever because it will include the impact of the nation’s $787 billion economic stimulus program, which proscribes funding and tax cuts to the states. Early estimates suggested Louisiana could see up to $4 billion coming through the state from the program. However, Jindal has said he may turn down portions of the federal stimulus funding. Earlier in 2009, Louisiana was projected to face a $1.65 billion budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year.

Ian McNulty is a freelance writer in New Orleans and contributing writer for New Orleans Magazine. Reach him at imcnulty@cox.net.