Axios New Orleans

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πŸ“† It's Wednesday and the first day of May.

Today's weather: Mostly sunny with a high of 86.

🎧 Sounds like: "Girls Night Out" by Valerie Sassyfras, who's at Hey Coffee today.

Situational awareness: A panel of federal judges threw out Louisiana's new congressional map yesterday.

  • Attorney general Liz Murrill says the state will seek the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion. Go deeper.

Today's newsletter is 824 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: πŸ“ 1 month to go

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Louisiana legislative session has passed its halfway mark for 2024, leaving just about a month left to go.

Why it matters: There's still time, but so far, lawmakers have yet to hand first-year Gov. Jeff Landry a major victory.

Friction point: The state is set to shave 0.45% off of its sales tax in 2025 as it loses what was a temporary measure aimed at closing the 2018 budget gap. Uncertainty over how the state will make up that revenue seems to be fueling some of the hesitation to back some of Landry's priorities.

Zoom in: One of Landry's goals was to create Education Savings Accounts, which would give parents tax-backed stipends to support their children's education expenses.

  • But the state Senate stripped that bill, instead opting to study the cost while opening the door for the state to create ESAs in the future.

If a trio of anti-LGBTQ+ bills pass as expected, transgender students would be required to use restrooms matching their sex assigned at birth, and teachers would be prevented from discussing gender identity, sexual orientation or a student's preferred pronouns.

What we're watching: Among the biggest questions legislators will answer in the coming weeks is whether to move forward with Landry's request for a constitutional convention.

  • Lawmakers have expressed concern over how little the governor has shared about his intentions for a rewrite, and at how fast the convention would have to move to make an end-of-session deadline.
  • That legislation moves next to the state Senate, where leadership has indicated plans to pump the brakes, LaRose says.

Go deeper for details on the controversial public records bill

2. πŸͺ§ Pro-Palestinian protesters removed

Protesters used wooden pallets, tires and construction barricades to reinforce the boundary of their encampment at Tulane yesterday. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Police, including SWAT team members, removed a pro-Palestinian encampment this morning on Tulane's campus.

Why it matters: The encampment was a flashpoint for university leadership navigating pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian sentiment in the Israel-Hamas war.

The big picture: Tulane police led a coordinated effort with New Orleans police and Louisiana State troopers to remove the protesters, Tulane said in a statement early this morning.

  • At least 14 arrests were made, including two Tulane students, the school said.
  • To date, 20 people have been arrested related to the encampment that started Monday. Seven students have been suspended.
  • "We remain opposed to trespassing, hate speech, antisemitism and bias against religious or ethnic groups," Tulane's statement said after the removal. "Organizers of protests need to know we will not tolerate these things."

Driving the news: NOPD, LSP and Tulane PD went in around 3am "at the urging of Tulane's president," according to NOPD spokesperson Karen Boudrie.

  • "We are unaware of injuries at this time," she told Axios at 6am.

What's next: Wednesday is the last day of classes for most students at Tulane as the campus prepares for finals, officials say.

  • Buildings near the encampment site remain closed, and those classes will be held remotely.

Go deeper to see the latest developments at Tulane

3. 🏒 Fully Dressed: NOPD to move headquarters

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

🏒 The City Council approved a decadelong lease for NOPD to move its headquarters into a downtown office building. The lease is worth $12.4 million. ( | The Times-PicayuneπŸ”’)

πŸ† Dillard University's Zella Palmer is nominated for a James Beard Media Award for co-authoring "Ed Mitchell's Barbecue." (Details)

πŸš” Michelle Woodfork, NOPD's former interim chief, is joining the DA's office as the forensics and intelligence director. (WWL)

Boeing laid off dozens of employees at its Michoud facility amid delays in NASA's Artemis space program. (Fox 8)

4. πŸ¦€ Best thing we ate: Irene's soft-shell crab

A thing that's true about Chelsea is she'd bathe in this sauce. Photo: Chelsea Brasted/Axios

πŸ‘‹ Chelsea here. I knew I'd like Irene's Cuisine from the moment the door opened and I was hit with the scent of garlic. It stretched out toward the street behind me, like it could wrap around me to usher me to my table even faster.

Why it matters: Reader Leonard C. recommended I give Irene's a try after leaving the restaurant off my list of French Quarter favorites, and I'm happy to say I obliged.

The big picture: Owner Irene DiPietro opened the cozy Bienville Street restaurant in 1992, and her Sicilian family has been serving New Orleans ever since.

  • Today, the kitchen is run by DiPietro's son, Nicholas Scalco, according to the restaurant's website.

What I ordered: A soft-shell crab fettuccine special ($40).

  • The giant soft shell was laid atop a bed of pasta laden with a light cream sauce plus sautΓ©ed spinach, crawfish tails, cherry tomatoes and peas.

Go deeper for my favorite appetizer

5. Up Stairs Lounge plaque stolen

(Left) The night an arsonist attacked the Up Stairs Lounge at 604 Iberville Street in 1973, killing 32 people. (Right) A recent view of the French Quarter building. Photos: Bettmann/Contributor for Getty, Deisenbe/Wikimedia Commons

The plaque commemorating the Up Stairs Lounge fire was stolen, New Orleans police said yesterday.

Why it matters: The intentionally set fire at a French Quarter gay bar killed 32 people and injured 15.

  • It was the deadliest attack on U.S. soil against the LGBTQ+ community until the Orlando Pulse nightclub mass shooting in 2016.

See a picture of the plaque, which was embedded in the sidewalk.

πŸ₯© Chelsea celebrated her husband's birthday at Brasa last night.

πŸ“… Carlie has this NSYNC bop on repeat today because it's gonna be May.

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Thanks to our editor Fadel Allassan and copy editor Carlin Becker.