Across Louisiana: BR's Devin's Law, N.O. Mayor Recall, Monroe school's failure, remembering Bill Russell
Newsworthy briefs from Across Louisiana in case you missed them
Baton Rouge council signs Devin Law to aid renter’s safety
The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council passed an ordinance called ‘Devin’s Law” in memory of Devin Page Jr., a 3-year-old-boy who was killed by a stray bullet as he was sleeping in his home. Page’s mother, Tye Toliver said she complained to her landlord several times about her family’s safety due to criminal activity that was happening around the home. The last complaint she made was on the day her son was killed. According to Councilman Cleve Dunn Jr., the Sept. 14 ordinance mandates that landlords provide potential tenants with a source, where they can access the criminal incident and/or crime data in the area of the rental property. It also encourages landlords to have a security camera system at rental properties, encourages rental properties to have adequate lighting. “I feel that citizens and tenants have the right to access and know the crime data that’s in that area. I think they need that data before entering into a lease,” said Dunn.
New Orleans Tribune challenges residents considering a push to recall Mayor Cantrell
Mayor LaToya Cantrell recall organizers say they’ve amassed 20% of signatures needed to force a vote while Cantrell says she’s received “nothing but support” across New Orleans.
In its latest issue, The New Orleans Tribune asserts that this recall effort is not about Black New Orleanians or the quality of life issues it has grappled with for decades. It encourages residents to take the recall efforts seriously, saying organizers are not grassroots, community-centred activists and are using “longstanding issues that predate Cantrell, like Wisner and Gordona Plaza, or ridiculous ones like outrage over her threat to cancel Mardi Gras 2023 so long as it helps paint Black elected leaders with broad brushes of ineffectiveness, ineptitude or, even worse, depravity. And when that happens it will deter other Black leaders from running for elected office and allows an unfair, untrue stereotype to deepen,” Anitra Brown, managing editor wrote. “A successful recall of LaToya Cantrell is bad news for Black political leadership and the Black citizenry in New Orleans.”
Historically, recall elections in Louisiana have been successful at a margin of more than 2 to 1. Recallers have until February 22, 2023, to submit the petition with at least 53,343 signatures to the Registrar of Voters. It will then need to be certified. If successful it will be sent to the Governor’s Office to issue an election proclamation on or around April 6, 2023.
Is the Monroe school system failing Black students?
MONROE—Recently released results of statewide testing of schools across the state showed a wide disparity between the performance of white and black students who attend school in Monroe. The majority of white students in Monroe City System score “Advanced and Mastery” in core subject areas, while the overwhelming majority of Black students are below basic.
According to the Monroe Free Press, the state’s overall testing results showed white students with scores that were often triple those of their black counterparts in the measured coursework. Among high Schools, 62 percent of white students scored Advanced or mastery in English 1, while only 23 percent of Black students had similar scores. Among Asian students, 70 percent were advanced or mastery in this subject. The results showed that 54 percent of Black students scored below basic in this subject. Read more.
A reluctant sports hero, Louisiana native: Bill Russell is remembered
As fans crowded basketball great Bill Russell for autographs at Madison Square Garden in December 1962, he raised a poignant question.
“What does all this mean?” he asked. “This is without depth. This is a very shallow thing.”
A few weeks later he confessed, “I feel that playing basketball is just marking time. I don’t feel that this can be it for a man. I haven’t accomplished anything, really. What contribution have I made of which I can be really proud?”
At that point, Russell—who was born in Monroe, La.— had won three MVP awards and five NBA titles. He had emerged as a hero in the media-driven rivalry with the taller and stronger scoring machine, Wilt Chamberlain.
The Celtics won plaudits for their spirit of cooperation, serving as sports’ greatest example of racial integration in action.
Yet Russell chafed at every reminder that he was still a second-class citizen. He refused to accept segregated accommodations on road trips. During a 1961 preseason tour, when a hotel coffee shop in Lexington, Kentucky, refused service to two teammates, Russell boycotted the exhibition game, and the Black players on both teams followed suit.
After the 1962 season, while driving back to his native Louisiana, he and his two young sons had to sleep one night in their car because no hotels would accommodate Black people.
If this happened to the best basketball player in the world, how much could basketball matter? Read more.
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