Thursday, September 27, 2007

In giant type the Picayune announced today that "Pump station plans may erase landmarks." You know the paper is serious about this story, because they drew some pictures to go with it.

Oh my, that's terrible news. What landmarks might we lose? A historic mansion? A great work of art? Oh God, I hope we're not losing the Super Dome! No, we're talking about some volleyball courts, a Baptist church and Deanie's, a neighborhood joint that serves not so great fried seafood. You call those landmarks?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Picayune has an odd neurosis about not mentioning any other publication in New Orleans. They'd rather give their readers vague information than, God forbid, commit to print the name of another magazine or newspaper. Nothing like having your priorities straight.

Recently, they got a nice nostalgic quote from Errol Laborde and identified him simply as a "writer and magazine editor." Would it have killed them to mention that he edits and partially owns New Orleans Magazine, the city magazine. Wouldn't the readers have been better served with more information.

Although today, I bet one publication is glad about this policy. In an article about Melissa Williams soliciting sex through Craig's List, the Picayune reported that the woman wasn't new to the sex industry: "the Sheriff's Office vice squad arrested Melissa Williams in 2004 after deputies answered an ad she had placed in a New Orleans alternative newspaper." Now what "alternative newspaper" could they be referring to? Me, I don't know. I only read the Times Picayune.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Picayune plunges into the at-large council race and addresses head-on the issue of race. Historically, one at-large council-person has been white and the other black. With Oliver Thomas gone, that balance might end.

A Mr. Banks, a leader of disgraced councilman Oliver Thomas' political organization BOLD, says, "I hope race is a factor and I hope the makeup of the council in on voter's minds, because this is a diverse community and we need diverse leadership."

Helpfully, the Picayune shows photos of the top five contenders on the front page. I wish I could show them to you, but it's not online. How would you arrange the photos? Alphabetical by last name? That would be my neutral choice. The Picayune decided it made more sense to group the candidates by race. Up top, we have the two whites--Boulet and Brechtel Clarkson. Below, we have the top black contenders--Vassel, Bajoie and Willard-Lewis.

Just because some people believe race is the most important character of each candidate, it doesn't mean the paper has to adopt this.

What I couldn't figure out at first is how they organized the black candidates. After staring at the photos for a while, I had to conclude that the blacks are arranged from darkest (Vassel) to lightest (Willard-Lewis).