NOLA News in Brief

Winter weather has struck, and holiday spirit is in the air. On campus, many students have been busy scheduling class for the spring semester, making plans for Thanksgiving break and pulling their winter jackets out from the back of their closets. But more has been happening in the Crescent City than an increase in the holiday drinks available at coffee shops. From a plan to pull over more drivers to Christina Aguilera’s failed attempt to join a local band on stage at a bar on Frenchman Street, here are some of top New Orleans headlines you might have missed over the past few days.

New Orleans activated its “freeze plan” Wednesday in response to abnormally low temperatures. Several locations around the city, including The Salvation Army at 4530 S. Claiborne Ave., began accepting individuals needing shelter free of charge Wednesday afternoon. Homeless shelters throughout the city were also permitted to accommodate more individuals than normal. The plan was activated in response to the National Weather Service’s forecast for temperatures to fall below 35 degrees for at least four consecutive hours. The wind chill was expected to drop into the upper 20s Wednesday night. Over the next few days, however, temperatures are expected to climb back into the 50s and 60s.

NOPD plans to pull over more drivers as traffic cameras come down, according to New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Michael Harrison’s announcement on Tuesday. Harrison told City Council members he will increase the number of officers assigned to enforce traffic laws. The increased police presence will remind New Orleanians that “police are really out there,” Harrison said. The announcement comes after Cantrell said on Nov. 1 she plans to turn off 20 cameras. These cameras will not include those placed in school zones. She did say, however, that she would like to limit cameras in school zones to only be active during hours when school zones laws are in affect.

Governor John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday he opposes the plan to redirect hotel taxes currently intended to bolster the tourism industry to improving New Orleans infrastructure. The hotel tax revenue currently goes to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and local tourism groups. Mayor Cantrell proposed redirecting some of these tax dollars to improving the infrastructure of the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. At an event on Tuesday, however, Edwards said he was “not at all interested” in redirecting these tax dollars. Cantrell said she plans to meet with Edwards to negotiate how to move forward.

A local bar band refused to let Christina Aguilera sing with them last Thursday night. The Grammy-winning pop singer was in New Orleans on her “Liberation” tour. The night before her concert at the Saenger Theater, she stopped by Cafe Negril, a popular bar on Frenchmen Street. Local reggae band Claude Bryant and the All Stars was on stage. During the show, Aguilera approached the frontman Claude Bryant and asked if she could sing a song with him on stage. To her surprise, Bryant refused to let her sing with him. Bryant later apologized, saying he had not recognized Aguilera. “Come back, Christina,” Bryant told WGNO-TV. “You can sing anything you want with us.”

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