James Gill (columnist)
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James Gill (born in the United Kingdom) is a graduate of the University of Liverpool who emigrated to the United States in 1977. Since 1986 he has been a columnist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Louisiana. In May, 2013, it was announced that Gill has left the Times-Picayune and has joined the staff of a competing Louisiana newspaper, The Advocate (Louisiana) where his column will appear on Tuesdays and Sundays.
Like John Maginnis and Jeff Crouere, Gill has made a career of lampooning Louisiana political figures. When he does go after public officials in other states or nations, he often compares them to public figures in Louisiana. Gill has a loyal readership in the circulation area of the Times-Picayune, his wit often (but not always) entertaining even those who disagree with him.
One of Gill's favorite topics in late 2008 and early 2009 was U.S. Representative Joseph Cao, who ousted indicted incumbent William J. Jefferson in Louisiana's 2nd congressional district—and related issues such as the New Orleans e-mail controversies and repercussions related to City Councilwoman Stacy Head. In April 2009, Gill championed of the use of unstaffed cameras to photograph and ticket motorists who ignore red lights.
Mardi Gras research
Gill has written three books, two of them on the New Orleans Mardi Gras. His Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans was the first book to examine the role of Mardi Gras in New Orleans' political and social development as well as the first to analyze racial segregation in the krewes which produce the annual parades.
- Gill biosketch for the Spring 2008 New Orleans History Lecture Series.
- ’’Diversions 3’’ (New Orleans) has called him “acerbic” (p. 128).
- As in his column "In crime and syllables, Illinois politicians win" (which appeared in the 2008 December 12 Times-Picayune) comparing Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (removed from office on 2009 January 29) to former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards; or in "Holy Nutcase!" (Times-Picayune, 2009 February 4, p. B7), recommending that New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Clifton Hughes be replaced by Austrian auxiliary bishop Gerhard Maria Wagner. Wagner resigned in mid-February 2009 amidst controversy over his statements that sin in New Orleans had brought on Hurricane Katrina. Gill was quoted in "Parish Closing Traumas Spread" by ‘’National Catholic Reporter’’ on 2009 January 23.
- See, e.g., reader reactions “Ex Cathedra: The New Orleans Archdiocese, Project Lazarus, and the Metropolitan Community Church” and Robert E. Kennedy, "A Football-Free Island" in Times-Picayune, 2009 February 12. A comparison Gill made ("Former congressman Bob Livingston explains influence-peddling, the legal way" in Times-Picayune, 2009 August 20, Metro Edition, p. B5) between former U.S. representative William J. Jefferson (convicted of 11 felonies) and former U.S. representative Bob Livingston (a highly effective lobbyist) brought a stinging rebuke from Livingston (Bob Livingston, "Proud of career post-Congress, Livingston says" in Times-Picayune, 2009 August 23, Metro Edition, p. B4). Gill was defended by Dennis R. Schenck, "Livingston doesn't get it" in Times-Picayune, 2009 August 25, Saint Tammany Edition, p. B4, by John Nee, "Politicians don't produce" in Times-Picayune, Saint Tammany Edition, 2009 August 27, p. B4, and by Jerry R. Goolsby, "Lobbying nothing to be proud of" in Times-Picayune, 2009 August 28, Saint Tammany Edition, p. B6.
- On 2009 April 12, Gill recommended that a group styling itself "Friends of Congressman William J. Jefferson" should change its name to "Friends of ex-Congressman William J. Jefferson"; reporting Jefferson's argument that 14 of the 16 felony counts against him should be thrown out as not statutorily definable as bribery, Gill concluded that "Beating 14 counts would be a great coup for any defendant, but the joy must be somewhat diminished for one who is facing 16" (James Gill, Jefferson's friends an optimistic bunch, Times-Picayune, 2009 April 12, Saint Tammany Edition, p. B5). Gill quoted the program of the Friends' then-planned 2009 May 14 "Celebration of Service" to honor Jefferson as a "Spirited Appreciation Celebration with Acknowledgment, Music, Dance and Fellowship" and noted that Jefferson's trial was at the time set to commence 12 days later.
- See esp. the summary of Gill's analysis at Stacy Head:Mayor's outlook & Jefferson factor.
- James Gill, Red-light runners get no sympathy, Times-Picayune, 2009 April 19, p. B5.
- University of New Orleans press release, 2007 January 31.
- Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1997, ISBN 0-87805-916-4.
- ’’Lords of Misrule’’ blurb on the web site of the University Press of Mississippi (retrieved 2009 February 28). See also the following, on Amazon.com's Lords of Misrule web site: unsigned review by Kirkus Reviews, signed review by Donna Seaman for Booklist magazine, and additional reader reviews.