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By Rebecca Santana The Associated Press

NBA All-Star game spotlights LGBT oasis in the South

NEW ORLEANS — The city hosting this year’s NBA All-Star game has long enjoyed a reputation as a welcoming place for the gay and lesbian community. New Orleans is home to one of the country’s oldest gay bars, the gay celebration Southern Decadence draws nearly 200,000 people yearly, and gay and lesbian authors flock here for the Saints and Sinners literary festival.

Louisiana judge to stop jailing defendants over fees

NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana judge accused by a rights group of running a modern-day debtors prison agreed Monday to temporarily stop jailing defendants for nonpayment of fees and assessing certain costs on defendants, according to a court filing.

The court filing outlines an agreement between Judge Robert Black in Bogalusa and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Hummus in land of gumbo: Israeli restaurant standout in NOLA

NEW ORLEANS — Chef Alon Shaya’s unlikely love affair with Louisiana started years ago.

“My first cookbook was Emeril (Lagasse’s) ‘Louisiana Real & Rustic,’” said the chef, who was born the Tel Aviv, Israel suburb of Bat Yam. “I always thought that one day I could come and cook in Louisiana. It just seemed like this mystical place to me.”