Dec 112013
 

Drew Ward

Drew Ward

Susan Guidry

Susan Guidry

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

On the first day of qualifying for the Feb. 1 City Council elections, LaToya Cantrell and Susan Guidry both filed for re-election, and Guidry drew her first challenger, a Riverbend neighborhood activist.

As of the end of the qualifying period on Wednesday, Cantrell is the only candidate listed for the District B seat, which covers most of Uptown and the Central Business District, plus part of Mid-City.

In District A, which spans from the university area of Uptown through Carrollton and Mid-City into Lakeview, Guidry will face Drew Ward, who filed as a Republican. Ward is frequent presence at Riverbend neighborhood businesses and often a vocal supporter of new businesses — strongly opposing the alcohol moratorium in the area, for example — and he has also created a project to restore brick sidewalks in the area.

Carrollton activist
Ward said he grew up in Alexandria, and moved to New Orleans in 2003 after serving in the U.S. Army. He worked in Mexico and Germany for several years, contracting with government agencies and companies for foreign-language and cultural training services, and returned to New Orleans in 2008.

Ward has been critical of Guidry’s stances on a number of issues, especially her insistence on restrictive good-neighbor agreements for many new businesses, and he said he decided to run because of his belief that official decisions are being made “in spite of the people who live here instead of for them.”

“Guidry and others have made a point of enforcing the will on a small group of people on the rest of the city,” Ward said. “You don’t do something in spite of what your constituents want, you do it because it’s what they want. I don’t see that with Guidry.”

He criticized the city’s general direction as “trying to apply Band-Aids to broken legs,” making little progress on crime or education and ignoring the underlying cycle of poverty. He criticized the tax incentives given to lure Costco to New Orleans, calling the wholesaler a “cash-heavy out-of-state company no one was asking for” and saying that since many of its customers are tax-exempt resellers, the city is unlikely to recoup the money.

“I think that’s a really bad example of ways to waste our economic-development dollars,” Ward said.

Other candidates
Guidry has one other announced challenger who has yet to qualify: Jonah Bascle, an advocate for transportation accessibility. Hip hop artist and entrepreneur Marlon “10th Ward Buck” has also said he will run against Cantrell again.

Many of the announced candidates in other races around the city qualified on Wednesday:

  • For mayor, Mitch Landrieu will face NAACP President Danatus King. Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris also retired from his post Wednesday, according to Clancy DuBos of our partners at Gambit, with plans to join the race for mayor Thursday or Friday.
  • Sheriff Marlin Gusman will face his predecessor, Charles Foti, as well as school board president Ira Thomas and an Uptown resident, Quentin R. Brown.
  • For the “Division 1″ at-large seat on the City Council, incumbent Stacy Head will face Eugene Green.
  • For the vacant “Division 2″ at-large seat on the City Council, Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, former interim Councilman Freddie Charbonnet, and attorney Jason Williams all qualified.
  • In District C, which covers Algiers and the French Quarter, Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson and Nadine Ramsey both qualified.
  • In District D, which covers parts of Mid-City and Gentilly, state Rep. Jared Brossett will face Southern University professor Joseph Bouie.
  • In District E, which covers New Orleans East, incumbent Councilman James Gray will face former Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis.
  • For coroner, incumbent Frank Minyard faces challenges from Dwight McKenna, Vincent Culotta Jr. and Jeffrey Rouse.

Assessor Erroll Williams and Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell have not drawn any challengers. Qualifying remains open until 4:30 p.m. Friday.

The election will be Feb. 1 and any runoffs necessary will be held March 15.

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