May 152014

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

The Krewe of Banana is returning to the Port of New Orleans and we couldn’t be happier. The Port of New Orleans has undergone a great resurgence in recent years – at least they are one agency that Governor Bobby Jindal cuts less frequently than most others.

Port Director Gary LaGrange – who has spent his whole career in the maritime industry – is one smart guy to keep approaching Chiquita Brand over the years until the time was “ripe” for a move back to New Orleans. Coupled with the widening of the Panama Canal, Chiquita’s move will send a big international signal that the Port of New Orleans is once again the premiere place to do business.

Governor Bobby Jindal did step up with the cash and incentives Chiquita needed to seal the deal. His actions were also a smart business move that would bode well for future maritime development. While we can never underestimate the value of the cruise industry and tourism to New Orleans’ economy, the Port should always be on top.

With fewer jobs on the wharf due to changes in technology, it is incumbent on LaGrange to beef up value added operations and new businesses in the port’s tax free zone to create continued job growth.

Back to the Krewe of Banana – who is going to start this new group? It would be fitting for the Southern Food and Beverage Museum who could begin with a new exhibit about the history of bananas in New Orleans. SOFAB’s new museum space is almost complete on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.


We don’t always agree with Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux but when he and the State Legislative Auditor see eye to eye on an issue, we think there must be merit. What’s more trends identified by the FBI’s Uniform Crime stats are generally right on the money.

Rape is horrible crime that mostly affects women. Some women hesitate to even report a rape. Yet, no woman should expect the police to downplay her case. At least in America people are prosecuting for the crime of rape as opposed to India and other countries where rape is widespread and tolerated.

We are not saying that Police Chief Ronal Serpas is guilty of purposeful miscalculations. But using the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement to pass the buck back and forth is not the answer. The classification system at the NOPD has had problems for many years and it needs to be fixed now.


Allan worked with Dean Baquet, new managing editor of the New York Times, for many years first at the old States item and then at the Times-Picayune. After his early days sweeping the floors at his family’s restaurant and attending classes at St. Augustine High School, Dean grew into a fine journalist worthy of the Pulitzer Prize and the many other awards he won. Dean will add his unique perspective to the New York Times and could well increase the coverage our city gets nationwide. Dean’s promotion is not only a wonderful thing for his fabulous family but will make Purple Knights everywhere and those who appreciate a special New Orleanian proud for Dean, his high school alma mater and the Baquet family.

Allan Katz spent 25 years as a political reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune, and is now editor of the Kenner Star and host of several televsion programs, including the Louisiana Newsmaker on Cox Cable. Danae Columbus is executive producer of Louisiana Newsmaker, and has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. They both currently work for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by their public relations firm are City council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.

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