Jul 242014

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

“There’s just something about Mary!” exclaimed state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chair of Louisiana’s Democratic Party, when she introduced U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in Washington, D.C. yesterday at the Dentons Navigant Energy Outlook Series, attended by a global audience of energy officials at the National Press Club. 

Dentons, the international law firm which advises the New Orleans City Council on utility regulatory matters, operates an office in New Orleans which Carter Peterson recently joined. Other New Orleanians present included Pearlina Thomas, chief of staff to Councilman Jason Williams, chair of the Council’s Utilities Committee.

Carter Peterson praised Landrieu for her outstanding contributions to the energy field as chair of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and her strong commitment to seeking federal funding for coastal wetlands and Louisiana’s other unmet needs caused by decades of drilling.

Louisiana’s oil and gas industry has had an economic impact of $216 billion, said Landrieu. The federal government should reinvest back in conservation of natural resources and quality education in Louisiana.  Landrieu is a big proponent of STEM education and referenced the need to attract more women to the science and technology field.

“We are truly a state grateful for our natural resources,” said Landrieu.  Landrieu pointed to the importance of energy-related jobs in Louisiana. “We want to see Louisiana produce more energy from all sources,” she continued.  Fracking could also be done “safely” if oil companies stayed  away from environmentally sensitive areas.

“Louisiana residents are both producers and consumers of energy,” Landrieu explained.  Unlike many other parts of America, residents of Louisiana interact with the environment every day through hunting, fishing and hiking.  “We don’t have to send our kids away to camps; we send them to their grandparents’ camp (on the bayou).”  “Louisianaians are good stewards for the environment.”  With the proper investments, Landrieu said,  oil and gas wealth and prosperity will continue for years to come.

Landrieu also touched on energy security and the need to secure America’s borders. “We must secure our borders,” said Landrieu.  She also suggested that job creation in Mexico and Central America could help stem the tide of illegal immigration.

Hosting citizens of Mexico and Central America in New Orleans as leisure visitors or business travelers would be an economic boost the city needs.  Miami is currently benefiting from an influx of affluent highly educated South Americans  who are putting down roots and jump starting the region. Building a base with  Mexico and Latin America could be a long-term goal, as those  economies become more stable.

Turning to her reelection campaign, Landrieu said that Carter Peterson was important to her reelection efforts.  Like Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Wendy Davis, Landrieu must rely on a combination of minorities, women, along with few remaining  loyal Democratic voters  to put her over the top.

The Washington Post’s newly created Election Lab published a 2014 midterm election forecast Sunday that predicted the GOP has a 92% chance of winning Louisiana’s Senate seat.  We don’t necessarily believe that poll. Landrieu has always had the ability to pull rabbits out of the hat and could do that  again this year.

It is true that Southern states still trying to elect Democrats statewide are heavily relying on minority voters.  Louisiana’s minority voters exceed 30 percent with many potential voters still unregistered.  More than 50 percent of Texas voters are Hispanic, Asian or African-American.  How many Hispanics will want to vote again for Gov. Rick Perry or his chosen successor Republican Attorney General Gregg Abbott?

Veteran Obama operatives have created Battleground Texas, a political action committee charged with building a foundation for future Democratic success in Texas. In addition to voter registration, one of their biggest tasks is to close the gap between those minorities  eligible to vote and those who actually vote.  Landrieu might not want any veterans of Obama’s campaigns visible in Louisiana, but they could sure send some money her way.

The Landrieu campaign is also reaching out to key African-Americans asking them to speak as surrogates for Landrieu. While Landrieu can’t be everywhere at once, this might also be a tactic to warm up those African-American voters who have become disenchanted with Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his policies. Mary Landrieu first ran for office (the Louisiana Legislature) when she was 23 years old.  After all these decades, she will do everything possible to win once again.


Newly elected City Councilman at Large Jason Williams must be a betting man.  Though in office only a few months now, he is stepping up in support of one of his early supporters, lawyer Nakisha Irwin Knott, who is challenging Lloyd Medley for a seat in Civil District Court. Irwin Knott ran unsuccessfully four years ago and just completed a two year term as president of the independent Women’s Organization.  She helped Williams get the IWO endorsement  which opened the doors to progressive women voters.


Leonard Galmon, born to a 13-year old mother and drug dealer father who was murdered, managed to overcome adversity and  become a highly accomplished student, artist, and Yale scholarship recipient.  Though his scholarship covers tuition, room, board and books, it will not provide spending money for visits to the coffee shop or warm clothes for the Northeast winter.

Our friend Cheron Brylski opened an account at Liberty Bank for Galmon and is trying to raise $1000.   We’re sending a check to Liberty Bank, P.O. Box 60131, New Orleans, Louisiana 70160-0131, attention Ann Marie Allen. You could also purchase a gift card at Walmart or Target  and mail it to Brylski at 3418 Coliseum Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70115.  Leonard Galmon deserves at break. Let’s help him have a great time at Yale.

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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