Jan 192017
 

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond delivers the keynote address at the NAACP New Orleans branch’s 2012 Freedom Fund Banquet at Xavier University. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Though recent polls (including one from the Wall Street Journal/NBC News) call President-Elect Donald Trump the most unpopular incoming President in decades, more than a thousand Louisiana residents including Fenn French, Louis Gurvich, Adrian Bruneau, Eric Skrmetta, Brian Trascher, Billy Nungesser, Jeff Landry, and State Republican Party Chair Roger Villere with granddaughter Madison are taking in all the Washington’s sights and sounds this week in preparation for the 45th Presidential Inauguration.

Villere – who has been in the nation’s capitol all week – rattled off a long list of tantalizing events in addition to the inauguration itself for well-heeled insiders, including a breakfast hosted by the Louisiana Congressional Delegation at the Capitol Hill Club, the RNC Prayer and Praise Worship Celebration, a special event with long-time Beltway titan Newt Gingrich, a pre-inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial, and Trump’s wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Earlier this morning, Villere attended the RNC’s gathering where former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel, became RNC Chairman. She ran unopposed, of course. Villere was pleased to be appointed to McDaniel’s transition team. He will cap off this evening by attending an exclusive reception honoring two prominent Greek Americans – Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming chief of staff, and George Gigicos, Trump’s director of advance and deputy assistant to the president. Tomorrow evening, Villere will attend the Freedom Ball, one of many being held across the city.

But the most important New Orleanian scheduled to participate in Friday’s festivities is Congressman Cedric Richmond. Although more than 50 members of Congress are boycotting the inauguration, Richmond realizes he is an important link for New Orleans’ future and as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus for African-Americans around the country. While others may thumb their noses at Trump, Richmond will be using his excellent relationship with House Whip Steve Scalise to build a bridge with the new administration – a bridge that will benefit New Orleans over and over again.

Villere says Trump has already committed to help with funding for Louisiana’s recovery after the Great Flood of 2016 and to help secure the funds needed to rebuild Louisiana’s coast. Richmond will play a major role in getting both those goals accomplished and many others.

Richmond might also reach out to President Barack Obama and thank him for his years of service to our country. Being President is never easy. Though President-Elect Trump’s actions in recent weeks have been very polarizing, according to the New York Times, President Trump will address national unity in his inaugural speech. Let’s hope it happens soon.

GOVERNOR JOHN BEL EDWARDS WILL BE SPECIAL GUEST AT KAREN CARTER PETERSON FUNDRAISER

In a show of Democratic Party unity before a tough upcoming special session, Governor John Bel Edwards will be the special guest at a fundraiser for State Senator Karen Carter Peterson on Monday, Jan. 23, at the palatial home of influential African-American businessman Jimmie Woods.

Edwards is a frequent guest at the Woods residence, which has become the go-to place for well-heeled African-American power brokers. Woods is married to newly-elected Court of Appeal Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods who will be sworn in Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Southern University’s Conference Center.

Many members of the New Orleans legislative delegation will be on hand for the Carter Peterson reception along with major lobbyists and a large contingency of local business leaders. As Chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, Carter Peterson was a shoe-in for a significant position in the Clinton administration. Now, like many other legislators, she is rethinking her future. Lucky for her, Carter Peterson is associated with one of the world’s largest law firms – Dentons – and could enjoy a bright future as a global corporate lawyer if she does not choose to run for another elected office.

Carter Peterson was not an early supporter of Governor Edwards, but clearly the two now see eye-to-eye. If Carter Peterson leans on the other Democratic legislators statewide, this friendship could help ease the state’s budget problems during the upcoming special session.

BROWN ENDORSED BY LABOR; MONTERO KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN

In the first major endorsement of the spring campaign season, Civil District Court judges Paula Brown and Tiffany Chase were both endorsed yesterday by the Building Trades Council of the AFL-CIO. Brown and Chase are both running for a vacant seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. Brown plans to announce endorsements from dozens of ministers and elected officials in the coming weeks. Also expect a moneyed crowd Friday at Ruth Chris Steakhouse when super lawyer Darlene Jacobs hosts a fundraiser for Brown.

[Clarification: An earlier version of this column had an incomplete description of the AFL-CIO endorsement. The organization endorsed both Brown and Chase, according to Jeremy Alford’s LaPolitics Tuesday Tracker.]

Attorney Suzy Montero will kick off her campaign for Civil District Court, Division B, at a reception Thursday, January 26 at Basin Street Station. Montero’s campaign co-chairs are Phil Wittman and Leann Opotowsky Moses and her boss, Chip Forstall, is finance chair. Maybe several of the musicians who record commercials for Forstall will also sing in Montero’s campaign ads. An attractive candidate for millennial voters, CDC candidate Rachel Johnson also rubbed shoulders with a standing-room-only crowd of attentive young professionals last Thursday night on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

MORE PURPLE SASHES NEEDED FOR SATURDAY’S WOMEN’S MARCH

Women across New Orleans have been busy for more than two weeks churning out purple and silver sashes for Saturday’s national march in Washington and sister march in New Orleans. Although more than 200 were prepared for Washington alone, several hundred more are still needed for the New Orleans event, which is expected to attract 1000 marchers. Rain or shine, the New Orleans pre-march rally begins at 1 p.m. Saturday in Washington Square Park, and concludes with a post-march rally in Duncan Plaza.

Local activist Sarah Kelsey is looking for about 10 people to bring their hot glue guns and creativity to the Mid City Yacht Club tonight at 5:30 p.m. for a sash-making session. Cash donations for sashes are also being accepted.

Danae Columbus has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by her public relations firm are Foster Campbell, Regina Bartholomew, City Council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.

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