Mar 012018

Louis Gurvich (center), new chair of Louisiana’s Republican Party, poses for a photo with Col. Paul “Bubba” Deckert, USMC (Ret.) and lobbyist Adrian Bruneau. (photo by Danae Columbus for

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee gave new state party chair Louis Gurvich a rousing ovation at their candidate endorsement meeting Monday night. Local chair Jay Batt said it was good to have a state party chair “who doesn’t live on the other side of the 17th Street Canal.” A New Orleans lawyer and private security company owner, Gurvich beat three other candidates to replace long-time GOP leader Roger Villere who has opened a consulting firm that will field a still-unnamed candidate against Congressman Cedric Richmond this fall.

Gurvich says he is humbled by the trust Louisiana’s Republicans placed in him and is ready to tackle the job ahead. “I will continue to build the Republican Party in Louisiana by focusing on many different areas – wherever we need work,” said Gurvich. With the state party’s obvious success in growing the number of Republican registered voters as well as electing a record number of Republicans at the parish, state and federal level, Gurvich’s prioritizes include conducting additional voting registration drives, strengthening local parish executive committees, and organizing party fundraising.

Like Villere before him, Gurvich intends to spend dozens of hours each week on party politics. “Thank goodness my wife Karen is very supportive,” he said. During Gurvich’s year-long campaign, he traveled the state getting to know party members and their concerns. “I visited a lot of different places that I didn’t know existed. It’ll be a long haul that will require working on a lot of different fronts, but I will get the job done.”


One of Gurvich’s earliest challenges may be how Republican officials address the sexual harassment claims made against Secretary of State Tom Schedler. While Gurvich is personally on record that sexual harassment is not acceptable but Schedler deserves to have his day in court, others including Gov. John Bel Edwards, State Rep. Helena Moreno, and State Sen. Hewitt have already called for Schedler’s resignation. It is doubtful that Schedler, 68, will resign voluntarily. Gurvich and other Republican leaders are probably already scouting prospective candidates for the 2019 election cycle.


The Verge, in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute reported this week that the Silicon Valley-based Palatir Technologies, a data-mining firm funded in part by the CIA, has secretly supplied the NOPD with predictive policing technology to track gang members. According to one expert, predictive crime analysis is not new, but it is a far more powerful tool in the databank of a computer than in the hands of a couple of detectives plotting points on a map. In itself, predictive crime analysis may not constitute anything more than a form of inductive logic. What the police do with this tool, well, that’s the real issue.


With early voting beginning next Saturday, March 10, judicial candidate Ellen Hazeur and legislative candidate Royce Duplessis are among those fattening their coffers in anticipation of the March 27 election. More than 100 Hazeur supporters packed the Magnolia Mansion last night including Bob Tucker, Jay Banks, Darleen Jacobs, Daniel Davillier, Chip Forstall, Bob Harvey, Rick Duplantier, Hunter Harris, Arthur Morrell, Austin Badon, Margaret Walker, Jane Booth and Julius Feltus.

Cleveland Spears has coordinated a young professionals gathering for Royce Duplessis this evening at The Revolution. Current District 93 State Rep Helena Moreno – who has endorsed Duplessis – leads the 90-person host committee which also includes State Senators J.P. Morrell and Karen Carter Peterson; Councilmembers Jason Williams and Jared Brossett; State Reps Jimmy Harris and Gary Carter Jr. and School Board members Ethan Ashley and Ben Kleban.

Moreno, who will leave the legislature by April 30 to begin her term as an at-large member of the New Orleans City Council, will have a fundraiser on Friday March 9 at the home of Sandra and Russ Herman. She still has several legislative initiatives to push forward including a ban on high capacity magazine and assault weapons.


District 93 legislative candidate Dan Faust told local Republicans this week that guns and sex are an integral part of American life and that children should be taught about guns around the same time they learn about the birds and the bees. Clarifying his earlier statements on assault weapons, Faust said he does not support an outright ban on military style weapons like the AR-15, but supports increased measures to track them including mandatory training before purchases, mandatory licensing with renewal periods, mandatory mental health screenings and a centralized database of weapon owners. Faust also thinks a ban on high capacity semi-automatic rifles in the French Quarter makes sense.

Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, City Council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Foster Campbell, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. Her current clients include District B City Council candidate Seth Bloom and At-Large City Council candidate Helena Moreno.

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