Apr 132017
 

Frank Scurlock (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Wealthy entrepreneur and world traveler Frank Scurlock, who recently submitted one of the failed bids to redevelop the Six Flags site, is a strong contender the most unconventional candidate to announce for mayor in this cycle. Some even call Scurlock “the Rodney Fertel” of 2017.

Fertel was the husband of the late restaurateur Ruth Fertel who founded the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse chain. He ran for mayor in 1969 with one campaign promise — to acquire a pair of gorillas for the Audubon Zoo. Fertel became known as the “The Gorilla Man” and was memorialized in the book The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steakby his son philanthropist Randy Fertel. Continue reading »

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Apr 072017
 

The building at 3200 South Carrollton Avenue was approved for demolition this week. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A former South Carrollton Avenue service station with a long distinctive overhang was approved for demolition this week, and the new owners plan to replace it with either a sports bar or a drive-through coffee shop. Continue reading »

Apr 072017
 

Derrick Edwards and his mother Madeline at the New Orleans Coalition 50th Anniversary earlier this week. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

There are few obstacles Derrick Edwards won’t tackle. A former John F. Kennedy High School football star paralyzed from the neck down in a 1989 catastrophic injury, Edwards is undaunted by a crowded field of moneyed Republicans seeking to become Louisiana’s next state treasurer. He is a Democrat and resides on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish. Continue reading »

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Apr 052017
 

Dwight Norton, mobility coordinator for the City of New Orleans, demonstrates a social bicycle at the Peoples Health Jazz Market on Wednesday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Six neighborhoods will be included in the launch of the bike-sharing program. (map via City of New Orleans)

When the city of New Orleans rolls out 70 high-tech bike-rental stations through six neighborhoods later this year, the Central City-Lower Garden District area is expected to receive about a dozen of them, participants in a planning workshop Wednesday night learned. Continue reading »

Apr 032017
 

Latoya Cantrell (via her campaign website)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell has formally embarked upon her campaign for mayor of New Orleans, her website now confirms, which will leave her District B seat open. Continue reading »

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Mar 302017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Although the race to replace now U.S. Senator John Kennedy as State Treasurer is just shaping up, two powerful women – both Republicans – have already emerged as candidates in what will be a big money race: Kenner State Rep. Julie Stokes and former Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis, wife of 19th Judicial District Judge Tim Kelley. Continue reading »

Mar 272017
 

Paula Brown won election to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and a close race for Civil District Court between Suzy Montero and Rachael Johnson will require a runoff in an election Saturday that drew barely 10 percent of registered voters in New Orleans. Continue reading »

Mar 272017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

It was reported this week that New Orleans hit a milestone: In 2016, for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that New Orleans suffered a deficit in terms of domestic migration. Put more simply, this means that more people moved out of the city to other parts of the United States than the reverse.

Meanwhile, another story reported that New Orleans hosted a record-breaking 10.45 million visitors in 2016, more than any year since before Hurricane Katrina. Those visitors also spent more than ever before – a whopping $7.41 billion dollars, to be precise. Continue reading »

Mar 242017
 

Verret’s Lounge at 1738 Washington Avenue, photographed in April 2016 (via Google)

Joanne Close, shown in her presentation to the Alcohol Control Board last month, wants to buy Verret’s Lounge from its current owner. (via City of New Orleans)

Verret’s Lounge on Washington Avenue may be in line for a new proprietor with a new wine-oriented focus, but first its owners are asking the city to release the establishment from a requirement for a security guard put in place after a man was fatally shot inside the bar last year. Continue reading »

Mar 232017
 

Brian Trascher (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Early next week New Orleans based Republican lobbyist Brian Trascher will be escorting CEO Ed Carlson of Odyssey House New Orleans to meet with former Georgia Congressman Tom Price, now Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Donald Trump. “It will be my first meeting with a cabinet member,” said Trascher proudly.

Trascher meet Trump and his attorney in 2011 in New Orleans and offered to help if Trump ever ran for president. When Trascher received the call, he jumped onboard to play an important role in Louisiana and around the country. Trascher says he knew Trump was going to win about a week before the election when he saw the change in direction of highly targeted phone banks he was supervising in other states. Continue reading »

Mar 222017
 

City Councilwoman Stacy Head

By Stacy Head, President, New Orleans City Council

The reason you, the voter, elect a City Council is to serve as a watchdog over the municipal budget. That is our primary function, and while our daily lives can be consumed with issues like public safety, quality jobs and working schools, most assume that government will act to promote and protect the public interest.

But when politics is concerned, this public interest can often be glossed over. That is why it is important that you hold your council members accountable and question why you are being asked to pay fines, fees and taxes without proper examination.

A prime example of this is on our agenda this week and grew out of the recent consideration of the often complicated, and always lucrative, utility contracts, which are awarded by the council for $6 million-a-year for a lengthy time period. For decades, these contracts have been awarded to out-of-state firms who have maintained strong political ties to local political organizations. Continue reading »

Mar 162017
 

NOPD Deputy Superintendent Paul Noel speaks as City Councilwoman Susan Guidry looks on Thursday night at a forum on crime at a town hall in Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Neighborhood leaders were troubled last year when the New Orleans Police Department reassigned all its quality-of-life officers to bolster the ranks of patrolmen on the streets, and on Thursday night took advantage of a town-hall meeting on crime with top NOPD officials to request their return. Continue reading »