Dec 222016
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise shares a holiday smile. (photo by Danae Columbus for

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise shares a holiday smile. (photo by Danae Columbus for

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise took his own victory tour this week when area Republicans came to honor him as their Man of the Year. An early supporter of President-elect Donald Trump and nationally recognized as a conservative leader, Scalise will have Trump’s ear and the ability to shape legislation to benefit Louisiana. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Steve Scalise basks in Republicans’ prospects for the New Year
Sep 212016
Author Ethan Brown answers questions after reading from his new book, "Murder in the Bayou," on Wednesday evening at Octavia Books. (Robert Morris,

Author Ethan Brown answers questions after reading from his new book, “Murder in the Bayou,” on Wednesday evening at Octavia Books. (Robert Morris,

When journalist Ethan Brown began researching the interconnected, unsolved slayings of eight women in rural Louisiana for what would become his new book, “Murder in the Bayou,” he knew he had immersed himself in a chronicle of the abuse of police power and easily discarded lives.

What Brown didn’t know until much later, however, was that a central location in those women’s lives and deaths would lead him straight to a well-known employee of U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, in a connection that is now drawing more attention than the unsolved murders themselves.

“That was a really surprising moment, to say the least,” Brown said. “I never imagined it would be someone who works for a Congressman.” Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Will connections to Congressman help or hinder investigations into sex workers’ deaths?
Jul 172016
U.S. Senate candidate Caroline Fayard speaks at a rally at Urban South Brewing on Tchoupitoulas Street on Saturday. (Robert Morris,

U.S. Senate candidate Caroline Fayard speaks at a rally at Urban South Brewing on Tchoupitoulas Street on Saturday. (Robert Morris,

In the competitive race for the U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by David Vitter, attorney Caroline Fayard sought to distinguish herself in a New Orleans campaign stop Saturday by focusing on two themes that have played a role in this year’s Democratic Presidential primary — reducing the burden of student debt to spur small-business creation, and promoting equal pay for women. Continue reading »

Jun 022016
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Dozens of heavy hitters from throughout metro New Orleans arrived at the Windsor Court Tuesday night to greet Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell who, according to a poll released yesterday, is the leading Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by David Vitter.

The fundraiser was hosted by Gov. John Bel Edwards whom Campbell endorsed early on and raised significant dollars for last year. Fans of the governor will automatically like Campbell because of his common sense, straight-talking approach. Continue reading »

May 232016
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Long ago, the law respecting the idea of sanctuary was embedded in British common law. Fugitives would be immune from arrest in sacred places, such as places of worship. You’ve probably seen a movie where some neer-do-well runs into a church with police on his heels and yells “sanctuary,” as though he’s discovered some trump card against getting caught.

However, sanctuary wasn’t quite the unequivocal boon to absconding felons as it would first appear. If he made it inside a church, the fugitive would then have 40 days to surrender to secular authorities or confess their crimes and be subject to forfeiture of their worldly possessions and permanent exile, i.e., “abjure the realm.” Continue reading »

May 042015

Owen Courreges

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a fan of urban planning. The idea of some committee micromanaging what structure should go where, what uses should be permitted, what time we should be having our bowel movements (ok, perhaps they don’t go that far), has always unnerved me.

A die-hard planner looks at a map of New Orleans and they don’t see an established city chock-full of independent decision-makers. Instead, they see an interactive game that they can manipulate and control. They see “Sim City.”

Exhibit “A” for this is Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), who decided to put her foot in her mouth while giving a speech before the House while arguing against an amendment to block funding for an Obama Administration Flood Risk Management Executive Order. Continue reading »

Apr 302015

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Sunday, May 3, should be a pretty good 54th birthday for U.S. Senator David Vitter, the clear frontrunner in the Louisiana’s governor’s race. Vitter has raised $1.1 million in the most recent campaign finance period which ended earlier this week and still has $4.2 million on hand, more than the other three major candidates combined. That total does not include Vitter’s SuperPac which is also sitting on millions.

While money does not always dictate the outcome of campaigns, it certainly makes it easier to spread a candidate’s message through television, direct mail, phone banks, election day activities and all those other indicators of a truly successful campaign. Continue reading »

Mar 192015

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

New Orleans streetcars are our version of light rail transit, and they have made living in the city’s core more attractive.

We know of a one-car family on Carrollton Avenue. The wife uses the SUV to ferry the three kids back and forth and handle the other daily necessities of life. The man of the house only needs to look as far as his neighborhood streetcar to give him access to downtown New Orleans. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Allan Katz and Danae Columbus: Streetcar projects off track in some cities across America  Tagged with:
Jan 102015
Same-sex marriage supporters began lining up outside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals before dawn on Friday to secure a seat in the courtroom. (Robert Morris,

Same-sex marriage supporters began lining up outside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals before dawn on Friday to secure a seat in the courtroom. (Robert Morris,

As expected, the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals made no decision on same-sex marriage in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi after hearing arguments Friday morning from attorneys on both sides of the issue in each state. Likewise, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to reveal whether it will take issue up in its spring session, which would supercede any decision by the appeals court.

But the three 5th Circuit judges — Judge Jerry E. Smith and Patrick Higginbotham, two appointees of President Ronald Reagan, and Judge James Graves, appointed by President Barack Obama — did each seem to focus on different issues in their questions during Friday’s hearings, shedding some light on which issues they felt needed more elucidation. Continue reading »

Dec 182014

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

A recent WSJ/NBC News poll pointed out that the majority of voters were pleased with the results of this year’s midterm elections and thought the Congress — rather than President Obama — should take the lead in setting policy for the country.  Though an overwhelming majority felt that not much change in direction for the country will result from the election, the numbers are a good starting point for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, 61, as he aims to clear the field in advance of a brutal campaign against Hillary Clinton.

Although there are other GOP candidates worthy of voter consideration (including Mitt Romney and Chris Christie), Bush — with his “Double B” presidential pedigree and easy access to donors — is the early favorite, ramping up pressure on potential rivals and reshuffling the GOP’s policy debate. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Allan Katz and Danae Columbus: Is Jeb Bush conservative enough for today’s Republicans?
Dec 082014

Owen Courreges

It’s a catchy title: “91%.” However, it stands for something far less significant.

Local documentary filmmaker John Richie has certainly adopted a theme. His previous effort, “Shell Shocked,” aimed to portray the gritty reality of youth gun violence in New Orleans. He now plans to follow up that film with “91%,” which is being pitched as “a film about gun background checks and the people whose lives they impact.” Continue reading »

Dec 042014

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Excitement was definitely in the air at the Windsor Court Monday night as 150 well-heeled donors patiently waited for an intimate concert by the great Stevie Wonder to begin.  Attorney Tim Francis convinced Wonder, his old boss, to perform at the big ticket fundraiser for Mary Landrieu and served as master of ceremonies. Wonder told the crowd he and Landrieu “shared the same values” and that’s why he came. Continue reading »

Nov 152014

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Like other remaining Democratic candidates around the country, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu knows she must increase her support among black and white females to emerge victorious on Dec. 6. That’s why Norma Jane Sabiston, Kristin Palmer, Angele Wilson and others are again reaching out to 5,000 key women supporters statewide to build Mary’s Army, highly committed grassroots warriors who will knock doors and work phones non-stop for the next three weeks. Armed with pink t-shirts and lists of likely voters, these women clearly understand the campaign’s success rests largely on their ability to persuade voters one person at a time. Not only does the Landrieu camp need to turn out a larger number of African-American voters, they also need to convince white voters to switch from Cassidy. Continue reading »

Oct 092014

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

For Democratic candidates in Deep South and Border States, carrying President Barack Obama on their backs is a bone-breaking load that may very well end their political careers.

There is no better example of that than the multi-talented U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu who has every right to feel exhausted from carrying the weight of the unpopular President every day, every hour and every minute. But Landrieu isn’t alone. In Arkansas, U.S. Senator Mark Pryor is also staggering under the Obama load. And, in a border state like Kentucky, Democratic challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes would surely defeat Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell if it were not for the Obama load that threatens to sink her in a race so close that the winning margin may well be one percent or less. In Mississippi, Democrat Travis Childers is so far behind Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran that the race could well be considered over and settled. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Allan Katz and Danae Columbus: Mary Landrieu is staggering under the weight of President Obama
Jun 192014

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

As readers are well aware, the Tea Party is a growing anti-big government movement that seeks to change American politics by often promising to get government out of the lives of citizens – as if that is even remotely possible. Most people of our generation began their voting lives as Democrats.  We understand that when people get a little older, more successful and sometimes more conservative, they might transition from being moderate Democrats to Republicans.

That’s fine. But right-leaning Tea Party Republicans are as out-of-step with middle America as the left-leaning fringes of the Democratic party. And they certainly won’t help the Republican party attract the ever-growing number of  Hispanic, Asian and African-American voters they must have to win another presidential election.  As the voting majority nationally because more non-white each year, both parties are scrambling to embrace those voters. Continue reading »