May 192017
 

After protests over the election of Donald J. Trump as President on Wednesday evening, a city employee begins pressure washing a “Black Power” slogan from the Robert E. Lee monument in New Orleans on Thursday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A monument supporter waves a flag with the Confederate battle emblem at the site of the Jefferson Davis monument in early May. (photo by S.L. Alexander for UptownMessenger.com)

By S.L. Alexander

We recently marked the 47th annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and although I’ve never skipped a year, I must admit I no longer have the stamina for more than one day’s attendance. But the weather this day (after two of the fest days being filled with thunderstorms) was unbelievably perfect–60s and 70s, gentle BabyCakes–er, zephyrs (it’s only the local baseball team has morphed names).

The 12 music stages included many types of music — jazz, Cajun, Dixieland, gospel, some country, some folk, a bit of rock — but the predominant genre, this being, after all, a New Orleans heritage festival, was the outgrowth of what is now called rhythm and blues, but back in the day even in New Orleans was referred to on the radio as “race music.” Walking back to the car at the end of the day, I noted with a chuckle the scores of bicycles chained to the fence underneath a sign clearly ordering NO BIKE PARKING, and I was feeling very happy and mellow when we got into the car parked on Jeff Davis Parkway. Heading back toward Uptown, my pleasant musings were abruptly interrupted by the sight of about a dozen protesters with giant Confederate flags, across the street from the Jefferson Davis monument, which was protected by a temporary chain link fence and eight NOPD squad cars filled with armed cops. My spirits plunged. I’ve been here nearly three decades, and the only Confederate flags I’ve ever seen in New Orleans before were at the Civil War (nee the Confederate) Museum. Continue reading »

May 182017
 

City council members Susan Guidry and Jared Brossett pose for a photo with Caroline Fayard at a rally for Fayard in 2016. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

It’s official! District D Councilmember Jared Brossett will run for re-election rather than entering the growing field for city council at-large.

“After much praying and introspection about what will best benefit the citizens of New Orleans, I decided to continue to serve in District D,” Brossett told a pack crowd of supporters last night at the Maison du Lac. “There is more work to be done. We have made great investments and by all coming together the city will continue to improve.” Continue reading »

May 152017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

We’re down to two. Of the four monuments hand-selected by Mayor Landrieu for removal, only two remain – those memorializing Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Pierre G. T. Beauregard.

If Landrieu remains true to form, he’ll leave Lee’s statute for last. It is the most prominent, the most controversial, and by far the most difficult to remove. The figure of Lee looming large over the city is a major fixture, and parting with it cuts deeply to many New Orleanians. Continue reading »

Apr 272017
 

Frank Luntz speaks to the Loyola University Institute of Politics on Thursday, April 27. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Why is Frank Luntz so darkly pessimistic about the future of American democracy?

“I’m afraid that this is the election cycle that kills our democracy,” the nationally known pollster and commentator said at Loyola University on Thursday night.

Luntz is so pessimistic because he is paid to listen to people, and what he hears is an America that has become completely unable to listen to one another. Continue reading »

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Apr 272017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The new tax reform plan introduced yesterday by Trump officials was painted with a very broad brush and appears to predominately benefit the wealthy. Though touted to create economic growth, it may in fact create serious implications for working class citizens who could lose their state and local tax deductions. It is especially short on details and how the plan will be paid for. Continue reading »

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Apr 202017
 

Eric Johnson

Dr. Eric Johnson, a native New Orleanian who started a career in urban development as an aide to City Councilman Jim Singleton and has since worked in major cities around the country, made a formal announcement Thursday of his candidacy for the District B seat on the City Council that will be vacated by LaToya Cantrell’s run for mayor. Continue reading »

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Apr 202017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Yesterday’s announcement by Gambit that Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet will resign her position on Friday and is likely to enter the race for mayor signals how hot this contest will become. Charbonnet was elected citywide three times and is a charismatic candidate who will attract female and African-American voters, especially those from the Creole neighborhoods. Continue reading »

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Apr 132017
 

Timothy David Ray (via timothydavidray.com)

With City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell now officially in the race for mayor of New Orleans, the contenders for her open District B seat are beginning to line up, with political consultant Timothy David Ray the latest name to join the race. Continue reading »

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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 102017
 

Le Krewe d’Etat lampooned Sidney Torres IV on Napoleon Avenue on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Do you smell that in the air? If it reeks of a festering mound of equine excrement, it’s a safe bet that you’re either ankle deep in the leavings of a police horse, or the mayoral race is ramping up. Continue reading »

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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 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 »

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Mar 162017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

In an era when women are overwhelmingly winning judicial elections, can a man still be elected judge in Orleans Parish? Martin Landrieu certainly hopes so. The brother of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and retiring Division F Appeals Court Judge Madeleine whom he would like to replace, Landrieu is optimistic that voters will support him based on his qualifications. “Everyone stands on his or her own,” Landrieu said. Continue reading »

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Mar 102017
 

Helena Moreno (via morenocampaign.com)

State Rep. Helena Moreno announced a bid for the open at-large seat on the City Council in an event that framed her as a crusader for truth as a journalist and justice as a state lawmaker, but also gave the first glimpse into the issues that may dominate the race for control of city government this year.

Continue reading »

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Mar 092017
 

State Sen. J.P. Morrell (left) and state Reps. Helena Moreno and Walt Leger hold a legislative briefing for constituents in May 2015. All three are considered viable contenders for major city offices this year. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The New Orleans City Council is entering a transition phase as popular term-limited At-Large City Councilmember Stacy Head prepares to leave office and fresh new faces like State Representative Helena Moreno and others prepare to run for the City Council.

While Head reviews her bucket list of initiatives she still wants to accomplish or shore up during her remaining thirteen months in office, Moreno is holding a news conference tonight where she is expected to announce this evening that she will seek one of the two councilmember-at-large seats. With qualifying just four months away, other candidates are beginning to make similar announcements. Continue reading »

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