Dec 132018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

District 1 Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta and former District 3 Congressman Charles Boustany – both Republicans – are said to be considering the 2019 race for governor against Governor John Bel Edwards. Two other Republican candidates have already announced – Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone and District 5 Congressman Ralph Abraham, a physician and former veterinarian. Continue reading »

Dec 092018
 

(Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com archive)

The Touro-Bouligny Security District received overwhelming support Saturday, when 91 percent of voters within the security district pressed “yes” to continue the paying the additional millage for the next eight years.

The ballot containing two runoff contests and a city referendum drew only about 14 percent of voters citywide, but 21 percent of voters in the 10 precincts making up the Touro-Bouligny Security District showed up to vote, despite the rain. Of those voters, 385 chose to continue the additional property tax and 37 wanted to end it.

Continue reading »

Nov 292018
 

Omar K. Mason, Candidate for Civil District Court Judge

Voting for a judicial candidate is difficult. Often, the issues surrounding the bench aren’t as polarizing or pervasive as those found in other elections. Nevertheless, every six years, the citizens in New Orleans are faced with a critical question: who deserves to be elected judge of Civil District Court?

To that end, New Orleanians must elect a judicial candidate that is smart, compassionate, and above all experienced, because judgeships aren’t simply about the person seeking the bench; rather, judicial elections are about identifying a person prepared to use their legal acumen in the service of the public at large. Judgeships are about everyday people finding remedy to their disputes and being made whole in their times of need. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Candidate’s Message from Omar K. Mason: Experience Matters
Nov 292018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

As President Trump and Melania travel today to the G-20 Summit in Argentina and a one-on-one meeting with Putin, he will be plotting how to stay close to his imaginary friends like Saudi Arabia and Paul Manafort and continue to create havoc for his current perceived enemies including humiliated Detroit automakers, thousands of poor immigrants crowded at the Mexican border, and the Chinese who are blamed with repeatedly stealing American technology and intellectual property. In the meantime business leaders nationwide and in New Orleans have been calling for an end to the trade wars and stability of interest rates which had affected the markets.

Closely watching all these developments is Louisiana’s freshman U.S. Senator John Kennedy who is primed to announce his candidacy for Governor against John Bel Edwards. Yesterday evening respected pollster Bernie Pinsonat refused to reveal the specifics of his new poll on the race, which will be released today. Reading between the lines, it’s easy to assume that Kennedy is extremely popular with urban and rural voters which will make him a tough competitor for the Deep South’s only Democratic governor. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: How will President Trump’s politics play in Louisiana governor’s race?
Nov 122018
 

Richard Perque in a photo released on social media after Tuesday’s election. (via Facebook)

Attorney Richard Perque has made no endorsement in the runoff between Omar Mason and Marie Williams after his close third-place finish in the election for judge of Civil District Court Division E. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Richard Perque: No endorsement in judicial runoff between Omar Mason and Marie Williams
Nov 092018
 

Congressman Steve Scalise and son, Harrison, hunt ducks on the bayou. (via Steve Scalise on Twitter)

The raison d’être of the Louisiana sportsman may be hunting and fishing, but after the hunt, placing fire under the game or haul is just as crucial. Recently re-elected U.S. Representative Steve Scalise, like most born to New Orleans, melds the two seamlessly.

He’s also not above sharing a cooking tip along the way: “My favorite recipe for venison involves taking the backstrap (tenderloin), marinating it with a little Worcestershire sauce, then wrapping it in bacon and throwing it on the grill.” The congressional leader deems the end result as pretty darn good too.

“I first started hunting with my dad. He used to take me deer hunting every fall at a friend’s camp in Georgia. We would drive up together every year, just he and I, and it was a great way to bond with him. We came home with a big ice chest full of venison. I fell in love with it,” said Scalise. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Kristine Froeba: Steve Scalise on duck hunting, grilled backstrap, and days at the camp
Nov 082018
 

Chelsey Richard Napoleon (second from left) poses for a photo with her daughter, mother and grandmother after filing her election paperwork on July 18, 2018. ( UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The impact of women marching to victory across America are played out in Louisiana where three women either won their races or are headed into runoffs. Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup, a lawyer, accountant and minister from East Feliciana Parish who only raised $3000 and rarely campaigned in New Orleans, stunned the state’s political establishment by running a strong second for Secretary of State in a crowded field. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Women score upsets in Louisiana races
Oct 312018
 

A Message from Clerk of Civil District Court Chelsey Richard Napoleon:

My parents taught me the importance of strong work ethic, academic achievement and service to the community. I now employ those lessons in working every day with our staff and citizens of this great city to ensure that they have access to justice at the Clerk of Civil District Court’s Office.

I graduated from Ben Franklin High School and UNO, earning my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Political Science and Loyola University College where I received my Law Degree.

I have served you in the Clerk’s Office for over 16 years, serving as Chief Deputy and now as your Clerk of Civil District Court. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Candidate’s Message from Clerk of Civil District Court Chelsey Richard Napoleon
Oct 312018
 

Omar K. Mason, Candidate for Civil District Court Judge

Every six years, the citizens in New Orleans are faced with a critical question – who deserves to be elected judge of Civil District Court? Unfortunately, due to the untimely death of Judge Clare Jupiter, the voters of Orleans Parish must answer this important question earlier than expected. As the legal community mourns the passing of a terrific colleague, friend, and judge, the citizens of Orleans Parish are reminded of the significance of who will be granted the opportunity to serve our community for the remaining two years of Judge Jupiter’s term.

Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Candidate’s Message from Omar K. Mason: New Orleans Deserves Experience On The Bench
Oct 292018
 

Dear New Orleans Voters,

My name is Austin Badon and I am running to be your next First City Clerk of Court. The reasons why are fairly simple: I love helping people, I am willing to work hard to improve our community, and I firmly believe your family and mine should have access to the justice system in a manner that is efficient, cost-effective and easy.

The Clerk of First City Court is an administrative position, and most of you know this office as the door to the “people’s court” or First City Court where four Judges you elect hear small business and personal claims.

When this office is run right, our city works better. When our basic disagreements as citizens are resolved quickly, there is no need for “street justice”. Quite simply, we’re all safer. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Candidate’s Message from Austin Badon: Providing Efficient, Cost-Effective and Easy Access to Justice for All
Oct 262018
 

From left: Will Snowden, Mithun Kamath, Norris Henderson, and Aaron Ahlquist discuss Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury law and the amendment that would change it.

Twelve men, one room, and a murder charge.

“It has to be twelve to nothing, either way. That’s the law.”

Sidney Lumet’s “12 Angry Men” is one of the most respected films centered around the criminal justice system. But the overall plot, where members of a 12-man jury must agree on a verdict that could send a teenager to the electric chair, could never occur in the state of Louisiana under state law.

Louisiana does not require unanimous jury verdicts in felony trials, instead allowing 10-2 verdicts to send the accused to prison for life. The abnormal verdict law stems from nearly 130 years ago, when delegates at an overtly racist convention ratified the state constitution to allow for non-unanimous juries. Norris Henderson, state director of the Unanimous Jury Coalition, explained the laws’ history during an intimate panel hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans.

Continue reading »

 Comments Off on As non-unanimous jury amendment vote nears, the fate of 12-member juries loom
Oct 112018
 

Martha Lemoine talks about the US Constitution to students of the Nancy Marsiglia Institute. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

In a fiery speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Gold Star father Khizr Khan talked about falling in love with the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. A Pakistani immigrant whose son Army Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq in 2004, Khan offered to lend Donald Trump his copy so Trump could look up the words “liberty” and “equal protection under the law.”

New Orleans civic activist Madalyn Schenk was inspired by Khan’s speech and decided to form a different kind of book club – one that exclusively studied the Constitution and accompanying documents. That “constitution club” has now grown into the Nancy Marsiglia Institute, a 12-week cooperative program between Loyola University Law School and the United Way of Southeast Louisiana. The late philanthropist Nancy Marsiglia was the first person Schenk approached to participate. Soon other women including Councilmember Helena Moreno, Patty Riddlebarger, Ruth Kullman and United Way COO Charmaine Caccioppi joined in. Constitution expert Martha Lemoine Palmer, a mentor teacher and national judge for the Center for Civic Education’s We the People project, agreed to lead the class. Loyola Law School Dean Madeleine Landrieu – then Appeals Court Judge – bestowed the first graduation certificates. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Nancy Marsiglia Institute promotes knowledge of U.S. Constitution, civil discourse
Sep 272018
 

Volunteers with the New Leaders Council assist with voter registration at an event for the Unanimous Jury Coalition at Urban South Brewery on Tuesday, Sept. 25. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The statewide effort to create a constitutional amendment requiring a unanimous jury vote for a conviction came to Uptown New Orleans this week, registering voters and rallying supporters for the Nov. 6 ballot question. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Campaign to require unanimous jury verdicts comes to Uptown with voter-registration effort
Sep 272018
 

State Rep.s Julie Stokes and Rick Edmonds, both candidates for Secretary of State, pose for a photo at the Greater New Orleans Republicans endorsement meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 26. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Preaching in a staccato, firebrand rhetoric on numerous conservative sacred-cow issues, Baton Rouge State Rep. Rick Edmonds was heartily endorsed last night by the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee and the Greater New Orleans Republicans in the Nov. 6 race for Secretary of State, beating out better-known names locally such as Kenner State Rep. Julie Stokes, former State Sen. A.G. Crowe, and current Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Baton Rouge lawmaker woos Orleans Republicans in Secretary of State’s race
Sep 242018
 

Top row: Lee Ann Dugas and Jim Francis (candidate Facebook photos). Bottom row: Tammy Savoie and Steve Scalise (Uptown Messenger file photos).

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise faced his three Democratic challengers on Monday night in the first and thus far only debate of the fall Congressional elections, defending President Trump’s controversial tariffs against their criticisms of lost Louisiana jobs and explaining his ongoing opposition to new gun laws even after being shot. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Scalise spars with Democratic challengers over Trump tariffs, gun laws (live coverage)