Mar 312016
 
Women officials at the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee meeting (from left): Nadine Ramsey and Deborah Langhoff, Susan Guidry and Kristen Gisleson Palmer, Angele Wilson and Caroline Fayard. (photos by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Women officials at the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee meeting (from left): Nadine Ramsey and Deborah Langhoff, Susan Guidry and Kristen Gisleson Palmer, Angele Wilson and Caroline Fayard. (photos by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Based on the past week’s nasty exchange between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz about their respective wives, do the Republican presidential candidates really think of women as “objects to ogle or protect” as a New York Times columnist suggested? Or do the GOP contenders recognize female voters to be the savvy constituency that will decide the outcome of this year’s presidential race? Continue reading »

Mar 292016
 
James Carville and Mary Matalin (via Loyola University)

James Carville and Mary Matalin (via Loyola University)

Political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin will discuss bizarre drama of the 2016 Presidential election in a forum Wednesday night moderated by Gambit publisher Clancy DuBos and hosted by the Loyola University Institute of Politics. Continue reading »

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Mar 252016
 
Former Gov. Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party. (image via change.org petition for their inclusion in CNN forums)

Former Gov. Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party. (image via change.org petition for their inclusion in CNN forums)

As the Republicans and Democrats each move toward nominating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, two candidates with the highest unfavorable ratings among general-election voters in decades, local activists in the national Green and Libertarian parties see opportunities this year — if they can get their own message out to the public. Continue reading »

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Mar 242016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

OPSB Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis sent a letter to central office staff this week who were not eliminated in the first round of staff changes last summer advising them that more cuts were on the way but that they could apply for jobs remaining, if they were qualified. Even the current principals were told that their re-employment was not certain. Staff members are bracing for these inevitable changes, which will likely occur during the summer months. Continue reading »

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Mar 032016
 
U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, left, speaks at the Katrina 10 commemoration on Aug. 29, and state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson rides in the Krewe of Femme Fatale during Mardi Gras 2016. (Richmond photo by Zach Brien of UptownMessenger.com, Peterson photo by Robert Morris of UptownMessenger.com)

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, left, speaks at the Katrina 10 commemoration on Aug. 29, and state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson rides in the Krewe of Femme Fatale during Mardi Gras 2016. (Richmond photo by Zach Brien of UptownMessenger.com, Peterson photo by Robert Morris of UptownMessenger.com)

Top row: Gov. John Bel Edwards and Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell; bottom row: Shane Riddle and Arlanda J. Williams. (sources: Office of the Governor, Orleans Clerk of Court, Louisiana Association of Educators, Terrebonne Parish government)

Top row: Gov. John Bel Edwards and Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell; bottom row: Shane Riddle and Arlanda J. Williams. (sources: Office of the Governor, Orleans Clerk of Court, Louisiana Association of Educators, Terrebonne Parish government)

As Saturday’s Democratic primary approaches, the majority of Louisiana’s superdelegates have already committed to cast their ballots for former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, based on interviews conducted this week. Continue reading »

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Mar 032016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

The recent announcement that former state senator and current chairman of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, Foster Campbell, has thrown his hat into the U.S. Senate competition is just another sign that Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana’s Democratic Party are preparing to aggressively compete against the state’s Republican Party in every race. Continue reading »

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Feb 252016
 
Ohio Gov. John Kasich meets with Louisiana voters at a town hall in Metairie. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich meets with Louisiana voters at a town hall in Metairie. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

It was almost comforting listening to presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich yesterday at a Metairie forum attended by almost 200 people. There was no bombast oratory, no inflammatory swipes at the other candidates, no threats of hell and damnation. Instead, attendees heard a sincere, even-keeled centrist who had some pretty good ideas about how to fix many of America’s problems. Continue reading »

Feb 182016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

In the summer of 1987, Felicia Kahn offered several younger activists a ride to the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta to campaign against the reelection of George H.W. Bush. She wanted to ensure these younger women understood their voices were necessary to help bring change. Almost 30 years later Kahn is still speaking out – this time to support the presidential candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Hillary has earned the votes of women,” Kahn said. Continue reading »

Feb 042016
 
Sarah Slamen works at the Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters. (Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Sarah Slamen works at the Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters. (Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

With Tuesday’s surprising Iowa caucus results and attention now turning to New Hampshire, New Orleans voters are beginning to focus on Louisiana’s March 5th presidential primary. Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have made fundraising stops in the region. Sen. Bernie Sanders has opened a campaign headquarters in Metairie. While Congressman Cedric Richmond and state Democratic Party chair Karen Carter Peterson are currently leading Hillary Clinton’s outreach efforts, Louisiana chairs have been named for Trump, Rubio and Kasich. Continue reading »

Jan 212016
 

Whether we live Uptown, in Uruguay or Uzbekistan, we are all impacted by oil and the global economy. Though many sectors of New Orleans economy like real estate and technology are prospering, the war in the Middle East and its related immigration crisis, China’s economic slowdown, the broad impact of the continuing drop in oil prices coupled with new state and local taxes on the horizon could squeeze many lower and middle class New Orleanians in 2016. Continue reading »

Jan 192016
 

Walt Leger

Walt Leger

State Rep. Neil Abramson

Neil Abramson

A Democratic lawmaker’s vote for a Republican as Speaker of the state House of Representatives — over a fellow Democrat in the adjacent New Orleans district — has led to a running controversy in the state’s political press and a nascent recall effort on social media. Continue reading »

Jan 142016
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

As Baton Rouge area residents listen President Obama’s remarks on Medicaid expansion today, we can’t help but think how strange our politics are getting. Governor Jon Bel Edwards can’t get his choice for speaker elected but at least St. Rep Walt Leger gets the consolation prize of Pro Tem. The next day Governor Edwards signs an Executive Order expanding Medicaid for a couple hundred thousand Louisiana residents who cannot afford health insurance, which made the President want to visit here this week. Who else noticed that Congressman Cedric Richmond was with the President on Air Force One? Continue reading »

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Dec 172015
 
New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu celebrates his re-election with supporters on Feb. 2, 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu celebrates his re-election with supporters on Feb. 2, 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

A former member of the New Orleans City Council, a high ranking NOPD officer and several uptown residents are among those who have told us that they were polled last weekend regarding Mayor Landrieu’s favorabilty and a possible third term campaign. Based on poll results, which have not been released, could Landrieu test the “3T” waters after the City Council’s expected vote today to remove several monuments? Continue reading »

Dec 072015
 

Gloria Steinem speaks at the Jewish Community Center on Sunday. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Gloria Steinem speaks at the Jewish Community Center on Sunday. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

While most of Gloria Steinem’s discussion on Sunday focused on broad issues of society and justice, the feminist author dived straight into current events when one questioner asked her about the Presidential election — mocking Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in a sarcastic monologue and expressing a touch of apprehension at the struggles ahead for Hillary Clinton. Continue reading »

Nov 042015
 
Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards descends from the stage at a political forum in September. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Danae Columbus)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards descends from the stage at a political forum in September. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Danae Columbus)

After his easy re-election to the United States Senate in 2010, it might have been reasonable to think that David Vitter had put his seriously sinful past behind him, from a political point of view.

But questions about his dalliance with prostitution prominently and somewhat surprisingly re-emerged in the governor’s race in September — long before videos starring his alleged former paramour — at a forum held by the Orleans chapter of the Alliance for Good Government. The moderator that night asked a seemingly innocuous question, whether the candidates had ever violated Louisiana criminal law, and Vitter refused to answer what he decried as a “gotcha” question.

This week, Vitter apparently hoped to avoid a repeat of that embarrassment, as both he and his staff refrained from attending the Alliance’s forums on the runoff Tuesday evening. Their endorsement went instead to John Bel Edwards, who was represented by state Rep. Walt Leger of New Orleans. Continue reading »

Oct 222015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

What has happened to our candidates in Louisiana and the U.S.? In the old days, qualifying for public office was a sacred vow people took (men only for so many years) when they put themselves on the line for the public good.

Unfortunately, in our modern election cycle we have candidates who have no qualms lying about where they live, whether their taxes are properly filed and paid, and what their sexual habits might be. More than a few elected officials also commit crimes while in office and end up in jail. Continue reading »

Oct 082015
 
The Prevost sisters pose with Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell after qualifying to run for office. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

The Prevost sisters, Markeita and MissKeith, pose with Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell after qualifying to run for office. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We’re focusing on women voters this week because there are more of them, they vote more frequently than men, and they value issues differently. Unfortunately, not as many seek elected office and are often unprepared financially for the demands of the election process.

With early voting starting this Saturday, it’s time for all of us to really focus in on which candidates to vote for. Between the oversized influence of Super PAC spending, and the failure of some candidates to show up at forums (David Vitter, please note), it’s sometimes hard to know where the candidates stand on the issues. Continue reading »

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Sep 172015
 
A family photo taken in Smyrna prior to the 1922 evacuation. (courtesy of Danae Columbus)

A family photo taken in Smyrna prior to the 1922 evacuation. (courtesy of Danae Columbus)

Ninety-three years ago this week in an historical event known as the “Catastrophe of Smyrna,” several hundred thousand Greek and Armenian refugees were driven from their historic homes. Smyrna, now Izmir, was an idyllic, multi-cultural gem city on the Turkish Aegean where Muslims and Christians had lived side by side for thousands of years. Mustafa Kemal’s loyalists deliberately set a massive fire in an effort to facilitate the Christians’ departure and create a Muslim stronghold which still exists today. Jewish and Muslim homes and businesses were left untouched. Continue reading »

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Sep 102015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

If the response at last week’s gubernatorial forum sponsored by GNO Inc. and its two sister organizations is any indication, Louisiana might not get anyone “better” than David Vitter as our next governor. The “Louisiana Can Do Better Than David Vitter” mantra from the new anti-Vitter PAC probably won’t resonate with enough voters to make a difference, since and other anti-Vitter groups haven’t uncovered any new sins or identify a candidate the majority of voters can better relate to. Continue reading »