Feb 272020
 

Coronavirus (via www.cdc.gov)

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

I am not a naysaying fatalist or someone who rushes to conclusions early. But last night I went to my neighborhood grocery store and picked up 10 cases of bottled water and placed it next to the five cases I bought the other day. I intend to get another 10 cases this weekend and begin stocking up on canned fruits and vegetables too.  And antiseptic cleaning supplies and cough medicine. Am I opening a bodega? No, I am preparing for what could be life-as-unusual if the coronavirus really hits New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Feb 202020
 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell wishes Zulu spectators a happy Mardi Gras in 2019. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Although Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s job performance ratings took a hit from last year, according to a new poll, Cantrell still reigns supreme over all things News Orleans. The poll — taken earlier this month by Ed Chervenak’s Edgewater Research and Tony Liccardi’s My People Vote — provided a snapshot of the mayor’s favorability midway through her first term.  Results showed that Cantrell is less popular than either mayors Landrieu or Nagin were at this point in their administrations. Continue reading »

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Feb 132020
 

Firefighters enter a second-story unit in the 2300 block of St. Charles Avenue on Jan. 24 to search for potential victims. The Fire Department quickly got the blaze under control and rescued two people, three dogs and a cat. (Dinah Rogers, Uptown Messenger)

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

It’s no secret that the New Orleans Fire Department has been understaffed and underfunded for far more than a decade. The city has consistently told firefighters that they should be good soldiers and wait their turn. But their turn has never come. Firefighters are asking — if not now, when? Continue reading »

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Feb 062020
 

Democrat Anne Milling and Walter Isaacson, registered as No Party, were among the dozens who attended the opening of presidential contender Mike Bloomberg’s headquarters in New Orleans earlier this week. (Danae Columbus)

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With a rocky Democratic presidential nomination competition currently underway, Democrats and other voters in New Orleans are giving serious consideration to former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a 77-year old self-made billionaire and declared presidential candidates who is not participating in the tumultuous early state primaries.

Bloomberg launched a multi-million dollar national advertising campaign and has opened up strategic headquarters around the country, including in New Orleans at 642 Julia St. where dozens of interested citizens turned up Tuesday night. Continue reading »

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Jan 162020
 

Jay Batt and Scott Shea celebrate Republican successes in 2017.  (Uptown Messenger file photo)

Not since Peggy Wilson was last elected as an at-large member of the New Orleans City Council in the mid 1990s has a New Orleans Republican won a citywide race. But that didn’t stop Republican lawyer Scott Shea from joining the crowded field of candidates for Judge, First City Court, Division B.

Shea himself served two years on the City Council and hails from a family of judges. His brother Mark currently serves on Traffic & Municipal Court. His father, former Municipal Court Judge John Shea, enjoyed an illustrious 30-year career on the bench. His late uncle Frank Shea was a no-nonsense Criminal District Court jurist. Continue reading »

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Jan 092020
 

Robbins Graham was the only candidate to qualify yesterday for First City Court.

A mixture of seasoned elected officials and political newcomers wanting to make a difference streamed into Criminal District Court yesterday, Jan. 8, to qualify for parish and state political committees and a lone judgeship in First City Court.

As expected, attorney Robbins Graham, who retired from the state’s Office of Family and Children’s Services earlier this week, became the first candidate to file for the open seat at First City Court. Graham had been planning for run for Civil District Court later this year but moved up his timetable when this vacancy suddenly occurred.

Graham might get an almost-free ride. No other major candidates have indicated they will seek the seat.  Continue reading »

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Jan 022020
 

Attorney Robbins Graham, right, with Matthew Willard, who will take the District 97 seat on the state House of Representatives on Jan. 13.  (via Facebook)

Though it might seem like our political season just ended, Louisiana’s campaigns are cranking up again next week with qualifying Jan. 8-10 for a vacant judgeship at First City Court and for dozens of seats on the Orleans Parish Democratic and Republican Parish Executive Committees and State Central Committees.

The First City Court vacancy is due to the recent untimely passing of Senior Judge Angelique Reed, 59, the first African-American to be elected to that court. Reed served with distinction for 21 years.

Attorney Robbins Graham, 61, a graduate of Southern University Law Center, told Uptown Messenger he was “seriously interested in qualifying.”  The Louisiana State Bar Association lists Graham as an attorney for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. A practicing attorney for more than 30 years, Graham attends the Beacon Light Baptist Church in Gentilly.

Continue reading »

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Dec 192019
 

The “Washington Avenue” float dominated by President Donald Trump rolls down St. Charles Avenue during the 2019 Knights of Chaos parade. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

In tonight’s Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles, the seven participating candidates probably won’t dwell on yesterday’s impeachment vote by the U.S. House of Representatives.  Though some – especially former Vice President Joe Biden – might strongly believe that President Trump abused his power, America’s voters are evenly split as to whether he should be removed from office.  Continue reading »

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Nov 192019
 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell, center, with her team on Saturday. (Danae Columbus)

Aaron Price, an Action New Orleans volunteer, campaigns on Saturday. (Danae Columbus)

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the political organization BOLD scored big in Saturday’s elections. Cantrell built a strong bond with Gov. John Bel Edwards more than a year ago when she sought his help on increasing New Orleans’ share of tax dollars generated here. She became an integral part of his campaign and his victory, which should yield generous dividends for New Orleans during the next four years.

Cantrell’s Action New Orleans team of more than 250 volunteers knocked on 70,000 doors, sent 3,500 text messages and made 50,000 calls in support of Gov. Edwards and Cantrell’s Ballot of Yes. They also assisted with two GOTV (get out the vote) rallies, including an election eve event that drew 5,000. Continue reading »

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Nov 172019
 

Orange precincts are those won by Aimee Adatto Freeman; purple are those won by Kea Sherman. The darker shade of each color represents precincts where the candidate won by 60 percent of the vote or more. (map by UptownMessenger.com)

Kea Sherman

Aimee Freeman

To cinch her victory in the District 98 runoff on Saturday, Aimee Adatto Freeman consolidated her base in the Audubon and university-area neighborhoods to sweep every precinct between Jefferson and Carrollton avenues. Continue reading »

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Nov 172019
 

Blue precincts are those won by Mandie Landry; green are those won by Robert McKnight. Darker shades of each color represent precincts where the candidate won by 60 percent of the vote or more. (map by UptownMessenger.com)

Robert McKnight

Mandie Landry

The October primary for the District 91 seat in the state House of Representatives was nearly a three-way tie in votes cast between Robert McKnight, Mandie Landry and third-place finisher Carling Dinkler.

To secure her victory in the runoff Saturday night, Landry picked up nearly every precinct where Dinkler had led — ultimately holding McKnight to the same number of precincts where he led in the primary. Continue reading »

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Nov 172019
 

Mandie Landry addresses supporters at Rendon Inn in Broadmoor after cementing her victory in the District 91 runoff on Saturday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Political newcomers Mandie Landry and Aimee Adatto Freeman will join newly re-elected Gov. John Bel Edwards in Baton Rouge next year, after each won competitive runoffs Saturday to represent Uptown New Orleans in the state House of Representatives.

Aimee Adatto Freeman (center) speaks to supporters at TitleStream on Maple Street on Saturday night shortly before her victory in District 98 is announced. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Continue reading »

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Nov 142019
 

Gov. John Bel Edwards met with New Orleans artists last night at Studio B. Edwards is flanked by motivational speaker Dr. Ansel Augustine, Kevin Griffin, Gizmo and Brandan “B-mike” Odums. (Danae Columbus)

Buoyed by a new Mason-Dixon poll that shows a path — albeit small — to victory, Gov. John Bel Edwards spent Wednesday evening talking with young African-American artists like Brandan Odums, Kevin “2-Cent “ Griffin and Tayla Hunter as part of his ongoing outreach to previously under-appreciated constituencies.

If Edwards is able to pull off what would be a Hail Mary victory on Saturday, he will have succeeded in three crucial areas: motivating minority voters who were unenthusiastic in the primary; reaching conservative voters who at one time supported former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu; and branding Republican opponent Eddie Rispone as too radical to be Louisiana’s next governor. Continue reading »

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Nov 072019
 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Gov. John Bel Edwards on Monday announce the Essence Festival’s contract extension to 2024. (Danae Columbus)

Mayor LaToya Cantrell is working harder than the candidates themselves in this election cycle. Just like an Energizer bunny, she won’t slow down because she has so much to lose. Cantrell is betting on a robust turnout among the African-American and millennial voters who first got her elected to pass her tax package and re-elect Gov. John Bel Edwards. Continue reading »

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Oct 312019
 

Kara Van de Carr and Daryl Byrd opened their Joseph St home last night for Aimee Freeman. Pictured with Aimee are Francis Fayard, Bob Tucker and her parents Be-Be and Ken Adatto. (Danae Columbus)

With early voting starting Saturday, New Orleans legislative candidates are pulling together the cash and people resources needed to fund last-minute mail and get-out-the-vote activities. At least five legislative candidates held fundraisers this week as well as soliciting donations through social media. Despite last night’s steady rain, several hundred donors were posing for photos and dropping off checks around town.  Continue reading »

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