New Orleans residents who are concerned that STRS (short term rentals) are destroying the fabric of their neighborhoods will probably pack the City Council Chambers next Tuesday when the City Planning Commission receives public comment as part of a study commissioned by Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell and the City Council to determine if any modifications are warranted to existing STR regulations. It goes without saying that numerous changes are expected to be recommended.
While a new national survey shows that a growing interest by young people in voting, younger New Orleanians – still don’t “get” the importance of going to the polls on Election Day based on the turnout in the March 2018 elections. According to the Louisiana Secretary of state, 255,378 New Orleanians were registered to vote on March 24, 2018, the date of our last elections. Only 34,406 (13.5%) actually took the time to vote that day when a new civil district court judge, an appeals court judge and a state representative were selected. Of those who did go to the polls, 7,090 (20.6%) were 18 to 44 years of age. That means 27,313 voters (a whopping 79.4%) were 45 or older. It is also sad to note that 86.5% of registered voters chose not to vote at all.
Although significant civil rights progress has occurred since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel 50 years ago this week, national and local church leaders – including Rev. Kevin U. Stephens, Sr., M.D., J.D., former director of the New Orleans Health Department and current pastor of Christian Unity Baptist Church – believe that much work remains unfinished.
‘I can see a tremendous difference in the lives of African-Americans here in New Orleans in the delivery of quality health care, better schools, higher paying jobs, and the election of African-American officials including mayors and members of the City Council,” said Stephens who became pastor at Christian Unity in 2017. Stephens says the struggle for equality and economic equity began with Cain and Abel – the first two sons of Adam and Eve – and will continue.
Entergy New Orleans has the City Council just where they want them – frequently playing catch up. While Entergy came into existence to provide gas and electric services to the ratepayers, they also have an obligation to maximize profits for their stockholders. The more Entergy controls costs, the better stockholders like it and citizens lose. Entergy is a major player in the community through their grant programs, their sponsorship of non-profit organizations and their frequent — and often behind the scenes — political maneuvering. Angering Entergy can have negative financial repercussions, as WBOK recently discovered.
CBD property owners and residents were more than surprised to learn that Mayor Landrieu’s administration withheld almost $800,000 from the budget of the Downtown Development District (DDD) from 2014 to 2016 to help satisfy the city’s pension obligations. The DDD would have applied the money to increase public safety, better address the homeless issue, or make other quality of life improvements as determined by their strategic plan.
Covington clinical psychologist Dr. Raphael Salcedo and his wife Beth don’t have much free time on their hands. They spend day and night working with girls at the state-licensed Free Indeed Home where victims of child sex trafficking come to rebuild their lives. As founders of the Louisiana Coalition Against Human Trafficking (LCAHT), the Salcedos created a state-wide advocacy program that provides information and referrals as well as training for local social service providers including police and social workers.
A quick visit to a Mid-City car wash recently became an unexpected lesson for me in the deadly prevalence of our nation’s opioid epidemic when two quick-thinking customers realized that an unresponsive couple whose car was still running had just overdosed. Within minutes of placing 911 calls, a plethora of police, fire and EMS personnel arrived to administer the live-saving drug Naloxone, an antidote medication that reverses opiate overdoses.
The NOPD began carrying Naloxone in October 2016 after the City of New Orleans received a $300,000 federal grant and Mayor Landrieu introduced a new “sweeping plan” to address the crisis. In 2016 Louisiana was one of 8 states that had more opioid prescriptions than people. That same year, over 1,000 Louisiana residents died from an overdose of opioids, surpassing the number of deaths from motor vehicles accidents, homicides or suicides. While many cancer and terminally ill patients are regularly prescribed such medication, they account for only 20 percent of patients who receive it.
As Black History Month comes to a close and the concurrent, much-needed addition of a “Black Restaurant Week” winds down, I have pondered the lack of celebrated minority chefs in our little hamlet of Uptown New Orleans.
The discouraging results after searching memory, calling fellow habitual diners, and ultimately an internet hunt, is that in a city whose famed culinary prowess is shaped by its black cultural contributions, we don’t have nearly enough celebrated, household name, black chefs or black-owned restaurants, past or present.
Other than iconic Tremé Chef Leah Chase of Dooky Chase fame, what other black chef pops into the New Orleanians’ dining-centric mind?
At a forum last night sponsored by the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee (OPDEC), the four candidates who qualified for the House 93 legislative seat about to be vacated by incoming City Council member Helena Moreno announced their support for a ban on AR-style assault rifles like the ones used to kill 17 students and teachers in Parkland, Florida last week.
Trying to resolve Louisiana’s ongoing budget crisis is at the heart of the Legislature’s special sessions which begins Monday. One of the potential solutions to balance the state’s budget that will not be discussed until the March 12 regular session is the opportunity to derive more income and create more jobs through an expansion of legalized gaming.
Donald Trump was elected President of the United States because he “rekindled a dream for millions of
Americans” at a time when the Washington establishment “failed to stand up for the people they were elected to represent,” said former Trump insiders Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. The duo was in Metairie earlier this week for a luncheon and signing of their recent book, “Let Trump Be Trump.” Hosted by the Greater New Orleans Republicans, the event also featured Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry who introduced the authors.
My commentary is usually filtered through nostalgia—in this case, my fond memories of Mardi Gras. Two words sum that up: McKenzie’s and Doubloons.
Mardi Gras was fun, easy, laissez-faire, with no tattletales, no politics, no bead safe-spaces, and no King Cake scalping—yes, this is really a thing in 2018.
Why can’t we just enjoy the greatest free show on earth without government intervention, irate commentary, division, and scary cakes?
Louisiana Republican Party chair Roger Villere believes Louisiana citizens are already living the “new American dream,” that President Trump described in his SOTU speech Tuesday night. In Washington this week for the annual winter meeting of the Republican National Committee where President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also are speaking, Villere praised Trump’s remarks.
Bart Everson here. My column usually appears over at Mid-City Messenger, but today I’ve got a special Uptown Alert.
A lot of people complain about money in politics, but few do anything about it.
Move to Amend is a coalition of people who are aiming to do something about it. And their national director is coming to New Orleans.
While many New Orleanians are singularly focused on Mardi Gras, candidates running for State Legislature, Civil District Court and Appeals Court are spending their evenings talking to neighborhood, civic and political organizations including BOLD and the Alliance for Good Government – both of whom met last night. The three quick Alliance forums were probably the first real opportunity for the city’s political players to see the candidates side by side.