May 222017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

After 133 years of standing tall over the New Orleans skyline, Robert E. Lee has been toppled. The last removal of Confederate statuary has unceremoniously been effected.

For Mayor Landrieu, this has been marked with a great deal of self-congratulation. In a speech delivered to a select elite at Gallier Hall, he vigorously defended his removal scheme. Pundits have spoken openly about how removals may enhance Landrieu’s political capital. The New York Times even cited him as a possible presidential nominee. Continue reading »

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 »

May 112017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Industrial Development Board Chair Alan H. Philipson is no push-over. After completing a successful career in manufacturing, Philipson became a full-time volunteer and currently also serves as Chairman of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, First Vice President of the Louisiana SPCA, and Secretary of Lambeth House. He also works with Bricolage Academy, was honored by Family Services and named 2016 Activist of the Year by St. Charles Avenue.

Armed with the proper resources and consultants, Philipson is quite capable of directing a fair and impartial selection process to identify a well-qualified developer for the former Six Flags site. Instead of providing Philipson with the tools he needed, Landrieu has decided to run the process himself – a la the World Trade Center – and will get one last shot to give a major piece of New Orleans real estate to his hand-selected cronies. Continue reading »

May 082017
 

See that bright orange parking ticket on the window? The city says this Land Rover is blocking a driveway — even though the driveway has long since been replaced by the building addition instead. (photo by Owen Courreges for UptownMessenger.com)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

You won’t find many people in New Orleans who have much good to say about the Parking Enforcement Division of Public Works. Meter Maids seem to generate a never-ending litany of complaints, the vast majority of which appear well-founded.

A couple of weeks ago I was confronted with a prime example of this phenomenon. I noticed an old Land Rover parked across the street with a ticket in the windshield. Since the Land Rover was legally parked, I was curious what the ticket said. Continue reading »

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May 042017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

State Representative Stephanie Hilferty hails from the most conservative legislative district in New Orleans – House District 94 in Lakeview. In a move that has scorched the hearts of some of New Orleans’ biggest job and tax generators, Republican Hilferty is joining Mayor Mitch Landrieu — considered in some circles around the state to be a tax-and-spend Democrat — in an wildcard move to divert tax dollars already dedicated to the Morial Convention Center to a new taxing authority, the New Orleans Street Maintenance District. Continue reading »

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May 012017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

You don’t expect a professional Poker player to inadvertently reveal his hand. His face may betray him, or his confidence morph into hubris, but any experienced professional keeps his cards close. A novice is far more likely to sputter and fumble, ultimately exposing himself to the other vultures at the table.

This brings us to Mayor Landrieu. In the game of politics, Landrieu is supposed to be a consummate professional, a scion of a local political dynasty. Lately, however, in his management of the controversy over his scheme to raze four monuments, he’s been behaving like a rookie. 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
 
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 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 072017
 

CrawFest 2011 at Tulane University (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Good Friday and Easter Sunday for some may involve church, bonnets, and chocolate bunnies, but in Louisiana it also usually includes a good old-fashioned Crawfish Boil.

Hams and pork loins will be studded, glazed, and stuffed, awaiting Uptown ovens. Bundt cakes baked, brownies cut, and eggs dyed. Someone’s great-aunt will lobby to bring the macaroni and cheese, while another tries to control the dinner menu (this is why they invented wine). Continue reading »

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Apr 072017
 

Derrick Edwards and his mother Madeline at the New Orleans Coalition 50th Anniversary earlier this week. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

There are few obstacles Derrick Edwards won’t tackle. A former John F. Kennedy High School football star paralyzed from the neck down in a 1989 catastrophic injury, Edwards is undaunted by a crowded field of moneyed Republicans seeking to become Louisiana’s next state treasurer. He is a Democrat and resides on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish. Continue reading »

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Apr 042017
 

No stop sign on St. Andrew at St. Charles Avenue (photo by Owen Courreges for UptownMessenger.com)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Although I am trying to seize the mantle of New Orleans’ resident anti-government curmudgeon, I generally try to avoid playing chicken little. However, it is becoming increasingly evident to me that local government is incapable of providing certain very basic services. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that the city has simply run out of money.

Earlier this year, I wrote a column in which I pointed out that the city was doing an extremely poor job of replacing street signs. Now, months later, things have become much worse. Continue reading »

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Mar 302017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Although the race to replace now U.S. Senator John Kennedy as State Treasurer is just shaping up, two powerful women – both Republicans – have already emerged as candidates in what will be a big money race: Kenner State Rep. Julie Stokes and former Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis, wife of 19th Judicial District Judge Tim Kelley. Continue reading »

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