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 »

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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Mar 272017
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

It was reported this week that New Orleans hit a milestone: In 2016, for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that New Orleans suffered a deficit in terms of domestic migration. Put more simply, this means that more people moved out of the city to other parts of the United States than the reverse.

Meanwhile, another story reported that New Orleans hosted a record-breaking 10.45 million visitors in 2016, more than any year since before Hurricane Katrina. Those visitors also spent more than ever before – a whopping $7.41 billion dollars, to be precise. Continue reading »

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Mar 232017

Brian Trascher (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Early next week New Orleans based Republican lobbyist Brian Trascher will be escorting CEO Ed Carlson of Odyssey House New Orleans to meet with former Georgia Congressman Tom Price, now Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Donald Trump. “It will be my first meeting with a cabinet member,” said Trascher proudly.

Trascher meet Trump and his attorney in 2011 in New Orleans and offered to help if Trump ever ran for president. When Trascher received the call, he jumped onboard to play an important role in Louisiana and around the country. Trascher says he knew Trump was going to win about a week before the election when he saw the change in direction of highly targeted phone banks he was supervising in other states. Continue reading »

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Mar 222017

City Councilwoman Stacy Head

By Stacy Head, President, New Orleans City Council

The reason you, the voter, elect a City Council is to serve as a watchdog over the municipal budget. That is our primary function, and while our daily lives can be consumed with issues like public safety, quality jobs and working schools, most assume that government will act to promote and protect the public interest.

But when politics is concerned, this public interest can often be glossed over. That is why it is important that you hold your council members accountable and question why you are being asked to pay fines, fees and taxes without proper examination.

A prime example of this is on our agenda this week and grew out of the recent consideration of the often complicated, and always lucrative, utility contracts, which are awarded by the council for $6 million-a-year for a lengthy time period. For decades, these contracts have been awarded to out-of-state firms who have maintained strong political ties to local political organizations. Continue reading »

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Mar 202017

A screenshot from the Krewe of Zulu’s Facebook post accepting the apology from the “Irish Zulu” group in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. (click for original post)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

I’ve always considered Mardi Gras as being a time of unfettered satire. It’s a time when krewes mock and imitate each other without judgment, promoting frivolity solely without the straightjacket of needless social convention. It’s a time when we all pull our collective sticks out of our keisters and start dealing with one another on an individual level, as opposed to one dictated to us by political propaganda.

Alas, we in New Orleans are not above being influenced by our wider culture. We may be open and understanding, but for others, any social commentary, no matter how innocuous and inoffensive, is a never-ending wellspring of umbrage and resentment. Continue reading »

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Mar 182017

No Flying Monkeys

BBQ Amber Beer and Rosemary Shrimp and Grits (Kristine Froeba)

Mid-City’s favorite breakfast and brunch spot, The Ruby Slipper, is now firmly ensconced in the Garden District.

Fans of Bacon-Infused Vodka Bloody Marys and Hollandaise topped Apple-Braised Pork Debris on Buttermilk Biscuits have a new place to add to their brunch queue. That particular Benedict, one of many, is the Eggs Cochon. Continue reading »

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Mar 162017
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

In an era when women are overwhelmingly winning judicial elections, can a man still be elected judge in Orleans Parish? Martin Landrieu certainly hopes so. The brother of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and retiring Division F Appeals Court Judge Madeleine whom he would like to replace, Landrieu is optimistic that voters will support him based on his qualifications. “Everyone stands on his or her own,” Landrieu said. Continue reading »

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Mar 132017

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)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

The clock has been ticking for New Orleans’ Confederate monuments. Now, the final bell may have tolled.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s plans to remove monuments to Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis had benefited from a temporary reprieve while an appeal was argued in the U.S. Fifth Circuit. Now, that appeal has been denied, eliminating the last legal hurdle for removal. Continue reading »

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Mar 092017

State Sen. J.P. Morrell (left) and state Reps. Helena Moreno and Walt Leger hold a legislative briefing for constituents in May 2015. All three are considered viable contenders for major city offices this year. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The New Orleans City Council is entering a transition phase as popular term-limited At-Large City Councilmember Stacy Head prepares to leave office and fresh new faces like State Representative Helena Moreno and others prepare to run for the City Council.

While Head reviews her bucket list of initiatives she still wants to accomplish or shore up during her remaining thirteen months in office, Moreno is holding a news conference tonight where she is expected to announce this evening that she will seek one of the two councilmember-at-large seats. With qualifying just four months away, other candidates are beginning to make similar announcements. Continue reading »

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Mar 062017
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

There’s no way to sugar-coat this: We came in dead last. Economically, New Orleans is the municipal equivalent of the 2008 Detroit Lions.

According to a report released by the Brookings Institute, New Orleans ranked last among America’s 100 largest cities in terms of economic prosperity between the years of 2010 and 2015. Everything decreased – worker productivity, average standard-of-living, and average wages. Continue reading »

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