Apr 022020
 

Kevin Kinsella of Big Easy Corona Clean sanitizes a New Orleans business on Wednesday (April 1). (Danae Columbus)

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Joe Sobol Sr. was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. The Riccobonos, his mother’s family, came to New Orleans after Sicily’s devastating famine in the 1880s. They first sold produce and then macaroni in the French Quarter. Eventually they opened The Pearl Restaurant and Oyster Bar at 119 St. Charles Ave., where 10-year-old Joe got his first job dressing the family’s famous roast beef po-boys. Continue reading »

Apr 012020
 

By Emily Carmichael, guest columnist

Emily Carmichael

A week and a half into quarantine with COVID-19, I was shaking. I piled a blanket on top of myself and rocked side to side, occasionally moaning, nestling ever deeper into the joints of my couch. My heart felt like it was racing, my head pounded.

Yes, according to my doctor, I most likely was infected with the coronavirus, but that’s not what was causing this. It had been 10 days since I was within 8 feet of another person, and I was having an anxiety attack.  Continue reading »

Mar 312020
 

By Christian Willbern, guest columnist

Christian Willbern, guest columnist

In a few weeks, I was supposed to get up at 7 a.m., put on a starchy cap and gown, and walk across a stage in front of hundreds of people to receive an empty diploma sleeve.

While that sounds more revolting than Burger King’s 2002 green ketchup, I was inexplicably looking forward to it. Many of my fellow seniors were.

That walk across a stage was earned through four (in my case, five) years of hard work and panic attacks — just to be taken away within a blink of an eye.

Continue reading »

Mar 262020
 

The tables outside Rouses on Baronne Street are cordoned off to prevent people from congregating. (Danae Columbus)

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Every morning just before 7 a.m. Jonathan Rietmaier unlocks the doors of Mammoth Expresso, his popular CBD coffeehouse, so his employees can serve up the aromatic brew and pastries for which his small business is well known. Although strictly take-out these days, Riethmaier hadn’t changed Mammoth’s hours or staffing in an effort to help his five part-time employees. Continue reading »

Mar 202020
 

By Sue Strachan, Uptown Messenger

When a movie says it is set in New Orleans, it is hard not spending most of the time trying to pick out landmarks and laughing at what the filmmakers got wrong.

So, with many of us at home watching TV, it’s a great time to check out movies and TV shows that showcase New Orleans, and remind us why we love it.

Here are a few of my recommendations, plus where to find them. (True confession: I talk about movies on “Hollywood Highlights” on WWL-TV’s Great Day Louisiana.) Continue reading »

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Mar 192020
 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell holds a press conference on March 17. (via the Mayor’s Office)

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Mayor LaToya Cantrell are being too soft on New Orleans. With the number of confirmed cases and deaths skyrocketing, our elected officials don’t have the luxury of merely suggesting that people stay home as much as possible. Some form of sheltering in place must become the law of the land if we don’t want martial law and the additional restrictions it will bring. Continue reading »

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Mar 162020
 

(via tulane.edu)

By Julia Prager-Hessel, guest columnist

Students, faculty, and staff at Tulane received an email last Wednesday that said classes will cease or go online, and those living on campus are to leave in the next week and a half.

However fracturing to our semesters, this move came as no surprise and with little resentment from students. Tulane is largely a flight school that draws many of its students from Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, and our friends at schools across the country had been sent home throughout the week. Continue reading »

Mar 122020
 

After Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared a state of emergency and recommended social distancing, patrons and workers still made the scene at Tracey’s and other venues across the city on Wednesday night. (Danae Columbus)

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Now that Mayor LaToya Cantrell has declared a state of emergency and called for the Louisiana National Guard, New Orleanians who are used to hugging and kissing everyone in sight are being asked to embrace social distancing and other practices like constant hand washing that hopefully can slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. How well Mayor Cantrell is able to manage the city’s ever-evolving response will be her enduring legacy. Continue reading »

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Mar 052020
 

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro holds the Hero of Home Defense Award he received Tuesday night. Joining him at the presentation were Assistant District Attorneys Kevin Guillory, left, and Jason Napoli. (Danae Columbus)

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Although he has yet to formally signal whether he will seek re-election in the fall of 2020,
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro gave a rousing address about New Orleans’ many crime problems and potential solutions to a packed crowd of Second Amendment supporters at the Home Defense Foundation’s meeting earlier this week. Attendees included New Orleans independent police monitor Susan Hutson. Continue reading »

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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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