Though the transition is just beginning, the metro New Orleans area is off to a strong start with John Bel Edwards and his transition team. Earlier this week, the incoming governor announced his support for State Rep. Walt Leger as Speaker of the House. Though many other legislators have been campaigning for that position, it will be hard to bypass the governor-elect’s clear choice. On the Senate side, the very popular current president John Alario could well be re-elected as the consensus choice of senators. The New Orleans area also includes a member of the transition team, JP Sheriff Newell Normand, who will be a go-to man for both Democrats and Republicans wanting the new governor’s ear.
There are few silver linings to the spate of high-profile violent crimes in New Orleans of late, but there is one thing we can be confident of: that our criminal class is staggeringly incompetent.
Yesterday’s announcements about the rise of armed robberies and that Councilmembers Jason Williams and Susan Guidry want to prioritize funding for 911 operators both illustrate the importance of better funding agencies involved in criminal justice.
“We are one mistake away from disaster and tragedy,” said Williams, who serves as Council President. “And it is unacceptable.”
Over at Eater New Orleans, Gwendolyn Knapp sums up the ill-fated “Jack & Jake’s” grocery project quite aptly – as a money pit.
The project began in 2011, when Alembic Community Development bought the former Myrtle Banks Elementary School on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The school, built in 1910, had closed in 2002 and was gutted by fire in 2008. The Orleans Parish School Board had already determined that it wasn’t cost-effective to preserve the building, but Alembic was determined to save the façade.
Are voters of Louisiana ready to forgive David Vitter? We’re not so sure.
Vitter is now openly discussing ‘the worst mistake of his life.’ We believe in the power of forgiveness and the opportunity for people to atone for their sins in order to rebuild their lives. Let’s face it: adultery is more common that many people like to admit. Even the number of extramarital relationships sought by women is rising.
But we’re not sure the public can forgive him enough to elect him as Louisiana’s next governor.
By Charlotte Gill
There’s a new sport in town, and it’s figuring out how to avoid road construction as you navigate across the city. As frustrating as it is for drivers trying to get from point A to point B every day, it is a matter of grave economic concern for New Orleans’ local independent retailers that live and die by the amount of foot traffic that walks through their doors, particularly over the holiday season.
Though not depicted that way in movies and other popular media, the truth is that the human body is extremely fragile.
It’s a common trope. Action heroes crash cars in spectacular ways and keep on fighting; they don’t have muscle strains, slipped discs, or pinched nerves as one would expect when being jerked around suddenly at high speeds. The hero can take down several of his opponents by simply rendering them unconscious; none of them die or lapse into comas as one would expect where a person is knocked out for more than a few minutes.
The reality is that injury-causing events, even relatively simple ones, can easily have dire consequences. Such consequences were felt on Oct. 15, on Frenchman Street, when Doug David, a tourist visiting from California, was punched in the street by local resident Christopher Smith. David fell onto the pavement, snapping his neck. He was left paralyzed from the neck down.
By William Khan
Hiking the cost of parking meters would be economically counterproductive and regressive. It would take a greater bite of incomes from service workers, and it would be especially harmful to the hospitality workers and businesses that make the city’s economic engine—tourism—run.
It seems like almost everyone is jumping on John Bel Edward’s bandwagon. More than a year ago we ran into John Bel and Donna Edwards at an event in the river parishes. Donna proudly proclaimed that John Bel was going to be Louisiana’s next governor. Yeah, sure, we said at the time. Now we might have to agree.
Today’s endorsement by former candidate Republican Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne who received 166,000 votes is just another indication that Republican voters can give serious consideration to a Democrat who they might not agree with on every issue. We can also add Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand to that growing list of Edwards supporters along with the powerful Louisiana Sheriff’s Association.
“Citizens of New Orleans, as your mayor, I am mindful of the ever-increasing cost-of-living in our fair city. Wages are not keeping pace, and many of our most economically vulnerable workers feel that they can no longer afford to live here.”
“For too long, your elected leaders have not only ignored this problem, but abetted it. Today, I pledge to ensure that we do better by our citizens – that we make their lives easier, not more difficult.”
You can file the above under “Things Mayor Landrieu Will Never Say.” Under his watch, the cost of pretty much everything has skyrocketed. Taxes, water rates, fees – they’re all higher. If Landrieu has the slightest notion of how this has affected the lives of the people he serves, he hasn’t been inclined to show it.
Dr. Jeffery Rouse, New Orleans’ recently elected Coroner, is one of the standouts among a new generation of leaders in the city.
He is bringing sunshine, energy and a new concept of community service to an office that had become a medical slum under former Coroner Dr. Frank Minyard. Dr. Rouse brings great academic credentials to the office – a 1992 Jesuit High School valedictorian and a Duke University Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Rouse is energetic, optimistic and visionary. He is completely reorganizing the office and has convinced fellow Jesuit alum Mayor Mitch Landrieu to grant a 23-percent budget increase to the perennially underfunded Coroner’s Office. In December, if all goes well, the Coroner’s Office will move to spiffy new quarters in the under-construction Forensics Center on Earhart Boulevard.
Halloween is approaching, and thus our minds venture to the spooky and weird – to goblins, witches, ghouls, vampires … and ghosts. Especially ghosts.
As American cities go, New Orleans is an old one, and so ghosts have long been a component of local lore. Ghost tours pepper the French Quarter, with throngs of tourists being treated to tales such as the Ax Man of New Orleans and the horrors of the LaLaurie House.
By Mary Beth Romig
In response to the recent opinion from Owen Courreges in the October 19, 2015 issue of Uptown Messenger, I would like the opportunity to share good news about what the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) has accomplished in terms of commercial revitalization and affordable housing, specifically in the two neighborhoods Courreges mentions.
What has happened to our candidates in Louisiana and the U.S.? In the old days, qualifying for public office was a sacred vow people took (men only for so many years) when they put themselves on the line for the public good.
Unfortunately, in our modern election cycle we have candidates who have no qualms lying about where they live, whether their taxes are properly filed and paid, and what their sexual habits might be. More than a few elected officials also commit crimes while in office and end up in jail.
A few weeks ago the animated TV show “South Park” premiered a new episode regarding an issue so close to our hearts here in New Orleans: gentrification.
The plot of the episode revolved around attempts by the fictitious Colorado town for which the series is named to attract a new Whole Foods Market. This, the city reasoned, would prove the backwoods hamlet to be progressive and forward-thinking.
When President Obama issued his controversial executive order which would give work permits and protection from deportation to almost four million unauthorized immigrants — including an estimated 100,000 living in Louisiana — he never expected his dream to get derailed by Republican-appointed federal judges at the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans.
We’re focusing on women voters this week because there are more of them, they vote more frequently than men, and they value issues differently. Unfortunately, not as many seek elected office and are often unprepared financially for the demands of the election process.
With early voting starting this Saturday, it’s time for all of us to really focus in on which candidates to vote for. Between the oversized influence of Super PAC spending, and the failure of some candidates to show up at forums (David Vitter, please note), it’s sometimes hard to know where the candidates stand on the issues.
Uptown’s bar and restaurant scene is always thriving. There’s just nothing quite like indulging some fine dining on a weeknight, treating yourself to a bottle of wine, taking in a sumptuous three-course meal, and – Wait… Is that – Oh my God, he has a gun!
Sybil Haydel Morial would have led a very privileged life growing up in New Orleans in the 1940’s and 1950’s had it not been for the South’s all-encompassing Jim Crow laws. Her father, Dr. Clarence C. Haydel, was a well-respected surgeon in the community; her mother, Eudora, was an accomplished housewife who loved to cook, garden and entertain in the family’s well-appointed home. Sybil was surrounded by many loving aunts, uncles and cousins as well as her older sister Jean who suffered an untimely death. She attended the best Catholic schools, spent the summers in the country, traveled to Europe and had a memorable debut. As a teenager, Sybil enjoyed the company of family friend Ambassador Andrew Young who wrote the foreword to the memoir before his death.
But the harsh realities of segregation and how it impacted her life every day defined Sybil. It also drove her to become a teacher, civil right activist, arts patron, husband to New Orleans’ first African-American mayor — Dutch Morial — and mother to our third, Marc Morial. Sybil’s new book, Witness To Change, is a compelling, easy-to-read story about Sybil and Dutch — told from Sybil’s perspective.
At recent political events, consultants have been talking about how the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, a Super PAC supporting David Vitter, has turned the governor’s race into a nasty mix of negative ads which constantly bash Vitter’s opponents. With millions remaining in the kitty of several PACs, these kinds of ads will surely continue until the election – now just 30 days away. That negativity has also brushed off on Vitter himself who will be fighting off more personal attacks.
According to a new poll released today by Public Policy Polling, Vitter has “a very good chance” of being defeated in a runoff election because of his high personal negatives among the voters, now pegged at 51%. His previously strong lead has eroded as opponents focus more on his shortcomings and Democratic support gels behind John Bel Edwards. Even former governor Edwin Edwards, a distant relative of John Bel’s, now says that PSC Commissioner Scott Angelle could slide past Vitter and face Edwards in the runoff. The PPP, a Democratic-leaning firm, shows Edwards clearly in the lead.