Jan 102019

With qualifying for the fall state-wide and legislative races just 208 days away, Carling Dinkler IV will be the first candidate to formally announce a bid for the Louisiana Legislature — State Representative District 91 — tomorrow evening at Propeller. Dinkler will have big shoes to fill if he succeeds in replacing the popular but term-limited Walt Leger. “I am humbled and excited to announce I am running for State Representative,” Dinkler tweeted.

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

A life-long New Orleanian who lives with his wife Ayame and young daughter in Uptown’s Marlyville neighborhood, Dinkler is currently vice president of business development at Enhanced Capital, a firm that helps secure historic preservation tax credits. He also plays a role in the firm’s governmental relations efforts. Continue reading »

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Jan 032019

Assessor Erroll Williams is joined at his swearing-in by Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Judge Robin Guarrusso, Judge Terri Love and former Sheriff Paul Valteau. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

When the 2020 tax rolls open in August, 2019 Assessor Erroll G. Williams is predicting “substantial changes” for properties located in many of New Orleans prime neighborhoods including Uptown, the Lakefront, the French Quarter and the CBD.

Overall, property tax will increase in those neighborhoods as well as the Marigny, Bywater, Treme and Gentilly but could well decrease in New Orleans East and Algiers (except for Algiers Point) where property values – including in the prestigious English Turn neighborhood – have been trending downward. Continue reading »

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Dec 272018

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise shares a laugh with the new president of Loyola University, Tania Tetlow. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With the inauguration of Mayor LaToya Cantrell and assertive female City Council members along with election of 125 women members of Congress and governors across the U.S., 2018 was another milestone year for women. Power is shifting, albeit slowing. There is no going back. But we wouldn’t call 2018 the “Year of the Woman” because gender inequality is still so prevalent. Continue reading »

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Dec 202018
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Like many New Orleanians I appreciate Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s willingness to leave no stone unturned to fund many of the city’s critical infrastructure problems that former Mayor Landrieu didn’t adequately address. Obviously, it will take money for numerous sources to fill the gap.

Strong mayors have lots of tools at their disposal – including the media – to get their desires heard. But smart leaders know a little honey can go a long way. Keep your friends close and your perceived enemies closer. As a former grassroots organizer, Cantrell must realize that building support through numerous partnerships and artfully negotiated compromises is probably the best method to achieve long-term goals. Change is never quick or easy. So far, Mayor Cantrell is making her point but not making much progress. Continue reading »

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Dec 152018

Sponsored by Korman Gerrity Real Estate

I’m Joe Gerrity, local businessman, investor and Real Estate Broker. For my monthly “Yo Joe!” column, I’ll be answering your real estate questions as well as providing market information and housing statistics.

I believe the main responsibilities of a Realtor are to add value and facilitate mutually beneficial transactions, and through this column I hope to help the New Orleans community make more informed decisions about their housing future.

Yo Joe! What’s your general feeling about the housing market right now?

This is obviously one of the main recurring topics of discussion amongst Realtors. Things have been slow the past few months. Hurricane season turns into election season, and then the holidays roll around. There was uncertainty in not only the real estate market but the stock market as well. A lot of people felt that the real estate market has plateaued, or even started to trend downward. Continue reading »

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Dec 142018

series photo via Bravo.com

With the potholes, power outages and never-ending boil water advisories, one would think New Orleans has suffered enough. But no, the Bravo network seems fit to punish us further — with Season 2 of “Southern Charm New Orleans.”

While no formal announcement has been forthcoming, the worst has been confirmed by the New Orleans Office of Cultural Economy: Film New Orleans permitting department. “Southern Charm New Orleans” Season 2 has been filming around the city. The filming permit states the filming dates as Oct. 13 to Dec. 17. Continue reading »

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Dec 132018
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

District 1 Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta and former District 3 Congressman Charles Boustany – both Republicans – are said to be considering the 2019 race for governor against Governor John Bel Edwards. Two other Republican candidates have already announced – Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone and District 5 Congressman Ralph Abraham, a physician and former veterinarian. Continue reading »

Dec 072018

State Senate President John Alario, criminal defense attorney Mike Fawer and Claude Kelly, who heads up the Indigent Defenders program at federal court, pose for a photo. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Surrounded by dozens of family, friends, and public officials, legendary criminal defense lawyer Michael Fawer unveiled his new memoir, “From The Bronx To The Bayou,” on Tuesday evening at Martine Chaisson Gallery. In concise, easy-to-read chapters that cover nearly every major case he ever handled, Fawer relives the hits and misses of almost 60 years representing some of Louisiana and Mississippi’s most colorful figures including Edwin Edwards, Aaron Mintz, Charles Evers, and Chief Judge Walter Nixon. Now in his early 80’s and on the verge of retirement, Fawer’s life has been his work. He tried more than 125 criminal cases to verdict and argued more than 25 appeals. Continue reading »

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Nov 292018
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

As President Trump and Melania travel today to the G-20 Summit in Argentina and a one-on-one meeting with Putin, he will be plotting how to stay close to his imaginary friends like Saudi Arabia and Paul Manafort and continue to create havoc for his current perceived enemies including humiliated Detroit automakers, thousands of poor immigrants crowded at the Mexican border, and the Chinese who are blamed with repeatedly stealing American technology and intellectual property. In the meantime business leaders nationwide and in New Orleans have been calling for an end to the trade wars and stability of interest rates which had affected the markets.

Closely watching all these developments is Louisiana’s freshman U.S. Senator John Kennedy who is primed to announce his candidacy for Governor against John Bel Edwards. Yesterday evening respected pollster Bernie Pinsonat refused to reveal the specifics of his new poll on the race, which will be released today. Reading between the lines, it’s easy to assume that Kennedy is extremely popular with urban and rural voters which will make him a tough competitor for the Deep South’s only Democratic governor. Continue reading »

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Nov 222018
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Thanksgiving is more than the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. It’s also a time when we should recognize, appreciate and be grateful for all the riches we have received. Today, take a minute to say thanks to the people in your life – friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.

Together, we make a better New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Nov 152018

Former Lt. Governor Jimmy Fitzmorris with Joseph Berry and Jeff Courere at NOMA for the film premiere of FITZ! (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

On the eve of his 97th birthday, almost 200 admirers turned out last night to honor former Lt. Governor Jimmy Fitzmorris at the NOMA premiere of a new documentary on his life and political legacy. Co-produced by Jeff Courere and his sister Pat Denechaud, the film will begin airing tonight on WLAE-TV at 8 p.m. and will also run on statewide public television in 2019. In his opening remarks, current Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser said that if today’s public officials “can do half the job Jimmy Fitzmorris did with love and passion for Louisiana, our careers would be a success.” Continue reading »

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Nov 092018

Congressman Steve Scalise and son, Harrison, hunt ducks on the bayou. (via Steve Scalise on Twitter)

The raison d’être of the Louisiana sportsman may be hunting and fishing, but after the hunt, placing fire under the game or haul is just as crucial. Recently re-elected U.S. Representative Steve Scalise, like most born to New Orleans, melds the two seamlessly.

He’s also not above sharing a cooking tip along the way: “My favorite recipe for venison involves taking the backstrap (tenderloin), marinating it with a little Worcestershire sauce, then wrapping it in bacon and throwing it on the grill.” The congressional leader deems the end result as pretty darn good too.

“I first started hunting with my dad. He used to take me deer hunting every fall at a friend’s camp in Georgia. We would drive up together every year, just he and I, and it was a great way to bond with him. We came home with a big ice chest full of venison. I fell in love with it,” said Scalise. Continue reading »

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Nov 082018

Chelsey Richard Napoleon (second from left) poses for a photo with her daughter, mother and grandmother after filing her election paperwork on July 18, 2018. ( UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The impact of women marching to victory across America are played out in Louisiana where three women either won their races or are headed into runoffs. Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup, a lawyer, accountant and minister from East Feliciana Parish who only raised $3000 and rarely campaigned in New Orleans, stunned the state’s political establishment by running a strong second for Secretary of State in a crowded field. Continue reading »

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Nov 012018
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

While President Donald Trump and others barnstorm the country for that elusive vote, local candidates — plagued by slow fundraising — are stretching resources to include robust Get Out The Vote plans. Only a few campaigns, such as the Unanimous Jury amendment, seem to have the money needed. Continue reading »

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Oct 252018

Mary Keller Zervigon (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Uptown resident and long time activist-philanthropist Mary Keller Zervigon epitomizes the best in service to the community. When the United Way of Southeast Louisiana was looking for a worthy New Orleanian to induct into their Alexis de Tocqueville Society on Nov. 1, Zervigon – an heir to the Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Company fortune – was an easy choice. Zervigon’s grandfather Alfred Bird (A.B) Freeman began selling the new-fangled bottled drink in 1906. Several decades later, the family’s well-documented history of philanthropy began. Continue reading »

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