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.
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.
The return of Gabrielle Restaurant last October was literally the talk of the town. Not “literally” in the way millennials misuse the word, but literally, as in literally.
Twelve years is a long time to miss a menu. And few chefs and kitchens have been as missed by locals as James Beard-nominated Chef Greg Sonnier and his beloved Gabrielle.
The original Gabrielle—located on Esplanade in the historic Faubourg St. John–opened to critical acclaim in 1992, but like so many of New Orleans’ culinary institutions, was lost to Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters in 2005.
Women leaders around the state are excited about congressional contender MiMi Methvin – a Democrat running against incumbent Republican Clay Higgins in Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District. They expect Methvin, a former federal magistrate who was educated at Newcomb College, to take full advantage of the #Me Too Movement against sexual harassment. Numerous polls show that white, college-educated women are moving toward more culturally sensitive Democratic candidates and away from those who embrace President Donald Trump and his often divisive rhetoric.
In a fiery speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Gold Star father Khizr Khan talked about falling in love with the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. A Pakistani immigrant whose son Army Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq in 2004, Khan offered to lend Donald Trump his copy so Trump could look up the words “liberty” and “equal protection under the law.”
New Orleans civic activist Madalyn Schenk was inspired by Khan’s speech and decided to form a different kind of book club – one that exclusively studied the Constitution and accompanying documents. That “constitution club” has now grown into the Nancy Marsiglia Institute, a 12-week cooperative program between Loyola University Law School and the United Way of Southeast Louisiana. The late philanthropist Nancy Marsiglia was the first person Schenk approached to participate. Soon other women including Councilmember Helena Moreno, Patty Riddlebarger, Ruth Kullman and United Way COO Charmaine Caccioppi joined in. Constitution expert Martha Lemoine Palmer, a mentor teacher and national judge for the Center for Civic Education’s We the People project, agreed to lead the class. Loyola Law School Dean Madeleine Landrieu – then Appeals Court Judge – bestowed the first graduation certificates.
Three Weekends of das Oktoberfest!
Prost! Deutsches Haus and Oktoberfest are back in town.
Das Deutsches Haus, New Orleans’ German cultural and heritage center, aka the German house, is back in the city proper and celebrating Oktoberfest. This year marks the organizations 90th anniversary and its inaugural Oktoberfest at its new location in Mid-City.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that New Orleanians celebrate the most Bavarian of holidays down on dah bayou—Bayou St. John to be exact.
The Nov. 6 election ballot doesn’t just include federal, state and local races. Citizens will also have the opportunity to vote yes or no on six statewide constitutional amendments and on legalizing fantasy sports betting in Orleans Parish. “New Orleans voters should get the information about the pros and cons of the constitutional amendments on the November ballot so they can make informed choices at the polls,” said New Orleans League of Women Voters President Rosalind Blanco Cook.
“If it lacks authority, add more vodka,” those are Ernest Hemingway’s instructions while mixing his preferred Bloody Mary. Hemingway understood New Orleans.
It’s Bloody Mary Season in New Orleans
The Classic Cocktail Enamored By Locals
Some might say Fall marks the arrival of Bloody Mary season in New Orleans—at least for me anyway. I find the Bloody Mary too heavy for the humid southern summer, but curiously sublime when temperatures drop or are supposed to drop.
Come late September or October, this staple of the brunch bunch becomes the staple of many a tailgate or pre-game party.
Preaching in a staccato, firebrand rhetoric on numerous conservative sacred-cow issues, Baton Rouge State Rep. Rick Edmonds was heartily endorsed last night by the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee and the Greater New Orleans Republicans in the Nov. 6 race for Secretary of State, beating out better-known names locally such as Kenner State Rep. Julie Stokes, former State Sen. A.G. Crowe, and current Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin.
When Mayor LaToya Cantrell addressed the Bureau of Governmental Research on Tuesday, she was quick to talk about her desire to add currently exempt property to the tax rolls while also re-distributing other tax dollars that are generated in New Orleans, especially those collected by the tourism industry. Even though the City Council recently proposed new millage to support senior citizens, Cantrell told the packed house that New Orleans could not tax our way into prosperity and has been clear that a budget shortfall of at least $24 million is anticipated for 2019.
New Orleans’ Restaurant Week has only two days and nights left to enjoy. September is one of the slowest months of the year for restaurateurs, but it’s an excellent opportunity for locals to experience new chefs and new menus from old favorites.
Celebrating its eighth year, Restaurant Week New Orleans offers a line-up of restaurants with innovative menus at discounted prices. The week, a brainchild of the Louisiana Restaurant Association in partnership with New Orleans & Company, runs through Sunday, September 16.
With an overall enrollment of more than 1700 students, Lusher Charter School CEO Kathy Riedlinger understands the importance of her students developing strong reading skills at an early age. That’s why Riedlinger, her elementary principal and two other Lusher leaders attended a symposium yesterday hosted by the Center for Development and Learning (CDL), a non-profit whose mission is to improve the life chance of all children, especially those at high risk.
With a stunning victory Tuesday night against 22-year Congresssman Mike Capuano, Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley is the latest candidate to upend the traditional political party system in America. An avowed progressive who was endorsed by the Democratic Party structure, Capuano is the fourth House incumbent to be defeated by a fresh face who was able to connect with voters in a very real way. An African-American female, Pressley is a former aide to Rep. Joseph Kennedy and Sen. John Kerry who has worked her way up by keen networking and strong performances.
Though there is much progressive talk in New Orleans these days about the need for economic and social equity, the viability of the redevelopment of Charity Hospital and its surrounding footprint will be decided in part by the willingness of Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the City Council and the judges of Civil District Court to relocate into the former hospital. Without their participation, the overall development – with its strong commitment to affordable housing, DBE participation, training and workforce development – would suffer from a severe funding gap. A significant public subsidy would be needed to get the project off the ground. An “active tenant” such as city government is necessary to make the project’s financial numbers work.
I hear it’s pouring rain today in New Orleans. How apt. Most of my friends say they will not watch television today. I haven’t seen my friend Kim Abramson in person for years, but today her Instagram post was one of grief. It reads, “We won’t turn on the TV today, because I can’t take the images. I love you, New Orleans, hang in there.”
Many others are planning a social media blackout. I will likely employ both survival tactics. For that is what we did—Katrina survivors, the luckier few anyway—we survived. Far too many did not.
Yesterday afternoon, Times-Picayune reporter Melinda Morris innocently Tweeted, “Where were you 13 years ago today?” The roundup’s responses brought forth emotions forgotten in the daily hustle. More poignantly, it brought tears. Morris admitted she can’t bring herself to watch video feed of Hurricane Katrina.
There were numerous emotional admissions from New Orleans and Mississippi on yesterday’s social media, emotions and memories that the rest of America will never be able to grasp. Many started crying. I was one of them.