May 112017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Industrial Development Board Chair Alan H. Philipson is no push-over. After completing a successful career in manufacturing, Philipson became a full-time volunteer and currently also serves as Chairman of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, First Vice President of the Louisiana SPCA, and Secretary of Lambeth House. He also works with Bricolage Academy, was honored by Family Services and named 2016 Activist of the Year by St. Charles Avenue.

Armed with the proper resources and consultants, Philipson is quite capable of directing a fair and impartial selection process to identify a well-qualified developer for the former Six Flags site. Instead of providing Philipson with the tools he needed, Landrieu has decided to run the process himself – a la the World Trade Center – and will get one last shot to give a major piece of New Orleans real estate to his hand-selected cronies. Continue reading »

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May 082017
 

See that bright orange parking ticket on the window? The city says this Land Rover is blocking a driveway — even though the driveway has long since been replaced by the building addition instead. (photo by Owen Courreges for UptownMessenger.com)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

You won’t find many people in New Orleans who have much good to say about the Parking Enforcement Division of Public Works. Meter Maids seem to generate a never-ending litany of complaints, the vast majority of which appear well-founded.

A couple of weeks ago I was confronted with a prime example of this phenomenon. I noticed an old Land Rover parked across the street with a ticket in the windshield. Since the Land Rover was legally parked, I was curious what the ticket said. Continue reading »

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May 042017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

State Representative Stephanie Hilferty hails from the most conservative legislative district in New Orleans – House District 94 in Lakeview. In a move that has scorched the hearts of some of New Orleans’ biggest job and tax generators, Republican Hilferty is joining Mayor Mitch Landrieu — considered in some circles around the state to be a tax-and-spend Democrat — in an wildcard move to divert tax dollars already dedicated to the Morial Convention Center to a new taxing authority, the New Orleans Street Maintenance District. Continue reading »

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May 012017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

You don’t expect a professional Poker player to inadvertently reveal his hand. His face may betray him, or his confidence morph into hubris, but any experienced professional keeps his cards close. A novice is far more likely to sputter and fumble, ultimately exposing himself to the other vultures at the table.

This brings us to Mayor Landrieu. In the game of politics, Landrieu is supposed to be a consummate professional, a scion of a local political dynasty. Lately, however, in his management of the controversy over his scheme to raze four monuments, he’s been behaving like a rookie. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Owen Courreges: Yes, mayor, we ought to be filling potholes with that money — not replacing Confederate statues
Apr 272017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The new tax reform plan introduced yesterday by Trump officials was painted with a very broad brush and appears to predominately benefit the wealthy. Though touted to create economic growth, it may in fact create serious implications for working class citizens who could lose their state and local tax deductions. It is especially short on details and how the plan will be paid for. Continue reading »

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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 »

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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 »

 Comments Off on Owen Courreges: More people want to visit New Orleans, and fewer want to live here. Coincidence?
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 »

 Comments Off on Owen Courreges: Was ‘Irish Zulu’ really something to get upset about?