Mar 212019
 

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

There are many excellent health care providers in the New Orleans area. One stands out for its almost 200-year commitment and unique wrap-around services – the Daughters of Charity. First at the now-shuttered Charity Hospital and today through 10 neighborhood health centers including one located at 3201 S. Carrollton, the Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans, or DCSNO, strive to eradicate health care disparities by providing affordable, high-quality care to children, adolescents, adults and seniors.

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Mar 142019
 

Council on Aging Director Howard Rodgers with seniors William Larce and Barbara Bloodworth at the Carrollton Hollygrove Multi-purpose Center. (Danae Columbus, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

On Saturday, March 30, New Orleanians will vote on a 2-mill property tax that would fund services for seniors. If approved, the new millage is expected to generate $6.6 million annually. The “average” New Orleans homeowner would pay less than $100 per year.

I am one of almost 80,000 people aged 55 and over who live in Orleans Parish. Together we represent almost 25 percent of the city’s population. Experts agree that older adults are the most under-served population in our community. Though I have never participated in any of the programs offered seniors by the New Orleans Council on Aging or even through my church, I know how vital they are to the health and welfare of those served. Continue reading »

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Mar 082019
 

Shrimp & Grits, Gumbo, Poboys, & Snoballs

The up-and-coming Faubourg Lafayette is the location of Café Porche & Snowbar which opened last year on Baronne Street. You may have to look twice for the red umbrellas, as the little southern Café is tucked behind a whimsical two-story Lilliputian white and blue Wendy house that operates as the café’s Snowbar (snoball stand).

Café Porche’s Seafood and Sausage Gumbo (Courtesy of Coronella Porche-Jenneford)

The modern Café has proven popular with locals and tourists and is finding its footing in the new Central City restaurant scene. It is noteworthy that the kitchen and restaurant is owned and run by a Black woman, which is still too rare in our local food scene. Continue reading »

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Mar 072019
 

Girl Scouts CEO Becky Pennington, sate Rep John Bagneris, board member Betsy Stoner and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge Morrell talk about the future of Scouting. (Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

In an era when young women have many more options for enrichment activities, the Girl Scouts Louisiana East, or GSLE, are embracing the challenge of serving an ever-evolving audience with new board and staff and a renewed commitment to helping girls become leaders.

The agency recently introduced a new chief executive officer, Dr. Rebecca Pennington, at a reception attended by dozens of former Girl Scouts and their supporters, including Judge Dale Atkins, state Rep. John Bagneris, Kelder Summers, Judge Robin Pittman, the Rev. Rob Courtney, Clerk of Court Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Marguerite Redwine, Brett Bonin, state Rep. Joe Bouie, Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott, Judge Ellen Hazeur, Lyndia Jones, Jodi LaFranca, Patrice Sams-Abiodun, Maury Baker, Wayne Know and third-generation Girl Scout Jesse Smith Thomas.

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Feb 282019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

A substantive prisoner re-entry program that includes rehabilitation and job training is “really critical” to reducing recidivism, said Pelican Institute for Public Policy CEO Daniel Erspamer at an YLC Leadership Luncheon last week. Pelican, a nonprofit libertarian-leaning think tank that develops data-driven policy solutions, works to bring jobs and opportunities back to Louisiana by eliminating barriers to success. It also coordinates Louisiana’s Smart on Crime business-led coalition that successfully lobbied for criminal justice reform. Since 2017, the coalition has been monitoring the implementation of the new laws and planning future steps. Continue reading »

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Feb 212019
 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell participates in a panel discussion on gentrification at Tulane Hillel in 2015, while Flozell Daniels of the Foundation for Louisiana listens. ( UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Mayor LaToya Cantrell was smart to ask Governor John Bel Edwards to form a working group to identify funding solutions for New Orleans sewerage and drainage problems. Edwards is up for re-election in the fall and will need the support of the popular Cantrell and New Orleans voters. Unfortunately, there is only so much the governor will be able to do without identifying a new taxing source. So far the tourism industry has successfully fought back against Cantrell co-opting any of their existing tax dollars but has pledged to work with her on creating a small new tax. Continue reading »

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Feb 182019
 

Mystick Krewe of Louisianians revelers second-line to the jazz orchestra while tossing beads and throws to Washington, D.C., ball attendees on Feb. 3. (Kristine Froeba)

The movers and shakers of Louisiana including quite a bit of New Orleans, and more than a few hundred Uptowners recently descended on the nation’s capital to celebrate the annual Washington Mardi Gras.

“If a bomb dropped on this ballroom tonight, Louisiana as you know it would cease to exist,” said one of the organizers at the Saturday night ball. Leaders of business, law partners, CEOs, congressmen, congresswomen, mayors, senators and the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, were all present. Continue reading »

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Feb 142019
 

Diana Bajoie (third from left) was recently honored for her many contributions. Attendees included Mayor LaToya Cantrell and former elected officials Irma Muse Dixon, Cynthia Willard Lewis, Renee Gill Pratt and Cynthia Hedge Morrell. (submitted photo by Elijah Brown)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Diana Bajoie smiled broadly when the Downtown Development District’s Kurt Weigle touted $500 million dollars of construction permits issued in 2018. First as the area’s State Representative and later as State Senator, Bajoie delivered billions in capital outlay funds for the Morial Convention Center, LSU Health Sciences Center, the Port of New Orleans and many other organizations which laid the foundation for the New Orleans economy that citizens enjoy today. Working closely with numerous governors and legislative leaders, it was Bajoie’s task to gather support across party and geographic lines. Continue reading »

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Feb 092019
 

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 kind of an impact does Mardi Gras have on the New Orleans real estate industry?

During the lead up and actual prime time of Mardi Gras, the market slows pretty substantially. People are busy setting up for parades, making preparation for house guests, knocking items off their professional to-do lists, and just generally avoiding the responsibility that comes with buying or selling a home. Continue reading »

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Feb 072019
 

The building at 820-822 Baronne Street. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Preservationists Mike and Bettye Duplantier bought a run-down historic town house at 820 Baronne in 1978 and enjoyed a bird’s-eye view of the neighborhood’s transition from skid row to prime South Market District real estate. Little did they know that 40 years later a well-meaning young couple would dream of converting the spacious adjoining town house at 822 Baronne into a 10 to 12-room boutique hotel with lobby bar and courtyard. Both buildings share a common attic. Continue reading »

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Jan 312019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer made a wise choice in his selection of former Georgia state representative Stacey Abrams, 45, to deliver the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address February 5. A rising star who narrowly lost a bid for governor in 2018, Abrams preached a vision of prosperity and equality that resonated with voters and donors. As a rebuttal speaker to President Trump, Abrams represents three important target audiences Democrats must stitch together – she is an African-American female, under the age of 50, and progressive — rather than liberal-to-a-fault, like many of the party’s fiery new faces. Continue reading »

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Jan 242019
 

Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks during the Katrina 10 commemoration at the Smoothie King Center on Saturday. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With little fanfare last July, former Mayor Mitch Landrieu created the E Pluribus Unum Fund which is serving as a fundraising vehicle to stay in the public eye — while contemplating a future in Washington, D.C. where the fund is based. “We are better together than we are apart,” the fund’s website (unumfund.org) declares.

With an initial focus on the American South, EPUF’s vision is to bring people together around common purpose, shared responsibility and opportunity rather than being divided by anger, hate and fear. Issues to be addressed include race, equity, economic opportunity and violence, as well as explore an institute for racial reconciliation, Landrieu told New York Times columnist Charles Blow in a recent interview about his often-discussed Presidential prospects. Landrieu is also serving as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics this spring. Continue reading »

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Jan 212019
 

Jeffrey P. Wilke, left, the 86th king of Alla, shakes hands with Lance Cpl. Montana Olle, a saxophone player with Marine Corps Band New Orleans, before the Alla parade on Feb. 4, 2018. (Cpl. Dallas Johnson, via Reserve Band Facebook page)

“There is no sharper band in all of Carnival than the local Marine Corps Band,” said Mardi Gras expert Errol Laborde. Specifically, the Marine Corps Reserve Band New Orleans.

Uptown routinely sees the Marine Corps Reserve Band’s bus and its Marines filing out and lining up to march down Jefferson Avenue, Napoleon Avenue or, in the case of Thoth, Henry Clay. Saints’ fans recently enjoyed their pregame concert performed at Champions Square outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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Jan 172019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Even though the effects of the unpopular federal shutdown — now the longest in U.S. history — are playing out in cities and towns across America, Republicans are determined to elect more local and statewide officials in Louisiana and other Southern states. Dubbed the start of the 2020 election season, this weekend’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference at the Pontchartrain Center will serve as a rallying point for more than 1,000 GOP faithful, elected officials, and prospective candidates — especially Congressman Ralph Abraham and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone, who have already entered the race against Gov. John Bel Edwards, and former Congressman John Fleming who is said to be considering the same race. GOP candidates down-ballot in the 2019 legislative and local races need a strong slate of contenders for statewide offices to guard against voter apathy. Continue reading »

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Jan 112019
 

La Boulangerie’s traditional sugar topped cinnamon King Cakes (via La Boulangerie)

The local New Orleans grocer Breaux Mart has rechristened itself King Cake Mart on Twitter for the duration of the carnival season. That should give out-of-towners an idea of the importance of King Cake in our city.

As many in the world awaited Twelfth Night and the Epiphany or Three Kings Day to mark the ending of Christmas, New Orleanians impatiently ticked off the days until Jan. 6 for another reason: to signify the arrival of the carnival season and the blessed arrival of King Cake.

It’s the time for locals to play, feast, and attend endless parties, masque balls, and parades. But first, it’s time for an entire city to eat large circles of sugar-laden cake. Every. Single. Day.

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