Sep 222016
 
Jay Dardenne speaks to the Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans on Thursday morning. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Jay Dardenne speaks to the Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans on Thursday morning. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told the Bureau of Governmental Research today that the state will have no choice but to make additional cuts to departments and agencies of state government starting in January 2017 to balance the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends June 30. It’s simply a matter of cash flow, Dardenne explained. Continue reading »

Sep 212016
 
Author Ethan Brown answers questions after reading from his new book, "Murder in the Bayou," on Wednesday evening at Octavia Books. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Author Ethan Brown answers questions after reading from his new book, “Murder in the Bayou,” on Wednesday evening at Octavia Books. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

When journalist Ethan Brown began researching the interconnected, unsolved slayings of eight women in rural Louisiana for what would become his new book, “Murder in the Bayou,” he knew he had immersed himself in a chronicle of the abuse of police power and easily discarded lives.

What Brown didn’t know until much later, however, was that a central location in those women’s lives and deaths would lead him straight to a well-known employee of U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, in a connection that is now drawing more attention than the unsolved murders themselves.

“That was a really surprising moment, to say the least,” Brown said. “I never imagined it would be someone who works for a Congressman.” Continue reading »

Sep 152016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

As Election Day grows closer, there is lots of political jockeying at the national and local level. Hillary Clinton has decided to be more open about her health, Donald Trump is calling for paid maternity leave and tax credits for working parents, and Sept. 16 birthday boy Governor John Bel Edwards is making progress after two relatively successful trips to Washington to help flood victims. Continue reading »

Sep 122016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

There is a strain of thought in some police circles that cops need the ability to charge citizens with a crime for doing nothing more than disrespecting them. In order to command respect on the streets, the trope goes, mouthing off to a cop can’t be tolerated.

This pernicious notion is the source of much police misconduct, and it persists to this day. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Owen Courreges: Misapplied “Blue Lives Matter” law proves need for police reforms
Sep 082016
 
State Rep. Helena Moreno and Orleans Parish School Board member Nolan Marshall speak during last night's meeting of local Democrats. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

State Rep. Helena Moreno and Orleans Parish School Board member Nolan Marshall speak during last night’s meeting of local Democrats. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

For the first time in many years, the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee gave candidates an opportunity to meet with their voting members prior to their upcoming endorsement meeting. Last night’s meeting brought out more than a dozen candidates for U.S. Senate, Congress, various judgeships and the Orleans Parish School Board. They distributed hand cards and football schedules while pouring on the charisma and munching on finger sandwiches. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Candidates courting political organizations for endorsements
Sep 062016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Samuel Johnson once said that “[e]very man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.”

Many armchair commentators from the past couple of weeks should heed Johnson’s words. When San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem, many of his supporters immediately began spouting platitudes about freedom of speech and the First Amendment. Kaepernick, the trope went, was being squelched by his critics Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Owen Courreges: Bourbon Street preachers could teach Kaepernick about freedom of speech
Sep 012016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Mitch Landrieu is one smart cookie. Residents all across New Orleans are salivating that their neighborhood streets might get repaired with the $2 billion FEMA allocation, the starting point of the city’s massive $5 billion street rebuilding project. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Mayor will saddle Council with street-repair funding question
Aug 292016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

It’s almost as though Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter were spat out of central casting.  The portly, arrogant, hot-headed lawman is the archetype of the corrupt Southern sheriff.  “You ain’t from ‘round here, boy,” might as well be tattooed on his forehead.

Playing to form, Larpenter doesn’t appreciate being criticized.  His thin skin was certainly on display when a local muckraking blog called “Exposedat” suggested that Larpenter had misused public funds due to a conflict of interest. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Owen Courreges: Easily-offended officials just can’t quit unconstitutional defamation law
Aug 272016
 
James Carville touts his new book, "We're Still Right, They're Still Wrong" at Octavia Books on Friday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

James Carville touts his new book, “We’re Still Right, They’re Still Wrong” at Octavia Books on Friday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Republican Party has spent the 21st Century peddling off-base predictions and promises they can’t keep to the American people, culminating in the rise of Donald Trump, said strident Democratic consultant James Carville to an eager audience Friday night at Octavia Books. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on James Carville: Republicans have been “wrong about everything this century”
Aug 252016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Yesterday evening, the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee heard from seven of the two dozen candidates running for the U.S. Senate to replace David Vitter. Although their endorsement won’t be announced until after tonight’s forum for candidates running for judgeships and Orleans Parish School Board, it was obvious from the vibe in the room that state Treasurer John Kennedy is the clear choice of many New Orleans Republican heavy hitters. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: John Kennedy gets warm reception from New Orleans Republicans at U.S. Senate forum  Tagged with:
Aug 182016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

The American Red Cross labeled it “the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy.”

With last week’s devastating floods which displaced more than 40,000 citizens and caused 11 deaths, along with Tuesday’s 47th anniversary of Hurricane Camille and the upcoming 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana’s citizens should focus on what climate change has already done to our state and their personal responsibility to create a more sustainable future. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Louisiana should start planning to now to survive climate change  Tagged with:
Aug 112016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week shows that only 1 percent of registered African-American voters overall support Donald Trump. Some strategists consider this trend problematic and could cost Trump the popular vote in many states like Louisiana with high African-American registration. In fact, Louisiana has the second highest percentage of African-American voters (32 percent) than any state in the nation except Mississippi (37 percent).

Trump of course is making up for his lack of African-American voters by his continued (though slightly eroding) support from the white working class who feel their way of life is being threatened. Trump simply tapped into their establishment-hating attitudes that have been simmering for years. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Why are white voters so drawn to Donald Trump?
Aug 042016
 
Former Louisiana Govs. Buddy Roemer, Kathleen Blanco and Edwin Edwards share a laugh during one of the lighter moments during Wednesday night's panel discussion at Loyola University. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Former Louisiana Govs. Buddy Roemer, Kathleen Blanco and Edwin Edwards share a laugh during one of the lighter moments during a March 2014 panel discussion at Loyola University. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

More than a year ago while addressing the West St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana’s colorful, powerful and legendary 50th governor Edwin Washington Edwards said that Donald J. Trump would ultimately “wear himself out.” And so he has.

Trump just can’t seem to help himself. No matter how hard he tries to convince voters that he has the judgment and discipline to lead the world’s greatest democracy, Trump continues to spew bombast rhetoric that is embarrassing Republican leaders and mainstream voters across the nation — many, like Newt Gingrich, who are now having second thoughts about his electability. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: What can Donald J. Trump learn from Edwin W. Edwards?
Aug 022016
 
Ben Kleban (left), founder of NOLA College Prep, and Jamar McKneely, CEO of Inspire NOLA charter schools, share a laugh during an April 20 forum on school unification hosted by 100 Black Men of New Orleans. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Ben Kleban (left), founder of NOLA College Prep, and Jamar McKneely, CEO of Inspire NOLA charter schools, share a laugh during an April 20 forum on school unification hosted by 100 Black Men of New Orleans. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Ben Kleban, the founder of the New Orleans College Prep network of charter schools, is now the unopposed candidate for the open Uptown-based District 5 seat on the Orleans Parish School Board after his lone opponent withdrew from the race. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Kleban wins open School Board seat after opponent withdraws
Jul 302016
 
Mandisa Moore-O'Neal of Black Youth Project 100, Ursula Price of the NOPD Independent Police Monitor's office, and Marjorie Esman of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union discuss issues of police militarization at the Green Party state convention Saturday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mandisa Moore-O’Neal of Black Youth Project 100, Ursula Price of the NOPD Independent Police Monitor’s office, and Marjorie Esman of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union discuss issues of police militarization at the Green Party state convention Saturday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

In contrast with high-profile incidents around the country, the New Orleans Police Department has not had a single officer-involved shooting so far in 2016, prompting civil-rights activists to suggest that the sweeping reforms of the NOPD should be expanded in other communities like Baton Rouge and applied to officers from other agencies like the Louisiana State Police or Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office who come into the city.

“NOPD has not fired their weapon at any human being this year,” said Ursula Price of the Independent Police Monitor’s office. “We are making progress.” Continue reading »

 Comments Off on New Orleans police reforms should expand to Jefferson Parish, Baton Rouge, State Police, activists say
Jul 282016
 
Hillary Clinton speaks to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday in a photo by Louisiana delegate Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. (photo courtesy of Danae Columbus)

Hillary Clinton speaks to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday in a photo by Louisiana delegate Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. (photo courtesy of Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Hillary Clinton’s acceptance of the Democratic nomination for President tonight will be a huge milestone in the long drive by millions of women for electoral equality. Will Hillary’s support from women, black and Hispanic voters be strong enough to elect her in November? Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Is Hillary Clinton’s support among women stronger than men’s disdain for her?
Jul 212016
 
Paul Bonin shares a chuckle after qualifying to run for Criminal District Court. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Paul Bonin shares a chuckle after qualifying to run for Criminal District Court. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Political insiders are shaking their heads this week as to why Paul Bonin, a widely-popular 4th Circuit Court of Appeals judge who has more than five years remaining on his current term, would decide to run for a lower-paying judgeship in the rough-and-tumble Criminal District Court. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Judicial races, School Board matchups take shape on first day of qualifying  Tagged with:
Jul 202016
 
Surrounded by his family, Ben Kleban files to run for a seat on the Orleans Parish School Board. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Surrounded by his family, Ben Kleban files to run for a seat on the Orleans Parish School Board. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Woody Koppel

Woody Koppel

The founder of the New Orleans College Prep charter network qualified Wednesday morning to run for the open District 5 seat on the Orleans Parish School Board, and current school board member Woody Koppel also filed for re-election in his District 6. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on College Prep founder files to run for open School Board seat; Koppel files for re-election