May 142015
 
Billy Nungesser speaks at the Lafourche Republican Women's Meet and Greet. (photo via facebook.com/BillyNungesserPage on April 28)

Billy Nungesser speaks at the Lafourche Republican Women’s Meet and Greet. (photo via facebook.com/BillyNungesserPage on April 28)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Whether someone is a Democrat or a Republican, it’s hard not to admire former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser. If New Orleanian are asked the names of natural leaders who were on the scene fighting to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina or to punch back after the BP oil spill, Nungesser’s name almost always comes up. The national media often flocked to this unabashedly outspoken but folksy businessman because of his obvious love for the region and his insistence that Louisiana deserves better. Continue reading »

May 072015
 
State Sen. J.P. Morrell (left) and state Reps. Helena Moreno and Walt Leger are introduced Thursday night at Publiq House for a Politics and Cocktails event and legislative briefing. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

State Sen. J.P. Morrell (left) and state Reps. Helena Moreno and Walt Leger are introduced Thursday night at Publiq House for a Politics and Cocktails event and legislative briefing. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The $664 million that the state House of Representatives dedicated Thursday toward higher education in Louisiana is both a major accomplishment in its own right, a trio of state lawmakers from New Orleans said — and yet still only a start toward preserving the state’s most essential services amid a major budget deficit.

“There are holes in the budget that need to be filled,” said state Rep. Walt Leger. “We made major steps in the right direction today, we’ve got a long way to go.” Continue reading »

 Comments Off
May 072015
 
The front door of a home in the 2300 block of Octavia Street remains charred on Tuesday afternoon, with tatters of the American flag that was also burned. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The front door of a home in the 2300 block of Octavia Street remains charred on Tuesday afternoon, with tatters of the American flag that was also burned. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Shreds of charred red, white and blue fabric still sat on the scorched doorstep of an Octavia Street home on Tuesday afternoon, after a fire apparently started on an American flag temporarily displaced the family from their home and left neighbors both baffled and disturbed. Continue reading »

 Comments Off
May 072015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Our usually right-on-point Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux has been in the news twice this week — first with his remarks that maybe more, better-paid police is not the answer to our crime problems and then about his proposed “divorce” with Police Monitor Susan Hutson. Now it is true that Quatrevaux is white and that Hutson, most of the police and the people they are sworn to protect are not. Does Quatrevaux just see things differently or is there more to his feelings than meets the eye? Continue reading »

May 042015
 

Owen Courreges

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a fan of urban planning. The idea of some committee micromanaging what structure should go where, what uses should be permitted, what time we should be having our bowel movements (ok, perhaps they don’t go that far), has always unnerved me.

A die-hard planner looks at a map of New Orleans and they don’t see an established city chock-full of independent decision-makers. Instead, they see an interactive game that they can manipulate and control. They see “Sim City.”

Exhibit “A” for this is Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), who decided to put her foot in her mouth while giving a speech before the House while arguing against an amendment to block funding for an Obama Administration Flood Risk Management Executive Order. Continue reading »

May 012015
 
New Orleans police officers close an Interstate 10 on-ramp to divert protesters marching in support of demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 25, 2014. (image via WWL-TV)

New Orleans police officers close an Interstate 10 on-ramp to divert protesters marching in support of demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 25, 2014. (image via WWL-TV)

As the city of Baltimore struggles with ongoing unrest related to the use of force by police there, two high-ranking New Orleans Police Department officers (including one from the Uptown-based Second District) have spent the week embedded with law enforcement agencies assisting with crowd control there, city officials said. Continue reading »

 Comments Off
Apr 302015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Sunday, May 3, should be a pretty good 54th birthday for U.S. Senator David Vitter, the clear frontrunner in the Louisiana’s governor’s race. Vitter has raised $1.1 million in the most recent campaign finance period which ended earlier this week and still has $4.2 million on hand, more than the other three major candidates combined. That total does not include Vitter’s SuperPac which is also sitting on millions.

While money does not always dictate the outcome of campaigns, it certainly makes it easier to spread a candidate’s message through television, direct mail, phone banks, election day activities and all those other indicators of a truly successful campaign. Continue reading »

Apr 232015
 
Public Service Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Scott Angelle (at right) is joined by Phil Nugent (left) and Bob Edmundson at a recent campaign event in New Orleans. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Public Service Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Scott Angelle (at right) is joined by Phil Nugent (left) and Bob Edmundson at a recent campaign event in New Orleans. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

As Acadiana-based gubernational candidate and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle made the rounds at a Cajun Fais Do Do held in his honor last night in New Orleans, he reminded the close to 100 attendees that Louisiana voters have a history of electing governors who hail from Acadiana — Edwin Edwards and Kathleen Blanco — and that several of our recent governors — Mike Foster and Buddy Roemer — were early dark horses.

One of nine children whose father headed up the state’s Wildlife and Fisheries department and passed down his passion for the environment, Angelle was quick to differentiate himself from front-runner U.S. Senator David Vitter and his old boss Bobby Jindal. Continue reading »

Apr 162015
 
Official photograph of Abraham LIncoln, taken Nov. 8, 1963. (source: Library of Congress)

Official photograph of Abraham LIncoln, taken Nov. 8, 1963. (source: Library of Congress)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Americans rich and poor, old and young, paused yesterday to remember the 150th anniversary of the assassination of America’s first martyred commander in chief, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is often considered America’s greatest president, polling way ahead of even George Washington.

A self-educated lawyer born in Kentucky’s western frontier, Lincoln became an early leader in the newly formed Republican Party and always spoke out against the expansion of slavery. Lincoln won the presidency by sweeping the North, causing the Confederate States of America to be created even before he was sworn in as America’s sixteenth president. Continue reading »

Apr 092015
 
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and supporters at the Cabildo this week. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and supporters at the Cabildo this week. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

By almost all accounts, Jay Dardenne has been a pretty good Lt. Governor. Though not a “tourism person,” Dardenne ran an efficient bureaucracy, shrunk the budget and did more with less. Under Dardenne’s watch, the number of visitors to Louisiana has grown along with tourism related jobs.

While Dardenne was solid administrator for the state’s cultural attractions and museums, he was never really embraced by tourism’s heavy hitters. That’s probably why the turnout for Dardenne’s New Orleans announcement for governor at the Cabildo yesterday was so light and why his campaign has attracted few New Orleans donors, especially among the tourism leadership who know him best. Continue reading »

 Comments Off
Apr 022015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Louisiana donors will get their first chance to view former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s all-but-declared presidential candidacy up close and personal when Bush comes to New Orleans on April 15 as the special guest at U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s fundraising reception. Dozens of Louisiana’s heavy-hitter Republican donors — and a few Democrats too — are sure to find their way to the Metairie estate of Joe Canizaro, one of the most prolific bundlers in the Gulf South. Continue reading »

Mar 262015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

There’s a battle brewing in the Oct. 24 election for Secretary of State that will pit the Republican incumbent, former State Senator and De La Salle High School graduate Tom Schedler, against LSU law professor Chris Tyson, an African-American Democrat. Continue reading »

Mar 192015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

New Orleans streetcars are our version of light rail transit, and they have made living in the city’s core more attractive.

We know of a one-car family on Carrollton Avenue. The wife uses the SUV to ferry the three kids back and forth and handle the other daily necessities of life. The man of the house only needs to look as far as his neighborhood streetcar to give him access to downtown New Orleans. Continue reading »

Mar 112015
 
Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Prologue: Each Saturday at noon on WTUL 91.5 FM in New Orleans, Mark Tobler’s DJ set almost always opens with John Hartford’s song “Back in the Good Old Days.”  The song is a projection of a future population residing at a city dump, and while there — though they may imbibe as a community — the topic of discussion and conversation will be remembering when things were better and wondering how things became what they are.

The 21st century has been a veritable roller coaster thus far for the Crescent City.  Storms, diaspora, growth, crime, food highs, political lows, Hollywood South, hospital hubbub, even an entrepreneurial hotbed too.  It’s downright dizzying at times.  And then there’s our blight — and the quest to remedy that scourge, often via demolition.  We as a city often decry the Big Easy brand as slipping away via noise ordinances, smoking bans, whatever legal challenges and changes that float through City Hall.  But removing the landscape in the name of the greater good?  To be sure, there’s no faster way to becoming Anywhere, USA. Continue reading »

Mar 082015
 

Bernard Noble, a 49-year-old father of seven children, is serving a 13-year sentence after an arrest for about two joints’ worth of marijuana, and Broadmoor residents rallied with New Orleans City Councilwoman Susan Guidry on Saturday on behalf of his release, according to a report by our partners at WWL-TV. Noble’s lengthy sentence is the result of habitual-offender enhancements on drug charges dating back to the 1990s, even though Orleans judges had urged a lower sentence, rally organizers say.

Mar 072015
 
Attendees held up "I Stand with Planned Parenthood" fans. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Attendees held up “I Stand with Planned Parenthood” fans. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

On Saturday, Planned Parenthood held the “Stand with Louisiana Women Rally” at the First Presbyterian Church on Claiborne and Jefferson Avenue. At the rally, city councilwomen LaToya Cantrell and Susan Guidry, doctors, student activists, religious leaders and Planned Parenthood leaders all discussed the benefits a Planned Parenthood center would provide for the New Orleans community and the opposition the center and the organization faces amongst other topics. Continue reading »