Dec 132018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

District 1 Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta and former District 3 Congressman Charles Boustany – both Republicans – are said to be considering the 2019 race for governor against Governor John Bel Edwards. Two other Republican candidates have already announced – Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone and District 5 Congressman Ralph Abraham, a physician and former veterinarian. Continue reading »

Dec 092018
 

(Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com archive)

The Touro-Bouligny Security District received overwhelming support Saturday, when 91 percent of voters within the security district pressed “yes” to continue the paying the additional millage for the next eight years.

The ballot containing two runoff contests and a city referendum drew only about 14 percent of voters citywide, but 21 percent of voters in the 10 precincts making up the Touro-Bouligny Security District showed up to vote, despite the rain. Of those voters, 385 chose to continue the additional property tax and 37 wanted to end it.

Continue reading »

Dec 072018
 

State Senate President John Alario, criminal defense attorney Mike Fawer and Claude Kelly, who heads up the Indigent Defenders program at federal court, pose for a photo. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Surrounded by dozens of family, friends, and public officials, legendary criminal defense lawyer Michael Fawer unveiled his new memoir, “From The Bronx To The Bayou,” on Tuesday evening at Martine Chaisson Gallery. In concise, easy-to-read chapters that cover nearly every major case he ever handled, Fawer relives the hits and misses of almost 60 years representing some of Louisiana and Mississippi’s most colorful figures including Edwin Edwards, Aaron Mintz, Charles Evers, and Chief Judge Walter Nixon. Now in his early 80’s and on the verge of retirement, Fawer’s life has been his work. He tried more than 125 criminal cases to verdict and argued more than 25 appeals. Continue reading »

Nov 292018
 

2018 Quality of Life Survey includes City Council, crime, affordable housing, traffic cameras and more

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has a 57 percent job approval rating overall, according to the 2018 Quality of Life Survey conducted by the University of New Orleans Survey Research Center. The survey, known as the UNO Poll, also found that Orleans Parish residents consider crime to be the biggest problem facing the parish, and nearly half of New Orleans residents approve of the job the City Council is doing.

Mayor Cantrell Job Approval Rating 2018

Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s job approval results from the UNO Survey Research Center’s 2018 Quality of Life Survey (via UNO)

The survey of 500 Orleans Parish voters and 500 Jefferson Parish voters took place from Oct. 17 to Nov. 5. There is a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.4 percent. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Mayor Cantrell gets 57 percent approval rating in new quality of life survey
Nov 292018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

As President Trump and Melania travel today to the G-20 Summit in Argentina and a one-on-one meeting with Putin, he will be plotting how to stay close to his imaginary friends like Saudi Arabia and Paul Manafort and continue to create havoc for his current perceived enemies including humiliated Detroit automakers, thousands of poor immigrants crowded at the Mexican border, and the Chinese who are blamed with repeatedly stealing American technology and intellectual property. In the meantime business leaders nationwide and in New Orleans have been calling for an end to the trade wars and stability of interest rates which had affected the markets.

Closely watching all these developments is Louisiana’s freshman U.S. Senator John Kennedy who is primed to announce his candidacy for Governor against John Bel Edwards. Yesterday evening respected pollster Bernie Pinsonat refused to reveal the specifics of his new poll on the race, which will be released today. Reading between the lines, it’s easy to assume that Kennedy is extremely popular with urban and rural voters which will make him a tough competitor for the Deep South’s only Democratic governor. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: How will President Trump’s politics play in Louisiana governor’s race?
Nov 222018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Thanksgiving is more than the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. It’s also a time when we should recognize, appreciate and be grateful for all the riches we have received. Today, take a minute to say thanks to the people in your life – friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.

Together, we make a better New Orleans. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Giving thanks for all we have in New Orleans
Nov 152018
 

Former Lt. Governor Jimmy Fitzmorris with Joseph Berry and Jeff Courere at NOMA for the film premiere of FITZ! (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

On the eve of his 97th birthday, almost 200 admirers turned out last night to honor former Lt. Governor Jimmy Fitzmorris at the NOMA premiere of a new documentary on his life and political legacy. Co-produced by Jeff Courere and his sister Pat Denechaud, the film will begin airing tonight on WLAE-TV at 8 p.m. and will also run on statewide public television in 2019. In his opening remarks, current Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser said that if today’s public officials “can do half the job Jimmy Fitzmorris did with love and passion for Louisiana, our careers would be a success.” Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Jimmy Fitzmorris — A lifetime of service to Louisiana
Nov 092018
 

Congressman Steve Scalise and son, Harrison, hunt ducks on the bayou. (via Steve Scalise on Twitter)

The raison d’être of the Louisiana sportsman may be hunting and fishing, but after the hunt, placing fire under the game or haul is just as crucial. Recently re-elected U.S. Representative Steve Scalise, like most born to New Orleans, melds the two seamlessly.

He’s also not above sharing a cooking tip along the way: “My favorite recipe for venison involves taking the backstrap (tenderloin), marinating it with a little Worcestershire sauce, then wrapping it in bacon and throwing it on the grill.” The congressional leader deems the end result as pretty darn good too.

“I first started hunting with my dad. He used to take me deer hunting every fall at a friend’s camp in Georgia. We would drive up together every year, just he and I, and it was a great way to bond with him. We came home with a big ice chest full of venison. I fell in love with it,” said Scalise. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Kristine Froeba: Steve Scalise on duck hunting, grilled backstrap, and days at the camp
Nov 082018
 

Chelsey Richard Napoleon (second from left) poses for a photo with her daughter, mother and grandmother after filing her election paperwork on July 18, 2018. ( UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The impact of women marching to victory across America are played out in Louisiana where three women either won their races or are headed into runoffs. Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup, a lawyer, accountant and minister from East Feliciana Parish who only raised $3000 and rarely campaigned in New Orleans, stunned the state’s political establishment by running a strong second for Secretary of State in a crowded field. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Women score upsets in Louisiana races
Nov 072018
 

Bruce Reilly shows off a cake he and his daughter Kira Love, 9, made together, in honor of Amendment 2, which will require unanimous juries in non-capital felony cases. Supporters of the state constitutional amendment gathered in the Jazz Market on Nov. 6 to watch election results come in. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

By Zach Brien, zbrien@nolamessenger.com

Election day in New Orleans saw a high turnout for a mid-term ballot, and voters kept U.S. House incumbents Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, in their seats. But the biggest local celebrations turned out for a down-ballot constitutional amendment.

Supporters of Louisiana’s Amendment 2 gathered Nov. 6 at the New Orleans Jazz Market on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard to watch election results at a party put on by the Unanimous Jury Coalition. The amendment requires unanimous juries to convict people of any felony count.

Going into Tuesday night, Louisiana and Oregon were the only states where defendants can be convicted of felonies without unanimous verdicts. Non-unanimous juries are considered a vestige of the Jim Crow era, when racial segregation was written into laws after the Civil War. Unanimity already was required in capital trials and those for lesser felonies decided by six-member juries.

At around 10 p.m., it was announced that the amendment passed with 64 percent of the vote, ending the 120-year practice. It take effect next year, when it will be applied to trials involving crimes committed on or after Jan. 1, 2019.

Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Activist group celebrates passage of constitutional amendment
Nov 052018
 

(via conservativesconcerned.org)

While abolition of the death penalty has long been considered a liberal policy goal, a new group of conservatives activists say it fundamentally conflicts with their view of a limited government, and they are now organizing an effort to end its practice in Louisiana. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Conservative-led effort to abolish death penalty headed to Louisiana, activists say
Nov 012018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Candidates and Trump make last-minute push toward Election Day
Oct 292018
 

Dear New Orleans Voters,

My name is Austin Badon and I am running to be your next First City Clerk of Court. The reasons why are fairly simple: I love helping people, I am willing to work hard to improve our community, and I firmly believe your family and mine should have access to the justice system in a manner that is efficient, cost-effective and easy.

The Clerk of First City Court is an administrative position, and most of you know this office as the door to the “people’s court” or First City Court where four Judges you elect hear small business and personal claims.

When this office is run right, our city works better. When our basic disagreements as citizens are resolved quickly, there is no need for “street justice”. Quite simply, we’re all safer. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Candidate’s Message from Austin Badon: Providing Efficient, Cost-Effective and Easy Access to Justice for All
Oct 292018
 

Advocate political reporter Tyler Bridges (right) and Tulane historian Lawrence Powell (left) engage in conversation about Bridges’ new book at Octavia Books Thursday, Oct. 25. Bridges’ book, “The Rise and Fall of David Duke” is an update of his 1995 book “The Rise of David Duke.” (photo by Nicholas Reimann for UptownMessenger.com)

By Nicholas Reimann for UptownMessenger.com

The journalist that’s covered essentially the entire political career of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said it’s clear the man himself has no political future — even as many of the ideas he ran on in the early 1990s are now gaining wider acceptance by mainstream politicians.

Current Advocate and former Times-Picayune political reporter Tyler Bridges shared those thoughts at Octavia Books Thursday, as he and Lawrence Powell — Tulane historian and co-founder of the anti-Duke Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism — met for conversation about Bridges’ new book, “The Rise and Fall of David Duke.” Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Despite efforts to align himself with Trump, David Duke remains “toxic” politically, biographer says
Oct 252018
 

Mary Keller Zervigon (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Service to community moves Mary Keller Zervigon