Feb 062017
 

Transdev shows off the red EZ10 self-driving shuttle at the Ernest Morial Convention Center. (image via our partners at WWL-TV)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

New Orleans were given a glimpse of the future this past week, or at least one possible version of it. Alas, it appears that the future is a slow-moving red box.

The corporate operator of New Orleans public transit, Transdev, held an event with Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Monday to preview its self-driving vehicle, the EZ10 “Easy Rider” Autonomous Shuttle. The red, box-shaped EZ10, which is capable of holding 12 passengers, plodded along at roughly 8 miles per hour in front of the Morial Convention Center. Continue reading »

Feb 022017
 

Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro speaks. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

In remarks delivered at the Criminal Justice Conference on Sexual Assault yesterday, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro blasted New Orleans city leaders for “working from the Neville Chamberlain manual of war planning.“ Great Britain’s prime minister from 1937 to 1940, Chamberlain was often blamed for failing to prepare the county for World War II and associated today with a policy of appeasement that allowed Nazi Germany to grow strong. Continue reading »

Jan 302017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Flanked by Gov. John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced a $40 million plan purportedly aimed at enhancing safety in New Orleans. The principal aim of the plan appeared to be twofold: 1) taming Bourbon Street; and, 2) beginning the process of turning New Orleans into some kind of Orwellian surveillance state. Continue reading »

Jan 262017
 

The Women’s March gathers at Duncan Plaza on Saturday, Jan. 21. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

“The New Orleans Women’s March was amazing,” State Senator Karen Carter Peterson told the mostly female crowd at her fundraiser Monday night. “I had no idea what to expect.” Flanked by Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Carter Peterson said the march showed that women share “a belief in our democracy” and that “our voices are heard.”

Since last weekend’s march in Washington and “sister” marches around the country and the world, there has been much talk about how to build on the momentum going forward and if women from various economic and ethnic backgrounds can work together on common issues. Continue reading »

Jan 232017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Last week, I chronicled the exploits of New Orleans’ newest weapon against the scourge of speeding – roving speed camera vehicles. You’ll recall that one of these vehicles was caught doing something rather naughty; namely, it was seen parked across the sidewalk on Lakeshore Drive.

I fully expected that the city would do what it normally does when it gets caught with its pants down: either ignore the incident entirely or (alternatively) issue a statement expressing regret and vowing corrective action to ensure that it wouldn’t happen again.

Instead, the city chose Option “C.” It dug in its heels and defended the indefensible. Continue reading »

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Jan 222017
 

The Women’s March proceeds through New Orleans. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Just as in cities all over the United States and the world, thousands of people took to the streets of downtown New Orleans on Saturday to express support for women’s rights, to protest President Donald J. Trump’s language toward women, and to galvanize further action around those issues in the immediate future.

The Women’s March passes in front of Jackson Square. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The Women’s March gathers at Duncan Plaza (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Continue reading »

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Jan 202017
 
Flowers adorn the statue of Lady Liberty as it rests by the edge of the Mississippi River. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Flowers adorn the statue of Lady Liberty as it rests by the edge of the Mississippi River. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Combine President Donald J. Trump’s paltry 15 percent of the vote in New Orleans with an inauguration day during the Mardi Gras season, and a satirical, theatrical parade was all but inevitable.

About 200 people held a jazz funeral for Lady Liberty through the streets of the French Quarter on Friday morning, many clad in black or carrying signs mixing messages of protest and hope. A few dressed as the part of the female anatomy the President has boasted that he likes to grab, and one dressed as the new President.

Images from the jazz funeral for Lady Liberty through New Orleans. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A protester dressed as Donald Trump sneers presidentially over the coffin during a jazz funeral for Lady Liberty through New Orleans. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Continue reading »

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Jan 192017
 

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond delivers the keynote address at the NAACP New Orleans branch’s 2012 Freedom Fund Banquet at Xavier University. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Though recent polls (including one from the Wall Street Journal/NBC News) call President-Elect Donald Trump the most unpopular incoming President in decades, more than a thousand Louisiana residents including Fenn French, Louis Gurvich, Adrian Bruneau, Eric Skrmetta, Brian Trascher, Billy Nungesser, Jeff Landry, and State Republican Party Chair Roger Villere with granddaughter Madison are taking in all the Washington’s sights and sounds this week in preparation for the 45th Presidential Inauguration. Continue reading »

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Jan 162017
 

Clancy Dubos, left, Gambit editor and columnist, listens to Mary Matalin, right, speak in Rousell Hall at Loyola University as part of the Ed Renwick lecture series. Carville, a Democrat, and Matalin, a Conservative, are two prominent speakers in their respective political circles. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Husband-and-wife political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin will lead a panel discussion of the 2016 Presidential election Tuesday evening at Tulane University, the university announced. Continue reading »

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Jan 162017
 
An automated traffic-enforcement vehicle with a ticket on the windshield. (photo by Charles Schully, reprinted with permission)

An automated traffic-enforcement vehicle with a ticket on the windshield. (photo by Charles Schully, reprinted with permission)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

If aliens ever came down to Earth, they would quickly determine that the government of the city of New Orleans is at odds with its own citizens, working ceaselessly to render their lives more grueling and costly.

The latest escalation of this ongoing fracas consists of the use of 55 new speed cameras throughout the parish to close this year’s budget gap. If these additions were simply fixed cameras, they would have garnered less attention. Instead, motorists this week were greeted with a cavalcade of unmarked vehicles equipped with speed cameras parked along major streets. Continue reading »

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Jan 122017
 
Kim Gandy of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (center) poses with Mariah Wineski of the  Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Judy Benitez also of NNEDV. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Kim Gandy of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (center) poses with Mariah Wineski of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Judy Benitez also of NNEDV. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Like thousands of women across the country, former New Orleanian Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), is clearly concerned. Gandy fears that some of the Trump administration’s nominees for key cabinet posts “have historic positions that appear contrary to the rights and protections they will be charged to uphold.” It’s more important than ever, says Gandy, “for women’s voices to be heard and for women to be politically active in issues they care about.” Continue reading »

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Jan 052017
 

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Former Congressman Bob Livingston, now a Washington D.C.-based lobbyist, told talk show host Larry King on Tuesday night that President-Elect Donald Trump is making a good start on his pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington. “President-elect Trump has hired some outstanding people and is headed in the right direction,” said Livingston. Continue reading »

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Jan 022017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

2016 is now mercifully over. Although the passage of time is normally bittersweet, this past year ranked more or less as the temporal equivalent of a swift kick to the groin. Thus, it was with some relief that New Orleans welcomed 2017 with champagne, food, revelry, and SWAT team members with M-16s placed menacingly about the French Quarter. Continue reading »

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Dec 292016
 

Governor John Bel Edwards greets National Urban League President Marc Morial while Urban League official Erica McConduit looks on. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Governor John Bel Edwards was grateful to receive an award from National Urban League President Marc Morial yesterday in New Orleans. Edwards knew his 2014 victory was due in part to the strong statewide support from African-American elected officials like Congressman Cedric Richmond (also an honoree) and their associated political organizations.

With almost 20 elected offices on the ballot during 2017 — including mayor, city council, sheriff, assessor, clerks of court and at least three judgeships — grassroots political organizations, faith-based coalitions, political action committees and civic groups who support candidates and/or issues are all gearing up for an active campaign season. Also active will be the two parish executive committees and their affiliates. Continue reading »

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Dec 222016
 
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise shares a holiday smile. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise shares a holiday smile. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise took his own victory tour this week when area Republicans came to honor him as their Man of the Year. An early supporter of President-elect Donald Trump and nationally recognized as a conservative leader, Scalise will have Trump’s ear and the ability to shape legislation to benefit Louisiana. Continue reading »

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