Jun 232016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Now that Sheriff Marlin Gusman has acknowledged that he must cede day-to-day jail operations to a government-approved independent compliance director, how will the millions in reforms be paid for? The new expenses include the compliance director’s salary and benefits, other costs for new staff he or she will bring in as well as the new dollars needed to reach the federal government’s consent decree goals. It will be pricey for sure because the task is so large. Continue reading »

Jun 222016
 
Detective Claudia Bruce hands out CrimeStoppers flyers to a group of men sitting in Coliseum Square during an anti-crime march in July 2013.  (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Detective Claudia Bruce hands out CrimeStoppers flyers to a group of men sitting in Coliseum Square during an anti-crime march in July 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Members of the Coliseum Square Association floated the idea of adding a private patrol in the Lower Garden District on Monday night – a suggestion that was met with both strong support and staunch opposition from residents. Continue reading »

Jun 202016
 
Police investigate reports of gunfire in the 2200 block of Prytania Street. (photo by Owen Courreges)

Police investigate reports of gunfire in the 2200 block of Prytania Street. (photo by Owen Courreges)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP!

I awoke as the shots rang outside my bedroom window in the wee hours on Saturday. By the time I emerged from my house, wearing a garish, plaid Sears robe with my trusty shotgun in hand, there was nobody to be seen save a lone security guard. He crept forward from Eiffel Society, a venue down the street, his pistol drawn and at the ready.

The police arrived, shutting off the 2000 block of Prytania, but aside from collecting a few random shell casings there was ostensibly little investigation to be performed.

Naturally, I was unnerved by the experience. However, my fear was not turned against a mere instrumentality. Alas, the same cannot be said of the reaction of many Americans to the mass shooting that took place a week ago in Orlando. Continue reading »

Jun 132016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

“These modern verandahs . . . afford a perfect shelter from the sun and weather, to passers by the front of the houses to which they are attached. In sultry climates, the necessity of shade from the sun, to health, and comfort, has universally introduced the custom of balconies or verandahs; which in this respect, are equally beneficial to the inmates of the houses, and to wayfarers.”

Durant v. Riddell, 12 La. Ann. 746, 747 (La. 1857)

“It is a matter of public and judicial history that galleries, or ‘verandas,’ as they are also called, have been sanctioned by usage in New Orleans almost from time immemorial.”

Lambert v. American Box Co., 144 La. 604, 611 (La. 1919).

An iconic feature of New Orleans architecture, particularly in the French Quarter and present on most historic commercial strips, is the wrap-around, double-balcony – also called a “gallery” or “veranda” – that extends over the sidewalk. They serve not only as an attractive architectural element and to provide outdoor space for the owners of homes and commercial buildings, but they also shield passers-by on the sidewalk from the elements, thereby providing a public good. Continue reading »

Jun 092016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

The race to replace retiring 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Max Tobias is already heating up with three lower court judges – Criminal Court Judge Laurie White and Civil District Court Judges Tiffany Chase and Regina Bartholomew Woods – tossing their hats in the ring. Attorney Kevin Guillory who previously ran for a Criminal Court judgeship is also campaigning. Continue reading »

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Jun 082016
 

By Julie Schwam Harris

I feel compelled to set the record straight. Owen Courreges recently published a piece opposing a meaningful Equal Pay for Women bill and opposing State Rep. Helena Moreno’s actions to promote women’s equality in elected representation, economic opportunity and freedom from fear of violence.

It is critical to recognize the link between the two events that inspired Moreno to action with the “It’s No Joke” campaign. Rep. Havard’s sexist “joke” about a bill trying to prevent young strippers from being mired in potentially dangerous situations on May 18 and the defeat of a good compromise Equal Pay bill on May 19 are linked because they are two sides of the same coin – sexism and unintended discrimination against women – that are hurting women, families and the economy in Louisiana. Continue reading »

Jun 062016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

State Rep. Helena Moreno is on something of a tear lately following recent events in the legislature. First, one of her fellow state representatives, Rep. Kenny Havard, submitted a controversial amendment to a bill requiring exotic dancers to be of the age of majority. The amendment would have also tacked on a maximum age of 29 and a maximum weight of 160 lbs.

Havard tried to pass off the amendment as a “joke” about the dangers of overregulation. However, he ultimately voted in favor of the unamended bill, which tended to refute the notion that he was somehow satirizing government overreach. Continue reading »

Jun 022016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Dozens of heavy hitters from throughout metro New Orleans arrived at the Windsor Court Tuesday night to greet Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell who, according to a poll released yesterday, is the leading Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by David Vitter.

The fundraiser was hosted by Gov. John Bel Edwards whom Campbell endorsed early on and raised significant dollars for last year. Fans of the governor will automatically like Campbell because of his common sense, straight-talking approach. Continue reading »

May 272016
 
Libertarian Presidential candidate Austin Peterson (center) speaks at an event at NOLA Brewing on Tuesday, May 23. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Libertarian Presidential candidate Austin Peterson (center) speaks at an event at NOLA Brewing on Tuesday, May 23. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A flurry of new polls drew widespread attention this week showing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a dead heat in the general election, but that focus on the Republican and Democratic frontrunners overlooked another key feature of the polls: Americans’ deep dissatisfaction with that choice from the two major parties.

ABC News found that “44 percent say they’d want a third-party candidate to run;” NBC News recorded that 47 percent of registered voters “would consider a third-party candidate;” and CBS News found that between Trump and Clinton, 52 percent of voters “would like other choices.” Continue reading »

May 262016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Sheriff Marlin Gusman has the desire, innate ability and intelligence to operate the Orleans Parish jail but what he lacks, according to the federal government’s lead court-appointed monitor, is the basic knowledge needed to run a big-city jail and institute best practices in corrections management. This is an especially damaging statement considering Gusman has held the position for ten years. Continue reading »

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May 232016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Long ago, the law respecting the idea of sanctuary was embedded in British common law. Fugitives would be immune from arrest in sacred places, such as places of worship. You’ve probably seen a movie where some neer-do-well runs into a church with police on his heels and yells “sanctuary,” as though he’s discovered some trump card against getting caught.

However, sanctuary wasn’t quite the unequivocal boon to absconding felons as it would first appear. If he made it inside a church, the fugitive would then have 40 days to surrender to secular authorities or confess their crimes and be subject to forfeiture of their worldly possessions and permanent exile, i.e., “abjure the realm.” Continue reading »

May 192016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Republican State Rep. Kenny Havard’s proposed “joke” amendment to Senate Bill 468 mandating that strippers be no older than 28 years of age or weigh no more than 160 pounds is just the latest example that many male elected officials still haven’t figured out that women deserve respect, let alone equal pay for equal work. Continue reading »

May 162016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

I’ve said time and time again: Those who most vocally claim to care about the poor and disenfranchised in our society actually tend to do the most damage to them. Many wealthy liberals want to have their cake and eat it too; to support laws and regulations that superficially appear to help those less fortunate, but conveniently push them away and make their lives worse. Continue reading »

May 122016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Will Mayor Landrieu’s vocal support of a federal takeover at the Orleans Parish Prison be the final encouragement Judge Lance Africk needs to pull the trigger on receivership? Gusman filed his response to the Justice Department’s complaint yesterday which basically said he had not been given enough time or resources to significantly address the many issues at hand.

Under receivership, the federal government will appoint a seasoned correctional official to administer violence and mismanagement issues. Gusman would continue to serve as Sheriff but his hands would basically be tied. Continue reading »

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May 092016
 
Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, speaks to the party's Louisiana state convention in 2014 in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Bruce France, brucefrance.com)

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, speaks to the party’s Louisiana state convention in 2014 in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Bruce France, brucefrance.com)

Two Tuesday primaries ago, after a rash of losses in large states on the Atlantic seaboard prompted the media to pronounce the Bernie Sanders campaign over, presidential candidate Jill Stein of the Green Party took to Twitter to invite Sanders to “build the revolution to last outside the rigged two-party system.”

Around 8 p.m. this past Tuesday, just as Ted Cruz was announcing that he would drop out of the race for the Republican nomination, Google recorded a sudden spike in searches for “Libertarian Party.” And two days later, longtime Republican strategist Mary Matalin made national headlines by announcing that she had changed her registration to Libertarian.

As Democrats and Republicans prepare to nominate two historically unpopular candidates, has the moment finally arrived for these third parties to give Americans another choice?

“Third parties tend to be most successful in times of economic concern,” said Brian Brox of the Tulane University department of political science. “When people are feeling economic dislocation, when they’re feeling economic anxiety, that’s when they’re most open to broader possibilities than just the steady state of Republicans and Democrats.” Continue reading »

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May 092016
 
The Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard statue is located on Esplanade Avenue near the entrance of New Orleans City Park (Photo courtesy of James/Flickr).

The Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard statue is located on Esplanade Avenue near the entrance of New Orleans City Park (Photo courtesy of James/Flickr).

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

I’m not sure that you could ever find two political figures more disparate than Mayor Mitch “Sinkhole” Landrieu and Pierre T. G. Beauregard.

This is not to say that there aren’t similarities. Beauregard, like Landrieu, was born into a wealthy and influential family. However, unlike Landrieu, Beauregard soon established himself independently of his family name. Continue reading »

May 052016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Caroline Zetzmann Calhoun, 2016 Whitney Bank Zoo To Do Chair, and her team of 400 volunteers serving on 15 committees have been working overtime for weeks to put the final touches on May 6th’s thirty-ninth annual extravaganza which will draw 5,000 attendees and benefit Audubon Zoo’s Tropical Bird House.

The culmination of a year’s worth of cajoling corporate donors, restaurants, bars, and other sponsors, this year’s gala is expected to raise $1.2 million and serve as the match for millions more in foundation, public and private sector gifts which form the basis of Audubon Institute’s almost $50 million annual budget. Continue reading »

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Apr 282016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Instead of making his passionate plea from one of the city’s more dangerous inner city neighborhoods where residents experience crime day after day, Mayor Landrieu chose the relative safety of Tulane University and the campus police who could help protect attendees. Who was Landrieu’s real intended audience — the neighborhoods that can afford extra security or the law-abiding citizens who are afraid to let their kids play outside? Was Landrieu’s speech a positioning statement for his future in the Clinton administration? Continue reading »