Aug 152019
 

District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso discusses the new property assessments Tuesday at a new Lakeview Civic Association meeting. (Danae Columbus)

The math is simple: Higher assessments plus higher millage rates equal higher property taxes. In neighborhood after neighborhood, residents are meeting to learn the ins and outs of filing property tax appeals by the Aug. 22 deadline.

“This is obviously a white-hot issue,” said District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso to the more than 400 lake area residents who gathered at St. Dominic’s School on Tuesday night. “I’ve never seen so many people at a Lakeview Civic Association meeting.”

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Aug 132019
 

As a proud man of faith, local elected leader, homeowner, non-profit director, husband-to-be, and parent, I humbly request the honor of using my decade of experience serving our community to represent District 97 in the Louisiana State House of Representatives.

It has been my great privilege to represent District 2 on the Orleans Parish School Board, serving students, parents, teachers, and school leaders in our city. And while we have accomplished great things for our students and families since I have been elected, there is much more work to be done to ensure that our children and families are able to thrive. We must tackle the systemic and solvable intersecting issues involving healthcare, poverty, workforce, education, housing, and criminal justice. I am committed to addressing these issues to improve the lives of everyone in District 97. Continue reading »

Aug 092019
 

Incumbent Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (at left) has drawn three challengers for the Uptown-based District 5 seat: “Fox Rich” Richardson (left), Allen Borne Jr. and Ronald Brown Jr. (not pictured). (via candidate Facebook pages)

In the final hours of qualifying on Thursday, the already-crowded field of contenders for about a dozen seats representing New Orleans in the state legislature swelled again to nearly 40 candidates — including the entry of three challengers to Sen. Karen Carter Peterson and a fifth candidate for House District 91.

District 91 candidates Pepper Bowen Roussel, Carling Dinkler, Mandie Landry and Robert McKnight. Not pictured: John Perry III. (via candidate websites)

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Aug 082019
 

Term-limits on a number of state legislators elected after Hurricane Katrina brought an initial flurry of candidates to newly-vacant seats in the first two days of qualifying this week, but no new contenders joined the crowded field on Thursday morning as only a few hours remained before the afternoon’s deadline for the Oct. 12 election. Continue reading »

Aug 082019
 

Former Zulu King Adonis Expose (photo at left) swears to the accuracy of his qualifying documents. Candace Newell (center) signs her qualifying papers with supporters including City Councilman Jay H. Banks and Barbara Lacen-Keller. L. Jameel Shaheer (right), a former New Orleans firefighter poses with his family and Criminal Clerk of Arthur Morrell. (photos by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

State Sen. Wesley Bishop’s surprise announcement last Friday that he would not seek re-election has set the stage for a power struggle between two former Zulu kings — 2017 Zulu King Adonis Expose and 2016 Zulu King Jay Banks, a popular member of the New Orleans City Council and powerbroker of the BOLD political organization. After Bishop’s decision became public, State Rep. Jimmy Harris — whose current house district overlaps portions of Bishop’s Senate District 4 — staked his claim on Bishop’s seat rather than running for re-election in House District 99.

Expose, a businessman and community organizer, quickly stepped up for what could have been an easily, winnable contest against L. Jameel Shaheer, a former firefighter with limited resources who had previously declared his candidacy to “help the community.” Instead, lawyer and long-time government operative Candace Nikeia Newell arrived at qualifying with several member of the BOLD political organization including Councilmember Banks. Clearly the battle lines were drawn. Continue reading »

Aug 072019
 
Tiffany Netters, 504HealthNet, Healthy Hospitality Initiative

Tiffany Netters (center), Executive Director of 504HealthNet, speaks at the Healthy Hospitality Initiative launch event on Tuesday, August 6, alongside Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams (left) and District B Councilman Jay H. Banks (right). (photo by Justen Williams, 343 Media)

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), in partnership with 504HealthNet, have launched a program to provide New Orleans hospitality workers access to high-quality, affordable health care at over 50 sites around the city.

The new Healthy Hospitality Initiative debuted on Tuesday, August 6, after tourism and health care agencies collaborated with hospitality workers over the past year to ensure the program addresses their needs. Continue reading »

Aug 072019
 

District 91 candidates Carling Dinkler, Mandie Landry and Robert McKnight. Not pictured: John Perry III. (via candidate websites)

District 98 candidates Evan Bergeron, Aimee Adatto Freeman, Ravi Sangisetty, Kea Sherman and Carlos Zervigon. Not pictured: Max Hayden Chiz and Marion “Penny” Freistadt. (via official websites)

Four more candidates joined the hunt for two open seats representing Uptown New Orleans in the Louisiana state House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total to 11 contenders for the two positions. Continue reading »

Aug 062019
 

District 91 candidates Carling Dinkler, Mandie Landry and Robert McKnight. (via candidate websites)

Several seats in the Louisiana state legislature will be vacant this year because their representatives are term-limited, and a crowd of contenders showed up Tuesday morning for the first day of the official qualifying period for the Oct. 12 election.

District 98 candidates Evan Bergeron, Aimee Adatto Freeman, Ravi Sangisetty and Kea Sherman. (via official websites)

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Aug 012019
 

State Rep. Joe Bouie talks with voter Jason Banks before a presidential debate watch party Wednesday evening. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

It’s time to put up or shut up.

Louisiana’s election season begins in earnest next Tuesday with qualifying for statewide offices and the 144 members of the Louisiana House and Senate. Dozens of prospective candidates will be trekking to their parish Clerk of Court or to the Louisiana Secretary of State before the Thursday 4:30 p.m. deadline. They will bring the appropriate cash, cashier’s check or money order (no credit cards or personal checks accepted) and swear that they really reside where they are registered and that all their taxes are paid in full. Those who perjure themselves – and these days there is usually someone – are quickly challenged in court. Continue reading »

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Jul 182019
 

St Augustine High School graduates (from left) Judge Kern Reese, Judge Sidney Cates IV, Judge Lloyd Medley, and Clerk of Court Austin Badon were inspired by the Josephite fathers to serve the community. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

What do Judge Kern Reese, Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, Sheriff Marlin Gusman, State
Rep. Royce Duplessis, Judge Paul Bonin and Clerk of First City Court Austin Badon all have in common? Their Catholic school education helped mold them into the public servants they are today. Catholic schools have been prominent in New Orleans since 1727 when Governor Bienville invited the Ursuline nuns to establish a school and orphanage here. Continue reading »

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Jul 112019
 

Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to supporters during a rally on Monday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With almost $10 million cash on hand in his campaign account, a jubilant Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife, Donna Edwards, drew a spirited crowd of donors, consultants and everyday supporters at his Uptown headquarters opening earlier this week.

Retired AFL-CIO leader Peter Babin drove from Slidell to stand with current GNO AFL-CIO President Tiger Hammond and SEIU executive LaTanja Silvester. City Council President Helena Moreno, her chief of staff Andrew Tuozzolo, and Councilman Jay Banks were in that number with Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s close adviser Bob Tucker and staffer Julius Feltus. State Reps. Royce Duplessis, Randall Gaines and Walt Leger III attended. Leger, a $10,000 donor to the governor, gave a rousing introduction and was also praised by Edwards for his accomplishments benefiting the citizens of New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Jul 082019
 

Gov. John Bel Edwards greets supporters Monday morning at a campaign rally on Thalia Street in the Lower Garden District. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards kicked off his re-election campaign Monday morning with a rally in the Lower Garden District, drawing a crowd of New Orleans supporters with his message of progress on health care and the economy and promises of more funding for public education.

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Jul 042019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

On July 5, 1852 former slave, abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass delivered an impassioned speech — known today as “What to the Slave is the 4th of July” — to President Millard Fillmore, congressional leaders and members of the Ladies Anti-Slavery Society at Rochester New York’s Corinthian Hall. Douglass’s stirring words struck at the heart of racial and social injustice as he chastised his predominately white audience for their hypocrisy. In that era, our country’s leading elected leaders enslaved Africans while espousing freedom, justice and equality. Not too much has changed in 150 years. Continue reading »

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Jun 272019
 

A victim and a victim advocate talk with a New Orleans police officer investigating a recent crime. (Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The police labeled it a purse snatching, but to the victim it was a crime of opportunity and much, much more.

An out-of-town businesswoman was walking through the Warehouse District around 5 p.m. on a recent Sunday afternoon when a car carrying two women stopped on the corner. One grabs the woman from behind, throwing her to the ground. While the driver of the vehicle laughed, the perpetrator repeatedly kicked the businesswoman in the face and head. Blood oozing from her mouth, the terrified victim was crying and begging for mercy as the savage assault continued. Continue reading »

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