Sep 162019
 

LaToya Cantrell and Felicia Kahn at the opening of the Hillary Clinton headquarters in the 2016 campaign. Mayor Cantrell will speak at the awards dinner honoring Kahn. (Danae Columbus, UptownMessenger.com)

The New Orleans Coalition is holding the Felicia Kahn Citizenship Award Dinner on Thursday, Sept. 26, to honor the legacy of political activist Felicia Schornstein Kahn, who died June 21, 2018, at the age of 91.

Kahn fought long and hard for equal rights, civil rights and the Democratic Party. At age 90, she was the second-oldest delegate to the Democratic National Convention, her 10th convention. Continue reading »

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Sep 052019
 

Wages for many working-class residents have not risen, hurting their ability to pay higher property taxes. (Danae Columbus)

In an effort to reduce their 2020 property tax bills, thousands of New Orleanian property owners will begin pleading their cases for tax relief to the New Orleans Board of Review on Sept. 17. Homeowners who filed a property tax appeal by Aug. 22 should receive letters next week indicating their appeal date. According to Councilman Jared Brossett, who chairs the council’s review process, the hearings are set for Delgado Community College’s Lac Maurepas Meeting Room in the Student Life Center, 916 Navarre St.

Baring a national disaster, it is fairly common for the value of houses and vacant land to increase every year, certainly every four years. A large number of New Orleanians can ill afford a property tax increase because they have not amassed wealth. Simply put, wages are not rising. Perpetual low-paying jobs or a lack of training that could lead to better opportunities holds our citizens back. Increased costs of everything from milk to diapers make for tighter budgets. In addition, our large community of renters is also impacted whenever landlords raise monthly fees to cover additional taxes. Continue reading »

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Aug 292019
 

The 400th anniversary of Africans being brought to America as slaves was on my mind last Sunday when I read the obituary of the late Yorke Nicholson Corbin, a former reporter and member of the family who owned the Times-Picayune and its predecessors for almost 100 years. Continue reading »

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Aug 222019
 

U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, second from the right, with JoAnn Paulin, Kirk Williamson and Nina Roland at the Home Defense Foundation meeting. (Danae Columbus)

Gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham told a New Orleans audience last week that he would move Louisiana in the right direction by cutting spending, changing the tax structure, building the economy and creating jobs. The pledge was made during remarks to the Home Defense Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the right of citizens to bear arms in their homes as well as gun safety and training.

Abraham didn’t spend a minute talking about banning assault weapons or universal background checks. Why? Because the room was filled with Second Amendment advocates — men and women already committed to taking personal responsibility to defend themselves and their families. I believe their philosophy is the wave of the future. Background checks and assault weapon bans won’t keep criminals away from guns.  Continue reading »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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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