May 222017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

After 133 years of standing tall over the New Orleans skyline, Robert E. Lee has been toppled. The last removal of Confederate statuary has unceremoniously been effected.

For Mayor Landrieu, this has been marked with a great deal of self-congratulation. In a speech delivered to a select elite at Gallier Hall, he vigorously defended his removal scheme. Pundits have spoken openly about how removals may enhance Landrieu’s political capital. The New York Times even cited him as a possible presidential nominee. Continue reading »

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May 192017
 

After protests over the election of Donald J. Trump as President on Wednesday evening, a city employee begins pressure washing a “Black Power” slogan from the Robert E. Lee monument in New Orleans on Thursday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A monument supporter waves a flag with the Confederate battle emblem at the site of the Jefferson Davis monument in early May. (photo by S.L. Alexander for UptownMessenger.com)

By S.L. Alexander

We recently marked the 47th annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and although I’ve never skipped a year, I must admit I no longer have the stamina for more than one day’s attendance. But the weather this day (after two of the fest days being filled with thunderstorms) was unbelievably perfect–60s and 70s, gentle BabyCakes–er, zephyrs (it’s only the local baseball team has morphed names).

The 12 music stages included many types of music — jazz, Cajun, Dixieland, gospel, some country, some folk, a bit of rock — but the predominant genre, this being, after all, a New Orleans heritage festival, was the outgrowth of what is now called rhythm and blues, but back in the day even in New Orleans was referred to on the radio as “race music.” Walking back to the car at the end of the day, I noted with a chuckle the scores of bicycles chained to the fence underneath a sign clearly ordering NO BIKE PARKING, and I was feeling very happy and mellow when we got into the car parked on Jeff Davis Parkway. Heading back toward Uptown, my pleasant musings were abruptly interrupted by the sight of about a dozen protesters with giant Confederate flags, across the street from the Jefferson Davis monument, which was protected by a temporary chain link fence and eight NOPD squad cars filled with armed cops. My spirits plunged. I’ve been here nearly three decades, and the only Confederate flags I’ve ever seen in New Orleans before were at the Civil War (nee the Confederate) Museum. Continue reading »

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May 182017
 

City council members Susan Guidry and Jared Brossett pose for a photo with Caroline Fayard at a rally for Fayard in 2016. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

It’s official! District D Councilmember Jared Brossett will run for re-election rather than entering the growing field for city council at-large.

“After much praying and introspection about what will best benefit the citizens of New Orleans, I decided to continue to serve in District D,” Brossett told a pack crowd of supporters last night at the Maison du Lac. “There is more work to be done. We have made great investments and by all coming together the city will continue to improve.” Continue reading »

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May 152017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

We’re down to two. Of the four monuments hand-selected by Mayor Landrieu for removal, only two remain – those memorializing Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Pierre G. T. Beauregard.

If Landrieu remains true to form, he’ll leave Lee’s statute for last. It is the most prominent, the most controversial, and by far the most difficult to remove. The figure of Lee looming large over the city is a major fixture, and parting with it cuts deeply to many New Orleanians. Continue reading »

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May 112017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Industrial Development Board Chair Alan H. Philipson is no push-over. After completing a successful career in manufacturing, Philipson became a full-time volunteer and currently also serves as Chairman of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, First Vice President of the Louisiana SPCA, and Secretary of Lambeth House. He also works with Bricolage Academy, was honored by Family Services and named 2016 Activist of the Year by St. Charles Avenue.

Armed with the proper resources and consultants, Philipson is quite capable of directing a fair and impartial selection process to identify a well-qualified developer for the former Six Flags site. Instead of providing Philipson with the tools he needed, Landrieu has decided to run the process himself – a la the World Trade Center – and will get one last shot to give a major piece of New Orleans real estate to his hand-selected cronies. Continue reading »

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May 082017
 

See that bright orange parking ticket on the window? The city says this Land Rover is blocking a driveway — even though the driveway has long since been replaced by the building addition instead. (photo by Owen Courreges for UptownMessenger.com)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

You won’t find many people in New Orleans who have much good to say about the Parking Enforcement Division of Public Works. Meter Maids seem to generate a never-ending litany of complaints, the vast majority of which appear well-founded.

A couple of weeks ago I was confronted with a prime example of this phenomenon. I noticed an old Land Rover parked across the street with a ticket in the windshield. Since the Land Rover was legally parked, I was curious what the ticket said. Continue reading »

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May 042017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

State Representative Stephanie Hilferty hails from the most conservative legislative district in New Orleans – House District 94 in Lakeview. In a move that has scorched the hearts of some of New Orleans’ biggest job and tax generators, Republican Hilferty is joining Mayor Mitch Landrieu — considered in some circles around the state to be a tax-and-spend Democrat — in an wildcard move to divert tax dollars already dedicated to the Morial Convention Center to a new taxing authority, the New Orleans Street Maintenance District. Continue reading »

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May 012017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

You don’t expect a professional Poker player to inadvertently reveal his hand. His face may betray him, or his confidence morph into hubris, but any experienced professional keeps his cards close. A novice is far more likely to sputter and fumble, ultimately exposing himself to the other vultures at the table.

This brings us to Mayor Landrieu. In the game of politics, Landrieu is supposed to be a consummate professional, a scion of a local political dynasty. Lately, however, in his management of the controversy over his scheme to raze four monuments, he’s been behaving like a rookie. Continue reading »

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Apr 272017
 

Frank Luntz speaks to the Loyola University Institute of Politics on Thursday, April 27. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Why is Frank Luntz so darkly pessimistic about the future of American democracy?

“I’m afraid that this is the election cycle that kills our democracy,” the nationally known pollster and commentator said at Loyola University on Thursday night.

Luntz is so pessimistic because he is paid to listen to people, and what he hears is an America that has become completely unable to listen to one another. Continue reading »

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Apr 272017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The new tax reform plan introduced yesterday by Trump officials was painted with a very broad brush and appears to predominately benefit the wealthy. Though touted to create economic growth, it may in fact create serious implications for working class citizens who could lose their state and local tax deductions. It is especially short on details and how the plan will be paid for. Continue reading »

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Apr 202017
 

If you have to appear in Civil District Court, for matters including wills & successions, divorce, custody & support, property rights, accidents, and much more, you want a judge who is knowledgeable of the law, experienced with court proceedings, hardworking, and independent.

SUZY MONTERO has amassed thousands of hours of “real courtroom experience” in her 25 years of practicing law. She is prepared to assume this very important position. Continue reading »

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Apr 202017
 

Eric Johnson

Dr. Eric Johnson, a native New Orleanian who started a career in urban development as an aide to City Councilman Jim Singleton and has since worked in major cities around the country, made a formal announcement Thursday of his candidacy for the District B seat on the City Council that will be vacated by LaToya Cantrell’s run for mayor. Continue reading »

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Apr 202017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Yesterday’s announcement by Gambit that Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet will resign her position on Friday and is likely to enter the race for mayor signals how hot this contest will become. Charbonnet was elected citywide three times and is a charismatic candidate who will attract female and African-American voters, especially those from the Creole neighborhoods. Continue reading »

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Apr 132017
 

Timothy David Ray (via timothydavidray.com)

With City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell now officially in the race for mayor of New Orleans, the contenders for her open District B seat are beginning to line up, with political consultant Timothy David Ray the latest name to join the race. Continue reading »

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Apr 132017
 

Frank Scurlock (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Wealthy entrepreneur and world traveler Frank Scurlock, who recently submitted one of the failed bids to redevelop the Six Flags site, is a strong contender the most unconventional candidate to announce for mayor in this cycle. Some even call Scurlock “the Rodney Fertel” of 2017.

Fertel was the husband of the late restaurateur Ruth Fertel who founded the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse chain. He ran for mayor in 1969 with one campaign promise — to acquire a pair of gorillas for the Audubon Zoo. Fertel became known as the “The Gorilla Man” and was memorialized in the book The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steakby his son philanthropist Randy Fertel. Continue reading »

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