Mar 212019
 

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

There are many excellent health care providers in the New Orleans area. One stands out for its almost 200-year commitment and unique wrap-around services – the Daughters of Charity. First at the now-shuttered Charity Hospital and today through 10 neighborhood health centers including one located at 3201 S. Carrollton, the Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans, or DCSNO, strive to eradicate health care disparities by providing affordable, high-quality care to children, adolescents, adults and seniors.

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Mar 152019
 

A sample of proposed redesigns of Zulu facepaint by artist Journey Allen. (courtesy of Take Em Down NOLA)

A group of New Orleans artists have imagined new face-makeup designs for riders in the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club’s parade to replace the group’s traditional blackface that hearkens back to racist minstrelsy displays, activists said Monday night at a panel discussion about the issue.

The Krewe of Zulu rolls on St. Charles Avenue on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Mar 142019
 

Council on Aging Director Howard Rodgers with seniors William Larce and Barbara Bloodworth at the Carrollton Hollygrove Multi-purpose Center. (Danae Columbus, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

On Saturday, March 30, New Orleanians will vote on a 2-mill property tax that would fund services for seniors. If approved, the new millage is expected to generate $6.6 million annually. The “average” New Orleans homeowner would pay less than $100 per year.

I am one of almost 80,000 people aged 55 and over who live in Orleans Parish. Together we represent almost 25 percent of the city’s population. Experts agree that older adults are the most under-served population in our community. Though I have never participated in any of the programs offered seniors by the New Orleans Council on Aging or even through my church, I know how vital they are to the health and welfare of those served. Continue reading »

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Feb 282019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

A substantive prisoner re-entry program that includes rehabilitation and job training is “really critical” to reducing recidivism, said Pelican Institute for Public Policy CEO Daniel Erspamer at an YLC Leadership Luncheon last week. Pelican, a nonprofit libertarian-leaning think tank that develops data-driven policy solutions, works to bring jobs and opportunities back to Louisiana by eliminating barriers to success. It also coordinates Louisiana’s Smart on Crime business-led coalition that successfully lobbied for criminal justice reform. Since 2017, the coalition has been monitoring the implementation of the new laws and planning future steps. Continue reading »

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Feb 252019
 

Dear Neighbors:

If you’re like me, then you love this city, but you’re frustrated with the chronic challenges holding us back. My wife, Ayame, and I are determined to help make New Orleans a place where our daughter, and all children, can have promising futures. To achieve this, we need big solutions and an experienced and progressive voice representing us in Baton Rouge.

Driven by my strong desire to serve, I’ve worked in public policy my whole career: in state and federal government, and now, in the private sector. I am running to bring my experience to the state legislature as our representative for District 91, a diverse district that includes Hollygrove, Gert Town, Irish Channel, Fontainebleau, Marlyville, Broadmoor, River Garden, Uptown, and the Lower Garden District. Continue reading »

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Feb 212019
 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell participates in a panel discussion on gentrification at Tulane Hillel in 2015, while Flozell Daniels of the Foundation for Louisiana listens. ( UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Mayor LaToya Cantrell was smart to ask Governor John Bel Edwards to form a working group to identify funding solutions for New Orleans sewerage and drainage problems. Edwards is up for re-election in the fall and will need the support of the popular Cantrell and New Orleans voters. Unfortunately, there is only so much the governor will be able to do without identifying a new taxing source. So far the tourism industry has successfully fought back against Cantrell co-opting any of their existing tax dollars but has pledged to work with her on creating a small new tax. Continue reading »

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Feb 182019
 

Mystick Krewe of Louisianians revelers second-line to the jazz orchestra while tossing beads and throws to Washington, D.C., ball attendees on Feb. 3. (Kristine Froeba)

The movers and shakers of Louisiana including quite a bit of New Orleans, and more than a few hundred Uptowners recently descended on the nation’s capital to celebrate the annual Washington Mardi Gras.

“If a bomb dropped on this ballroom tonight, Louisiana as you know it would cease to exist,” said one of the organizers at the Saturday night ball. Leaders of business, law partners, CEOs, congressmen, congresswomen, mayors, senators and the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, were all present. Continue reading »

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Feb 142019
 

Diana Bajoie (third from left) was recently honored for her many contributions. Attendees included Mayor LaToya Cantrell and former elected officials Irma Muse Dixon, Cynthia Willard Lewis, Renee Gill Pratt and Cynthia Hedge Morrell. (submitted photo by Elijah Brown)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Diana Bajoie smiled broadly when the Downtown Development District’s Kurt Weigle touted $500 million dollars of construction permits issued in 2018. First as the area’s State Representative and later as State Senator, Bajoie delivered billions in capital outlay funds for the Morial Convention Center, LSU Health Sciences Center, the Port of New Orleans and many other organizations which laid the foundation for the New Orleans economy that citizens enjoy today. Working closely with numerous governors and legislative leaders, it was Bajoie’s task to gather support across party and geographic lines. Continue reading »

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Feb 072019
 

The building at 820-822 Baronne Street. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Preservationists Mike and Bettye Duplantier bought a run-down historic town house at 820 Baronne in 1978 and enjoyed a bird’s-eye view of the neighborhood’s transition from skid row to prime South Market District real estate. Little did they know that 40 years later a well-meaning young couple would dream of converting the spacious adjoining town house at 822 Baronne into a 10 to 12-room boutique hotel with lobby bar and courtyard. Both buildings share a common attic. Continue reading »

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Jan 312019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer made a wise choice in his selection of former Georgia state representative Stacey Abrams, 45, to deliver the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address February 5. A rising star who narrowly lost a bid for governor in 2018, Abrams preached a vision of prosperity and equality that resonated with voters and donors. As a rebuttal speaker to President Trump, Abrams represents three important target audiences Democrats must stitch together – she is an African-American female, under the age of 50, and progressive — rather than liberal-to-a-fault, like many of the party’s fiery new faces. Continue reading »

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Jan 242019
 

Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks during the Katrina 10 commemoration at the Smoothie King Center on Saturday. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With little fanfare last July, former Mayor Mitch Landrieu created the E Pluribus Unum Fund which is serving as a fundraising vehicle to stay in the public eye — while contemplating a future in Washington, D.C. where the fund is based. “We are better together than we are apart,” the fund’s website (unumfund.org) declares.

With an initial focus on the American South, EPUF’s vision is to bring people together around common purpose, shared responsibility and opportunity rather than being divided by anger, hate and fear. Issues to be addressed include race, equity, economic opportunity and violence, as well as explore an institute for racial reconciliation, Landrieu told New York Times columnist Charles Blow in a recent interview about his often-discussed Presidential prospects. Landrieu is also serving as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics this spring. Continue reading »

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Jan 182019
 

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) poses for a social-media video with members of the Eleanor McMain choir after speaking at Xavier University. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Widely viewed as a top contender for the Democratic Presidential nomination, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker told thousands of New Orleans high school students on Friday morning that they have the power to bring about the next generation of social changes in America.

“The opposite of justice is not injustice,” Booker said Friday morning at Xavier University. “It’s apathy and indifference.”

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Jan 172019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Even though the effects of the unpopular federal shutdown — now the longest in U.S. history — are playing out in cities and towns across America, Republicans are determined to elect more local and statewide officials in Louisiana and other Southern states. Dubbed the start of the 2020 election season, this weekend’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference at the Pontchartrain Center will serve as a rallying point for more than 1,000 GOP faithful, elected officials, and prospective candidates — especially Congressman Ralph Abraham and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone, who have already entered the race against Gov. John Bel Edwards, and former Congressman John Fleming who is said to be considering the same race. GOP candidates down-ballot in the 2019 legislative and local races need a strong slate of contenders for statewide offices to guard against voter apathy. Continue reading »

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Jan 152019
 

NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison (left) congratulates newly-appointed Second District Commander Shaun Ferguson with a handshake during a community meeting in 2016 at Touro Infirmary. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Commander Shaun Ferguson — who spent much of his 21-year-career in the New Orleans Police Department in leadership roles in Uptown districts — is Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s choice to be the department’s next chief. Continue reading »

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Jan 102019
 

With qualifying for the fall state-wide and legislative races just 208 days away, Carling Dinkler IV will be the first candidate to formally announce a bid for the Louisiana Legislature — State Representative District 91 — tomorrow evening at Propeller. Dinkler will have big shoes to fill if he succeeds in replacing the popular but term-limited Walt Leger. “I am humbled and excited to announce I am running for State Representative,” Dinkler tweeted.

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

A life-long New Orleanian who lives with his wife Ayame and young daughter in Uptown’s Marlyville neighborhood, Dinkler is currently vice president of business development at Enhanced Capital, a firm that helps secure historic preservation tax credits. He also plays a role in the firm’s governmental relations efforts. Continue reading »

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