Jul 122018
 

Lawyer and activist Megan Kiefer, pictured with her uncle Chris Kiefer, believes that younger voters will change politics. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

As President Trump continues to reshape American politics, millennials like New Orleans personal injury lawyer Megan Kiefer, 34, are no longer willing to sit on the political sidelines. A married homeowner living in Bywater, Kiefer is a passionate advocate for issues she believes important and recently played a leadership role in defeating the proposed Sun Yard hotel project. “People want to live comfortably, happily and want a government that will allow them to do that,” said Kiefer. Continue reading »

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Jul 092018
 

Mario Zervigon, left, touches on how maintaining relationships in the state legislature helped pass the unanimous jury bill during a New Orleans Coalition meeting. From left: Representative Royce Duplessis; Sarah Omojola, director of the Welcoming Project; and Senator J.P. Morrell.

Members of the New Orleans Coalition gathered Uptown Sunday afternoon to discuss the fate of – and the impact of – criminal justice reform legislation in Louisiana. Senator J.P. Morrell and Representative Royce Duplessis were on hand to recap the most recent legislative session and how each bill was successfully passed, as well as what issues will be front and center next year. Sarah Omojola, former Policy Counsel for Southern Poverty Law Center and current Director of the Welcoming Project, touched on the legislative process from an advocacy level. Mario Zervigon, of the Zervigon Consulting Group, moderated the panel.

Both Morrell and Duplessis touched on how term limits will affect the new representatives’ learning curves, since the number of experiences legislators dwindle every year. Duplessis said leaning on longtime senators helped him learn the ins and outs of the legislative process. Losing older Republicans to newly elected ones who lack “flexibility and are drunk on their election” is going to be one of the most devastating impacts from term limits, Morrlel said. Continue reading »

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Jul 062018
 

California residents Teila Evans, Zena Dave’, Destiny Bennett head to the second line parade which kicked off the 24th annual Essence Music Festival. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Oakland California residents Teila Evans, Destiny Bennett and Zena Dave’ couldn’t be more excited about the 24th Annual Essence Music Festival which opened Thursday and runs through Sunday. “This is our first time to attend Essence. We’ve been planning this trip for months and are going to take in as many activities as possible,” said Evans, who manages client partnerships at a California company called Envoy. Dave’ is a marketing manager and Bennett works in social media. Female professionals are Essence’s target audience.

Since the Essence Festival began in 1994 almost 500,000 people have attended the empowerment seminars and marketplace at the Morial Convention Center, the evening concerts at the Louisiana Superdome and the myriad special events. This year will be no different. The empowerment seminars have become so popular that they are now dubbed the “Essence Empowerment Experience” and will occupy an even larger footprint. Already 70,000 people have signed up for one of the eight conference tracks. Continue reading »

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Jun 282018
 

Jared Brossett (at left) is considering a challenge to the new clerk of court, Chelsey Richard Napoleon (at right). (submitted photos)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With qualifying still three weeks away, the contest to replace longtime Civil District Court Clerk Dale Atkins has already heated up with two strong candidates – Interim Civil District Court Clerk Chelsey Richard Napoleon and District D Councilmember Jared Brossett. Continue reading »

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Jun 212018
 

Dress for Success volunteers and staff Carly Hart (left to right), summer intern Ruth Samuel, Stephanie Garcia-Bonato and Operations Director Lori Byargeon prepare for the opening of new Dress For Success offices at 1700 Josephine. Hart and Garcia-Bonato volunteered through their employer Athleta. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

“I call it my life-changing suit,” exclaimed IT professional Cheryl Butler, 2017 Dress for Success New Orleans Client of the Year. Since 1997 Dress for Success has been empowering women – including more than 400 New Orleanians each year — to achieve economic independence. Founded by Nancy Lublin, the global non-profit provides professional attire for low-income women as well as provides professional networking, job search and interview skills.

As the agency prepares to move to larger, more-centrally located facilities, DFS New Orleans is holding an inventory reduction sale today through Saturday at 6117 Magazine. Shopping hours are from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Continue reading »

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Jun 142018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

As an elementary school student attending PS #38 in Jersey City, New Jersey, this author has vivid memories of her school’s annual June 14th Flag Day celebration, where students whose families hailed from many countries paraded with their flags in a show of patriotism, hope and freedom. Americans should see plenty of those same feelings exhibited today as President Donald Trump (as well as House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, former congressman Billy Tauzin, and Louisiana-born Facebook Exec Campbell Brown) celebrates his birthday and a re-invigorated House Whip Steve Scalise returns to the Nationals ballpark to take on the Democrats just one year after his near-fatal shooting. Continue reading »

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Jun 072018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Who among us isn’t frustrated by the time and money wasted because the Louisiana Legislature cannot pass a balanced budget? Though we might be infuriated, we only have to look toward Washington to see much worse. Today House Republicans will grapple with immigration reform in an attempt to come to agreement on at least some of the policies that have divided the Republican Party and the nation for several years now. Continue reading »

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Jun 042018
 

(map via NOPD)

An alleged teenage home intruder was arrested Saturday afternoon on Dante Street after a violent confrontation; two South Carrollton fast-food restaurants reported robbery incidents, and two other robberies were reported on Tchoupitoulas and Amelia streets over the weekend, New Orleans police said. Continue reading »

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May 312018
 

Andi Saizan, Mimi Methvin and Tammy Savoie (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

As the anti-Trump #MeToo wave sweeps across America, three Democratic Louisiana women – Tammy Savoie, Andi Saizan, and Mimi Methvin — are mounting challenges to incumbent Republican members of Congress in this year’s Nov. 6 midterm elections. A resident of Lakeview, Savoie is taking on iconic House Whip Steve Scalise in the 1st Congressional District which includes portions of uptown New Orleans and the lakefront. Livingston Parish resident Andi Saizan is up against the popular 6th District Congressman Garrett Graves. Lafayette attorney and mediator Mildred “Mimi” Methvin has targeted shoot-from-the-hip Clay Higgins in the 3rd Congressional District. Continue reading »

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May 242018
 

Judge Clare Jupiter had a deep commitment to her family including (left to right) grandaughter Ayanna Perry, mother Ramona Felton Jupiter, daughter Nia Bryant and granddaughter Amani Allison. Not pictured husband Pat Bryant and son Kwame Bryant. (photo by Danae Columbus)

More than 1,000 people are expected to crowd the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church tomorrow morning for the funeral of Civil District Court Judge Clare Jupiter, who passed away last Friday from complications of a recent stroke. After proudly completing a strenuous exercise session at Touro Infirmary’s rehab center Friday afternoon, Jupiter’s heart just gave out.

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Jupiter’s January stroke came four years after a heart attack suffered in her courtroom. It took almost an hour to revive Jupiter that fateful day but EMS officials would not give up. One of them attended New Life Ministries with Jupiter and knew of her character, kindness, and giving nature she expressed to everyone she met. A week after that heart attack, a determined Jupiter walked out of the hospital and back into the courthouse. Continue reading »

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May 182018
 

U.S. Reps. Cedric Richmond (left) and Steve Scalise (right) pose for a photo during a prayer breakfast. (submitted image)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Whether the Democrats or the Republicans controls Congress after the 2018 midterm elections, Louisiana will be a big winner because of what Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) calls the “great bond” him and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) enjoy. Scalise of course is the exceedingly popular Majority Whip who was shot June 14, 2017 during a practice session of the Republican Congressional baseball team. Richmond chairs the powerful Congressional Black Caucus, whose members represent the largest Democratic block. Continue reading »

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May 102018
 

The cover of the “Collector’s Edition” Stormy Daniels issue of Penthouse magazine, which was on sale at her appearance at the Penthouse Club on Wednesday. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

“I’m here for Stormy,” said famed New Orleans horn man James Andrews, one of several hundred people who paid a $20 cover charge to see 39-year old Scotlandville, La., native Stephanie Gregory Clifford’s three-song performance at New Orleans’ Penthouse Club last night. Labeled “Pet of the Century” in the latest edition of Penthouse, Daniels has successfully used her 2006 encounter with now President Donald Trump to build her brand and her bank account as the woman whose very public body could topple the presidency. Continue reading »

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May 032018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Who would want to be groped or sexually harassed as part of his or her job? Certainly not the eight women – including Gayle Benson – who have ownership interests in NFL teams. Those eight women owners should take a leadership role in working with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to bring an end to former Saintsation Bailey Davis’ discrimination claim.

Tomorrow (May 4) is the deadline that attorney Sara Blackwell – who represents Davis and former Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Ware – set for Goodell to respond to their request for a meeting. The women have suggested a $1 settlement offer in exchange for meaningful dialogue with Goodell. Continue reading »

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Apr 302018
 

By Simone Levine, executive director of Court Watch NOLA

Simone Levine

The criminal justice system affects all of us. We pay for it through our taxes, we go to the polls to elect people to run it and then we often try to close our eyes to ignore it the rest of the year. Yet in poll after poll, New Orleans citizenry rank public safety and the criminal justice system as their number one concern.

Truthfully, we often cannot just close our eyes to the criminal courts, but instead go through a series of sentiments of trust and mistrust of the criminal courts depending on what we hear from our fellow citizens and from the news media. In fact, citizen and community confidence in our criminal justice system is one of the most integral elements of a civil society. If we do not believe the police or the prosecution will thoroughly investigate, we will be less likely to report crime. If we do not believe the courts are effective or fair, we will
feel it is a waste of our time to appear in court as a juror, witness, victim, or defendant. Continue reading »

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Apr 262018
 

Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell rides in the Krewe of Zulu on Mardi Gras day, 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

If her choice of performers for the May 7 inauguration is any indication, it’s already clear that Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell will not be bound by traditional convention as she charts a new path forward for New Orleans future. Cantrell will govern “The Cantrell Way,” with citizens adapting to her style and priorities that will surely include creating a system of governance that is more reflective of our voting majority and their needs.

Women, people of color, LGBTQ and low-income communities have always been historically marginalized, according to the Women’s Donor Network which made a presentation in New Orleans earlier this week. With her grass-roots, social worker background, Cantrell is expected to push for greater inclusion, empowerment and economic equity. Spreading the wealth and the power will be her mantra. Continue reading »

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