Mar 222017
 

City Councilwoman Stacy Head

By Stacy Head, President, New Orleans City Council

The reason you, the voter, elect a City Council is to serve as a watchdog over the municipal budget. That is our primary function, and while our daily lives can be consumed with issues like public safety, quality jobs and working schools, most assume that government will act to promote and protect the public interest.

But when politics is concerned, this public interest can often be glossed over. That is why it is important that you hold your council members accountable and question why you are being asked to pay fines, fees and taxes without proper examination.

A prime example of this is on our agenda this week and grew out of the recent consideration of the often complicated, and always lucrative, utility contracts, which are awarded by the council for $6 million-a-year for a lengthy time period. For decades, these contracts have been awarded to out-of-state firms who have maintained strong political ties to local political organizations. Continue reading »

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Mar 202017
 

A screenshot from the Krewe of Zulu’s Facebook post accepting the apology from the “Irish Zulu” group in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. (click for original post)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

I’ve always considered Mardi Gras as being a time of unfettered satire. It’s a time when krewes mock and imitate each other without judgment, promoting frivolity solely without the straightjacket of needless social convention. It’s a time when we all pull our collective sticks out of our keisters and start dealing with one another on an individual level, as opposed to one dictated to us by political propaganda.

Alas, we in New Orleans are not above being influenced by our wider culture. We may be open and understanding, but for others, any social commentary, no matter how innocuous and inoffensive, is a never-ending wellspring of umbrage and resentment. Continue reading »

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Mar 162017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

In an era when women are overwhelmingly winning judicial elections, can a man still be elected judge in Orleans Parish? Martin Landrieu certainly hopes so. The brother of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and retiring Division F Appeals Court Judge Madeleine whom he would like to replace, Landrieu is optimistic that voters will support him based on his qualifications. “Everyone stands on his or her own,” Landrieu said. Continue reading »

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Mar 132017
 

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)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

The clock has been ticking for New Orleans’ Confederate monuments. Now, the final bell may have tolled.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s plans to remove monuments to Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis had benefited from a temporary reprieve while an appeal was argued in the U.S. Fifth Circuit. Now, that appeal has been denied, eliminating the last legal hurdle for removal. Continue reading »

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Mar 102017
 

Helena Moreno (via morenocampaign.com)

State Rep. Helena Moreno announced a bid for the open at-large seat on the City Council in an event that framed her as a crusader for truth as a journalist and justice as a state lawmaker, but also gave the first glimpse into the issues that may dominate the race for control of city government this year.

Continue reading »

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Mar 102017
 

Dear Voters,

We all want the best representation and service when we see a doctor, our child’s teacher, or any professional we trust with important decisions. Why would we expect any less in our Civil District Court Judge?

I have 25 years as a successful trial lawyer in Orleans Parish and other state and federal courts. In my legal career, I have been a champion for the voiceless and vulnerable, for victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and housing discrimination. Continue reading »

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Mar 092017
 

State Sen. J.P. Morrell (left) and state Reps. Helena Moreno and Walt Leger hold a legislative briefing for constituents in May 2015. All three are considered viable contenders for major city offices this year. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The New Orleans City Council is entering a transition phase as popular term-limited At-Large City Councilmember Stacy Head prepares to leave office and fresh new faces like State Representative Helena Moreno and others prepare to run for the City Council.

While Head reviews her bucket list of initiatives she still wants to accomplish or shore up during her remaining thirteen months in office, Moreno is holding a news conference tonight where she is expected to announce this evening that she will seek one of the two councilmember-at-large seats. With qualifying just four months away, other candidates are beginning to make similar announcements. Continue reading »

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Mar 062017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

There’s no way to sugar-coat this: We came in dead last. Economically, New Orleans is the municipal equivalent of the 2008 Detroit Lions.

According to a report released by the Brookings Institute, New Orleans ranked last among America’s 100 largest cities in terms of economic prosperity between the years of 2010 and 2015. Everything decreased – worker productivity, average standard-of-living, and average wages. Continue reading »

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Mar 022017
 

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry rides down St. Charles Avenue in the Krewe of King Arthur parade in 2012. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

After serving two terms representing Uptown, Mid-City and Lakeview on the New Orleans City Council, Susan Guidry said Thursday morning that she plans to retire next year instead of seeking another office in the fall elections.

Guidry is term limited, and had been considering a run for one of the council’s two at-large seats. Instead, she said she will serve out the remainder of her term that ends in May 2018, without running for any office in the Oct. 14 election. Continue reading »

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Mar 022017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

As the nation celebrates National Women’s History Month, we in Louisiana must reflect on the thousands of bold, pioneering women who since the Ursuline nuns arrived in 1727 have always been ready to influence, innovate, and inspire. Through their leadership in education, the arts, medicine, sports, and government, Louisiana became the state she is today. Continue reading »

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Feb 232017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

As LaToya Cantrell and others step up their pace for the 2017 race for mayor of New Orleans, political insiders wonder if the best way for the Landrieu family to hold on to their power and the associated riches is to elect former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu as New Orleans’ next mayor. Continue reading »

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Feb 172017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Drew Ward is a non-traditional politician. He ran unsuccessfully for Council District A four years ago when he received a little more than 10% of the vote and has already announced his candidacy again. Continue reading »

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Feb 092017
 

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (left) helps A.P. Marullo cut the ribbon on the new CC’s Coffeehouse in Mid-City. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

When supporters are asked why they think LaToya Cantrell might make a good mayor, they always talk about her commitment to the community, hard work after Katrina and willingness to take on issues others shy away from. In short, she is known as a fighter.

[Note: This is the first in a series of columns analyzing the potential candidates in the upcoming New Orleans mayoral race.] Continue reading »

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Feb 062017
 

Transdev shows off the red EZ10 self-driving shuttle at the Ernest Morial Convention Center. (image via our partners at WWL-TV)

Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

New Orleans were given a glimpse of the future this past week, or at least one possible version of it. Alas, it appears that the future is a slow-moving red box.

The corporate operator of New Orleans public transit, Transdev, held an event with Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Monday to preview its self-driving vehicle, the EZ10 “Easy Rider” Autonomous Shuttle. The red, box-shaped EZ10, which is capable of holding 12 passengers, plodded along at roughly 8 miles per hour in front of the Morial Convention Center. Continue reading »

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Feb 022017
 

Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro speaks. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

In remarks delivered at the Criminal Justice Conference on Sexual Assault yesterday, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro blasted New Orleans city leaders for “working from the Neville Chamberlain manual of war planning.“ Great Britain’s prime minister from 1937 to 1940, Chamberlain was often blamed for failing to prepare the county for World War II and associated today with a policy of appeasement that allowed Nazi Germany to grow strong. Continue reading »

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