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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Apr 192018
 

Nearly 60 short-term rental licenses have been issued to units in the commercial 800 Common building in the Central Business District, city records show. (photo by Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

New Orleans residents who are concerned that STRS (short term rentals) are destroying the fabric of their neighborhoods will probably pack the City Council Chambers next Tuesday when the City Planning Commission receives public comment as part of a study commissioned by Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell and the City Council to determine if any modifications are warranted to existing STR regulations. It goes without saying that numerous changes are expected to be recommended. Continue reading »

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Apr 162018
 

Incoming Councilman Joe Giarrusso III speaks at a Carrollton neighborhood meeting in December. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Both outgoing District A City Councilwoman Susan Guidry and incoming Councilman Joe Giarrusso III will meet with Carrollton residents tonight to discuss issues relating to short-term rentals. Continue reading »

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Apr 122018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

While a new national survey shows that a growing interest by young people in voting, younger New Orleanians – still don’t “get” the importance of going to the polls on Election Day based on the turnout in the March 2018 elections. According to the Louisiana Secretary of state, 255,378 New Orleanians were registered to vote on March 24, 2018, the date of our last elections. Only 34,406 (13.5%) actually took the time to vote that day when a new civil district court judge, an appeals court judge and a state representative were selected. Of those who did go to the polls, 7,090 (20.6%) were 18 to 44 years of age. That means 27,313 voters (a whopping 79.4%) were 45 or older. It is also sad to note that 86.5% of registered voters chose not to vote at all. Continue reading »

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Apr 052018
 

Three former mayors of New Orleans — Moon Landrieu, Sidney Barthelemy and Marc Morial — will join current Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell tonight in a discussion on the city’s past and future as part of the Loyola Institute of Politics’ annual lecture series. Continue reading »

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Apr 052018
 

Rev. Dr. Kenneth Stephens talks with parishioners about Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Although significant civil rights progress has occurred since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel 50 years ago this week, national and local church leaders – including Rev. Kevin U. Stephens, Sr., M.D., J.D., former director of the New Orleans Health Department and current pastor of Christian Unity Baptist Church – believe that much work remains unfinished.

‘I can see a tremendous difference in the lives of African-Americans here in New Orleans in the delivery of quality health care, better schools, higher paying jobs, and the election of African-American officials including mayors and members of the City Council,” said Stephens who became pastor at Christian Unity in 2017. Stephens says the struggle for equality and economic equity began with Cain and Abel – the first two sons of Adam and Eve – and will continue. Continue reading »

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Mar 302018
 

Protesters hold signs during a March 28 meeting of the City Council utility committee. (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Entergy New Orleans has the City Council just where they want them – frequently playing catch up. While Entergy came into existence to provide gas and electric services to the ratepayers, they also have an obligation to maximize profits for their stockholders. The more Entergy controls costs, the better stockholders like it and citizens lose. Entergy is a major player in the community through their grant programs, their sponsorship of non-profit organizations and their frequent — and often behind the scenes — political maneuvering. Angering Entergy can have negative financial repercussions, as WBOK recently discovered. Continue reading »

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Mar 262018
 

(via Louisiana Secretary of State)

Royce Duplessis

Attorney Royce Duplessis overwhelmingly won Saturday’s special election to fill the District 93 seat in the state House of Representatives being vacated by Helena Moreno, according to official results. Continue reading »

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Mar 232018
 

Ongoing new construction projects in South Market District will lead to more tax revenues for Downtown Development District. (photo by Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

CBD property owners and residents were more than surprised to learn that Mayor Landrieu’s administration withheld almost $800,000 from the budget of the Downtown Development District (DDD) from 2014 to 2016 to help satisfy the city’s pension obligations. The DDD would have applied the money to increase public safety, better address the homeless issue, or make other quality of life improvements as determined by their strategic plan. Continue reading »

Mar 152018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Covington clinical psychologist Dr. Raphael Salcedo and his wife Beth don’t have much free time on their hands. They spend day and night working with girls at the state-licensed Free Indeed Home where victims of child sex trafficking come to rebuild their lives. As founders of the Louisiana Coalition Against Human Trafficking (LCAHT), the Salcedos created a state-wide advocacy program that provides information and referrals as well as training for local social service providers including police and social workers. Continue reading »

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Mar 142018
 

Lusher and Sci High students hold signs and link arms in protest of gun violence on Wednesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A month to the day after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., students from both Lusher Charter School and New Orleans Science and Mathematics Charter High School linked arms in a human chain around the large Uptown block that holds both their campuses in solidarity with students around the country protesting inaction to stop gun violence.

Lusher students hold hold a sign memorializing the students killed in a mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last month. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Continue reading »

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Mar 082018
 

Paramedics treat an overdose victim at a Mid-City car wash. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

A quick visit to a Mid-City car wash recently became an unexpected lesson for me in the deadly prevalence of our nation’s opioid epidemic when two quick-thinking customers realized that an unresponsive couple whose car was still running had just overdosed. Within minutes of placing 911 calls, a plethora of police, fire and EMS personnel arrived to administer the live-saving drug Naloxone, an antidote medication that reverses opiate overdoses.

The NOPD began carrying Naloxone in October 2016 after the City of New Orleans received a $300,000 federal grant and Mayor Landrieu introduced a new “sweeping plan” to address the crisis. In 2016 Louisiana was one of 8 states that had more opioid prescriptions than people. That same year, over 1,000 Louisiana residents died from an overdose of opioids, surpassing the number of deaths from motor vehicles accidents, homicides or suicides. While many cancer and terminally ill patients are regularly prescribed such medication, they account for only 20 percent of patients who receive it. Continue reading »

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Mar 012018
 

Louis Gurvich (center), new chair of Louisiana’s Republican Party, poses for a photo with Col. Paul “Bubba” Deckert, USMC (Ret.) and lobbyist Adrian Bruneau. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee gave new state party chair Louis Gurvich a rousing ovation at their candidate endorsement meeting Monday night. Local chair Jay Batt said it was good to have a state party chair “who doesn’t live on the other side of the 17th Street Canal.” A New Orleans lawyer and private security company owner, Gurvich beat three other candidates to replace long-time GOP leader Roger Villere who has opened a consulting firm that will field a still-unnamed candidate against Congressman Cedric Richmond this fall. Continue reading »

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Feb 222018
 

Royce Duplessis (from left), Danil Faust, Kenny Bordes and Eldon Anderson pose for a photo at the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee meeting. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

At a forum last night sponsored by the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee (OPDEC), the four candidates who qualified for the House 93 legislative seat about to be vacated by incoming City Council member Helena Moreno announced their support for a ban on AR-style assault rifles like the ones used to kill 17 students and teachers in Parkland, Florida last week. Continue reading »