Jan 212016

Whether we live Uptown, in Uruguay or Uzbekistan, we are all impacted by oil and the global economy. Though many sectors of New Orleans economy like real estate and technology are prospering, the war in the Middle East and its related immigration crisis, China’s economic slowdown, the broad impact of the continuing drop in oil prices coupled with new state and local taxes on the horizon could squeeze many lower and middle class New Orleanians in 2016. Continue reading »

Jan 192016

Walt Leger

Walt Leger

State Rep. Neil Abramson

Neil Abramson

A Democratic lawmaker’s vote for a Republican as Speaker of the state House of Representatives — over a fellow Democrat in the adjacent New Orleans district — has led to a running controversy in the state’s political press and a nascent recall effort on social media. Continue reading »

Jan 142016

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

As Baton Rouge area residents listen President Obama’s remarks on Medicaid expansion today, we can’t help but think how strange our politics are getting. Governor Jon Bel Edwards can’t get his choice for speaker elected but at least St. Rep Walt Leger gets the consolation prize of Pro Tem. The next day Governor Edwards signs an Executive Order expanding Medicaid for a couple hundred thousand Louisiana residents who cannot afford health insurance, which made the President want to visit here this week. Who else noticed that Congressman Cedric Richmond was with the President on Air Force One? Continue reading »

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Dec 282015
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has really thrown down the gauntlet vis-à-vis his support for gun control. Next year, he plans to lobby the Louisiana legislature to pass an unconstitutional anti-gun law. Not only that, he actually expects the NRA to aid him in his endeavors. Continue reading »

Nov 122015

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Are voters of Louisiana ready to forgive David Vitter? We’re not so sure.

Vitter is now openly discussing ‘the worst mistake of his life.’ We believe in the power of forgiveness and the opportunity for people to atone for their sins in order to rebuild their lives. Let’s face it: adultery is more common that many people like to admit. Even the number of extramarital relationships sought by women is rising.

But we’re not sure the public can forgive him enough to elect him as Louisiana’s next governor. Continue reading »

Nov 052015
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne speaks during a gubernatorial debate as state Rep. John Bel Edwards looks on. Dardenne endorsed Edwards on Thursday morning. (image via Jay Dardenne's Facebook page)

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne speaks during a gubernatorial debate as state Rep. John Bel Edwards looks on. Dardenne endorsed Edwards on Thursday morning. (image via Jay Dardenne’s Facebook page)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It seems like almost everyone is jumping on John Bel Edward’s bandwagon. More than a year ago we ran into John Bel and Donna Edwards at an event in the river parishes. Donna proudly proclaimed that John Bel was going to be Louisiana’s next governor. Yeah, sure, we said at the time. Now we might have to agree.

Today’s endorsement by former candidate Republican Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne who received 166,000 votes is just another indication that Republican voters can give serious consideration to a Democrat who they might not agree with on every issue. We can also add Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand to that growing list of Edwards supporters along with the powerful Louisiana Sheriff’s Association. Continue reading »

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Nov 042015
Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards descends from the stage at a political forum in September. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Danae Columbus)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards descends from the stage at a political forum in September. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Danae Columbus)

After his easy re-election to the United States Senate in 2010, it might have been reasonable to think that David Vitter had put his seriously sinful past behind him, from a political point of view.

But questions about his dalliance with prostitution prominently and somewhat surprisingly re-emerged in the governor’s race in September — long before videos starring his alleged former paramour — at a forum held by the Orleans chapter of the Alliance for Good Government. The moderator that night asked a seemingly innocuous question, whether the candidates had ever violated Louisiana criminal law, and Vitter refused to answer what he decried as a “gotcha” question.

This week, Vitter apparently hoped to avoid a repeat of that embarrassment, as both he and his staff refrained from attending the Alliance’s forums on the runoff Tuesday evening. Their endorsement went instead to John Bel Edwards, who was represented by state Rep. Walt Leger of New Orleans. Continue reading »

Oct 222015

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

What has happened to our candidates in Louisiana and the U.S.? In the old days, qualifying for public office was a sacred vow people took (men only for so many years) when they put themselves on the line for the public good.

Unfortunately, in our modern election cycle we have candidates who have no qualms lying about where they live, whether their taxes are properly filed and paid, and what their sexual habits might be. More than a few elected officials also commit crimes while in office and end up in jail. Continue reading »

Sep 032015
Walt Leger speaks to a supporter at his recent fundraiser. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Walt Leger speaks to a supporter at his recent fundraiser. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We like politicians who have a plan for New Orleans’s future. State Representative and House Speaker Pro Temp Walt Leger III definitely fits the bill. Though expected to easily win re-election for a third term at the Louisiana Legislature, Leger delivered thought-provoking remarks at his well-attended Audubon Tea Room fundraiser earlier this week that quickly set the tone for his political future, perhaps as a candidate for mayor in 2017. Continue reading »

Aug 132015

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It’s no secret to political insiders that State Treasurer John Kennedy has his eyes set on David Vitter’s U.S. Senate seat if Vitter is elected governor. Vitter would be in a unique position to recommend his successor and could easily select Louisiana’s popular Republican State Treasurer. Kennedy is now running a television commercial that depicts himself as a statesman worthy of voters’ support. Kennedy is also starting to be a stand-in for Vitter, defending the U.S. Senator on several tough issues. We should all expect more of that coziness as the campaign continues. Continue reading »

Jul 302015

By Social Work Students United for Reproductive Freedom at Tulane University

As Social Work students, we are concerned about the deceitful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides vital health care services to 2.7 million Americans each year. In Louisiana alone, Planned Parenthood annually provides 16,000 visits in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans for services that include birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests and treatment, and other preventative healthcare such as much-needed sexual health education. Continue reading »

Jul 272015
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Before every great tragedy lies a series of rash policy decisions.

When 9/11 struck, we rapidly passed the Patriot Act and created the Transportation Security Administration. Provisions of the former permitted unconstitutional searches, while the latter subjected us to overly-intrusive searches executed by a frenzied, unfeeling bureaucracy.

The most recent tragedy we’ve experienced was on a much smaller scale, but it hit relatively close to home. On July 23, at the Grand Palace 16 movie theater in Lafayette, a man now know to be John Russell Houser fired a pistol into the crowd 20 minutes into the viewing of the Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck.” Continue reading »

Jul 222015

By Brendan Valentine, David Brown and Kevin Caldwell

According to Dr. Ken Roy, the passage of Louisiana’s Senate Bill 143 is “a sad day for science, a sad day for medicine and a sad day for the State of Louisiana.” Dr. Roy is concerned that it isn’t currently feasible to expect physicians to prescribe a Schedule I substance, due to FDA regulations. He also strongly implies that there are no legitimate therapeutic uses for marijuana in a natural form. Continue reading »

Jul 162015

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

With qualifying less than 60 days away, local candidates are wanting lightning to strike to drive interest and money into the fall legislative races. Will lightning strike twice for School Board member Leslie Ellison as she takes on popular State Sen. David Heitmeier? As a physician and Chair of the state senate’s Health and Welfare Committee, Heitmeier played a leadership role in the passage of medical marijuana. Continue reading »

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Jul 032015

Dr. Ken Roy

Dr. Ken Roy

By Ken Roy, M.D.

The Louisiana legislature, in its wisdom, passed Senate Bill 143 “Medical Marijuana” in both houses of the legislature, and that bill has now received the signature of the governor. This is a sad day for science, a sad day for medicine and a sad day for the State of Louisiana.

At issue is an end run effort to introduce legal “medical marijuana” into the State of Louisiana without addressing the question of legalization for recreational use. Although government has the right to legalize the recreational use of harmful substances, as with alcohol and tobacco, the current legislation skirts that question and proposes to introduce marijuana for use in a small number of medical conditions. Every time that has happened in other states, the initial legislation has been a “foot in the door,” and subsequent legislation, rules and practice has virtually legalized the recreational use, and massively increased the availability. Continue reading »

Jun 182015

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Obviously hungry for new leaders at the state level, New Orleans voters had three opportunities yesterday to hear from various candidates for state-wide office, now that campaign season is ramping up after the conclusion of the 2015 legislative session.

State Rep. John Bel Edwards, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, and PSC Commissioner Scott Angelle were generally congenial and complimentary of each other as they addressed a group of 1,000 predominately Westbank voters at the Alario Center very early yesterday morning. Continue reading »

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May 142015
Billy Nungesser speaks at the Lafourche Republican Women's Meet and Greet. (photo via facebook.com/BillyNungesserPage on April 28)

Billy Nungesser speaks at the Lafourche Republican Women’s Meet and Greet. (photo via facebook.com/BillyNungesserPage on April 28)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Whether someone is a Democrat or a Republican, it’s hard not to admire former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser. If New Orleanian are asked the names of natural leaders who were on the scene fighting to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina or to punch back after the BP oil spill, Nungesser’s name almost always comes up. The national media often flocked to this unabashedly outspoken but folksy businessman because of his obvious love for the region and his insistence that Louisiana deserves better. Continue reading »

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Mar 192015

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

New Orleans streetcars are our version of light rail transit, and they have made living in the city’s core more attractive.

We know of a one-car family on Carrollton Avenue. The wife uses the SUV to ferry the three kids back and forth and handle the other daily necessities of life. The man of the house only needs to look as far as his neighborhood streetcar to give him access to downtown New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Mar 052015

Loyola University’s College of Law will host a discussion framing low-wage jobs and prison labor as a reintroduction of slavery in a conference called “Work in the South: Dixie Cotton, American Steel and a Hurricane Named Katrina – A Reinvention of Bondage” this Friday and Saturday. Continue reading »

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