Nov 072018

Bruce Reilly shows off a cake he and his daughter Kira Love, 9, made together, in honor of Amendment 2, which will require unanimous juries in non-capital felony cases. Supporters of the state constitutional amendment gathered in the Jazz Market on Nov. 6 to watch election results come in. (Zach Brien,

By Zach Brien,

Election day in New Orleans saw a high turnout for a mid-term ballot, and voters kept U.S. House incumbents Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, in their seats. But the biggest local celebrations turned out for a down-ballot constitutional amendment.

Supporters of Louisiana’s Amendment 2 gathered Nov. 6 at the New Orleans Jazz Market on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard to watch election results at a party put on by the Unanimous Jury Coalition. The amendment requires unanimous juries to convict people of any felony count.

Going into Tuesday night, Louisiana and Oregon were the only states where defendants can be convicted of felonies without unanimous verdicts. Non-unanimous juries are considered a vestige of the Jim Crow era, when racial segregation was written into laws after the Civil War. Unanimity already was required in capital trials and those for lesser felonies decided by six-member juries.

At around 10 p.m., it was announced that the amendment passed with 64 percent of the vote, ending the 120-year practice. It take effect next year, when it will be applied to trials involving crimes committed on or after Jan. 1, 2019.

Continue reading »

Sep 272018

Volunteers with the New Leaders Council assist with voter registration at an event for the Unanimous Jury Coalition at Urban South Brewery on Tuesday, Sept. 25. (Robert Morris,

The statewide effort to create a constitutional amendment requiring a unanimous jury vote for a conviction came to Uptown New Orleans this week, registering voters and rallying supporters for the Nov. 6 ballot question. Continue reading »

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Sep 202018
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

When Mayor LaToya Cantrell addressed the Bureau of Governmental Research on Tuesday, she was quick to talk about her desire to add currently exempt property to the tax rolls while also re-distributing other tax dollars that are generated in New Orleans, especially those collected by the tourism industry. Even though the City Council recently proposed new millage to support senior citizens, Cantrell told the packed house that New Orleans could not tax our way into prosperity and has been clear that a budget shortfall of at least $24 million is anticipated for 2019. 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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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

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 »

Feb 152018
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Trying to resolve Louisiana’s ongoing budget crisis is at the heart of the Legislature’s special sessions which begins Monday. One of the potential solutions to balance the state’s budget that will not be discussed until the March 12 regular session is the opportunity to derive more income and create more jobs through an expansion of legalized gaming. Continue reading »

Feb 012018

LAGOP chair Roger Villere with former White House Chief Of Staff Reince Pribus, Jimmy Delery and Congressman Ralp Abraham, R-Louisiana, at the Elephant Stomp. (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Louisiana Republican Party chair Roger Villere believes Louisiana citizens are already living the “new American dream,” that President Trump described in his SOTU speech Tuesday night. In Washington this week for the annual winter meeting of the Republican National Committee where President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also are speaking, Villere praised Trump’s remarks. Continue reading »

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Jan 242018

Eldon Anderson, Kenny Bordes, Royce Duplessis and Danil Faust have all qualified to run for the District 93 seat in the state House of Representatives. (submitted photos)

With the state of Louisiana facing a $1 billion shortfall this year, candidates for the special election for House District 93 said they believe eliminating tax exemptions is a better approach than the governor’s proposed “doomsday” cuts to education and healthcare. Continue reading »

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Jan 052018

Eldon Anderson, Kenny Bordes, Royce Duplessis and Danil Faust have all qualified to run for the District 93 seat in the state House of Representatives. (submitted photos)

Danil Faust, a French Quarter bartender who has made two previous bids for public office, filed paperwork Friday afternoon to run for the state House of Representatives seat to be vacated by Helena Moreno, bringing the official qualifying period to a close. Continue reading »

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Jan 042018

James Andrews (via

Kenny Bordes

Royce Duplessis

Celebrated trumpeter James Andrews — long hailed as the “Satchmo of the Ghetto” — now wants to become the Satchmo of the state House of Representatives, qualifying Thursday morning to run in the special election for the District 93 seat being vacated by Helena Moreno. Continue reading »

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Jan 032018

Royce Duplessis

Kenny Bordes

The first two candidates to qualify to run for the state House of Representatives seat to be vacated by Helena Moreno are a private attorney who specializes in civil-rights law and the entertainment industry and the current chair of the City Planning Commission, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Continue reading »

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Dec 212017

State Senator Troy Carter talks with Councilman-elect Joe Giarrusso and Clerk of Second City Court Darren Lombard at Wednesday’s meeting of local Democrats. (photo by Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

When the local Democratic Parish Executive Committee and friends met last night to celebrate the holiday season, they just didn’t talk about which candidates would be qualifying for the spring elections, but how the Democratic Party nationally is rebuilding from the grass roots. Continue reading »

Dec 132017

State Rep. Helena Moreno speaks during a candidates’ forum Aug. 5 during the race for the At-Large seat on the New Orleans City Council. Moreno won and will resign from the state legislature prior to being seated on the Council in May. (Robert Morris,

The special election to fill state Rep. Helena Moreno’s seat in the state legislature has been set for March — with qualifying less than a month away in January — and the newly-elected member of the City Council says she will resign from the legislature as soon as her replacement is elected so that the seat does not go unfilled during the busy upcoming legislative session.

“When a new representative is elected and ready to go in, I’m absolutely happy to step aside and let them take over,” Moreno told Uptown Messenger on Wednesday morning. “I just want to make sure we are never missing representation.” Continue reading »

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Nov 302017
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Attorney General Jeff Landry has had a pretty good November. He dined at Mar-a-Lago with Trump insiders, took part in a high-level fundraising reception where he made important contacts, and is poised to soon assume the presidency of the National Association of Attorneys General. Back home, Landry can’t wait to pour over mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell’s city credit card statements he has subpoenaed with a fine tooth comb. Continue reading »

Nov 022017

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Kea Sherman both spoke on the importance of preparing Democratic women to run for office at Sherman’s home. (photo by Danae Columbus for

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Politics is Kea Sherman’s passion. As an accomplished attorney, wife and mother, Sherman has always thought of running for office. She is just the kind of leader that Emerge America — the twelve-year-old national coalition and premier training ground for Democratic women — is trying to reach. Continue reading »

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