Nov 072016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Election Day is tomorrow, and presumably all of us have decided which awful candidates we will hold our noses and vote for this round. If we can avoid retching while we push the buttons for those races, we will be faced with six constitutional amendments that are on the ballot as well. Continue reading »

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Sep 292016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

In a speech laced with religious references, Governor John Bel Edwards told 200 attendees at a dinner last night sponsored by the Jefferson Parish Democratic Executive Committee that he was pleased that the federal government has taken the first step in committing $500 million of what he hopes will be a multi-billion dollar aid package for Louisiana’s flood victims. The group honored Edwards with their 2016 Blue Horizon award. Continue reading »

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Sep 222016
 
Jay Dardenne speaks to the Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans on Thursday morning. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Jay Dardenne speaks to the Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans on Thursday morning. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told the Bureau of Governmental Research today that the state will have no choice but to make additional cuts to departments and agencies of state government starting in January 2017 to balance the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends June 30. It’s simply a matter of cash flow, Dardenne explained. Continue reading »

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Jul 082016
 
(via https://www.facebook.com/events/286132271741029/)

(via https://www.facebook.com/events/286132271741029/)

The Family of Eric Harris, a man who was recently killed in the Central City by deputies from the Jefferson Parish Sherriff’s Office, and organizers for #JusticeForEricHarrisNOLA will hold a solidarity press conference, rally and community march at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 8.

According to organizers, the press conference is being held to communicate a stand of solidarity with the family and communities of both Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile of St. Paul, Minnesota, who were both killed by police in recent days. Continue reading »

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Jun 302016
 
U.S. Senate candidate Josh Pellerin speaks with voters in a video produced by his campaign. (via YouTube)

U.S. Senate candidate Josh Pellerin speaks with voters in a video produced by his campaign. (via YouTube)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Even today, many older Americans still may have a hard time admitting that an ancestor is bi-racial. But not 34-year-old U.S. Senate candidate Josh Pellerin, a Franklin, La., native and energy company owner based outside Lafayette who views his complex ancestry — and the way it mirrors the history of the state — as part of his appeal to Louisianans. Continue reading »

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Jun 092016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

The race to replace retiring 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Max Tobias is already heating up with three lower court judges – Criminal Court Judge Laurie White and Civil District Court Judges Tiffany Chase and Regina Bartholomew Woods – tossing their hats in the ring. Attorney Kevin Guillory who previously ran for a Criminal Court judgeship is also campaigning. Continue reading »

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Jun 082016
 

By Julie Schwam Harris

I feel compelled to set the record straight. Owen Courreges recently published a piece opposing a meaningful Equal Pay for Women bill and opposing State Rep. Helena Moreno’s actions to promote women’s equality in elected representation, economic opportunity and freedom from fear of violence.

It is critical to recognize the link between the two events that inspired Moreno to action with the “It’s No Joke” campaign. Rep. Havard’s sexist “joke” about a bill trying to prevent young strippers from being mired in potentially dangerous situations on May 18 and the defeat of a good compromise Equal Pay bill on May 19 are linked because they are two sides of the same coin – sexism and unintended discrimination against women – that are hurting women, families and the economy in Louisiana. Continue reading »

Jun 062016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

State Rep. Helena Moreno is on something of a tear lately following recent events in the legislature. First, one of her fellow state representatives, Rep. Kenny Havard, submitted a controversial amendment to a bill requiring exotic dancers to be of the age of majority. The amendment would have also tacked on a maximum age of 29 and a maximum weight of 160 lbs.

Havard tried to pass off the amendment as a “joke” about the dangers of overregulation. However, he ultimately voted in favor of the unamended bill, which tended to refute the notion that he was somehow satirizing government overreach. Continue reading »

May 232016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Long ago, the law respecting the idea of sanctuary was embedded in British common law. Fugitives would be immune from arrest in sacred places, such as places of worship. You’ve probably seen a movie where some neer-do-well runs into a church with police on his heels and yells “sanctuary,” as though he’s discovered some trump card against getting caught.

However, sanctuary wasn’t quite the unequivocal boon to absconding felons as it would first appear. If he made it inside a church, the fugitive would then have 40 days to surrender to secular authorities or confess their crimes and be subject to forfeiture of their worldly possessions and permanent exile, i.e., “abjure the realm.” Continue reading »

May 192016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Republican State Rep. Kenny Havard’s proposed “joke” amendment to Senate Bill 468 mandating that strippers be no older than 28 years of age or weigh no more than 160 pounds is just the latest example that many male elected officials still haven’t figured out that women deserve respect, let alone equal pay for equal work. Continue reading »

Apr 252016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Perhaps the most crucial skill a citizen can have when viewing the myriad policies proposed by politicians is knowing the difference between that which is substantive, and that which panders. The electorate should know when a politician is genuinely trying to make the world better, as opposed to merely looking like they’re trying to make the world better.

Alas, New Orleanians were exposed to the latter this past Friday, when Mayor Mitch Landrieu, flanked by Councilmembers Jason Williams and James Gray, proposed a five-part ordinance “aimed at promoting gun safety in New Orleans.” Continue reading »

Apr 212016
 
OPSB Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. (left) speaks on a panel with Thelma French, Deidre Johnson-Burel, Jamar McKneely and Ben Kleban on Tuesday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

OPSB Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. (left) speaks on a panel with Thelma French, Deidre Johnson-Burel, Jamar McKneely and Ben Kleban on Tuesday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The rapidly evolving plan to return all schools in New Orleans to local control by 2018 — effectively ending the 10-year reign of the state’s Recovery School District — was hailed as a vitally important milestone in the rebuilding of the city’s school system, school leaders and education activists said Tuesday night at a forum on the the process of re-unifying the school district hosted by the 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans.

Their comments were greeted, however, with questions ranging from the skeptical to almost hostile from the audience, underscoring the degree to which many residents remain unconvinced that 10 years of publicly celebrated reforms have made any substantive differences in their neighborhoods. Continue reading »

Apr 212016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Charter schools are big business in New Orleans. They basically operate in their own world and are answerable not to the voters but only to their individual boards, each of which is like a mini OPSB.

Charter school organizations can hire whomever they want, pay whatever salaries they want, and purchase supplies and equipment from vendors of their own choosing. As the more successful charter school organizations get the opportunity to start up (or take over) additional schools, their fiefdom grows. Continue reading »

Mar 142016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

It’s not uncommon for something to sound wonderful that is ultimately a bad idea — “freemium” games, bacon-wrapped pizza, going to Bourbon Street — the list is endless. It’s easy to get whipped into a frenzy by hype or sexiness and ignore practical realities.

That’s the category to which the oft-debated commuter rail line between New Orleans and Baton Rouge belongs. Continue reading »

Mar 072016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Louisiana boasts many peculiarities; things that just don’t fly in most places are commonplace here. Among these, of course, are drive-through daiquiri stands.

I won’t call the drive-through daiquiri stand “the last bastion of American freedom,” but in this regulated, sanitized age, we’re running out of ramparts. Oftentimes that which makes Louisiana more free also makes us unique. Continue reading »

Mar 042016
 

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education sent a controversial decision on how to fund individual schools in New Orleans back to the Orleans Parish School Board on Thursday, in a move that appears to at least partially satisfy some schools’ request for more time to consider the impact of a new formula. Continue reading »

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Mar 032016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

The recent announcement that former state senator and current chairman of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, Foster Campbell, has thrown his hat into the U.S. Senate competition is just another sign that Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana’s Democratic Party are preparing to aggressively compete against the state’s Republican Party in every race. Continue reading »

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Feb 202016
 

Lusher logoLusher Charter School could be as close to a week away to decision whether to file a lawsuit over a proposed change to state education funding formulas, even after a leading advocate for New Orleans charter schools called the information Lusher is providing to the public “incomplete and wrong.” Continue reading »

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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 »