Jul 082019
 

Gov. John Bel Edwards greets supporters Monday morning at a campaign rally on Thalia Street in the Lower Garden District. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards kicked off his re-election campaign Monday morning with a rally in the Lower Garden District, drawing a crowd of New Orleans supporters with his message of progress on health care and the economy and promises of more funding for public education.

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Jul 042019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

On July 5, 1852 former slave, abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass delivered an impassioned speech — known today as “What to the Slave is the 4th of July” — to President Millard Fillmore, congressional leaders and members of the Ladies Anti-Slavery Society at Rochester New York’s Corinthian Hall. Douglass’s stirring words struck at the heart of racial and social injustice as he chastised his predominately white audience for their hypocrisy. In that era, our country’s leading elected leaders enslaved Africans while espousing freedom, justice and equality. Not too much has changed in 150 years. Continue reading »

Jul 042019
 

As the city and state released statements on the removal of hazardous waste from beneath the surface of a Gert Town street, WVUE Fox 8 News revealed documents indicating the Mayor’s Office and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality knew the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had detected 100 times the normal level of radium at the street surface. Continue reading »

Feb 282019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

A substantive prisoner re-entry program that includes rehabilitation and job training is “really critical” to reducing recidivism, said Pelican Institute for Public Policy CEO Daniel Erspamer at an YLC Leadership Luncheon last week. Pelican, a nonprofit libertarian-leaning think tank that develops data-driven policy solutions, works to bring jobs and opportunities back to Louisiana by eliminating barriers to success. It also coordinates Louisiana’s Smart on Crime business-led coalition that successfully lobbied for criminal justice reform. Since 2017, the coalition has been monitoring the implementation of the new laws and planning future steps. Continue reading »

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Feb 252019
 

Dear Neighbors:

If you’re like me, then you love this city, but you’re frustrated with the chronic challenges holding us back. My wife, Ayame, and I are determined to help make New Orleans a place where our daughter, and all children, can have promising futures. To achieve this, we need big solutions and an experienced and progressive voice representing us in Baton Rouge.

Driven by my strong desire to serve, I’ve worked in public policy my whole career: in state and federal government, and now, in the private sector. I am running to bring my experience to the state legislature as our representative for District 91, a diverse district that includes Hollygrove, Gert Town, Irish Channel, Fontainebleau, Marlyville, Broadmoor, River Garden, Uptown, and the Lower Garden District. Continue reading »

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Nov 292018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

As President Trump and Melania travel today to the G-20 Summit in Argentina and a one-on-one meeting with Putin, he will be plotting how to stay close to his imaginary friends like Saudi Arabia and Paul Manafort and continue to create havoc for his current perceived enemies including humiliated Detroit automakers, thousands of poor immigrants crowded at the Mexican border, and the Chinese who are blamed with repeatedly stealing American technology and intellectual property. In the meantime business leaders nationwide and in New Orleans have been calling for an end to the trade wars and stability of interest rates which had affected the markets.

Closely watching all these developments is Louisiana’s freshman U.S. Senator John Kennedy who is primed to announce his candidacy for Governor against John Bel Edwards. Yesterday evening respected pollster Bernie Pinsonat refused to reveal the specifics of his new poll on the race, which will be released today. Reading between the lines, it’s easy to assume that Kennedy is extremely popular with urban and rural voters which will make him a tough competitor for the Deep South’s only Democratic governor. Continue reading »

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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, UptownMessenger.com)

By Zach Brien, zbrien@nolamessenger.com

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.

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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, UptownMessenger.com)

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 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 »

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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