Who among us isn’t frustrated by the time and money wasted because the Louisiana Legislature cannot pass a balanced budget? Though we might be infuriated, we only have to look toward Washington to see much worse. Today House Republicans will grapple with immigration reform in an attempt to come to agreement on at least some of the policies that have divided the Republican Party and the nation for several years now.
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.
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.
Donald Trump was elected President of the United States because he “rekindled a dream for millions of
Americans” at a time when the Washington establishment “failed to stand up for the people they were elected to represent,” said former Trump insiders Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. The duo was in Metairie earlier this week for a luncheon and signing of their recent book, “Let Trump Be Trump.” Hosted by the Greater New Orleans Republicans, the event also featured Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry who introduced the authors.
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.
While many New Orleanians are singularly focused on Mardi Gras, candidates running for State Legislature, Civil District Court and Appeals Court are spending their evenings talking to neighborhood, civic and political organizations including BOLD and the Alliance for Good Government – both of whom met last night. The three quick Alliance forums were probably the first real opportunity for the city’s political players to see the candidates side by side.
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.
Newly elected judge Nicole Sheppard, Civil District Court Division J, has the common touch. In a relatively low budget campaign with few paid consultants, Sheppard coasted to a very comfortable victory over attorney Omar Mason by conducting an old-fashioned grassroots campaign in the churches and the streets.
“We definitely worked hard. The voters believed in me, my sincerity and my independence. They could feel my passion to serve the people,” Sheppard reflected yesterday. The CDC vacancy occurred due to the election of Judge Paula Brown to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal.
While Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler is expected to formally certify the election of State Rep. Helena Moreno to the New Orleans City Council later today, potential candidates including attorney and City Planning Commission member Royce Duplessis are already lining up for the District 93 race.
When the Louisiana Architectural Foundation decided to bring the 9th annual Architecture & Design Film Festival to New Orleans, foundation director Stacey Pfingsten knew that the festival must include the world premiere of “Designing Life: The Organic Modernism of Albert C. Ledner.”
The nation’s largest film festival devoted to architecture and design, the ADFF “celebrates the creative spirit behind many of the world’s most innovative architecture and design projects and the larger-than-life personalities who create them.” Ledner, a spry 93-year old native New Orleanian who still practices his craft, certainly fits the bill.
A consummate wife, mother and urban planning consultant, Corinne DuCre-Villavasso, was living the life she always dreamed of when in 2014 she tested positive for the Braca 1 gene mutation commonly associated with breast cancer. DuCre-Villavasso had just given birth to her third child and was visiting her physician for a post-partum check-up when told of her diagnosis.
New Orleans business leader Louis Gurvich, a long-time member of the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee and the Republican State Central Committee, wants to be elected chairman of Louisiana’s Republican Party, now 900,000 members strong. If elected, Gurvich will succeed current state party chair Roger Villere, who is retiring after overseeing the Republicans’ rise to dominance in state politics over the last 14 years. Villere is the longest-serving state GOP chair in the U.S. and is vice chair of the Republican National Committee.
“When Roger first became chair, the Louisiana Republican Party was a much smaller, less powerful organization,” said Gurvich, who also previously served on the Orleans Parish Board of Election Supervisors. Secretary of State Fox McKeithen was the only Republican statewide elected official. Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards is the only statewide elected Democrat. The number of parish-level and regional Republican elected officials has also grown significantly.
It was no coincidence that Dr. C.S. Gordon Jr. gave the invocation at mayoral candidate Desiree Charbonnet’s announcement Monday evening. As one of the state’s most powerful African-American ministers and pastor of Central City’s 96-year-old New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Gordon and his fellow pastors throughout New Orleans are primed to play a pivotal role in this year’s race for mayor.
It’s official! District D Councilmember Jared Brossett will run for re-election rather than entering the growing field for city council at-large.
“After much praying and introspection about what will best benefit the citizens of New Orleans, I decided to continue to serve in District D,” Brossett told a pack crowd of supporters last night at the Maison du Lac. “There is more work to be done. We have made great investments and by all coming together the city will continue to improve.”
Industrial Development Board Chair Alan H. Philipson is no push-over. After completing a successful career in manufacturing, Philipson became a full-time volunteer and currently also serves as Chairman of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, First Vice President of the Louisiana SPCA, and Secretary of Lambeth House. He also works with Bricolage Academy, was honored by Family Services and named 2016 Activist of the Year by St. Charles Avenue.
Armed with the proper resources and consultants, Philipson is quite capable of directing a fair and impartial selection process to identify a well-qualified developer for the former Six Flags site. Instead of providing Philipson with the tools he needed, Landrieu has decided to run the process himself – a la the World Trade Center – and will get one last shot to give a major piece of New Orleans real estate to his hand-selected cronies.