Nov 232017
 

Newly elected Judge Nicole Sheppard and supporters. (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

Oct 192017
 

Attorney Royce Duplessis and Downtown Development District director Kurt Weigle pose for a photo during the National Night Out Against Crime. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

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Aug 242017
 

Albert Ledner (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

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Jul 272017
 

Breast cancer survivor Corinne DuCre-Villavasso, pictured with her family, started a foundation to help other cancer victims. (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

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Jul 202017
 

Louis Gurvich (courtesy photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

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May 252017
 

From left, the Rev. C.S. Gordon, state Sen. Troy Carter, Desiree Charbonnet, and WDSU anchor Norman Robinson. (photo submitted by Charbonnet campaign)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

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May 182017
 

City council members Susan Guidry and Jared Brossett pose for a photo with Caroline Fayard at a rally for Fayard in 2016. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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.” Continue reading »

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May 112017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

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Apr 202017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Yesterday’s announcement by Gambit that Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet will resign her position on Friday and is likely to enter the race for mayor signals how hot this contest will become. Charbonnet was elected citywide three times and is a charismatic candidate who will attract female and African-American voters, especially those from the Creole neighborhoods. Continue reading »

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Mar 232017
 

Brian Trascher (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Early next week New Orleans based Republican lobbyist Brian Trascher will be escorting CEO Ed Carlson of Odyssey House New Orleans to meet with former Georgia Congressman Tom Price, now Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Donald Trump. “It will be my first meeting with a cabinet member,” said Trascher proudly.

Trascher meet Trump and his attorney in 2011 in New Orleans and offered to help if Trump ever ran for president. When Trascher received the call, he jumped onboard to play an important role in Louisiana and around the country. Trascher says he knew Trump was going to win about a week before the election when he saw the change in direction of highly targeted phone banks he was supervising in other states. Continue reading »

Mar 092017
 

State Sen. J.P. Morrell (left) and state Reps. Helena Moreno and Walt Leger hold a legislative briefing for constituents in May 2015. All three are considered viable contenders for major city offices this year. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The New Orleans City Council is entering a transition phase as popular term-limited At-Large City Councilmember Stacy Head prepares to leave office and fresh new faces like State Representative Helena Moreno and others prepare to run for the City Council.

While Head reviews her bucket list of initiatives she still wants to accomplish or shore up during her remaining thirteen months in office, Moreno is holding a news conference tonight where she is expected to announce this evening that she will seek one of the two councilmember-at-large seats. With qualifying just four months away, other candidates are beginning to make similar announcements. Continue reading »

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Feb 232017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

As LaToya Cantrell and others step up their pace for the 2017 race for mayor of New Orleans, political insiders wonder if the best way for the Landrieu family to hold on to their power and the associated riches is to elect former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu as New Orleans’ next mayor. Continue reading »

Feb 092017
 

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (left) helps A.P. Marullo cut the ribbon on the new CC’s Coffeehouse in Mid-City. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

When supporters are asked why they think LaToya Cantrell might make a good mayor, they always talk about her commitment to the community, hard work after Katrina and willingness to take on issues others shy away from. In short, she is known as a fighter.

[Note: This is the first in a series of columns analyzing the potential candidates in the upcoming New Orleans mayoral race.] Continue reading »

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Feb 022017
 

Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro speaks. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

In remarks delivered at the Criminal Justice Conference on Sexual Assault yesterday, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro blasted New Orleans city leaders for “working from the Neville Chamberlain manual of war planning.“ Great Britain’s prime minister from 1937 to 1940, Chamberlain was often blamed for failing to prepare the county for World War II and associated today with a policy of appeasement that allowed Nazi Germany to grow strong. Continue reading »

Jan 052017
 

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Former Congressman Bob Livingston, now a Washington D.C.-based lobbyist, told talk show host Larry King on Tuesday night that President-Elect Donald Trump is making a good start on his pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington. “President-elect Trump has hired some outstanding people and is headed in the right direction,” said Livingston. Continue reading »