Apr 182019
 

Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks during the Katrina 10 commemoration at the Smoothie King Center in 2015. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Now that Sen. Bernie Sanders has pulled ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden in the first major national presidential poll of 2019 Democratic contenders, former Mayor Mitch Landrieu should join the race for President. When Landrieu first left office, rumors circulated that he was interested in running, but only if Biden did not make the race.

A year later, Biden is slipping while other fresh-face candidates like South Bend Indiana Mayor Peter Buttigieg are grabbing the spotlight. Released by Emerson College on Monday, the poll included 20 potential candidates. Respondents selected Sanders as their first choice (29%), Biden as their second choice (24%) and Buttigieg as their third choice (9%). Continue reading »

Apr 042019
 

State Sen. J.P. Morrell addresses supporters of his efforts to ratify the ERA in the 2019 legislative session. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Hundreds of women from across Louisiana are expected to travel to Baton Rouge on Tuesday for an ERA march and lobbying day, an opening salvo in the effort for Louisiana to be the critical 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Ellie Smeal, staunch ERA supporter and president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, is speaking at a legislative kickoff luncheon Sunday in Baton Rouge sponsored by the American Association of University Women Louisiana, a long-time supporter of the legislation.

“Now is the right time to have the ERA conversation in Louisiana,” said state Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, who is spearheading the state’s ratification process. “Women should be valued the same as men. Let’s move beyond partisan, old-school politics.” Continue reading »

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Mar 282019
 

Lt Gov. Billy Nungesser chats with former LSU linebacker Devin White, a top 2019 draft pick, at last Saturday’s Louisiana Derby. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

While most state officials are spending this week preparing for the upcoming legislative session, yesterday Louisiana’s 54th Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser participated in a White House roundtable in Washington, D.C., on the nation’s economy and trade led by National Economic Council Director and Deputy Assistant to the President Larry Kudlow.

He attended a dinner at the Embassy of Canada where he discussed cultural similarities and additional air-travel opportunities. Today he is moderating a panel on changes to veterans’ health care and will be meeting privately with the ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany for more tourism talks. Continue reading »

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Mar 212019
 

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

There are many excellent health care providers in the New Orleans area. One stands out for its almost 200-year commitment and unique wrap-around services – the Daughters of Charity. First at the now-shuttered Charity Hospital and today through 10 neighborhood health centers including one located at 3201 S. Carrollton, the Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans, or DCSNO, strive to eradicate health care disparities by providing affordable, high-quality care to children, adolescents, adults and seniors.

Continue reading »

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Mar 142019
 

Council on Aging Director Howard Rodgers with seniors William Larce and Barbara Bloodworth at the Carrollton Hollygrove Multi-purpose Center. (Danae Columbus, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

On Saturday, March 30, New Orleanians will vote on a 2-mill property tax that would fund services for seniors. If approved, the new millage is expected to generate $6.6 million annually. The “average” New Orleans homeowner would pay less than $100 per year.

I am one of almost 80,000 people aged 55 and over who live in Orleans Parish. Together we represent almost 25 percent of the city’s population. Experts agree that older adults are the most under-served population in our community. Though I have never participated in any of the programs offered seniors by the New Orleans Council on Aging or even through my church, I know how vital they are to the health and welfare of those served. Continue reading »

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Mar 072019
 

Girl Scouts CEO Becky Pennington, sate Rep John Bagneris, board member Betsy Stoner and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge Morrell talk about the future of Scouting. (Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

In an era when young women have many more options for enrichment activities, the Girl Scouts Louisiana East, or GSLE, are embracing the challenge of serving an ever-evolving audience with new board and staff and a renewed commitment to helping girls become leaders.

The agency recently introduced a new chief executive officer, Dr. Rebecca Pennington, at a reception attended by dozens of former Girl Scouts and their supporters, including Judge Dale Atkins, state Rep. John Bagneris, Kelder Summers, Judge Robin Pittman, the Rev. Rob Courtney, Clerk of Court Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Marguerite Redwine, Brett Bonin, state Rep. Joe Bouie, Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott, Judge Ellen Hazeur, Lyndia Jones, Jodi LaFranca, Patrice Sams-Abiodun, Maury Baker, Wayne Know and third-generation Girl Scout Jesse Smith Thomas.

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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 212019
 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell participates in a panel discussion on gentrification at Tulane Hillel in 2015, while Flozell Daniels of the Foundation for Louisiana listens. ( UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Mayor LaToya Cantrell was smart to ask Governor John Bel Edwards to form a working group to identify funding solutions for New Orleans sewerage and drainage problems. Edwards is up for re-election in the fall and will need the support of the popular Cantrell and New Orleans voters. Unfortunately, there is only so much the governor will be able to do without identifying a new taxing source. So far the tourism industry has successfully fought back against Cantrell co-opting any of their existing tax dollars but has pledged to work with her on creating a small new tax. Continue reading »

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Jan 312019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer made a wise choice in his selection of former Georgia state representative Stacey Abrams, 45, to deliver the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address February 5. A rising star who narrowly lost a bid for governor in 2018, Abrams preached a vision of prosperity and equality that resonated with voters and donors. As a rebuttal speaker to President Trump, Abrams represents three important target audiences Democrats must stitch together – she is an African-American female, under the age of 50, and progressive — rather than liberal-to-a-fault, like many of the party’s fiery new faces. Continue reading »

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Jan 242019
 

Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks during the Katrina 10 commemoration at the Smoothie King Center on Saturday. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With little fanfare last July, former Mayor Mitch Landrieu created the E Pluribus Unum Fund which is serving as a fundraising vehicle to stay in the public eye — while contemplating a future in Washington, D.C. where the fund is based. “We are better together than we are apart,” the fund’s website (unumfund.org) declares.

With an initial focus on the American South, EPUF’s vision is to bring people together around common purpose, shared responsibility and opportunity rather than being divided by anger, hate and fear. Issues to be addressed include race, equity, economic opportunity and violence, as well as explore an institute for racial reconciliation, Landrieu told New York Times columnist Charles Blow in a recent interview about his often-discussed Presidential prospects. Landrieu is also serving as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics this spring. Continue reading »

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Jan 102019
 

With qualifying for the fall state-wide and legislative races just 208 days away, Carling Dinkler IV will be the first candidate to formally announce a bid for the Louisiana Legislature — State Representative District 91 — tomorrow evening at Propeller. Dinkler will have big shoes to fill if he succeeds in replacing the popular but term-limited Walt Leger. “I am humbled and excited to announce I am running for State Representative,” Dinkler tweeted.

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

A life-long New Orleanian who lives with his wife Ayame and young daughter in Uptown’s Marlyville neighborhood, Dinkler is currently vice president of business development at Enhanced Capital, a firm that helps secure historic preservation tax credits. He also plays a role in the firm’s governmental relations efforts. Continue reading »

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Aug 162018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

What do Julie Stokes, Richard Perque, A.G. Crowe, Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Marie Williams, Heather Cloud and Omar Mason have in common? All are candidates for state or local office in the November 6, 2018 elections who made sizeable personal loans to their campaigns. By beefing up fundraising totals, these candidates became more viable which in turn helps future fundraising. Several other contenders – Kyle Ardoin, Kenneth Plaisance, and Renee Fontenot Free – also loaned themselves the fees needed to qualify and were quickly reimbursed. Continue reading »

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Jul 262018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

I used to think that purchasing a “whole house” generator or putting a dozen or more solar panels on my roof was an unnecessary expense. Now I am reconsidering those options after surviving a recent brownout on one of those 100 degree days – and realizing the electricity is going out in New Orleans neighborhoods far too often. Continue reading »

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Jul 192018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With qualifying currently underway for clerk and other positions in both First City and Second City Courts, good government advocates are questioning why Orleans Parish still operates two separate courts with two clerks and constables that basically perform the same function – handling small claims. Continue reading »

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Jun 212018
 

Dress for Success volunteers and staff Carly Hart (left to right), summer intern Ruth Samuel, Stephanie Garcia-Bonato and Operations Director Lori Byargeon prepare for the opening of new Dress For Success offices at 1700 Josephine. Hart and Garcia-Bonato volunteered through their employer Athleta. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

“I call it my life-changing suit,” exclaimed IT professional Cheryl Butler, 2017 Dress for Success New Orleans Client of the Year. Since 1997 Dress for Success has been empowering women – including more than 400 New Orleanians each year — to achieve economic independence. Founded by Nancy Lublin, the global non-profit provides professional attire for low-income women as well as provides professional networking, job search and interview skills.

As the agency prepares to move to larger, more-centrally located facilities, DFS New Orleans is holding an inventory reduction sale today through Saturday at 6117 Magazine. Shopping hours are from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Continue reading »

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