Oct 272016
 
City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell poses with a constituent during last week's National Night Out Against Crime events. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell poses with a constituent during last week’s National Night Out Against Crime events. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

“I am ready to lead this city,” proclaimed District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell last Friday night. Though billed as a Halloween party at the French Quarter home of trial lawyer Darleen Jacobs, there was some pretty serious politicking going on as Cantrell announced she would seek “higher office” without specifying whether she will qualify for council at large or mayor. Continue reading »

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Oct 202016
 
Moderator  Jeff Thomas (left), Council on Aging leader Howard Rodgers, Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson and Assessor Errol Williams pose for a photo at the recent senior caucus. (Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Moderator Jeff Thomas (left), Council on Aging leader Howard Rodgers, Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson and Assessor Errol Williams pose for a photo at the recent senior caucus. (Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

There are not too many legislative initiatives that Congressman Cedric Richmond and all seven members of the City Council agree on, but the opportunity for the Office of the Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson to become more independent is one of them. 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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Sep 152016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

As Election Day grows closer, there is lots of political jockeying at the national and local level. Hillary Clinton has decided to be more open about her health, Donald Trump is calling for paid maternity leave and tax credits for working parents, and Sept. 16 birthday boy Governor John Bel Edwards is making progress after two relatively successful trips to Washington to help flood victims. Continue reading »

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Aug 252016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Yesterday evening, the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee heard from seven of the two dozen candidates running for the U.S. Senate to replace David Vitter. Although their endorsement won’t be announced until after tonight’s forum for candidates running for judgeships and Orleans Parish School Board, it was obvious from the vibe in the room that state Treasurer John Kennedy is the clear choice of many New Orleans Republican heavy hitters. Continue reading »

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Aug 182016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

The American Red Cross labeled it “the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy.”

With last week’s devastating floods which displaced more than 40,000 citizens and caused 11 deaths, along with Tuesday’s 47th anniversary of Hurricane Camille and the upcoming 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana’s citizens should focus on what climate change has already done to our state and their personal responsibility to create a more sustainable future. Continue reading »

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Jul 212016
 
Paul Bonin shares a chuckle after qualifying to run for Criminal District Court. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Paul Bonin shares a chuckle after qualifying to run for Criminal District Court. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Political insiders are shaking their heads this week as to why Paul Bonin, a widely-popular 4th Circuit Court of Appeals judge who has more than five years remaining on his current term, would decide to run for a lower-paying judgeship in the rough-and-tumble Criminal District Court. 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 232016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Now that Sheriff Marlin Gusman has acknowledged that he must cede day-to-day jail operations to a government-approved independent compliance director, how will the millions in reforms be paid for? The new expenses include the compliance director’s salary and benefits, other costs for new staff he or she will bring in as well as the new dollars needed to reach the federal government’s consent decree goals. It will be pricey for sure because the task is so large. Continue reading »

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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May 122016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Will Mayor Landrieu’s vocal support of a federal takeover at the Orleans Parish Prison be the final encouragement Judge Lance Africk needs to pull the trigger on receivership? Gusman filed his response to the Justice Department’s complaint yesterday which basically said he had not been given enough time or resources to significantly address the many issues at hand.

Under receivership, the federal government will appoint a seasoned correctional official to administer violence and mismanagement issues. Gusman would continue to serve as Sheriff but his hands would basically be tied. Continue reading »

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May 052016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Caroline Zetzmann Calhoun, 2016 Whitney Bank Zoo To Do Chair, and her team of 400 volunteers serving on 15 committees have been working overtime for weeks to put the final touches on May 6th’s thirty-ninth annual extravaganza which will draw 5,000 attendees and benefit Audubon Zoo’s Tropical Bird House.

The culmination of a year’s worth of cajoling corporate donors, restaurants, bars, and other sponsors, this year’s gala is expected to raise $1.2 million and serve as the match for millions more in foundation, public and private sector gifts which form the basis of Audubon Institute’s almost $50 million annual budget. Continue reading »

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Apr 142016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

The voters’ rejection of Mayor Landrieu’s tax proposal to fund additional police officers and pay firefighters’ back pensions was not a vote against the need for the tax but a clear sign of voter dissatisfaction and mistrust of Mayor Landrieu’s public safety policies and leadership. While the mayor obviously needs to address that anger, new sources of funding are still desperately needed if devastating cuts are to be avoided.

Landrieu and the City Council could shore up our tax base by ensuring New Orleans becomes the next American city to enact a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. A “sin tax” on the purchase of carbonated soft drinks is on the books in many countries around the world including France, Barbados and Mexico, where consumption of sodas declined after the tax was enacted. Continue reading »

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Apr 072016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Now serving his eleventh year as Orleans Parish’s top jailer, Marlin Gusman could easily be called the “Teflon Man”. Whether being attacked by the Legislative Auditor, Federal Judge Lance Africk, the consent decree monitors, Mayor Landrieu, the City Council or even the VOTE (Voice of The Ex-Offender) organization, the criticisms just roll off him. Continue reading »

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Mar 312016
 
Women officials at the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee meeting (from left): Nadine Ramsey and Deborah Langhoff, Susan Guidry and Kristen Gisleson Palmer, Angele Wilson and Caroline Fayard. (photos by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Women officials at the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee meeting (from left): Nadine Ramsey and Deborah Langhoff, Susan Guidry and Kristen Gisleson Palmer, Angele Wilson and Caroline Fayard. (photos by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Based on the past week’s nasty exchange between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz about their respective wives, do the Republican presidential candidates really think of women as “objects to ogle or protect” as a New York Times columnist suggested? Or do the GOP contenders recognize female voters to be the savvy constituency that will decide the outcome of this year’s presidential race? Continue reading »