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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Jun 072018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

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Mar 232018
 

Ongoing new construction projects in South Market District will lead to more tax revenues for Downtown Development District. (photo by Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

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 082018
 

(Front row, left to right) David Bossie, Corey Lewandowski, and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry at Trump book signing. GNOR hosts John Tobler and Phil Brickman are in the back row. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. 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 252018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »

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Dec 212017
 

State Senator Troy Carter talks with Councilman-elect Joe Giarrusso and Clerk of Second City Court Darren Lombard at Wednesday’s meeting of local Democrats. (photo by Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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. Continue reading »