Viewpoint: Time is running out to vote by mail

Like almost every other city and town in the nation, New Orleans enjoyed a record-breaking early voting period during which 98,259 Orleans Parish residents cast their votes for president, seven constitutional amendments, sports betting, and an alphabet soup of local races. While the vast majority of Orleans voters – 86,979 – visited one of the five early voting locations, 11,280 citizens mailed in their ballots. Almost 100 mail-in ballots have been received since early voting ending. Today (Oct. 30) at 4:30 p.m. is the last day and time to request a mail-in ballot.

Police seeking suspect in Hollygrove carjacking of 70-year-old man’s Toyota

The New Orleans Police Department is requesting assistance in locating and identifying a suspect in the investigation of an armed carjacking on Sunday (Oct. 26) in the Hollygrove neighborhood. A 70-year-old man was inside his vehicle in the 8400 block of Colapissa Street at about 3:25 p.m. when a man walked up to the car brandishing a firearm. The gunman ordered the victim out of his car, and he complied. The gunman fled in the victim’s vehicle — described as a white 2016 Toyota Camry bearing Louisiana license plate 537AAH.

It’s hurricane prep time again in New Orleans

For the seventh time this year, New Orleans is in the path of a tropical system. The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for New Orleans on Tuesday morning, as Hurricane Zeta headed north from the Yucatan Peninsular with a late-Wednesday landfall predicted for southeastern Louisiana. City officials are urging residents to prepare today for a hurricane. To help with that prep, the city is distributing sandbags this morning. District B Councilman Jay Banks announced free sandbag distribution for New Orleans residents at Dryades YMCA, 2220 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., from 8 a.m. until supplies run out.

Viewpoint: Business leaders eyeing potential challengers to Mayor Cantrell

Although qualifying for New Orleans mayor, City Council and other municipal offices is still eight months away, many of the same conservative business leaders who gave Mayor LaToya Cantrell the seed money that launched her campaign have begun the painstaking search for a new candidate. “LaToya won’t be mayor much longer,” said one multi-millionaire businessperson who was an enthusiastic early donor. Though many business owners had become disenchanted with Mayor Cantrell, they were willing to work with her for another four years until COVID-19 soured relationships.  “I’m not surprised that the business community is going to put a candidate up against the mayor,” said Ed Chervenak, UNO political scientist. “They are upset that she is not following the lead of Gov. Edwards, who has opened up the state much quicker than Mayor Cantrell has opened up Orleans Parish.

Shootings reported in Central City, Hollygrove on Wednesday afternoon

Two shootings were reported in Uptown neighborhoods Wednesday afternoon. In both, the New Orleans Police Department learned of the violence when the victim arrived at a hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds. The first occurred around noon in Hollygrove. The victim, a 34-year-old man, was walking near Belfast and Monroe streets when a car drove up and someone fired gunshots at him from inside the vehicle. He was taken to the emergency room via a private conveyance, the NOPD reported.

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Viewpoint: The friendly, flavorful world of pandemic pop-ups

Since early March we have all become accustomed to — and perhaps cynical of — phrases like “the new normal” and “these uncertain times.” Nothing quite describes what so many of us are experiencing, this constant hum of anxiety and powerlessness.

In contrast, we also see celebrations of creativity, of learning a new skill or reinventing yourself. But even this encouragement exhibits problems, as for many these past months have simply been about trying to keep it together, a constant struggle to preserve their sanity and well-being.

There are so many ways we describe the pandemic experience and so many ways we have responded, but there is one movement I have seen in neighborhoods that has not only captured my attention, but as of late, drawn my family in.

Volunteers needed for drive-thru flu-shot event at Audubon Zoo

On Monday (Oct. 26), the city will host a free flu-shot event at the Audubon Zoo, serving the dual purpose of providing flu shots to residents during flu season and helping public health and safety officials test plans for large-scale vaccine administration in anticipation of a future FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. The New Orleans Medical Reserve Corps and the NOLA Ready Volunteer Corps are recruiting volunteers to assist in this and future vaccine administration events. Volunteers will be assigned various medical and non-medical duties:

Medical providers are needed to give flu shots. Non-medical volunteers are needed to support vaccination site operations, including patient registration, measuring throughput and flow, supply restocking, and logistics support.