Danae arrived in Arkansas just in time for the annual Thanksgiving dinner at The Brookfield, where Vera, her 88-year old mother, resides. A place card on the table proclaimed “I am thankful for Vera.” It made her also reflect on the many things in New Orleans we are thankful for this year.
We are thankful that Mayor Mitch Landrieu made a change in the leadership of the NOPD which is helping relieve racial tension in our community. We are thankful for all the new recruit classes that will put more officers in the neighborhoods.
We are thankful that the NOFD is distributing free smoke alarms that will hopefully reduce the number of deaths.
We are thankful that new streetlights are coming to better illuminate our neighborhoods.
We are thankful that sales tax collection is up and will continue to rise next year. This is allowing Mayor Landrieu and the City Council to finally increase budgets for some city departments.
We are thankful that Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant is bringing new form, structure and accountability to the Sewerage & Water Board.
We are thankful for the millions of dollars and thousands of tourists that the Sugar Bowl, the Bayou Classic, and the New Orleans Bowl will bring to our city during the holiday season.
We are thankful that Mayor Landrieu will soon select a developer for the World Trade Center which will be a sustainable economic development vehicle for the next 99 years.
We are thankful for all the commercial and residential construction across the city and the street work as well.
We are thankful for “NCIS New Orleans” and all the movies that film here, creating jobs, sustaining small businesses and giving us unbelievable publicity worldwide.
We are thankful that the Howard Hughes Corporation opened the Riverwalk Outlet Collection which greatly expanded shopping opportunities downtown.
We are thankful that the New Orleans Advocate and the Times Picayune along with all the other local media compete for our attention in this 24-hour news cycle world. Competition keeps everyone on their toes and help readers get the latest news quickly and thoroughly.
We are thankful that our beloved New Orleans Saints have won at least a few games. Allan says it’s a “rebuilding year.” We’re glad the Pelicans are not in a rebuilding year.
We are thankful that the residential population in the Warehouse District is exploding due to the South Market District and other condo development projects.
We are thankful that the Preservation Resource Center after 30 years is still keeping a watchful eye on our historic properties.
We are thankful that the French Market Corporation has brought more fresh and freshly-prepared food back to the French Market.
We are thankful that the Mayor, GNO Inc. and many others have done such a great job of positioning New Orleans for economic growth. We’re ranked #1 for the Decade for Major Economic Development Wins in the South. We’re at the top of the list nationally as the most cost-friendly city for businesses . The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks New Orleans first in Export Growth. We’re #2 in Business Climate, says Site Selection magazine. The Economist says we are one of the best states to operate a small business. Forbes calls us the #1 city for brainpower in the U.S. and the #1 city for in-migration workers in their prime.
Finally, we are thankful that oysters are still plentiful for our dressing today; that there are mirlitons to stuff; and plenty of pecans for the pie. We are also thankful that the New Orleans Mission, the Ozaman Inn and Bridge House will be feeding the less fortunate today. Though things are still not perfect in New Orleans, all in all there’s much to be thankful for.
Allan Katz spent 25 years as a political reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune, and is now editor of the Kenner Star and host of several television programs, including the Louisiana Newsmaker on Cox Cable. Danae Columbus is executive producer of Louisiana Newsmaker, and has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. They both currently work for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by their public relations firm are City council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.