Allan Katz and Danae Columbus: New energy in the Coroner’s office merits celebration

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Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Dr. Jeffery Rouse, New Orleans’ recently elected Coroner, is one of the standouts among a new generation of leaders in the city.

He is bringing sunshine, energy and a new concept of community service to an office that had become a medical slum under former Coroner Dr. Frank Minyard. Dr. Rouse brings great academic credentials to the office – a 1992 Jesuit High School valedictorian and a Duke University Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Rouse is energetic, optimistic and visionary. He is completely reorganizing the office and has convinced fellow Jesuit alum Mayor Mitch Landrieu to grant a 23-percent budget increase to the perennially underfunded Coroner’s Office. In December, if all goes well, the Coroner’s Office will move to spiffy new quarters in the under-construction Forensics Center on Earhart Boulevard.

Tonight, Dr. Rouse will host his first fundraiser to begin paying off a $60,000 campaign debt and the first Coroner’s Ball should be a gem. It will be held at Etoile Polaire #1 at 1433 North Rampart. Black tie and formal dresses are optional and masquerade is invited, as though it were 1785 and the mass arrival of the Americans was still to come. Tickets are $250 for the patron party and $100 for the main soiree. For more information, call Mason Harrison at 905-7689.


One of the region’s best combined youth training program and restaurant is the Liberty’s Kitchen operation, located in the new Whole Foods complex at 300 North Broad Street.

Since 2008, Liberty’s Kitchen has been turning out delicious meals and, even more importantly, outstanding young men and women who once seemed to have few if any prospects for success. More than 450 boys and girls have gone through the Liberty’s Kitchen program and virtually every one of them today has a full-time job, a commendable work ethic and the ability to articulate their thoughts with clarity.

With the spacious facility at the Whole Foods complex, Liberty’s Kitchen will be able to double the size of their training classes. Their fundraiser will be tomorrow at the Public Library at 219 Loyola Avenue.  Tickets are $100 per person and valet parking will be available. There will be a chef’s showdown, lots of fun, superb food and an excellent cause. Liberty’s Kitchen not only turns out delicious meals but also has a transformative impact on the lives of the boys and girls trained there.


Second Congressional District U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond has quietly put together a powerful and effective campaign organization. Rep. Richmond, the lone Democrat in the Louisiana congressional delegation, had 300 workers on the street on Election Day. They helped get out the vote for State Rep. John Bel Edwards who finished first in the city and first in the state. But even more will be asked of the Richmond team in the gubernatorial runoff. To have a chance to win, John Bel has to come out of New Orleans with a huge lead and then hold his own in Jefferson Parish. The Richmond team also exceled in other races. Among their candidates who either won outright or are in runoffs are Wesley Bishop, Joe Bouie, Robert Billiot, Rodney Lyons, Chris Roberts, Troy Carter and Jimmy Harris. Congressman Richmond has a safe seat and will be there for many years. If he and his team can help John Bel Edwards win on Nov. 21, the new governor will be indebted to Richmond and his hard-working warriors.

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.

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