Viewpoint: Incumbents and their challengers qualify to run in the fall elections

Dozens of candidates and their handlers headed to Criminal District Court early Wednesday (July 14) to beat the long lines of those expected to qualify for the fall municipal elections. While Sheriff Marlin Gusman drew the coveted No. 1 ticket, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Assessor Erroll Williams and many others patiently waited their turn. It’s always fun to watch the maneuvering as candidates jockey for attention. Although Cantrell drew seven opponents, she is still positioned to glide to victory.

Swing for Lawes Golf Tournament to be held Tuesday, July 13 (sponsored)

Highly regarded local entrepreneur Mark Lawes announces Swing for Lawes Golf Tournament fundraising event for his run in the New Orleans City Council District D election. Registration is still open for this exciting fundraising event presented by the Committee to Elect Mark “Johari” Lawes, and will feature musical performances, giveaways and grand prizes for the runner-ups and winners of the golf tournament. The event will be held on the greens of the beautiful Joseph M. Bartholomew Sr. Golf Course, in historic Pontchartrain Park for a day filled with fun, food and your favorite adult beverages, as participants discuss our quality of life and the future of District D.

New Orleans legend and head golf pro at Joseph M. Bartholomew Sr. Municipal Golf Course from 1973-78, Arthur “Ducky” Gilbert will be headlining as the Honorary Tournament Chairman. Undoubtedly one of the best golfers to come out of New Orleans, this historic athlete will be sharing his expertise and experiences while supporting Lawes for District D.

Robyn Charles, the daughter of the iconic singer Ray Charles, will be performing at the Swing for Lawes event. The singer, songwriter and actress will grace the stage with sounds that are sure to touch your soul and move your feet.

Viewpoint: Candidates starting to line up for fall municipal elections

A large crowd gathered Wednesday evening (July 7) at Calcasieu in the Warehouse District to show their support for City Council President Helena Moreno, one of dozens of candidates who will be qualifying next week for various municipal offices. Popular with voters, Moreno has put together a substantive war chest, which makes her a formidable candidate. Only affordable housing activist and former candidate Kenneth Cutno has signaled he will run against her for the City Council at-large position. 

There is lots of competition in many of the other races. Former state Sen. J.P. Morrell will face off for the other council at-large seat against two current City Council members: Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Jared Brossett, who is term-limited. Morrell is well-situated financially.

Viewpoint: Councilman Joe Giarrusso kicks off his campaign for a second term with talk of ‘smart growth’

District A Councilman Joseph Giarrusso told several hundred supporters at Ralph’s on the Park last week that he has spent his first years in office building relationships and working on major issues but that there is much more to accomplish. The fundraising event officially kicked off Giarrusso’s campaign for a second term. “When I ran last time as a first-time candidate, you bet on me not knowing what you were going to get,” he told his supporters. Giarrusso said he has worked hard on the three areas he knew were important to his constituents: economic development, crime and infrastructure in District A, which includes portions of Uptown, Mid-City, Bayou St. John and Lakeview.

Karen Carter Peterson won 2 out of 3 Uptown precincts in congressional race

Although Karen Carter Peterson ultimately lost against Troy Carter in the April 24 runoff election to fill Cedric Richmond’s seat in the House of Representatives, she made a decent showing in the Uptown neighborhoods of New Orleans. Preliminary election data from the Secretary of State shows that Carter Peterson got 53% of the vote in Uptown, winning 60 out of 92 precincts in the 2nd Congressional District. Carter Peterson tried to woo progressive voters with promises to support a $15 minimum wage, police reform, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for All. An endorsement from Gary Chambers, the progressive candidate who came in third place in the primary election on March 20, seemed to give her a big boost: 43 precincts that had voted for Chambers voted for her this time around, while only 14 Chambers precincts switched their allegiance to Troy Carter. Yet it was hard to stir up much excitement in the electorate for this off-season special election, held to fill Richmond’s seat after he took a position in President Joe Biden’s administration.

Viewpoint: Candidates lining up to fill Troy Carter’s state Senate seat

With victory firmly in hand, U.S. Rep.-elect Troy Carter is wrapping up his work in Baton Rouge in preparation for his move to Washington, D.C. After his resignation today (April 29) from the Louisiana Senate, Senate President Page Cortez called the election for June 12 with a runoff if necessary on July 10. Qualifying will take place next week: May 5, 6 and 7. Five diverse candidates are already considering the race for this West Bank seat: former state Sen. David Heitmeier, state Rep. Mack Cormier, state Rep. Rodney Lyons, Belle Chasse political insider Joanna Leopold, and Carter’s nephew, state Rep. Gary M. Carter Jr. 

Long-time Democrats, the Heitmeiers have been political players on the West Bank for decades. Before David Heitmeier ran for office in 2007, his brother Francis C. Heitmeier served in the Legislature for 16 years. An Algiers-based optometrist, Heitmeier chaired the Senate’s Health and Welfare Committee and was a member of the Environmental Quality, the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, and the Transportation, Highways and Public Works committees.  

He chose not to seek re-election for personal reasons in 2015, a decision that paved the way for then-Rep. Troy Carter to move to the upper chamber in 2016.

Viewpoint: Oscar nod for ‘Time’ could bring international attention to Louisiana’s prison system

Sibil Fox and Rob Richardson (also known as Fox and Rob Rich) are among a handful of New Orleanians who have a personal stake in Sunday night’s 2021 Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Awards. The poignant film about their two-decade-long effort to find justice in what is often considered a racially charged and overly harsh prison-industrial complex, “Time,” is a favorite for Best Documentary Feature. 

Also up for Oscar consideration is “One Night in Miami,” which was shot in New Orleans and LaPlace, as well as musical works by New Orleans natives and NOCCA graduates Terence Blanchard and Jon Batiste, who have been nominated in the Best Score category. LSU grad Steven Soderbergh is one of the event’s producers. “Time” is only the second documentary post-Katrina New Orleans to be nominated for an Oscar. New Orleans-based award-winning filmmaker and Loyola University instructor Garrett Bradley directed “Time.”

Viewpoint: Inclement weather and apathy inhibit early voting

Although state Sens. Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson have continued to campaign almost around the clock, days of heavy rainfall coupled with a general lack of interest has led to exceedingly low early voting numbers in the Second Congressional District race to replace Cedric Richmond, now a high-ranking aide to President Joe Biden. Early voting ends Saturday (April 17). In Orleans Parish so far, voting is down more than 50% from the March primary election. By Thursday, with just two days of early voting remaining, only 6,909 Orleans Parish residents had cast their votes including 6,062 Democrats, 288 Republicans and 559 Independents. 

With no Republican in the runoff, some pundits believe that Republican voters will decide which Democrat is elected.