It probably was a case of mistaken identity that could have turned deadly for Jhamal Shelby Jr., a soft-spoken St. Augustine High School star athlete and honor student.
One recent afternoon after practice, Shelby drove to his father’s home in New Orleans East. Before he could park his car, a young man jumped out of a nearby vehicle and began shooting. Eighteen shots were fired before the perpetrators fled the scene. One bullet visibly grazed the side of Shelby’s head and damaged his eyesight.
City College of San Francisco biology professor Jonathan Siekmann was enjoying his visit to New Orleans when he spotted Meyer the Hatter, known to be the South’s largest hat store. Within minutes, Siekmann was sporting a new Panama-style straw to shield him from the Louisiana sun. “The pandemic has been a struggle. It was the worst business climate I’ve ever seen in my 46 years selling hats,” said Paul Meyer, a fourth generation hatter. “We depend on tourists and, until recently, there just weren’t any.”
Meyer’s great-great grandfather Samuel H. Meyer started the business in 1894 on St.
The 2nd Congressional District as it exists today is a “majority minority district” created during the 1990 redistricting cycle, according to Ed Chervenak, a UNO political scientist who has polled the race through his firm Edgewater Research.
The intent of the 1990 redistricting was to create a voting district where a “representative of choice” could be elected. The district runs from New Orleans East to Baton Rouge and includes parishes along the Mississippi River.
Except for Joseph Cao, who served one two-year term after defeating William Jefferson, there has not been a Republican member of Congress elected from the metro New Orleans area in more than 100 years. Jefferson had already been indicted for bribery when Cao opposed him in 2008. In that era, Louisiana had an election system in which the winners of separate Democratic and Republican primaries automatically advanced to the run-off. Cao easily beat Jefferson but lost his re-election bid on Nov. 2, 2010, to Cedric Richmond, who subsequently served 10 years before he was named a senior adviser to President Joseph Biden.
In Saturday’s election to replace Richmond in Congress, the lengthy ballot includes eight Democrats and four Republicans, along with an Independent, a Libertarian and a No Party candidate.
What do the South Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative, the National Cotton Council of America and Jackson Offshore Operators all have in common? Their political action affiliates are contributing in Louisiana’s Second Congressional District race, according to the latest federal campaign finance reports released Monday (March 8).
State Sen. Troy Carter continues to lead the 15-person field in fundraising with a total of $914,444.70 raised to date, including $509,326.70 during this reporting period. After having spent $596,543.35, Carter reports $291,613.85 remaining cash on hand. He has received $104,551 in PAC contributions.
State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson has raised a total of $704,634.63 including $402,994.14 most recently. Carter Peterson also received $47,000 in PAC contributions.
In a recent poll of 450 chronic voters in the Second Congressional District, state Sen. Troy Carter has a nine point lead over state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, 28 percent to 19 percent. Polling third at 6 percent was Baton Rouge activist was Baton Rouge activist Gary Chambers Jr.
Small business owner Desiree Ontiveros came in fourth at 2 percent followed by Gonzales Republican challenger Claston Bernard, who also polled at 2 percent. Collectively the 10 remaining candidates — Chelsea Ardoin, Belden Batiste, Harold John, J. Christopher Johnson, Brandon Jolicoeur, Jenette Porter, Lloyd Kelly, Greg Lirette, Mindy McConnell and Sheldon Vincent — polled at a combined 6 percent. District-wide, 38 percent of voters are still undecided. In a heads-up competition between Carter and Carter Peterson the undecided vote dropped to 9 percent. Paid for by Sen. Carter’s campaign, the poll was taken Feb. 12-14 by Silas Lee using landlines and cell phones. The margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.
District D Councilman Jared Brossett almost has as much cash on hand in his campaign account than all the other council members combined. Brossett, who is term limited and expected to run for an at-large City Council position later this year, reported $103,471.61 in available dollars on his 2020 annual campaign finance report, which was filed last week.
The other five City Council members (excluding newly appointed at-large member Donna Glapion) show a total of approximately $116,000 in available dollars.
Brossett started 2020 with $102,178 in the bank and took in $1,750 during the year. Though his only donation in 2020 was to St. Augustine Church, Brossett’s 2019 expenditures included Biden for President, Kamala Harris for the People, JBE for Louisiana Leadership PAC and the McDonogh 35 Alumni Association. In 2019 and 2020, Brossett’s biggest donors include Liberty Bank President Alden McDonald, attorney James Williams, the Motwani family, the Helis Foundation, Eli Khoury’s Southeast Restaurant Group and Chase Catering & Concessions, which operates a restaurant at the Armstrong International Airport.
With qualifying for New Orleans municipal races just five months away, New Orleans business leaders are still scrambling to find a candidate they consider suitable to challenge Mayor LaToya Cantrell. District 93 state Rep. Royce Duplessis recently rose to the top of that list after a poll showed he would be viable in the race.
Duplessis distanced himself from the poll and denied any current mayoral ambitions when asked about it Wednesday (Feb. 17), stating that, while he may be considering his future options, “challenging the incumbent mayor is not one of them.”
Duplessis is one of the few elected officials who supported the election of DA Jason Williams, who is one of Duplessis’ closest allies. Business Council Chairman Henry Coaxum and Executive Director Coleman Ridley are both Williams’ donors along with HRI’s Pres Kabacoff. It’s no secret that many members of the business community are disappointed in Cantrell’s style and decision-making process.
In the golden era of politics, political campaigns were an opportunity for voters to meet the candidates and hear what they had to say about the major issues of the day. Citizens often voted for the candidate they thought would best improve their lives.
Today’s campaigns are more like guerilla skirmishes where opposition research specialists mine an opponents’ history and relationships for whatever dirt they can find. In this year’s race to replace U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, candidates’ friends are also diverting attention away from the real issues. For example, why would City Councilman Jay Banks waste his time going over to the home of congressional candidate Belden Batiste even if he thought Batiste was “in crisis”? Batiste doesn’t even live in Banks’ district.
In documents filed yesterday with the Federal Elections Commission, state Sen. Troy Carter reported a fundraising haul of $405,118, far exceeding any of his opponents including state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who raised $301,140 and Gary Chambers Jr. who reported $106,463. Carter, Carter Peterson and Chambers are among the 15 candidates vying to replace former Congressman Cedric Richmond, now a top aide to President Joe Biden.
The filings covered fundraising activities through Dec. 31, 2020. Political consultants estimate this race will cost about $1 million.
During the reporting period, Carter spent only $26,687.50, leaving him with $378,430.50 in cash on hand. Carter received $48,350 in contributions from political action committees and $353,968 from individuals – almost evenly split between “high” donors who contributed more than $250 and “low” donors who contributed smaller amounts. Almost 90% of Carter’s donors are Louisiana residents. What is impressive in Carter’s report is the dozens of individual donors who made the maximum contribution — $2,800. Richmond’s endorsement of Carter’s candidacy almost certainly led to the steady flow of funds.
Individuals in the $2,800 category include a Who’s Who of New Orleans legal and business community including Rico Alvendia, Cherie Teamer, James Garner, Anthony Irpino, Gladstone Jones, Leopold Sher, Bob Ellis, Joey Murray, Anthony Marullo, John Litchfield, Sundiata Haley, Troy Henry, Chris Coulon, Nathan Junius, Moe Bader, Dr. John Hamide and Ronald Bordelon.
Charter school co-principal Mindy McConnell and small business owner Jenette Porter —along with state Sen. Troy Carter, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson and Baton Rouge activist Gary Chambers — all qualified yesterday for the open Second Congressional District seat recently vacated by former U.S. Rep Cedric Richmond, now a high-ranking aide to President Joe Biden. Qualifying continues until Friday (Jan. 22) at 4:30 p.m. The race will be fast, furious, expensive and very competitive. The entrance of McConnell and Porter into the race will make the campaign more interesting to a wider range of voters. McConnell, 37, is a Libertarian who believes that it’s time to break up America’s two-party system.