Viewpoint: Leaders must demand sheltering in place to flatten the curve

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Mayor LaToya Cantrell are being too soft on New Orleans. With the number of confirmed cases and deaths skyrocketing, our elected officials don’t have the luxury of merely suggesting that people stay home as much as possible. Some form of sheltering in place must become the law of the land if we don’t want martial law and the additional restrictions it will bring. Though it might sound extreme, sheltering in place slowed the virus in China and is currently being implemented in Italy, Spain, Belgium and France. The Ukraine has shut down all transportation.

Mississippi Primary Watch Party

Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington State will all cast their presidential primary votes tonight (March 10). The NOLA Messenger crew is inviting our readers, neighbors, and any political thinkers to join us again to watch the campaign unfold. Our next Democratic Primary Watch Party is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. tonight at Twelve Mile Limit, 500 S. Telemachus St. Political junkies of any affiliation are welcome, and the venue is for ages 21 and up. Messenger merchandise will be available, and drink sales will help support our own coverage of local elections in 2020.

Viewpoint: Criminals are in control because of NOPD officer shortages, Cannizzaro says

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Although he has yet to formally signal whether he will seek re-election in the fall of 2020,
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro gave a rousing address about New Orleans’ many crime problems and potential solutions to a packed crowd of Second Amendment supporters at the Home Defense Foundation’s meeting earlier this week. Attendees included New Orleans independent police monitor Susan Hutson. “We have a crime problem in the city of New Orleans,” said Cannizzaro who has worked in criminal justice for more than 40 years. “Since I first became an assistant district attorney in 1978, I’ve never seen crowds as were gathered at Hynes School in January and at the Jewish Community Center. People are upset.”

Cannizzaro told attendees that a significant part of the problem can be blamed on former Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who set in motion the current police manpower shortage by failing to prioritize classes for new recruits during his first term.

Super Tuesday Watch Party with NOLA Messenger

Thanks to you all who have joined us for the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary this presidential election season. With Steyer, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar all dropping out of the race over the last few days, the results of the Super Tuesday election events tonight (March 3) will set the tone for the rest of the campaign. The NOLA Messenger crew is inviting our readers, neighbors, and any political thinkers to join us again to watch the campaign unfold. Our Super Tuesday Watch Party is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. tonight at Twelve Mile Limit, 500 S. Telemachus St. Political junkies of any affiliation are welcome, and the venue is for ages 21 and up.

Viewpoint: Is the coronavirus the next Katrina for New Orleans?

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

I am not a naysaying fatalist or someone who rushes to conclusions early. But last night I went to my neighborhood grocery store and picked up 10 cases of bottled water and placed it next to the five cases I bought the other day. I intend to get another 10 cases this weekend and begin stocking up on canned fruits and vegetables too.  And antiseptic cleaning supplies and cough medicine. Am I opening a bodega? No, I am preparing for what could be life-as-unusual if the coronavirus really hits New Orleans.

Viewpoint: Cantrell still the queen despite changing poll numbers

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist
Although Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s job performance ratings took a hit from last year, according to a new poll, Cantrell still reigns supreme over all things News Orleans. The poll — taken earlier this month by Ed Chervenak’s Edgewater Research and Tony Liccardi’s My People Vote — provided a snapshot of the mayor’s favorability midway through her first term.  Results showed that Cantrell is less popular than either mayors Landrieu or Nagin were at this point in their administrations. The biggest take-out from the poll was her drop in favorability with white voters. African-American voters – especially males — clearly appreciate Cantrell. She is most popular in Council District E, followed by districts C and D. Caucasian voters, especially women and Republicans, are much less enchanted with the mayor by almost polar opposite numbers.

Join Uptown Messenger for New Hampshire primary watch party

The Uptown Messenger crew is inviting our readers, neighbors and any political enthusiasts to come and watch the New Hampshire Democratic Primary this Tuesday, Feb. 11, from  6:30 to 9 p.m. at Twelve Mile Limit, 500 S. Telemachus St. Thanks to you all who came to watch last week’s fiasco in Iowa with us. We plan for this primary to be less of a debacle but still worth conversing over. Political junkies of any affiliation are welcome, and the venue is for ages 21 and up.

Viewpoint: Diverse crowd attends opening of Bloomberg campaign’s N.O. headquarters

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With a rocky Democratic presidential nomination competition currently underway, Democrats and other voters in New Orleans are giving serious consideration to former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a 77-year old self-made billionaire and declared presidential candidates who is not participating in the tumultuous early state primaries. Bloomberg launched a multi-million dollar national advertising campaign and has opened up strategic headquarters around the country, including in New Orleans at 642 Julia St. where dozens of interested citizens turned up Tuesday night. Among those present were civic activists Anne and King Milling, award-winning author Walter Isaacson, Cantrell insider Bob Tucker, writer John Pope, community leader Anne Redd, tax credit adviser Morris Kahn, Metairie businessman Rod Caccioppi, and philanthropist Leslie Jacobs. “I’m impressed by Michael Bloomberg’s experience and accomplishments as well as the campaign he’s putting together.

Join the Messenger for our Iowa caucuses watch party

The Uptown Messenger crew is inviting our readers, neighbors and any political enthusiasts to come and watch the Iowa Caucus results on Monday 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Urban South, 1645 Tchoupitoulas St. Political junkies of any affiliation are welcome, and the venue is kid-friendly. The Southerns popup, famous for its chicken sandwiches, will be available from 5 p.m. until sold out. Messenger merchandise will be available, and drink sales will help support our own coverage of local elections in 2020. Onsite donations are welcome as well.

Advertiser: Forward New Orleans releases progress report on mayor and City Council

Forward New Orleans (FNO) issued its First Progress Report on the 2018 Municipal Elections Platform today. The Progress Report is an assessment of our elected officials’ work towards achieving the Platform’s objectives in six priority areas: public safety, infrastructure, economic opportunity, city services, city finance, and civil service. Since 2010, FNO has developed issue-based platforms to shape the policy priorities within municipal elections. FNO seeks pledges of support for the Platform from mayoral and city council candidates, with those pledges becoming mandates for post-election action by elected officials. FNO issues regular progress reports that assess the City’s advancement towards fulfilling the Platform’s objectives, and this is the first report to measure the achievements of the Cantrell Administration and the current City Council since the 2018 municipal elections.