Viewpoint: Campaign season starts again with House District 93 race

2023 will be a busy election year in Louisiana. A new governor, other statewide officials, and multiple judges will be selected. Yet the first race of the new year will fill a vacancy in Orleans Parish’s legislative delegation. Qualifying begins Wednesday (Jan. 11) for a candidate to represent the Louisiana House District 93 seat previously held by Royce Duplessis.

Viewpoint: New Orleans voters need a voice in who runs the NOPD

For perhaps the first time since Mayor LaToya Cantrell appointed Shaun Ferguson as chief of police almost four years ago, Ferguson spoke candidly in public. “I want to encourage our city leaders to have better communication lines. This isn’t able personal agendas. It’s about the safety of the people of New Orleans,” Ferguson said Wednesday (Dec. 7) during his remarks on what influenced his surprise decision to retire in less than three weeks.

Viewpoint: Relationship between Mayor Cantrell and City Council reaches new low

This week’s drama that pitted Mayor LaToya Cantrell against City Council President Helena Moreno and the majority of council members is just another example of the deep rift between the two branches of city government. Don’t expect it to heal anytime soon. The council was quick to call out Cantrell for her handling of Housing Authority of New Orleans board member Sharon Jasper, a long-time tenant advocate who Cantrell wanted to replace. State law requires that the appointing authority provide clear reasons for dismissal. Cantrell initially provided no reasons and then gave only lip service to the law.

Viewpoint: Boissiere says ‘dark money’ forced PSC race into a runoff

Incumbent District 3 Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Lambert Boissiere III launched a scathing attack Wednesday night (Nov. 9) on outside forces that he said precipitated the runoff in his bid for a fourth and final term on the PSC. “Almost $1 million dollars in dark money poured into my race from donors outside of Louisiana. Their purpose was not to support another candidate but just to pull votes from me,” Boissiere told a roomful of New Orleans Democratic leaders. The PSC race is the only New Orleans contest on the Nov.

Viewpoint: Does civility still exist in our society?

I am disappointed that Rock ‘n’ Bowl owner John Blancher posted what he considered a harmless photograph of a patron in his establishment last weekend who was wearing a T-shirt that posed the question “Where’s Nancy?” The customer was also holding a sledge hammer that mimicked the hammer used to beat on octogenarian Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at their San Francisco home recently.  

When questioned by a reporter, Blancher said it was not his intention to offend anyone or drive customers away from his place of business. He somehow did not realize the post was, at minimum, in bad taste and lacking in the courtesy and politeness that are hallmarks of a civil society. Courtesy and politeness — do those attributes even exist in today’s politics? Blanchard isn’t the only well-known Louisianian who has disappointed me recently. Let’s move on to U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Lafayette, who promoted a false conspiracy theory about the Pelosi attack on Twitter.

Viewpoint: Early voting a big hit with New Orleans residents

During the first two days of early voting, which began Tuesday (Oct. 25), almost 10,000 New Orleanians cast their votes either in-person or by mail. Those numbers continue to grow for every election, as people become more accustomed to finalizing their decisions earlier in the election process. Candidates have also noticed and are pushing out mail, social media and other forms of advertising to meet the early voting deadlines. 

In Orleans Parish, 9,490 registered voters turned in the ballots during the first two days. As usual, more Black (5,573) than White (3,530) residents have voted early.

Viewpoint: NOLA Coalition takes on city’s crime problem because ‘New Orleans is worth saving’ 

Attorney and current GNO Inc. Chair Richard F. Cortizas believes there are a lot of positive things going on in New Orleans. “Hotel occupancy rates are holding steady and room rates are increasing,” he said earlier this week. “Events at the Morial Convention Center are at about 90% of pre-pandemic levels. The proposed development of the Rubenstein Hotel on Canal Street is an encouraging indicator that folks still want to make an investment in our great city. That’s all extremely promising.

Viewpoint: Candidates gather endorsements as Election Day draws closer

With the mid-term elections less than eight weeks away, political organizations are giving the nod to their preferred candidates. In turn, those endorsements are fueling fundraising for the all-important get-out-the-vote efforts, which will make or break most races. Last night, Municipal Court Judge Mark Shea courted donors at Junior’s in Lakeview, while his opponent Derek Russ entertained his supporters at Bijou on the edge of the French Quarter. 

The red hot race between Shea and Russ is a classic example of a well-liked, seasoned elected official being challenged by a younger upstart who has tired of waiting in the wings. Many pundits believe race is a factor in this campaign. As to be expected, Shea has garnered the lion’s share of endorsements, including from the Alliance for Good Government, the AFL-CIO and nine other organizations.