Viewpoint: Crime among the issues plaguing New Orleans in Hurricane Ida’s aftermath

Times are tough since Hurricane Ida decimated New Orleans, and they don’t seem to be getting better quickly enough. 

Blue tarps dot the horizon as homeowners wait for their insurance settlements. Storm debris is disappearing slowly, and trash pickup is down to one day a week. Entergy wants to take a hike rather than face the music. Whether the utility stays or goes, utility rates will probably rise. The cost of flood insurance is increasing along with the cost of gasoline, a hamburger at McDonald’s and grocery store staples, the latter blamed on international supply chain issues. 

It’s hard to drive around New Orleans long without encountering a pothole or other obstruction.  Neighborhood streets will probably flood during the next heavy rain.

Viewpoint: Challengers grapple with incumbents’ fundraising and media advantages

 

Republican mayoral candidate Vina Nguyen was excited for the opportunity to address a group of supporters Wednesday night (Sept. 29) at a fundraiser in the French Quarter. “I promise to be a different leader — one who comes from a long road of obstacles that has taught me to be kind to others and listen to their concerns,” Nguyen told the packed crowd that included Republican State Party Chairman Louis Gurvich, entrepreneur Gregory Holt, Council District C candidate Stephen Mosgrove, and Juliet and Tim Laughlin, who hosted the event. “We can’t treat our citizens the way this mayor does, and I promise we will do better. We should show businesses looking to continue commerce here, or locate here for the first time, that the past four years of indecency are over.

Viewpoint: Don’t rush to hire a lawyer to help with your insurance claim

Many members of the legal community are aggressively marketing their services in the wake of Hurricane Ida to assist businesses or homeowners and renters with getting the money they deserve from insurance companies. After all, most of us pay thousands of dollars annually for coverage and should be compensated whenever legitimate claim arise. Not so fast, say other lawyers. At least two local attorneys, Megan Kiefer and Sal Brocato, are advising that citizens retain lawyers only if they feel their insurance carrier is not operating in good faith. “It’s premature to hire a lawyer right now,” Kiefer said.

Viewpoint: New WYES leadership team has deep local roots

With the recent retirement of WYES president Allan Pizzato, two native New Orleanians who are driven to broadcast excellence, Robin Cooper and Dominic Massa, have taken the helm to bring new ideas to the Crescent City’s iconic public television station. 

Leading the station since 2013, Pizzato oversaw the station’s tricentennial coverage, the creation of new shows and documentaries, and the construction of the $17 million headquarters that opened in 2017. The chief operating officer under Pizzato, Cooper assumed the position of president and CEO last month, leaving her previous spot available for long-time WWL-TV Executive Producer of Special Projects Dominic Massa. “WYES was built by some of the city’s best and brightest leaders, who believed in the power of television to educate, inform and inspire. That mission couldn’t be more important or needed today,” Massa said. By all accounts, Massa is one of the hardest working and most respected broadcasting professionals in New Orleans television.

Viewpoint: ‘We are one Louisiana … and have to act that way,’ says Congressman Troy Carter

In wide-ranging, almost hour-long remarks on Wednesday (Aug. 18), U.S. Rep. Troy Carter — who has yet to serve 100 days in office — touched on issues from the pandemic to the American Rescue Plan Act, the Child Tax Credit and support for small businesses. Throughout the Zoom speech to the Bureau of Governmental Research, he emphasized that common sense solutions can make a real difference. 

“I want to be that bridge of reasonableness,” the New Orleans Democrat told the BGR. “When you’re building relationships, it’s policy over politics, people over politics.” 

Carter said that Louisiana does not have the luxury of divisiveness. “We need to concentrate on things that bring us together — education, infrastructure, health care, safety, flooding.

Viewpoint: They all ask’d for the COVID vaccine

 

I’ve been waiting for a savvy organization like the Audubon Zoo to announce plans to vaccinate vulnerable animals against COVID-19. Since the virus might have started in wild animals and was later transmitted to humans, it makes good sense that the zoo’s four-legged residents — and even our family pets — could catch the virus. Mike VII, LSU’s live tiger mascot, is probably the best-known animal in Louisiana to be vaccinated against COVID-19. He got his second dose earlier this week and will again be available for close-up visits later this month.  

Mike’s vaccine was donated by the drug manufacturer Zoetis, which is also providing more than 11,000 vaccine doses for mammalian species residing at the Audubon Zoo and dozens of other conservatories, sanctuaries, zoos and academic institutions around the country. Audubon will use their doses to inoculate at-risk animals including apes, big cats, and such mustelids as ferrets, according to WWL-TV. 

Most of us don’t have an ape or big cat at home to protect, but we do have domestic pets.

Viewpoint: Will proof of vaccination be required for festivals and Saints games?

 

The Delta variant is quickly overtaking America. It already accounts for 93% of Covid-19 infections. To combat it, government and the private sector are announcing new mandates almost daily. Anyone planning to pay $200 or more to see the Rolling Stones at Jazz Fest in October must surely be wondering if a vaccination card or a recent negative Covid-test will be required for admission. Without such precautions, the Jazz and Heritage Festival, French Quarter Festival, Saints games and other fall special events could become superspreaders unlike any seen before. 

Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis has always said the Fest will adhere to the prevailing Covid guidelines.