In his bid to reclaim the Distirct A seat on the New Orleans City Council, former Councilman Jay Batt will have at least two opponents in the Feb. 6 primary one a fellow Republican and one a Democrat. The Republican is Virginia Blanque, a businesswoman who also has worked for at-large Councilman Arnie Fielkow. The Democrat is attorney Susan Guidry, who also is president of the Parkview Neighborhood Association.
While Batt has much more name recognition than his two announced opponents, he lost to then-unknown Shelley Midura in 2006 in the face of a significant Anybody But Batt groundswell. Presumably, he knows not to take any of his opponents lightly this time. Leaders of the Anybody But Batt movement vow to resume their efforts.
Batt had signaled his intentions to run against Midura, but prospects for a rematch of their 2006 contest were dashed when Midura announced that she would not seek another term. For a while it appeared Batt would coast to an easy victory, but now he will have at least two opponents.
Batt served one term on the council, representing District A from 2002-2006. He is co-owner of several Jos. A. Bank Clothiers outlets. Batt narrowly defeated then-incumbent Scott Shea in 2002 to win the District A seat after Shea beat him in a special election in 2000. Batt then lost to Midura in a 2006 upset. Batts campaign Web site is www.jaybatt.com.
Once considered among the safer council seats, District A has seen three successive one-term council members. The district includes the silk-stocking Uptown wards as well as most of Carrollton, parts of Mid-City and Faubourg St. John, and all of Lakeview.
In addition to serving as president of the Parkview Neighborhood Association, Guidry is a member of the District A Neighborhood Presidents Council, District 5 Neighborhood Recovery Steering Committee, Mid-City Security District Board of Commissioners, Bayou St. John Conservation Alliance Steering Committee, Mid-City Neighborhood Association, Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association, and Friends of Lafitte Corridor. Her campaign Web site is www.electsusanguidry.com.
Blanque has worked as a financial planner and adviser at Resource Management, Inc., a financial consulting company. She and her husband own a heating, air conditioning and plumbing repair company, of which she is the CEO. She formerly worked for Fielkow as his director of neighborhood and constituent relations. Her Web site is www.electvirginiablanque.com.