The Feb. 1 citywide primary brought very good news to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, but Saturday's (March 15) runoff elections did not. While Landrieu won big in the primary with almost 64 percent of the vote, his chosen candidates in two City Council runoffs lost by large margins. All in all, it’s been a good election season for younger candidates who faced older opponents.
In the at-large council race for Division 2, District D Councilmember Cynthia Hedge Morrell lost to attorney Jason Williams 68-32 percent. In Council District C, where incumbent Kristin Gisleson Palmer decided relatively late not to seek a second term, long-time Councilmember Jackie Clarkson fell to former Judge Nadine Ramsey by a 59-41 percent margin. The margin in District C closely tracks the district’s voter registration by race, although both Clarkson and Ramsey got their share of crossover votes.
Both Hedge Morrell and Clarkson have been staunch council allies of the mayor, who clearly will have to work a lot harder to cobble together a 4-vote majority on key issues in his second term.
There were two other seismic shifts in the politics of the council as a result of this election cycle: first, the council once again will have a five-vote African-American majority (which it had before Hurricane Katrina); and second, this election produced a generational shift on the council.
Jason Williams claimed victory tonight in the March 15 runoff election for the New Orleans City Council At-Large Division 2 seat, edging out longtime councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. Williams will be one of three freshmen members of the council following Nadine Ramsey's victory in District C against another longtime councilmember, Jackie Clarkson. Hedge-Morrell and Clarkson both received endorsements from Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Williams entered the building to Pharrell Williams' "Happy." Nearly 70 percent of votes went to Williams, who took to the podium for his victory speech thanking his family, campaign staff and volunteers. He said he was humbled by the turnout and voters. "The percentage by which we won, I'm humbled by it," he said.
"Everybody was working on this campaign. Everybody helped craft the vision," he said. "Public service against the machine. We broke the machine tonight."
New Pierre the Pelican designed the way it's designed so Jay Leno can fit inside the costume. pic.twitter.com/sSsq4xOZE2
— Danny Monteverde (@DCMonteverde) February 13, 2014
Pierre the Pelican underwent reconstructive beak surgery to host The Tonight Show, the New Orleans Arena was Christened Smoothie King Center in time for the 2014 NBA All-Star weekend, Nike rolled out "gumbo" shoes, dachsunds replaced horses in races, and Krewe du Vieux revealed true colors — oh, and Ray Nagin may be wearing zebra stripes. That and more in this week's makeover edition of Y@ Speak.
U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan ordered Nagin to home detention. Sentencing will be in Berrigan's courtroom June 11 at 9 a.m.
Below the jump: the statement from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite's office.
After a day and night of freezing temperatures and the infamous "wintry mix" of sleet, freezing rain and snow flurries around south Louisiana, the National Weather Service has canceled the winter storm warning. City officials regrouped this morning with updates and a report from the day's rare weather events — with a warning that icy conditions and a hard freeze warning will last until 9 a.m. tomorrow. An update on school, government and road closures is expected by 3 p.m. today.
"The sun will not be out to melt the ice," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. While temperatures are expected to rise slightly from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., they'll plunge again tonight, and today's cloud cover won't help melt any ice on roads and bridges. Landrieu and other officials warned residents to stay off the roads. "Take the risk if you like, but the risk is very, very high," Landrieu said.
The New Orleans Police Department responded to 59 accidents last night, 24 of which required EMS attention. Two accidents involved cars swerving into waterways to avoid pedestrians. The New Orleans Fire Department responded to one fire, started by a space heater. NOFD chief Timothy McConnell once again warned residents to use space heaters in well-ventilated areas.
Area shelters helped more than 700 people escape the cold last night. The city has reactivated its freeze plan for the homeless.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport director Iftikhar Ahmad said some flights are departing but to check with airlines before heading to MSY — and to use Airline Highway as an alternate route to the airport.
"We're not finished yet," Landrieu said. "We're still in harm's way, according to the National Weather Service."
The night before the New Orleans City Council was to discuss the controversial noise ordinance at a committee meeting Jan. 17, councilmembers withdrew it and postponed the meeting. This morning, the Housing and Human Needs committee planned to consider a stripped down version of the ordinance, tailored almost exclusively to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street — but that also was tabled. Instead, councilmembers took two hours of public comments — including from members of the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans (MACCNO) and the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates (VCPORA) — and talked about what's next in the years-long debate over updates to the city's sound ordinance.
District C councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, who has driven the redrafting process since she took office in 2010, said the ordinance as introduced last month was meant to gauge public opinion — which was not good, she said with a smile. The draft was "meant to further the conversation" and gather feedback, she said. She added that David Woolworth, the acoustician hired by the City Council to issue a report with recommendations last year, will work with the City Council through 2014. Palmer also addressed other cities' recent, and frequent, adaptations to their noise laws, including updates in Miami and New York, and whether New Orleans would follow their lead. "With all due respect to those cities, neither has the diversity of music New Orleans has," Palmer said.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu and city officials today announced the return of curbside recycling pickup in the French Quarter and CBD, beginning Tuesday, Jan. 28. Progressive Waste Solutions will perform pickups weekly. The service will reach more than 4,000 locations, according to Landrieu.
The New Orleans Sanitation Department will host two bin pickups, where residents and business owners can pickup their free 18-gallon blue bins. People participating must bring proof of residence, such as a driver's license or utility bill. (Residents can also use existing or purchased 18-gallon blue bins with the recycling logo.) The locations and times for bin pickup are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at Armstrong Park's Basin Street entrance, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 at City Hall.
Recyclable materials include paper products and cardboard and plastic and small metal containers. The program does not include glass recycling (or pizza boxes). For more information, visit the city's sanitation website.
Glass recycling is available through Phoenix Recycling, and you can bring glass to Target stores.
Residents outside the French Quarter and CBD are eligible for curbside recycling pickup through Metro Disposal and Richard's Disposal. Landrieu announced recycling would return to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina at his April 2011 state of the city address, and more than 20,000 people signed up for bins in the program's first week the following month.
I wish I could be there for the grand opening. It's really looking great.
What about the rest of New Orleans? We cant keep the west bank clean too???
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