New Orleans City Council

Monday, April 24, 2017

What people are saying about the overnight Confederate-era monument removal in New Orleans

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 11:28 AM

Let's get the stupidest out of the way first, wth a comment by a fellow who is running for governor in Virginia ...

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At First Draft, New Orleans blogger Adrastos has a more nuanced take:
I wish that the city had NOT done so under cover of darkness but the Mayor has said that there were death threats against the work crew. Unfortunately, I believe him. BUT since other security measures were taken, I still think it should have been done during the day. I, for one, am proud of this action, which is why I don’t think we should be sneaking around. It gives the appearance of wrongdoing when they’re doing the right thing. Celebrating hatred and racism is unacceptable.

I also wish Mayor Landrieu would stop calling them Confederate monuments. The one that was removed this morning, the so-called Liberty monument, honors the triumph of white supremacy during Reconstruction. The remaining three statues honor Confederate dignitaries-only one local-and were erected in celebration of white supremacy, which is why I use that term.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Orleans Political Woman Forum April 25 takes on the "glass ceiling"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 10:20 AM

State Rep. (and upcoming New Orleans City Council candidate) Helena Moreno.
  • State Rep. (and upcoming New Orleans City Council candidate) Helena Moreno.

A panel April 25 hosted by Voters East of the Industrial Canal (VEOTIC) focuses on women's issues in politics, including political literacy, gender gaps in voting and overall women's rights. The event is notable for its guest list, which includes every female member of the current New Orleans City Council (councilwomen Nadine M. Ramsey, Stacy Head, Susan G. Guidry and newly declared mayoral candidate LaToya Cantrell), plus State Rep. Helena Moreno, who will run for the council seat being vacated by Stacy Head. Veteran organizer Timolynn Sams Sumter moderates the discussion.

Political involvement and activism led by women is fast becoming a powerful force in both local and national politics, particularly on the left. A recent Slate article credits the surprise success of dark horse Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, who will advance to a runoff to represent Georgia's historically-Republican Sixth District, to women organizing on his behalf. The organization EMILY'S List, which supports progressive women as political candidates, has reported a dramatic uptick in the number of women who have reached out to express interest in running for office. These are encouraging signs for proponents of women's rights in Louisiana, where women have historically been underrepresented in the legislature and beyond.

The event, which takes place at St. Maria Goretti Church Community Center, begins at 6:30 p.m. It's free to attend.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

LaToya Cantrell is running for mayor

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 1:03 PM

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell speaks at the Women's March New Orleans in January. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell speaks at the Women's March New Orleans in January.

As was widely speculated, District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell will be running for mayor in the municipal election this fall. A spokesman for Cantrell confirmed today that an announcement will be coming soon.

Though Cantrell has made no formal announcement, she's dropped hints over the past few months about feeling a “call to serve.” Today a slick election website was unveiled seeking donations and highlighting her accomplishments as a Broadmoor community leader and city councilwoman.

The only other announced candidate is former Judge Michael Bagneris, though many familiar names are expected to join the race. Among the possibilities: State Rep. Walt Leger, State Sen. JP Morrell, State Sen. Troy Carter, Councilman At-Large Jason Williams, Judge Desiree Charbonnet and real estate developer Sidney Torres.

Qualifying takes place in July.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Harrah's blames New Orleans nonsmoking laws for drop in local revenue

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 6:58 PM

Harrah's New Orleans. - CREATIVE COMMONS/MOREBYLESS
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/MOREBYLESS
  • Harrah's New Orleans.

The smoking ban in New Orleans has driven Harrah’s customers away.

That was the argument March 21 from Caesar’s Entertainment, the global casino enterprise that owns Harrah’s New Orleans Casino & Hotel. Representatives testified to the state’s Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force a $70 million loss in gaming revenues since the parish implemented the ban two years ago.

Company president and CEO Mark Frissora, company South regional president Dan Real and task force chairman Ronnie Jones all acknowledged the correlation.

But 24 hours later, Cynthia Hallett, the president and CEO for Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, called those accusations “baseless.”

Real said Tuesday he does not expect the parish to repeal the ban, nor is the company actively lobbying against it. And Caesar’s Entertainment executive vice president of public affairs and communications Richard Broome said the company accepts the smoking ban.

“We don’t want to dwell on the smoking ban,” Broome said. “But it has had an impact on revenue. That’s incontestable.”

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Louisiana women won't receive equal pay until 2115, study predicts

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 9:44 AM

PICTURES OF MONEY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • PICTURES OF MONEY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

According to new projections released today by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, the wage gap for women in Louisiana won't close until the year 2115. In the report, Louisiana joins just three other states — North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming — in failing to close the gap until the 22nd century.

The group's analysis considered the ratio of women's to men's earnings for full-time workers and how that ratio has changed over time since 1959. The wage gap can cost a woman many thousands of dollars over the course of her career and contributes to lifestyle issues such as difficulty saving for retirement — a serious problem for women, who typically live longer than men.

City and state officials often discuss the egregious pay equity problem statewide and recently have begun to make efforts to address it. The New Orleans City Council established an Equal Pay Advisory Committee and Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for a Civil Service Commission study about gender disparity on its own payroll. Gov. John Bel Edwards and Donna Edwards also hosted a summit earlier this month about pay equity in Baton Rouge.

Though such discussions are limited in their initial impact, it's heartening to know this pervasive issue is on elected officials' radar.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Transgender community offers policy changes to city officials and NOPD

Posted By on Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 9:30 PM

Jada Mercedes Cardona, left, leads a town hall meeting March 10 with New Orleans City Councilmembers Jason Williams and LaToya Canttell with NOPD's LGBT liaison Frank Robertson.
  • Jada Mercedes Cardona, left, leads a town hall meeting March 10 with New Orleans City Councilmembers Jason Williams and LaToya Canttell with NOPD's LGBT liaison Frank Robertson.

Jada Mercedes Cardona knew at 4 years old. "It felt right. I ran to my mom to tell her what I discovered, and what was going to happen now?" Cardona told a crowd at First Unitarian Universalist Church. "Instead of being received with hugs, kisses, understanding and love, I got beaten, and made to proclaim, several times, that I would never repeat those words to anyone again."

Cardona began transitioning at age 35, after living as a gay man, and was tortured by low self-esteem and "a cycle of hate I still struggle with today" — an "internalized oppression," she said, "so much so that you can't see anything good about yourself."

"Living in one's truth isn't easy," Cardona said.  "I lost everything from living in my truth."

Cardona founded the transgender advocacy group Transitions Louisiana, which hosted a town hall meeting March 10 following the recent deaths of three transgender women in Louisiana — including two people in New Orleans — after one of the most deadly years for transgender people in the U.S.

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Judge says Liberty Place monument can come down

Posted By on Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 9:40 AM

Liberty Monument. - PHOTO BY KANDACE POWER GRAVES
  • Photo by Kandace Power Graves
  • Liberty Monument.
A federal judge has ruled that New Orleans can remove a monument honoring a white supremacist uprising. It's likely the final thumbs up for city officials to begin removing four Confederate-era monuments after an appeals court ruling sided with the city to take down monuments to P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. The Liberty decision comes just two days after that ruling.

The Battle of Liberty Place monument originally honored a revolt from members of the Crescent City White League against Reconstruction efforts and the city's integrated police force in 1874.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Federal appeals court: Confederate monuments can come down

Posted By on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 6:13 PM

PHOTOS BY DERICK HINGLE & KANDACE POWER GRAVES
  • Photos by Derick Hingle & Kandace Power Graves

Nearly two years after Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced plans to remove controversial Confederate-era monuments in New Orleans, a March 6 ruling from a federal appeals court gave the city a green light to begin removing the statues..

In 2015
, the New Orleans City Council voted to take down monuments to P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and the Battle of Liberty Place, but removal efforts stalled after a lawsuit from the Monumental Task Committee challenged the vote. Today's ruling from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling against the suit.

“This win today will allow us to begin to turn a page on our divisive past and chart the course for a more inclusive future," Landrieu said in a statement. "Moving the location of these monuments — from prominent public places in our city where they are revered to a place where they can be remembered — changes only their geography, not our history. Symbols matter and should reflect who we are as a people. These monuments do not now, nor have they ever reflected the history, the strength, the richness, the diversity or the soul of New Orleans."

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

City Council defers vote on rental registry to March 9

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 4:35 PM

New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.
  • New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.

The New Orleans City Council will delay a vote on a rental registry and inspection program to next month. At-Large Councilmember Jason Williams and District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell sponsored a measure that would require landlords of most private rentals to register their properties with the city and subject them to inspections that must meet a checklist of health and safety requirements before they can be rented out. The City Council deferred voting on the measure last month, and it will defer the measure again to March 9 at its meeting on Feb. 23.

Cantrell and Williams will "continue to work on the legislation with their fellow Councilmembers and with New Orleans citizens to ensure the best ordinance going forward," according to the City Council's agenda announcement.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

New Orleans City Council votes to establish Equal Pay Advisory Committee

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 10:45 AM

New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.
  • New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.

At a meeting held Feb. 9, the New Orleans City Council unanimously voted to create a new committee to provide the council with expertise on matters of pay equity and wage discrimination. It's part of a broader campaign by the Council and city officials to combat the dismal state of pay equity in Louisiana, where women make as little as 48 cents on the dollar to men's earnings.

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