Author: Jeff Thomas

Drew Brees Gets An Early Retirement Present 

They say the NFL is a copy cat league. A league where one team tries to mimic the successful blueprint laid out by another. Well apparently Drew Brees and Demario Davis have taken that mentality. And they applied it to the areas of economic development and submitting business proposals to the city as well.

Drew Brees cheating off of Troy Henry’s paper wasn’t the headline of any local news reports last week. But that’s exactly what happened. The East New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission (ENONAC) held a meeting this past Tuesday. One of the key agenda items was reviewing the two remaining proposals to redevelop the long dormant Six Flags site.

The Brees led group bombed the first time out. If it was Showtime at the Apollo, they would have been led off stage by the Sandman. The New Orleans East community supports new entertainment opportunities and other businesses that create jobs. But Drew Brees’ group originally centered their proposal around turning Six Flags into a farm and transportation hub. 

“I felt we weren’t framing our project in a way that highlighted the interests of the community,” said Demario Davis. He uttered this major understatement during the opening minutes of the (ENONAC) meeting last week. 

Drew Brees and Demario Davis Should Be Ashamed

Home Team Hits Home Run

Meanwhile, Troy Henry’s group knocked it out the park (pun intended). They proposed upgrading the Six Flags into a site that would house

  • an indoor/outdoor amusement park,
  • restaurants, hotels,
  • a golf course,
  • along with the transportation hub requested by the city. 

 This would all be Bayou Phoenix.

“It is exactly what this community has requested, what it needs, and what it wants” 

Tangie Wall of New Orleans East Matters.

Seemingly, the selection committee judging the proposals agreed. What they couldn’t agree on though was rightfully awarding the contract to Bayou Phoenix. Instead of awarding the contract on the day they promised, the committee gave the Brees/Davis led group 30 more days to revise their proposal.

Three weeks later, it was hard to tell to the two proposals apart. AMAZING!

Suddenly, at the ENONAC meeting Davis revealed that amusement and entertainment had been a big part of their proposal all along. It was all just a matter of poor communication. As Brees walked the committee through the “refocused” version of his group’s proposal, it became hard to tell if they had inadvertently loaded Bayou Phoenix’s slides on to their computer. Instantaneously, there was a water park, restaurants, an amphitheater, talk of community uplifting and engagement. The farm, once the selling point of their original unfocused proposal, was now a backdrop, only mentioned as a complimentary piece to what they now realize the community actually needed and wanted. Troy Henry and his Bayou Phoenix partners could only fume.

“They say imitation is the purest form of flattery,” Henry said during a phone interview. Well, he must’ve been flattered to the bone, watching his idea be repackaged and stolen.

The committee has set a bad precedent with the way they have handled this process.  

Regardless of how this eventually turns out, future developers who plan on doing business with the city may end up feeling a bit skittish. Here it is as a developer you go out and do your due diligence of engaging the community. You actually listen to their wants and needs. Then you create a plan built around those meetings only to see your idea stolen because the city’s committee allowed another group to cheat off your paper.

The community is not standing down. New Orleans East Matters has teamed up with local clergy, hoping that there is strength in numbers. “We just want to be heard,” said Wall. And as she has said before, the community feels that Henry and his Bayou Phoenix partners were the ones who initially engaged them. Henry’s group came up with a proposal built around their needs, so for them Bayou Phoenix is the one who should be awarded the deal.

“This is not just about The East,” said Wall, “Bayou Phoenix can be an asset not just the East but to city as well.”

The NFL might call it being a copycat, but in real life, stealing somebody’s business proposal, ain’t just competition.

This Friday, June 11th, will mark 30 days. We’ll see if the committee agrees. For more information stay tuned.

Why was Drew Brees led group given extra time to improve their proposal?

The city of New Orleans’ response to the proposals to redevelop the abandoned Jazzland amusement park in New Orleans East was umm, shall we call it perplexing. Did the city really pass on a superior proposal that the community clearly favored to allow Drew Brees to redo his proposal that the community rejected?

Maybe not. But it might as well had. At least that would’ve been a more honest dismissal, as opposed to the shenanigans that went down. 

Imagine the scenario. The city establishes an oversight committee and puts out a call for proposals to finally transform the long abandoned Six Flags site into something not so abandoned, a site that residents of the East could be proud of. They go about this process with little input from those residents, then set a deadline for May 11th to make a final decision.  

So the moment comes. The grand unveiling. Two proposals stand out, one led by local business consultant Troy Henry. It includes an indoor/outdoor water park, a logistic center, a travel center, a hotel, a sports complex, a redeveloped Eastover Country Club, and an expansion plan to include an amusement park. The new name is Bayou Phoenix. The other is led by Drew Brees and Demario Davis. Its’ centerpiece is a local farm. The farm will be used to teach kids how to grow crops. Yes, crops. In an area as economically starved as the East, one of the top proposals was one that would use acres of land to grow crops. It would also include a water park and food truck park.

So of course the decision was a no brainer for the committee. With over 200 of the 300 responses from residents of the East that were present supporting Bayou Phoenix, the committee did the most logical and obvious thing a biased committee could do. It ranked the Drew Brees led proposal as number 1 on the list with Bayou Phoenix coming in a close 2nd.  Rather than just outright award the contract, because the two were apparently “so close”, the committee then concocted a run-off scenario. Or as they said a 30 day window for both to tweak their proposals. Then a decision will finally be made.

Why was Drew Brees team given extra time to improve their proposal? The score sheet containing the basis of the ranking was not made available to the public. But Troy Henry said that he has requested it. 

Whatever the justification, the committee’s decision left many in the community baffled. “Something is rotten at the top of the chain,” said Tangie Wall, member of N.O. East Matters. “Nobody from the committee ever asked the East how do you feel. It’s just wasn’t a fair process.” 

It’s a point that’s hard to argue with. Troy Henry is a resident of the East and a highly successful businessman. His team canvassed the community to see exactly what was wanted, needed, and financially viable. He then went out and got the financial backing for Bayou Phoenix from Hillwood, a prominent investment company, so it’s sound. The Drew Brees led proposal, on other hand, only has an iconic name behind it. But the East doesn’t need icons. It needs the economic growth that businesses will bring, as opposed to a farm.

“We looked beyond the iconic,” said Wall. And when speaking of Bayou Phoenix, she said, “We feel it will provide the substantial economic development the community needs.”

What’s needed now is for the committee to come to the same conclusion in 30 days. “We’ll be as responsive as we can be,” said Henry when asked about responding to any tweaks the committee may request. 

In the meantime, the best thing residents of the East can do is to state their preference and state it loudly.

“It’s time for the East to rise up,” said Wall. “We’re not intimidated or backing down.”   

She’s right. For too long the East has been neglected and disrespected. The committee’s decision to give the Drew Brees led group a do-over is just another example of decades of disrespect. It’s time for that to come to an end. Get in touch with our mayor and City Council representative. Let them know that what’s more important is the economic impact of the plan, not the name behind it. 

And how that is terrible for Louisiana

Gentrification threatens tourism in New Orleans more than shootings on Bourbon Street. 

As the primary economic engine of not just New Orleans, but the entire state of Louisiana, tourism is normally politically protected at all costs.  The recent decision by voters to delay suddenly-sharply-rising property taxes is a step in the right direction, but much more is urgently needed lest New Orleans tourism morphs into a regional, rather than an international, draw.

Make no mistake about it:  New Orleans tourism, though unspoken, is largely Afrocentric.  In fact, the culture of the African American community is the key ingredient in our tourism gumbo.  People come to The Bowl for music, food, architecture and joie de vivre.  None of these exist without the contributions of African Americans.  Gentrification threatens this reality.

Olympians 2nd Line Crew

Cultural Erosion

Local leaders have tried unsuccessfully to convince national leaders that coastal erosion in Louisiana is a threat to national interests.  The loss of seafood production and the threat to oil and gas interests are brushed aside in Washington, D.C., as trivial, replaceable assets the national economy can easily absorb. But as gentrification pushes less-resourced people from inner-city neighborhoods, the future of the city we all love is seriously imperiled. Unlike Louisiana’s relative unimportance nationally, New Orleans’ success is critical to Louisiana. 

Every time a newcomer displaces a native, the whole Jenga structure becomes less stable.

From a distance, all might seem good when a more-resource rich transplant migrates in to town. Nevertheless, one need only look behind the mask of in-migration statistics to understand the precariousness of the impending doom.  Political strategy and long-term planning are essential to prevent catastrophic cultural erosion.  The destruction of our city’s cultural foundations – think second line clubs and brass bands – of tourist dollars can be prevented with smart legislation, based on sound and fair economic principles.

 Other cities, with far less important and influential cultural communities, have enacted safeguards to protect their own cultural assets.  A look at Seattle provides a glimpse of how we can protect our tourism industry, our city and our state.  That city has developed an Equitable Development Framework  which guides how the city prioritizes its work; shapes its budgets, policies, programs and investments; and structures the implementation of targeted strategies and equitable development projects by using clear objectives for reducing disparities and achieving equitable outcomes for marginalized populations.

Equity Drivers

  • Advance economic opportunity. Promote economic opportunities for marginalized populations and enhance community cultural anchors. Provide access to quality education, training and living-wage career paths.
  • Prevent residential, commercial, and cultural displacement. Enact policies and programs that allow marginalized populations, businesses and community organizations to stay in their neighborhoods.
  • Build on local cultural assets. Respect local community character, cultural diversity and values. Preserve and strengthen cultural communities and build the capacity of their leaders, organizations and coalitions to enjoy greater self-determination.
  • Promote transportation mobility and connectivity. Prioritize investment in effective and affordable transportation which supports transit-dependent communities.
  • Develop healthy and safe neighborhoods. Create neighborhoods that enhance community health through access to public amenities; provide healthy, affordable and culturally-relevant food; and safe environments for everyone.
  • Enable equitable access to all neighborhoods. Leverage private developments to fill gaps in amenities; expand the supply and variety of housing and employment choices; and create equitable access to neighborhoods which offer high access to opportunity.

The consequences of doing nothing are potentially calamitous.  As horrific and petrifying as a shooting on Bourbon Street is, the long-term effects of cultural erosion caused by gentrification are not offset by increased property tax collection. In fact, cultural erosion forebodes doom as the New Orleans which tourists seek out, no longer exists. Instead, NOLA will become more like Savannah: Nice place, but it’s no New Orleans. Without a protected and empowered black community in The Bowl, we might not be here no more.


A Savannah Trolley vs a New Orleans Street Car

Gentrification – the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that displaces poorer residents – is in full swing in New Orleans.  Property values in certain parts of town are skyrocketing.  For pennies on the dollar, generational homes are being sometimes sold to developers and sometimes lost to a convoluted code enforcement process.  Many view the changes as positive transformations, while others recognize the economic rigging that is happening to poor black people.

I am proud to be a New Orleanian.  While our great city has much work to do, the current city council is enacting the kinds of laws that reflect a keen understanding of the effects of policy on people.   And this progressive legislation will surely lead to healthier people, stronger families, and a more prosperous city.

Recent legislation to decriminalize marijuana and remove bonds for municipal offenses are two recent examples.  These new policies shift the influence from punishment to empowerment.  For too long, city government has sought to raise funds on the backs of poor black men in New Orleans.  In the mass incarceration center of the world, African American men form NOLA have been the fuel.  Yet studies show that incarceration for even minor offenses dramatically increases crime. 

Why do arrests for even minor crime turn people into career criminals?

According to University of Michigan economics professor Michael Mueller-Smith, “prison obliterates your earnings potential. Being a convicted felon disqualifies you from certain jobs, housing, or voting.” Mueller-Smith estimates that each year in prison reduces the odds of post-release employment by 24% and increases the odds you’ll live on public assistance. Time in prison also lowers the odds you’ll get or stay married. Being in prison and out of the labor force degrades legitimate skills and exposes you to criminal skills and a criminal network. This makes crime a more attractive alternative upon release, even if you run a high risk of returning to prison.

The overwhelming preponderance of empirical evidence shows that putting people in jail, especially for minor offenses, increases crime.  So the actions of our city council are beneficial.

And as our new city council transitions to a more supportive and investing form of government interaction with people, one of the most important policies has not yet been progressively addressed.  Gentrification in New Orleans.  And just as not putting people in jail for minor offenses as a way to reduce crime is counter intuitive for many, so too are the best case approaches to manage gentrification.

Gentrification is not the same as revitalization.  Revitalization maintains the affordability of neighborhoods.  Gentrification causes displacement.  Direct displacement is a rent increase.  Exclusionary displacement describes people who remain in changing neighborhoods but cannot afford the new neighborhood.

The COSTS OUTWEIGH THE BENEFITS

Governments often welcome gentrification as a way to increase tax revenue.  The propaganda around gentrification is that the neighborhood “improvements” reduce crime, improve schools and improve the quality of life for all residents.  But that’s not true according to Dr. Stacey Sutton, professor of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago. “Gentrification is a social justice issue,” according to Sutton.   “Gentrification causes cultural and economic barriers.” Gentrification causes social segregation.  Schools test scores drop and crime increases. These counterintuitive outcomes are like the unexpected consequences of putting people in jail for minor offenses.  Big cities across the globe have all suffered similar fates.  New Orleans leaders should take the time to understand this universal phenomenon and not subscribe to the tired propaganda of real estate investors who only seek fast cash.

PROTECT OUR NEIGHBORHOODS

Displacement disrupts people’s lives.  And most importantly, displacement is an integral part of gentrification.  Displacement of people from their homes and neighborhoods.  In fact, because of this displacement of people from neighborhoods, crime increases, schools deteriorate and the quality of life is improved only for a few.  The increase in property tax valuations is more than offset by the increases in crime and lower test scores seen as a result of the gentrification.

WHO AND WHAT DO YOU VALUE

There are alternatives to gentrification.  While free market dynamics are important, the culture and substance of New Orleans neighborhoods are more important.  The people who live in family houses passed through generations or renters who struggle in low wage jobs are the people who play the music, and sew the costumes and cook the food we all claim make our city unique.

Preserving this character is priceless and worth more than the often promised increase property tax revenues.  And since the resulting social costs offset the new revenue, a more thoughtful approach is in order.  Our elected leaders need creative property tax measures that simultaneously raise property taxes while protecting the property rights of generational homeowners.  Further, rent controls must protect the working class – who are mired in a fight for living wages.

NOLA is a unique city.  Not homogenized, full of traditions and centuries of character, we must properly preserve and protect our culture.  We need to improve.  We need to get better. And we need to stay the same.
 

Almost everybody’s property taxes in New Orleans have gone up.  And risen significantly in most cases.  Some have even doubled. Gentrification, state laws and a host of other factors contribute to the increases.  Whatever the reason, New Orleanians should one man for their high property tax bills – tax assessor Erroll Williams. 

But property values and their taxes usually rise over time.  And even though this cycle seems more steep than normal, Assessor Williams is like Teflon.  The higher taxes do not stick to him personally.  People must believe that he has no control over the taxes they are billed. 

Erroll Williams

Williams’ don’t blame the messenger narrative has worked for over 35 years.  Despite the highest taxes in the history of New Orleans, Williams qualified to run again. And he is favored to be reelected for the 10th time in his storied political career.  Back in 2011 votes elected Williams as the first citywide assessor. He is still the only citywide assessor in New Orleans’ history.  Williams is seen as a hard-working old school leader.  He gets in the office early and leaves late. He often speaks at senior citizens events. In fact Williams has been instrumental in getting New Orleanians over 65 to have their assessments frozen. 

Williams is a part of the LIFE political organization.  LIFE dominated 7th, 8th and 9th ward politics.  The old adage was if you could win 789 then the city was yours.  Dutch Morial, Marc Morial, Marlin Gusman, Cynthia Willard Lewis and Errol Williams transformed 7th ward dominance into a stranglehold on citywide politics.   Gusman and Williams still rep the LIFE political flag.

Carlos Hornbrook

This election Williams has serious competition from Carlos Hornbrook.  He is an attorney who wants “to bring New Orleans back!”  Mr. Hornbrook sees the assessor’s office as critical part of the economy.  He says the assessor overvalues properties.  This creates unusually high tax bills and rakes money out of the economy that could be used to fund police, fire and EMS.  Also, the higher taxes create challenges to home ownership. 

Mr Hornbook is on a mission. “It is my mission to be fair with both individual homeowners and commercial property owners when it comes to their property assessment and to develop small business ownership specifically within the New Orleans East, 9th Ward and Central City areas.”

Mr. Hornbrook says that 90% of property owners who contest their property values get a reduction in their property taxes. “And this is just evidence that properties are not being accurately assessed in New Orleans!”

Gregory Lirette

Interestingly enough, Mr. Lirette’s website for assessor is linked to a previous campaign for Congress.

He lists his top issues as:

  • Ensuring fairness!
  • End favoritism from my office and help end Orleans political machine
  • Ensure complete transparency
  • Provide excellent customer service!
  • Provide accurate “likely sales price” assessments for properties to include short term rentals aka “Air B&B” where the homeowner does not also reside
  • Bring Orleans Assessor into this century regarding technology
  • Ensure computer systems meet security standards to prevent and eliminate ransomware and other attacks

Andrew Gressett

One can only surmise that his campaign is about lowering taxes as his formal campaign name is Andrew (Low Tax) Gressett.  But Mr. Gressett is a real estate professional and has a serious campaign. His 3 top  reasons for entering the race-

  1. Office has transformed from an assessment office to a tax collection office.  This and gentrification makes New Orleans too expensive for New Orlenians.
  2. Implement a 12-year term limit on the office
  3. Reassess all properties to make allowance for quality-of-life issues in neighborhoods.  People should not be paying for services they do not receive.

When asked his biggest reason for entering the race, Mr. Gressett said, “Mr. Williams is stubbornly ignoring the effects of gentrification on property values. This leads to unfairly high assessments and is destabilizing our city.”

Anthony Brown

Mr Brown is a single-issue candidate.  He believes that homeowners have been forced out of their homes by “overtaxing”.  Mr. Brown promises to use the Louisiana constitution to reduce taxes and ensure that all citizens have access to housing.

All of the candidates cite gentrification as the primary reason property taxes have risen so significantly this time.  All homeowners feel the increase in prices. Can Errol Williams message of I’m just the messenger and do not control market forces carry him into 40 years in office? Keep in mind, Errol Williams is another undefeated politician.

RELATED: EVERY CANDIDATE IN EVERY RACE

Criminal Justice Reform – Correcting How We Select Juries

Professor Bell

Angela A. Allen-Bell[1]

In 1968, the nation found itself in a lethargic state of grief following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Unbeknownst to him, Gary Duncan had a distant ally who also chose to exchange its morning for action. Congress enacted The Jury Selection and Service Act (JSSA) in 1968 with hopes of ending the jury discrimination that resulted from subjective decision makers rendering arbitrary decisions about who qualified for jury service.  Legislated into the JSSA is a federal policy that persons accused in federal courts “shall have the right to…juries selected at random from a fair cross section of the community….and that all citizens shall have the opportunity to be considered for service on…juries.” In 1975, the SCOTUS extended the ideal of the cross-sectional jury to state courts.

If Mr. Duncan could have known that, over fifty years after his precedent-setting legal victory, a Louisiana federal court would give it’s blessing to a jury selection system widely known to exclude prospective black jurors, he might not have been so willing to pay the SCOTUS a visit back in 1968. He went there penniless in defense of Sixth Amendment rights. In Duncan v. Louisiana, the SCOTUS declared a trial by jury in criminal cases is fundamental to the American scheme of justice.[2] And they concluded that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees a right to a jury trial in all criminal cases. His hopes of Louisiana no longer bankrupting justice have likely perished.

Supreme Court of the United States

These collective efforts were undertaken because something of grave importance was at stake.  When it performs as envisioned, a jury serves as a “guard against the exercise of arbitrary power [by making] available the commonsense judgment of the community as a hedge against the overzealous or mistaken prosecutor and in preference to the professional or perhaps over conditioned or biased response of a judge.”[3] However, the jury cannot play its “prophylactic” role “if the jury pool is made up of only special segments of the populace or if large, distinctive groups are excluded from the pool.”[4] Therefore, to satisfy the Sixth Amendment, the accused must be judged by a jury selected from a “fair cross-section” of the community−a pool of people reflecting the community’s racial and ethnic makeup. 

The process of selecting a jury begins when the clerk selects a pool of potential jurors from a list of names, such as a list of registered voters. This initial potential jury pool is referred to as the “source list.”  The second step is creation of the “Master Wheel,” which remains unchanged for some years.  Names are randomly selected from the “source list” for inclusion on the “Master Wheel.”  Third, there must be certainty that only qualified people appear on the “Master Wheel.”  Qualifications for jury service vary slightly by jurisdiction, but typically jurors are required to be citizens, at least eighteen-years-old, proficient in English, and without a felony conviction.  Questionnaires are sent to a random sampling from this group in an effort to determine eligibility.  From these responses, a “Qualified Wheel” is created and, as trials happen, citizens who appear here are called in for jury service. 

Some court officials are unapologetically apathetic in response to unreturned or non-deliverable notices. In a 2021 challenge, attorneys defended inaction by asserting the absence of a duty to do more than mail notices.  In deciding this case, a Louisiana judge was rather dismissive of the defense’s challenge. The court’s response to the defense was that it failed “to account for the daunting financial and public relations costs that would accompany their proposed solution” of sending a second notice or issuing a summons.  Lost in this reply is the greater and immeasurable financial and emotional cost paid by citizens when an improper jury reaches an improper decision.  The cost to the court pales in comparison to this.

In 1967, when Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title for resisting military draft on religious grounds, this approach to justice would have come in handy.  I’m sure he would have appreciated having officials refuse to take any action when he ignored their notice. I’ll bet the late Martin Luther King would feel similarly about his arrest and subsequent trip to the jail when he was arrested for ignoring the notice of a known segregationist who denied his permit request.[5]  Thankfully, the cost of justice is not calculated this way in all courts. 

How Do We Create Juries?

The second problem involves creation of the “Master Wheel” through exclusive reliance on voter registration records. The method of relying exclusively on voter registration records automatically eliminates persons who are not registered voters from consideration. Minorities happen to be underrepresented on voter registration lists. In 2007, a study sponsored by the Institute for Court Management National Center for State Courts reported that, “One of the most important techniques universally recommended [to prevent under-representation of minorities on the jury] is the expansion of source lists.”[6] In 2009, the National Center for State Courts reported that “exclusive reliance on voter registration list as the juror source list…waned…as the vast majority of states require courts to use multiple source lists  ….”[7] Overwhelmingly, studies of this issue conclude the use of supplemental or multiple source lists are preferred over exclusive reliance on voter registration records.

Those supplemental source list can come from a range of records, such as census, motor vehicle (licenses or registrations), utilities, welfare, unemployment records and tax rolls. While the JSSA, suggests that prospective jurors be selected from voter registration lists, it does not mandate this or prohibit the use of supplemental lists. In fact, the JSSA expressly allows for the use of “some other source . . . of names in addition to voter lists where necessary to foster the policy and protect the rights secured by the JSSA.” It appears the blinders over lady justice’s eyes have obstructed the view of some Louisiana court officials.    

A jury trial right is an impotent promise if diversity is absent from the jury box. Jurors from a cross section of the community bring different life experiences and perspectives to jury deliberations, leading to more informed discussions and greater public confidence in the judicial process. Studies show that the racial composition of the jury influences the content and scope of the discussions.  They also show that racially mixed juries tend to deliberate longer, discuss more case facts, and raise critical questions about evidentiary shortcomings during the trial. This research has inspired national efforts to increase juror diversity. Public unrest and distrust in the judiciary have intensified those efforts. Some court officials now view jury diversity as a wise investment. 

National Movement Around Jury Selection

Chief Judge Juan R. Sánchez, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, with the help of a jury diversity subcommittee, wanted to achieve greater diversity on juries in his jurisdiction.  They started by enlarging the size of their “Master Wheel.” To increase the response rate to juror qualification questionnaires, the court improved the accuracy of its mailing list by conducting more frequent address checks through the U.S. Postal Service’s system of updated addresses. Beyond these structural changes, the court created a community outreach and education program. 

In the Eastern District of Michigan, efforts to increase jury diversity were undertaken by court officials.  Chief Judge Denise Page Hood and Judge Victoria A. Roberts personally assumed the responsibility of teaching the community about the importance of jury service after seeing high rates of non-responses and undeliverable juror questionnaires, especially in urban, more transient areas. The effort in the Eastern District of Michigan led to greater minority representation. And the court’s non-response and undeliverable rates for jury summonses dropped by about 10% and 3%, respectively, in the Detroit jury division.

The District of Massachusetts, in its attempts to achieve greater jury diversity, selects potential jurors from a residents list compiled annually pursuant to state statute, rather than voter registration lists, as permitted by federal statute.  They view the list of state residents as the functional equivalent of a state census and feel a census list, which is intended to count every citizen in the state, is the most comprehensive source list available.

Voter Suppression is Jury Suppression

In total disregard for best practices or national traction as to jury diversity, Louisiana officials have deposited a verbal blank check into the justice treasury in the form of their position that their minimal efforts do not constitute a substantial failure of the JSSA. In 1968, when Gary Duncan was arrested and subject to judgment without a jury, that was legal.  It was not just though.  Today, this system that rewards voter suppression with jury suppression is legal.  It’s not just though. We can no longer be married to law while it has an illicit affair with injustice. The JSSA was enacted for the sole purpose of ending discriminatory practices that prevent blacks from serving on juries. 

This very law is now being used to bankroll a system of subprime justice. To deny or deprive black citizens of their state and federal right to exercise civic involvement via jury service is tantamount to writing a check on an overdrawn account. A deposit to the jury account is appreciated, a pledge to the diversity trust is encouraged and a contribution to the equality fund is welcomed.   


[1] Associate Professor and B. K. Agnihotri Endowed Professor at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

[2] See Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968).

[3] Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145, 155-6 (1968).

[4] Taylor v. Louisiana, 419 U.S. 522, 530 (1975).

[5] See Walker v. City of Birmingham388 U.S. 307(1967).

[6] Michelle Brinkman, A Study of Community Fair Cross-Section Representation of the Jury Venire in Travis County, Texas Under the I-Jury Process, P.31 (April 1, 2007).

[7] Jury Managers’ Toolbox Characteristic of an Effective Master Jury List, National Center for State Courts (2009). 

By Chas Danner

The CDC on Tuesday advised all Americans, including people who are fully vaccinated, to mask up indoors in public places again, anywhere in the country that is seeing significant spread of COVID-19. In addition, the agency also wound back its guidance on face masks in schools, and is now advising all students and staff to wear masks during in-person learning, regardless of their vaccination status. The CDC’s new guidance came as a direct result of the rapid U.S. spread of the Delta coronavirus variant, which has led to a surge of new cases in recent weeks, primarily among the unvaccinated.

Ahead of the CDC’s policy reversal, the Delta wave had already prompted many local officials across the country to reinstate universal indoor face mask mandates or advisories. Following the CDC announcement on Tuesday, Nevada quickly announced that it would once again require everyone in the state to wear face masks indoors in public. The House, too, announced that masks would be required for any work indoors on their side of the Capitol. Meanwhile, the debate over face masks remains politically fraught, particularly since officials at the federal, state, and local level have offered a range of conflicting guidance regarding the matter, not always informed by science, and often divided along partisan lines. Regardless, more mandates — and confusion — now seem likely. Below is a look at the state of this debate, what the CDC’s new face mask guidelines mean, where mask mandates are coming back, and what public-health experts have had to say.My Week In New YorkA week-in-review newsletter from the people who make New York Magazine.

A storefront face-mask sign in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

What are the new CDC guidelines, and why did it change course?

The CDC now recommends that everyone wears a face mask in indoor public places, regardless of their vaccination status, in any community where there is substantial or high transmission of COVID-19 — which means anywhere where there have been 50 new COVID cases confirmed per 100,000 residents within the past seven days. That currently applies to almost two thirds of the counties in the U.S, not just including the southern and midwestern states experiencing large outbreaks, but a majority of counties in Nevada, Colorado, and Utah, as well as every county in New York City.

Regarding schools, the CDC now recommends that all students, teachers and school staff members in the U.S. wear face masks at school, regardless of vaccination status — but emphasizes that schools should still resume in-person learning.

The CDC also said that vaccinated people should get tested for COVID-19 not only if they develop COVID symptoms, but if they were recently in close contact with someone who had a suspected or confirmed case.

As to why the agency changed course, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky cited emerging data about the the Delta variant, which she said was effectively a different virus from any other strain, in that it could lead to outbreaks among both the unvaccinated and vaccinated alike. And while vaccines continue to provide strong protection against severe illness and death, so-called breakthrough infections remain possible, and in the case of Delta breakthrough infections, may be transmissible to others, both vaccinated and unvaccinated. Specifically, Walensky cited research showing that vaccinated people with Delta breakthrough infections may have just as much viral load as unvaccinated infected people do.

In general, mask mandates that apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people have primarily been meant to protect the unvaccinated, who account for nearly all new COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the U.S. Simply put, vaccinated and unvaccinated people continue to share indoor spaces where it’s easy to spread COVID, and there is no practical way to distinguish between them or enforce a mask mandate that applies to only the unvaccinated. So the only way to make sure unvaccinated people are wearing masks is to require everyone to. On the other hand, while breakthrough infections are uncommon and very rarely lead to serious outcomes, they still come with risks, particularly for people with weakened immune systems, or as the CDC fears, the capability to spread COVID to others.

Where mask mandates are coming back, and where they are being opposed

Ahead of the Delta wave, almost all universal mask mandates throughout the country had been rescinded after the CDC updated its guidelines in May to recommend that people who were vaccinated no longer needed to mask up in indoor public spaces (unless required to by state, local, or business rules). Now the CDC has partially reversed itself, citing the Delta wave, but even before that happened, numerous local officials had begun to take action on their own. Some, including Los Angeles County in California, St. Louis County in Missouri, and Provincetown, Massachusetts, had already reinstated mask mandates for the unvaccinated and vaccinated alike.

On Tuesday, Nevada became the first state to realign its statewide mask policy with the CDC, requiring indoor mask wearing in public for all state residents and visitors, effective Friday. USA Today has compiled a state-by-state roundup of other current mask rules here, and also reports that it’s not yet clear how the countries major retailers will respond to the new guidance.

There also continues to be partisan political pushback. For instance, Missouri’s Republican-controlled state government opposes mask mandates, even though the state, where just over 40 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, is one of the places that has been hit hardest by the Delta wave. Missouri’s attorney general has already sued to block St. Louis County’s mask mandate.

Indeed, there are multiple GOP-controlled states that have already sought or vowed to legally bar or restrict local mask mandates, including large states like Texas and Florida — the latter of which now accounts for one out of every five new cases of COVID-19 nationally. Most of these efforts to eschew or block mask mandates have framed the issue as a matter of protecting personal freedom, while some lawmakers have tried to downplay or discredit the necessity of face masks. On Tuesday, several Republican governors, including Florida’s Ron DeSantis, Arizona’s Doug Ducey, and South Dakota’s Kristi Noem, reiterated their opposition to universal mask mandates, despite the new CDC guidelines. CNN reported Wednesday that at least 24 Republican congressmen went maskless on the House floor on the first day of the reinstated mask mandate for the House, potentially risking a fine for defying the rule.

What about masks in schools?

With the new school year fast approaching, a simultaneous debate has been raging about mask mandates in schools where in-person learning is set to resume this fall. While available data continues to indicate that children are the demographic least likely to develop serious complications from COVID infections, that doesn’t mean they are invulnerable or cannot transmit the coronavirus to others. Since children under the age of 12 aren’t eligible for COVID vaccines, they represent a large segment of the country’s unvaccinated population. Thus far, less than 40 percent of Americans aged 12 to 17 have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

On Tuesday, the CDC recommended that all students, teachers, and school staff nationwide wear face masks while in school (which is also what the American Academy of Pediatrics recently advised).

Just weeks prior, the CDC had released new guidelines recommending that only the unvaccinated needed to mask up unless it was required by their school. Since the CDC guidelines are only a recommendation, it’s left to local governments and school districts to determine whether or not to require face masks in schools, and for whom.

Boston, Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wisconsin, have all announced that they will require public-school students and staff to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. California is requiring face masks in schools, but deferring enforcement to local school officials. And in light of the CDC’s new guidelines, it’s now likely that many more state and local officials will follow suit, if they haven’t already.

On the other hand, Arkansas, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and is currently experiencing one of the nation’s worst Delta-fueled outbreaks, has banned school mask mandates. So have Texas, Iowa, and multiple other states with GOP-led governments.

Meanwhile, parents across the country have also launched lawsuits challenging both school mask mandates and the bans against them.

The CDC had been facing pressure to revise its face mask guidelines

Both the Biden administration and the CDC had been facing pressure from public-health experts to readjust the guidance on face masks in light of the Delta wave.

On May 13, the CDC said that fully vaccinated people could safely resume indoor and outdoor activities without the need to wear face masks or practice social distancing. The decision, the CDC said, was based on research confirming the real-world effectiveness of COVID vaccines. The CDC did not lift its requirement that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, needed to wear masks while using public transportation. It also made it clear that Americans still needed to follow state, local, or business rules requiring masks. Soon after the announcement, however, states and many businesses simply updated their own mask rules to align with the CDC’s stance and in doing so relegated mask wearing among the unvaccinated to the honor system. In the end, only one state, Hawaii, kept its universal indoor mask requirements in place.

The CDC’s surprise rollback drew criticism from many public-health experts, who warned the move was premature and highlighted how difficult it would be to reinstate mask rules again if needed. Proponents of the move have argued that relaxing the face-mask guidance offered an incentive that would encourage more people to get vaccinated, but there is scant evidence it had that effect.

The CDC’s decision also preceded the rapid rise and dominance of the extra-transmissible Delta variant among the unvaccinated, both globally and in the U.S. Critics of the move have argued that while it is scientifically sound advice for the fully vaccinated to go mask-less indoors, the CDC’s rollback also effectively eliminated mask requirements for everyone else and left unvaccinated people more vulnerable, just as Delta was getting a foothold.

In late June, the World Health Organization urged everyone globally, including the fully vaccinated, to continue to wear face masks indoors, citing the increased risk of Delta. But with the U.S. far outpacing most of the world in vaccinations, and data indicating that the vaccines administered in the U.S. provide very effective protection against all known variants, including Delta, the CDC had maintained its stance on masking.

The return of mask mandates does not mean vaccines are ineffective

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Full vaccination remains very effective at both preventing COVID infection and spread, as well as protecting people who are vaccinated from becoming seriously ill should they somehow contract a breakthrough COVID infection.

Should vaccinated people wear face masks, no matter what?

Public-health experts continue to insist that fully vaccinated people face very little risk of COVID infection, and even less risk of serious COVID illness. That being said, there has never been zero risk.

Some experts have suggested that people who are vaccinated should consider a number of factors when deciding whether or not to wear a face mask, including how much COVID is spreading in their area, where they will be spending time in public, and how much exposure they will have, then or later, to people facing greater risk from infection, like the unvaccinated or people with weak immune systems.

And most coronavirus experts continue to emphasize that vaccinated people can safely go mask-less around other vaccinated people. The only exceptions, for now, would be if a vaccinated person had developed a symptomatic, so-called breakthrough COVID infection, or if taking extra precautions around vaccinated people who may have less immunity, like those with weakened immune systems.

Do face masks protect against the Delta variant?

Yes. While nothing provides better protection than getting vaccinated, face masks are still the second-best way that people can protect themselves and others against COVID infection, including against the Delta variant. That being said, masks likely provide less protection against Delta than they do against previous, less transmissible variants — which makes using a better mask and making sure it fits properly all the more important. Simply put, the Delta variant appears to be better equipped to exploit the weaknesses of loosely fit and/or lower quality masks, and in environments where the risk of COVID transmission is higher — like crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces, or situations where potential exposure lasts longer — the better the mask, the lower the risk.

Authentic NIOSH-approved N95 respirators — which are now far more widely available to consumers than in earlier phases of the pandemic — offer the most protection. Authentic FDA-authorized KN95 masks made in China, and South Korean KF94 masks, when purchased from reputable vendors, can provide nearly equal protection at less cost. All of these masks are designed to fit tighter to the face than surgical masks, which are the next best option, provided they are fit properly. Cloth masks provide less protection — especially against the Delta variant — but are definitely better than no mask at all, particularly if made from multiple layers of non-woven fabric. Cloth masks also make up nearly all available child-sized options.

by Shainna Ali Ph.D., LMHC

Key takeaways following the champion’s historic Olympic decision.

KEY POINTS

  • Earlier this week, Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast of all time, made the decision to withdraw from the Olympic all-around finals.
  • Biles has openly addressed her mental health struggles before and has taken a stance against mental health stigma.
  • Biles’ actions show that pressure affects everyone, and that a perceived discrepancy still exists between mental and physical health.

Earlier this week, the most decorated gymnast of all time, Simone Biles, made a historic decision to step down from the team and individual all-around finals at the Olympics. This unexpected move has shocked people across the globe, but it has also resonated with those who live with mental health problems. Here are five key lessons we can take from Biles’ experience.

1. You can be successful and have a mental health diagnosis.

While Biles’ decision to withdraw from the all-around finals was breaking news, so was her openly addressing her mental health was not. Like other athletes who have spoken up about mental health, Biles has openly addressed her mental health struggles before. After hackers released her previously confidential diagnosis in 2016, Biles took a stance against mental health stigma via Twitter.

Twitter/@Simone_Biles

Source: Twitter/@Simone_Biles

In addition to her confirmed diagnosis, Biles’ past, which involved enduring the foster care system and bullying, have served as additional stressors for her well-being. Yet despite this, Biles has become a world-famous athlete. Biles dispels the stereotypical views of what it means to have a diagnosis and serves as an example that you can live with mental health problems and strive for your dreams.

2. Pressure affects everyone.

Athletes minds’ are underdogs in their own right. While athletes are celebrated for their physical abilities, the luster of such talents would fall short without the depths of their dedication, discipline, and diligence. In addition to training their bodies, they condition their minds. As they do their best to “keep their heads in the game,” they become adept at tuning out distractions, bouncing back from blunders, and keeping their eyes on the prize.

Despite how formidable an Olympian’s mind can be, it is not impervious to pressure. Earlier this week Biles shared on Instagram about the “weight of the world” on her shoulders.

Instragam/@SimoneBiles

Source: Instragam/@SimoneBiles

Her words illustrate the ability of pressure to take its toll on even the most durable minds. It’s a helpful reminder that no matter who you are, stress is pressure for anyone. It is only human to feel the influence of pressure over time and is not a sign of weakness.

3. An individual’s mental wellness does not exist in a bubble.

While the news of Biles’ decision has unsurprisingly scaled a wide variety of headlines across the globe, it seems as though the particular timing of Biles’ decision may be overshadowed by the momentous decision itself.

Yes, Biles cited the value of her well-being, but she also noted her unwillingness to jeopardize a medal for the team. Shortly following a moment on the vault that did not go as planned, it looked as though that was the final confirmation she needed. Biles later admitted to realizing she was not in the right headspace, and that this could affect her team.

Often, individuals, especially athletes, will push through their difficult moments for the sake of their team. However, in this instance, Biles was cognizant that the fragile state of her well-being could negatively affect her and her teammates as well. As a licensed mental health therapist, I will say that it’s common for people to take their well-being more seriously when they consider the consequences for others. For Biles, this acknowledgement helped her to better help herself and her team too.

Wikimedia commons/Danilo Borges

Source: Wikimedia commons/Danilo Borges

4. Collective trauma comes with unique consequences.

In addition to being open about her mental health, Biles has also courageously spoken about her sexual abuse by former Team USA doctor Larry Nassar. There are a variety of therapeutic strategies to treat trauma, and no one method will work for everyone. In a way, each individual has to find their own truth. What is common, however, is that this is often a long-term process that can be triggered despite the years since the trauma itself.

In April, Biles acknowledged that her return was fueled by the recognition that she would be the only survivor still in the sport. Trauma is already complicated; however, Biles recognized the historical pattern of muting survivors of sexual trauma and felt a social responsibility to contribute to awareness. Further, her decision to be involved highlights a distinct challenge that comes with collective trauma: the responsibility to find resilience for yourself, for fellow survivors, and for a wider cause.article continues after advertisementhttps://e0fe9da9fcfa4348a3e95148aa17dff2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

5. A discrepancy between the seriousness of mental and physical health still exists.

Unfortunately, Biles’ decision has not been without criticism. Biles has been labeled a “quitter” and jeered at for bringing shame to her country. Would these comments be the same if she had broken a bone on Monday?

As a global society, we have made tremendous strides in terms of mental health awareness and education. However, the persistence of this stigma-sprinkled negativity is representative of one of the key reasons it is difficult for individuals to seek help. In order to invest in growth, one has to acknowledge that there is a problem. However, if such concerns are minimized and ridiculed, it’s understandable that an individual would experience hesitance or even denial. This example of stigma doesn’t only affect Biles, but thousands of others who struggle silently with concerns due to fear of speaking out, seeking help, and tarnishing their reputations.

Big National Money Could Cost Sheriff his Job

People often complain about the state of New Orleans.  The easiest way to change the city is through the ballot box.  This fall New Orleanians will get the chance to change our city government.  Voters often don’t have the time to interview or question the candidates.  This series will inform and educate readers about most candidates in the most critical races. 

This week we look at the sheriff’s race.  Sheriff is the 2nd most powerful seat in city government.  And the current sheriff, Marlin Gusman is one of the  longest serving politicians in New Orleans. During his tenure, he has endured Hurricane Katrina flood waters, built a new facility,  seen prisoners escape, and is currently under a federal consent decree.  Despite many challenges and challengers over the years, Sheriff Gusman is one of the city’s most popular elected officials. Each time he has been reelected by an overwhelming majority

George Floyd Effect

But this cycle he faces his most difficult challenge as an elected official.  Nationally and locally, there is a hard progressive shift in criminal justice. Nowadays, “lock em up and throw away the key” is bad policy.  Compliantly, the state of Louisiana released thousands of nonviolent offenders over the last two years.  New Orleans had already downsized the jail from over 7000 beds in the 70’s to just over 1200 now.  And reform groups seek an even smaller jail.

This national progressive wave is a real factor in New Orleans’ elections.  Current DA, Jason Williams, was elected after his reform campaign promised progressive reform of the District Attorney’s office.  Now national money is pouring into the Sheriff’s race.  Former police monitor, Susan Hutson, and retired military officer, Dr. Christopher Williams lead the charge against Gusman this time.  Each wants to completely reform the Sheriff’s office. Additionally, gentrification has dramatically impacted voting outcomes across political precincts. So, will New Orleanians actually vote Gusman out of office?

The Candidates

Sheriff Marlin Gusman

Sheriff Marlin Gusman

Despite very public opposition, Sheriff Gusman has many accomplishments. Sheriff  Gusman is an advocate for rehabilitation and education. He views this as a way to break the cycle of crime and violence among young people. He has instituted a Day Reporting Center for probation/parole violators. The Sheriff created a regional re-entry program to reduce recidivism. And he opened education dorms and learning centers in the prison.

But Gusman’s biggest achievement is often his most overlooked. He is the first super sheriff in Orleans. Previously in New Orleans, the civil and the criminal divisions were two separate offices. Gusman managed the consolidation of the two sheriff’s offices in New Orleans. Under Gusman’s management and oversight in New Orleans, there is only one sheriff in town.

Achievements in office

  • Modernized the facilities at the Sheriff’s office
  •  And opened a new Kitchen/Warehouse/Central Plant that opened in 2014
  •  Opened the Orleans Justice Center in 2015
  •  Also designed as a cutting edge, latest concept, direct supervision facility.
  • More than doubled deputy pay during his tenure,
  • Disbursed millions of dollars to crime victims from the victims assistance fund

Challenger Susan Hutson

Attorney Susan Hutson

Ms. Susan Hutson grew up in the projects of Philadelphia before attending the University of Pennsylvania.  She first came to New Orleans to attend Tulane Law School.  After graduating, law school she began her legal career. This eventually led to police oversight work in Austin, then Los Angeles. She returned New Orleans as the city’s first police monitor.  She resigned that job to run for sheriff.

Her Platform Includes

  • Stop recording calls between inmates and their attorneys
  • Offer free phone calls for inmates
  • Terminate maligned current healthcare provider’s contract and partner with public health providers
  • Ensure gender confirming housing for LGBTQ community
  • Allow free, open and unlimited visitation
  • Turn jail into a voting precinct and allow eligible inmates an opportunity to vote

Ms. Hutson is media savvy and well known in our community.  Her work protecting crime scenes and the rights of those accused by the police have endeared her to many in our city.  And this is her first run for public office.

Challenger Dr. Christopher Williams

Dr. Christopher Williams

Dr. Williams is a retired military officer with nearly 32 years of criminal justice experience. This native New Orleanian is a bundle of energy who says, “all of us are running for office.”  Dr. Williams’ background includes 29 years of military service and time in local law enforcement.  He rose through the ranks and served as Chief of Police for the VA.  Additionally, he taught in our local colleges and universities.  Dr. Williams is also a reformer. 

His Platform Includes

  • Increase deputy pay and training
  • Better utilize current technology to track movement within the facility and even stopped breathing
  • Perform a clean sweep and get out contraband like cell phones and drugs and alcohol
  • Get block grants to increase jail funding and resources
  • Better recruitment techniques to onboard more deputies
  • Enter a joint endeavor agreement with NOPD to aid the City of New Orleans to fight crime 

Dr. Williams invites all citizens to join him as he hosts events across town.  He believes that the sheriff’s office should become a world class organization.  For him. the office should not only house inmates, but support NOPD in street level crime fighting.  From tickets to cross training, Dr. Williams wants to reform the office.

Janet Hays

Ms. Hays is a long-time prison reform activist.  She and her therapy dog are regular participants in sheriff’s office community outreach. They are also visible at organized reform and protest efforts. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach her before our deadline. And we found no online presence for her campaign.

Sheriff Gusman is a powerful political force in this community.  He has served for over 20 years.  Citizens know who he is and what he represents.  But the forces of change are well financed and properly messaged.  If forced into a runoff, the Sheriff will be in for the fight of his political life. 

Gary Carters’ landslide victory was predictable.  But his was just the first domino to fall in the upcoming political season that will be thrilling and fun to watch.  Some races will pit heavyweight names against each other.  Political alliances will be tested.  Old school politics and new age thinking face off. Young versus old.  Established versus the past. City council races matter.

Let’s look at the easiest through the most competitive.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 102

The easiest and least expensive race will be the special election to replace Gary Carter. His house seat is now vacant, and no seat can be open in the state legislature.  The governor must call a special election.  Two weeks ago, we talked about the complexity of this election for westbank politicians.  Click here to read all about it.  This will be an inexpensive and easy to win seat.  Possible candidates include real estate broker Delisha Boyd, Stephanie Bridges, D’Juan Hernandez. Longtime community activist Kenneth Cutno and a city hall neighborhood engagement specialist Steven Musgrove might also enter the race. 

CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT C

Kristen G. Palmer is not seeking reelection to her city council seat.  This opening creates more westbank political intrigue.  The same candidates who could qualify for the state house seat are the potential entrants in this race.  Behind the scenes jockeying and political maneuvering are intense on the westbank now.  Winning or losing the House seat virtually eliminates the candidate from this race. And a city council race could easily top $400,000 to win as opposed to the $25,000 it would take to win a special election house seat.  Additionally, more high-profile candidates like Roy Glapion or Nadine Ramsey might enter and making winning much more difficult.

CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT E

New Orleans East has long been a political hotbed.  From one term incumbents to fiery debates, New Orleans East has birthed legendary politicians like Sherman Copelin and Cynthia Willard Lewis. And current city Council person Cindi Nguyen is known for being everywhere across her district.  She says she has been on nearly every street in her district.  The people know her. 

The biggest district in the city is as diverse as it is wide.  From the exclusive Eastover neighborhood to Little Woods and the Lower 9, the district provides the city’s biggest property tax base.  But a large field of well-known candidates is ramping up to challenge the popular councilmember. Former state rep John Bagneris, Sherman’s daughter -Michon Copelin, community activist Venessa Gueringer, and the biggest surprise Oliver Thomas are all looking at entering the race.  With such a large field a runoff seems likely.  Will Oliver Thomas have a compelling message that resonates with voters?  Has Cindy Nguyen done enough to satisfy the demanding citizens of the district?  Will one of the other candidates attract enough voters and squeak into the runoff?

CITY COUNCIL AT LARGE

This race for the most powerful council seat has attracted the biggest names.  Kristen Palmer decided to run citywide.  Leaving her District C seat, Ms. Palmer said, “I can accomplish more as a leader of the council than I can as a member.”  She will face another council member in Jared Brosset.  He is term limited but wants to continue his career serving citywide.  Former state senator JP Morrell is yet another big name in this race.  He has waited in the wings since being termed out of his senate seat.  Another recognizable name is Timothy Ray.  He served as the interim clerk of first city court. Although he lost to current clerk Austin Badon, Ray picked up over 30,000 votes.

The biggest issues for voters will be crime, economic development, Sewerage and Water Board billing, Entergy rates and crumbling infrastructure. 

New Orleans’ Local Races listed by contest with each contestant

State Representative 102nd Representative District
1 to be elected

Name/

Party/Race/Gender

Delisha Boyd

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-533-0001

Female

delisha@delishaboyd.com

Jordan Bridges

07/16/2021

Democrat

Black

504-812-9826

Male

Sheriff
1 to be elected

Name/

Party/Race/Gender

Quentin R. Brown Jr.

07/14/2021

Independent

Black

504-615-0137

Male

cashflow70115@gmail.com

Marlin Gusman

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

Male

mngusman@bellsouth.net

Janet Hays

07/16/2021

No Party

White

504-274-6091

Female

haysforsheriff@gmail.com

Susan Hutson

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 19974New Orleans, LA 70179

Black

504-278-3825

Female

info@susanforsheriff.com

Christopher Williams

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-258-2444

Male

drarsteal@gmail.com

Clerk Civil District Court
1 to be elected

Party/Race/Gender

Yiesha McFarland

07/16/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 871692 New Orleans , LA 70187

Black

773-469-8179

Female

ymcfarland1915@gmail.com

Chelsey Richard Napoleon

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 58098New Orleans, LA 70158

Black

504-722-7149

Female

keepchelseyclerk@gmail.com

Clerk Criminal District Court
1 to be elected

Party/Race/Gender

Austin Badon

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 870936New Orleans, LA 70187

Black

504-258-9090

Male

austin.badon@yahoo.com

Patricia Boyd-Robertson

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 870455New Orleans , LA 70187

Black

504-810-4866

Female

probertson0511@gmail.com

Darren Lombard

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-616-7995

Male

dlombard2@gmail.com

Assessor
1 to be elected

Name

Party/Race/Gender

Anthony Brown

07/14/2021

Democrat

Male

brownforassessor@gmail.com

Andrew (Low Tax) Gressett

07/14/2021

Democrat

White

504-858-2200

Male

Gressett@NewOrleansRealty.com

Carlos J. Hornbrook

07/16/2021

Democrat

White

504-908-6177

Male

chornbrook@msn.com

Gregory “Greg” Lirette

07/14/2021

No Party

P.O. Box 1500New Orleans, LA 70115

White

504-233-9456

Male

press@lirette.net

Erroll G. Williams

07/14/2021

Democrat

                                                                                                                      Black

504-283-9689

Male

Coroner
1 to be elected

Name/

Party/Race/Gender

Dwight McKenna

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-943-1923

Male

dwightmckenna@bellsouth.net

Mayor City of New Orleans
1 to be elected

Name/

Party/Race/Gender

Joseph Amato

07/16/2021

Independent

White

504-346-0930

Male

jmamato@live.com

Eldon Delloyd “El” Anderson

07/16/2021

Democrat

Black

504-220-5905

Male

eldondelloyd@icloud.com

Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-322-5532

Male

beldenbatiste@gmail.com

Douglas Bently I

07/14/2021

Independent

Other

504-421-4561

Male

douglasbentley1976@att.net

Manuel “Chevrolet” Bruno

07/15/2021

No Party

White

504-616-1022

Male

mannychevrolet@yahoo.com

LaToya Cantrell

07/16/2021

Democrat

5500 Prytania St., #629New Orleans, LA 70115

Black

504-475-8030

Female

info@latoyacantrell.com

Byron Stephan Cole

07/16/2021

No Party

Black

504-617-3080

Male

fathersadvocacy@gmail.com

Luke Fontana

07/14/2021

Democrat

1827 Burgundy St.New Orleans, LA 70116

White

504-638-1528

Male

elect@lukefontanaformayor.com

Leilani Heno

07/14/2021

No Party

Black

504-482-2348

Female

Henolaformayor@gmail.com

Matthew Hill

07/14/2021

Independent

Other

504-656-6206

Male

matthillforneworleans@gmail.com

Nathaniel “Nate” Jones

07/14/2021

Independent

Black

504-334-9627

Male

natjonesnola@yahoo.com

Reginald Merchant

07/16/2021

No Party

Black

206-880-6572

Male

Vina Nguyen

07/14/2021

Republican

Asian

504-222-8368

Female

vina@globaltechps.com

Johnese Lamar Smith

07/16/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 57151New Orleans, LA 70151

Other

504-256-4865

Female

nesebabe65@gmail.com

Councilmember at Large Division 1
1 to be elected

Name

Party/Race/Gender

Kenneth Cutno

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 741967New Orleans, LA 70174

Black

504-766-9663

Male

Mrcutno@hotmail.com

Helena Moreno

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 15155New Orleans, LA 70155

Hispanic

504-658-1060

Female

helena@helenamorenola.com

David Nowak

07/16/2021

Democrat

White

504-858-9155

Male

davidgnowak@gmail.com

Councilmember at Large Division 2
1 to be elected

Name

Party/Race/Gender

Jared Brossett

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-517-5032

Male

info@jaredbrossett.com

“Bart” Everson

07/14/2021

Green

White

812-391-0818

Male

campaign@barteverson.com

Kristin Gisleson Palmer

07/14/2021

Democrat

White

504-658-1030

Female

Jean-Paul “JP” Morrell

07/14/2021

Democrat

909 Poydras St., Ste. 1400New Orleans , LA 70112

Black

504-261-3302

Male

jpforatlarge@gmail.com

Councilmember District A
1 to be elected

Name/

Party/Race/Gender

Joseph “Joe” Giarrusso III

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 24060New Orleans, LA 70184

White

504-810-2200

Male

jig3campaign@gmail.com

Amy Misko

07/15/2021

Libertarian

White

504-470-3549

Female

misko4citycouncildistrictA@gmail.com

Robert “Bob” Murrell

07/14/2021

Democrat

White

504-417-4121

Male

bob.murrell@gmail.com

Councilmember District B
1 to be elected

Name

Party/Race/Gender

Jay H. Banks

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-544-1962

Male

teamjay@votejayhbanks.com

Lesli Harris

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-258-3666

Female

lesli@harris4nola.com

Timothy David Ray

07/16/2021

Democrat

Black

504-535-4244

Male

info@TimothyDavidRay.com      

Rosalind “Roz” Reed-Thibodeaux

07/14/2021

Independent

White

504-354-8462

Female

rizewithroz@gmail.com

Rella Zapletal

07/16/2021

Democrat

4310 Prytania St.New Orleans, LA 70115

White

504-407-1446

Female

join@teamrellaz.com

Councilmember District C
1 to be elected

Name/

Party/Race/Gender

Stephanie Bridges

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-915-4895

Female

sbrid09@gmail.com

Freddie King III

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-982-5464

Male

freddiekinglaw@gmail.com

Alonzo Knox

07/16/2021

Democrat

Black

504-264-1132

Male

alonzoknox@vote4knox.com

Vincent Milligan Jr.

07/15/2021

No Party

White

504-388-3521

Male

vincentm4nolacitycouncil@yahoo.com

Stephen Mosgrove

07/14/2021

Democrat

2912 Hudson Pl.New Orleans , LA 70131

White

504-715-8914

Male

sgpmosgrove@gmail.com

“Frank” Perez

07/14/2021

Democrat

Hispanic

504-941-1633

Male

frankearlperez@gmail.com

Barbara Waiters

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-258-7718

Female

bawaiters11@gmail.com

Councilmember District D
1 to be elected

Name/

Party/Race/Gender

Chelsea Ardoin

07/16/2021

Republican

P.O. Box 770387New Orleans, LA 70177

White

504-494-5048

Female

can@chelseaardoin.com

Chantrisse Burnett

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 7023New Orleans, LA 70186

Black

504-679-2077

Female

friendsofcburnett@gmail.com

Morgan Clevenger

07/16/2021

Democrat

White

504-237-7805

Female

electmorgandistrictD@gmail.com          

Anthony Doby

07/15/2021

No Party

Black

504-289-5181

Male

adobee99@hotmail.com

Troy Glover

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-470-6370

Male

info@votetroyglover.com

Eugene Green

07/15/2021

Democrat

Black

504-255-2299

Male

info@voteeugenegreen.com

Kevin Griffin-Clark

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 820353New Olreans, LA 70182

Black

504-273-6312

Male

kevingriffinclark@gmail.com

Mark “Johari” Lawes

07/14/2021

Democrat

4938 Venus St.New Orleans, LA 70122

Black

504-453-2287

Male

mark_lawes@yahoo.com

Mariah Moore

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 8579New Orleans, LA 70182

Black

504-388-1578

Female

mariah@mariahmoorefornola.com

Robert “Bob” Murray

07/14/2021

Democrat

1517 Harrison Ave.New Orleans , LA 70122

Black

504-800-7977

Male

rlmurray57@yahoo.com

Keith “KP” Parker

07/15/2021

Democrat

Black

504-994-7053

Male

keithparker64@gmail.com

Timolynn “Tim” Sams

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 8740 New Orleans , LA 70182

Black

504-521-4042

Female

togetherwithtim@gmail.com

Dulaine Troy Vining

07/16/2021

Democrat

Black

404-781-3447

Male

dulaine.vining@yahoo.com

Kourtney Youngblood

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

225-916-0728

Female

youngbloodskourtney@gmail.com

Councilmember District E
1 to be elected

Name/

Party/Race/Gender

John Bagneris

07/14/2021

Democrat

Black

504-905-1474

Male

johnbagneris@gmail.com

Michon Copelin

07/16/2021

Democrat

Black

504-919-9503

Female

michoncopelin@yahoo.com

Vanessa “Gueringer” Johnson

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 770885New Orleans, LA 70177

Black

504-344-7851

Female

vote@vanessaforcommunity.com

Aaron Miller

07/15/2021

Democrat

Black

504-358-7829

Male

milleraaron076@gmail.com

Cyndi Nguyen

07/14/2021

Democrat

Asian

504-415-4905

Female

cyndinguyen1970@gmail.com

Oliver M Thomas

07/14/2021

Democrat

P.O. Box 870235New Orleans, LA 70187

Black

504-715-8525

Male

info@olivermthomas.com

3 Real Reasons to Support Jeff Landry for Governor

In Louisiana, a politician is always running for office. And it’s never too early to look ahead. Especially when an elected official acts unusually political. And queue current Louisiana Attorney General, Jeff Landry.

It’s about time we get back to old school Louisiana politics. Governor John Bel Edwards is boring. All he wants to do is stabilize the budget, give teachers raises, and fight the Coronavirus. Where’s the corruption, the hypocrisy, the scandal? In his one and a half terms in office he hasn’t even been insinuated in a kickback. The late former governor Edwin Edwards is probably already rolling over in his freshly dug grave. But wait, there is one man who can drag our politics back to the swamp from which it came. That man is Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. And here are the top reasons why he should be elected as Louisiana’s next governor.

Reason #1: The man knows how to wield power. You got a pesky biological mother making contact with your adopted daughter, well all you have to do is call on Jeff. He’ll take care of her, provided that he holds a seat on your company’s board, and you’re one of his biggest political donors. You check those boxes, and Jeff will give you the VIP treatment. No I’m not talking access to proper legal channels.

I’m talking Louisiana Bureau of Investigation agents running through the mother’s social media instead. I’m talking the same agents tracking her down online, even traveling across state lines to threaten her, her ole man, and her brother. Justice ain’t free. And Jeff knows that. Citizens seeking justice from the Attorney General’s office should know that too. After all, what’s the point of having hands if one won’t wash the other. We live in a corrupt world these days. And if crime still pays, then we need a governor who knows how to cash in. It’s unlikely there will be another candidate for governor more qualified to do that than Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

Ka’Mauri Harrison was suspended by Jefferson Parish for items in his home that were seen while he was in virtual school!

Reason #2: He’s an opportunist. The mark of a good politician is recognizing the moment. Not just any moment. But the moment that gives them the best opportunity for political gain. For example, a 9 year-old black kid gets suspended from school because a BB gun in his room is accidentally on display during one of his virtual classes. Insert Jeff Landry, sudden defender of black people despite his Tea Party ways. Jeff immediately recognized game and played on the sensibilities of the black community. He appeared on local talk radio vowing to use the full force of his office to take the fight as far as it could go and overturn the injustice.

All the while in the midst of a national debate on guns and gun safety, he winked and nodded towards gun rights activists and the NRA. That’s manipulation at its finest. Who knows, during the next election cycle he might not even have to pay black people to be in his ads. They may do so voluntarily. We need a governor a like Jeff, who knows how to play both sides of the fence, the full circumference of a circle, and all angles of a square.

Reason #3: He’s a straight, white male. In a gender fluid world populated by ever evolving pronouns, Jeff has kept it old school. He has embodied whiteness, masculinity, and privilege. He even used his office to maintain that advantage. Remember when he took up for toxic masculinity and fought Governor Edwards over LGBT workplace regulations? That’s Jeff Landry.

So remember this during the next gubernatorial election. Any candidate can offer you this or that, but none will offer you the return to old school Louisiana politics with as much gall and vigor. So stamp your ballot. Pull your lever, whatever it is that your parish has you do. Just make sure that at end of the day, the choice you make is the only logical one: Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry

JUL 19, 2021

Originally posted on Sports Illustrated

Megan Thee Stallion 2021: Hollywood

Check out more photos of Megan Thee Stallion shot by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Fashion Nova. Bracelet by Lizzie Fortunato.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Fashion Nova. Bracelet by Lizzie Fortunato. Rings by Jlani.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Nikita Karizma. Rings by Jlani. Anklet by 8 Other Reasons.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Fashion Nova. Rings by Nina Berenato.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Cult Gaia. Rings by Jlani. Anklet by 8 Other Reasons.https://747850cf1f1176ea20a3c718a96366ae.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Bryan Hearns. 

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Dolce & Gabbana. 

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Dolce & Gabbana. Rings by Nina Berenato.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Ashton Michael. 

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Fashion Nova. 0:04/0:50

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Fashion Nova. Bracelet by Lizzie Fortunato.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Fashion Nova. Rings by Nina Berenato.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Nikita Karizma. Rings by Jlani. Anklet by 8 Other Reasons.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Fashion Nova. Bracelet by Lizzie Fortunato. Rings by Jlani.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Cult Gaia. Rings by Jlani. Anklet by 8 Other Reasons.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Fashion Nova. Bracelet by Lizzie Fortunato.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Nikita Karizma. Rings by Jlani. Anklet by 8 Other Reasons.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Fashion Nova. Rings by Nina Berenato.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Dolce & Gabbana. Bracelet by Lizzie Fortunato. Rings by Nina Berenato.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Bryan Hearns. 

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Ashton Michael. 

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Cult Gaia.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Dolce & Gabbana. Bracelet by Lizzie Fortunato. Rings by Nina Berenato.

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Megan Thee Stallion was photographed by James Macari in Hollywood, Fla. Swimsuit by Dolce & Gabbana. 

by Tina Gilbertson LPC

Warning: What they learn might disappoint you.

KEY POINTS

  • People who try to “teach someone a lesson” only manage to reveal their own character flaws.
  • The most effective way to teach is to model the desired behavior.
  • Ultimately, love is the best teacher.

When I was a kid, I remember watching as a neighborhood boy was chased out of his house by his mother.

She ran after him, shouting, “I’ll teach you to back-talk me!”

I was confused.

Surely, this boy already knew how to talk back to his mother. Wasn’t that why she was chasing him?

African-American woman talks with male inside home

My confusion was based on a quirk of linguistics. But teaching someone a lesson is not a straightforward idea, regardless of how we talk about it.

Shame on Them

Have you ever felt mistreated by someone behaving badly, and wished you could teach them a lesson?

Invariably, the lessons we aspire to teach people are ones that would make them feel ashamed and contrite.

If someone is rude, we want them to realize how rude they are and start behaving differently. Preferably after apologizing.

If that person took us for granted, violated our boundaries or flouted accepted norms, we want them to not only understand but deeply regret the error of their ways.

In short, when we’re unhappy with someone, we relish the idea of teaching them a lesson.

It would feel so good if it worked. But somehow, it never does.

RELATED: 2020 Lessons to take into 2021

Lessons That Stick

The harder we try to teach people lessons, the more they seem to dig their heels in. Bad behavior stays the same or gets worse.

Why do our lessons fail?

When we set out to teach someone a lesson, they do learn something. But it’s rarely what we’re trying to teach them.

We want them to learn about themselves — especially the ways in which they’re bad or wrong.

But all they seem to learn is that we are critical, judgmental, passive-aggressive or uptight. They don’t take our lessons as being about them at all!

Let’s say you’re nearing the end of your life and you’re writing a will. You have relative who’s been estranged from you for years, and you’re thinking of leaving him nothing.

The last time you spoke, this relative was critical and said he wanted nothing more to do with you.

As you write him out of your will, you might think, “This will teach him. He’ll wish he’d been nicer to me.”

You could get a bit of satisfaction from the thought that he’ll regret his past behavior toward you. Maybe after you’re gone, he’ll think about all that he lost by removing you from his life.

But the lesson won’t be learned. Being left out of your will isn’t likely to strike this relative as a reflection on him. Instead, he’ll say, “My relative was a horrible person. Cutting me out of the will just proves it.”

By trying to teach him a lesson about himself, you’ve reinforced his negative story about you.

It’s a terrible paradox: The more we try to redress injuries to ourselves by holding up a mirror to others, the less we look like victims and the more we’re seen as perpetrators.

Be the Change

So what’s the solution? Should we just accept whatever poor treatment comes our way and never ask for better? Only a doormat acts like that.

For me, the answer comes back to the immortal advice of Mohandas Gandhi: Be the change you wish to see in the world.

I once had a friend who was passionately against littering. To reduce littering in her community, she tried to shame anyone she saw doing it.

It never went well. She always felt awful after those interactions, and presumably, the people she confronted did as well.

Eventually, she realized that she could have a bigger impact by simply picking up the trash she saw people drop and disposing of it properly.

Although it felt unfair at first, she came to understand that even if the litterbugs themselves didn’t see her picking up after them, other people would. And they would learn from her to pick up trash.

A potential litterbug bystander might observe my friend’s act of service and think twice about littering. Or maybe they would do what she was doing, for someone else.

Because of my friend’s example, littering would decrease in her community — which was exactly what she wanted.

Teach Love

If you would like certain people to be more respectful, consider the level of your respect for them. How are you demonstrating that?

If you would like others to be friendly and welcoming, think about how often you reach out to others.

If you want someone to forgive your human frailty, can you show them how to do that by forgiving them first?

Instead of teaching lessons, teach love. Not only does it feel good to both of you, but it also actually works.

People behave better when they’re given room to reflect; when they’re shown better examples; and when they’re assumed to be good — in other words, when they’re loved.