New Orleans Politics

In case we missed it? Yes, we missed it

The email Sunday from Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Press Office was headlined, “In case you missed it: City and Tulane reach agreement on Yulman Stadium.”

Chances are that most people did, in fact, miss it since the city never actually sent word about the agreement until that email. Instead, officials on Friday evening, while many people were at parades, quietly posted on the city’s website a copy of the signed agreement that will allow Tulane to build its new on-campus stadium.

It wasn’t until after some local media outlets reported the development — after stumbling across the news — that the city finally sent out a news release.

The stadium was a controversial issue and took about eight months of negotiations to make a reality.

City Hall spokesman Ryan Berni on Saturday said there would be no news release. Asked Wednesday about the change of heart he said the initial lack of a news release was simply to make sure neighbors with whom the city has worked the last several months heard the news first.

Gretna-Baltimore ties equal Ravens love

Some public officials might be neutral about the results of Sunday’s Super Bowl, but Gretna Mayor Ronnie Harris has come out clearly in favor of the Baltimore Ravens because of ties between the West Bank and East Coast cities.

Because of that, Harris has asked residents to welcome Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to Gretna’s Farmer’s Market and the city on Saturday.

In a news release, Harris’ office noted that Gretna and Baltimore actually share long-standing ties, thanks to Gretna resident and Baltimore native John McDonogh. McDonogh donated a significant chunk of his fortune to education in Baltimore and New Orleans and has a cemetery and community in Gretna named after his family.

More recently, Baltimore police officers, firefighters, paramedics and public works employees traveled to Gretna and St. Bernard Parish after Hurricane Katrina to provide assistance.

Not only is Harris asking residents to come out at 10:15 a.m., but he also wants everyone to wear purple to show exactly which team Gretna supports.

City Hall officials revel in Bowl’s glitz

Unless you’re anyone trying to get anywhere in the heart of the French Quarter, Central Business and Warehouse districts in a timely manner right now, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of Super Bowl XLVII and its festivities.

City Hall officials have certainly had no trouble getting into the spirit of the days-long extravaganza. Several showed up Tuesday night to the Super Bowl Host Committee’s media party, and others showed up to a Thursday news conference to see Beyonce, who released details of her halftime show.

Among those spotted making low-key appearances at the media party, a decadent event with free food and drink at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, were Mayor Mitch Landrieu, economic development adviser Aimee Quirk, health commissioner Karen DeSalvo, communications director Ryan Berni and most of his staff, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Councilman James Gray and councilwomen Susan Guidry, LaToya Cantrell and Kristin Palmer.

Toward the end of the night, Fire Superintendent Charles Parent helped to polish off the remainder of the offerings from Superior Seafood.

Emily Arata, deputy mayor of external affairs, joined Berni and Quirk on Thursday at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for Beyonce’s news conference. While waiting for the singer to appear, Arata and Quirk were quick to snag a picture with a tiara-wearing Miss America 2013, who also sat in the audience.

Clarkson is more generous with praise

NEW ORLEANS — The City Council vice president was rather generous in her praise of those who made possible the new Loyola Avenue streetcar line that began operation this week.

Speaking Monday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Jackie Clarkson took time to recognize the local, state and federal officials who worked to make the line a reality.

“We are a team — a team that represents the city as one — thanks to the masterful leadership of our mayor, Mitch Landrieu,” Clarkson said.

The shared adulation was something of a departure from remarks she recently made during a news conference to debut upgrades at Louis Armstrong International Airport. During that event, Clarkson said she and her colleagues could have been the “blockade” to prevent the work and said they were to thank for making the renovation a reality.

Morial seeks his due for Loyola line debut

It’s inevitable: When you start to thank people, someone will feel left out.

Former Mayor Marc Morial felt he and his predecessor, Sidney Barthelemy, were left out of the laurels offered at the Loyola streetcar ribbon cutting, and so he sent a news release congratulating Landrieu but reminding people of earlier contributions to the project.

“It is important to remind many that the concept of a Loyola Avenue streetcar project was born in days of the Barthelemy administration and given life and energy by the Morial administration’s 2001 transportation master plan,” the former mayor said.

Morial was less enthusiastic about former Mayor Ray Nagin’s contributions.

“Much to my dismay, the shortsightedness of the administration which followed mine abandoned the plan with contempt for public transportation and the role that rail transportation plays in urban revitalization and renewal.”

Morial said he hopes the proposed North Rampart Street line will become reality, as will rail service between the Union Passenger Terminal in the CBD and Armstrong International Airport in Kenner.

Compiled by

Danny Monteverde

and Allen Powell II