Fight to save school gets personal and more New Orleans politics for Feb. 9, 2013

School closure draws diatribes

As the battle to save the French Quarter’s Cathedral Academy heats up, some sharp, indirect personal attacks have begun to fly.

The target: New Orleans’ public school students.

In a flier asking for support to save the school from closing, parent Rhonda Wheeler wrote: “Without Cathedral Academy these children will end up in failing public schools that are riddled with drug use, violence and teen pregnancy with little hope for a bright future.

The flier continues: “You may think that the Archdiocese have good reason for throwing all these children to the wolves. THEY DON’T.”

The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced in December that it plans to close the century-old school at Dauphine and Dumaine streets, citing issues with facilities, finances and enrollment. The Archdiocese, however, has guaranteed spots for all Cathedral students next academic year at St. Stephens Elementary School in Uptown.

In the flier, Wheeler makes clear that parents see one reason for the closure: “The only thing that sets us apart from the schools that are not being shut down is our REAL ESTATE VALUE.”

The archdiocese has not announced any plans for the property after the school closes.

Wheeler did not immediately return a message seeking comment

Landrieu pleased
with media coverage

Before 5,000 credentialed journalists arrived here to cover Super Bowl XLVII, Mayor Mitch Landrieu pleaded with the local media to focus on the city’s positives, noting that their out-of-town counterparts would look to them in part for story lines while in town.

Following the game, officials said they were happy with the way others portrayed the city.

Landrieu’s press office sent out a news release with 16 excerpts from out-of-town media that lauded the city.

Bouquets included:

“Make no mistake; the Big Easy is back and better than ever.” — Bob Schieffer, CBS

“They’ve done a great job. They are a unique destination and they did well by getting their key tourist and convention areas back up and running after Katrina.” — Forbes

“The city has rebounded. New Orleans won the Super Bowl, and New Orleans is once again hosting the Super Bowl. It’s proof that a great city is back in business.” — The Arizona Republic

Many of the laurels are due to Landrieu’s efforts.

The mayor spent countless hours talking up the city to visiting media.

City Hall spokesman Ryan Berni said it might be hard to pin down just how many interviews Landrieu did but said it was easily “several dozen.”

Compiled by

Danny Monteverde

and Kari Dequine Harden