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Rosa Keller Library (5:00-9:00 PM)
My House NOLA presents a rolling food vendor mini festival
The Antenna Gallery (7:00 PM)
A series of music-themed movies and documentaries, curated and hosted by DJ Soul Sister, and co-presented by Charitable Film Network, Press Street, and WWOZ
Jewish Community Center (7:30 PM)
The second evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Catch the Indie rockers on their North American tour
The 'B' List
Three Hopefuls Emerge in Race to Fill Up-For-Grabs City Council Seat
The run-up to the fall election cycle is in full swing, but it's not only about retroactive retirement and chasing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In November, New Orleans will have its own hotly-contested race on the ballot, with at least three candidates already signaling intentions to jump into the race to represent District B on the New Orleans City Council.
The Council seat, which serves Central City, parts of Uptown, Broadmoor and the CBD, will open up in the November election because Stacy Head won the right to represent the whole city as an at-large Councillor in the spring. After a few no-shows and some Mayor Mitch intervention, former State Senator Diana Bajoie was tapped to fill the District B seat on a temporary basis, but under state law she is not allowed to run for a full term. That leaves a slate of new candidates to attempt to claw for votes, and attempt to get elected to a two-year term.
The three candidates showing inclinations of getting into the race so far tout the kind of grassroots efforts and City Hall reform that has been a mainstay of local politics since the Federal Flood. A Broadmoor community leader, Head's former chief of staff and the leader of a nonprofit organization centered around advocating for kids within the Louisiana justice system, are among the probable contenders.
Eric Strachan, who quit his job on Head's staff to get in the race this week, announced his candidacy today. The New Orleans native is already in a position to tout his City Hall experience. He worked for current City Council President Jackie Clarkson until 2010, then took a brief job in the financial sector before returning to lead Head's staff. Strachan's early announcements suggest he will pick up Head's open government torch and run with it. A statement announcing Strachan's candidacy said he would focus on "reducing crime, addressing blight, and increasing technological development."
"Given my experience working in city government these last 5 years, I know I am ready to lead the District along its path to prosperity and stability. We need progressive and reform-minded Councilmembers, and I will bring decisive leadership to this position," Strachan said in the statement.
The campaign will hold a launch party at Second Line Stages on Thursday, August 2, from 7 to 10 pm.
Cantrell was at the center of the fight to keep Broadmoor from becoming greenspace in the wake of the Federal Flood. At the time when the Bring New Orleans Back Commission was threatening to turn the neighborhood that holds the lowest point in the city into greenspace, the Broadmoor Improvement Association - which Cantrell leads - galvanized residents to speak up for the cummunity. The result was a campaign to make Broadmoor "Better than Before."
The BIA now runs community wellness services, is setting up an education corridor that includes a reopened charter school, library and forthcoming arts center. She is looking to use her experience in that realm as a bridge to serving the entire district. The Broadmoor Improvement Association, which she heads, sought both to galvanize residents to rebuild and address crime, quality of life and other issues that faced the community in the process. She has also been a member of numerous boards for organizations like the Salvation Army, 4-H, SmartGrowth Louisiana.
In addition to leadership experience, a group is hoping Kaplan is to ensure Kaplan heads into the race with community support already in hand. Though Kaplan has not officially announced as a candidate, the director of Louisiana Juvenile Justice Project has the support of a group hat is circulating a petition that will automatically qualify her for the race without having to sign up. The Run Dana Run organization is taking advantage of a quirk in City statute that says candidates can earn a place on a ballot with 1,000 signatures, and using it to show community support for the candidate. According to the campaign, Kaplan's nomination would be the first time a candidate has used this method of qualification in more than 15 years.
Contacted by NoDef Tuesday, Kaplan was not ready to say she was officially a candidate, but she said she attended some of the organization's meetings.
"I’m very aware of what the volunteers have been doing. On a daily level, I’m not involved in a lot of what the volunteers have been doing in terms of going out and getting signatures," she said.
Kaplan said the group exemplifies a "broad and diverse grassroots support that’s going to be critical in shaping what happens in this election in New Orleans and important for building more meaningful community and neighborhood engagement throughout the city."
T. Cole Newton, a member of the petition effort and owner of the Mid-City bar 12 Mile Limit, called Kaplan “the first viable progressive candidate for office" he's observed since moving to New Orleans following the Federal Flood. "The only viable progressive candidate," he added.
In terms of experience, Kaplan also helped set up the Independent Police Monitor's office in New Orleans, and is a regular on the many and varied City panels and commissions that are formed to address the City's long-ailing justice system. She has also been involved in setting up youth programs that are designed to help keep kids off the streets.
Though Strachan and Cantrell have officially announced their candidacy, they still have a couple of weeks before they'll put their names on the ballot. Qualifying for the race is August 15-17.
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