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Freddie Charbonnet Chosen to Fill City Council Void


CBD -- The New Orleans City Council is back up to seven people. By a vote of 4-2, the Council chose Freddie Charbonnet to temporarily fill the seat vacated upon felony conviction last week by Jon Johnson. Charbonnet is a lawyer from eastern New Orleans who formerly worked with the City. Charbonnet will sit on the Council until a permanent replacement is elected this fall. He beat out Michael Darnell, a former state Senate candidate who served as interim councilmember after Oliver Thomas resigned amid bribery charges.

 

Like Johnson, Charbonnet will be the lone man on the Council. He started his remarks by calling the Council "the most attractive board anywhere." Later, Jackie Clarkson, Stacy Head, Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Susan Guidry voted to put him on the Council representing the District that serves the Lower 9 and eastern New Orlaens. Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Diana Bajoie - herself an interim member - voted for Darnell. Two other candidates - Lower 9th Ward resident and Sankofa director Rashida Ferdinand and Ronald Carrere - dropped out before the Thursday morning meeting.

 

 Voicing frustration with the process, she said "vindictiveness" would prevent unity on the Council, and said she expected more public input about the candidates from the other council members. Council President Clarkson then welcomed the one public speaker who filled out a card up to the podium for her two minutes.

 

New Orleans East resident Cheryl Diggins asked the Council members why the public was asked to participate when there was no opportunity for them to voice their concerns before the vote. Diggins expressed her disappointment towards the fact that the names of the four candidates were not ones that "the community is more familiar with," and questioned the Council on their selection process. `

 

Clarkson responded by explaining that it was "The Council's perrogative to choose the interim council." Clarkson explained that the process gave each member an opportunity to put three names on an itemized list that was eventually narrowed down through voting process that was "very open, very democratic, and very transparent." The Council President said that the list was shortened so as not to "bring eighteen people here today and make it a circus. Because we're too dignified for that."  

 

Clarkson apparently didn't want a repeat of the episode that unfolded when Arnie Fielkow left his at-large seat. The Council invited the public to apply, and 16 candidates vied to replace him through an open application process. Eventually, the Council chose Fielkow's longtime chief of staff.

 

Along with the tension, those in the Council chambers witnessed what seemed to be a brief flashback to an episode in the spring during which Hedge-Morrell and Johnson walked out of Council chambers, and ultimately prevented the selection of an interim Councilmember. Before the Council voted to adjourn, Hedge-Morrell briefly left the dais. Clarkson made the motion for adjournment. Another minute passed before Hedge-Morrell came back to cast her vote.




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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

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Linzi Falk

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Alexis Manrodt


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