On July 13, the Louisiana Democratic Party will hold its annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Baton Rouge at the Capitol Atrium, Sheraton Convention Center. This year, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman will be the keynote speaker. Lieberman was the 2000 Vice Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. Although Lieberman has told reporters that he will not run for president in 2004 if former Vice President and 2000 Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore runs again, he is being encouraged to run by many party leaders.
This event is the major fundraiser of the year for the Louisiana Democratic Party; the funds are used to support Democratic candidates statewide. In the past, the dinner has featured such keynote speakers as Gore and James Carville. For ticket information, contact Michelle Brister at (225) 336-4155.
Adding Heat to the Landrieu Fire
Discontented with Sen. Mary Landrieu's achievements and voting record in the U.S. Senate, the Rev. Raymond Brown will officially put his hat into ring for the 2002 Senate race on June 22. "Mary Landrieu is out of step with her constituency," her fellow Democrat charges. "She has used black voters to her advantage, but has fallen short on delivering goods and services to them now that she is a sitting senator. Her record is deplorable.
"Mary has ignored the problems of poverty, poor schools, lack of health care and other issues facing the poor and working class people of Louisiana," he continues.
Brown invites Landrieu to debate him on these and other issues "any time, any place."
Cooksey Backs Off, Perkins Announces
In the Republican Party, a potential controversy was averted when U.S. Congressman John Cooksey dropped plans to seek the party nomination at the recent meeting of the State Central Committee.
Cooksey -- who has been running for the U.S. Senate for months -- originally secured the endorsement of the party's executive committee and was hoping for the endorsement of the entire State Central Committee. However, with polls showing Cooksey far behind incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, other candidates began to look at the race.
Sensing a contested vote before the State Central Committee, Cooksey backed off. One of those other candidates entering the race, Tony Perkins, officially announced his bid for the U.S. Senate on June 9 before hundreds of supporters at his home outside of Baton Rouge. Perkins hopes to ride a wave of grassroots support into a runoff against Landrieu, but most Republicans believe that at least one more candidate will have to enter the race to secure the desired runoff.
Elections Commissioner Suzanne Haik Terrell is the most likely candidate to enter the race, yet that scenario is far from certain. Terrell is weighing different opportunities, including a race for governor. If she does run, look for her to receive major financial backing from outside of Louisiana, from donors tied to the Republican National Committee.
The manner in which the Senate race is unfolding pleases Louisiana Republican Party Chairman, Pat Brister. "This is just one more indication that the Republican Party of Louisiana is stronger and more unified than ever," she says. "Our candidates are true party leaders."
Luxury Hotel for Jefferson
Last week, the Wyndham of Metairie opened its doors adjacent to the First Bank Center in the central business district of Metairie. The seven-floor, full-service hotel will feature 182 guestrooms and an upscale restaurant and lobby bar, along with 7,000 square feet of meeting space. The Wyndham is the first full-service hotel to open in Jefferson Parish since 1987; this will be the fifth Wyndham hotel in the New Orleans area.
The general partners of the ownership entity include Stephen Dwyer, Susanne Cambre, Paul Flower and Lenny Wormser. "We are excited to offer business and leisure travelers in Metairie the hotel's service, its fine surroundings and convenient location," says Gary Froeba, general manager and area director of operations for Wyndham New Orleans at Canal Place.
The hotel will feature six meeting rooms and a grand ballroom for special events, including weddings. The Metairie Wyndham will also showcase Hedges Bar & Grill, headed by Executive Chef Scott Hensley who previously served as executive sous chef for six years at Canal Place Wyndham's River 127' restaurant.