New Orleans Elections and Early Voting

Early voting is Nov. 3rd -11th (except Sunday, Nov. 5th and Veterans Day holiday, Friday, Nov. 10th) from 8:30 a.m.

Data News Staff Edited Report

Beginning Nov. 3, 2017, the polls will again open for early voting in the run-off elections that will be held on Saturday November 18th. Much of the attention has been on the contentious Mayor’s Race between Desiree Charbonnet and LaToya Cantrell; where we will have a historic night with the City electing its first woman mayor.
But also on the ballot there are several other local races that will be decided on Election Day. We at Data News Weekly wanted to highlight the candidates in the races for the two seats on the City Council in District B and District E and the race for Judge of Orleans Parish Civil District Court Section J.
City Council District B 
Jay Banks
Jay Banks is a candidate who is vying for the seat in District B left vacant by LaToya Cantrell. Banks currently serves as Director, of the Dryades YMCA School of Commerce and has held positions as the Chief of Staff for former City Council Presidents Jim Singleton and Dorothy Mae Taylor. In addition to holding posts in the 2nd Congressional District Democratic Executive Committee, Co-Chair LA Democratic State Central Committee and District 91 Rep. He states because of his work with the YMCA, he’s witnessed first-hand that there are paths to success and alternatives that would keep young people out of the Criminal Justice System. Some of which he would work to implement if elected.
He says if elected he would devote resources to mentoring, education, job training and recreational sports. He also says he will work to help citizens obtain a quality standard of living so they will not have to turn to gangs or drugs. As part of his platform he also is advocating help for single mothers, safe child care, equal pay for women and more effective handling of domestic violence. On the economic front his top agenda item includes a review of the tax system with his priority being current homeowners being able to own homes and supporting moderate income residents in transitioning from renters to homeowners. He is also focusing his campaign on public safety and the recruitment of more officers, and is an advocate of diversion programs that would help reduce the prison population and give people who have committed small offenses a chance to turn their lives around.
Seth Bloom
Seth Bloom is a local attorney, who has previously served on the Orleans Parish School Board for two terms: 2008-2012 and 2012-2016; serving as its President in his second-term. He’s also held a post on Gov. John Bel Edwards’ K-12 Education Transition Committee, providing the governor’s office with vital information and proposals for continued growth and success in the state’s education system.
He says that fighting crime is the highest priority facing the City. Stating that the issue of public safety is not one for only the Council, or the Mayor, or the Police, the courts, or the District Attorney; saying that as citizens this is the problem of all citizens. And says we must all take up the collective challenge to find solutions. His platform includes dealing with issues around drug addiction and the opioid epidemic. He also feels those who have mental health challenges should be treated as patients and not criminals. Also, he says that his years on the OPSB have taught him that quality education is an important deterrent to crime. Bloom also believes that tax money should be in investing in improving infrastructure in the city including roads and floodwater management.
City Council District E
James Gray
Incumbent James Gray is running to retain his seat where he is running on his record of working on increasing economic development, blight reduction and youth recreation in his district. He says, his work as both a private citizen and elected official shows he has dedicated his life to serving his community.  Where in addition to being a public elected official and prominent attorney; he’s served on many civic boards including the Boys and Girls Club, the local branch of the Urban League as Board Chairman and many others.
He says one can see signs of economic progress and business that have come to his district including Wal-Mart, a strip mall that includes Planet Fitness, Pizza Hut and other retail outlets. He touts as one of his other accomplishments as working to empowering minorities and African-Americans and minority businesses with his passing of stronger DBE compliance and ban the box for convicted felons and fighting for raising the minimum wage. He also speaks of his work with increasing funding for rebuilding NORDC parks and programs aimed at the youth of New Orleans as to reasons why the people of District E should re-elect him.
Cyndi Nguyen
Cyndi Nguyen runs a non-profit and is a board member of several organizations including the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, East New Orleans Business Development District, Girls Scout of Southeast Louisiana. She is the co-host of the Good Life with Gumbo Talk on WBOK 1230AM and works with the Louisiana Civil Rights Division as its commissioner. 
Her platform includes diversifying and growing the economy in addition to focusing on repairing families and communities. This holistic approach is something she feels will create jobs and curb crimes and rebuild communities. She also believes that the City Government needs to run more efficiently where it serves the needs of the people of her district that she feels has been neglected post-Katrina. Her platform also includes a focus on training and incubators for small businesses.
Judge Civil District Court Division J
Omar Mason
He’s practiced law for 18 years in the area of civil litigation (representing both plaintiffs and defendants). In addition, Mason has volunteered and taught development of trial skills to law students at Tulane University School of Law since 2004 and at the LSU Law Center since 2013.
Mason says he’s handled a wide range of legal matters from personal injury to race discrimination. In addition to representing businesses small and large in litigation involving retailer protests, trade practices and toxic torts. He also volunteers his time to several organizations including the PTO Montessori Representative on the Audubon Charter School Board of Directors. He also serves as Director on the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and is the Chief Legal Advisor of the Knights of Peter Claver, Inc. He believes this combination of professional and life experiences has helped him develop the temperament and balance necessary to be a fair and more than competent jurist.
Nicole Sheppard
Nicole Sheppard is an attorney in private practice. Her practice includes estate planning, real estate transactions, corporate litigation, family and domestic matters, families in need of services, children in need of care, contract law, contractor fraud cases, personal injury, medical malpractice, criminal and traffic litigation. She says she has trial experience however, her practice has been settlement driven being able to settle disputes saving her clients cost and time.
Sheppard says her experience and service are extensive and prepares her well to serve as Civil District Court Judge, Division J. She says she is an excellent researcher and have represented clients in federal and state court. Throughout her career she says she’s educated aspiring legal professionals and the general public on legal matters. She believes that her work in legal matters and in addition to serving the needs of the community makes her the most qualified candidate in the race.
Early Voting Sites
City Hall
1300 Perdido Street, Room 1W24
New Orleans, LA 70112
Algiers Courthouse
225 Morgan Street, Room 105
New Orleans, LA 70114
Chef Menteur Voting Machine Warehouse Site
8870 Chef Menteur Highway
New Orleans, LA 70126
Lake Vista Community Center 
6500 Spanish Fort Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70124
Early voting is Nov. 3rd -11th (except Sunday, Nov. 5th and Veterans Day holiday, Friday, Nov. 10th) from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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