It Shouldn’t Be So Hard To Live in a City You Love, Said J.P. Morrell

When Walt Leger III introduced J.P. Morrell Tuesday night at Morrell’s campaign kick-off for City Council At Large Division 2, he called Morrell “a new voice from someone who has been an old voice.” 

Morrell served 14 years in the Louisiana Legislature and authored the life-changing unanimous jury legislation as well as bills that protected victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and increased the earned income tax credit. 

Morrell first saluted his wife Katherine who he called “a source of constant support and counsel” and told attendees that living in New Orleans should be easier.  

As he met with neighbors, culture bearers, business leaders and advocates, Morrell says he saw several issues everyone agreed on including: being afraid of getting carjacked while pumping gas; fighting government over defiling cultural landmarks for development; the difficulty in getting a permit to open a business; and the detrimental effect of frequent boil advisories on restaurants. 

“We all love this city. Whether we’ve lived here for generations or we are transplants, we choose to live here because we love New Orleans despite how hard government makes it to stay,” he explained.  

“This campaign is about focusing on solutions to problems that have plagued us for generations. It’s about tackling these issues had on, without apology, because we all fear for the future of our city,” Morrell said.

“We have a crime problem in New Orleans. I say this because not enough elected officials will admit it.” Morell vowed to focus on preventing crimes rather than reacting to them. He plans on directing more resources to Juvenile Court, provide more smart technology (not crime cameras) to the NOPD and retain and recruit more officers. 

“The (NOPD) Academy churn isn’t working and hasn’t worked in years.” Morrell explained that 80 NOPD officers have already filed their paperwork to leave so far this year, which is more than the number of recruits currently enrolled at the Academy. 

Morrell also said that the public has lost faith in the Sewerage & Water Board. “We have multi-billion dollar pumps in canals that sit unused because we can’t get the water to them from the streets. Drainage is broken,” he continued. He also cited customer billing problems. “I have tacked this issue on the state level to no avail; it’s time to utilize our power locally to solve it.”

Morrell said the city’s streets are “a mess” and that many of the contractors doing work are “more concerned with profit than product.”  

He also touched on the need to preserve the city’s rich neighborhoods and culture. “Our neighborhoods and their integrity are as important as the property tax dollars they generate. Our culture must be preserved.” Moving City Hall to Armstrong Park is a “terrible idea” that he strongly opposes.  Morrell suggested that the city invest in New Orleans East instead.

He also believes that short term rentals are destroying neighborhoods and that our current elected officials are more interested in the tax dollars the industry provides than the quality of life in the affected areas. “Our focus needs to be on making sure New Orleanians can live in their homes, no matter how much money the city and out-of-state STR investors can make off of them.”

Morrell told attendees that they turned out for his kick-off because they know “New Orleans can be so much better than what she is.” Morrell closed by saying that he was dedicated to doing the hard work it will take to “bring our city together and unite it to make us proud of the city we love.”  

Tonight’s launch was put together by business leaders Bill Hammack and Leslie Jacobs. Among those in attendance were State Reps Jason Hughes and Aimee Freeman, Brian Egana, Roy Glapion, Ira Middleberg, Angela O’Byrne, Josh Rubenstein, Joe Sobol, Darrel Saizan, and Morrell’s father Clerk of Criminal Court Arthur Morrell.

City Councilmembers Kristin Palmer and Jared Brossett are also running for the same seat. Qualifying will take place in mid-July.   

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