Landry officially in race for parish president

Former St. Bernard Parish Council member Wayne Landry has made official what seemed evident for months: that he will run for parish president in October’s primary.

“My time working on the Parish Council demonstrated to me that government could run more efficiently and serve the people — not the politicians,” said Landry, a lifelong St. Bernard resident who served on the council from 2008 to 2012.

Landry lost a bruising race for sheriff in 2011. Since then, he’s served as interim CEO of the publicly owned St. Bernard Parish Hospital, a post he held without pay from 2012 until this year.

During his tenure at the hospital, Landry frequently clashed with the Parish Council, which he said was unfairly criticizing his leadership.

“I’ve seen and experienced the highs and lows in this parish, and I know that our people are strong and desperate for new, honest leadership in the Parish President’s Office,” Landry said. “I’ll work to attract businesses to the parish that create jobs here in the parish.”

Among his priorities, he said, are making parish government more efficient, paying better attention to the coast and commercial fishermen, and reducing recreation fees.

“By finding inefficiencies in where we spend your tax dollars, I know I can find enough money to rid or reduce recreation fees in the parish,” he said.

Landry’s expected opponents for St. Bernard’s top job include embattled incumbent David Peralta, Parish Council member Guy McInnis and former member Tony “Ricky” Melerine.

Peralta wastes no time going after Landry

Peralta already has come out swinging ahead of his official re-election effort.

“I must admit I was somewhat amused by Mr. Landry’s first political mail out,” Peralta wrote in a paid ad in the latest edition of The St. Bernard Post, a parish weekly.

After ticking off a few of Landry’s campaign promises — fiscal reform, government transparency, attracting new business — Peralta wrote: “Where have you been WAYNE? I instituted every one of those practices and more over THREE YEARS AGO!”

He added, “I guess this illustrated just how much you have dissociated yourself with parish government and the people of St. Bernard.”

Peralta said he has accomplished plenty in his first term, “regardless of the obstacles outsiders have placed on me.”

Those obstacles include pending criminal charges in two jurisdictions.

In a previous ad, Peralta argued that the state Attorney General’s Office has hit him with multiple indictments in the past year because he’s not “part of the ‘good ole boy’ network.”

Johnny Jackson to hold medical fundraiser

A “cancer benefit and fundraiser” for former New Orleans City Council member and mayoral candidate Johnny Jackson Jr. will be held July 17 at the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club building on North Broad Street.

In a message sent out by the New Orleans Agenda PR service, Jackson wrote, “I wish to thank almighty God, family, friends and the community for making (possible) my recovery from the many health challenges in the past year and a half — stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, dental surgery, colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy.

“I am on my way to recovery but still have to live with some of the health challenges. But, praise God, I’m currently cancer- and chemotherapy-free! Many great doctors, nurses, technicians and facilities have blessed me with their service and brought me to this point in my recovery efforts.”

Jackson said he now faces “the challenge of paying for these great lifesaving treatments and medical services.”

His outstanding medical bills exceed $11,500, he said: “It’s a small amount to pay for health, but with limited SSI income, it’s difficult to meet all my financial obligations. Therefore, I am hosting a benefit and gala fundraiser.”

The event will be from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Zulu’s Roy A. Glapion Reception Hall (named for another former City Council member) at 730 N. Broad. Admission is by a $25 donation at the door.

Donations also can be mailed to Jackson at 4800 Good Drive, New Orleans, LA 70127.

City Council searching for new PR consultant

The New Orleans City Council put out a news release saying it is “encouraging wide participation” in its search for a communications consultant to assist the council with marketing, public relations and communications work.

Denise Estopinal has held the job for several years.

Councilwoman Stacy Head said, “We are encouraging the submission of as many qualified candidates for this consultant position as possible. The council wants to do whatever it can to widen the pool of candidates to be considered.”

The deadline for responses is 4 p.m. July 30.

Details on the council’s request for proposals can be found at its website.