Head hands gavel to Williams for next year

It was a quiet passing of the torch Thursday as New Orleans City Councilwoman Stacy Head turned over the gavel to her fellow at-large member, Jason Williams.

The council presidency alternates between the two at-large members every year.

Head, with several years’ experience on the council, had served as president since the current members took office in May 2014.

Williams, a newcomer, now assumes the reins after having had a year to observe how Head handled things.

Head will serve as vice president for the next year.

Both appointments were supported by all members of the council.

The handoff happened without much ceremony, except for a brief “Congratulations, Mr. President,” by Head.

Aside from having a major say in how quickly council meetings move along, the president has little real power.

Family ties appear as council honors Angola

Thursday’s City Council meeting had a bit of international flair, with the Angolan ambassador to the United States in attendance to address the city in advance of the 40th anniversary of his country’s independence later this year.

At a meeting that kicked off with singing of the Angolan national anthem, the council honored Ambassador H.E. Agostinho Tavares da Silva Neto and Jeannine Scott, a New Orleans native who serves as president of the U.S.- Angola Chamber of Commerce, and took a few minutes to discuss the connections between the countries.

“The city of New Orleans has enormous similarities to Angola, to my country. The climate is similar; the people are similar,” Tavares said. “I can see people from New Orleans and they look like Angolans.”

Councilman James Gray, who helped organize the event, said there’s a good reason for that. In addition to trade connections, he said, a large number of the city’s black residents trace their heritage back to Angola.

“We look like you because we are your cousins and nieces and nephews,” Gray said.

Ramsey to meet with constituents this week

District C Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey will hold a series of town hall meetings in her district this week to provide information on upcoming projects and hear citizens’ concerns.

Also on hand will be representatives of various city agencies — including Code Enforcement, Public Works, Capital Projects and the Sewerage & Water Board — and Entergy.

The schedule is:

Monday, 6-7:30 p.m., meeting for French Quarter residents and business owners, at St. Jude Community Center, 400 N. Rampart St.

Tuesday, 6-7:30 p.m., meeting for Algiers residents, at the Federal City Auditorium, 2485 Guadalcanal Blvd.

Wednesday, 6-7:30 p.m., meeting for Bywater and St. Roch residents, at Holy Angels Convent, 3500 St. Claude Ave.

Thursday, 6-7:30 p.m., meeting for Treme and Marigny residents, at the Treme Community Center, 900 N. Villere St.

Compiled by staff writer Jeff Adelson