Fielkow had stated in the past that it was difficult to make ends meet on the salary of the Councilman’s position. Positions such as the one he is taking simply do not become available very often. The move will also allow him to be with all of his family members, which in today’s world, is every parent’s dream.
I personally have known Arnie Fielkow for years, having met him on a New Orleans Chamber trip when he first moved to the city. Back then, I realized that Fielkow had a rare combination of personal skills and mental acumen combined with a passion for helping people.
After his departure from the Saints, he continued to offer himself to the community, this time in politics and not in sports. After Katrina, his name arose as a possible competitor to Mayor C. Ray Nagin. Instead, Fielkow chose the council road. His presence was immediately felt.
Arnie Fielkow and his wife have adopted children and made them his family. He adopted New Orleans and made it his home. The community must now adapt to the sudden news knowing it has lost a favorite son and a class act.
The NBA won this contest in a slam dunk.
The Political Aftermath
The city will now be abuzz over who will become the next city councilperson replacing Arnie Fielkow. One of the people who just might be interested could be former gubernatorial and mayoral candidate John Georges.
Prior to Mitch Landrieu’s entry into the recent mayor’s race, Georges was one of the candidates who appeared to have a good shot to win the coveted seat in City Hall. Once the now current mayor entered the field, the die was cast.
There have been discussions and rumors that Georges could run for Governor or Lt. Governor. After losing two races against political rockstars (Jindal and Landrieu), one would wonder if he would take on those type of challenges again.
However, should he decide to step into the New Orleans council election ring, he could possibly win an election that could show his political class as an elected official and not just a wealthy man with the penchant to serve.
We shall see, but as the Fielkow shock demonstrates, you just never know.
One of the possible ramifications from the Fielkow decision could be the statewide elections, and in particular, the Governor’s race.
A special election will be held this October. I assume the election will be held at the same time of the general election this October and if so, here’s my Monday morning take.
An open city-wide race could mean that a hotly contested race could bring out the voters, which could hurt Governor Jindal and might help Democrats such as Caroline Fayard who has been flirting with the Secretary of State spot.
Obviously, it would be of no help in the gubernatorial race if no candidate were to take on Jindal or if a weak one without any money is his only competitor.
The Governor’s overall support is somewhat weak and he certainly is not as popular in the New Orleans area as he was four years ago, or even two years ago.
Still, anyone with the type of dollars he has amassed on the campaign road during his tenure as Governor would be an impediment even to the most wealthy or the most capable of politicos.
Either way, now that there is a major race in New Orleans, the political terrain has changed a bit. Whether the new political void will carry over into the cities and parishes throughout Louisiana will depend who bellies up to the bar both in the Big Easy and in Baton Rouge.
As of now, the bar bell has been rung and we will need to wait to see who comes running with an open campaign cup in one hand and who knows, possibly, a fist full of dollars in the other.
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