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City Council meeting turns testy over street renaming's place on agenda

A heated discussion was sparked when one councilman wanted to prioritize the renaming of Carondelet and Lasalle streets. (City Council website) A heated discussion was sparked when one councilman wanted to prioritize the renaming of Carondelet and Lasalle streets. (City Council website)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

A proposal to rename parts of two New Orleans streets quickly escalated into insults and accusations between a normally united City Council on Friday.

A heated discussion was sparked when Councilman-at-Large Jason Williams wanted to prioritize the renaming of Carondelet and Lasalle streets on the agenda.

Sitting President Stacey Head said the move was to garner support from a meeting packed with supporters of the name change.

“First of all, I do have the chair,” Head said. “I am the president for the next month. This is out of the ordinary, and I think it is procedural gamesmanship that is inappropriate and divisive.”

“This is not something that's out of the order,” Williams countered. “It's something that's happened in the past four months.”

“If I may,” Head interjected.

“You may when I finish,” Williams replied. “My only intent this morning was to accommodate the seniors that have come here because clearly they have come early. If there's a problem with it, if you disagree with it, you can simply vote no.”

As the debate over agenda-switching wore on, other council members weighed in.

“My comments are to council member Guidry,” said Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey. “You are on a slippery slope. I follow the rules, I live by the rules and if I ask for something to be moved up, I did it the proper way. Don't you ever talk about my intent again.”

Head finally called a truce.

“I think that this debate needs to end, and we need to try to maintain at least some sense of decorum,” she said. “We've had a great year. It's over. Clearly we're back to the way things used to be. But let's at least try to get through the meeting without vomiting.”

And once it was called to a vote, the council decided to change the street names in a vote of four to three. Carondelet Street between Felicity and MLK Boulevard will be named after Pastor Robert C. Blakes Sr., the late pastor of New Home Ministries. Lasalle Street between Earhart and Simon Bolivar will be named after John Raphael Jr., the late pastor of New Hope Baptist Church.

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