New Orleans community leader and businesswoman Juliet Laughlin, a member of Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee (OPREC), is being subjected to political attacks and an attempt to force her resignation from her appointed position on the French Quarter Management District Commission (FQMD) by New Orleans District C Councilmember Kristin Palmer for opposing Black Lives Matter and their Marxist goals.
Juliet Laughlin was appointed by Ms. Palmer to the French Quarter Management District and officially confirmed by the City Council. The FQMD is a 13-member state entity formed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2007 and entrusted to liaise with residential and business interests for the betterment of the historic French Quarter, where Juliet is a resident and business owner. Ms. Palmer made it clear that although she was appointing her Juliet was not obligated to check in with her office before voting on matters. In fact, Ms. Palmer emphasized the importance of “voting your conscience.” Juliet disclosed at the start that she was a member of the OPREC, along with other associations.
This past summer the FQMD Security and Enforcement Committee moved to endorse Black Lives Matter. Juliet is not a committee member but attended as a guest, and when she asked if everyone understood what BLM was about the committee chair pulled up the website and read aloud the mission statement. The committee voted unanimously to approve an endorsement, and it was eventually brought to the full Board. When the issue was brought to the FQMD Board on July 13th, a motion was made: “FQMD supports the Black Lives Matter movement and dedicate ourselves to promoting racial equality and abide by bias-free policing within our Supplemental Police Patrol Program.” Ms. Laughlin was the only No vote. She felt it is a common linguistic trick to have people agree in general that black lives matter, and then bring up BLM’s actual agenda, at which point many people find their goals problematic.
“So they get us to agree that, of course black lives matter, then hook us into also agreeing with their Marxist agenda. It is a semantic trick that I could not in good conscience agree to. In their agenda is defunding the police, and as an FQMD commissioner I have been in close contact with the New Orleans Police Department 8th District. I could not face them if I voted yes,” Ms. Laughlin stated.
Moreover, when she, as an Asian-American, asked to add that Asian lives also matter (many being abused due to COVID) she was informed she should make that a separate motion later and was dismissed.
The very next day Ms. Palmer sent a letter to Ms. Laughlin stating she would be replacing her and she should submit her resignation as she did not represent Ms. Palmer’s views. Ms. Laughlin replied that she had voted her conscience, as she had been encouraged to do, and refused to resign. She stated she had taken an oath and would serve out her term.
We need to promote transparency in public office. District C deserves to know their councilmember. Appointees must be free to act according to their conscience, not disciplined for it. We should all decry this political thuggery, discrimination, abuse of power, and the new “cancel culture.”