Retired Army major fights property discrimination case
By Fritz Esker
Retired Army Major Tracy Riley feels she has been unfairly discriminated against by the state of Louisiana and the French Quarter Management District in her efforts to open a supper club and music venue on Decatur Street.
Riley’s company, The Rouge House LLC, is appealing the decision from the State of Louisiana Department of Revenue’s office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control (ATC) to deny her business an alcoholic beverage permit. At a hearing in Orleans Parish Civil District Court on April 25, the ATC requested a continuance without a date due to a scheduling conflict.
The ATC initially denied Riley’s permit because it claimed that The Rouge House, located at 300 Decatur, handled alcohol without a permit and that Riley suppressed info as an applicant. The suppression charge stems from Riley listing her spouse as a business member.
An inside view of The Rouge House on Decatur Street
“Why they would deny us for that reason is a mystery to me,” Riley said.
On six different occasions, the ATC conducted surprise inspections of The Rouge House and found no violations for alcohol or any other issues. As a result, Riley is frustrated with the entire process.
“The army operates with a clear set of orders and appropriate regulations on how things are done,” Riley said. “I expected something similar from the City of New Orleans and have been sadly disappointed.”
Riley suspects there may be racial motivations behind the permit denial. On one occasion, Riley says her security guard was told to “get out of here, n—er” by a French Quarter resident.
“I am an African-American female and I have chosen to operate my business in an area where there are no African-American females who own a business,” Riley said.
From a recording of an ATC meeting on September 4 provided by Riley, Dan Altenloh, French Quarter Management District member and resident, said the crowds outside the Rouge House at night frightened him and other residents. The fear reached the point that they would not leave their homes after 11 p.m. and that businesses in the area would close earlier for that reason. He also complained about crowds blocking traffic and described it as a “Bourbon-like atmosphere.”
Riley argues that The Rouge House is in a thriving area with businesses like the House of Blues, Huck Finn’s, The Attiki Bar and Grill, Bootlegger’s and more in the immediate vicinity, making crowds inevitable in that area. On top of this, Decatur is a primary thoroughfare for people getting to the French Quarter, so even people who aren’t patronizing those businesses will be passing through. She states that no crowds at any of her events violated any laws.
After retiring from the military due to a disability, The Rouge House was Riley’s dream. She wanted it to be a “one-stop shop” for musicians who are trying to break into the industry. The venue would provide mentorship, management training, and career guidance. There would also be a recording studio, Internet radio station, a stage for live music, and a supper club.
Aside from providing a training ground for local musicians, Riley was in the process of a selecting a Louisiana-trained chef to establish her menu. Once open, she planned to provide service industry jobs for young adults in the community.
Jacqueline Wilson, a partner with Shows, Cali, & Walsh, the firm representing the ATC, said they could not comment on the issue because it is an ongoing case pending litigation.
Robert Watters, chairman of the French Quarter Management District and owner of Rick’s Cabaret, did not reply to an email seeking comment as of press time.
This article originally published in the May 5, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.
Doctor Shirley Mckeller
Doctor Shirley JoNetta Erwin McKellar, Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Shirley J. McKellar, Retired American Soldier, United States Army, is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of McKellar-McKellar-Ntaka and Associates, Inc., a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. In 1983, McKellar joined in partnership with two other nurse clinicians and started a company that later developed into a corporation with several subsidiaries. It was named MacSands and Associates, Inc., dba Relief Health Care Services, Kids Creative Learning Academy, Rose City Mediation Services, Grant Navigators, Nursing Research Service and many other initiatives to aid in the growth and development of her community. MacSands, Inc. later became McKellar-McKellar-Ntaka and Associates, Inc.
Under McKellar's leadership the grass-roots non-profit 501c (3) organization has launched many successful projects in East Texas. The corporation has held many state contracts from working with sexually and physically abused women/children in twelve (12) counties in Texas, a Legal Mediation Consultant, to serving as Site Manager for the African American Breast Cancer Outreach Project (AABCO). The ABCO Project was designed by the University of Texas, School of Nursing at Austin and Dr. McKellar was based at the Tyler, Texas location. Dr. McKellar is a professional who has many passions however you will hear her speaking almost daily on health, Christian wellness and the education of African-American women and children. One of her favorite mottos is, "Reach One-Teach One" for children. And another one of her favorite is, "Until we all have succeeded-none of us have succeeded." This is in regards to women being treated for breast cancer.
In 1991, Dr. McKellar and her friend, Dr. Sally Sanders, RN, MSN started an early childhood education school, ages 6 Weeks-Kindergarten. This included an after school mentor-mentee program. The two (2) clinicians realized that education had to start earlier than the first grade, also that everyone could not pick their children up from their learning centers by 6:00 P.M. Therefore, their school started evening care and remained open until 12:00 midnight. "Our society is governed 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Our children must be cared for at all times," states McKellar.
A veteran of both corporate and federal institutions, Registered Nurse Clinician McKellar, is also Major McKellar (Retired) from the United States Army Nurses Corp. Her ranking (MOS) was a 66 H-8A, for the 94th Combat Support Hospital, Seagoville, Texas. Dr. McKellar also served as the Officer-in-Charge of Combat Life Saving School, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Consideration of Others and the Sexual Harassment Team Officer for her unit. Great military accomplishments have been made within the short period of time the she has served her country. Dr. McKellar was called to active duty December 2002 to prepare medical records for soldiers preparing for deployment. Her awards and honors are many and reflect her leadership expertise and entrepreneurial business advancement. However some of her most noted ones include being a national and international motivational speaker on breast cancer and women's issues. Dr. McKellar was deployed overseas to the war for 18 months in support of, "Operation Iraqi Freedom," and "Operation Enduring Freedom," where she received two war ribbons and two war medals for her work. The medals were a Meritorious Service(3.) Medal (MSN), the highest non-battle award and Army Accommodation Medals.
In addition to these awards during her 16 active years in the military she has received five (5) other Army Commendation Medals. Due to her expertise in the field of breast cancer, while she was deployed Dr. McKellar was selected as one of 16 clinicians from around the world to travel to Berlin and establish, "The Best Clinical Practices for Treating Breast Cancer" around the globe. To her credit and skill in detecting lumps she was selected by the Baylor University Health Care System to be the, "International Breast Cancer Advocate" for Europe, representing America. Of the (16) clinicians selected, five were picked to speak before the 4th European Congress and Dr. McKellar spoke on "Healthcare Disparities Among African-American Women." The conference was aired to over 250 Comprehensive Breast Cancer Centers in the world and this included The University of Texas @ M.D. Anderson, Houston. Dr. McKellar has many accommodations, other awards and honors but states that she was humbled by this grand opportunity.
Major McKellar along with assistance from COL Rose Hazlett, LTC Joice Carter and others, established the First Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center in the European Theater. She served as Chief Nurse of the Center. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2004, McKellar developed and implemented a fundraiser among the troops on Post. She held a Fun Run, a High Tea & Fashion Gala using the troops as models, where she raised $5000 for the International Komen Foundation. As if that was not a major task, Dr. McKellar recognized the need for more Critical Care Clinicians, so she developed and implemented a Certified Critical Care Course while deployed and save the military over $20,000 by teaching the course in-house. More (4.) awards for Dr. McKellar are "Outstanding Professional Female of America" (given by the National Black Mayor's Association), The Black Chamber of Commerce Award, The Black Business Women's Association Award, and Texas 2000 Most Notable Women, Texas Transitional Award of Excellence, the Minnie Hudnall Foundation Scholarship Award, serving as President of the Emmett J. Scott High All-School Reunion Alumni 2000-2003, Tyler, Texas, which was an honor and most prestigious; and the Texas Outstanding Distinguished Business Woman of The Year Award, just to name a few.
Dr. McKellar received her undergraduate degree from Texas Women's University in Nursing and Chemistry; her Masters Degrees from the University of Texas with honors in Community Health Nursing, Criminal Justice and Organizational Speech Communications, Community Minority Business Advancement and a Doctorate Degree in Nursing Management from the Columbus College of Public Health & Administration with a 3.74 GPA. Her dissertation was written at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Tyler, Texas, studying and defending spirituality among breast cancer patients.
She is a member of many civic, social and professional organizations. Some of her favorite is the Gamma Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the American Biographical Institute Research Association, and American Business Women's Association, National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer, National Black Nurses Association, The Intercultural Cancer Association, The National Clinical Trials Advisory Group, and the National Sisters Network, Inc., (which is the only national breast cancer awareness organization for black woman), the founder and (5.) survivor is Ms. Karen Jackson. Since being on injured reserve from the military and now retired, Dr. McKellar host a weekly Radio Talk Show entitled, "A View From The Top," covering the latest topics locally and nationally.
Dr. McKellar is a member of the North Tenneha Church of Christ, Tyler, Texas, and Minister is Brother Kennoth Olison. She is married to Brother Danny C. McKellar, Retired Educator of the Dallas Independent School District. They are the proud parents of two adult children, Dr. Danña Mckellar, Post Doctorate Research Fellow at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey; one Son D. Carl McKellar II., General Motors Division & Owner of McKellar Trucking & Freight Company, a Criminal Justice Major, Dallas, Texas; Son-in-Law, Dikela, Daughter-in-Law, Nadya, and five grandchildren, Tulani, Tovio, Themba, Mizani, and Makali.
Most Powerful Woman on Wall Street is a Trillion Dollar Black Woman?
Did You Know the Most Powerful Woman on Wall Street is a Trillion Dollar Black Woman?
Meet the Trillion Dollar Black Woman of Wall Street
When most people think of Wall Street titans, they think of rich, white men who garner very little interest from our young people. This may be true, but it isn’t completely accurate because swimming with the sharks is a Queen our young people should know about.
Last year, Suzanne Shank became one of, if not the first, black woman to head a publicly traded financial services institution. Shank was promoted to CEO of Siebert Financial Corporation (a broker/deal institutional investment bank founded by Muriel Seibert). A monumental feat indeed, but no where near defines the career and future of this extraordinary woman.
suzanne shankIn addition to holding this post, Shank is also the CEO of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. LLC. It seems like a lot of work, but Shank splits her time between the two businesses and is doing very well. As you can imagine, Shank’s resume is power packed, impressive and mind blowing to say the least.
Shank was a Wharton MBA graduate in finance, class of 1987, civil engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, President, Municipal bond trader, CEO of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co, LLC, the largest minority-owned municipal finance firm in the United States.
Since the start of her firm, they have acted as managing underwriter for municipal bond transactions exceeding a whopping $1.2 trillion dollars and ranks among the top 10 in seven key infrastructure categories for underwriting municipal bonds in the world.
This powerful, black woman is one to remember as her trailblazing ways will continue to inspire, develop, nurture and create more and more great minds in our community.
We have to understand as a community, not everyone is going to fight the same fights…or fight in a manner we think they should. I don’t know how this woman gives back to the community, but that is her business. Here we are highlighting her because we believe her drive, success and background might resonate and encourage some of our young people to get off their backsides and put in work!