Buddy Spell swears it won’t hurt Annie’s campaign if we say we’re for her, so we’re happy to let the world know that Annie made a great bar ditch lawyer during Camp Casey I and she’ll make a fine councilwoman, too. No people’s work too gritty for Annie, we guaran-dam-tee. — gm
CAMP CASEY LAWYER AND CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER SEEKS ELECTED OFFICE IN LOUISIANA
COVINGTON, LA. Civil rights attorney, antiwar activist, and social justice advocate Annie Spell has qualified as the lone Democratic candidate in a field of five seeking two at-large seats on the Covington City Council. “The nation has indicated that it is ready for a new direction”, she said, referencing last November’s elections. “I think my neighbors are as well.”
Running in a traditionally politically conservative area, Spell, who wears the “liberal tag” as a “badge of honor”, claims no ulterior motives for joing the race where she is the only female candidate.It’s a long way from the bar ditches of Crawford, Texas, where she and her law partner husband represented Cindy Sheehan and other protesters in August of 2005, to the tree lined streets of this small community just across the lake and north of New Orleans. And, yet, she claims to be entirely focused.
“The short answer to why I am running for Covington’s City Council is simple,” she told friends and family at her Covington home Friday evening. “I love Covington. It is my home. I have planted roots here and have made a personal investment in the City’s future. It is where we are raising our daughter and I want Covington to be the best possible home town for her that it possibly can be. It is also where I intend to live out the best years of my life and I want to contribute what I can to ensuring that Covington remains a safe, progressive, prosperous, culturally significant, and vibrant community for us all.”
“A post-Katrina world calls for a new, progressive voice on the City Council; a voice which offers new ideas to address challenges, both old and new, which confront us all as we move forward into the “new normal”. I will contribute that fresh outlook which is now required and which will open community debate and thoughtful discussion on the issues we must tackle in the days, months, and years ahead.”
“I have the qualifications, credentials, educational background, and passion to competently represent the good people of Covington. I have successfully participated in private business, public service, political activism, and community organizing. I bring a wealth of real life, relevant experience to the Covington City Council which clearly and concretely sets me apart from the other candidates in the race. As a mom, I am committed to the quality of life of our community and the example we set for the next generations. My record firmly establishes that I am willing to fight for all of the people who cherish Covington and call her home.”
Born to Etta and Don Arata in 1965, Spell graduated from St. Scholastica Academy before going on to achieve a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University. Soon thereafter, she earned a juris doctorate from Loyola University of the South School of Law in 1990. She quickly sat for and immediately passed the state bar exam before launching what would prove to be a successful private law practice.
Following several years as a partner in the law firm of Arata & Arata, she, in 1997, established the law offices of Spell & Spell with her husband, local felony defense lawyer, Buddy Spell, where she holds the title of managing partner. Providing legal services to families and children, Spell quickly became highly regarded as a skilled, fearless, and effective advocate in the courtroom. Generous with her talents, she litigated claims on behalf of parents raising children with disabilities and was recognized by the Nellie Byers Training Institute for her pro bono contributions on behalf of physically and mentally disabled children. She has also successfully defeated State attempts to secure death penalty sentences with her husband in every capital case her law firm has ever handled. Respected by courtroom friends and foes alike, Spell brings valuable and substantial legal expertise to the Covington City Council.
Long before becoming a mother herself, Annie served for several years as the president of Camp Fire Boys and Girls (Towazi Council). Later, when her own daughter, Sarah Jane, came of age, she served as a Girl Scout leader with a troop based out of Christ Episcopal School. An animal lover, she is also a past president of the Washington Parish Humane Society.
She was instrumental in the formation of both the Louisiana Activist Network and the Covington Peace Project where she continues to advocate for sane and thoughtful approaches to issues of war and terrorism. Her activism in this regard is well documented by her important involvement in antiwar actions across America. She was a principal organizer of the Jazz Funeral for Democracy in New Orleans and was a “house lawyer” for Camp Casey in Crawford, TX during the summer of 2005. This commitment to peace and justice has led her to participate in and lend her organization skills to actions in Harlem, Atlanta, Austin, Montgomery, Biloxi, and here at home.
She is well known locally as the immediate past president of the Greater Covington NAACP, only the second white female to hold such a post in NAACP history and the first to finish out her term of office. Under her leadership, the local branch was able to reconstitute itself and become an example of activism throughout the national organization. In that role, she actively resisted discrimination in all of its forms.