Jul 312015
 
McKinley "Mac" Phipps, Jr. at Elayn Hunt Correctional Facility, 2015. Mac is currently serving a 30-year sentence for manslaughter, a crime for which

McKinley “Mac” Phipps, Jr. at Elayn Hunt Correctional Facility, 2015. Mac is currently serving a 30-year sentence for manslaughter, a crime for which he maintains his innocence. (photo courtesy of Angelique Christina)

Tyree Worthy

Tyree C. Worthy

When I graduated from Loyola three years ago, I had plenty of people to thank: professors, advisors, friends and close family — the usual. There was one unlikely person who actually wasn’t there during my school days at all but deserved as much thanks as anyone: my cousin, McKinley “Mac” Phipps Jr., a well-known New Orleans rapper who has been incarcerated since I was 10, and I realized I needed to write him and tell him how much of a motivational force he had become in my life.

Mac is currently serving a 30-year sentence for manslaughter, a crime for which he maintains his innocence. But now, amid serious questions about the testimony that convicted him under former St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed, Mac’s legal team is actively working to have him released much sooner than that, according to a recent report from The Advocate’s Sara Pagones. Continue reading »

Jul 302015
 
City workers remove a section of pavement from Pine Street in May 2015 to repair a broken water main underneath it. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

City workers remove a section of pavement from Pine Street in May 2015 to repair a broken water main underneath it. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses District B residents about the city's budget at KIPP Central City Academy in 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses District B residents about the city’s budget at KIPP Central City Academy in 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

There isn’t enough money to fix all the streets, nor enough police officers to patrol them, and certainly not enough to pay back what the city owes the firefighters’ pension fund, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told a packed auditorium in Lakeview on Thursday evening.

But if the financial situation is so dire, the Lakeview residents shot back, then why is Landrieu suddenly engaging the city in the presumably expensive “self-initiated politics” of removing statues of Confederate leaders? Continue reading »

Jul 302015
 

By Social Work Students United for Reproductive Freedom at Tulane University

As Social Work students, we are concerned about the deceitful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides vital health care services to 2.7 million Americans each year. In Louisiana alone, Planned Parenthood annually provides 16,000 visits in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans for services that include birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests and treatment, and other preventative healthcare such as much-needed sexual health education. Continue reading »

Jul 302015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

If Saturday night’s Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner is any indication, Louisiana Democrats feel their time is coming again soon. Recent polls show State Rep. John Bel Edwards neck ‘n neck with U.S. Senator David Vitter. “We can only go up from here,” Edwards told the packed ballroom. Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden is saving his money for the run-off in the Lt. Governor’s race and presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders delivered his fiery brand of liberalism to a large, enthusiastic, stomping, waving, cheering crowd at the Pontchartrain Center Sunday. Continue reading »

Jul 302015
 
(map via Entergy New Orleans)

(map via Entergy New Orleans)

Today (July 30), Entergy’s work on the Power to Grow NOLA transmission upgrade project will be starting on the Patton Street segment of the project, and tomorrow, Entergy will finish its work on the Webster street portion of the project. Work on Patton Street is planned to last until August 5 and includes temporary traffic street closures at the site of each steel transmission pole during the process of the “pull”. Continue reading »

Jul 292015
 
The old Carrollton courthouse, photographed during an Audubon Charter School event in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file)

The old Carrollton courthouse, photographed during an Audubon Charter School event in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file)

After more than a dozen speakers took the microphone at a forum dedicated to saving the Carrollton Courthouse on Wednesday night, a common theme emerged from their comments: The best future for the landmark structure is some sort of public use.

Some described a new community center or an expanded library, perhaps to replace the nearby Nix branch. Others mentioned museums about the history of public education, of the city of Carrollton, or even New Orleans music. If not that, then flexible museum space, they said, where the city’s other museums could rotate exhibits. The large space could host city archives or recreation offices, they said, and its grounds would be perfect for park space with the crumbling old temporary buildings removed.

The question looming over the courthouse’s fate — and likely defining it — is who will actually own the building. And to that question, no answers emerged Wednesday night. Continue reading »

Jul 292015
 

Sandra Stokes of the Louisiana Landmarks Society speaks in front of the Carrollton Courthouse on Wednesday, June 24. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Sandra Stokes of the Louisiana Landmarks Society speaks in front of the Carrollton Courthouse on Wednesday, June 24. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Following the recent designation of the Carrollton Courthouse on a national list of endangered historic buildings, local preservationists will host a forum tonight to solicit ideas about what the landmark could become. Continue reading »

Jul 282015
 
Attendees of the Maple Street Dishcrawl in July 2014 sample the fare at Little Tokyo, a Japanese restaurant in a space occupied by a college bar just a few years ago. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

Attendees of the Maple Street Dishcrawl in July 2014 sample the fare at Little Tokyo, a Japanese restaurant in a space occupied by a college bar just a few years ago. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

Whether you call it a “crackdown” or a “cleanup,” there is no doubt that Maple Street has changed dramatically over the last five years amid intense scrutiny by New Orleans city officials.

Now, a debate over whether the City Council should continue to have oversight over whether new restaurants on Maple Street are allowed to sell alcohol has split the neighborhood association and local businesses, with residents on both sides.

Is the City Council’s traditional role as a gatekeeper for alcohol sales at restaurants a crucial element of the new peace on Maple Street, or does it give neighborhoods and their elected officials too much influence over which businesses can open? Continue reading »

Jul 282015
 
A new Lycee Francais banner hangs from the roof at the former Priestley campus. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A new Lycee Francais banner hangs from the roof at the former Priestley campus. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The trees and overgrowth have been trimmed, a new Lycee Francais banner hangs from the roof, lights are being installed, and for the first time in decades, schoolchildren will soon begin gathering at the former Priestley campus in west Carrollton in the mornings. Continue reading »

Jul 272015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Before every great tragedy lies a series of rash policy decisions.

When 9/11 struck, we rapidly passed the Patriot Act and created the Transportation Security Administration. Provisions of the former permitted unconstitutional searches, while the latter subjected us to overly-intrusive searches executed by a frenzied, unfeeling bureaucracy.

The most recent tragedy we’ve experienced was on a much smaller scale, but it hit relatively close to home. On July 23, at the Grand Palace 16 movie theater in Lafayette, a man now know to be John Russell Houser fired a pistol into the crowd 20 minutes into the viewing of the Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck.” Continue reading »

Jul 242015
 
A rendering of the proposed Jackson Oaks development on display Friday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A rendering of the proposed Jackson Oaks development on display Friday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The long-shuttered, grafitti-covered former Sara Mayo hospital on Jackson Avenue is slated for redevelopment into a 211-unit, eight-story apartment complex with ground-floor restaurants and offices, neighbors learned Friday morning.

The vacant former Sara Mayo hospital, seen from Josephine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The vacant former Sara Mayo hospital, seen from Josephine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Continue reading »