UptownMessenger.com

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 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 232015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Scrappy New Orleans entrepreneur Kishore “Mike” Motwani’s $8.175 million purchase this week of Oz, New Orleans premiere gay dance club, this week is another sign that this often-despised self-made millionaire puts his money where his mouth is. Much to the dismay of ardent preservationists, Motwani is living the American Dream by remaking downtown New Orleans in his own image. Continue reading »

Jul 172015
 
A house under construction by architect Jonathan Tate and developer Charles Rutledge on a tiny lot on St. Thomas Street. (photo by Sarah Tan for UptownMessenger.com)

A house under construction by architect Jonathan Tate and developer Charles Rutledge on a tiny lot on St. Thomas Street. (photo by Sarah Tan for UptownMessenger.com)

Article by Sarah Tan for UptownMessenger.com

The city of New Orleans shows the comparatively tiny size of the 880-square-foot lot on St. Thomas Street. (via nola.gov)

The city of New Orleans shows the comparatively tiny size of the 880-square-foot lot on St. Thomas Street. (via nola.gov)

Throughout the city of New Orleans, more than 5,000 irregularly-shaped empty lots of land have traditionally been seen as too tiny to be built upon, so they just sit. One architecture firm and developer team, however, have been looking to make use of these lots by turning them into small, but affordable housing stock.

“The lot on St. Thomas ‘wasn’t worthy of a house’ is what the neighbors said,” architect Jonathan Tate said. Continue reading »

Jul 162015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

With qualifying less than 60 days away, local candidates are wanting lightning to strike to drive interest and money into the fall legislative races. Will lightning strike twice for School Board member Leslie Ellison as she takes on popular State Sen. David Heitmeier? As a physician and Chair of the state senate’s Health and Welfare Committee, Heitmeier played a leadership role in the passage of medical marijuana. Continue reading »

Jul 152015
 

By Marc H. Morial

Nowhere else in the world but in the American South do a small and diminishing minority of citizens still celebrate and revere the military leaders who waged war and committed treason against the nation they claim to love. Most have moved on to an enlightened viewpoint of the New South – multicultural, diverse, dynamic and forward-thinking. Continue reading »

Jul 132015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Former New Orleans mayor and textbook narcissist Marc Morial has come out in favor of Mayor Landrieu’s plan to remove four Civil War memorials located throughout the city. The erstwhile mayor, now head of the Urban League, proceeded to immediately put his foot in his mouth.

“Those symbols represent division,” Morial explained. “I don’t think Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard really had ties to the city.”

Apparently Morial’s grasp of Civil War history, even as it directly concerns the city he led for two terms as mayor, is just as lacking as his humility. While Lee had no major ties to New Orleans in particular, Jefferson Davis died in New Orleans and was originally buried here. Continue reading »

Jul 082015
 
Entergy trucks blocking the street on June 2, aka, life in New Orleans. (photo by S.L. Alexander)

Entergy trucks blocking the street on June 2, aka, life in New Orleans. (photo by S.L. Alexander)

S. L. Alexander (via courtroomcarnival.com)

S. L. Alexander (via courtroomcarnival.com)

By S.L. Alexander

As we begin to age in place, we Baby Boomers are being bombarded with suggestions in support of our insistence that 60 will just be the new 40: structured exercise (walk 10,000 steps a day!), careful diet (eat a lot of blueberries!), and mental gymnastics (do crossword puzzles in ink, even the one in the Sunday New York Times!).

But those of us of any age who are lucky enough to live in New Orleans as the tenth anniversary of August 29, 2005 (which I call “the late unpleasantness”) slinks our way, don’t need to wear our Fitbits 24/7. Just dealing with the confluence of various deadlines for spending government money, an estimated 71 billion federal bucks to rebuild the most devastated city since Sodom and/or Gomorrah — which certain folk have compared us to, actually — has forced us to strengthen ourselves in at least 10 ways as we fight a uniquely local condition: New Orleans Infrastructure Fatigue. Continue reading »

Jul 032015
 

Dr. Ken Roy

Dr. Ken Roy

By Ken Roy, M.D.

The Louisiana legislature, in its wisdom, passed Senate Bill 143 “Medical Marijuana” in both houses of the legislature, and that bill has now received the signature of the governor. This is a sad day for science, a sad day for medicine and a sad day for the State of Louisiana.

At issue is an end run effort to introduce legal “medical marijuana” into the State of Louisiana without addressing the question of legalization for recreational use. Although government has the right to legalize the recreational use of harmful substances, as with alcohol and tobacco, the current legislation skirts that question and proposes to introduce marijuana for use in a small number of medical conditions. Every time that has happened in other states, the initial legislation has been a “foot in the door,” and subsequent legislation, rules and practice has virtually legalized the recreational use, and massively increased the availability. Continue reading »

Jul 022015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Because our ancestors hailed from countries where freedom was not free, we firmly believe that a big part of the American Dream is the freedom to run for public office. Actually, we are eternally grateful that so many Americans in cities large and small are willing to risk their personal privacy and accept inevitable criticism while articulating their ideas on how our democracy should operate. Whether we like the positions candidates take or not, we still appreciate their First Amendment right to speak up – which our ancestors could not do without fear of death or reprisal.

Earlier this week we spoke with two-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a Republican religious rights conservative and former governor of Arkansas, who was meeting with a small group of supporters at Ralph’s On The Park. Huckabee is clearly fulfilling his vision of the American Dream. Continue reading »

Jun 292015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Few people today recognize just how devastating the Civil War was, especially for the South.  The war resulted in over 750,000 deaths.  The South lost roughly a quarter of its male population of military age — 4 percent of its total population.  It constitutes the largest mortality event in American history.

Set against this backdrop, it comes as little surprise that memorials were built throughout the population centers of the South to commemorate the military and political leaders of the Confederacy and the soldiers who served under them.  Though the war was lost, the memories remained.

Yet, according to Mayor Landrieu, the days of Civil War Memorials in New Orleans are numbered.  In the wake of the recent mass shooting in Charleston, perpetrated by known Neo-Confederate and white supremacist Dylan Roof, virtually anything associated with the Confederacy is seen as a target. Continue reading »

Jun 252015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Conservative religious-freedom advocates still exist in America, and Gov. Bobby Jindal must connect with every single one of them if he is going to break out from the bottom of the pack to become a real player in the Republican presidential nomination race.

The ballroom at the Pontchartrain Center was packed to the gills yesterday with mostly white, flag-waving believers as Jindal made his highly structured announcement for President of the United States. The event started out with recorded messages from Archie Manning and former Gov. Mike Foster, Jindal’s mentor and former employer. His logo is a sparkling red and blue “J” that almost looks like a Christmas decoration. Continue reading »

Jun 182015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Obviously hungry for new leaders at the state level, New Orleans voters had three opportunities yesterday to hear from various candidates for state-wide office, now that campaign season is ramping up after the conclusion of the 2015 legislative session.

State Rep. John Bel Edwards, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, and PSC Commissioner Scott Angelle were generally congenial and complimentary of each other as they addressed a group of 1,000 predominately Westbank voters at the Alario Center very early yesterday morning. Continue reading »

Jun 152015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

One of the chief headaches one gets from monitoring the news cycle relates to the fact that it isn’t self-correcting.  A tiny seed of disinformation grows to become a sturdy tree of conventional wisdom.

This is what happened with the so-called “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) laws following the shooting of Treyvon Martin in Florida by George Zimmerman.  Most recently, it was criticized in a recent column by Jarvis DeBerry after being invoked by Algiers Pastor W.L.T. Littleton, who is accused of shooting a fleeing copper thief in the back of the head. Continue reading »

Jun 082015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

There’s no getting around it: Central City is an impoverished neighborhood.

In 2013, Karen Gadbois and Craig Mulcahy summed up the situation in Central City nicely: “[Y]ou’re still within sight of the Superdome, but have no doubt about it: The tracks may be nonexistent, but you’re on the wrong side of them.”

With Central City’s depressed economic state, one would think that public officials and the nonprofit community would focus on promoting businesses that provide goods and services that serve a lower-income demographic. However, the opposite has been the case. Continue reading »