Feb 212019

New Orleans police are investigating an armed carjacking reported Saturday at about 1 p.m. in the 1700 block of Josephine Street.

A 61-year-old woman and a 43-year-old woman were in a 2007 Silver Acura MDX on Josephine near Carondelet Street when a man pointed a gun at them. He then demanded their purses and ordered them out of the car.

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Feb 212019

Despite a light rain, enthusiastic crowds gather on Napoleon Avenue for the Orpheus parade. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com file)

Well before the first marching band strikes up in the Oshun parade on Friday evening, city officials have been working to make this year’s Uptown parade season safe and enjoyable.

Trees have been trimmed, response plans tested, first-aid and lost-child stations have been set up, porta-potties are in place and information lines and apps established. The city is also asking parade-goers and neighborhood residents to do their part by showing consideration for all.

First-aid stations

First-aid stations are staffed by the New Orleans Health Department and the Medical Reserve Corps. Paradegoers are encouraged to go to a first aid station if in need of medical assistance. However, always call 911 during a medical emergency.

On parade days, stations are open one hour before the first float of the first parade and until crowds disperse. The are three Uptown along St. Charles Avenue, at Napoleon Avenue, Washington Avenue and Felicity Street. There are two downtown, also on St. Charles, in the circle and at Canal Street.

Lost-children stations

Lost-children stations are staffed by the New Orleans Police Department. Because most families are quickly reunited near the area they were separated, residents are encouraged to tell the nearest public safety official if a child is lost.

On parade days, stations are open one hour before the first float of the first parade and until crowds disperse.

There are two lost-children stations Uptown on St. Charles Avenue, one at Napoleon Avenue and another at Jackson Avenue. There’s also a lost-child station downtown at Canal and Carondelet streets.

Public restrooms

The Department of Property Management provides nearly 650 portable restrooms for public use along the parade route. View a map of restroom locations at routewise.nola.gov. They can be found Uptown at St. Charles Avenue and Louisiana and along Napoleon Avenue.

Portable restrooms are allowed on private property. Do not place private portable restrooms on neutral grounds, public sidewalks, or other public property.

Residents are reminded that if they plan to charge a use fee for use of a toilet on their property, they need a permit. Portable restrooms on flat beds in parking spots are considered abandoned property that can pose a security risk and will be towed at the owners’ expense.

Neutral grounds and sidewalks

All ladders must be at least 6 feet from the curb, the city warns. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com file)

The Department of Parks and Parkways has trimmed more than 600 trees along parade routes and will keep the neutral grounds clear throughout the season.

Recent construction on St. Charles Avenue has been completed. Residents are encouraged to careful, because curbs are slightly taller than they used to be.

Residents are reminded not to rope off areas of the neutral ground, public sidewalks or other public property, which is prohibited by law. Additionally, residents should not to leave ladders, tents, grills or any other item on the neutral ground or along curbs and sidewalks overnight.

All ladders and grills must be at least 6 feet back from the street curb. Parents are also warned not to fasten ladders together.

Anything left behind will be disposed of. For more information on what to bring and what not to bring to parades, visit ready.nola.gov/mardi-gras/what-to-bring/.

Trash and recycling

In 2018, 46 tons of Mardi Gras beads were cleaned out of the city’s storm drains. This year, the Department of Public Works will install “gutter buddies” — barriers that block solid objects from entering drains — along the Uptown and Endymion parade routes.

Residents and visitors are also encouraged to do their part to keep trash off of the streets and out of the drainage system. Tips include cleaning up your area before you leave, depositing trash in public receptacles, or carrying your trash with you to dispose of later.

Additionally, the Young Leadership Council will again host its recycling initiative during tge Krewe of Freret parade on Feb. 23 and Krewe of Tucks on March 2. For more information, visit ready.nola.gov/.

Grounds Krewe will also conduct a recycling initiative in partnership with Entergy, Urban Conservancy, Arc of Greater New Orleans, Republic Services during the Muses parade on Feb. 28 and the Thoth parade on March 3. Look for volunteers with collection bags for unwanted throws, cans and plastic bottles following the last float between the parade start and Jackson Avenue.

Department of Sanitation crews will follow parades each day to clean routes. Parade-goers are urged to stay clear of sanitation crews and their heavy equipment.

Staying informed

The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness will provide public information leading up to and during Mardi Gras events.

Tips and resources about transportation, safety, what to bring and permitting are outlined online at ready.nola.gov/mardi-gras. Real-time updates related to weather, safety, traffic and parade delays will be provided on Twitter @nolaready and via text message.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to text MARDIGRAS to 888777 to subscribe to text updates. This year, the city is also launching routewise.nola.gov, which displays parade routes and tracks the beginning and end of each parade in real time.

Feb 212019

Parades attract massive crowds to Uptown neighborhoods. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Uptown residents know parades and festivities draw many revelers and heavy traffic. The city is encouraging residents to consider alternative transportation options to get around, including bus, streetcar, bike or for-hire rides.

Before parades begin or when crowd size warrants, the New Orleans Police Department will close the route to vehicles. Keep track of the parade routes and times at routewise.nola.gov.

Alternative transportation

Those who don’t have a bicycle can use a Blue Bike from the city’s bike share program. Parade-goers need to remember not to lock their bike to parade barricades and to ask permission before locking to someone’s fence.

If you’re taking public transportation, plan ahead with RTA’s Mardi Gras Guide. Download the GoMobile app to plan your trip, check service alerts, purchase fares, and track your bus or streetcar in real time.

Service will be provided along the entire St. Charles Avenue route. However, buses will replace the streetcar from Canal Street to Valence Street about two hours before the first parade begins each day to allow parade goers access to the neutral ground.


The Department of Public Works will be enforcing parking regulations throughout the Mardi Gras season. Residents are reminded to pay close attention to posted signs. More parking tips and information are available at ready.nola.gov.

For parking enforcement, call 504-658-8100. That line is answered 24 hours a day.

Parking is restricted along all parade routes two hours before and after parades to ensure parade elements and sanitation crews can access the street.

Depending on the specific parade route, parking may be prohibited on either side of the following streets two hours before and after parades. Follow all posted signs.

Parking restrictions are planned for:

Tchoupitoulas Street from Jackson Avenue to Nashville Avenue
Napoleon Avenue from Tchoupitoulas to South Claiborne Avenue
St. Charles Avenue from Napoleon Avenue to Canal Street
Tchoupitoulas from Poydras Street to Calliope Street



Feb 212019

Mayor LaToya Cantrell participates in a panel discussion on gentrification at Tulane Hillel in 2015, while Flozell Daniels of the Foundation for Louisiana listens. ( UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Mayor LaToya Cantrell was smart to ask Governor John Bel Edwards to form a working group to identify funding solutions for New Orleans sewerage and drainage problems. Edwards is up for re-election in the fall and will need the support of the popular Cantrell and New Orleans voters. Unfortunately, there is only so much the governor will be able to do without identifying a new taxing source. So far the tourism industry has successfully fought back against Cantrell co-opting any of their existing tax dollars but has pledged to work with her on creating a small new tax. Continue reading »

Feb 202019

Firefighters try to control a seven-alarm fire at Morris-Downman house on 2525 St. Charles avenue. Every Mardi Gras, Rex, king of Carnival, stops at the home during the parade to give a toast. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

A seven-alarm fire, the largest New Orleans has seen in recent years, destroyed a revered St. Charles Avenue home on Wednesday. For more on the fire, see the Uptown Messenger story here. Continue reading »

Feb 202019

Firefighters try to save the St. Charles Avenue mansion Wednesday. (NOFD via Twitter)

Smoke from the seven-alarm fire in the Garden District on Wednesday damaged air quality throughout the city, the city’s emergency preparedness office reports.

Anyone who is elderly or has respiratory disease, such as asthma, is advised to stay inside, keep their doors and windows closed, set their air-conditioning systems to re-circulate the air inside the building and avoid using exhaust fans if possible. Anyone who is having difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

The heavy smoke may impact the air in the Central Business District, French Quarter, Treme, Mid-City, Fairgrounds, 7th Ward, St. Roch and Gentilly neighborhoods, as well as Uptown.

Continue reading »

Feb 202019

Attorney Mike Whitaker, left, speaks to then-mayoral candidate Troy Henry in the Leche family kitchen in 2017 about damage to the home during the drainage canal construction outside on Jefferson Avenue. A crack is visible in the wall behind Whitaker. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com file photo)

In a ruling issued Friday, Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott awarded nearly three-quarters of a million dollars ($770,435) to 10 homeowners for damages resulting from the Southeast Louisiana Urban Drainage Project construction. The Sewerage & Water Board is responsible for the damage, the judge ruled.

The trial is the third for Uptown homeowners suing S&WB for construction and vibration damage.

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Feb 202019

Firefighters battle a massive seven-alarm fire at 2525 St. Charles Ave. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans Fire Department firefighters battled a seven-alarm blaze that threatens a notable historic building in the 2500 block of St. Charles Avenue on Wednesday morning.

The 150-year-old mansion, the home to several kings and queens of Carnival, was in danger of collapse Wednesday morning, NOFD Superintendent Timothy McConnell said. The fire was brought under control 1:45, but the mansion’s three residents lost their home.

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Feb 182019

(via NOPD)

A cashier in a Magazine Street shop was thrown to the ground last week while trying to prevent a shoplifting incident.

Second District officers are searching for four unknown suspects, pictured above, after their alleged involvement in the simple robbery.

The victim told police that on Feb. 12 at 2:50 p.m., she was working as a cashier at a business in the 5500 block of Magazine Street when three women and a man entered the business. Two of the women reportedly stayed at the front of the store while the man and another woman proceeded to the back of the store.

The reporting person told police that she observed the male with multiple pieces of merchandise in his hand. The subjects reportedly ran toward the door, at which time the cashier followed them and attempted to retrieve the merchandise. The man reportedly grabbed the victim by the neck and threw her to the ground while the women fled the scene.

The four fled the scene in a red Volkswagen Jetta, bearing temporary tag 18210590.

Anyone with any information regarding the pictured subjects’ whereabouts should contact Second District detectives at 504-658-6020. Citizens with information that can help solve crimes are asked to call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 877-903-STOP.

Feb 182019

Mystick Krewe of Louisianians revelers second-line to the jazz orchestra while tossing beads and throws to Washington, D.C., ball attendees on Feb. 3. (Kristine Froeba)

The movers and shakers of Louisiana including quite a bit of New Orleans, and more than a few hundred Uptowners recently descended on the nation’s capital to celebrate the annual Washington Mardi Gras.

“If a bomb dropped on this ballroom tonight, Louisiana as you know it would cease to exist,” said one of the organizers at the Saturday night ball. Leaders of business, law partners, CEOs, congressmen, congresswomen, mayors, senators and the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, were all present. Continue reading »

Feb 172019

(via CrimeMapping.com)

Police officers found a man bleeding from the head in a pickup truck early Saturday in the East Riverside neighborhood. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The injury was later learned to be a gunshot wound to the head, and the incident was determined to be a homicide.

The Sixth District officers were responding to a call of a male down Feb. 16 at 7:04 a.m. in the 600 block of Austerlitz Street, near Annunciation Street. Continue reading »

Feb 152019

(via NOPD)

The NOPD is seeking to identify and locate an individual seen on video surveillance in commission of a package theft in the 1200 block of Broadway, near Tulane University, on Feb. 8.

At 2:27 p.m., the man shown at the right entered the enclosed front porch of the victim’s residence, the video shows.

He removed three unopened packages from the porch, then fled on foot in an unknown direction.

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Feb 142019

(courtesy of the New Orleans Film Society)

During the last weekend before parades take over Uptown streets, there’s still plenty to do without leaving the neighborhood. To name a few: You can take in a French movie at the Prytania or a play at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center.

French Film Festival

The 22nd New Orleans French Film Festival, one of the longest running foreign language festivals in the country, showcases contemporary and classic francophone Cinema for audiences of about 4,000 at the Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania St., the oldest single-screen movie house operating in Louisiana.

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