So who gets to decide how many judges are too many? Mayor Mitch Landrieu has strong feelings on the subject, based on his own experiences when he was in the private practice of law and his observations from the mayor’s office. There are too many judges and the money devoted to supporting empty courtrooms and under-worked judges could be better spent if the money was instead in the city’s general fund, Landrieu says.
Even Tulane alum Allan Katz thinks that Mike Perlstein of WWL and Gordon Russell of the Advocate certainly did a bang up job on their first-rate investigation regarding Tulane’s century-old scholarship program. Like many old habits in New Orleans, there is an aversion to change. But change is definitely necessary for this program.
I brought my kids to the park yesterday. As the temps are getting cooler and it’s a little overcast and drizzly this week, their boundless energy seems more so, and invariably the question arises: “Daddy, can I take my shoes off?” Okay, they’re 2 and 4, and yes, they should be asking “may I,” but no matter how hard you try, such corrective linguistic preferences breeze in and out of tiny ears, especially when all they want is to get toes to ground. I almost always answer “yes.”
We were pleased to hear Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s remarks yesterday in Washington. The epidemic of youth committing crimes is a national problem that every city faces. New Orleans and many American cities are strapped for cash and don’t have the available resources to implement clear solutions. It would be great if Congress allocated funds to create innovative programs that would address the problem.
But we think the real issue lies in economic equity for young African Americans. With the unemployment rate of African-Americans in New Orleans reaching almost 50%, it is quite easy to see why young men (and young women) commit crimes every day. The future does not seem bright for them. Excellent programs like Each One Save One and the new male mentoring program at McDonogh #35 High School can and do address the problem. But much more is needed – jobs are needed for adult black males and females and for their children.
As I wrestled over what I might pen this week I read over the transcript from yesterday’s CPC meeting regarding the rezoning request of 4877 Laurel so that it might become realized as a coffeehouse. And when I read the ridiculous decision crafted by the commission, my inner green apron got ruffled. That the CPC voted against a rezoning by 6 to 1 and with very little if any support from attendees on the matter, frankly baffles me. But then we are talking about a government entity in the City of New Orleans; maybe I shouldn’t be surprised? Le sigh.
The city’s only indie, black-owned bookstore, Community Book Center is turning the big 3-0.
Over the last three decades, the operation that Vera Warren-Williams launched in her parents’ Lower Ninth Ward home has blossomed into a black literary hub hosting publishing world heavyweights such as Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, Dr. John Henrik Clark and Nikki Giovanni while serving as a home base to local authors like Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Brenda Marie Osbey, Tom Dent as well as father-and-daughter writer pair: Kalamu ya Salaam and Kiini Salaam among others.
Are you worried about making loan payments on your house? Have you fallen behind, and are struggling to get back on track? Or are you preparing to buy, but unsure how you’ll finance every penny of your new home? Neighborhood Housing Services New Orleans announces its new, federally-sponsored Making Home Affordable loan program for homeowners just like you. Secure, confidential, and comprehensive: click below for more details!
Landmarks loom in high supply the Crescent City over as the landscape tends to change largely on a glacial pace. Many distinctive structures over decades have transformed from their intended utilitarian to cozy home spaces, mostly commonly seen in the ever rarer still in commerce corner grocery turned primary residence for an owner occupant. At auction tomorrow, if you’ve got the coin to spare, you may bid in what some may call a prime example of notable, public use spaces. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you for your consideration: the Jackson Avenue Ferry Landing.
Since the 1920’s, the French Quarter has been represented by Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents, and Associates, Inc., or VCPORA for short. Given recent events, perhaps they should recast themselves as the “Vieux Carre’s Persnickety Oligarchs Representing Authoritarianism.”
Case in point: This weekend at Rising Tide 8, a local conference geared towards discussing New Orleans’ future, a panel was held on tourism in New Orleans. During panel discussion, Meg Lousteau, Executive Director of VCPORA, noted approvingly that Bhutan has a limit on the number of tourists allowed into the country each year.
I wasn’t present, so I cannot attest to whether every jaw in the room hit the floor at that moment or not. The Kingdom of Bhutan, for those not aware, is an independent nation located in Asia. In order to preserve their Buddhist cultural heritage, Bhutan requires tourists to acquire visas before entering the country, and limits the number of tourist visas offered per year.
By Timothy D. Ray, J.D., for Uptown Messenger
A crowd of almost 300 relatives of soon-to-be released inmates gathered at Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office to celebrate their family members’ (known collectively as ‘Crew 26’) completion of a re-entry program designed to cut the recidivism rate of former O.P.P. inmates. In its third year, Gusman’s re-entry program has brought the recidivism rate of inmates who’ve completed the program down to 13.6 percent compared with 25.6 percent for inmates that do not complete the program, compared to a national average between 40 percent to 50 percent.
In our opinion, C. Ray Nagin was the worst mayor of our lifetimes. It is entirely possible that Nagin was the worst mayor in New Orleans’ 295-year history, going all the way back to the French and Spanish chief executives whom Danae has been studying recently.
However, being a terrible mayor is not of itself a crime. Later this month, a jury will be convened in federal court to consider whether accepting some $200,000 in cash and gifts, along with several truckloads of free granite, is indeed a federal crime. The jurors will presumably hear Nagin’s Chief Administrative Officer Greg Meffert and big-time vendor Mark St. Pierre, both of whom are currently doing time in the federal pen.
Whether you realize it or not, now - right now – and through Thursday evening at 8 PM, the almost annual Orleans Parish Tax Sale is taking place via CivicSource.com. It’s a big deal for many reasons, but also it can be rather fascinating if you’re a fan of Crescent City dwellings as well as archaic governmental proceedings. Here’s why: you bid down.
It’s the same dollar amount to all bidders, but you bid down percentage of ownership. Therefore conceivably one willing to purchase 1% of any given property’s tax year(s) becomes the de facto winning bidder and cannot be outbid, however they are settling for the smallest possible amount of ownership. Very New Orleans, right?
On August 29, 2013, Londyn Samuels, a one year old child, was shot and murdered in Central City.
Her murder was not an aberration. Three other children 5 years old or younger have been murdered in Central City during the past three years. Mayor Mitch Landrieu calls it “a drumbeat of death that is taking the precious from us.”
Naturally, these tragedies have increased calls for the police to do something. Times-Picayune columnist James Varney recently discussed using more aggressive policing tactics such as the controversial “stop-and-frisk” that has been notably employed in New York City, ultimately expressing “ambivalence” over whether it should, or even could, be successfully adopted here.
At the time, Allan was a first-year reporter at the States-Item, New Orleans’ afternoon paper. The editorial pages of The Times-Picayune and States-Item were adamantly opposed to the civil-rights movement then gaining steam throughout the South. The newspapers’ opposition to civil rights was based on the theory of “States Rights,” which held that the federal government had no right to impose an end to segregation on the sovereign states of the United States. Today, we all know how that has turned out in the last 50 years but, at that time, it was legal linchpin to the fight conducted in the courts by segregationist entities.
New Orleans: if you live here, you’re married to it. Along with the betrothed come all the perks of city government with assorted departments therein, and Parks & Parkways, I’m looking at you. This is me, index and middle fingers extended, pointing horizontally into my eyes and singularly redirecting index finger in your general direction, P & P Music Factory. I. Am watching. You. You have 32 weeks to trim the tree across the street from me. Do it before and I’ll give you a gold star and curse less over the amount of property tax I pay annually. Do it a day later than yesterday, I will channel the spirit of Pulp Fiction‘s Sam Jackson’s Jules before he had his religious awakening, and I will figuratively eat your Big Kahuna burger. Why? Because of the time frame you conjured, a turnaround time of supposedly and approximately 7 1/2 months before an issue gains resolution. Only I won’t be saying “This is a tasty burger!”
Oh what a tangled web we weave…
This past week, a video was released of an encounter between former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and provocateur James O’Keefe from this past July. The encounter took place on the sidewalk in front of Tulane Law School (my alma mater) where Letten is now an assistant dean.
“You went to my home, you terrorized my wife, you’re violating federal law, you’re violating state law, you’re trespassing, you’re a nasty cowardly little spud,” Letten shouted. He also called O’Keefe a “hobbit” for some reason.
With the annual replenishment of the Crescent City’s back to school population each August (read: freshmen, grad / med / law students, and transfers), my ears perk up over the newer voices one encounters and how they finesse our local vocab. My audio focal point will forever be the new crop of WTUL deejays who unmistakably take the crown for what I can only describe as interpretive “annunciation.” Between the butchering of street names, there are always the local musicians’ monikers that invariably twist tongues. I mean, is Torkanowsky really that hard to correctly pronounce? Le sigh. Let’s go over a few basics on the rue tip:
When President George W. Bush’s motorcade drove down St. Claude Avenue on August 29, 2006 — the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — there were many signs, like sentries, stationed along his route to Fats Domino’s house in the Ninth Ward, one stop on his itinerary of ceremonial rounds.
The messages, posted on signs lined along the neutral ground and on the actual storm-clobbered buildings, weren’t flattering greetings from the city’s welcome committee. The collective reverberation to the commander in chief’s obligatory pilgrimage to the place he neglected a year earlier was that of a shimmering rage, pithy and piercing in delivery.
One of the strongest indicators of this sentiment was a lop-sided, green Port-a-Potty positioned on the very edge of the neutral ground somewhere along St. Claude, a strategic locale sure to catch the eye of, if not, the president himself, someone in his party. Among protest notes scribbled in gold spray paint on all four sides of this freestanding structure, the standout read: “Reserved for Bush.”
Mr. President, welcome to New Orleans.
The official motto of the Landrieu Administration’s blight eradication efforts should probably be: “We can’t do much, but we’ll do more of it!”
Case in point: A week ago, I read an Action Report from Bill Capo at WWL about a house in Central City that is nearly collapsing onto another. An entire wall has become detached. A couple of two-by-fours mounted between the homes is all that is preventing it from completely falling over.
Several weeks ago, we wrote a column listing a number of reasons why Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s plan to move City Hall to the iconic but empty Charity Hospital was an excellent idea.
In the course of our interview with him, Pres Kabacoff said he hoped that the Civil District Court judges would reconsider their plans to build a new Civil District Court building in Duncan Plaza – adjacent to the current City Hall on Loyola Avenue – and instead decide to join Mayor Landrieu’s administration and the City Council in the move to Charity.
That all seemed reasonable enough to us, but then we received a visit from Civil District Court Judges Michael Bagneris and Kern Reese who told us the court is dead set on building their own structure and won’t be swayed by the mayor to move to Charity.