UptownMessenger.com

Mar 272014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

In the last 50 years, there have been many Directors of Aviation at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport but few about whom there was any urgency to retain them. But the current Director of Aviation, Iftikhar Ahmad, is one of the hottest guys in the nation in his field of work and the New Orleans Aviation Board is giving him a $35,000 a year raise that he didn’t ask for because they want to keep him here.

Restaurateur Ti Martin, a member of the Aviation Board, says, “He has come to have a lot of affection for New Orleans and the region and we need to lock him to finish what he has started.” Continue reading »

Mar 242014
 

Owen Courreges

Louisiana’s relatively lax landlord-tenant laws arguably need to be revisited, but a new proposal in the state legislature tilts the scales too far in favor of tenants who breach their obligations.

In late February, Louisiana State Senator Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb filed Senate Bill 298, which includes a laundry list of revisions to the laws governing residential leases.  The centerpiece is a non-waivable 30-day eviction notice period for all evictions, regardless of grounds.  Under existing law, a tenant may be evicted with five days notice, although this notice may be waived by agreement of the landlord and tenant in the lease. Continue reading »

Mar 202014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

The power of social media and voter’s desire for a younger crop of elected officials definitely were the hallmarks of last Saturday’s election. In every instance, the younger of the two candidates was elected or reelected, as in Sheriff Marlin Gusman. Continue reading »

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Mar 192014
 
Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

SPOILER ALERT: The following has absolutely nothing to do with missing Malaysian flights, awesome local election results, what’s cool and/or gentrifying in New Orleans or St Patrick’s Day.  Nor does it have much to do with fisticuffs, with or without spherical handheld orbs of freshly fallen frozen precipitation, that may or may not last exceptionally long and nocturnally.  On a side note, turns out my high school sociology teacher was right: I don’t take anything seriously.  Rock on, Mrs. Schneider!

I love my brother-in-law.  I just do.  And I have two.  But I love my younger one more.  What can I say?  A parent doesn’t love all their children equally; why would you love all your in-laws the same?  You wouldn’t, and you don’t.  In fact, I’m guessing if you made it past the spoiler alert, chances are good you don’t love your brother-in-law, if you have one.  Which is a shame.  Because life is short, and why marry a spouse whose siblings are jerks?  I didn’t. Continue reading »

Mar 182014
 
Glenn Ford. (photo by jewel bush)

Former death-row prisoner Glenn Ford was released from prison last week, and is transitioning back to society at the Resurrection After Exoneration program in New Orleans. (photo by jewel bush)

jewel bush

What do you say to someone who has spent 10,950 days — 3 decades and his last 30 birthdays — wondering if today would be the day he would be put to death for a crime he did not commit?

“They give you a $20 debit card and say, ‘I’ll be waiting on you,’ ” said John Thompson, who spent 18 years in prison, 14 of them on death row, wrongfully convicted of murder.

On March 11, Thompson welcomed home fellow exoneree Glenn Ford, Louisiana’s longest-serving death row prisoner. Ford was released from death row and exonerated after an informant told police that the real killer — one of the original suspects — confessed to the 1983 murder. Continue reading »

Mar 172014
 

Owen Courreges

Should the powers of New Orleans Municipal Court be expanded?   It’s already happening.  You just probably didn’t realizing it was going on.

It began a couple of years ago, in late January 2012.  Mayor Mitch Landrieu dispatched letters to the judges of Criminal District Court and Municipal Court asking them to impose higher bonds for release in gun cases.  Landrieu specifically pointed to a program initiated by Judge John Garvey in St. Louis, who began automatically requiring a $30,000 cash-only bond for youths arrested for illegally possessing firearms. Continue reading »

Mar 142014
 
(By Jean-Paul Villere)

(By Jean-Paul Villere)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Digesting a maladjusted observation by new New Orleanian Tara Elders in a recent New York Times piece regarding her new city’s supposed lack of cosmopolitan sensibility and its apparent lack of kale requires equal parts restraint and forgiveness.  Questions surface.  Who is she?  Who cares.  Why the kerfuffle?  In short, New Orleanians take pride in themselves and this comment plays as a slight, however one frames it.  Adding this misfire into the whole of its missive stirs up other unsettlingly obtuse observations the article makes, but for brevity’s sake permit me to sum it up in a quote of one ex pat’s (though presently a New Yorker) Facebook update “I defy you to read this article and not want to set something on fire.” 

Indeed. Continue reading »

Mar 142014
 

By Brooke Duncan III

It’s unfortunate that some have taken to social and other media to bash Audubon, one of the truly great success stories of local government in our time. The millage started out at 4.2 but was reduced a few years ago as a result of a state-wide reassessment of property values when values declined following Katrina. Without getting bogged down in semantics, the tax has been in place for a long time and the proposal returns the millage to its prior level. The difference for a home valued at $200,000 has been reported to be around $12 a year. The current taxes will end in 2021-2022. This is an effort to establish the taxes at the former millage; this is not a new tax in addition to the existing tax. Continue reading »

Mar 112014
 
Torence "Lil Boosie" Hatch speaks at a news conference Monday. (via boosiespeaks.com)

Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch speaks at a news conference Monday. (via boosiespeaks.com)

jewel bush

The fanfare surrounding 31-year-old Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch’s release from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola after a four-year sentence on drug charges has been surreal.

A video of his daughter, a wide-eyed girl in ponytails and bows, feverishly expressing her anticipation over her dad coming home went viral. The clip, sweet at heart, was highly problematic though, because of the little girl’s repeated and casual use of the N-word — and it embodies the contradictions in this whole story. Continue reading »

Mar 102014
 

Owen Courreges

Ron Forman makes over $700,000 per year, yet he’s acting like a beggar.  And the worst part is, he’s not even an honest one.

Forman, the president and CEO of the Audubon Nature Institution (and erstwhile mayoral candidate), is seeking a new property tax millage.  It would be of 50 years duration at a rate of 4.2 mills.  Although the new millage would replace the existing 3.31 mills dedicated to the Audubon Zoo and the Aquarium of the Americas, it is not a renewal.  It is a new millage. Continue reading »

Mar 072014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

For those of us whose memories go back a long ways, one of the all-time great New Orleans stories is the transformation of the Audubon Park Zoo from an “animal ghetto” to a world-class zoo that is considered an American gem.

It all started in the 1970s when then-Mayor Moon Landrieu, irate about complaints that the zoo was a vile-smelling, dirty place where the animals suffered from a lack of care, sent a promising young administrative assistant Ron Forman to the Uptown outpost to see what if anything could be done. Continue reading »

Mar 052014
 
Revelers awaiting Rex on Mardi Gras Day underneath the bus stop at Freret and Napoleon fuel their fire in an effort to keep warm. (Photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Revelers awaiting Rex on Mardi Gras Day underneath the bus stop at Freret and Napoleon fuel their fire in an effort to keep warm. (Photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

It was the best of Carnivals, it was the worst of Carnivals, it was the time of bare masking, it was the time of warmth sought, it was the suspension of disbelief, it was the veritable cold reality, it was a season of sunscreen, it was a season of wool stockings, it was the glimmer of spring, it was the end of our disparate winter, we had baubles thrown to us, we had rainsoaked remnants, we were heading to heaven, and we were all surely going to hell — in short, the 2014 Mardi Gras season gave us everything and in the end took it all away.  Maybe in a way no one would expect especially given the late date: foiled by the longest, weirdest winter the Big Easy hopefully will ever know and never repeat. Continue reading »

Feb 272014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It’s always fun to go to the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Ball at Gallier Hall because you never know who you are going to run into. Last night’s ball was a jam-packed but chilly affair with plenty of women in stunning backless, strapless creations and masks. The first people Danae saw crawling out of a big SUV were James Carville (New Orleans best known media darling) and Ryan Berni, the Mayor’s former press secretary/campaign manager who is now contemplating his next step. Could Hillary’s campaign be on Berni’s horizon? Continue reading »

Feb 262014
 
A float is reflected in the watery grave of a crepe myrtle. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

A float is reflected in the watery grave of a crepe myrtle. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Greetings fellow revelers!  Happy to report the first weekend of Mardi Gras 2014 seemingly unfolded with minimal fuss and maximum fanfare.  While I personally stayed Uptown, walking to this parade and that corner on Friday and Saturday, we heeded caution for Sunday’s wetness and took in a matinee at the Prytania.  So while my own experiences stayed squarely in the 70115, from all the posts I read, the otherwise premiere Carnival activities in the remainder of the Crescent City happened as expected: ‘tit Rex got small, Chewbacchus made the kessel run in less than 12 parsecs, and Barkus took a dip.  All on a Mardi Gras first weekend, as it were. Continue reading »

Feb 242014
 

Owen Courreges

Everywhere you look these days you hear an ongoing debate over a simple app known as “Uber.”  The concept is simple: the San Franciso-based company provides an app that connects passengers with “for hire” vehicles and rideshare services via their cell phone.  Pricing is handled through Uber on a distance or time basis.

During times of peak demand, the price can be several times normal taxi rates.  At other times, Uber may cost less than a regular cab.  The goal is to provide a functioning market within the app whereby users can always receive prompt service. Continue reading »

Feb 202014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Voting is one of the most treasured rights of every American. But it is amazing how many people either never register or find some excuse not to vote. Then of course there is the perceived voter fatigue caused by having too frequent elections, failure to educate oneself on the issues, or being too lazy to physically go to the polls.

With early voting set to begin March 1, political eyes will be watching to see what impact voter apathy – due in part to our love of all things Mardi Gras – will have on voter turnout for the March 15 runoff elections for Council At Large, Council C, Sheriff and Coroner. In the primary election held on February 1, approximately 12,000 voters cast their votes early and a much smaller number voted by mail. Continue reading »

Feb 192014
 
NOPD Sgt. Marc Amos watches the crowd during a pause in the Krewe of Proteus parade in 2012. A number of new laws govern parade-goers this year. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

NOPD Sgt. Marc Amos watches the crowd during a pause in the Krewe of Proteus parade in 2012. A number of new laws govern parade-goers this year. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Bon to the jour, 2014 Carnival people!  You may or may not know that the powers that be — read, your New Orleans City Council — have seen it in their infinite wisdom to make this Mardi Gras season one of change.  “How so?” you may ask.  That is, if you missed all the fuss last month?  Before we roll through my standard top 20 we publish annually, in short here are the new rules and ordinances, with a few editorial embellishments: Continue reading »

Feb 182014
 

jewel bush

As the celebrities and athletes who came to town to party during the NBA All-Star Weekend board planes heading back to their posh lives — after they Instagram images of themselves looking fabulous and doing fabulous things like eating beignets and shooting hoops with underprivileged youth — New Orleans remains as bloody as ever.
Continue reading »

Feb 172014
 
A map of "Dizneylandrieu" distributed by Krewe of Spank members during the Krewe du Vieux parade Saturday night. (image via @noladishu on Twitter; click for larger version)

A map of “Dizneylandrieu” distributed by Krewe of Spank members during the Krewe du Vieux parade Saturday night. (image via @noladishu on Twitter; click for larger version)

Owen Courreges

The past twenty years have seen the popularization of a relatively new word: Disneyfication. The Wikipedia article on Disneyfication defines it as “a term which describes the transformation of something, usually society at large, to resemble The Walt Disney Company’s theme parks.”

Many people, including me, have linked this concept to policies coming from New Orleans City Hall.

Those of you who went to see the Krewe du Vieux parade Saturday evening were greeted by a float emblazoned: “Dizneylandrieu.” Beneath a caricature of Mitch Landrieu as Mickey Mouse, Krewe members dubbed “Mitchkateers” distributed maps of “mayor-approved adventure[s] in the Gentrified Kingdom.” Continue reading »

Feb 142014
 

Kara Morgan

Kara Morgan

By Kara Morgan

It has been exactly a year since I was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma, having fairly large tumors in my lung and my abdomen. The good news is that I feel great and I have less cancer in me today than I did a year ago. The bad news is that I still have one large tumor and, as of today, there is no cure.

I already knew what was ahead for me as I sat in the doctor’s office on Feb. 7, 2013, listening to him confirm that the lung tumor biopsy results showed my melanoma had returned, three years after I had it removed from my face. The lymph nodes had come back clear, and my dermatologist and I were celebrating moving the big decrease in the chances it would return — except, unbeknownst to us, it already had. I knew the percentages of patients with melanoma metastasis to the lungs who survive one, two and five years are 33%, 18% and 10%, respectively. I also knew there was hope, with many stage IV survivors out there and ground breaking new treatments on the horizon.

But more than anything, I knew I felt good and I needed to get to 8th & St Charles and start setting up for the Muses parade that night before there were no spots left.
Continue reading »