Nov 242014
 

Owen Courreges

Aldous Huxley once wrote that “a fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.”  This helps explain the bizarrely-detailed 25 page anti-smoking ordinance proposed this past Thursday by Councilwomen Latoya Cantrell and Susan Guidry.

Even I didn’t predict the staggering scope of the ordinance.  Instead of being content to simply ban most indoor smoking, already a contentious proposal, the bill seeks to ban most outdoor smoking as well and treats electronic cigarettes, which produce no smoke, the same way as traditional cigarettes.  It contains no exceptions for hookah lounges or cigar bars. Continue reading »

Nov 202014
 
Workers from Cutting Edge Renovations prepare the vacant lot at Saratoga and Foucher on Wednesday, Nov. 20, for the construction of two new houses by Pentek Homes. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Workers from Cutting Edge Renovations prepare the vacant lot at Saratoga and Foucher on Wednesday, Nov. 20, for the construction of two new houses by Pentek Homes. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Less than two months ago, the weeds in the vacant lot the corner of Foucher and South Saratoga Street grew as high as the shoulders of the police officers who gathered there for an anti-crime march following the second of three fatal shootings there this year.

Today, the overgrowth is gone, replaced by construction workers preparing the site for a collection of new homes that will be placed on the market early next year for approximately $2 million. The developer of the property, Bo Pennington, and the long-suffering neighbors hope for an even more dramatic transformation: that of one of Uptown New Orleans’ most violent spots into a new nexus for neighborhood revitalization. Continue reading »

Nov 182014
 
Banks McClintock and Julie Simpson plan a European-style speakeasy and wine bar at 1330 Magazine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Banks McClintock and Julie Simpson plan a European-style speakeasy and wine bar at 1330 Magazine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

An intimate, European-style “speakeasy” serving wine, cocktails and a few French hors d’oeuvres is planned for a blighted building on Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District, the owners told neighbors on Monday night. Continue reading »

Nov 102014
 
An April 2014 image of the building at 8837 Willow, slated for redevelopment into the Carrollton Commissary commercial kitchen. (via Google Maps)

An April 2014 image of the building at 8837 Willow, slated for redevelopment into the Carrollton Commissary commercial kitchen. (via Google Maps)

A proposed commercial kitchen on Willow Street dubbed the “Carrollton Commissary” will return to the City Planning Commission this week, after city officials suggested two weeks ago that the business owners needed more time to discuss the project with neighbors who vocally opposed it. Continue reading »

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Nov 042014
 

2014 Urban Heroes Gala

The Urban Conservancy, a non-profit organization in New Orleans, is having their 2014 annual Urban Heroes Gala Saturday, Nov. 15, to celebrate three visionaries recognized by The Urban Conservancy and StayLocal, a non-profit organization that is the Greater New Orleans area’s independent business alliance. The event will feature food, drink and The Laissez Boys and Camel Toe Lady Steppers. Continue reading »

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Oct 272014
 
The old Hubert building at 4401 South Broad Street. (via Google maps)

The old Hubert building at 4401 South Broad Street. (via Google Maps)

A chef at a popular Mid-City eatery hopes to open her own Mexican restaurant in Broadmoor, but first she will need to obtain commercial zoning for a former Broad Street drug store that neighbors have long fought to keep residential. Continue reading »

Oct 222014
 
Halpern's Furnishing Store on St. Charles Avenue, photographed in June. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Halpern’s Furnishing Store on St. Charles Avenue, photographed in June. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As the restaurateur planning a distillery restaurant on St. Charles Avenue prepares to ask the city for permission to sell alcohol in the building that currently houses Halpern’s Furniture Store, neighbors are voicing their concerns about how it and the associated hotel redevelopment on the block will affect their ability to park near their homes. Continue reading »

Oct 202014
 

Owen Courreges

With certain issues, there’s often a central figure whose opinion you always want to know.  If there’s a foreign policy incident, the Secretary of State should probably be consulted.  If there’s a disease outbreak, the head of the Center for Disease Control should probably be on board.  Want to gauge response to a major crime?  Let’s see what the chief of police has to say.

And if you want to take some radical step pertaining to city streets, like taking out a traffic lane in the middle of downtown New Orleans, surely you’d want to know what Chief Traffic Engineer Allen Yrle thinks of it. Heck, you might think his support would be considered crucial.

Alas, you would be wrong. Continue reading »

Oct 082014
 

The former Duke Morgan spa on Magazine Street, photographed in September 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former Duke Morgan spa on Magazine Street, photographed in September 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The owners of the French Quarter’s Sylvain easily continued their path toward a new restaurant on Magazine Street last week, when the City Council voted to approve alcohol sales in the building. Continue reading »

Oct 072014
 
An image from surveillance video shows the armed robbery Friday night of the Discount Corner gas station on South Claiborne. (via NOPD)

An image from surveillance video shows the armed robbery Friday night of the Discount Corner gas station on South Claiborne. (via NOPD)

As police continue their investigation into a rash of late-night robberies at Carrollton-area convenience stores, authorities are urging businesses to take precautions for themselves and their employees. Continue reading »

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Oct 062014
 
A gas station robbery on South Carrollton early Monday joins other recent holdups on South Claiborne and Airline Highway. (map via NOPD)

A gas station robbery on South Carrollton early Monday joins other recent holdups on South Claiborne and Airline Highway. (map via NOPD)

After a perplexing series of holdups at the Magnolia Discount store on Airline Highway, armed robbers turned their attention to a Magnolia Discount on South Carrollton overnight, New Orleans police said Monday morning. Continue reading »

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Sep 232014
 
A rendering by Studio WTA architects of the redevelopment planned for the corner of Nashville and Magazine. (via nola.gov)

A rendering by Studio WTA architects of the redevelopment planned for the corner of Nashville and Magazine. (via nola.gov)

For years, as celebrated New York City restaurateurs Sean Josephs and Mani Dawes made visits to see Dawes’ mother in New Orleans, the idea of opening a restaurant in Dawes’ hometown was never far from their minds.

“There were a lot of runs around Audubon Park where we fantasized about leaving New York and moving here,” Josephs said. “I didn’t understand that if you marry someone from New Orleans, they’ll always bring you back.”

Sure enough, Josephs and Dawes are now planning a restaurant just a stone’s throw from her mother’s house and Audubon Park, anchoring a redevelopment already underway at the corner of Magazine Street and Nashville Avenue. Continue reading »

Sep 182014
 
The Southern Rep theatre company is considering the building at 651 Richard Street as a possible long-term home. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Southern Rep theatre company is considering the building at 651 Richard Street as a possible long-term home. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

southern rep logoSouthern Rep, the highly regarded theatre company that has been performing all over the city since losing its longtime home at Canal Place two years ago, hopes to settle down in the Lower Garden District, its director told neighbors this week. Continue reading »

Sep 162014
 
A conceptual drawing of Phase I of the Avenue Oaks Hotel on St. Charles at Melpomene. (courtesy of Wayne Troyer, Studio WTA)

A conceptual drawing of Phase I of the Avenue Oaks Hotel on St. Charles at Melpomene. (courtesy of Wayne Troyer, Studio WTA)

As the New Orleans tourism industry grows, the Prytania Park hotel is slated for a major, two-phase expansion into a 200-room hotel called “The Avenue Oaks Hotel” that will encompass most of a city block on St. Charles Avenue, according to plans shared with Lower Garden District neighbors on Monday night. Continue reading »

Sep 092014
 
An undated photo of the basketball court at Evans Playground on LaSalle Street. (via Kaboom.org)

An undated photo of the basketball court at Evans Playground on LaSalle Street. (via Kaboom.org)

As Freret residents continue to organize an “official” booster club that would make Evans Playground eligible to host city-sponsored events such as free Movies in the Park and organized sports, they are hoping to attract support and sponsorships from the businesses on the commercial corridor. Continue reading »

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Aug 302014
 
Retired Gen. Russell Honore speaks at the GreenARMY Katrina commemoration at Xavier University. (Zach Brien for UptownMessenger.com)

Retired Gen. Russell Honore speaks at the GreenARMY Katrina commemoration at Xavier University. (Zach Brien for UptownMessenger.com)

As New Orleans continues to recover from the devastation that followed Hurricane Katrina nine years ago, the city should pass a law preventing any schools or daycare centers from being built on top of toxic soil — including the proposed rebuilding of the Booker T. Washington High School over the old Silver City dump site in Central City, retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honore and local allies said Saturday morning.

“We’re the oldest city in this part of the country, and we ought to be the first to make a stand,” Honore said. “We’re not going to put a school on a dump.” Continue reading »