There are few silver linings to the spate of high-profile violent crimes in New Orleans of late, but there is one thing we can be confident of: that our criminal class is staggeringly incompetent.
Three major new Uptown developments that together represent more than 350 residential units all received City Council approval Thursday, despite neighbors’ objections to one of the projects and the developers’ desire for more density at another.
Yesterday’s announcements about the rise of armed robberies and that Councilmembers Jason Williams and Susan Guidry want to prioritize funding for 911 operators both illustrate the importance of better funding agencies involved in criminal justice.
“We are one mistake away from disaster and tragedy,” said Williams, who serves as Council President. “And it is unacceptable.”
Over at Eater New Orleans, Gwendolyn Knapp sums up the ill-fated “Jack & Jake’s” grocery project quite aptly – as a money pit.
The project began in 2011, when Alembic Community Development bought the former Myrtle Banks Elementary School on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The school, built in 1910, had closed in 2002 and was gutted by fire in 2008. The Orleans Parish School Board had already determined that it wasn’t cost-effective to preserve the building, but Alembic was determined to save the façade.
By William Khan
Hiking the cost of parking meters would be economically counterproductive and regressive. It would take a greater bite of incomes from service workers, and it would be especially harmful to the hospitality workers and businesses that make the city’s economic engine—tourism—run.
By Brendan Frost
Sean Partridge, the owner of Crescent City Vape on Magazine Street — and my boss at the store — was at the Thursday night Saints-Falcons game when halftime rolled around and he felt like having a vape. Since the New Orleans City Council passed the indoor smoking and vaping ban that took effect on April 22, Saints fans who want to vape must step outside into the designated smoking area that hugs the Super Dome.
“You’re not allowed to leave the stadium and come back,” Sean said. “So you have to go to this area closed off with police barricades. It’s a group of rowdy people packed in shoulder-to-shoulder, and almost every single person is smoking cigarettes.”
“Citizens of New Orleans, as your mayor, I am mindful of the ever-increasing cost-of-living in our fair city. Wages are not keeping pace, and many of our most economically vulnerable workers feel that they can no longer afford to live here.”
“For too long, your elected leaders have not only ignored this problem, but abetted it. Today, I pledge to ensure that we do better by our citizens – that we make their lives easier, not more difficult.”
You can file the above under “Things Mayor Landrieu Will Never Say.” Under his watch, the cost of pretty much everything has skyrocketed. Taxes, water rates, fees – they’re all higher. If Landrieu has the slightest notion of how this has affected the lives of the people he serves, he hasn’t been inclined to show it.
The City Of New Orleans is recommending that residents move trick-or-treating and other Halloween activities to Friday, Oct. 30, due to the weather this weekend. The suggested activitiy time is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Dr. Jeffery Rouse, New Orleans’ recently elected Coroner, is one of the standouts among a new generation of leaders in the city.
He is bringing sunshine, energy and a new concept of community service to an office that had become a medical slum under former Coroner Dr. Frank Minyard. Dr. Rouse brings great academic credentials to the office – a 1992 Jesuit High School valedictorian and a Duke University Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Rouse is energetic, optimistic and visionary. He is completely reorganizing the office and has convinced fellow Jesuit alum Mayor Mitch Landrieu to grant a 23-percent budget increase to the perennially underfunded Coroner’s Office. In December, if all goes well, the Coroner’s Office will move to spiffy new quarters in the under-construction Forensics Center on Earhart Boulevard.
Two major residential development projects in the Irish Channel and Broadmoor received initial approval from the City Planning Commission on Tuesday, but both with fewer units than the developers had originally proposed.
Halloween is approaching, and thus our minds venture to the spooky and weird – to goblins, witches, ghouls, vampires … and ghosts. Especially ghosts.
As American cities go, New Orleans is an old one, and so ghosts have long been a component of local lore. Ghost tours pepper the French Quarter, with throngs of tourists being treated to tales such as the Ax Man of New Orleans and the horrors of the LaLaurie House.
A request to separate the lot that houses the closed Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Napoleon Avenue from the school on the same block was unanimously approved by the City Planning Commission last week.
Several blocks of the river-bound side of Broadway Street in the university area will close this weekend so that workers can begin repaving there, in anticipation of bad weather next week, the Sewerage & Water Board announced.
Pavement restoration will begin 7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, and continue through 6 p.m. Sunday in the riverbound lanes of Broadway from Willow to Plum streets, as well was from Green to Birch, according to the S&WB announcement. The final roadway restoration is scheduled to take place Monday morning, the announcement states.
“Contractors working for the Sewerage and Water Board will perform surface restorations to last week’s water line repairs,” the announcement states. “Remaining work includes street surface removal and asphalt overlay. Full lane closures on the riverbound side of Broadway Street will expedite the restoration process in anticipation of inclement weather next week.”
By Mary Beth Romig
In response to the recent opinion from Owen Courreges in the October 19, 2015 issue of Uptown Messenger, I would like the opportunity to share good news about what the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) has accomplished in terms of commercial revitalization and affordable housing, specifically in the two neighborhoods Courreges mentions.
The streets that will have low water pressure are Chestnut (from St. Andrew to Felicity and Orange) and Felicity (from Chestnut to St. Charles Avenue). The work will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, so that fire service to the area can be improved.
Camp Street near Jefferson Avenue will close this week through the end of the year as part of the ongoing installation of a drainage canal there, according to the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans.
The plan to move the police station out of a century-old building on Magazine Street and onto a vacant lot with a new swimming center just off Earhart Boulevard in Gert Town was approved by the New Orleans City Council last week.
A few weeks ago the animated TV show “South Park” premiered a new episode regarding an issue so close to our hearts here in New Orleans: gentrification.
The plot of the episode revolved around attempts by the fictitious Colorado town for which the series is named to attract a new Whole Foods Market. This, the city reasoned, would prove the backwoods hamlet to be progressive and forward-thinking.
In the security video that shocked New Orleans, infrared distortion turns the skin of patrons at Patois a bluish-gray color, creating a visual sense of unreality that matches the confusion felt by those diners moments later when three men wearing masks and hoodies burst in, robbing the entire restaurant at gunpoint on Aug. 21. That citywide shock was only amplified in late September, when robberies took place in similar fashion at Cafe Atchafalaya in the Irish Channel and then the Monkey Hill bar, only a few blocks from Patois and Audubon Park.
The Mayor called a news conference to announce an arrest in an unrelated spree of robberies and tout the city’s crimefighting efforts, then another new conference a day later after Monkey Hill, joined by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite and pledging federal investigation and prosecution of the cases. Local news outlets “flooded the zone” with reaction and analysis pieces, while The New York Times and Washington Post brought national attention to the robbery spree. By the end of the month, the New Orleans City Council held its own hearing on “high-profile” robberies, pitching questions and suggestions to NOPD officials about how to battle the city’s feeling that control was being lost.
The entire discussion, however, provides ample opportunity for an airing of misconceptions about the city, its long battle with violent crime and its police force. While nearly every side of the discussion — frightened residents, embattled city leaders, besieged police officers, and skeptical critics — have made valid and useful points about the issue, the facts frequently get lost in the rhetoric.
Questions about whether the owner of a bed-and-breakfast planned for the Irish Channel just off Magazine Street would actually live there led to a split vote before the City Planning Commission this week, leaving the decision in the hands of the City Council.