Dec 182014
 
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)

Restaurateur Sean Josephs speaks to the City Planning Commission on Dec. 9, 2014. (via nolacitycouncil.com)

Restaurateur Sean Josephs speaks to the City Planning Commission on Dec. 9, 2014. (via nolacitycouncil.com)

The new venture at the corner of Magazine Street and Nashville Avenue planned by a husband-and-wife team of celebrated New York City restaurateurs received high marks from the City Planning Commission, sending it to the City Council with a positive recommendation. Continue reading »

Dec 182014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

A recent WSJ/NBC News poll pointed out that the majority of voters were pleased with the results of this year’s midterm elections and thought the Congress — rather than President Obama — should take the lead in setting policy for the country.  Though an overwhelming majority felt that not much change in direction for the country will result from the election, the numbers are a good starting point for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, 61, as he aims to clear the field in advance of a brutal campaign against Hillary Clinton.

Although there are other GOP candidates worthy of voter consideration (including Mitt Romney and Chris Christie), Bush — with his “Double B” presidential pedigree and easy access to donors — is the early favorite, ramping up pressure on potential rivals and reshuffling the GOP’s policy debate. Continue reading »

Dec 162014
 
The house at 5514-16 Tchoupitoulas was one of three that Uptown Car Wash sought to demolish last week. (photographed in 2012 by Preservation Resource Center)

The house at 5514-16 Tchoupitoulas was one of three that Uptown Car Wash sought to demolish last week. (photographed in 2012 by Preservation Resource Center)

For the second time in two years, the New Orleans City Council denied a request to tear down three homes in front of a car wash on the upper end of Tchoupitoulas last week. Continue reading »

Dec 162014
 

Freret Street will be closed between Marengo and Delachaise streets for a week. (map via Google)

Freret Street will be closed between Marengo and Delachaise streets for a week. (map via Google)

A four-block stretch of Freret Street in the Milan neighborhood will be reduced to a single lane of traffic for a week while the road is replaced by the Sewerage and Water Board, officials announced. Continue reading »

Dec 152014
 
The old Hubert building at 4401 South Broad Street. (via Google maps)

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

Lindsey McLellan, a chef at Lola's restaurant who plans a new restaurant in Broadmoor called El Pavo Real, speaks to the New Orleans City council on Thursday, Dec. 11. (via nolacitycouncil.com)

Lindsey McLellan, a chef at Lola’s restaurant who plans a new restaurant in Broadmoor called El Pavo Real, speaks to the New Orleans City council on Thursday, Dec. 11. (via nolacitycouncil.com)

Citing the landlord’s extensive negotiations with neighbors, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell cleared the way last week for a new restaurant in a Broadmoor building with a controversial history. Continue reading »

Dec 152014
 
(illustration by Owen Courreges)

(illustration by Owen Courreges)

Owen Courreges

Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell is set to preview the next installment in her cavalcade of “progressive” policies enacted by other cities. This past week, she announced her intention to introduce a non-binding “Welcoming Resolution” early next year that will include a laundry list of policies proposed by immigrant rights groups.

Don’t get me wrong – some of the policies being suggested are perfectly reasonable. I can hardly dispute the need for multi-language signs and forms at City Hall, or for hiring more Spanish-speakers in the NOPD and in government offices.  We’re relatively close to the Mexican border, and we do need to accommodate the needs of Spanish-speakers.

However, Cantrell’s brief tenure thus far has shown that she has never been one to stop with reasonable policies.  Thus, she also announced that she wants to create a system of municipal identification cards, ostensibly so that illegal immigrants can have photographic identification and proof of residence. Continue reading »

Dec 132014
 

Pay 2 Play

New Orleans Anti-Corruption Coalition is a new bipartisan organization that is working to raise local awareness of the large influence of money in political campaigns, after the most expensive Senate election in Louisiana history. The coalition is launching today with a free screening of the new film “Pay2Play: Democracy’s High Stakes” at the First Universalist United Church Auditorium. Continue reading »

Dec 102014
 
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)

The micro-distillery aspect of the proposed Lula restaurant that is slated to replace the Halpern furniture store on St. Charles Avenue easily won the approval of the City Planning Commission on Tuesday, despite some concerns from neighbors about the impact of larger development plans for the block. Continue reading »

Dec 032014
 
Jonah Bascle at La Nuit Comedy Theater on Freret Street in 2011.  (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Jonah Bascle at La Nuit Comedy Theater on Freret Street in 2011. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Jonah Bascle, the 28-year-old local comedian ran for mayor as a platform to bring attention to New Orleans’ lack of accessibility for the disabled, died Tuesday morning of complications relating to muscular dystrophy — but friends and supporters vowed to ensure both his love of good humor and his activism to improve the city live on. Continue reading »

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Dec 012014
 
A sinkhole stretches across Coliseum Street while orange cones mark the city's response. (Owen Courreges for UptownMessenger.com)

A sinkhole stretches across Coliseum Street while orange cones mark the city’s response. (Owen Courreges for UptownMessenger.com)

Owen Courreges

Procrastinating until something becomes absolutely critical is undeniably an American tradition.  And when it comes to procrastinating, New Orleans is always at the forefront.

There’s an example of this phenomenon just down the street and around the corner from my house.  In the 2000 block of Coliseum Street there has long been a broken water or drainage line (it’s unclear which).  It first became obvious over seven years ago when the street began to sink and the adjacent brick sidewalk began to break apart. Continue reading »

Nov 272014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Danae arrived in Arkansas just in time for the annual Thanksgiving dinner at The Brookfield, where Vera, her 88-year old mother, resides. A place card on the table proclaimed “I am thankful for Vera.” It made her also reflect on the many things in New Orleans we are thankful for this year. Continue reading »

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 192014
 
NOPD Second District Commander Paul Noel speaks outside the Second District station on Magazine Street in October 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

NOPD Second District Commander Paul Noel speaks outside the Second District station on Magazine Street in October 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

NOPD Commander Paul Noel — who led the NOPD Special Victims Unit prior to his appointment to the Uptown-based Second District — has been named the leader of a task force to re-investigate sex cases ignored by detectives since his departure and recommend new policies to reform the unit, officials announced Tuesday. Continue reading »

Nov 172014
 

Owen Courreges

There’s an old joke that “NOPD” stands for “Not Our Problem, Dude.”  When it comes to investigating sex crimes, alas, it’s simply the reality of the situation.

A report from the New Orleans Office of the Inspector General released this past week showed that the NOPD is essentially ignoring the vast majority of sex crimes.  The OIG report studied 1,290 sex crime incidents from 2011 to 2013 assigned to five detectives (almost a third of the 16 detectives in the Special Victims Section).  Of those, only 179, or 14%, included a supplemental report reflecting that the claim had been properly investigated. Continue reading »

Nov 112014
 
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 proposal to renovate a blighted Carrollton storefront into a commercial kitchen expanded into far broader discussion Tuesday of how the rapid rate of development in New Orleans affects the city’s long-time residents, but officials ultimately decided that those societal issues can’t be saddled onto an individual business owner and voted in favor of the project. 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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