Sep 182014
 
Property owner Megan Fuselier and attorney Matt Wilson (left) and Safety and Permits director Jared Munster (far right) listen as Councilwoman Susan Guidry speaks during Thursday's meeting of the New Orleans City Council. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Megan Fuselier and Matt Wilson (left) and Safety and Permits director Jared Munster (far right) listen as Councilwoman Susan Guidry speaks during Thursday’s meeting of the New Orleans City Council. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Issues relating to the demolition of historic buildings dominated Thursday’s meeting of the New Orleans City Council, culminating in the quiet restructuring of the city panel that oversees them to protect its decisions from court challenges.

Thursday’s meeting there on Thursday, however, included intense debates over whether preservation laws accelerate the loss of property by original owners, or if city bureaucracy is actually impeding preservation efforts – and ultimately suggests a widening philosophical rift among City Council members over the role of architectural preservation in New Orleans. 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
 
Palmer Park located at the corner of S. Carrolton and S. Claiborne.

The arch over the entryway to Palmer Park is the only sign of its namesake. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

The popular Palmer Park — surrounded by an array of diverse neighborhoods including Carrollton, Fontainebleau, Pigeontown and Hollygrove — was given its name during an era of nostalgia for the Confederacy to honor a pastor so passionately in favor of slavery that Gen. Robert E. Lee described his oratory as more powerful than “an entire regiment of troops,” according to a presentation by a University of New Orleans researcher. 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 152014
 
The Preservation Resource Center recently celebrated the renovation of the Rountree House at 1421 Josephine, noting that a sketch of it is included in the PRC logo. (image via Preservation Resource Center)

The Preservation Resource Center recently celebrated the renovation of the Rountree House at 1421 Josephine, noting that a sketch of it is included in the PRC logo. (image via Preservation Resource Center)

Owen Courreges

I’ve written a lot of columns since I started to write for Uptown Messenger in January of 2011.  Sometimes I look back over them and realize: “You know, there have been some interesting developments with this since I put pen to paper.”

Accordingly, every now and again, I revisit a few old columns to provide brief updates on some of the topics I’ve written about.  Some have happy endings, some less so.

So, without further ado, I give you The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Continue reading »

Sep 122014
 

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Andre Perry (via drandreperry.com)

Andre Perry (via drandreperry.com)

The annual Rising Tide “Conference on the Future of New Orleans” will host educator Dr. Andre Perry as its keynote speaker, with panel discussions on the lost histories of New Orleans’ Palmer Park, community organizing, government waste and finding religion in the city, as well as “tech school” sessions on using social media in publishing. Continue reading »

Sep 112014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

With the court challenge period mostly over and marginal candidates having dropped out, the hard-ball campaigns for various judgeships, the DA, and State Representative have begun in earnest.  Though several organizations like the AFL-CIO, RDO and LIFE, the group founded by former mayor Dutch Morial, completed their endorsements early, we attended three public forums in the last week – the Orleans Parish Republican and Democratic Executive Committees and the Independent Women’s Organization — to get a first-hand look at all the remaining candidates.

Last night’s contest at OPDEC (the Democrats) was a real slug fest with numerous candidates hurling allegations of impropriety at each other which made that crusty audience gasp.  One of the moderators, Jason Coleman, found himself inviting candidates up for the next round, as if it were a boxing match. 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 »

Sep 082014
 
(cartoon by Owen Courreges for UptownMessenger.com)

(cartoon by Owen Courreges for UptownMessenger.com)

Owen Courreges

Armed only with flashlights and imbued with a bare modicum of power, they’re soon to hit the streets of the French Quarter.  These proud few will deal with parking issues and other quality-of-life complaints.  They will respond to traffic accidents not resulting in injury.  They will give directions to tourists.

They are… The NOLA PATROL.

Late last month, Mayor Landrieu made the grand announcement that his office would be forming the NOLA Patrol, a force of approximately 50 civilian employees .  The operations of these young bucks are slated to be funded with a 0.25-percent hotel/motel tax instituted last year, which will bring in an estimated $200,000 per month. Continue reading »

Sep 062014
 
A group of "football wives of New Orleans" enjoys drinks on a back porch prior to the game. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A group of “football wives of New Orleans” enjoys drinks on a back porch prior to the game. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Tulane fans pass Yulman Stadium, seen from Calhoun Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Tulane fans pass Yulman Stadium, seen from Calhoun Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Long before Yulman Stadium even received its name, questions of how football games would impact the neighborhoods around Tulane University dominated discussions about the return of college football to the Uptown campus.

On Saturday, those questions were finally answered: On-street parking may have been tough to find, but traffic was relatively light, and many neighbors were thrilled to revive the front-yard parties associated with memories of the old Sugar Bowl stadium.

“Going to the Dome spoiled my football experience at Tulane. I’m so glad, 40 years later, that we’re back, and I’m shocked at how quiet Audubon Boulevard is,” said Seph Dupuy, a 1970 Tulane graduate as he attended a small gathering there. “I’m pleasantly surprised how well controlled and easy it is to get around.” Continue reading »

Sep 052014
 
820 General Pershing Street, photographed in December 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

820 General Pershing Street, photographed in December 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

Stacy Head

Stacy Head

In early 2013 — barely a month after she was sworn into office — City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell issued a statement forcefully proclaiming her opposition to the demolition of a century-old house at 820 General Pershing that was essential to the “the residential fabric of the community,” she said.

On Thursday — citing an impasse that fellow Councilmember Stacy Head described as a more of a “hostage” situation — Cantrell voted to approve the demolition of the same property. Cantrell declined to explain the reason for her change of heart, but residents who met with her extensively leading up to the decision said it may have to do with concerns about the viability of the city’s overall process for denying the demolition of historic properties. Continue reading »

Sep 042014
 
820 General Pershing Street, photographed in December 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

820 General Pershing Street, photographed in December 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

After nearly two years of opposition by neighbors and repeated rejections from city officials, the demolition of a century-old home on General Pershing just off Magazine Street was approved Thursday by the New Orleans City Council. Continue reading »

Sep 042014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

African-American organizations and others are holding dialogues across America to bring home the lessons from Ferguson as a basis for creating change in their communities. Former Mayor Marc Morial, national president of the Urban League, is in the forefront of this movement through his weekly column which appears in newspapers and e-letters around the country and local action through the Urban League chapters. Continue reading »

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 »

Aug 292014
 
New Sixth District Commander Ronnie Stevens (right) speaks to Central City resident Lisa Martin at a reception on Wednesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Newly-appointed Sixth District Commander Ronnie Stevens (right) speaks to Central City resident Lisa Martin at a reception at Ashe Cultural Arts Center on Wednesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

When New Orleans Police Commander Bob Bardy was promoted to deputy superintendent earlier this month, he left behind an eight-year stint in the Sixth District where most people knew his name and many knew his personal phone number.

When residents had problems — even problems like being charged in shootings — they knew they could call Bardy and receive a fair hearing, they said. Now that Commander Ronnie Stevens has been named to take the lead in the Sixth District, Central City residents in particular are hoping that strong relationship continues.

“We have a strong partnership with the Sixth District police,” said Barbara Lacen-Keller, a Central City activist who now works in City Hall. “We are family.” Continue reading »

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Aug 292014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It seems like just yesterday that we were packing up our TV cameras and computer hard drives to get out of Dodge before Katrina struck. Danae finally took Ray Nagin’s pleas seriously about 4 a.m. and began the long, slow journey to her parents in Arkansas with five dogs and our photographer. Allan, his sister Sandy Levy and their aged Mother, Miriam Katz, left several days earlier for Birmingham in an abundance of caution. Continue reading »

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Aug 262014
 
Streetlight repairs have been completed in neighborhoods marked in green, are underway in pink areas, and still to come in orange zones, as of August. (source: nola.gov/DPW)

Streetlight repairs have been completed in neighborhoods marked in green, are underway in pink areas, and still to come in orange zones, as of August. (source: nola.gov/DPW)

When New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked the residents of City Council District B how the city should spend their tax money Tuesday night, the answers nearly all involved streets: the holes in them, the lack of light on them, and the people who sleep on them.

Most of those problems — like all of those before the 300-year-old city — lack easy answers, and have been compounding for decades, Landrieu replied. But on at least one complaint, there is a glimmer of hope: the long-darkened streetlights along St. Charles Avenue are scheduled for repair in September. Continue reading »

Aug 262014
 
City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell delivers her "State of District B" address Tuesday night (2013) at City Hall. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell delivers her “State of District B” address at City Hall in April 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell will host a public meeting on the coming year’s budget tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 26) at Touro Synagogue, and residents of Council District B are encouraged to come and share their thoughts on how the city’s tax revenue should be allocated. Continue reading »

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