Jul 302015
 
City workers remove a section of pavement from Pine Street in May 2015 to repair a broken water main underneath it. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

City workers remove a section of pavement from Pine Street in May 2015 to repair a broken water main underneath it. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses District B residents about the city's budget at KIPP Central City Academy in 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses District B residents about the city’s budget at KIPP Central City Academy in 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

There isn’t enough money to fix all the streets, nor enough police officers to patrol them, and certainly not enough to pay back what the city owes the firefighters’ pension fund, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told a packed auditorium in Lakeview on Thursday evening.

But if the financial situation is so dire, the Lakeview residents shot back, then why is Landrieu suddenly engaging the city in the presumably expensive “self-initiated politics” of removing statues of Confederate leaders? Continue reading »

Jul 292015
 
The old Carrollton courthouse, photographed during an Audubon Charter School event in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file)

The old Carrollton courthouse, photographed during an Audubon Charter School event in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file)

After more than a dozen speakers took the microphone at a forum dedicated to saving the Carrollton Courthouse on Wednesday night, a common theme emerged from their comments: The best future for the landmark structure is some sort of public use.

Some described a new community center or an expanded library, perhaps to replace the nearby Nix branch. Others mentioned museums about the history of public education, of the city of Carrollton, or even New Orleans music. If not that, then flexible museum space, they said, where the city’s other museums could rotate exhibits. The large space could host city archives or recreation offices, they said, and its grounds would be perfect for park space with the crumbling old temporary buildings removed.

The question looming over the courthouse’s fate — and likely defining it — is who will actually own the building. And to that question, no answers emerged Wednesday night. Continue reading »

Jul 282015
 
Attendees of the Maple Street Dishcrawl in July 2014 sample the fare at Little Tokyo, a Japanese restaurant in a space occupied by a college bar just a few years ago. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

Attendees of the Maple Street Dishcrawl in July 2014 sample the fare at Little Tokyo, a Japanese restaurant in a space occupied by a college bar just a few years ago. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

Whether you call it a “crackdown” or a “cleanup,” there is no doubt that Maple Street has changed dramatically over the last five years amid intense scrutiny by New Orleans city officials.

Now, a debate over whether the City Council should continue to have oversight over whether new restaurants on Maple Street are allowed to sell alcohol has split the neighborhood association and local businesses, with residents on both sides.

Is the City Council’s traditional role as a gatekeeper for alcohol sales at restaurants a crucial element of the new peace on Maple Street, or does it give neighborhoods and their elected officials too much influence over which businesses can open? Continue reading »

Jul 232015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Scrappy New Orleans entrepreneur Kishore “Mike” Motwani’s $8.175 million purchase this week of Oz, New Orleans premiere gay dance club, this week is another sign that this often-despised self-made millionaire puts his money where his mouth is. Much to the dismay of ardent preservationists, Motwani is living the American Dream by remaking downtown New Orleans in his own image. Continue reading »

Jul 212015
 
The houses at (top row) 1600 Carondelet and 1032 Upperline, and (bottom row) 1020 Upperline and 5922 Patton were all discussed by the Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee on Monday. (graphic by UptownMessenger.com; images via City of New Orleans.)

The houses at (top row) 1600 Carondelet and 1032 Upperline, and (bottom row) 1020 Upperline and 5922 Patton were all discussed by the Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee on Monday. (graphic by UptownMessenger.com; images via City of New Orleans.)

The debate between historic preservation and private-property rights flared again Monday as a panel of New Orleans officials considered requests to tear down four more Uptown homes, pitting preservationists against property owners and neighbors against neighborhood associations. Continue reading »

Jul 212015
 

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell listens to a question during a panel discussion in late May at Tulane Hillel. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell listens to a question during a panel discussion in late May at Tulane Hillel. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Amid statistics showing that mental illness goes untreated at far higher rates in minority populations than among whites, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell will host a forum this evening with a panel featuring Coroner Jeffrey Rouse and other experts to discuss ways of finding more ways of addressing the issue before it turns to tragedy. Continue reading »

Jul 202015
 
The beginnings of the house at 4621 Chestnut Street (via City of New Orleans)

The beginnings of the house at 4621 Chestnut Street (via City of New Orleans)

The city's property maps show the narrow lot at 4621 Chestnut Street. (via City of New Orleans)

The city’s property maps show the narrow lot at 4621 Chestnut Street. (via City of New Orleans)

A 12-foot-wide house planned for Chestnut Street was recently granted approval to continue construction despite the objection of a number of nearby neighbors. Continue reading »

Jul 152015
 
The proposed reconfiguration of Napoleon Avenue, with a narrower neutral ground and a new bike lane in each direction. (via City of New Orleans)

The proposed reconfiguration of Napoleon Avenue, with a narrower neutral ground and a new bike lane in each direction. (via City of New Orleans)

After controversy arose over an announced plan to narrow the Napoleon Avenue neutral ground to allow for the creation of a bicycle lane in each direction of the roadway, the city has now created an online form to take feedback from residents on the project. Continue reading »

Jul 152015
 
A rendering of the renovated home by draftsman Stephen Perkins. (via City of New Orleans)

A rendering of the renovated home by draftsman Stephen Perkins. (via City of New Orleans)

The interconnected houses on Eight Street. (April 2015 photo via Google Maps)

The interconnected houses on Eighth Street. (April 2015 photo via Google Maps)

A new bed-and-breakfast proposed for a large Laurel Street home in the Irish Channel received initial approval Tuesday afternoon from the New Orleans City Planning Commission. Continue reading »

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Jul 152015
 

By Marc H. Morial

Nowhere else in the world but in the American South do a small and diminishing minority of citizens still celebrate and revere the military leaders who waged war and committed treason against the nation they claim to love. Most have moved on to an enlightened viewpoint of the New South – multicultural, diverse, dynamic and forward-thinking. Continue reading »

Jul 132015
 
The Jefferson Davis monument on South Jefferson Davis Parkway and Canal Street (photo by Alicia Serrano, MidCityMessenger.com)

The Jefferson Davis monument on South Jefferson Davis Parkway and Canal Street (photo by Alicia Serrano, MidCityMessenger.com)

As the City Council voted last week begin discussing the removal of four Confederate statues throughout the city, they also outlined the legal process by which it will take place, and many Council members shared their views on the issue. Continue reading »

Jul 132015
 

Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses District B residents about the city's budget Wednesday evening at KIPP Central City Academy. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses District B residents about the city’s budget in the 2013 budget meeting at KIPP Central City Academy. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu will host his annual meeting to take input from City Council District B residents about the annual budget for the city of New Orleans this week, his office announced. Continue reading »

Jul 132015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Former New Orleans mayor and textbook narcissist Marc Morial has come out in favor of Mayor Landrieu’s plan to remove four Civil War memorials located throughout the city. The erstwhile mayor, now head of the Urban League, proceeded to immediately put his foot in his mouth.

“Those symbols represent division,” Morial explained. “I don’t think Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard really had ties to the city.”

Apparently Morial’s grasp of Civil War history, even as it directly concerns the city he led for two terms as mayor, is just as lacking as his humility. While Lee had no major ties to New Orleans in particular, Jefferson Davis died in New Orleans and was originally buried here. Continue reading »

Jul 122015
 
The Freret Garden Center is now for lease, after its longtime owners decided to sell the property and move the business to Broadmoor. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Freret Garden Center is now for lease, after its longtime owners decided to sell the property and move the business to Broadmoor. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Freret Service Center closed in early June. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Freret Service Center closed in early June. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Nearly six years ago, James Carville famously told Anderson Cooper on Hurricane Katrina’s fourth anniversary that “A little bit of a sense I have is how Freret Street goes, how goes New Orleans.”

At the time, Carville was speaking to all the optimistic signs of the city’s recovery — the reopening of storefronts that had long been shuttered, the return of longtime residents and the arrival of new ones. His words, however, remain just as poignant today — when Freret Street has become such prized real estate that some neighborhood and startup business owners have closed their doors, while new, deeper-pocketed investors line up to take their places. Continue reading »

Jul 092015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

What are the two M’s (Mitch and Marlin) fighting about now? We hear it’s FEMA dollars originally designated for Templeman II. Sheriff Marlin Gusman technically has them. Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants them.

Both Landrieu and Gusman are smart, well-educated, strong-willed but obstinate elected officials, each used to getting his own way. By not endorsing former Sheriff Charles Foti two years ago, Landrieu paved the way for Gusman’s re-election and this current issue. Continue reading »

Jul 082015
 
Entergy trucks blocking the street on June 2, aka, life in New Orleans. (photo by S.L. Alexander)

Entergy trucks blocking the street on June 2, aka, life in New Orleans. (photo by S.L. Alexander)

S. L. Alexander (via courtroomcarnival.com)

S. L. Alexander (via courtroomcarnival.com)

By S.L. Alexander

As we begin to age in place, we Baby Boomers are being bombarded with suggestions in support of our insistence that 60 will just be the new 40: structured exercise (walk 10,000 steps a day!), careful diet (eat a lot of blueberries!), and mental gymnastics (do crossword puzzles in ink, even the one in the Sunday New York Times!).

But those of us of any age who are lucky enough to live in New Orleans as the tenth anniversary of August 29, 2005 (which I call “the late unpleasantness”) slinks our way, don’t need to wear our Fitbits 24/7. Just dealing with the confluence of various deadlines for spending government money, an estimated 71 billion federal bucks to rebuild the most devastated city since Sodom and/or Gomorrah — which certain folk have compared us to, actually — has forced us to strengthen ourselves in at least 10 ways as we fight a uniquely local condition: New Orleans Infrastructure Fatigue. Continue reading »

Jul 072015
 
The house at 918 Soniat was approved for demolition Monday. (April 2015 photo via Google)

The house at 918 Soniat was approved for demolition Monday. (April 2015 photo via Google)

Renderings by MetroStudio architects for a new home at 918 Soniat. (via City of New Orleans)

Renderings by MetroStudio architects for a new home at 918 Soniat. (via City of New Orleans)

A former rental home on Soniat Street that may have origins dating back nearly to the Civil War is likely to be torn down and replaced with new construction, but a request for a similar project on Annunciation Street split the city panel overseeing demolitions Monday. Continue reading »