Oct 102013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

So who gets to decide how many judges are too many? Mayor Mitch Landrieu has strong feelings on the subject, based on his own experiences when he was in the private practice of law and his observations from the mayor’s office. There are too many judges and the money devoted to supporting empty courtrooms and under-worked judges could be better spent if the money was instead in the city’s general fund, Landrieu says. Continue reading »

Oct 082013
 
A rendering and tenant list of the Magnolia Marketplace shopping complex planned for South Claiborne Avenue. (via City of New Orleans)

A rendering and tenant list of the Magnolia Marketplace shopping complex planned for South Claiborne Avenue. (via City of New Orleans)

Improvements to utilities around the new Magnolia Marketplace on South Claiborne will be paid for by an additional 1-percent sales tax on purchases there that should last around 15 years, based on legislation being forwarded to the New Orleans City Council for approval Thursday. Continue reading »

Oct 032013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Even Tulane alum Allan Katz thinks that Mike Perlstein of WWL and Gordon Russell of the Advocate certainly did a bang up job on their first-rate investigation regarding Tulane’s century-old scholarship program.  Like many old habits in New Orleans, there is an aversion to change.  But change is definitely necessary for this program. Continue reading »

Oct 032013
 

Dominica chef Alon Shaya chats with a neighbor of the proposed Magazine Street expansion at an open house in August. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Dominica chef Alon Shaya chats with a neighbor of the proposed Magazine Street expansion at an open house in August. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

The chef and owners of John Besh’s popular Domenica restaurant told a supportive neighborhood association to “start getting hungry” for their family-oriented Magazine Street expansion as they approach a hearing before the City Council next week, despite initial resistance from the City Planning Commission. Continue reading »

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Oct 012013
 
(map via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(map via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Boh Brothers Construction Co., the contractor currently installing a drainage canal on Napoleon Avenue between Claiborne Avenue and Carondelet Street, won the contract last week for the final phase of extending that canal down to Constance Street, authorities said. Continue reading »

Sep 302013
 

Overview map of repaving projects on Freret, Nashville and Fontainebleau. (via pavinglaroads.com)

Overview map of repaving projects on Freret, Nashville and Fontainebleau. (via pavinglaroads.com)

The ongoing repaving of Freret Street will reduce traffic to one lane and prohibit parking down the commercial corridor for most of the next month, officials said as the work begins Monday. Continue reading »

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Sep 302013
 

Owen Courreges

A few weeks ago I ventured forth into the world and viewed a glorious sight – the road markings on St. Charles Avenue have been redone!   

Then I felt sad, realizing just how horribly low my expectations of city government must be for this to be perceived as such a triumph. Continue reading »

Sep 272013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We were pleased to hear Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s remarks yesterday in Washington. The epidemic of youth committing crimes is a national problem that every city faces. New Orleans and many American cities are strapped for cash and don’t have the available resources to implement clear solutions. It would be great if Congress allocated funds to create innovative programs that would address the problem.

But we think the real issue lies in economic equity for young African Americans. With the unemployment rate of African-Americans in New Orleans reaching almost 50%, it is quite easy to see why young men (and young women) commit crimes every day. The future does not seem bright for them. Excellent programs like Each One Save One and the new male mentoring program at McDonogh #35 High School can and do address the problem. But much more is needed – jobs are needed for adult black males and females and for their children. Continue reading »

Sep 252013
 
The NOPD Second District holds its monthly anti-crime march through west Carrollton on Wednesday evening. The Uptown-based district has one of the lowest numbers of officers in the city. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The NOPD Second District holds its monthly anti-crime march through west Carrollton on Wednesday evening. The Uptown-based district has one of the lowest numbers of officers in the city. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans has lost 300 more officers than it hired since 2010 amid what some city leaders are calling a staffing crisis, officials said Wednesday. Even with new recruitment efforts finally underway and the promise of hiring 100 new officers over the next year, the City Council is looking for new ways to put more police on the streets faster. Continue reading »

Sep 252013
 

Jean-Paul Villere

As I wrestled over what I might pen this week I read over the transcript from yesterday’s CPC meeting regarding the rezoning request of 4877 Laurel so that it might become realized as a coffeehouse.  And when I read the ridiculous decision crafted by the commission, my inner green apron got ruffled.  That the CPC voted against a rezoning by 6 to 1 and with very little if any support from attendees on the matter, frankly baffles me.  But then we are talking about a government entity in the City of New Orleans; maybe I shouldn’t be surprised?  Le sigh. Continue reading »

Sep 242013
 
Sylvi Beaumont, owner of the proposed "Engine 37" coffee house in the former Laurel Street fire station, points to a photo of the building as she addresses the City Planning Commission on Tuesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Sylvi Beaumont, owner of the proposed “Engine 37″ coffee house in the former Laurel Street fire station, points to a photo of the building as she addresses the City Planning Commission on Tuesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A technicality in the city zoning code became a stumbling block for a coffee shop proposed for the former Laurel Street firehouse next to Wisner Park on Tuesday, but planning commissioners said they were opposing the project reluctantly as they passed the issue to the City Council for a final decision. Continue reading »

Sep 242013
 
Production crews transform Cure into a closed set for a movie filming on Saturday, Sept. 21, the second shoot in two weeks. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Production crews transform Cure into a closed set for a movie filming on Saturday, Sept. 21, the second shoot in two weeks. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A promotional image for "American Horror Story: Coven" which is set and filmed in New Orleans. (via Facebook.com/americanhorrorstory)

A promotional image for “American Horror Story: Coven” which is set and filmed in New Orleans. (via Facebook.com/americanhorrorstory)

Early last week, long white trailers with doors dramatically labeled “Fiona” and “Cordelia” slowly rolled up Freret Street, coming to a rest near the celebrated cocktail bar Cure.

Fiona and Cordelia, as the entertainment world was just discovering, are the names of Jessica Lange’s and Sarah Paulson’s characters in the upcoming third season of the notoriously macabre FX television series American Horror Story. Once again, Hollywood had returned to Freret Street. Continue reading »

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Sep 212013
 

Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell rides in the Krewe of Zulu on Mardi Gras day, 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell rides in the Krewe of Zulu on Mardi Gras day, 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

The changes to the laws surrounding Mardi Gras parades that some New Orleans residents have sought for years may soon become a reality, as City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell prepares to release a sweeping set of recommendations based on months of input from neighbors. Continue reading »

Sep 202013
 

Costco cofounder Jeff Brotman (left), Costco New Orleans employee Henry Lagarde and Mayor Mitch Landrieu laugh together during the Costco grand opening ceremonies. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Costco cofounder Jeff Brotman, Costco New Orleans employee Henry Lagarde and Mayor Mitch Landrieu laugh together during the Costco grand opening ceremonies. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A row of cakes, cookies and desserts stretched down Costco's center aisle. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A row of cakes, cookies and desserts stretched down Costco’s center aisle. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Maybe it was the spirit of economic rebirth, maybe it was New Orleanians’ natural talent for celebrating, or maybe it was the enticing prospect of free samples, but the grand opening ceremony for Costco’s warehouse store on Carrollton Avenue drew a crowd of hundreds that company executives said surprised them.

For their 650 other stores around the country, they mostly just opened the doors and people started shopping, the executives said.

“We’ve never been treated like this before,” Costco cofounder Jeff Brotman said. “You guys know how to throw a party.” Continue reading »

Sep 202013
 

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Attorneys for the city of New Orleans and the owners of Santa Fe Tapas have reached the “1-yard line” in their negotations over new operating conditions governing the restaurant’s alcohol license, with the issue of security guards the last item that needs to be resolved, they said this week.

“We’re at the 1-yard line,” Halpern said. “We’re just one little piece apart, I think.” Continue reading »

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Sep 192013
 

 Irish Channel resident Mark Redding appeared before city council Wednesday with a map of all the blighted properties in his neighborhood. (Photo by Della Hasselle for MidCityMessenger.com)

Irish Channel resident Mark Redding appeared before city council Wednesday with a map of all the blighted properties in his neighborhood. (Photo by Della Hasselle for MidCityMessenger.com)

The city claims to have reduced blight by 8,500 properties since 2010, but 37,000 remain, officials said during a committee meeting Wednesday, according to a report by Della Hasselle for MidCityMessenger.com.

During the meeting, Irish Channel resident Mark Redding appeared with a map blighted properties in his neighborhood, including the former Sara Mayo Hospital on Jackson Avenue, and beseeched the city to do better, according to Mid-City Messenger‘s report: “We want to continue to invest in the area and we think it’s moving in a good direction, but we need the city to step up and do your job. Quite frankly, we’re tired of hearing the same things,” Redding said.

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Sep 182013
 
The Jackson Avenue ferry landing. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

The Jackson Avenue ferry landing could be yours for just a couple of million dollars. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Landmarks loom in high supply the Crescent City over as the landscape tends to change largely on a glacial pace.  Many distinctive structures over decades have transformed from their intended utilitarian to cozy home spaces, mostly commonly seen in the ever rarer still in commerce corner grocery turned primary residence for an owner occupant.  At auction tomorrow, if you’ve got the coin to spare, you may bid in what some may call a prime example of notable, public use spaces.  Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you for your consideration: the Jackson Avenue Ferry Landing. Continue reading »

Sep 162013
 

Owen Courreges

Since the 1920’s, the French Quarter has been represented by Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents, and Associates, Inc., or VCPORA for short.  Given recent events, perhaps they should recast themselves as the “Vieux Carre’s Persnickety Oligarchs Representing Authoritarianism.”

Case in point: This weekend at Rising Tide 8, a local conference geared towards discussing New Orleans’ future, a panel was held on tourism in New Orleans.  During panel discussion, Meg Lousteau, Executive Director of VCPORA, noted approvingly that Bhutan has a limit on the number of tourists allowed into the country each year.

I wasn’t present, so I cannot attest to whether every jaw in the room hit the floor at that moment or not. The Kingdom of Bhutan, for those not aware, is an independent nation located in Asia.  In order to preserve their Buddhist cultural heritage, Bhutan requires tourists to acquire visas before entering the country, and limits the number of tourist visas offered per year. Continue reading »

Sep 122013
 

Competing sets of proposals for a new ordinance outlining how sound and noise issues should be enforced in New Orleans were discussed Thursday evening before a Carrollton neighborhood group, but the presentations from each group were so gently put that neighbors wondered where the actual controversy lies. Continue reading »