Dec 122013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We are not fans of racial divisiveness. But lots of time in politics, voting occurs along racial lines. This election cycle may be a prime example of that.

Danae drove to Judge Michael Bagneris’ home early this morning because she wanted to be among the first to show her support for the Bagneris For Mayor Campaign. Actually, Danae should have gone yesterday evening when a small crowd gathered on Bagneris’ doorstep. In light of Bagneris’ resignation yesterday from his long-time post at Civil District Court, chances are very strong that he will qualify prior to the 4:30 p.m. Friday cutoff. Continue reading »

Dec 112013
 

(map via DOTD)

(map via DOTD)

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry called a proposal to reroute freight trains from Old Metairie to Hollygrove “totally unacceptable” before an audience in Mid-City on Monday evening, and Hollygrove residents formed a new committee called “We Won’t Be Railroaded” to fight the project Tuesday, according to a report by Della Hasselle at our sister publication, Mid-City Messenger. In addition to the environmental and quality-of-life concerns, there may also be civil-rights issues involved in the use of federal money on a project that would widen the disparity in property values between the two communities, Mid-City Messenger reports.

Dec 102013
 

The house at 2247-2249 O.C. Haley Boulevard. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The house at 2247-2249 O.C. Haley Boulevard. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

City officials and neighborhood have proudly trumpeted their fight against blight and the revitalization of O.C. Haley Boulevard, but a request to convert a small shotgun house on the street into a commercial office or shop ran into reluctance from city planners Tuesday. Continue reading »

Dec 092013
 

Owen Courreges

There is little uglier in this world than rent seeking, particularly when it’s specifically aimed at eliminating competition by reducing opportunity for others.  Longstanding, established businesses can be especially guilty of this.  After all, why beat your competition fairly and squarely when you’ve been around so long that you can simply send in the cops?

Recently, rent-seeking has come to Frenchman Street. Continue reading »

Dec 052013
 

A concrete-batching plant under construction on a lot about a block from the South Broad Street overpass has been halted temporarily amid opposition from residents of the Zion City neighborhood; rapidly rising home prices in the Irish Channel made the area the focus for a recent case study of post-Katrina gentrification; and the dramatic reduction in appraised value of an assisted-living center on Magazine Street is being questioned, according to recent reports. Continue reading »

Dec 052013
 

The fire station on Laurel Street near Wisner Park. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The fire station on Laurel Street near Wisner Park. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The proposal to create a coffee house called “Engine 37″ in the former Laurel Street fire station near Wisner Park won unanimous approval Thursday from the New Orleans City Council, whose members cited the support for it among neighbors and the benefits it will bring to the area. Continue reading »

Dec 052013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Kristin Gisleson-Palmer had to make a tough decision this week about her future on the New Orleans City Council — a decision she may not have been planning to make even days before. Kristin thought she was doing a good job. She enjoyed the support of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and had carried some of his key legislation — especially Mitch’s ideas about changes in the taxicab industry — but also made enemies along the way.

Then came retired Judge Nadine Ramsey and the realities of the changing demographics in Algiers. Still, Kristin was carrying around a new poll from a nationally recognized Democratic pollster that showed her with a healthy lead over Nadine. Some insiders doubted the numbers but that didn’t stop Kristin from showing it to heavy hitters. Continue reading »

Dec 042013
 

Freret Street will host two different rallies tonight (Wednesday, Dec. 4), a Christmas-themed roundup of food trucks at Dat Dog, and a $50-per-person fundraiser for Mayor Mitch Landrieu at Publiq House headlined by the Brass-A-Holics. Continue reading »

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Dec 022013
 

Tulane University has unveiled new plans for a campus focusing on coastal science on the riverfront property now occupied by Mardi Gras World; small local vendors are thriving at the weekly LaSalle market; a 146-year-old synagogue on Jackson Avenue in the Irish Channel is slated for redevelopment as luxury apartments, and an illegal parking space on Octavia Street has been removed, according to recent development reports. Continue reading »

Dec 022013
 

Owen Courreges

In the wake of recent high-profile complaints about the New Orleans Taxi Bureau, one suggestion has been for New Orleans to emulate New York’s system for regulating taxi cabs by creating a new taxi/limousine commission and adopting a medallion system.  In my view, this is a monumentally bad idea.

An impetus for this proposed change is related to complaints against the New Orleans Taxi Bureau and its chief,  Malachi Hull, including an incident I wrote about previously when a Taxi Bureau inspector, Wilton “Big Will” Joiner, slammed a tour guide in the side of a parked car full view of a crowd of appalled tourists.  This was troubling because Taxi Bureau investigators aren’t peace officers; they lack authority to detain or arrest anybody.

It’s clear that the Taxi Bureau is ill-managed and corrupt, and institutional changes certainly shouldn’t be rejected out of hand.  However, New York’s supposed “reforms” are not something New Orleans should replicate. Continue reading »

Nov 292013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Recent complaints about the City’s Taxi Cab Bureau, its director Malachi Hull and several members of his staff lead us to ponder whether it is time to replace the Taxi Cab Bureau with a state-of-the-industry Taxi and Limousine Commission modeled after New York City’s, which was created more than 40 years ago. Continue reading »

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Nov 262013
 
An initial rendering of the Oak Lofts project sent to neighbors. (via the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association)

An initial rendering of the Oak Lofts project sent to neighbors. (via the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association)

A New Orleans developer presented his vision for a five-story condo building with a large ground-floor gym to Oak Street residents and neighbors Tuesday night, drawing questions and concerns about the scale of the project among expressions of general enthusiasm for the concept. Continue reading »

Nov 252013
 

Owen Courreges

“Smart growth” is a concept that I have long derided.  Reduced to its essence, smart growth is an ideology borne of a single idea (that the rise of the suburbs is somehow evil), and dedicated to forcing people to live in dense cities.  Their boogeyman is sprawl, which they condemn endlessly.

Oversimplified?  A bit, sure, but then the rhetoric and policy proposals from smart growth advocates strike me as simplistic and single-minded. Continue reading »

Nov 242013
 
 Families navigate around the construction area on Napoleon Avenue to clamor for beads from the Krewe of Carrollton in January 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Families navigate around the construction area on Napoleon Avenue to clamor for beads from the Krewe of Carrollton in January 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

While it may be difficult to imagine Mardi Gras floats navigating around the cranes and construction fences that dominate an ever-growing swath of Napoleon Avenue, officials say the site should be secure in time for the coming year’s parades to pass without disruption.

As the construction zone grows past St. Charles Avenue in the next year, however, Carnival season in 2015 is expected to bring some changes. Continue reading »

Nov 212013
 

magazine street blues festival 5

The Fifth Annual Magazine Street Blues Festival in Lawrence Square park on Saturday will feature a music lineup headlined by Rockin’ Dopsie, plus food, an artist’s village and kids’ activities — all in an effort to raise money to support the officers of the New Orleans Police Department’s Uptown-based Second District. Continue reading »

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Nov 212013
 

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

As the New Orleans City Council voted Thursday evening to increase the sales tax by 1 percent in the shops in the new Magnolia Marketplace, Central City residents voiced concern that the city’s highest sales taxes will be in one of its poorest neighborhoods, and Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell responded with her vision of a retail renaissance that makes Claiborne Avenue a citywide shopping destination. Continue reading »