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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“We’re at the 1-yard line,” Halpern said. “We’re just one little piece apart, I think.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
In our opinion, C. Ray Nagin was the worst mayor of our lifetimes. It is entirely possible that Nagin was the worst mayor in New Orleans’ 295-year history, going all the way back to the French and Spanish chief executives whom Danae has been studying recently.
However, being a terrible mayor is not of itself a crime. Later this month, a jury will be convened in federal court to consider whether accepting some $200,000 in cash and gifts, along with several truckloads of free granite, is indeed a federal crime. The jurors will presumably hear Nagin’s Chief Administrative Officer Greg Meffert and big-time vendor Mark St. Pierre, both of whom are currently doing time in the federal pen.
The creation of “Save Our Sons,” “NOLA For Life” and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit each year have been hopscotched by the deaths of 2-year-old Jeremy Galmon in 2010, 23-month-old Keira Holmes in 2011, 5-year-old Briana Allen last year and, shockingly, the deaths of 1-year-old Londyn Samuels and 11-year-old Arabiana Gayles just days apart at the end of this summer, all struck down by cruelly careless gunfire.
City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell had only been in elected office nine months when Samuels was killed in her district. Within days, she convened a summit of other City Council members, state lawmakers, judges and law-enforcement officials to discuss what more can be done on the violence issue. A common theme emerged, that more oversight is needed everywhere — of the New Orleans Police Department and its leadership, of the anti-crime programs in place, of the budgets for those entities and of the state law-enforcement agencies that also play crucial roles.
“Historically, the council has been really hands off on the police in general,” said state Sen. J.P. Morrell, one of the participants in Cantrell’s summit. “Both on the state and local level, we have to get more invested in the nuts and bolts of the different crime-fighting tools available to us.”
Described as a dream decades in the making with a vision that spans millennia, a museum built around a full-size replica of a slave ship is being planned for a site in the Lower Garden District riverfront near the former Entergy substation.
Whether you realize it or not, now - right now – and through Thursday evening at 8 PM, the almost annual Orleans Parish Tax Sale is taking place via CivicSource.com. It’s a big deal for many reasons, but also it can be rather fascinating if you’re a fan of Crescent City dwellings as well as archaic governmental proceedings. Here’s why: you bid down.
It’s the same dollar amount to all bidders, but you bid down percentage of ownership. Therefore conceivably one willing to purchase 1% of any given property’s tax year(s) becomes the de facto winning bidder and cannot be outbid, however they are settling for the smallest possible amount of ownership. Very New Orleans, right?
The streetscape project that caused Freret Street businesses so much pain in 2012 will be repeated this fall as the city rebuilds each of those “bumpout” corners, but officials promise a quicker and smoother process this time around.
On August 29, 2013, Londyn Samuels, a one year old child, was shot and murdered in Central City.
Her murder was not an aberration. Three other children 5 years old or younger have been murdered in Central City during the past three years. Mayor Mitch Landrieu calls it “a drumbeat of death that is taking the precious from us.”
Naturally, these tragedies have increased calls for the police to do something. Times-Picayune columnist James Varney recently discussed using more aggressive policing tactics such as the controversial “stop-and-frisk” that has been notably employed in New York City, ultimately expressing “ambivalence” over whether it should, or even could, be successfully adopted here.