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 »

Nov 212013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We could not let this week pass without commenting on the 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death. Allan was a reporter at the States Item Picayune when Kennedy died and actually met and talked with Lee Harvey Oswald during a trip to the newsroom just weeks before. Allan’s memory of Lee Harvey Oswald 50 years ago is that Oswald was considered a very weird, insignificant guy who was an advocate for Fidel Castro, not a very popular point of view in 1963 New Orleans. At the time, Danae was in junior high school in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Continue reading »

Nov 202013
 

(image via projectnola.com)

(image via projectnola.com)

Residents around the Baronne Street corridor will soon have the opportunity to join the network of nearly 600 security cameras privately monitored by the Project NOLA nonprofit, with the cost offset by $100 per home or business contributed by the Delachaise Neighborhood Association. Continue reading »

Nov 192013
 

By Tracy A. Buccino

(image via norta.com)

(image via norta.com)

In response to Mr. Courreges’ recent piece regarding NORTA fare increases (“Necessary or not, RTA fare hike makes New Orleans two bits closer to unaffordable“), I suggest that one way to increase revenue without socking it to the poor, elderly, and others with no alternative would be to increase the single-ticket price while keeping the monthly-pass price the same or perhaps even lowering it. I would also suggest offering discounted monthly passes for the same categories (and perhaps others) that are currently offered for the single fares. Continue reading »

Nov 192013
 

jewel bush

Should applications for jobs with the City of New Orleans ask if a person has any previous felony convictions? Mayor Landrieu, to his credit, says no.

Referred to as “banning the box,” cutting this query from employment applications won’t do away with background checks. It would, however, prevent a “yes” answer from eliminating an otherwise qualified candidate from the interview process based on biases against those with criminal records. Background checks, as they should, would come down the line once that person is considered for hiring; and even then, a felony conviction won’t be an employment barrier. Continue reading »

Nov 182013
 

Owen Courreges

Thirteen years.  That’s how long New Orleanians have been paying $1.25 fares for one-way trips on streetcars and buses.   In an era characterized by major increases in city fees and taxes, transit fares have remained relatively low.

Now, it appears that $1.25 fares may not be quite enough.  Veolia Transportation Services Inc., the French corporation contracted to manage services for the Regional Transit Association (RTA), revealed this past Tuesday that there will not be enough money left in reserves to fund services by 2015 unless a fare increase is enacted. Continue reading »

Nov 142013
 

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)

Neighbors of the proposed Magnolia Marketplace retail development got their first chance Thursday evening to publicly air their questions about the project and the tax increase that supports it, as city officials prepare for a public hearing next week that will likely lead to the tax being officially levied. Continue reading »

Nov 132013
 
Napoleon Avenue neutral ground, minus crepe myrtles. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere)

Napoleon Avenue neutral ground, minus crepe myrtles. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere)

Jean-Paul Villere

For as long as I’ve known her my wife has had it out for ligustrums, while I’ve always found crepe myrtles to be, well, creepy.  But I’m also a weirdo who doesn’t see the need to willy-nilly go Lawnmower Man on Mother Nature in the name of progress. Or, maybe I’m just quizzical as to why in the lower leg of the Napoleon Ave drainage project the neutral ground trees were decimated recently, while earlier in the project above St. Charles Avenue the greenery was saved and replanted nearby in Samuel Square.  Incongruity and the decisions made by bureaucrats and contractors go together like peas and carrots, I tell ya.  (Still waiting on that oak to be trimmed across the street from me, but I digress.) Continue reading »

Nov 122013
 
The owners of Oak wine bar plan to convert the former medical supply store into a gastropub called Ale, with a courtyard replacing the driveway next door. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The owners of Oak wine bar plan to convert the former medical supply store into a gastropub called Ale, with a courtyard replacing the driveway next door. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

oak logoThree years after opening the popular Oak wine bar, the owners are planning to expand with a new gastropub next door on Oak Street called Ale, joined with a courtyard between them. Continue reading »

Nov 112013
 

Owen Courreges

News travels fast in New Orleans.  On Sunday, my inbox began piling up with reports of an altercation that allegedly took place over the weekend.  Altercations in New Orleans are no big news, but here the incident allegedly occurred between an employee of the Taxicab and For Hire Bureau, Wilton “Big Will” Joiner, and Wendy Bosma, a tour guide operating the in the French Quarter.

From what I gather (here’s a WWL report on the incident), it happened like this:  On November 9, 2013, Bosma was conducting a Haunted History Tour down Royal Street near Governor Nicolls.  She was guiding a tour group near the infamous LaLaurie Mansion (made more famous by “American Horror Story: Coven” currently airing on the FX Network).

Bosma claims that Joiner approached her and claimed that was closer than 50 feet to another tour group in violation of the law.  Joiner demanded her tour guide license, which was pinned to Bosma’s purse.  Bosma refused, noting that she was the only guide on the street.  Joiner then suddenly reached out and grabbed her license and identification off of her purse. Continue reading »

Nov 072013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Mayor Landrieu could be encouraging his CAO Andy Kopplin to enter the At-Large Council race against Stacy Head in order to preserve his legacy when the Mayor runs for Governor, according to the hottest rumor circulating among politicos lately — and the theory may make some sense. Continue reading »

Nov 022013
 

By Ed Quatrevaux

Although Katz and Columbus are entitled to their opinions, it is shoddy journalism to falsely attribute quotes. I refer to the first paragraph’s attribution to the OIG of “marking down crimes“. That phrase does not appear in the report or any statement by the OIG and was invented by the authors of the opinion. Continue reading »

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Oct 312013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It’s no surprise to us that the OIG and the Legislative Auditor have been bearing down on the New Orleans Police Department. Once people know you are weak, everyone comes around to take a punch. The OIG’s claim of police “marking down crimes” in the 8th District, the French Quarter, is nothing new. That kind of stuff has been going on since the 1980s. Continue reading »

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Oct 282013
 

The brick "bumpout" corners installed last year on Freret Street will be replaced starting Nov. 4, officials said. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

The brick “bumpout” corners installed last year on Freret Street will be replaced starting Nov. 4, officials said. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Amid the unending saga of road construction on and around their commercial corridor, Freret Street business owners greeted with weary acceptance the latest promises from city officials Monday that the next round of sidewalk repairs will be finished with only a few days of disruption on each street corner.

“I want to give you what you deserve, and I know at this point that DPW does as well,” said City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell. “The goal is to get it done, in and out, and never have to come back again.” Continue reading »