Sep 082016
 
Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams speaks to Jefferson Avenue residents on Thursday evening at First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams speaks to Jefferson Avenue residents on Thursday evening at First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Should the residents who live along the Uptown corridors that have been blocked for years amid the construction of major new drainage canals also be subject to substantial increases in their property taxes this year? Or do the inconveniences they suffer diminish the value of their homes enough to stave off the higher taxes until construction is complete?

Those competing points of view formed the basis for a sometimes-contentious meeting Thursday night between City Councilwoman Susan Guidry, Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams, and a room full of Jefferson Avenue residents. Continue reading »

Sep 082016
 
State Rep. Helena Moreno and Orleans Parish School Board member Nolan Marshall speak during last night's meeting of local Democrats. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

State Rep. Helena Moreno and Orleans Parish School Board member Nolan Marshall speak during last night’s meeting of local Democrats. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

For the first time in many years, the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee gave candidates an opportunity to meet with their voting members prior to their upcoming endorsement meeting. Last night’s meeting brought out more than a dozen candidates for U.S. Senate, Congress, various judgeships and the Orleans Parish School Board. They distributed hand cards and football schedules while pouring on the charisma and munching on finger sandwiches. Continue reading »

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Sep 062016
 
The intersection of Freret and Jefferson -- photographed in May 2015, officials say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The intersection of Freret and Jefferson — photographed in May 2015, officials say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Motorists on Freret Street will be unable to cross Jefferson Avenue for the next five months or so, and will be detoured again around the intersection through the side streets, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans announced. Continue reading »

Sep 062016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Samuel Johnson once said that “[e]very man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.”

Many armchair commentators from the past couple of weeks should heed Johnson’s words. When San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem, many of his supporters immediately began spouting platitudes about freedom of speech and the First Amendment. Kaepernick, the trope went, was being squelched by his critics Continue reading »

Sep 062016
 

New Orleans City Council will hold a press conference on Tuesday, September 6 (today) to kick off the Geaux Blue NOLA Day celebration. Geaux Blue NOLA Day is an annual day designated to recognize the vital importance of the New Orleans Police Department to the well-being of the community. Continue reading »

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Sep 012016
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

Mitch Landrieu is one smart cookie. Residents all across New Orleans are salivating that their neighborhood streets might get repaired with the $2 billion FEMA allocation, the starting point of the city’s massive $5 billion street rebuilding project. Continue reading »

Aug 262016
 

Emily Arata, then deputy mayor, addresses the New Orleans City Council on behalf of Mayor Landrieu in a March 2015 meeting. (via City of New Orleans)

Emily Arata, then deputy mayor, addresses the New Orleans City Council on behalf of Mayor Landrieu in a March 2015 meeting. (via City of New Orleans)

Former deputy mayor Emily Arata was confirmed to the board overseeing the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad on Thursday after overcoming the City Council’s concerns that she remains too close to Mayor Mitch Landrieu to fairly evaluate whether the entity should be sold to a private company. Continue reading »

Aug 252016
 
The corner of St. Charles Avenue and Melpomene Street, slated to become a temporary parking lot for Lula restaurant. (via City of New Orleans)

The corner of St. Charles Avenue and Melpomene Street, slated to become a temporary parking lot for Lula restaurant. (via City of New Orleans)

A conceptual drawing of Phase I of the Avenue Oaks Hotel on St. Charles at Melpomene. (courtesy of Wayne Troyer, Studio WTA)

A conceptual drawing of Phase I of the Avenue Oaks Hotel on St. Charles at Melpomene. (courtesy of Wayne Troyer, Studio WTA)

The Halpern family that owns the property on St. Charles Avenue that will become Lula Restaurant Distillery and, later, the expanded Prytania Park Hotel is seeking permission to convert a vacant lot into temporary parking for patrons and customers while development is underway. Continue reading »

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Aug 242016
 
The corner lot at the beginning of the summer. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere)

The corner lot at the beginning of the summer. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

As summer’s sizzle dissipates over the coming weeks, the back-to-school throngs may muse on their most recent season away from academia, and some may even have it as their premiere assignment upon recommencement.  While I don’t really recall in my younger years a time when this was asked of my fertile student mind, my 42-year-old memory ain’t what she used to be.  So color me pseudo-nostalgically amused when my oldest had this very task put to her and she wrote about our family train trip to Chicago.  Which I totally dug too.  Except, and in honest reflection, my real takeaway for summer 2016?  Pecking away, hours over days and largely singlehandedly, at an overwhelmingly under-maintained vacant corner lot in my neighborhood. Continue reading »

Aug 242016
 

Today (Aug. 24), Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined City and State officials and community members to celebrate the ground-breaking of the Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Streetscape Project in Central City. In total, $1.85 million is being allocated to improve Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. from Calliope St. to Saint Andrew St. to make it more pedestrian and bike-friendly. Construction is scheduled to be completed in spring 2017. Continue reading »

Aug 242016
 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will hold a Flood Insurance Workshop on Friday, August 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. at City Hall. The workshop will provide the public information on the new updates to flood insurance rates and resources, as well as FEMA’s new Flood Insurance Rate Maps that go into effect September 30, 2016. Continue reading »

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Aug 232016
 
The boundaries of the proposed Uptown historic district are in blue. (via City of New Orleans)

The boundaries of the proposed Uptown historic district are in blue. (via City of New Orleans)

The boundaries of the proposed Carrollton historic district are in pink. (via City of New Orleans)

The boundaries of the proposed Carrollton historic district are in pink. (via City of New Orleans)

The City Planning Commission gave an initial hearing Tuesday afternoon to a proposal to create historic-district protections to much of Uptown and Carrollton, and will make a final recommendation to the New Orleans City Council next month, officials said. Continue reading »

Aug 222016
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Sometimes I find column topics, and sometimes they find me. Just last night I was driving to Walgreens, musing upon what latest New Orleans travesty to write about. As I started to turn down a street adjacent to the Walgreens, I noticed that the street was one-way and jerked back suddenly.

It wasn’t my fault. One of the requisite one-way signs was missing completely, while the other was partially-blocked by foliage and appeared faded. There were no “do not enter” signs either. Aside from the presence of parking cars uniformly parked in the opposite direction, it was virtually impossible to know that the street was one-way. Continue reading »

Aug 222016
 

By Sandra Stokes, president of the Louisiana Landmarks Society

It has become all too familiar in historic neighborhoods – perfectly proportioned historic homes demolished for totally out-of-scale McMansions; harmonious streetscapes marred by inappropriate new construction; or additions that look like cancerous growths on what was a perfectly fine home.

Louisiana Landmarks Society recognizes the advantages of local historic districts in maintaining scale and character in neighborhoods, while providing stability and predictability. At the same time, we also understand the concerns of residents that being subject to the jurisdiction of the Historic Landmarks District Commission (HDLC) might infringe upon their personal property rights. Continue reading »