Aug 272013
 
A spray-painted welcome to President Bush on St. Claude Avenue on Aug. 29, 2006. (photo by jewel bush)

A spray-painted welcome to President Bush on St. Claude Avenue on Aug. 29, 2006. (photo by jewel bush)

jewel bush

When President George W. Bush’s motorcade drove down St. Claude Avenue on August 29, 2006 — the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — there were many signs, like sentries, stationed along his route to Fats Domino’s house in the Ninth Ward, one stop on his itinerary of ceremonial rounds.

The messages, posted on signs lined along the neutral ground and on the actual storm-clobbered buildings, weren’t flattering greetings from the city’s welcome committee. The collective reverberation to the commander in chief’s obligatory pilgrimage to the place he neglected a year earlier was that of a shimmering rage, pithy and piercing in delivery.

One of the strongest indicators of this sentiment was a lop-sided, green Port-a-Potty positioned on the very edge of the neutral ground somewhere along St. Claude, a strategic locale sure to catch the eye of, if not, the president himself, someone in his party. Among protest notes scribbled in gold spray paint on all four sides of this freestanding structure, the standout read: “Reserved for Bush.”

Mr. President, welcome to New Orleans. Continue reading »

Aug 272013
 

Mayor Mitch Landrieu fields questions during a 2012 community meeting about the city budget. (UptownMessenger.com file photo via WWL-TV)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu fields questions during a 2012 community meeting about the city budget. (UptownMessenger.com file photo via WWL-TV)

Joined by City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, Mayor Mitch Landrieu will host his final meeting on the coming year’s budget priorities for residents of District B at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening at KIPP Central City Academy (2514 Third Street). Continue reading »

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Aug 262013
 

The remaining trees along Jefferson Avenue between South Claiborne and Danneel will be removed starting this week. (UptownMessenger.com file photo from April 2013)

The remaining trees along Jefferson Avenue between South Claiborne and Danneel will be removed starting this week. (UptownMessenger.com file photo from April 2013)

The trees remaining in the Jefferson Avenue neutral ground between South Claiborne Avenue and Danneel Street will be removed starting today (Monday, Aug. 26) in preparation for the installation of a major new underground drainage canal, authorities said. Continue reading »

Aug 262013
 

Owen Courreges

The official motto of the Landrieu Administration’s blight eradication efforts should probably be:  “We can’t do much, but we’ll do more of it!”

Case in point: A week ago, I read an Action Report from Bill Capo at WWL about a house in Central City that is nearly collapsing onto another.  An entire wall has become detached.  A couple of two-by-fours mounted between the homes is all that is preventing it from completely falling over. Continue reading »

Aug 232013
 
D'Artanian Stovall's house on Upperline Street, where he is stripping and repainting one section at a time to avoid the ire of city inspectors. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

D’Artanian Stovall’s house on Upperline Street, where he is stripping and repainting one section at a time to avoid the ire of city inspectors. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Residents of the Freret neighborhood are banding together to help out two longtime homeowners, supporting one man in the struggle to keep the city from selling his home at sheriff’s auction and raising money with a fundraiser tonight to help repair another woman’s damaged roof. Continue reading »

Aug 222013
 
John Besh greets a neighbor of the his new Pizza Domenica restaurant proposed for 4933 Magazine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

John Besh greets a neighbor of the his new Pizza Domenica restaurant proposed for 4933 Magazine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Pizza Domenica is intended as a more casual, smaller-scale spinoff of the acclaimed Domenica restaurant downtown. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Pizza Domenica is intended as a more casual, smaller-scale spinoff of the acclaimed Domenica restaurant downtown. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Neighbors of celebrated New Orleans restaurateur John Besh’s proposed foray into Uptown got a literal taste of what’s to come Thursday night at an open house for the Pizza Domenica on Magazine Street. Continue reading »

Aug 222013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Several weeks ago, we wrote a column listing a number of reasons why Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s plan to move City Hall to the iconic but empty Charity Hospital was an excellent idea.

In the course of our interview with him, Pres Kabacoff said he hoped that the Civil District Court judges would reconsider their plans to build a new Civil District Court building in Duncan Plaza – adjacent to the current City Hall on Loyola Avenue – and instead decide to join Mayor Landrieu’s administration and the City Council in the move to Charity.

That all seemed reasonable enough to us, but then we received a visit from Civil District Court Judges Michael Bagneris and Kern Reese who told us the court is dead set on building their own structure and won’t be swayed by the mayor to move to Charity. Continue reading »

Aug 212013
 
Weeds grow in the fenced-off foundation laid three years ago for Martin Wine Cellar on Baronne Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Weeds grow in the fenced-off foundation laid three years ago for Martin Wine Cellar on Baronne Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

MartinWineCellarMartin Wine Cellar is back on track to rebuild next year its at its original New Orleans location, the massive lot on Baronne Street that has been empty for years, the store’s owner told the surrounding neighborhood association Tuesday evening. Continue reading »

Aug 202013
 
(photo by jewel bush for UptownMessenger.com)

(photo by jewel bush for UptownMessenger.com)

jewel bush

The Florida housing development has undergone a metamorphosis at the hands of Brandan “BMike” Odums, a 27-year-old art educator and literacy advocate.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, 127 shiny new apartments had recently been built in the Florida housing development, an 18.5-acre tract of land in the Upper Ninth Ward. The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) had plans to build more. That didn’t happen, though. The units were damaged so badly during and after the storm that HANO closed down the Florida. The property has sat abandoned and rotting for eight years, yet another Katrina eyesore in the city.

Odums has taken the 17 or so crumbling townhouses that remain and turned them into mini art galleries called #ProjectBe — artistic alchemy, if you will, his way of transforming the ugliness of blight into an electrifying participatory art project. Continue reading »

Aug 192013
 

“To-go cups or not to-go cups, that is the question.
Whether ‘tis nobler in a bar to provide cups for patrons
to carry their alcoholic beverage out into the street,
Or to take arms against a sea of bureaucrats and busybodies,
and by opposing, end them?”

Owen Courreges

For those who have been living under a rock this past week, there has been a debate in local media over a perceived attack on a venerable New Orleans institution.  I am speaking, of course, of to-go cups offered by bars.  The fracas is over whether there is an actual crackdown on to-go cups, or whether this is just a tempest in a teapot (Spoiler alert: It’s not). Continue reading »

Aug 182013
 

By Alfred Bostick

The recent Uptown Messenger article “Good neighbors: Freret’s revival has largely avoided the issues that often accompany gentrification” is an intelligent and well considered fine piece of writing on a complicated subject. It is much appreciated. I also would have liked to have seen some treatment of the larger economic change that has hit the traditional middle-class quite devastatingly, not only here, but nationally and world-wide. I know it sounds like an extraneous issue to raise and examine in such a tightly focused urban neighborhood discussion, but it seems to me to play a pivotal role. Continue reading »

Aug 162013
 

Sandra Hester, who was arrested during Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s community meeting about the budget at the Jewish Community Center last year, has filed a lawsuit against Landrieu, the city, the New Orleans Police Department and other officials alleging that excessive force was used in her arrest and that her constitutional and civil rights were violated, according to a report from our partners at WWL-TV. The city has called her claims “unfounded.”

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Aug 152013
 

The Camellia Grill on South Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Camellia Grill on South Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans officials have agreed to study whether to designate the Camellia Grill a historic landmark, a minor victory for the beloved restaurant’s new owner in the ongoing legal battle over its name.

In a separate request, officials turned down a request from an Xavier Prep alumna to designate the school’s Magazine Street campus as a landmark, siding with the leaders of the new St. Katharine Drexel Prep who said they face more pressing educational priorities right now other than the landmark process. Continue reading »

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Aug 152013
 

More than half of the streetlights along St. Charles Avenue are broken, burned out or missing, members of the residents’ association discovered after a recent count, according to a report by Bill Capo and our partners at WWL-TV. City officials say they are installing temporary lights, and that the streetlights will get new wiring at the end of the streetcar track construction project, Capo reports.

Aug 152013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Although Wednesday’s announcement by the New Orleans Community Data Center showed several great signs in the New Orleans economy, it also pointed several great disparities that do not bode well for New Orleans’ future.

Yes, our economy is diversifying beyond tourism, we weathered the recession better than most cities, home sales have increased, our number of new entrepreneurs is high, and construction jobs are on the rise since Katrina (no kidding). All great stuff to be sure. Continue reading »

Aug 142013
 

Jean-Paul Villere

Dave Thomas brought us the drive thru.  The late founder of the fast food chain Wendy’s — beyond being the charismatic face of the company up until his death — in the fledgling days of the square-pattied empire devised a way for car-loving Americans across the country to stay put and nosh ever more quickly. (In-N-Out and Jack in the Box might stake earlier claims to the innovation, but find me one of those in the only metro area that matters.) It revolutionized commerce.  I can tell you from my days in a green apron, drive thru locations easily produce two to three times the revenue of locations without this 20th century gift.  As such, it employs more people and creates a better tax base too.  All good things, right?  Except when it comes to pollution and traffic congestion, those tick up as well.  Faster, reliable and more often: the American way, no?  Viagara, anyone? Continue reading »