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.
Freret Street will see the debut of two new events — a nighttime version of its long-running market and a new 5K charity race — as city officials released a revised timeline for the ongoing street-construction project.
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.
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.
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.
The developers of the new Magnolia Marketplace are holding an information session at 2 p.m. today (Tuesday, Dec. 3) for a wide range of prospective contractors and suppliers from minority- and women-owned businesses, New Orleans officials said.
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.
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.
Workers preparing Jefferson Avenue for installation of a major new drainage canal will spend the next several weeks before Christmas trimming trees and removing the neutral ground, New Orleans officials said.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.