Mar 222015
 
Members of the NOPD Sixth District task force search for an armed robbery suspect on Peniston Street in January 2012. The number of task force officers assigned to individual districts has dramatically decreased since then. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Members of the NOPD Sixth District task force search for an armed robbery suspect on Peniston Street in January 2012. The number of task force officers assigned to individual districts has dramatically decreased since then. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

During every parade of Carnival season, thousands throng the sidewalks and neutral grounds of St. Charles Avenue, lured by the promise of thrown beads, the blaring bands or the spectacle of the floats. Within that chaotic revelry, however, also lurks the threat of deadly violence in the form of concealed handguns.

The elite New Orleans Police Department officers specifically tasked with finding those guns do not see much of the floats. Instead, they are hyper attentive to parade-goers’ hands, looking for anxious fingers unconsciously seeking reassurance from heavy metal held in a waistband. Or, the officers evaluate gazes – looking for the one young man walking just a little faster than his friends, his eyes straight forward, more intent than the others on reaching his destination because of the dangerous cargo he has in tow. Continue reading »

Mar 192015
 
The former site of the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital. (via New Orleans HDLC)

The former site of the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital. (via New Orleans HDLC)

As Children’s Hospital finalizes its plans to expand across Henry Clay Avenue onto the site of the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital campus, the city Historic District Landmarks Commission has nominated most of the NOAH site as a landmark.

The motion exempts six of the 15 buildings on the site and the Henry Clay Avenue portion of the wall (separating the two campuses) from landmark status, acknowledging negotiations thus far between Children’s Hospital and preservationists about the demolition of those structures. But if the remainder of the site is formally designated as a landmark at a subsequent HDLC meeting, Children’s Hospital will subject to HDLC review of any future construction on the NOAH site. Continue reading »

Mar 192015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

New Orleans streetcars are our version of light rail transit, and they have made living in the city’s core more attractive.

We know of a one-car family on Carrollton Avenue. The wife uses the SUV to ferry the three kids back and forth and handle the other daily necessities of life. The man of the house only needs to look as far as his neighborhood streetcar to give him access to downtown New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Mar 182015
 

The new development proposed for Magazine Street between Richard and Felicity streets. (rendering by Studio WTA, courtesy of Wayne Troyer)

The new development proposed for Magazine Street between Richard and Felicity streets. (rendering by Studio WTA, courtesy of Wayne Troyer)

A large, long-vacant lot on Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District is now planned to become home to a new development with ground-floor commercial space and apartments above, the New Orleans-based developer told neighbors this week. Continue reading »

Mar 172015
 
O'Henry's on South Carrollton. (March 2014 photo by Google Maps)

O’Henry’s Food and Spirits on South Carrollton. (March 2014 photo by Google Maps)

O’Henry’s Food and Sprits on South Carrollton agreed to pay the city a $500 fine Tuesday after allegedly selling beer to a teenager last month, and Avery’s Place on Willow Street was warned by the city alcohol board to be on its best behavior while awaiting a hearing on noise complaints. Continue reading »

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Mar 172015
 
A rendering of the new glass-and-steel facade of the Garden District Grocery slated for the former location of Zara's at 2042 Prytania. (by Lee Ledbetter, courtesy of the architect)

A rendering of the new glass-and-steel facade of the Garden District Grocery slated for the former location of Zara’s at 2042 Prytania. (by Lee Ledbetter, courtesy of the architect)

After its sale last year, the former Zara’s location on Prytania Street in the Lower Garden District will be dramatically renovated into a new, full-service Garden District Grocery, the property owners told neighbors on Monday. Continue reading »

Mar 162015
 

After being cited by state agents for allegedly selling beer to a teenager last month, O’Henry’s Food and Spirits on South Carrollton has been added to the liquor licenses scheduled for possible sanctions this week by the New Orleans alcohol board. Continue reading »

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Mar 162015
 

Owen Courreges

Note: The author has once again suffered a mental break and lapsed into his s“Bland Landers: Advice Columnist” persona. The following is the grisly outcome.

Dear Bland,

I am a developer pitching plans for the old World Trade Center building. My proposal includes a plan for a some twisty-gondola things that go up to an observation deck, and then come back down. Remember those gondolas at the World’s Fair back in ’84? Well, it’s like those only instead of taking you across the river, it just takes you up and then back down again (kind of like an elevator, but without the utility). I guess my question is, what in the World Trade Center is wrong with me? Continue reading »

Mar 132015
 
A diagram explaining the function of the water towers planned for Carrollton. (via Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans)

A diagram explaining the function of the water towers planned for Carrollton. (via Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans)

In the coming years, two 200-foot water towers — perhaps emblazoned with the popular Sewerage & Water Board logo — will become a feature of the Carrollton-area skyline, and federal preservationists want to hear your best ideas on how to lessen their impact on the historic New Orleans neighborhood. Continue reading »

Mar 122015
 
The Carrollton and Uptown historic districts (the two large areas on the left) may be subject to stricter scrutiny for new construction. (map via nola.gov)

The Carrollton and Uptown historic districts (the two large areas on the left) may be subject to stricter scrutiny for new construction. (map via nola.gov)

Stacy Head

Stacy Head

New construction across much of Uptown, Carrollton and Broadmoor could be regulated as closely as it is in the Irish Channel or Garden District, based on the results of a study authorized by unanimous vote of the New Orleans City Council on Thursday morning. Continue reading »

Mar 112015
 
Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Prologue: Each Saturday at noon on WTUL 91.5 FM in New Orleans, Mark Tobler’s DJ set almost always opens with John Hartford’s song “Back in the Good Old Days.”  The song is a projection of a future population residing at a city dump, and while there — though they may imbibe as a community — the topic of discussion and conversation will be remembering when things were better and wondering how things became what they are.

The 21st century has been a veritable roller coaster thus far for the Crescent City.  Storms, diaspora, growth, crime, food highs, political lows, Hollywood South, hospital hubbub, even an entrepreneurial hotbed too.  It’s downright dizzying at times.  And then there’s our blight — and the quest to remedy that scourge, often via demolition.  We as a city often decry the Big Easy brand as slipping away via noise ordinances, smoking bans, whatever legal challenges and changes that float through City Hall.  But removing the landscape in the name of the greater good?  To be sure, there’s no faster way to becoming Anywhere, USA. Continue reading »

Mar 102015
 
The former Rachel Sims Baptist Mission on Second Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former Rachel Sims Baptist Mission on Second Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The City Planning Commission gave its nod Tuesday to a developer’s plan to convert the former Rachel Sims Baptist Mission in the Irish Channel into condominiums, but required that he provide off-street parking behind the building. Continue reading »

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Mar 092015
 
The former Rachel Sims Baptist Mission on Second Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former Rachel Sims Baptist Mission on Second Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A century-old Baptist mission center in the Irish Channel that closed in 2010 is slated to become 10 condominiums in a redevelopment that is drawing praise from historic preservationists and neighborhood leaders but less enthusiasm from city planners. Continue reading »

Mar 092015
 

Owen Courreges

If there’s anything that probably deserves government attention, it’s preventing children from getting mowed down while they get to and from school. No politician has ever, to my knowledge, run on a platform of exposing children to the greater risk from Mr. Distracted McNeglient’s murder-mobile.

Thus, if you’ve been reading The Lens lately, you’ve been understandably disturbed by a series of articles regarding the operation (or rather, the lack thereof) of New Orleans’ school zone lights. The first article detailed the results of a Lens survey performed this January which revealed that “[s]ix out of 10 — 87 out of 147 in active school zones — were malfunctioning.” Continue reading »

Mar 052015
 

SWBResidents along Zimpel Street in the east Carrollton and university areas are expected to experience low water pressure and possible traffic delays on Saturday, according to the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Mar 042015
 
A photo of 3008 Lowerline Street included in city documents. (via nola.gov.)

A photo of 3008 Lowerline Street included in city documents. (via nola.gov.)

Stacy Head

Stacy Head

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

A demolition request on Lowerline Street by St. Mary’s Dominican High School received approval from a split New Orleans City Council last week, reopening the debate about the role of historic preservation that has simmered between prominent members over the past year. Continue reading »

Mar 042015
 
Workers dig a pit to repair a sewer line on Magazine near Third Street on Feb. 21. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Workers dig a pit to repair a sewer line on Magazine near Third Street on Feb. 21. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The two blocks of Magazine Street around Third where city workers recently repaired a sewer line will close again Thursday and Friday so that the street can be repaired, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans announced. Continue reading »

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Mar 042015
 
Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

The tireless subject of back taxes and property auctions in the New Orleans metro area has once again garnered much buzz in the last week.  True, it is an exciting topic for the Crescent City citizenry at large as we wade through the thankfully diminishing blight, too often witnessing the demise of structure too far gone not to be demolished.  That’s the downside for sure.  The upside?  Seemingly countless blocks are given new looks from fresh eyes.  That said, understanding the what and the how of these processes should demand the lion’s share of your attention if you fancy yourself the real-estate investor type, because well, this ain’t eBay.  Continue reading »

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Mar 032015
 
A revised rendering of the CVS proposed for Magazine and Louisiana included in documents provided to the city. (design by Linfield, Hunter and Junius architects)

A revised rendering of the CVS proposed for Magazine and Louisiana included in documents provided to the city. (design by Linfield, Hunter and Junius architects)

City officials have given initial approval to a proposal to turn the shuttered Blockbuster Video and adjoining restaurants into a CVS pharmacy at the corner of the Garden District on Magazine street. Continue reading »

Mar 022015
 

Owen Courreges

Transit for the poor? What a curious thought.

Although in theory a primary purpose of transit is to provide necessary transportation for those too poor to afford a reliable vehicle, the reality is that the poor are generally the ones who are shortchanged. Continue reading »