With plans for a rooftop lounge and a restored Silver Whistle coffee shop on the first floor, The Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue is intent on reclaiming its historic prominence in New Orleans, its owners say — right down to the classic blueberry muffins.
New Orleans has a troubling legacy to overcome when it comes to the condition of its rental homes, even though more than half the City’s residents are renters. Such conditions have wide-ranging effects on everything from health to educational outcomes. Many renters find themselves having to move because they can’t get dangerous housing conditions addressed. When people have to move a lot, neighborhood stability goes down and so does public safety.
In a City where rents have skyrocketed beyond the reach of many working families, New Orleans renters deserve assurances that the homes they live in meet basic standards of quality and safety. A rental registry program would be good for New Orleans and can be designed in a way that is not overly cumbersome for the many landlords in the City that are just trying to do the right thing.
Stacy Head did not appear happy this past week with her colleague on the city council, LaToya Cantrell. Without any real warning, Cantrell announced vague plans to rapidly introduce an ordinance to create a rental inspection bureaucracy with regular inspections and a comprehensive online database.
“I reiterate my position that this ordinance is not ready for introduction next week,” Head frustratedly wrote in an email to the council. “The lightning speed with which this is moving as well as the apparent insular nature of the discussion is disconcerting.”
A stretch of Camp Street through the Garden District will experience low water pressure Friday morning while the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans repairs a 4-inch water valve nearby, officials said.
I personally loathe either giving or receiving directions, particularly in New Orleans. With all the twists and turns in the Crescent City, it’s a sure bet that there’s at least one step where you’ll have to “bear” onto something or venture on some convoluted path to make a left turn, all the while cursing the lack of rhyme and reason to the whole mess.
It’s all part and parcel of living in a city established nearly three-hundred years ago along a winding river. The streets tend to take on a life of their own.
Now, sadly, it’s about to become ever more difficult to meander some streets of Uptown New Orleans. Yes, the City Planning Commission (CPC) has once again exhibited its total lack of purpose, this time by approving needless street name changes borne of local political horse-trading.
Before Mayor Mitch Landrieu took the podium for Friday’s grand opening ceremony at Martin Wine Cellar on Baronne Street, he had a very important question to ask.
“You’ve already got your lemonade?” Landrieu asked a patron in the crowd, noting her tall glass. He took the microphone, and continued, “I’m happy. You know how many times I came here when I was a kid to get a sandwich, how many Lindys I’ve eaten?”
The large vacant lot on Broadway Street near Earhart Boulevard in Gert Town that formerly held the Mary Church Terrell Elementary School received tentative approval this week to become the new New Orleans Police Department Second District station and a community pool.
Today marks the official grand re-opening of the recently totally redone Samuel Square playground in the 2100 block of Napoleon, though the caution tape was removed a few days ago. And wow! Akin to other nearby brightly colored and playful compositions of many reborn play areas (think Laurence Square but moreso the Danneel Playspot at Octavia and St Charles) this 21st century facelift to this centuries old green space does not disappoint. And being a parent to young children (and a also a tax-paying neighbor myself) just a few blocks away from Samuel Square my level of engagement is set to maximum. And for many reasons.
A proposal to add a restaurant at the Magnolia Mansion hotel on Prytania Street drew such vehement opposition from Garden District-area neighbors on Tuesday afternoon that the City Planning Commission overruled their own staffers to recommend against the project.
The Lyons Center will hold free painting workshops for people of all ages on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings this week, according to the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission.
Author’s Note: Owen is inconsolable this week after the passing of yet another needless, paternalistic ordinance by the New Orleans City Council. Following a mental breakdown, Owen now believes himself to be Bland Landers, an imaginary cantankerous brother of noted advice columnist Ann Landers. Thus, the following advice column will run today in place of Owen’s usual rantings.
My husband and I recently moved in next to a longstanding juke joint, and as we anticipated, it’s far too noisy. Adding insult to this complete absence of injury, they’re also having music more often that they used to because the bar has become more successful (which also means more people loitering around, which makes me nervous for reasons I usually discuss in vague, coded language). I’ve called the police out several times without warning to harass them, but nothing ever gets done. What do I do?
— Batty in the Bywater
Two high-concept restaurants planned for Uptown New Orleans — the Lula micro-distillery slated for the Halpern’s building on St. Charles Avenue, and a project on Magazine Street by the owners of Maysville in New York City — both won easy approval from the New Orleans City Council on Thursday afternoon.
City crews are working to repair a damaged hydrant in the Riverbend area, but residents and businesses will experience low water pressure in the meantime, officials said Friday morning.
The impending loss of the charter at Andrew H. Wilson charter school in Broadmoor — one of New Orleans’ most deeply established and celebrated charter schools, but also one of the city’s lowest ranked campuses in state scores — has parents in the community deeply upset.
The school’s strengths, they said at a heated public meeting Tuesday night, run far deeper than superficial and unfairly-calculated test scores show, and they fear that the individualized care they are used to their children receiving will give way to a cookie-cutter approach if a larger operator takes over.
Art that expresses the African-American experience — from spirituals more than a century old to a new graffiti exhibit that closes today — has a power across generations to both create change and inspire the young, artists and officials said Monday morning in New Orleans in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“We are the generation of messengers,” said rapper Dee-1, Ben Franklin High School graduate David Augustine Jr. “We all have a platform, we all have an audience, we all have a flock we’ve been entrusted with. We have to decide, what is our message?”
‘Twas a clash of titans. In this corner, Mayor Mitch “the glitch” Landrieu, the scion of a Louisiana political dynasty, who has disappointed many by presiding over a sudden spike of crime in the French Quarter and a corrupt, ineffectual NOPD.
And in the next corner, Sidney “the insufferable” Torres, part-time New Orleans resident and garbage robber baron, who is always kvetching nauseatingly about any real or perceived threat to his property values.
Despite the Airbnb “horror stories” — 50 frat boys packing a tiny house for a weekend of debauchery — the real danger of short-term rentals, critics say, is the evisceration of neighborhoods, where greedy landlords displace long-time tenants for the quick buck of well-heeled weekenders. As New Orleans’ residents are replaced with tourists, the businesses that once served the neighborhood lose their customer base, and they too are replaced with overpriced establishments catering to the wealthy from elsewhere.
That view, supporters of the industry counter, gets the entire picture backwards. Airbnb actually allows residents to keep their homes amid rising prices by providing them with a small but significant supplementary source of income. Meanwhile, because the residents remain at the house, they have more money to spend at their favorite neighborhood establishments — and their guests often choose to spend money at the same places, strengthening the business community.
When City Councilwoman Susan Guidry visited comedian and activist Jonah Bascle in the hospital last month shortly before his death at age 28, she vowed to carry his fight forward to make public transportation in New Orleans accessible to the disabled — specifically, the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line.
Last week, with Bascle’s friends and supporters gathered in the City Council chambers, Guidry reiterated that she intends to make good on that promise sooner rather than later.