Jun 262013
 

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who has been spearheading a review of the city’s Mardi Gras ordinances, said she is open to exploring the idea of changing the parade schedule to include routes other than St. Charles Avenue, according to a report by Monica Hernandez of our partners at WWL-TV.

“It’s maybe reaching out to other neighborhoods to see who is interested in taking on the load,” Cantrell said. “Again, you don’t want to make those decisions that will involve and have an impact on neighborhoods without engaging them in the discussion.”

Jun 262013
 

The demolition of 1936 Foucher, June 2013. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

The flow of blight remediation in New Orleans may be measured in a broken pendulum of hopscotched city blocks.  Often changes in demography, population, and the chosen dwellings therein might find a more traditional barometric approach of build it and they will come, a law of attraction of sorts.  Schools, pools, Starbucks, what have you.  But for the Crescent City, the block by block measures, even house by house, may seem a little unusual to the inexperienced newcomer or curb loving suburbanite.  And a wonderful example caught my eye the other afternoon, a glacial kinetic landscape too good to pass up.  Enter Danneel and Foucher. Continue reading »

Jun 252013
 

The former New Orleans Free School on Camp Street, photographed in October.

The redevelopment plans for the former New Orleans Free School on Camp Street call for 25 apartments inside the three-story building, but city officials decided Tuesday that any more than 17 would be too much of a population increase on the neighborhood. Continue reading »

Jun 242013
 

Owen Courreges

“Music is one of the oldest forms of human expression. From Plato’s discourse in the Republic to the totalitarian state in our own times, rulers have known its capacity to appeal to the intellect and to the emotions,  and have censored musical compositions to serve the needs of the state . . . The Constitution prohibits any like attempts in our own legal order.  Music, as a form of expression and communication, is protected under the First Amendment.”

– Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781, 790 (1989).

“Noise can be regulated by regulating decibels. The hours and place of public discussion can be controlled.  But to allow the police to bar the use of loud-speakers because their use can be abused is like barring radio receivers because they too make a noise.  The police need not be given the power to deny a man the use of his radio in order to protect a neighbor against sleepless nights.  The same is true here. Any abuses which loud-speakers create can be controlled by narrowly drawn statutes.”

– Justice Douglas, writing for the majority, Saia v. New York, 334 U.S. 558, 561-2 (1948).

This past week a coalition of thirteen neighborhood groups of varying levels of legitimacy proposed a seven-point scheme for controlling excess “noise” in the City of New Orleans, particularly in the French Quarter.  They claim that their plans are eminently reasonable.  I’ll summarize their proposals.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether they are reasonable: Continue reading »

Jun 202013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It’s no secret that Allan and Danae represent the Orleans Parish School Board and therefore watch education trends pretty closely. But we have to say that today’s groundbreaking for the new $55 Million McDonogh #35 College Preparatory High School on the edge of Bayou St. John is a public education milestone worthy of celebration. First of all, FEMA provided the entire $55 million as part of their long-term commitment to rebuilding schools in New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Jun 192013
 

Jean-Paul Villere

“I want a safe neighborhood.”  On any given day I must hear this a good dozen times from newbies (and parents of newbies) moving to New Orleans, less so from those that are returning or looking for a change of scenery already calling the city home.  And the why is simple I think: if you’ve chosen to reside in the city proper then you likely engage on a level of “This ain’t Mayberry.”  Yes, it is a Southern space that affords the stereotypes therein where neighbors and strangers alike trade routine pleasantries, comments on the weather, and the not so stray parallel park assist, but that doesn’t translate to lowering your guard or not following your gut.

Everyone wants a safe neighborhood, but arguably crime happens all over; there isn’t a corner in the Crescent City any one can point to and say ‘Here!  It’s totally safe here in the Cemetery District.  Unlock your doors, and leave your bike unchained and smart phone unattended.”  Continue reading »

Jun 182013
 

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Late last year, the Daiquiri Place Cafe on St. Charles Avenue lost its liquor license amid allegations that it had done too little to control the noise, litter and large crowds that congregated around it on weekends.

At the time, the Daiquiri Place owners argued unsuccessfully that Santa Fe Tapas next door was a major contributor to the problem. Now, attorneys for the city are making a similar complaint, bringing nuisance charges against Santa Fe Tapas before the city’s alcohol board. Continue reading »

Jun 182013
 

Four Uptown neighborhood groups — the Broadmoor Improvement Association, the Garden District Association, Maple Area Residents Inc. and St. Charles Avenue Association — are among 13 petitioning city officials to strengthen the city’s noise ordinance, arguing for measures such as designating a specific individual with enforcing it and measuring sound levels from venues’ property lines. Continue reading »

Jun 182013
 

Jeremy Wilcox, a New Orleans police officer who served most recently in the Uptown-based Second District, was removed from the force Tuesday based on a 2004 bad check for $2,505 discovered after a traffic stop last summer in which he was driving a truck without a license plate, authorities said. Continue reading »

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Jun 182013
 

With more Mardi Gras krewes moving to the St. Charles Avenue route, a series of proposals would return the celebration to its neighborhood routes by “bolstering an alternative major parade route in Mid-City, working with Jefferson and the other parishes to coordinate regional parade schedules, adjusting regulations to allow neighborhoods to hold much smaller Mardi Gras Krewe processions, and encouraging those neighborhoods to form ‘Krewes of their own’, something between marching clubs and small float processions,” according to a recent article by Christoper Tidmore for the Louisiana Weekly.

Jefferson Parish officials would be enthusiastic about having a night or two more focused on their parades, Tidmore writes, suggesting that they might help with some Orleans Parish parade-route enforcement on other nights in exchange, a potentially attractive option as the multi-million dollar bill for the federal NOPD consent decree looms.

The proposals may be timely, as City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell spends the year brainstorming potential changes to the city’s Mardi Gras ordinances.

Jun 172013
 

Marshall Hevron (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Marshall Hevron, a local attorney and an organizer of the reborn Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Uptown New Orleans, has decided not to challenge Susan Guidry for the District A seat on the New Orleans City Council, he recently announced. Continue reading »

Jun 172013
 

(image via projectnola.com)

In what may be the most ambitious plan to use security cameras to fight crime anywhere in the city, the Broadmoor Improvement Association has set a goal of installing 100 cameras around the neighborhood by the end of the year. Continue reading »

Jun 172013
 

Owen Courreges

I’m beginning to think there’s a conspiracy to keep Uptowners out of the Marigny and Bywater.  At the very least, if certain plans materialize, there will be no decent arterial past the French Quarter.

Presently, if I want to drive to the Marigny and points further East, I usually take the Claiborne Expressway or South Rampart.  I could certainly go through the Quarter, but that’s generally a nightmare.  I could also go further north, but reaching a road north of the expressway would be a major detour.  The options are pretty well limited. Continue reading »

Jun 132013
 

Pastor Andre Massenburg, leader of the City of Refuge Ministry in Chicago and father of slain AmeriCorps volunteer Joseph Massenburg, speaks at the Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Andreas Hoffman of Green Light New Orleans presents the parents of Joseph Massenburg with a plaque to mount on an oak tree planted in their son’s honor. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

With prayers for comfort, songs about shelter and scripture about sacrifice, the people of New Orleans offered their heartfelt apologies Wednesday evening to a pair of grieving parents for the loss of their son’s life on our streets.

The young man’s father, a church leader from Chicago, needed no apology, however. Instead, using an adopted pulpit in the far end of west Carrollton, he returned their condolences with a thundering message of resilience and defiance. Continue reading »

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Jun 132013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It’s no secret that Sheriff Marlin Gusman is embattled. Escapes, deaths, and many normal prison problems have plagued his term. Gusman has even admitted that the pricy new jail does not have the special facilities needed to best treat sick and mentally-ill patients in this phase. Let’s not forget that Orleans Parish sheriffs have traditionally kept their finances close to the vest and not readily available for full scrutiny by mayor and council. There’s not much transparency at the prison these days.

Black voters could make Gusman’s reelection a cause and turn out in record numbers to keep their sheriff. Standing in the wings might be one of two strong women who could set the sheriff’s office straight: Dana Kaplan or Stacy Head. There has never been a female sheriff in New Orleans or even a credible female candidate for sheriff. Continue reading »

Jun 122013
 

The former New Orleans Free School on Camp Street, photographed in October.

While neighbors of the former New Orleans Free School on Camp Street say they look forward to its redevelopment, they are concerned that 25 apartments there will be too many, they told city officials on Tuesday. Continue reading »

Jun 112013
 

The former Louisiana Seafood at 2900 LaSalle. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A new restaurant by the owner of Cowbell slated for a busy Central City commercial corridor won a favorable recommendation from city planners on Tuesday afternoon, as did commercial rezoning for a pair of buildings on a central stretch of Magazine Street. Continue reading »

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