May 012015
 
New Orleans police officers close an Interstate 10 on-ramp to divert protesters marching in support of demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 25, 2014. (image via WWL-TV)

New Orleans police officers close an Interstate 10 on-ramp to divert protesters marching in support of demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 25, 2014. (image via WWL-TV)

As the city of Baltimore struggles with ongoing unrest related to the use of force by police there, two high-ranking New Orleans Police Department officers (including one from the Uptown-based Second District) have spent the week embedded with law enforcement agencies assisting with crowd control there, city officials said. Continue reading »

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Apr 292015
 

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell takes notes during a meeting of the Bouligny Improvement Association in 2013. (UptownMessenger.com  file photo by Robert Morris)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell takes notes during a meeting of the Bouligny Improvement Association in 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell will speak to the Faubourg Avart Neighborhood Association tonight, as members discuss issues related to zoning, stormwater drainage, the proposed expansion of the city’s historic districts and other issues. Continue reading »

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Apr 272015
 
Three New Orleans police officers examine the crosswalk along Magazine Street where gunfire broke out on Wednesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Three New Orleans police officers examine the crosswalk along Magazine Street where gunfire broke out on Wednesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Owen Courreges

In case of emergency, call 911. Then wait. And wait. And wait.

If you wait long enough, there’s some chance the line will just disconnect. Then you can try again. Repeat as necessary.

This was certainly the lesson learned by onlookers to a shooting this past Wednesday in the Lower Garden District on Magazine Street. The pair, two workers toiling away in an nearby office, heard the sound of gunshots and then peered out the window to view the aftermath. There, they saw some men scrambling. Thankfully, nobody was hit.

Both of the witnesses dutifully called 911. The first waited for nearly three minutes for her call to be answered. The other waited the same amount of time… only to be disconnected. Continue reading »

Apr 212015
 
A T-shirt bearing the logo for Avery's Place from a Facebook page used as evidence during a hearing before the city Alcohol Beverage Control board on Tuesday. (via facebook.com/avery.manuel.5)

A T-shirt bearing the logo for Avery’s Place from a Facebook page used as evidence during a hearing before the city Alcohol Beverage Control board on Tuesday. (via facebook.com/avery.manuel.5)

The Alcohol Beverage Control board of New Orleans voted Tuesday afternoon to revoke the liquor license from Avery’s Place on Willow Street in west Carrollton, saying that the establishment’s namesake is actually an owner and a convicted felon and thus not allowed to operate a bar. Continue reading »

Apr 212015
 
An image promoting the "Grand Opening of Latin Fridays" from the "Cafe Ra" Instagram stream, which advertises events at 1379 Annunciation Street. (via instagram.com/ra_nola)

An image promoting the “Grand Opening of Latin Fridays” from the “Cafe Ra” Instagram stream, which advertises events at 1379 Annunciation Street. (via instagram.com/ra_nola)

New Orleans police and city and state alcohol officials ordered a halt to nightclub activity operating in a former firehouse on Annunciation Street earlier this month, saying that “Club Ra” was issued a live entertainment permit in error but that its activities bore little resemblance to the restaurant its zoning allows. Continue reading »

Apr 202015
 
The apartment complex at 1900 Amelia Street, midway through its demolition. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The apartment complex at 1900 Amelia Street, midway through its demolition. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The old abandoned apartment complex at the corner of Amelia and Dryades street has long drawn the ire of its neighbors, who have complained for years that it was an eyesore and a danger.

Late last week, in dramatic fashion, something was finally done about the building — by gravity. It partially collapsed on Thursday, and on Friday, the city of New Orleans sent a demolition crew to finish the job. Continue reading »

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Apr 202015
 

Owen Courreges

There’s an old episode of “The Simpsons” where Marge is mugged and the police are useless to catch the perpetrator. Nevertheless, Marge conquers her own fear and anxiety, managing to capture the guy who did it single-handedly.

Police Chief Wiggum arrives at the scene and proceeds to lecture the gathering crowd. “She caught her own criminal, unlike the rest of you lazy bones.”

The crowd begins to look down sheepishly. “You’re not gonna find those criminals looking at your feet, people,” Chief Wiggum chastises. Continue reading »

Apr 102015
 
The Our Lady of Lourdes church on Napoleon Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Our Lady of Lourdes church on Napoleon Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

After years of trying to find a new purpose for the flooded Our Lady of Lourdes church on Napoleon Avenue, the Archdiocese of New Orleans has decided to place the majestic building up for sale to a buyer that can be a good neighbor to the Catholic school next door. Continue reading »

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Apr 082015
 
The vacant lot at 820 General Pershing was overgrown and littered when photographed in late March. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The vacant lot at 820 General Pershing was overgrown and littered when photographed in late March. The rectory, under renovation next door, can be seen behind the wall. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The vacant site of a century-old home on General Pershing Street — demolished last year despite sustained outcry from its neighbors — may finally see some use this fall as green space for the nearby Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans. Continue reading »

Apr 062015
 
A rendering depicting the approximate size and layout of the homes proposed for the former Turnbull Bakery site in the Irish Channel, though each house will be individually designed. (image courtesy of Pentek Homes)

A rendering depicting the approximate size and layout of the homes proposed for the former Turnbull Bakery site in the Irish Channel, though each house will be individually designed. (image courtesy of Pentek Homes)

The Turnbull Bakery entrance on First Street. (via Google Maps)

The Turnbull Bakery entrance on First Street. (via Google Maps)

Article by Kristen Himmelberg for UptownMessenger.com

The site of the old Turnbull Bakery in the Irish Channel neighborhood is set to undergo a major transformation in the coming years as city officials and neighborhood leaders have begun signing off on plans for the demolition of the old warehouses and construction of 17 single-family homes. Continue reading »

Apr 062015
 

Owen Courreges

If I had to write a motto for the Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC), it would be: “Making you kiss the ring to replace your roof.”

There are few examples of useless bureaucratic slime worse than the HDLC. This gaggle of architectural fetishists has crafted a Byzantine set of design guidelines, many of which have nothing whatsoever to do with preservation and appear specifically designed to render any renovation prohibitively expensive.

The only saving grace of the HDLC is that their authority is limited to a small number of core neighborhoods. This is kind of like saying that the saving grace of buck moth caterpillars is that they only come out in the Spring – it’s a restraint, but not exactly what I’d call a redeeming quality. Continue reading »

Apr 012015
 
(Illustration by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

(Illustration by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

For more months than I care to count, and for surely as many more to come, I have been watching and experiencing firsthand the utter madness that is the ongoing construction along Napoleon Avenue.  All for the sake of what we all cross our fingers will be improved drainage.  Hold your breath, boss!  Residing where I do half a block off of the thoroughfare in the middle of the stretch just two short blocks to Freret Street, the impact has been a daily reminder to take nothing for granted and be ready for anything.  Some weeks I can cross Napoleon at my street, most I can’t.  Some days I do a U-turn at Loyola, others it’s like a whimsical journey into the unknown peppered with hungry potholes and vaporous boundaries.  But with all these catch as catch U-turns, that’s when it hit me: why isn’t the Freret intersection a rotary anyway? Continue reading »

Mar 302015
 

Owen Courreges

Collegiality and basic civility where in short supply this past week when the city council passed two controversial street name changes – as I originally predicted they would. Sadly, this is what happens when those elected scamps start to break the rules.

Usually, rules are there for a reason. They’re the bedrock of civilized discourse, the roux of the gumbo of organized government, and the something-something of something (note to self: think up more metaphors). With the run-up to the council’s decision, rules the rest of us learned in nursery school were broken left and right, to wit: Continue reading »

Mar 272015
 
A rendering of the new CVS pharmacy slated for the corner of Louisiana and Magazine. (courtesy of Avery Koontes / Sherman Strategies)

A rendering of the remodeled CVS pharmacy slated for the corner of Louisiana and Magazine. (image by Genesis Design Group, courtesy of Avery Cootes / Sherman Strategies)

The New Orleans City Council gave enthusiastic approval to a plan to remodel the former Blockbuster Video building at the edge of the Garden District into a CVS pharmacy, but several members said the city should be looking for a way to restrict the growing density of chain stores on Magazine Street. Continue reading »

Mar 262015
 
Robert C. Blakes Jr., son of Bishop Robert C. Blakes Sr., speaks to the New Orleans City Council amid a full house seeking the renaming of two streets after Blakes' father and another pastor, John Raphael. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Robert C. Blakes Jr., son of Bishop Robert C. Blakes Sr., speaks to the New Orleans City Council amid a full house seeking the renaming of two streets after Blakes’ father and another pastor, John Raphael. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans City Council president Stacy Head speaks Thursday morning while Councilman Jason Williams listens. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans City Council president Stacy Head speaks Thursday morning while Councilman Jason Williams listens. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Following a heated discussion on Thursday, the New Orleans City Council voted in favor of requests to rename sections of two streets in Central City after prominent local pastors. Continue reading »

Mar 232015
 
The former Le Roux banquet hall at 1700 Louisiana Avenue, photographed in January 2015. (photos courtesy of Nina English).

The former Le Roux banquet hall at 1700 Louisiana Avenue, photographed in January 2015. (photos courtesy of Nina English).

The former Le Roux banquet hall on Louisiana Avenue that was damaged by fire last year has been approved for demolition, and the owner is considering replacing it with a new condo development. Continue reading »

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