Feb 022015
 

Owen Courreges

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. Continue reading »

Jan 312015
 
Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks at the grand opening ceremony at Martin Wine Cellar on Friday, Jan. 30. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks at the grand opening ceremony at Martin Wine Cellar on Friday, Jan. 30. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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?” Continue reading »

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Jan 302015
 
An image from Google Maps shows the large vacant lot from the corner of Broadway and Edinburgh streets. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

An image from Google Maps shows the large vacant lot from the corner of Broadway and Edinburgh streets. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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. Continue reading »

Jan 302015
 
A sneak peek at the new playground equipment at Samuel Square. (Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

A sneak peek at the new playground equipment at Samuel Square. The playground will receive its official dedication at 2 p.m. today. (Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

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. Continue reading »

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Jan 272015
 
The Magnolia Mansion at 2127 Prytania Street. (via Google Maps)

The Magnolia Mansion at 2127 Prytania Street. (via Google Maps)

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. Continue reading »

Jan 272015
 

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

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

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue will have its license suspended for a month starting in mid March as part of a punishment for breaking a 2013 agreement with the city of New Orleans to reduce the impact of the crowds it attracts on weekends, the city’s alcohol board has decided. Continue reading »

Jan 262015
 

Owen Courreges

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.

Dear Bland,

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 Continue reading »

Jan 232015
 
At left, a rendering of the exterior of the new restaurant slated for Magazine and Nashville. At right, the Halpern's building slated to become the Lula restaurant and microdistillery. Both projects won City Council approval on Thursday. (UptownMessenger.com)

At left, a rendering of the exterior of the new restaurant slated for Magazine and Nashville. At right, the Halpern’s building slated to become the Lula restaurant and microdistillery. Both projects won City Council approval on Thursday. (UptownMessenger.com)

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. Continue reading »

Jan 212015
 
Andrew H. Wilson Charter School principal Logan Crowe speaks to more than 100 people gathered at the school Tuesday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Andrew H. Wilson Charter School principal speaks to more than 100 people gathered at the school Tuesday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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. Continue reading »

Jan 192015
 
David Augustine Jr., the artist known as Dee-1, gives the keynote address during Monday's Martin Luther King celebration at New Orleans City Hall. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

David Augustine Jr., the artist known as Dee-1, gives the keynote address during Monday’s Martin Luther King celebration at New Orleans City Hall. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

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?” Continue reading »

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Jan 192015
 

Owen Courreges

‘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. Continue reading »

Jan 152015
 

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. Continue reading »

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Jan 152015
 
City Councilwoman Susan Guidry reiterates her promise to continue activist Jonah Bascle's fight to make the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line accessible to the disabled at the Jan. 8 City Council meeting. (via nolacitycouncil.com)

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry reiterates her promise to continue activist Jonah Bascle’s fight to make the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line accessible to the disabled at the Jan. 8 City Council meeting. (via nolacitycouncil.com)

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. Continue reading »

Jan 152015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Poor Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Winner of two landslide elections, seemingly one of America’s most successful and articulate mayors, architect of a New Orleans post-Katrina renaissance, he has to be wondering what hit him. It seems like his plunge from the penthouse to the outhouse took place almost overnight.

The big punch, of course, began with a sudden surge in Vieux Carre crime that quickly got completely out of control. Gangs of thugs began roaming French Quarter streets, beating people up as well as robbing them. The Vieux Carre community responded with fury, holding rallies, complaining that they were living in Landrieuville where no one is safe for even a moment. Continue reading »

Jan 132015
 
(photo courtesy of Noodle & Pie)

(photo courtesy of Noodle & Pie)

Noodle & Pie, the celebrated new restaurant at the corner of State and Magazine, received a favorable recommendation from city officials Tuesday for its request to start serving cocktails, despite the concerns of a few neighbors worried that the establishment may one day replaced by a nuisance bar. Continue reading »

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Jan 122015
 

Owen Courreges

The NOPD is looking for a few good cops.  It just doesn’t care if they’re very smart.

In a December 29, 2014 letter to the Civil Service Commission, Police Department Superintendent Michael Harrison advocated removing the requirement that police recruits obtain at least 60 higher education credits, with exceptions for those possessing prior military or law enforcement experience.

According to Harrison, all that fancy book learnin’ just ain’t necessary.  He’d prefer to emphasize “workforce training over formal classroom education.”  Furthermore, the 60-credit mandate damages “NOPD’s ability to recruit and hire qualified police officers by excluding . . . those who cannot afford a higher education.” Continue reading »