Mar 202014
 

The sentencing hearing for Former District B City Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt’s federal racketeering conviction has been delayed until May so that she can seek a new trial on the basis that anonymous online commenting by members of the U.S. Attorney’s office may have unfairly influenced the jurors in her trial in 2011, according to a report by Laura Maggi of The Advocate. The same scandal previously led to the convictions against five NOPD officers in the Danziger Bridge shooting being overturned, Maggi notes.

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Mar 202014
 
Precinct-level results for the tax proposal supporting the Audubon Nature Institute. (map by Brian Denzer; click for larger PDF)

Precinct-level results for the tax proposal supporting the Audubon Nature Institute. (map by Brian Denzer; click for larger PDF)

The tax supporting the Audubon Nature Institute was not only rejected by New Orleans voters by a two-to-one margin, but the opposition was also distributed evenly across the city, losing in all but 10 of the city’s 366 voting precincts. Continue reading »

Mar 202014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

The power of social media and voter’s desire for a younger crop of elected officials definitely were the hallmarks of last Saturday’s election. In every instance, the younger of the two candidates was elected or reelected, as in Sheriff Marlin Gusman. Continue reading »

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Mar 192014
 

The St. Patricks' Day block party outside Tracey's and Parasol's on Sunday. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

The St. Patricks’ Day block party outside Tracey’s and Parasol’s on Sunday. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

The off-duty police officers who have worked the Irish Channel block parties on St. Patrick’s Day for years declined to sign up this year through the city’s new, federally-mandated paid-detail system, leaving organizers scrambling to find replacements until the last minute, reports John Simerman of The New Orleans Advocate. Only about 15 percent of the department’s officers have signed up for jobs through the new city’s office, and as a result of the St. Patrick’s Day issue and others like it, the city is considering offering police higher rates for the off-duty work, Simerman reports.

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Mar 192014
 
Precinct-level results in the runoff for Orleans Parish Coroner. (map by Brian Denzer; click for full-sized PDF)

Precinct-level results in the runoff for Orleans Parish Coroner. (map by Brian Denzer; click for full-sized PDF)

In Saturday’s election for Orleans Parish Coroner, Jeff Rouse picked up votes in precincts across the city with the third-place candidate out of the runoff, while Dwight McKenna saw turnout among his supporters decrease — leading to Rouse’s narrow comeback victory. Continue reading »

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Mar 182014
 
Precinct-level results in the sheriff's race runoff. (map by independent data analyst Brian Denzer)

Precinct-level results in the sheriff’s race runoff. (map by independent data analyst Brian Denzer; click to enlarge)

Sheriff Marlin Gusman won 40,068 votes in Saturday’s runoff election against Charles Foti — only about 500 fewer than he won in the Feb. 1 primary despite a dramatic decrease in turnout, suggesting that voters who chose other candidates initially and even some of Foti’s supporters simply stayed home. Continue reading »

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Mar 172014
 
Plans for a new Regions Bank to replace the Roly Poly and an adjacent house on Tchoupitoulas by architect Richard Whitston of Kentucky. (via New Orleans City Council)

Plans for a new Regions Bank to replace the Roly Poly and an adjacent house on Tchoupitoulas by architect Richard Whitston of Kentucky. (via New Orleans City Council)

The Roly Poly location on Tchoupitoulas. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Roly Poly location on Tchoupitoulas. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Roly Poly restaurant on Tchoupitoulas Street is slated be torn down and replaced with a new Regions Bank at the corner of Jefferson Avenue, according to a demolition request pending before the city. Continue reading »

Mar 172014
 

Contractors working on the massive Uptown drainage projects along Jefferson, Napoleon and soon Louisiana avenues plan to fit their work crossing the St. Charles Avenue streetcar tracks from June to August of this year, and during those months, St. Charles Avenue will be reduced to two lanes of traffic, according to a report by Monica Hernandez of our partners at WWL-TV.

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Mar 172014
 
A map of results in the City Council At-Large race. Areas shaded dark green show precincts where Jason Williams improved his results by 25 percent or more. (map by Brian Denzer; click for larger PDF)

A map of results in the City Council At-Large race. Areas shaded dark green show precincts where Jason Williams improved his results by 25 percent or more. (map by Brian Denzer; click for larger PDF)

Jason Williams

Jason Williams

Although voter turnout decreased by 20,000 people in Saturday’s runoff election, Jason Williams actually increased his vote total by nearly 10,000 votes to secure his landslide victory — especially in precincts that Cynthia Hedge-Morrell had initially won in the Feb. 1 primary, an analysis of voting data shows. Continue reading »

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Mar 172014
 

Owen Courreges

Should the powers of New Orleans Municipal Court be expanded?   It’s already happening.  You just probably didn’t realizing it was going on.

It began a couple of years ago, in late January 2012.  Mayor Mitch Landrieu dispatched letters to the judges of Criminal District Court and Municipal Court asking them to impose higher bonds for release in gun cases.  Landrieu specifically pointed to a program initiated by Judge John Garvey in St. Louis, who began automatically requiring a $30,000 cash-only bond for youths arrested for illegally possessing firearms. Continue reading »

Mar 162014
 

Susan Guidry

Susan Guidry

The New Orleans City Council is seeking to place Councilwoman Susan Guidry on a new working group formed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration to consider building issues at the Orleans Parish Prison, according to a report by Della Hasselle at our sister site, MidCityMessenger.com. The Council continues to discuss which auxiliary buildings can be used for special-needs inmates at the jail after the new main building opens in May, the report states.

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Mar 162014
 
(via Louisiana Secretary of State's office)

(via Louisiana Secretary of State’s office)

In Saturday’s runoffs, Jason Williams won the At-Large seat on the City Council and Sheriff Marlin Gusman was also re-elected, each winning with roughly two-thirds of the vote, and in the closest race of the evening, Jeff Rouse was elected coroner.

Meanwhile, the controversial tax for the Audubon Nature Institute was rejected by voters by a two-to-one margin. Continue reading »

Mar 142014
 

By Brooke Duncan III

It’s unfortunate that some have taken to social and other media to bash Audubon, one of the truly great success stories of local government in our time. The millage started out at 4.2 but was reduced a few years ago as a result of a state-wide reassessment of property values when values declined following Katrina. Without getting bogged down in semantics, the tax has been in place for a long time and the proposal returns the millage to its prior level. The difference for a home valued at $200,000 has been reported to be around $12 a year. The current taxes will end in 2021-2022. This is an effort to establish the taxes at the former millage; this is not a new tax in addition to the existing tax. Continue reading »

Mar 122014
 

By Clark Thompson

If you live in Uptown New Orleans, you’ve probably had the misfortune of driving on Octavia street in the past few months. The US Army Corp’s SELA project effectively closes Jefferson Avenue, and ends up sending lots of traffic onto Octavia, and the wear and tear of additional use is destroying the street. And the street is destroying cars, but that’s already been covered. Continue reading »

Mar 122014
 
Lindsay Hellwig, a co-owner of the Courtyard Brewery, speaks to the City Planning Commission on Tuesday afternoon.

Lindsay Hellwig, a co-owner of the Courtyard Brewery, speaks to the City Planning Commission on Tuesday afternoon. (via nolacitycouncil.com)

courtyard brewery logoAfter fielding detailed questions about parking, floor plans, dumpsters, gates, curb cuts, trees, sidewalks and deliveries on Tuesday, the owners of the Courtyard Brewery received approval for a new “nanobrewery” in the Lower Garden District from the City Planning Commission, with the outdoor seating allowed that the name implies.

The commission did not give the Courtyard Brewery permission for live music, however, so they hope to make the case for that when their request heads to the City Council in the next month. Continue reading »

Mar 112014
 
John Fogerty and Lori Wingate of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ron Spooner and Robert Jackson of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans field questions from a crowd of 100 people about the next leg of the Napoleon Avenue drainage project on Tuesday.

John Fogerty and Lori Wingate of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ron Spooner and Robert Jackson of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans field questions from a crowd of 100 people about the next leg of the Napoleon Avenue drainage project on Tuesday.

Construction on the massive new drainage canal under Napoleon Avenue will soon begin moving toward the river, and sections of the neutral ground will likely be inaccessible to parade-goers during Mardi Gras next year, New Orleans officials said Tuesday night. Continue reading »

Mar 112014
 
Volunteers plant a tree while children play behind them at Wisner Playground in November 2010.  (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Volunteers plant a tree while children play behind them at Wisner Playground in November 2010. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

By Ramsey Green and Sam Winston, members of Friends of Wisner Park

On Saturday, New Orleanians will vote on whether to approve a new 50-year tax increase with all revenue exclusively designated for the Audubon Institute. You should vote “No” – especially if you value having more functional green spaces in the city like the beautiful Audubon Park. Continue reading »

Mar 112014
 

RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard stands outside a school bus on Napoleon Avenue in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard stands outside a school bus on Napoleon Avenue in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

The distance that New Orleans children ride the bus to school each day has risen to 3.5 miles in the city’s fragmented charter-school system, nearly double the 1.8 miles they traveled before Hurricane Katrina, according to a report by Della Hasselle of our sister site at MidCityMessenger.com. After the traffic death of a first-grader waiting for the bus last month, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and other city officials are looking into ways to make the busing system safer and more efficient across the city, Hasselle reports.

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Mar 112014
 

State Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, is sponsoring a bill supported by Mayor Mitch Landrieu that would allow the city of New Orleans to hold an election asking voters whether the property taxes dedicated specifically to police and fire services should be raised, according to an article by Charles Maldonado of The Lens. The property tax increase would increase spending on emergency services by about $6 million, the article states.