Greetings fellow revelers! Happy to report the first weekend of Mardi Gras 2014 seemingly unfolded with minimal fuss and maximum fanfare. While I personally stayed Uptown, walking to this parade and that corner on Friday and Saturday, we heeded caution for Sunday’s wetness and took in a matinee at the Prytania. So while my own experiences stayed squarely in the 70115, from all the posts I read, the otherwise premiere Carnival activities in the remainder of the Crescent City happened as expected: ‘tit Rex got small, Chewbacchus made the kessel run in less than 12 parsecs, and Barkus took a dip. All on a Mardi Gras first weekend, as it were.
A long-delayed plan to create a new community center on Monroe Street in west Carrollton — now slated to be a new home for Hollygrove’s Trinity Christian Community — received a thumbs-up from the New Orleans City Planning Commission on Tuesday, and organizers say they now have the funding in line for the project to move forward.
St. Charles Avenue homeowners are allowed by the city to fence in landscaping they create between the sidewalk and the street to protect them from Mardi Gras parade goers, but nearby residents say too many new landscaping projects and fences are cropping up this year, restricting where the public can watch, according to a report by Meg Farris of our partners at WWL-TV. City officials say only one new fencing permit was issued this year, at Constantinople Street, but Farris pointed to other plots that are fenced in without any apparent landscaping.
Everywhere you look these days you hear an ongoing debate over a simple app known as “Uber.” The concept is simple: the San Franciso-based company provides an app that connects passengers with “for hire” vehicles and rideshare services via their cell phone. Pricing is handled through Uber on a distance or time basis.
During times of peak demand, the price can be several times normal taxi rates. At other times, Uber may cost less than a regular cab. The goal is to provide a functioning market within the app whereby users can always receive prompt service.
Voting is one of the most treasured rights of every American. But it is amazing how many people either never register or find some excuse not to vote. Then of course there is the perceived voter fatigue caused by having too frequent elections, failure to educate oneself on the issues, or being too lazy to physically go to the polls.
With early voting set to begin March 1, political eyes will be watching to see what impact voter apathy – due in part to our love of all things Mardi Gras – will have on voter turnout for the March 15 runoff elections for Council At Large, Council C, Sheriff and Coroner. In the primary election held on February 1, approximately 12,000 voters cast their votes early and a much smaller number voted by mail.
Comments in The New York Times by a Loyola University economics professor defending the right of businesses to refuse service to black customers — such as the segregated Woolworth’s lunch counters that became an icon of the fight against segregation in the 1960s — have sparked an academic controversy that drew a rebuttal from the university president. Weeks later, the topic continues to dominate the pages of the student-run newspaper, The Maroon.
The public is invited to listen to thought-provoking expert panelists discuss environmental hot topics such as the Orleans Parish Levee Board lawsuits, the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” and the state’s “cancer alley” at the 19th Annual Tulane Summit on Environmental Law & Policy on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 21-22), in Tulane Law School’s Weinmann Hall.
The Faubourg Livaudais Neighborhood Association will host City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and other city officials reporting on the fight against blight and fire safety at their February monthly meeting Thursday evening.
Bon to the jour, 2014 Carnival people! You may or may not know that the powers that be — read, your New Orleans City Council — have seen it in their infinite wisdom to make this Mardi Gras season one of change. “How so?” you may ask. That is, if you missed all the fuss last month? Before we roll through my standard top 20 we publish annually, in short here are the new rules and ordinances, with a few editorial embellishments:
As the Spanish-American Church heads back to the New Orleans City Council this week for another request to tear down their decaying building on Sophie Wright Place, neighbors and members of the Coliseum Square Association hope the stalemate over the building will lead to stronger enforcement of blight laws against neglectful nonprofits.
As the celebrities and athletes who came to town to party during the NBA All-Star Weekend board planes heading back to their posh lives — after they Instagram images of themselves looking fabulous and doing fabulous things like eating beignets and shooting hoops with underprivileged youth — New Orleans remains as bloody as ever.
The past twenty years have seen the popularization of a relatively new word: Disneyfication. The Wikipedia article on Disneyfication defines it as “a term which describes the transformation of something, usually society at large, to resemble The Walt Disney Company’s theme parks.”
Many people, including me, have linked this concept to policies coming from New Orleans City Hall.
Those of you who went to see the Krewe du Vieux parade Saturday evening were greeted by a float emblazoned: “Dizneylandrieu.” Beneath a caricature of Mitch Landrieu as Mickey Mouse, Krewe members dubbed “Mitchkateers” distributed maps of “mayor-approved adventure[s] in the Gentrified Kingdom.”
Good for the jurors who yesterday found former Mayor Ray Nagin guilty on 20 of 21 criminal charges in federal court.
Those of us who have watched Nagin closely for the eight years he was in office believe Ray thought he could con the jury, just as he fooled New Orleans voters in the 2002 and 2006 mayoral elections. His hubris brought to mind Danae’s initial impression after Ray’s emergence as a major candidate in the 2002 election. “Ray is a rock star,” Danae said. “He’s cool, handsome and clever. Ray’s not about substance. He’s about being Ray.”
“We have a lot of work to do on transportation safety, we know that, as long as kids are waiting on the bus in busy intersections, crossing four-lane highways and walking on roads with speed limits up to 40 miles per hour,” said City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who called the special meeting. “We have a real problem here, and we need to do everything we possibly can to provide real solutions.”
Share your viewpoint on public-school education policy-making and reform at a community breakfast with the Orleans Public Education Network at 7:30 a.m. Thursday (Feb. 13) at Mahalia Jackson Elementary School.
The Corps giveth and the Corps taketh away: The large structures blocking Jefferson Avenue near Magazine Street are in the process of being moved in time for Mardi Gras parades to make their usual turns around that corner, but soon afterward a four-block stretch of Prytania will close for about a year, officials said Wednesday.
Mr. Landrieu, tear down this fence.
I am speaking, of course, of the fence that has spanned the end of Newcomb Boulevard at Freret Street for the past several years. The installation of the fence was approved by the city at the behest of Newcomb’s well-heeled, well-connected residents who were concerned about through traffic clogging their street.