Jul 082013
 

Broadmoor businesses and homeowners have begun installing the ProjectNOLA anti-crime cameras that the neighborhood hopes will reduce criminal activity as the area continues its commercial rebirth, according to a report by Monica Hernandez of our partners at WWL-TV. The residential cameras are installed by the homeowners and linked in to the private ProjectNOLA surveillance network, while 10 cameras along the Washington and Broad commercial corridor are being sponsored by City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell’s office.

Jul 082013
 

Owen Courreges

There comes a time in every writer’s life when, owing to a unique combination of nostalgia and sloth, they turn wistfully back to their previous work and think of how they can milk it at least one more time.  The result is always an uncomfortable cobbling of original material and hackneyed crap.

Thus, I am proud to present to you my retrospective column, with selected updates on various topics that I have previously addressed. Continue reading »

Jul 042013
 

Under the watchful eyes of the lions guarding Audubon Park, cars make the turn off Magazine Street around faded crosswalks. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Graffiti in the men’s restroom in the Riverview area behind Audubon Park. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As The Fly continues to increase in popularity as a riverfront recreation spot and the uppermost end of Magazine Street continues to suffer under heavy traffic, the Audubon Commission is asking city officials for $8.7 million in long-overdue upgrades to both. Continue reading »

Jul 042013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We only need to look at former Plaquemine Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle’s sentencing yesterday — nearly 46 months for accepting bribes from contractors anxious to do business with his parish — to quickly realize that being a Louisiana sheriff with millions of dollars to dole out to greedy contractors and consultants can be a very slippery slope.

One Sheriff who never made a major misstep and could be coming back around for another term is former Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Charles Foti. Now, in the private practice of law, Foti is bombarded by people every day who are asking him to take on his former protégé, Sheriff Marlin Gusman. It’s even possible that Foti’s cousin, Mitch Landrieu, is one of those speaking with him. Continue reading »

Jul 022013
 

All reported robberies around Uptown New Orleans in 2013. (map via NOPD)

The procession of high-profile Uptown robberies may seem unabated lately: a Garden District couple held up on their front porch, masked men barging into Cooter Brown’s in search of the safe, or a trio of very young teens in skeleton masks demanding money at gunpoint on Broadway Street, all just in June alone.

But despite the perception these incidents create, and in spite of a generally shrinking New Orleans Police Department, Uptown has seen a dramatic decrease of 50 percent or more in the number of armed robberies reported in 2013 from the same period of time last year, according to statistics compiled from NOPD sources. Continue reading »

Jul 022013
 

Owen Courreges

Like Mardi Gras beads on a St. Charles crape myrtle, the debate over what to do with the New Orleans World Trade Center has lingered.  The problem is that the World Trade Center, built in 1967, is widely regarded as a landmark.  Nevertheless, its future is in peril.  The city seems determined to see it scrapped.  Others are raising their voices to have it preserved. Continue reading »

Jun 262013
 

Police tape notifies the public that the Second District station was closed Saturday while workers made emergency repairs to the floor in the lobby. The station has since reopened. (Robert Morris, UptownMesenger.com)

Private donations and emergency repairs continue extending the lengthy career of the New Orleans Police station at the corner of Magazine and Napoleon bit by bit, but the 110-year-old building may finally be in line to retire from service in the next few years.

Money is already being allocated to replace the crumbling structure, city officials said Wednesday, but before the project can move much further, a decision must first be made on where the new Second District station will be. Continue reading »

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 »