Southern Rep, the highly regarded theatre company that has been performing all over the city since losing its longtime home at Canal Place two years ago, hopes to settle down in the Lower Garden District, its director told neighbors this week.
The popular Palmer Park — surrounded by an array of diverse neighborhoods including Carrollton, Fontainebleau, Pigeontown and Hollygrove — was given its name during an era of nostalgia for the Confederacy to honor a pastor so passionately in favor of slavery that Gen. Robert E. Lee described his oratory as more powerful than “an entire regiment of troops,” according to a presentation by a University of New Orleans researcher.
As the New Orleans tourism industry grows, the Prytania Park hotel is slated for a major, two-phase expansion into a 200-room hotel called “The Avenue Oaks Hotel” that will encompass most of a city block on St. Charles Avenue, according to plans shared with Lower Garden District neighbors on Monday night.
I’ve written a lot of columns since I started to write for Uptown Messenger in January of 2011. Sometimes I look back over them and realize: “You know, there have been some interesting developments with this since I put pen to paper.”
Accordingly, every now and again, I revisit a few old columns to provide brief updates on some of the topics I’ve written about. Some have happy endings, some less so.
So, without further ado, I give you The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
The annual Rising Tide “Conference on the Future of New Orleans” will host educator Dr. Andre Perry as its keynote speaker, with panel discussions on the lost histories of New Orleans’ Palmer Park, community organizing, government waste and finding religion in the city, as well as “tech school” sessions on using social media in publishing.
With the court challenge period mostly over and marginal candidates having dropped out, the hard-ball campaigns for various judgeships, the DA, and State Representative have begun in earnest. Though several organizations like the AFL-CIO, RDO and LIFE, the group founded by former mayor Dutch Morial, completed their endorsements early, we attended three public forums in the last week — the Orleans Parish Republican and Democratic Executive Committees and the Independent Women’s Organization — to get a first-hand look at all the remaining candidates.
Last night’s contest at OPDEC (the Democrats) was a real slug fest with numerous candidates hurling allegations of impropriety at each other which made that crusty audience gasp. One of the moderators, Jason Coleman, found himself inviting candidates up for the next round, as if it were a boxing match.
New Orleans officials are aware that the city’s tap water has an “unusual odor,” but it is safe to drink and possibly related only to algae in the Mississippi River, they announced Wednesday afternoon.
As Freret residents continue to organize an “official” booster club that would make Evans Playground eligible to host city-sponsored events such as free Movies in the Park and organized sports, they are hoping to attract support and sponsorships from the businesses on the commercial corridor.
Armed only with flashlights and imbued with a bare modicum of power, they’re soon to hit the streets of the French Quarter. These proud few will deal with parking issues and other quality-of-life complaints. They will respond to traffic accidents not resulting in injury. They will give directions to tourists.
They are… The NOLA PATROL.
Late last month, Mayor Landrieu made the grand announcement that his office would be forming the NOLA Patrol, a force of approximately 50 civilian employees . The operations of these young bucks are slated to be funded with a 0.25-percent hotel/motel tax instituted last year, which will bring in an estimated $200,000 per month.
Long before Yulman Stadium even received its name, questions of how football games would impact the neighborhoods around Tulane University dominated discussions about the return of college football to the Uptown campus.
On Saturday, those questions were finally answered: On-street parking may have been tough to find, but traffic was relatively light, and many neighbors were thrilled to revive the front-yard parties associated with memories of the old Sugar Bowl stadium.
“Going to the Dome spoiled my football experience at Tulane. I’m so glad, 40 years later, that we’re back, and I’m shocked at how quiet Audubon Boulevard is,” said Seph Dupuy, a 1970 Tulane graduate as he attended a small gathering there. “I’m pleasantly surprised how well controlled and easy it is to get around.”
In early 2013 — barely a month after she was sworn into office — City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell issued a statement forcefully proclaiming her opposition to the demolition of a century-old house at 820 General Pershing that was essential to the “the residential fabric of the community,” she said.
On Thursday — citing an impasse that fellow Councilmember Stacy Head described as a more of a “hostage” situation — Cantrell voted to approve the demolition of the same property. Cantrell declined to explain the reason for her change of heart, but residents who met with her extensively leading up to the decision said it may have to do with concerns about the viability of the city’s overall process for denying the demolition of historic properties.
After nearly two years of opposition by neighbors and repeated rejections from city officials, the demolition of a century-old home on General Pershing just off Magazine Street was approved Thursday by the New Orleans City Council.
African-American organizations and others are holding dialogues across America to bring home the lessons from Ferguson as a basis for creating change in their communities. Former Mayor Marc Morial, national president of the Urban League, is in the forefront of this movement through his weekly column which appears in newspapers and e-letters around the country and local action through the Urban League chapters.
The busy intersection of South Claiborne and South Carrollton avenues will be reduced to one traffic lane in several directions starting at 7 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 3) for repairs to a leaking water main, authorities said.
As New Orleans continues to recover from the devastation that followed Hurricane Katrina nine years ago, the city should pass a law preventing any schools or daycare centers from being built on top of toxic soil — including the proposed rebuilding of the Booker T. Washington High School over the old Silver City dump site in Central City, retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honore and local allies said Saturday morning.
“We’re the oldest city in this part of the country, and we ought to be the first to make a stand,” Honore said. “We’re not going to put a school on a dump.”
When New Orleans Police Commander Bob Bardy was promoted to deputy superintendent earlier this month, he left behind an eight-year stint in the Sixth District where most people knew his name and many knew his personal phone number.
When residents had problems — even problems like being charged in shootings — they knew they could call Bardy and receive a fair hearing, they said. Now that Commander Ronnie Stevens has been named to take the lead in the Sixth District, Central City residents in particular are hoping that strong relationship continues.
“We have a strong partnership with the Sixth District police,” said Barbara Lacen-Keller, a Central City activist who now works in City Hall. “We are family.”
It seems like just yesterday that we were packing up our TV cameras and computer hard drives to get out of Dodge before Katrina struck. Danae finally took Ray Nagin’s pleas seriously about 4 a.m. and began the long, slow journey to her parents in Arkansas with five dogs and our photographer. Allan, his sister Sandy Levy and their aged Mother, Miriam Katz, left several days earlier for Birmingham in an abundance of caution.
When New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked the residents of City Council District B how the city should spend their tax money Tuesday night, the answers nearly all involved streets: the holes in them, the lack of light on them, and the people who sleep on them.
Most of those problems — like all of those before the 300-year-old city — lack easy answers, and have been compounding for decades, Landrieu replied. But on at least one complaint, there is a glimmer of hope: the long-darkened streetlights along St. Charles Avenue are scheduled for repair in September.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell will host a public meeting on the coming year’s budget tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 26) at Touro Synagogue, and residents of Council District B are encouraged to come and share their thoughts on how the city’s tax revenue should be allocated.