Apr 252013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

For many years, the 33-story World Trade Center overlooking the Mississippi River was one of New Orleans’ most important centers of business.

Powerful people, companies and government agencies including the Port of New Orleans occupied suites at the WTC. The 30th floor restaurant, the Plimsoll Club, was usually packed. You needed a reservation to get a table. The World Trade Center suite on the 29th floor was often the site of important civic press conferences and educational seminars. Located at the foot of the Mississippi River at the end of Canal Street, the WTC offered incredible views of the river, especially from the Plimsoll Club. At the top of the building a revolving bar called the Top of the Mart was an important social spot. During her years as a lobbyist for the Dock Board, Danae worked at the WTC Building and enjoyed it. She, along with her colleagues, thought the Plimsoll Club was a neat place for lunch. Continue reading »

Apr 232013
 

(Image via facebook.com/pizzahut)

When more than 40 Pizza Hut locations suddenly closed across New Orleans in January of 2011, some saw it as an early sign of the Mayan apocalypse. That date came and went last December without the world ending, and, right on cue, Pizza Hut is now preparing to return to Orleans Parish. Continue reading »

Apr 222013
 

Owen Courreges

The other day, I heard an anecdote about a man who parked in a gas station in Orleans Parish and wound up in a confrontation with a tow company.  Apparently, he’d pulled in to buy something from the convenience store, but first decided to check out the menu posted in the window of a restaurant next door.  When he came back less than five minutes later, a tow company was already hooking up his car and demanded $90 to release it.  The man protested and the police were called out, who promptly backed the tow company. Continue reading »

Apr 192013
 

This power plant on Spruce Street houses a backup turbine that is the source of gear oil in a mist-like form that has covered neighbors’ homes and cars, Sewerage and Water Board officials say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

West Carrollton residents beset by an oily sheen over their homes, cars and gardens are bearing the brunt of providing drinking water to the rest of the city from a century-old facility hobbled by emergency measures taken after Hurricane Katrina, officials said, and it may be another year before repairs progress enough to make a difference in the problem. Continue reading »

 Comments Off
Apr 182013
 

Children’s Hospital signed a lease in January for the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital that required mental-health services there as a way to continue negotiating to purchase the building outright, but planned all along to keep its psychiatric services at the DePaul campus nearby, hospital officials told the New Orleans City Council on Thursday morning. Continue reading »

Apr 152013
 

A watercolor rendering of the new event venue proposed by Joel Dondis for 1911 Magazine Street.

A new event venue from the founder of La Petite Grocery and a new “third wave” coffee shop from the owners of the Saint bar are both planned within a block of each other off the Lower Garden District section of Magazine Street. Continue reading »

Apr 152013
 

(Cartoon by Owen Courreges for UptownMessenger.com)

Owen Courreges

“Occupy the lane,” they say.  By “they” I mean an increasing number of bicycling enthusiasts who don’t want to be relegated to keeping to the far right of the street to allow motorists to sneak by, thus allowing themselves to be frequently “buzzed” by motorists.

This is a genuine concern, and it’s a good argument for educating motorists, but it’s just not the law.  New Orleans Municipal Code Section 154-1415 provides that “[e]very person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right-hand side of the roadway as practicable[.]” Continue reading »

Apr 132013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We’ve known Marlin Gusman for a long time and we have a high regard for him. Marlin is a smart guy who graduated from Jesuit High School and the Wharton School of Business. He was an excellent Chief Administrative Officer in the Marc Morial administration and a pretty good City Councilman.

But our friend Marlin Gusman has had nothing but trouble at the Orleans Parish Prison. His allegation in a recent interview in the New Orleans Tribune that people are being critical of him because he’s African-American is strongly agreed with in many quarters of the black community. Our African-American friends – including several elected officials – say that Gusman has acknowledged the problems at the prison by accepting the terms of the Consent Decree and that Mayor Landrieu should focus his attention on Police Chief Ronal Serpas and our city’s ongoing crime problems so that fewer cab drivers, grandmothers, or young children become victims. Continue reading »

Apr 092013
 

A wild monk parakeet pulls a twig from a tree outside the Newman Greenie House on Monday afternoon to add to its nest in a nearby stadium light. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Trees have been removed from the Jefferson Avenue neutral ground from Magazine to Danneel Street, and the clearing will continue later this year as preparations continue for the next phase of a major drainage project. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

When officials announced last month that a major new drainage project on Jefferson Avenue would begin in April, many Uptown residents worried about the effects on traffic, parking, rainwater drainage during the actual construction, and the removal of trees in the neutral ground.

But some residents who live closest to the avenue had a slightly more exotic concern: What would become of the little green monk parakeets that have colonized the palms along Jefferson Avenue?
Continue reading »

Apr 082013
 

(cartoon by Owen Courreges)

Owen Courreges

The ongoing clash over the cost of the consent decree governing Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) continues to bubble over.  This week we were greeted by the latest bombardment against Sheriff Marlin Gusman in the form of the release of a 2009 video featuring inmates openly mainlining heroin, smoking crack, popping pills, gambling, flashing cash, and even displaying loaded guns.  It looks like footage of a party at Marion Berry’s house.

Here’s a link to the video.  I’ve run it through a website that replaces the audio with “Yakety Sax” so it’s a smidge less depressing. Continue reading »

Apr 042013
 

Jimmy Anselmo (center) and supporters after replacing the former Frat House sign with a banner reading, “Bring Back Jimmy’s Music Club.” (photo courtesy of Jimmy Anselmo)

Jimmy’s Music Club will return for three nights of music performances starting today (Thursday) to raise money for its legal battle against the city’s alcohol laws. Continue reading »

Apr 042013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Back in olden times, Allan covered the Louisiana Legislature for The Times-Picayune and Danae lobbied the Legislature for the Dock Board. So we both have a sense of what it takes to be a good legislator and like to keep track of those who we think have bright futures in politics. Continue reading »

Apr 032013
 

Stacy Head, right, beams at her aide, Barbara-Lacen Keller, in a scene from “Getting Back to Abnormal.” (courtesy of The Center for New American Media)

“Getting Back to Abnormal” — the documentary screening three times as part of the upcoming filmOrama festival at the Prytania Theatre — was never intended to focus on City Councilwoman Stacy Head. But Head’s controversial role in the post-Katrina political landscape of New Orleans combined with her unusual on-screen candor made her and staffer Barbara Lacen-Keller natural subjects for it, the filmmakers said.

“The fact that they let us film them was really good,” said Louis Alvarez, one of the four producer/directors. “A lot of politicians wouldn’t allow that.”

The film’s opening thesis is that in 2010, as Head approached her first re-election campaign, she had become “a lightning rod for all things racial,” and it does not shy away from many of her most controversial moments. Yet, in a phone interview Wednesday morning, Head said she has seen the film and was pleased with its outcome.

“I thought it showed the good, the bad and the ugly about New Orleans and politics and who I am,” Head said. “I don’t take myself too seriously, so I liked it.” Continue reading »

Apr 032013
 

3527 South Liberty (photo by Jean-Paul Villere)

Jean-Paul Villere

Once upon a time the ivy-covered, faded green house with broken glass panes and missing siding at 3527 South Liberty in Uptown New Orleans probably was a family home, a quaint if not classically styled shotgun with sidehall elements, wrought iron fencing and floor to ceiling windows facing the street.  Today it sits beaten to hell but still seemingly structurally intact, an eyesore of eyesores, and consumed by litter including household discards, dozens upon dozens of old tires, and yes, even hypodermic needles.  Additionally according to nolaassessor.com/ there is a code-enforcement lien, and the city’s new Blight Status site shows a hearing next week on 11 violations found in January 2013.  

This kind of scenario represents the face of blight in the Crescent City today. Continue reading »

Apr 012013
 

5325 Perrier Street (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The proposed front elevation of the home listed in the demolition application. (via nola.gov)

A hearing on whether to demolish a Perrier Street home in Uptown New Orleans to make room for a new one on the lot was deferred for another two weeks Monday by a city panel. Continue reading »

Mar 302013
 

Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell rides in the Krewe of Zulu on Mardi Gras day, 2013. Cantrell says she has been stopped on parade routes and thanked for her efforts to increase enforcement of parade-safety laws. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

New Orleanians could see clearer laws about the placement of ladders, more control over the locations of portable toilets, and more efforts to clear public spaces during and between Mardi Gras parades next year, based on a number of ideas Uptown residents discussed with their City Councilwoman on Saturday afternoon. Continue reading »

Mar 272013
 

An early version of the plan for the O.C. Haley Boulevard streetscape project. An updated version is slated for release in April. (Click to enlarge.)

The latest delay in long-awaited plans for a $1 million upgrade to the appearance of O.C. Haley Boulevard sparked frustration among a group of residents and merchants Tuesday night about the prolonged uncertainty around the project’s scope after six years of discussion. Continue reading »

 Comments Off