A section of Cohn Street that collapsed in March has finally been repaired, according to a report by Bill Capo and our partners at WWL-TV.
“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:
“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.”
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.
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.
Jeremy Wilcox, a New Orleans police officer who served most recently in the Uptown-based Second District, was removed from the force Tuesday based on a 2004 bad check for $2,505 discovered after a traffic stop last summer in which he was driving a truck without a license plate, authorities said.
With more Mardi Gras krewes moving to the St. Charles Avenue route, a series of proposals would return the celebration to its neighborhood routes by “bolstering an alternative major parade route in Mid-City, working with Jefferson and the other parishes to coordinate regional parade schedules, adjusting regulations to allow neighborhoods to hold much smaller Mardi Gras Krewe processions, and encouraging those neighborhoods to form ‘Krewes of their own’, something between marching clubs and small float processions,” according to a recent article by Christoper Tidmore for the Louisiana Weekly.
Jefferson Parish officials would be enthusiastic about having a night or two more focused on their parades, Tidmore writes, suggesting that they might help with some Orleans Parish parade-route enforcement on other nights in exchange, a potentially attractive option as the multi-million dollar bill for the federal NOPD consent decree looms.
The proposals may be timely, as City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell spends the year brainstorming potential changes to the city’s Mardi Gras ordinances.
Presently, if I want to drive to the Marigny and points further East, I usually take the Claiborne Expressway or South Rampart. I could certainly go through the Quarter, but that’s generally a nightmare. I could also go further north, but reaching a road north of the expressway would be a major detour. The options are pretty well limited.
The young man’s father, a church leader from Chicago, needed no apology, however. Instead, using an adopted pulpit in the far end of west Carrollton, he returned their condolences with a thundering message of resilience and defiance.
It’s no secret that Sheriff Marlin Gusman is embattled. Escapes, deaths, and many normal prison problems have plagued his term. Gusman has even admitted that the pricy new jail does not have the special facilities needed to best treat sick and mentally-ill patients in this phase. Let’s not forget that Orleans Parish sheriffs have traditionally kept their finances close to the vest and not readily available for full scrutiny by mayor and council. There’s not much transparency at the prison these days.
Black voters could make Gusman’s reelection a cause and turn out in record numbers to keep their sheriff. Standing in the wings might be one of two strong women who could set the sheriff’s office straight: Dana Kaplan or Stacy Head. There has never been a female sheriff in New Orleans or even a credible female candidate for sheriff.
The Freret neighborhood has been awarded a $3,000 grant to install ProjectNOLA anti-crime cameras around the residential areas.
When the Krewe of Freret rolls in 2014, New Orleanians will see the return of a parading group that has been absent from the Uptown route since the 1990s. What they may not see, however, is strands of ubiquitous plastic Mardi Gras beads.
As of this weekend, New Orleans is awash in twenty-something girls wearing hot pink t-shirts. They’re advocating for Planned Parenthood, which is facing significant push-back from its latest opus – a proposed 7,000 square foot clinic on South Claiborne Avenue.
Planned Parenthood is absolutely hell-bent on seeing this clinic completed. A ceremony was held late last month to kick off the 4.2 million dollar construction project, the completion of which is slated for late 2014 or early 2015. Supporters opined that the clinic will be built “no matter what” because “women in Louisiana desperately need Planned Parenthood.”
The show of solidarity has engendered a strong reaction from pro-life advocates, which, though a rare breed in New Orleans proper, are a dime a dozen throughout the rest of Louisiana. Planned Parenthood has made no bones about the fact that it will, in fact, be performing abortions at the Claiborne clinic, a first for Planned Parenthood in Louisiana. Abortion, you may have heard, is a sore subject in this country.
The nonprofit Family Center of Hope — which since 2007 has been building a $2.7 million community center at Washington and Broad where contractor disputes are blamed for no construction in more than a year — has received $40,000 from the city’s NOLA for Life fund for a separate mentoring program for Juvenile Court referrals, according to a report by Charles Maldonado of The Lens.
Newsflash: “Neighbors and nightclub clash over live music.” It sounds like a headline from any given day’s report from the City Council chambers, but it’s actually a story that’s nearly as old as New Orleans.
Whether New Orleans properly takes care of its musicians and other artists is another never-ending saga — but one that may finally be showing some improvement, according a panel discussion held at Tulane University on Thursday evening.