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 »

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Mar 262013

Attorney Morris Bart, left, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas and NOPD Second District Commander Paul Noel tour locker rooms at the NOPD Second District station that were recently renovated based on a donation from Bart. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Attorney Morris Bart, center, smiles as he accepts a statuette from NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas in thanks for his donation. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The floors may still have soft spots and the roof may still leak, but at least the officers at the century-old Second District police station now have a decent place to change clothes or use the restroom, thanks to a donation from prominent New Orleans attorney Morris Bart.

“They put their lives on the line,” Bart said. “If what I can do makes their lives a little easier and shows that, ‘Yes, we do appreciate what they do for us and for the people of New Orleans,’ then it’s my pleasure.” Continue reading »

Mar 262013

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and top NOPD officials listened to residents Tuesday night at First Emmanuel Baptist Church in Central City, while the NAACP met separately across town, according to our partners at WWL-TV. The NAACP had originally requested a meeting specifically about racial profiling, but when Landrieu sought to broaden the meeting’s scope, the NAACP protested.

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Mar 252013

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell speaks to the Bouligny Improvement Association in February. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell — who took office just in time to get involved in the annual controversy about enforcement of city laws along Mardi Gras parade routes — will fulfill a promise for a more comprehensive review of changes that could be made next year this weekend, when she holds a public roundtable discussion on the issue. Continue reading »

Mar 252013

Owen Courreges

New Orleans should annex all of unincorporated Jefferson Parish!  Metairie shall henceforth be known as New Orleans West!  “Fat City” will receive a makeover and be reinvented as “the little Bourbon!”  Prosperity shall rein!

Now that I have your attention, I will explain why this should happen, but cannot happen due to historical factors and outmoded laws. Continue reading »