Jun 082015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

There’s no getting around it: Central City is an impoverished neighborhood.

In 2013, Karen Gadbois and Craig Mulcahy summed up the situation in Central City nicely: “[Y]ou’re still within sight of the Superdome, but have no doubt about it: The tracks may be nonexistent, but you’re on the wrong side of them.”

With Central City’s depressed economic state, one would think that public officials and the nonprofit community would focus on promoting businesses that provide goods and services that serve a lower-income demographic. However, the opposite has been the case. Continue reading »

Jun 052015
 
Residential structures from the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital along Henry Clay Avenue will be torn down as part of the Children's Hospital expansion. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Residential structures from the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital along Henry Clay Avenue were approved for demolition as part of the Children’s Hospital expansion. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Children’s Hospital won permission Thursday to tear down six buildings on the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital campus along Henry Clay Avenue, but has agreed to participate beforehand in a federal process to determine whether their loss can be minimized or mitigated. Continue reading »

Jun 042015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Generally speaking, we like Police Chief Michael Harrison and the NOPD. We think Chief Harrison is at least trying to do a good job within the budget and directives set by Mayor Landrieu. But there are serious neglect-of-duty and abuse-of-power issues hovering over the NOPD including yesterday’s City Council dialogue on the mishandling of sex-crime and child-abuse cases.

It is unfortunate that Chief Harrison did not address this problem before being forced to do so by a scathing report from IG Ed Quatrevaux. Even though Deputy Chief Arlinda Westbrook complied some frightening statistics that found wide-ranging administrative policy violations, no officer has been disciplined in the seven months since Quatrevaux’s initial report because of the prevailing good-old-boys network inside the NOPD where they protect their own. Continue reading »

Jun 032015
 
A map of the Ninemile-Napoleon transmission upgrade project path. (courtesy of Entergy)

A map of the Ninemile-Napoleon transmission upgrade project path. (courtesy of Entergy)

Acknowledging the unpredictable maze of utility work and road closures that Uptown New Orleans has become, Entergy officials say their major upcoming project to replace transmission lines along Leake Avenue, Magazine and Annunciation streets will only require the streets to be shut down for hours at a time — not the days, weeks or months associated with other projects — and power is not expected to be shut off to any individual homes. Continue reading »

Jun 032015
 
An artist's rendition of the expansion of Children's Hospital onto the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital site. (image by Eskew + Dumez + Ripple architects, courtesy of Children's Hospital)

An artist’s rendition of the expansion of Children’s Hospital onto the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital site. (image by Eskew + Dumez + Ripple architects, courtesy of Children’s Hospital)

Children’s Hospital faces two key hearings before city officials this week as it prepares to tear down a cluster of dilapidated structures at the edge of the former site of the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital in anticipation of building a new parking garage and clinic space there, and shared more details about the development plans with neighbors on Tuesday night. Continue reading »

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Jun 012015
 
The former fountain store at 7901 St. Charles Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former fountain store at 7901 St. Charles Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A nearly 80-year-old building on St. Charles Avenue that was once a gas station, bagel shop and more recently a fountain store is slated to be torn down and replaced with a new house, less than a year after neighbors successfully protested plans for a condo development there. Continue reading »

Jun 012015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Plea bargaining is one of the hallmarks of an efficient criminal justice system. The prosecutor saves time and effort. The city collects a fine and court costs. The defendant receives a break on the offense charged. In theory, everybody is happy.

Alas, Mayor Landrieu is apparently not happy. His administration has decided to end the process in traffic court. Continue reading »

May 282015
 
City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell gestures as she responds to a question Wednesday night at "The Big Issue" panel discussion on gentrification at Tulane Hillel, while Flozell Daniels of the Foundation for Louisiana listens. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell gestures as she responds to a question Wednesday night at “The Big Issue” panel discussion on gentrification at Tulane Hillel, while Flozell Daniels of the Foundation for Louisiana listens. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As the cost of living in New Orleans continue to rise, pressuring low-income families to give up homes they have held for years, the city has a dedicated tax that raises nearly $4 million a year intended to promote affordable housing.

But that money, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell told a standing-room only crowd Wednesday night, is instead being spent by the city on code-enforcement efforts — which can actually increase the pressure on poor families to sell their homes in gentrifying neighborhoods. Continue reading »

May 282015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Yesterday’s announcement by Mayor Landrieu that the MacArthur Foundation was providing $150,000 for a study regarding our high incarceration rates was good news indeed. New Orleans has the highest incarceration rate per capital of any jurisdiction in the country — quadruple the national average. Since 2010 we have jailed more than 10 out of every 1,000 residents. Why does New Orleans and Louisiana incarcerate so many people — especially African-American males, who make up 90% of the prison population? Continue reading »

May 272015
 
A rendering depicting the approximate size and layout of the homes proposed for the former Turnbull Bakery site in the Irish Channel, though each house will be individually designed. (image courtesy of Pentek Homes)

A rendering from April depicting the approximate size and layout of the homes proposed for the former Turnbull Bakery site in the Irish Channel, though each house will be individually designed. (image courtesy of Pentek Homes)

The proposed redevelopment of the former Turnbull Bakeries site into a 17-home development stepped closer to approval Tuesday, when City Planning Commission voted unanimously to send the project to the New Orleans City Council with a favorable recommendation. Continue reading »

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May 252015
 

The former Carrollton court house, photographed in June 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

The former Carrollton court house, photographed in June 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)


Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

One of Aesop’s fables is that of the young crab and his mother.

“Why in the world do you walk sideways like that?” said the mother crab to her son. “You should always walk straight forward with your toes turned out.”

“Show me how to walk, mother dear,” answered the little Crab obediently, “I want to learn.”

Mother crab tried in vain to walk straight forward, but she could walk only sideways, like her son. When she wanted to turn her toes out she tripped and fell on her nose.

The moral of the fable? Don’t tell others how to act unless you can set a good example. And local government could learn something from it. Continue reading »

May 222015
 
The former Robert site in the 1300 block of Annunciation. (April 2014 image via Google maps)

The former Robert site in the 1300 block of Annunciation. (April 2014 image via Google maps)

As the new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance approached approval by the City Council earlier this month, a last-minute effort to change the zoning around the former Robert grocery property on Annunciation Street has Lower Garden District residents wondering what the future holds for the property. Continue reading »

May 202015
 
The pothole killer working on State Street Drive in Marlyville, captured on video by YouTube user "VideoNOLA." (image used with permission)

The pothole killer working on State Street Drive in Marlyville, captured on video by YouTube user “VideoNOLA.” (image used with permission)

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

In a city where potholes are less a problem with streets and more a permanent fact of life along them, New Orleans residents all cope in their own ways — dodging them, reporting them, do-it-yourself fixing them or decorating them with adornments from the ironic to the obscene.

Many New Orleanians have also heard of the city’s “pothole killer,” a truck that fills potholes by spraying materials into them, though fewer have seen it in action.

On Wednesday night, however, Uptown residents and City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell discussed a new concept that might give them hope that the pothole killer will one day visit their streets — real-time online tracking that could at least show where the pothole killer is or has been. Continue reading »

May 202015
 
A side view of the house proposed for 518 Eleonore. (via nola.gov)

A side view of the house proposed for 518 Eleonore. (rendering by William Sonner Designs, image via nola.gov)

518 Eleonore Street (via Orleans Parish Assessor's Office)

518 Eleonore Street (via Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office)

The city panel overseeing demolitions in much of Uptown New Orleans split this week over a request to tear down what may be one of the oldest houses in the Audubon neighborhood and replace it with new construction, after the owner and preservationists debated whether or not it has deteriorated beyond repair. Continue reading »

May 182015
 
Passengers transfer from a shuttle bus on Melpomene Avenue to a streetcar on St. Charles Avenue during road construction in 2010. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Passengers transfer from a shuttle bus on Melpomene Avenue to a streetcar on St. Charles Avenue during road construction in 2010. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Streetcar service through the Uptown area will be interrupted in three phases over the summer in order to accommodate the SELA drainage project, RTA officials told Carrollton residents on Monday night. Continue reading »

May 182015
 

Owen Courreges

In the film Cool Hand Luke, a prison guard slaps the protagonist, played by Paul Neuman, into solitary.

“Sorry, Luke,” the guard explains. “I’m just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.”

Luke responds laconically: “Nah – calling it your job don’t make it right, Boss.”

The phrase “just doing my job” has always been used to cover a multitude of sins. Indeed, when a man feebly attempts justify anything with those words, it’s almost dead-certain that he’s covering up for his own peccadilloes.

New Orleans, sadly, is full of these types. Continue reading »

May 182015
 

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

Susan Guidry

Susan Guidry

The two City Council members representing Uptown New Orleans — Susan Guidry in District A, and LaToya Cantrell in District B — will each meet with residents this week alongside representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies as major road and drainage construction projects continue around the area. Continue reading »

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