Dec 142012
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

That Sheriff Marlin Gusman has entered into a consent agreement with the U.S. Justice Department regarding the governance of Parish Prison is great news for those who have long been advocating for an effective, just and equitable criminal justice system for New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Dec 112012
 

A site plan for Magnolia Marketplace, as submitted to the City Planning Commission.

If you thought the new Taco Bell on South Claiborne was exciting news for Uptown New Orleans, just wait till you meet its new neighbors.

If Tuesday afternoon’s approval by the City Planning Commission is any indication, a major new shopping center called Magnolia Marketplace is soon headed for the large open area just off South Claiborne Avenue adjacent to the Harmony Oaks development. Continue reading »

Dec 092012
 

In this graphic, red represents precincts won by LaToya Cantrell with 80 percent of the vote or more. Orange are those she won by 56 to 79 percent, and light orange are those she won by 50.1 percent to 55 percent. Light green are those Dana Kaplan won by 50.1 percent to 55 percent, and dark green are those Kaplan won by 56 to 79 percent. (Graphic by Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

In her runoff victory Saturday night, LaToya Cantrell not only won more precincts than Dana Kaplan, Cantrell also won her best precincts by far wider margins than Kaplan did, an analysis of the results shows. Continue reading »

Dec 092012
 

Some voters in the District B runoff on Saturday said they were impressed with LaToya Cantrell’s record in Broadmoor, while others said they admired Dana Kaplan’s advocacy for juvenile justice. Just as frequently, however, they said they wanted to support Councilwoman Stacy Head’s efforts to provide some balance against Mayor Mitch Landrieu — or that they wanted to show support for Landrieu’s work so far. Continue reading »

Dec 092012
 

In her victory speech, LaToya Cantrell emphasized the hard work that brought her through the runoff for the District B seat and that which is yet to come in the next 15 months.

After congratulating Cantrell in her concession speech, Dana Kaplan emphasized her own campaign’s success in promoting her ideas about the criminal justice system and economic opportunity.

See video of each candidate below: Continue reading »

Dec 082012
 

LaToya Cantrell laughs and claps as she arrives at her victory party at Dijon restaurant on Annunciation Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Dana Kaplan poses for a photo with a supporter at her election-night party at Wolfe’s. (photo by Marta Jewson for UptownMessenger.com)

LaToya Cantrell, the Broadmoor activist whose neighborhood’s recovery became a symbol of New Orleanians’ resilience, pledged to bring her tireless work ethic and open heart to a bigger stage Saturday night after winning a seat on the New Orleans City Council.

Cantrell won nearly 54 percent of the ballots cast Saturday with all precincts and early votes counted, according to the Secretary of State. Her opponent, Dana Kaplan, won just over 46 percent. Continue reading »

Dec 062012
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Back in the late 1960s, the late Stewart Brehm, Director of the Sewerage & Water Board, told Allan, then a reporter for the States-Item, that the sewerage and drainage system that was a crucial part of New Orleans infrastructure was falling apart and would have to be replaced at the costs of tens of millions of dollars that the city didn’t have. Brehm said that as politically unthinkable as an S&WB rate increase at that time might be, it would have to be done.

Well, not exactly. Continue reading »

Dec 032012
 

Officer Kevin Wheeler (left) receives a plaque from Second District Commander Paul Noel in July of 2012 after being named officer of the month. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

On Nov. 14, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas opened his presentation on the 2013 budget with an example of the department’s excellent everyday police work with an anecdote about Officer Kevin Wheeler.

“Just two weeks ago I was reading reports, and an officer by the name of Wheeler in the Sixth District was riding around in his car, paying very close attention, hears the description of a vehicle wanted for armed robbery and within seconds catches four people who had just committed an armed robbery at Louisiana and Magazine,” Serpas said.

Fourteen days later, the department issued a news release stating that the same officer Wheeler was being dismissed from duty for deploying his Taser on an unarmed subject and for allegedly being untruthful about his report on the incident afterward. Continue reading »

Dec 032012
 

Owen Courreges

SCENE:                  GRAND INQUISITOR’S CHAMBERS, NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION (FICTIONAL)

PLAYERS:

APPLICANT:        (Proposing a gas station on an industrial road)

INQUISITOR:      (The singular embodiment of the stubborn will of an association)

(Lights rise slowly.)

(The room is dim. A single spotlight shines on the applicant. He stands flustered before the tribunal as sweat drips from his brow.) Continue reading »

Nov 272012
 

The red section represents the area of South Claiborne Avenue already reduced to two lanes for the next two years; the purple area will close Wednesday until spring of next year. (map by Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Starting Wednesday (Nov. 28), another stretch of Claiborne Avenue in the Carrollton area will be reduced to two lanes until at least March of next year as a new underground drainage canal is built under the neutral ground, officials announced today. Continue reading »

Nov 272012
 

City Council president Stacy Head (right) embraces LaToya Cantrell after endorsing her bid for the District B council seat Tuesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

LaToya Cantrell was endorsed Tuesday morning in her bid for the District B seat on the City Council by Council President Stacy Head, a popular and influential voice in Uptown politics who twice won the seat in 2006 and 2010. Continue reading »

Nov 262012
 

(cartoon by Owen Courreges)

The New Orleans Police Department recently announced that it will be dropping the use of pepper spray and using Taser devices exclusively.  This reform came pursuant to the consent decree the city has entered into with the U.S. Justice Department, ostensibly over concerns of overuse of pepper spray and its greater potential for physical harm.

Sometimes, however, even good reforms can be a mixed bag. Continue reading »

Nov 202012
 

The Daiquiri Place Cafe (via Google Maps)

The Daiquiri Place Cafe has long brought too much litter, traffic and noise to St. Charles Avenue with little respect for neighboring businesses, and has made little effort to keep promises made five years ago to clean up its act, officials said Tuesday in a nuisance hearing before the city’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board.

The daiquiri shop’s owner blamed the problems in part on a restaurant in the next block and on the unruly crowds of “second liners” themselves, but his arguments did little to sway the the commissioners, who voted unanimously to revoke his liquor license.

“This is intolerable,” said commissioner Robert Jenkins of conditions created by the bar. “This is horrible.” Continue reading »

Nov 192012
 

A proposed change to city law that would allow gas stations on Tchoupitoulas Street in the Lower Garden District failed to find support Monday evening among members of the Coliseum Square Association, but the Sterling Express fresh-food store planned for one intersection there will press forward with its opening whether its fuel pumps are approved by the City Council or not, developers told the group. Continue reading »