Mar 182013

Owen Courreges

The New Orleans City Council appears to be proposing that St. Claude Avenue be made into a pathetic two-lane road, but Mayor Landrieu is at least showing some sense on the issue.

Here’s the background:  As most New Orleanians are aware, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) recently promulgated preliminary plans for installing a new streetcar line along Rampart St. and St. Claude Avenue from Canal Street to Elysian Fields Avenue.  As with the widely-panned Loyola-UPT Streetcar line, rather than restoring the historic norm of having the streetcar tracks running in the neutral ground, the plans call for slapping the tracks down in the traffic lanes adjoining the streetcar line (sharing the lanes with vehicles).  It’s stupid, ahistorical and ugly. Continue reading »

Mar 142013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Tourism officials were smiling this week as new reports detailed the growing number of visitors attracted to Metro New Orleans in 2012 and the number of passengers who passed through Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Nine million visitors — spending an incredible $6 billion — came to Metro New Orleans in 2012, the most since 2004. It should be remembered that New Orleans back then was celebrating a record year that saw 10.4 million visitors come here. There was tremendous optimism until late August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina and poorly-constructed levees shattered everything. Continue reading »

Mar 132013

Sage advice at the corner of Jena and LaSalle. (Photo by Jean-Paul Villere for

Jean-Paul Villere

Have you seen this?  Glossing over the city council’s recently revised pet ordinance for Orleans Parish, the 43 page manifesto reads more like ripe Swiss cheese than feathered or four-legged law du jour.  Yes, it happens to be noteworthy in what it addresses, but in my opinion it is equally so for what it fails to.  Chalk it up to bureaucratic puffery, poor surveying and/or shamelessly ostracizing the elephant in room.  Whatever could I mean?  Read it!  Saddle up Snuffleupagus, among the things you won’t find are what I’ll call my Big 3: Continue reading »

Mar 122013

The Freret Neighbors United will hold an extended meeting tonight (Tuesday, March 12) to discuss a proposed new security district in the neighborhood, and the Milan Focus Group will meet Wednesday to hear from city and police officials. Continue reading »

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Mar 112013

Owen Courreges

State Senator J.P. Morrell is not letting this go – nor should he.

A month ago, a video was released showing the detention of two young black males, Sidney Newman, 17, and Ferdinand Hunt, 18, by eight plainclothes state troopers.  The video, taken on February 10, 2013 just after a parade, shows the two teens leaning against a wall in the 700 block of Conti Street.   Suddenly they are surrounded by State Troopers.

One of the youths took a few steps away and was jumped, grabbed by his shirt and flung around to the ground.  The other is pushed up against a wall.  It was a very fast and violent confrontation between the teens and the troopers. Continue reading »

Mar 112013

The former Dunbar’s restaurant at 4927 Freret is slated to become “The Muse on Freret,” a second location for owners of Three Muses on Frenchmen. (Robert Morris,

Shuttered since the floodwaters that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the former Dunbar’s building on Freret Street in Uptown New Orleans may soon be a popular restaurant once again, as the owners of Three Muses on Frenchmen Street said Monday morning that they plan to renovate the site for a second location. Continue reading »

Mar 112013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

When it all got started, the idea of New Orleans entering into voluntary consent decrees with our good friends in the federal government seemed brilliant. After all, the management of the New Orleans Police Department and the Criminal Sheriff’s Office (Parish Prison) had been a shambles for years. Surely, a cooperative arrangement with the feds in both instances would lead to more professional and effective administration of both the cops and the prison. Continue reading »

Mar 072013

With Uptown New Orleans residents worried about robberies, shootings and other attacks that have taken place between the victims’ front doors and their cars, they frequently ask police officials how to make the front of their homes safer.

District commanders and crime-prevention officers usually suggest that one important step residents can take is to make their home a less appealing target for opportunistic criminals — by cutting back any shrubbery that offers a hiding place, for example, and particularly by increasing the amount of lighting.

In a city that can take years to repair its broken streetlights, an Entergy representative at a recent community meeting where that suggestion was made spoke offered his own solution: For a monthly fee, Entergy will install and maintain what it calls a security light to illuminate any dark areas in front of a customer’s home. Continue reading »

Mar 062013

Letter to the editor by Edwin Holmes Jr., New Orleans Fire Department

I am writing to clarify remarks made by New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) Assistant Superintendent Tim McConnell during an Uptown community meeting on Tuesday, which you attended, and referenced in your article on The Uptown Messenger website. At no time did Chief McConnell say that any fire company was being closed due to budget cuts. He did state that the City of New Orleans was fortunate to have received the “Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency and Response” (SAFER) grant that allowed the department to hire firefighters in 2010 however; through attrition the department’s numbers have decreased back to the 2010 levels. The fact is the administration increased the amount of funding placed in the NOFD 2013 General Fund budget by more than $1.8 Million dollars. Continue reading »

Mar 052013

New Orleans Fire Department assistant superintendent Tim McConnell (left) points to the Audubon Riverside neighborhood on a map of ladder-truck coverage of Uptown after upcoming cuts. The yellow and pink areas can be reached by a ladder truck within eight minutes, but the unshaded area will take longer. (Robert Morris,

The ladder truck remains in the far-right bay of the Arabella fire station on Tuesday evening. (Robert Morris,

After upcoming budget cuts to the New Orleans Fire Department are complete, some Uptown riverside neighborhoods will be too far for a ladder truck to reach within the nationally recommended standard of eight minutes, fire officials say, though a pumper truck on Arabella Street will still be able to respond to a fire within four minutes. Continue reading »

Mar 052013

A gun is drawn outside the door of Cajun Express in the 4100 block of Washington Avenue in surveillance video of a fatal shooting there Monday afternoon. (via NOPD)

LaToya Cantrell

Following a fatal shooting Monday near Washington and Broad, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell issued a statement Tuesday afternoon condemning the three murders in two years and deeming the Cajun Express store that the shooting took place outside of as a “public nuisance.” Continue reading »

Mar 042013

The fire station in the 1200 block of Arabella Street. (image via Google maps)

The Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association will have a public-safety focus at its March board meeting on Tuesday, hearing from the assistant fire superintendent about changes planned for the Arabella fire station and from the local NOPD commander about crime issues. Continue reading »

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Mar 042013

Owen Courreges

Beretta USA is now the belle of the ball.  New Orleans needs to be an eager suitor.

It all started in January when Maryland Governor Mike O’Malley proposed the “Firearm Safety Act of 2013.” This bill, which has now passed the Maryland state senate on a 28-19 vote, is grotesquely unconstitutional dreck that will severely restrict the Second Amendment rights of Maryland citizens. Continue reading »

Feb 282013

Jimmy Anselmo and Vance DeGeneres, bassist for The Cold. (submitted photo)

(submitted photo)

by Rex Rose

For many months, Jimmy Anselmo has been trying to get the New Orleans City Council to allow him to open Jimmy’s Music Club again at the historic location on Dublin and Willow Streets, across from the streetcar barn, but his application has been buried. The more I look at the issue, the more it seems like a simple lack of communication might be the main impediment.  I feel confident there would be few objections to Jimmy reopening his club if all concerned were provided with just a little background history on Jimmy and his club, which I will deliver from a personal perspective. Continue reading »

Feb 282013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

New Orleans will end the first quarter of 2013 on a wonderful roll. In addition to the tens of millions of dollars spent in the local economy during the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras celebrations, the city reaped bushels of positive free publicity that could not have been bought at any price. Continue reading »

Feb 282013

The city official who approved the fence closing Newcomb Boulevard at Freret Street lacked authority to do so, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday, according to a post by Karen Gadbois of The Lens. If the state Supreme Court chooses not to hear the case, then the Newcomb Boulevard Association will likely need the City Council’s approval to keep the fence up, Gadbois writes.

Feb 272013

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell smiles as she takes notes on an issue raised by a member of the Bouligny Improvement Association on Wednesday evening. (Robert Morris,

The use of public space on the Mardi Gras parade routes improved slightly this year, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell said Wednesday night, but the city laws need to be reviewed starting now to make sure that less of the sidewalks and neutral grounds are unfairly co-opted by furniture, ropes and improperly-placed ladders. Continue reading »