Nov 052012

The city periodically clears out large encampments of homeless people from underneath the Pontchartrain Expressway, but the nightly population has risen to about 75 again — prompting city officials to consider a fence to secure the area, reports Richard A. Webster of the Times-Picayune. At the same time, the city is seeking federal assistance to help with the nearly 5,000 estimated homeless people in New Orleans, Webster reports.

Oct 292012

LaToya Cantrell, Dana Kaplan, Marlon “Buck” Horton and Eric Strachan

With the latest campaign finance reports filed in the District B City Council race, the pattern established earlier in the contest may be holding: Eric Strachan continues to hold a lead in fundraising, but Dana Kaplan appears to have nearly as much or more cash on hand in the final week before the Nov. 6 election.

LaToya Cantrell’s campaign continues to trail both Strachan and Kaplan in total money raised and spent, although her fundraising did outpace Kaplan’s during one part of the reporting period, the reports show.

Finally, Marlon “Buck” Horton filed a report stating that he did not raise or spend any money during the latest period. Continue reading »

Oct 292012

Owen Courreges

There’s an old “Bloom County” cartoon I recall reading once.  They’re holding a political convention, and Milo Bloom, ever the political realist, is at the podium speaking about the sundry scandals and distractions that will govern the upcoming election.  Watch a few minutes of cable news commentary and you get the same effect.

All of a sudden Opus (who, incidentally, is a penguin), shouts out, “ISSUES!” Milo says, “What’s that?” Opus then responds: “I THINK AN ELECTION SHOULD BE ABOUT ISSUES!

In the final panel, Opus is seen tied upside-down to tree, his mouth taped shut, below a large sign emblazoned with the word “BLASPHEMER.” Continue reading »

Oct 292012

Owen Courreges

Hello, dear readers. What follows are the results of a policy questionnaire that I sent to all the candidates in the city council District B race. I received responses from Marlon Horton, LaToya Cantrell and Dana Kaplan, but did not hear back from Eric Strachan.

Please bear in mind that positions taken during a campaign are not set in stone and that working as a single member of a legislative body requires negotiation, trade-offs, and prioritization. Sometimes politicians fail to take specific positions during campaigns to avoid alienating voters or being called hypocrites later. When that is the case the electorate itself is mostly to blame.

I would like to thank all the candidates who responded. Their candor was refreshing, and I hope that these questions and their answers will assist District B voters in making their selection. Continue reading »

Oct 262012

Eric Strachan

Standing at the same intersection where a local attorney was gravely wounded after being shot during a carjacking in his driveway, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro Jr. endorsed Eric Strachan for City Council on Thursday as the best candidate for criminal-justice reform and denounced a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would make it more difficult for the legislature to pass gun-control laws. Continue reading »

 Comments Off
Oct 242012

Jean-Paul Villere

Recently en route to a morning meeting, I got pulled over by the NOPD, with good reason: my license plate had long expired.  And I knew it, and I knew what was next.  My inspection sticker?  Expired.  Insurance?  Legit, but no proof therein.  The only saving grace was that my license to drive happens to be aces with nothing attached, plus I operated the vehicle in a stellar manner.  Okay, the officer didn’t use the word ‘stellar’, that’s my own embellishment.  But trust me, I’m a good driver, just maybe not always a 100-percent legal one. Continue reading »

Oct 232012

Actor Wendell Pierce describes his proposal for a Sterling Express store anchoring a gas station on Tchoupitoulas at St. James before the City Planning Commission on Tuesday afternoon. (Robert Morris,

Actor Wendell Pierce plans the next location of his fresh-food convenience store concept, Sterling Express, for Tchoupitoulas near the old Market Street power plant in the Lower Garden District, but the proposed gas station he wants to put it in received a split decision from a city panel Tuesday on its request for two bays for large trucks. Continue reading »

 Comments Off
Oct 222012

Article by Marta Jewson, for

An undated image of the building at the corner of Leonidas and Willow from Google Maps.

The owner of a building at the corner of Leonidas and Willow is proposing to change its zoning from residential to neighborhood business for a contractor-training office and community space, raising some questions among surrounding neighbors. Continue reading »

Oct 222012

Owen Courreges

D.J. Luddite is no more.

Some explanation is required.  My day-to-day persona is that of Owen Courreges, Attorney at Law.   However, on Thursday evenings I have been breaking out my 1923 Brunswick suitcase phonograph at the Bayou Bar in the Hotel Pontchartrain.  There, I play 78 rpm records as my alter ego – D.J. Luddite (because D.J. Luddite eschews modern technology).

It’s kind of like Garth Brooks and his rock alter ego Chris Gaines, only far less lame and pretentious.  Well, at least less pretentious.

However, for the past few weeks I’ve been absent.  Music has been silenced at Bayou Bar.  This is regrettable, because Bayou Bar has a storied history in the music community.  Reportedly Cole Porter played here somewhat inconsistently on weekends for about twelve years.  Frank Sinatra and Frankie Lane used Bayou Bar as their watering hole, and are even rumored to have performed on occasion. Continue reading »

Oct 172012

Dana Kaplan is surrounded by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond and other elected officials Wednesday afternoon in a news conference announcing their endorsements. (Robert Morris,

A week after grabbing attention with the largest remaining fundraising war chest, Dana Kaplan bolstered her campaign for the open District B seat on the New Orleans City Council by announcing endorsements Wednesday from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond and five other prominent elected officials.

“I’m very excited by this broad base of support,” Kaplan said after the news conference. “I didn’t run for office knowing I would get it.” Continue reading »

Oct 152012

Owen Courreges

Just a block over from my house is Mr. John’s Steakhouse. In my humble opinion, it offers the best steaks in the city. They use only the finest cuts seared in butter and cooked to perfection. And of course, like all of the finest steakhouses, they are not cheap. Mr. John’s is synonymous with special occasions.

This is not, however, the case for the Board of Trustees for the New Orleans Firefighters’ Pension and Relief Fund. Apparently, they believe in spending thousands of dollars at a time at Mr. John’s and other expensive restaurants in the city. Continue reading »

Oct 112012

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

The 2012 Republican Party platform is a voluminous document that is filled with wisdom and purported wisdom. But, sadly, one of the few possible subjects of Republican wisdom that is omitted is the fate and future of American cities. Now, to be fair, the platform does excoriate the City of Washington D.C. as an example of every urban failing that can be attributed to the incompetence of Big Government – i.e., the Democrats.

But, the fact of the matter is that American cities, including Washington D.C., Uptown New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, are filled with Republicans. And, in many cases, as often occurs in Uptown New Orleans, these registered urban-living Republicans reside right next door to conservative Democrats who regularly and predictably vote Republican in Presidential and other elections. Continue reading »

Oct 102012

Sewerage & Water Board “work” on Freret Street. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere)

Jean-Paul Villere

Yet another rhetorical pop quiz from the Sewerage & Water Board this past Monday left Orleans Parish residents (read: me and likely you) wondering if our one and only water supply was safe for consumption.  And the solitary answer everyone can agree on equals “Maybe.”  Forget that it’s the 21st century, forget that Roman aquaducts remain a marvel to humanity and civilization on the whole, and forget too that over the next five years an Orleans Parish water bill will grow incrementally like a film of algae from a broken fire hydrant to the nearest street drain.  But remember this: your vote still matters.  And why this will always be important remains a let-me-speak-to-your-supervisor line of thought.  The S & W B does not answer to much, or do they?  So who’s in charge? Continue reading »