Jan 102013

The three Second District officers of the year, holding plaques from left, are Sgt. Jennifer Dupree, Detective Nathan McGhee and Officer Nancy Parker. They are surrounded by members of COPS 2 and Second District Commander Paul Noel at far left. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A handful of officers in the NOPD’s Second District were honored as “the best of the best” this week with awards handed out by an Uptown-based group of citizens who support the district. Continue reading »

Jan 102013

Adam Swickle, one of the investors remaining on the Market Street Power Plant redevelopment project after others were removed in bankruptcy filings, has an unpaid $600,000 judgement against him from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission “for setting up an allegedly fake foreign exchange trading house and making off with investors’ cash,” and “claims he didn’t even know about another $144,000 in judgments against him in New York, this time for knowingly selling real estate investment shares as a part of a fraud scheme that landed three others in jail,” according to a report by David Hammer of our partners at WWL.

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Jan 092013

A home in New Orleans can fetch $1,000 or more per night during the Super Bowl, based on online ads that frequently include Uptown properties. It is illegal in New Orleans to rent out a home for less than 30 days without a permit, but Charles Maldonado of The Gambit found that “the city has issued zero administrative subpoenas in the past six months” despite new ads for rentals being listed daily.

For more, see a followup report by Tania Dall of our partners at WWL-TV:

Jan 082013

820 General Pershing Street, photographed in December.

A plan to tear down a home on General Pershing Street and pave it for a parking lot was rejected by a second city board Tuesday, suggesting long odds for the proposal whenever it reaches the City Council for a final decision. Continue reading »

Jan 072013

Owen Courreges

In last week’s column I discussed the assault weapons ban being bandied about by local politicians and activist groups, concluding that the term “assault weapon” is vague, ill-defined, and does not refer to characteristics of firearms that have any significant impact on the danger they pose. Nothing has changed my mind about that.

However, the agenda we’re seeing with respect to guns goes further than just the assault weapons ban.  A couple of weeks ago, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed a resolution asking for “renewed scrutiny” of gun control laws.  Although the resolution’s unspecific language may sound like non-committal pabulum (and it certainly is that), the resolution was generally received as being a call for more gun control. Continue reading »

Jan 072013

820 General Pershing Street

A plan to demolish a home on General Pershing Street to make way for a parking lot for an as-yet-undisclosed business planned for Magazine Street will appear before another city panel Tuesday, after a different aspect of the request was rejected last month. Continue reading »

Jan 052013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Whereever we go this week, we hear New Orleanians complain about their own “fiscal cliff,” increased property tax bills. What’s wrong with Erroll Williams, they say? Doesn’t he know we like our properties to be under-assessed? No one likes their taxes to go up. And paying the new bills might cause some of us to eat out a few less times or cut down on our Mardi Gras expenses. But all in all, life in New Orleans is pretty darn good. Continue reading »

Dec 272012

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We’re off to a great start in 2013 with the Super Bowl, which is going to be fabulous regardless of which teams end up playing in the game. It will also show the world that our resilient, unstoppable comeback from Hurricane Katrina is almost complete. What will not be so apparent is that there are literally thousands of New Orleanians working their tails off to make it appear that hosting a Super Bowl is effortless for this city — which, of course, it isn’t. There are thousands of details involved in securing and then hosting a Super Bowl and New Orleans excels in both phases. Most of those who do the heavy lifting are virtually anonymous, hardly known beyond the tourism community. A few, like Louisiana Superdome’s SMG exec Doug Thornton, occasionally surface to be given a deserved standing ovation but there are hundreds more whose names never appear in the news media. They just labor away, far from the spotlight. It should also be said that as in every aspect of life in Metro New Orleans, just beneath the surface are scores of rabid rivalries but there is a tradition here of putting these things aside to make the Super Bowl as success. This will be the case again this year, which merits further congratulations to all involved. Continue reading »

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Dec 212012

An image of Buck Horton from an online commercial for his restaurant, Finger Lick’n Wings.

With the City Council campaign trail behind him, Marlon “Buck” Horton has returned his focus to his Finger Lick’n Wings restaurant on Jackson Avenue — and is hoping for better results for his latest request to sell beer and wine with his chicken. Continue reading »

Dec 202012

The upstart Krewe of Freret that had hoped to join the Mardi Gras parade schedule this spring issued a statement Thursday suspending those plans because of what it termed a “misunderstanding” by the New Orleans Police Department, but said it has already begun work to roll for the first time in 2014. Continue reading »

Dec 192012

Amid prayers and trumpet solos, LaToya Cantrell was sworn in Wednesday afternoon as the District B representative on the New Orleans City Council.

“My heart is in this,” Cantrell said after taking the oath. “This is not about a position. This is about improving the quality of life for people.” Continue reading »

Dec 182012

Owen Courreges

NOPD Sixth District Commander Robert Bardy found himself in a bit of a controversy this past week after an e-mail message was released in which he seemed to be urging an informal arrest quota.  WWL-TV Eyewitness News obtained the message, which was sent in response to another e-mail by a member of the second platoon requesting that select officers be provided with mountain bike training as an incentive for exceptional police work.

Personally, my reaction to this would have been: “You consider mountain bike training to be a reward? In this climate? I mean, it’s December and I’m comfortable in short sleeves.  Honestly, me –  I’d ask for a bonus or time off, but whatever floats your boat, man.” Continue reading »

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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 »