Apr 042013

Jimmy Anselmo (center) and supporters after replacing the former Frat House sign with a banner reading, “Bring Back Jimmy’s Music Club.” (photo courtesy of Jimmy Anselmo)

Jimmy’s Music Club will return for three nights of music performances starting today (Thursday) to raise money for its legal battle against the city’s alcohol laws. Continue reading »

Apr 042013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Back in olden times, Allan covered the Louisiana Legislature for The Times-Picayune and Danae lobbied the Legislature for the Dock Board. So we both have a sense of what it takes to be a good legislator and like to keep track of those who we think have bright futures in politics. Continue reading »

Apr 032013

Stacy Head, right, beams at her aide, Barbara-Lacen Keller, in a scene from “Getting Back to Abnormal.” (courtesy of The Center for New American Media)

“Getting Back to Abnormal” — the documentary screening three times as part of the upcoming filmOrama festival at the Prytania Theatre — was never intended to focus on City Councilwoman Stacy Head. But Head’s controversial role in the post-Katrina political landscape of New Orleans combined with her unusual on-screen candor made her and staffer Barbara Lacen-Keller natural subjects for it, the filmmakers said.

“The fact that they let us film them was really good,” said Louis Alvarez, one of the four producer/directors. “A lot of politicians wouldn’t allow that.”

The film’s opening thesis is that in 2010, as Head approached her first re-election campaign, she had become “a lightning rod for all things racial,” and it does not shy away from many of her most controversial moments. Yet, in a phone interview Wednesday morning, Head said she has seen the film and was pleased with its outcome.

“I thought it showed the good, the bad and the ugly about New Orleans and politics and who I am,” Head said. “I don’t take myself too seriously, so I liked it.” Continue reading »

Apr 032013

3527 South Liberty (photo by Jean-Paul Villere)

Jean-Paul Villere

Once upon a time the ivy-covered, faded green house with broken glass panes and missing siding at 3527 South Liberty in Uptown New Orleans probably was a family home, a quaint if not classically styled shotgun with sidehall elements, wrought iron fencing and floor to ceiling windows facing the street.  Today it sits beaten to hell but still seemingly structurally intact, an eyesore of eyesores, and consumed by litter including household discards, dozens upon dozens of old tires, and yes, even hypodermic needles.  Additionally according to nolaassessor.com/ there is a code-enforcement lien, and the city’s new Blight Status site shows a hearing next week on 11 violations found in January 2013.  

This kind of scenario represents the face of blight in the Crescent City today. Continue reading »

Apr 012013

5325 Perrier Street (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The proposed front elevation of the home listed in the demolition application. (via nola.gov)

A hearing on whether to demolish a Perrier Street home in Uptown New Orleans to make room for a new one on the lot was deferred for another two weeks Monday by a city panel. Continue reading »

Mar 302013

Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell rides in the Krewe of Zulu on Mardi Gras day, 2013. Cantrell says she has been stopped on parade routes and thanked for her efforts to increase enforcement of parade-safety laws. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

New Orleanians could see clearer laws about the placement of ladders, more control over the locations of portable toilets, and more efforts to clear public spaces during and between Mardi Gras parades next year, based on a number of ideas Uptown residents discussed with their City Councilwoman on Saturday afternoon. Continue reading »

Mar 272013

An early version of the plan for the O.C. Haley Boulevard streetscape project. An updated version is slated for release in April. (Click to enlarge.)

The latest delay in long-awaited plans for a $1 million upgrade to the appearance of O.C. Haley Boulevard sparked frustration among a group of residents and merchants Tuesday night about the prolonged uncertainty around the project’s scope after six years of discussion. Continue reading »

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Mar 262013

Attorney Morris Bart, left, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas and NOPD Second District Commander Paul Noel tour locker rooms at the NOPD Second District station that were recently renovated based on a donation from Bart. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Attorney Morris Bart, center, smiles as he accepts a statuette from NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas in thanks for his donation. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The floors may still have soft spots and the roof may still leak, but at least the officers at the century-old Second District police station now have a decent place to change clothes or use the restroom, thanks to a donation from prominent New Orleans attorney Morris Bart.

“They put their lives on the line,” Bart said. “If what I can do makes their lives a little easier and shows that, ‘Yes, we do appreciate what they do for us and for the people of New Orleans,’ then it’s my pleasure.” Continue reading »

Mar 262013

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and top NOPD officials listened to residents Tuesday night at First Emmanuel Baptist Church in Central City, while the NAACP met separately across town, according to our partners at WWL-TV. The NAACP had originally requested a meeting specifically about racial profiling, but when Landrieu sought to broaden the meeting’s scope, the NAACP protested.

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Mar 252013

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell speaks to the Bouligny Improvement Association in February. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell — who took office just in time to get involved in the annual controversy about enforcement of city laws along Mardi Gras parade routes — will fulfill a promise for a more comprehensive review of changes that could be made next year this weekend, when she holds a public roundtable discussion on the issue. Continue reading »

Mar 252013

Owen Courreges

New Orleans should annex all of unincorporated Jefferson Parish!  Metairie shall henceforth be known as New Orleans West!  “Fat City” will receive a makeover and be reinvented as “the little Bourbon!”  Prosperity shall rein!

Now that I have your attention, I will explain why this should happen, but cannot happen due to historical factors and outmoded laws. Continue reading »

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 UptownMessenger.com)

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 »