Nov 152012
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

This month marks the 35th anniversary of the election of Ernest Nathan “Dutch” Morial, the first African-American mayor in New Orleans history, who swung the doors open at City Hall for minorities and women.

It was an epic campaign, and it changed the city forever. Continue reading »

Nov 142012
 

Blue Frenzy performs at the second annual Magazine Street Blues Festival in 2010. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Now in its fourth year, the Magazine Street Blues Festival returns to Laurence Square on Saturday with performances by Rockin’ Dopsie, the Soul Rebels and other bands, as well as food trucks, art sales and a kids’ area — all to raise money for a citizens’ group that supports the New Orleans Police Department’s Uptown-based Second District. Continue reading »

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Nov 142012
 

Dale Smith, associate head of school at Newman, listens to a question about a sketch of the new L-shaped preschool building planned for the corner of Soniat and Danneel at a Tuesday night meeting of the Freret Neighbors United. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Officials from the Isidore Newman School envision a new, larger preschool building on the Soniat Street side of campus to open in 2014, as well as the renovations to athletic and science facilities farther down the road, they told the Freret Neighbors United group Tuesday evening.

Members of the association, meanwhile, are continuing preliminary discussions about creating a security district to increase the number of officers patrolling the area. Continue reading »

Nov 122012
 

The former assisted living center at 2101 Louisiana Avenue will reopen next summer as a 42-unit apartment building next summer, half of which wiil be transitional housing for the homeless with on-site case management, and the other half will be for low-income renters, reports Monica Hernandez of our partners at WWL-TV.

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Nov 122012
 

A popular travel website called Airbnb.com lists hundreds of rooms for short-term rent in private homes — including at least 150 listings around Uptown New Orleans — even though it is against city ordinance to rent rooms for less than 30 days without a license, reports Maria Clark of New Orleans City Business in an article distributed by the Associated Press.

Nov 122012
 

(Cartoon by Owen Courreges)

Owen Courreges

Last week, another salvo in the seemingly never-ending battle between New Orleans and the U.S. Constitution was lobbed by Mayor Landrieu.  This time Landrieu has proposed an ordinance with its sights on Jackson Square, the iconic public space at the heart of the city.

Now technically the target isn’t actually the square, but the surrounding streets and sidewalks (i.e., public rights of way) that the city has come to dub the “Jackson Square Pedestrian Mall.”  Through Councilwoman Palmer, whose district includes the French Quarter, Landrieu has proposed an ordinance for the mall that would:  1) mandate “clear lanes;” and, 2) provide “closing times” between  1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to persons “stopping, standing, or loitering.”

Both parts of the proposed ordinance are problematic, but the latter is blatantly unconstitutional. Continue reading »

Nov 082012
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Well, Danae was right, as usual. She predicted the President Barack Obama victory and said correctly that his performance in the wake of Hurricane Sandy would be a game-changer.

Allan was wrong, as usual. He thought that Governor Mitt Romney was still riding the momentum of his fine performance in the first Presidential debate. Unfortunately for Romney and the Republican Party, the Romney momentum was overpowered by the winds of Hurricane Sandy and the pictures of President Obama being presidential, bringing aid and solace to the stricken. Continue reading »

Nov 072012
 

Water sprays several feet in the air from a broken water main at the closed intersection of Nashville and Claiborne avenues shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday, with more than an hour of voting still to go at the nearby Eleanor McMain High School. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

By Professor Karissa Haugeberg

I moved to New Orleans from Iowa City last year. In Iowa City, a town with 68,000 residents, I could choose to vote early at one of 12 early voting sites, which included libraries, grocery stores, and public buildings located throughout town. In contrast, New Orleans’s 360,000 residents had only three early voting sites.

One location would have required me to pay to park. I would have had to take a toll bridge or ferry to another location. The third site was a full ten miles from the center of town. The city’s most densely populated neighborhoods, including Uptown, had no early voting sites. Residents who can no longer drive or who cannot afford public transportation were shut out of early voting sites altogether. Continue reading »

Nov 072012
 

One up, two down. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

There’s an artist among us, a modern day Rodin if you will, a sculptor with a keen eye.  And their chosen medium?  Mine and my neighbor’s green, over-sized garbage cans, 4 all told.  Twice a week I come home to some of the most amazing formations left in the wake of our city’s waste service program employees.  Among the explanations I can come up with is their creativity must be stifled, and the random placement of these utilitarian mess vessels provides an outlet otherwise unmet.  On the one hand, I’m happy to help, but on the other hand, give me a break! Continue reading »

Nov 072012
 

Orange precincts represent those won by LaToya Cantrell; green by Dana Kaplan; blue by Eric Strachan. Those in which no single candidate approached 50 percent of the vote but two rose above 33 percent are shown with a diagonal split; those in which three or more fell below 33 percent are shown in yellow. The maroon district was led by Marlon “Buck” Horton. (map by Robert Morris based on data from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office.)

LaToya Cantrell dominated the precincts in a large swath of District B — including her home neighborhood of Broadmoor, as well as Central City and the Mid-City portions of the district — to cinch nearly 40 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, according to an early analysis of precinct-level results.

Dana Kaplan, meanwhile, consistently came in second-place in precincts in nearly every precinct won by either of her rivals, Cantrell or Strachan, to earn 31 percent of the vote and a place in the Dec. 8 runoff. Continue reading »

Nov 062012
 

Photo at left: LaToya Cantrell speaks to City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, an early supporter of the Cantrell campaign. (By Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com) At right: Dana Kaplan addresses supporters flanked by state Rep. Walt Leger, who endorsed her last month. (By Marta Jewson for UptownMessenger.com)

Article by Robert Morris and Marta Jewson

Two community activists who have devoted themselves to rebuilding New Orleans in different ways since Hurricane Katrina — one in revitalizing a neighborhood marked for abandonment, and the other in reforming the city’s troubled criminal justice system — will face each other in a runoff next month for an open seat on the New Orleans City Council, based on Tuesday night’s election results. Continue reading »

Nov 062012
 

By Nick Kindel

With Election Day finally here, most of our attention will be on the Presidential race, but two local races will also have a significant impact on our lives in New Orleans. Districts B and E will each elect new Councilmembers who may soon be thrown into one of City Council’s most important duties, passing the City’s 2013 budget. City Council’s budget hearings kick off tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 7) and culminate with passing the budget on Nov. 30. Continue reading »

Nov 052012
 

Signs indicate polling places at Eleanor McMain High School in 2010. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Ongoing repairs to a 48-inch water main will keep the intersection of South Claiborne and Nashville avenues blocked Tuesday, but voters will be able to access Eleanor McMain High School from Willow Street, officials said Monday afternoon. Continue reading »

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Nov 052012
 

The Upper Audubon, Audubon Area, Upper Hurstville, Hurstville, Twinbrook, Touro-Bouligny and Garden District security districts in Uptown New Orleans. (map by Brendan McCarthy of WWL-TV)

The nearly 30 neighborhood security districts around the city of New Orleans — ranging from the relatively small districts around Uptown to the massive districts in Mid-City, Lakeview and the Central Business District — generated approximately $6 million in taxes and fees this year, enough to hire an additional 85 officers on the New Orleans Police Department, according to recent investigation by Brendan McCarthy of our partners at WWL-TV.


Continue reading »

Nov 052012
 

Owen Courreges

The word of the day is “Schadenfreude,” a loanword of Germanic origin that refers to satisfaction received from the misfortunes of others.

Oh, I should use it in a sentence?  OK. “I felt a warm feeling of Schadenfreude when the man who stole my bicycle was struck by lightning, died in intense pain, and then a swarm of rats appeared and urinated on his remains.”  (Note to readers: I really hate bike thieves).

Following Hurricane Sandy, regrettably if understandably, many New Orleanians felt a whiff of Schadenfreude.  We had been told so many times by so many people after Hurricane Katrina that we were poor, stupid, and our city had been built in the wrong place.  People asked if we should bother rebuilding New Orleans, as if we were all just going to pack up our bags and move. Continue reading »

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 »