Feb 242015
 
A slide presented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday night explaining timetables for work on Prytania Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A slide presented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday night explaining timetables for work on Prytania Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Two-story black tarps around the drainage-canal construction site on Prytania Street in Uptown New Orleans create dark tunnels that residents must walk through after parking blocks from their home, creating a scenario so unbearable that neighbors begged officials Tuesday night to drop the project altogether and simply leave.

While abandoning the Prytania Street leg of the SELA project is not an option, officials with the city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers promised that the work is now speeding up, with relief for residents in store in the weeks and months ahead. Continue reading »

Feb 242015
 
Car2Go publicity photo (via daimler.com)

Car2Go publicity photo (via daimler.com)

Car2Go — a car-sharing service that allows drivers to rent small cars for on a per-minute or hourly basis for short trips around the city — continued its tour of New Orleans neighborhoods Monday night in the Lower Garden District, explaining its services and the parking agreement it hopes to reach with the city. Continue reading »

Feb 232015
 

Owen Courreges

Another week passes, and another vapid, unthinking ordinance begins snaking its way through the city council.

This round, it’s a “living wage” ordinance recently introduced by Councilman Jared Brossett.  At a legislative breakfast held earlier this month, Brossett depicted the law as a palliative for New Orleans’ notorious and persistent epidemic of poverty.

“Income inequality — I don’t need to tell y’all this. It’s vast. I mean, we were compared to Zambia, as far as income inequality,” Brossett said. “That is ridiculous, as we are part of one of the richest and strongest nations on this planet.” Continue reading »

Feb 212015
 
Workers patch up a section of Magazine Street on Friday afternoon after digging it up to find a sewer leak that shut down the street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Workers patch up a section of Magazine Street on Friday afternoon after digging it up to find a sewer leak that shut down the street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The majority of the repairs needed to an underground sewer line that was causing part of Magazine Street to sink should finished by Monday, but the street will remain closed to most drivers near Third Street through the weekend, officials said. Continue reading »

Feb 192015
 
Carrollton Station owner Michael Miller (left) explains his experience taking his bar smoke-free during a town-hall session on the issue in July 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Carrollton Station owner Michael Miller (left) explains his experience taking his bar smoke-free during a town-hall session on the issue in July 2014. Miller said at the time that many bar owners privately looked forward to a ban. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

By Lawson Box

While bar patrons have mixed feelings about the new citywide ban on smoking indoors, some university area bar owners say they are happy about the ordinance as they expect even more students to frequent local watering holes. Continue reading »

Feb 112015
 
The Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue, photographed in January 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

The Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue, photographed in January 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

With plans for a rooftop lounge and a restored Silver Whistle coffee shop on the first floor, The Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue is intent on reclaiming its historic prominence in New Orleans, its owners say — right down to the classic blueberry muffins. Continue reading »

Feb 112015
 

Kate Scott

Kate Scott

By Kate Scott, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center

New Orleans has a troubling legacy to overcome when it comes to the condition of its rental homes, even though more than half the City’s residents are renters. Such conditions have wide-ranging effects on everything from health to educational outcomes. Many renters find themselves having to move because they can’t get dangerous housing conditions addressed. When people have to move a lot, neighborhood stability goes down and so does public safety.

In a City where rents have skyrocketed beyond the reach of many working families, New Orleans renters deserve assurances that the homes they live in meet basic standards of quality and safety. A rental registry program would be good for New Orleans and can be designed in a way that is not overly cumbersome for the many landlords in the City that are just trying to do the right thing. Continue reading »

Feb 092015
 

Owen Courreges

Stacy Head did not appear happy this past week with her colleague on the city council, LaToya Cantrell.  Without any real warning, Cantrell announced vague plans to rapidly introduce an ordinance to create a rental inspection bureaucracy with regular inspections and a comprehensive online database.

“I reiterate my position that this ordinance is not ready for introduction next week,” Head frustratedly wrote in an email to the council. “The lightning speed with which this is moving as well as the apparent insular nature of the discussion is disconcerting.” Continue reading »

Feb 022015
 

Owen Courreges

I personally loathe either giving or receiving directions, particularly in New Orleans.  With all the twists and turns in the Crescent City, it’s a sure bet that there’s at least one step where you’ll have to “bear” onto something or venture on some convoluted path to make a left turn, all the while cursing the lack of rhyme and reason to the whole mess.

It’s all part and parcel of living in a city established nearly three-hundred years ago along a winding river.  The streets tend to take on a life of their own.

Now, sadly, it’s about to become ever more difficult to meander some streets of Uptown New Orleans.  Yes, the City Planning Commission (CPC) has once again exhibited its total lack of purpose, this time by approving needless street name changes borne of local political horse-trading. Continue reading »

Jan 312015
 
Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks at the grand opening ceremony at Martin Wine Cellar on Friday, Jan. 30. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks at the grand opening ceremony at Martin Wine Cellar on Friday, Jan. 30. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Before Mayor Mitch Landrieu took the podium for Friday’s grand opening ceremony at Martin Wine Cellar on Baronne Street, he had a very important question to ask.

“You’ve already got your lemonade?” Landrieu asked a patron in the crowd, noting her tall glass. He took the microphone, and continued, “I’m happy. You know how many times I came here when I was a kid to get a sandwich, how many Lindys I’ve eaten?” Continue reading »

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Jan 302015
 
An image from Google Maps shows the large vacant lot from the corner of Broadway and Edinburgh streets. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

An image from Google Maps shows the large vacant lot from the corner of Broadway and Edinburgh streets. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The large vacant lot on Broadway Street near Earhart Boulevard in Gert Town that formerly held the Mary Church Terrell Elementary School received tentative approval this week to become the new New Orleans Police Department Second District station and a community pool. Continue reading »

Jan 302015
 
A sneak peek at the new playground equipment at Samuel Square. (Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

A sneak peek at the new playground equipment at Samuel Square. The playground will receive its official dedication at 2 p.m. today. (Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Today marks the official grand re-opening of the recently totally redone Samuel Square playground in the 2100 block of Napoleon, though the caution tape was removed a few days ago.  And wow!  Akin to other nearby brightly colored and playful compositions of many reborn play areas (think Laurence Square but moreso the Danneel Playspot at Octavia and St Charles) this 21st century facelift to this centuries old green space does not disappoint.  And being a parent to young children (and a also a tax-paying neighbor myself) just a few blocks away from Samuel Square my level of engagement is set to maximum.  And for many reasons. Continue reading »

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Jan 272015
 
The Magnolia Mansion at 2127 Prytania Street. (via Google Maps)

The Magnolia Mansion at 2127 Prytania Street. (via Google Maps)

A proposal to add a restaurant at the Magnolia Mansion hotel on Prytania Street drew such vehement opposition from Garden District-area neighbors on Tuesday afternoon that the City Planning Commission overruled their own staffers to recommend against the project. Continue reading »

Jan 272015
 

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue will have its license suspended for a month starting in mid March as part of a punishment for breaking a 2013 agreement with the city of New Orleans to reduce the impact of the crowds it attracts on weekends, the city’s alcohol board has decided. Continue reading »

Jan 262015
 

Owen Courreges

Author’s Note:  Owen is inconsolable this week after the passing of yet another needless, paternalistic ordinance by the New Orleans City Council.  Following a mental breakdown, Owen now believes himself to be Bland Landers, an imaginary cantankerous brother of noted advice columnist Ann Landers.  Thus, the following advice column will run today in place of Owen’s usual rantings.

Dear Bland,

My husband and I recently moved in next to a longstanding juke joint, and as we anticipated, it’s far too noisy.  Adding insult to this complete absence of injury, they’re also having music more often that they used to because the bar has become more successful (which also means more people loitering around, which makes me nervous for reasons I usually discuss in vague, coded language).  I’ve called the police out several times without warning to harass them, but nothing ever gets done.  What do I do?

– Batty in the Bywater Continue reading »