Jul 072014
 

Owen Courreges

This time of year, when the mercury starts erupting comically out of the top of every thermometer, every New Orleanians eyes turn worriedly to their electricity bill. This is because whenever temperatures spike, so does the monthly amount we owe Entergy New Orleans, our much-maligned local electric utility.

Many people have long believed that Entergy is gouging them.  This is to be expected when bills skyrocket and people begin seeking out scapegoats. Continue reading »

Jul 032014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Everyone we know is talking about our off-the-charts crime problem.  While Bourbon Street could arguably be the most famous street in the world and crimes there like last Saturday’s shootings are truly shots heard ’round the world,  the depth of our crime problem is really in our neighborhoods.

What we need are out-of-the-box crime solutions. Continue reading »

Jul 012014
 
NOPD Commander Bob Bardy (right) confers with Officer Garry Flot outside the 59 Designz salon on LaSalle Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

NOPD Commander Bob Bardy (right) confers with Officer Garry Flot outside the 59 Designz salon on LaSalle Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The interior of the damaged 59 Designz salon on LaSalle Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The interior of the damaged 59 Designz salon on LaSalle Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As the New Orleans Police Department continues its investigation into an on-duty officer’s crash into a Central City beauty salon, the department boarded up the damaged business Tuesday to secure it against opportunistic burglars.

“Certainly, we don’t want to make bad things worse,” said NOPD Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy on Tuesday afternoon. “We’re sorry this happened.” Continue reading »

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Jun 302014
 
Audubon Park's Shelter 11, near St. Charles Avenue, was recently renovated with private donations, and the park is asking the city to pay for similar renovations to the bathroom complexes on The Fly. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Audubon Park’s Shelter 11, near St. Charles Avenue, was recently renovated with private donations, and the park is asking the city to pay for similar renovations to the bathroom complexes on The Fly. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The city of New Orleans’ $12.5 million plan to repave the uppermost end of Magazine Street next year answers a major standing request from the Audubon Commission, but Audubon leaders are still requesting an additional $3.6 million in upgrades to the riverfront park known as “The Fly.” Continue reading »

Jun 302014
 

Owen Courreges

Jitney is probably a word few New Orleanians are familiar with, although historians believe that the work may have originated here.

Back in the early 20th century, systems of shared taxis, appeared in cities throughout America.  The cost for using one of these shared cabs was usually a nickel, or jitney.  The French Creole term “jeton,” which refers to a small coin or token, is widely believed to have been the inspiration for the word “jitney.”  Accordingly, the word probably came from New Orleans.

The basic scheme behind jitneys was simple:  An ordinary citizen could buy a used car or bus and run passengers around, usually far more cheaply and quickly than streetcars could.  Eventually, some jitney operators formed jitney companies and even jitney drivers’ unions. Continue reading »

Jun 252014
 
2005 Milan Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

2005 Milan Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans officials levied approximately $30,000 in fines against an Uptown landlord Tuesday for code violations at 18 rental properties on some of the city’s most prominent streets, in what attorneys characterized as a shift toward stronger enforcement against occupied — rather than vacant — buildings. Continue reading »

Jun 242014
 
The former St. Henry's rectory on General Pershing is slated to become classrooms for Ecole Bilingue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former St. Henry’s rectory on General Pershing is slated to become classrooms for Ecole Bilingue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The rectory at St. Henry’s church that neighbors once feared would be demolished for a parking lot will receive a new lease on life as classrooms for Ecole Bilingue, according to a plan school leaders shared with the neighborhood Monday evening. Continue reading »

Jun 232014
 

Owen Courreges

Nobody will ever accuse Mayor Mitch Landrieu of being creative.  Time and time again he has traveled down the same well-worn path of shifting blame to justify pursuing unpopular fiscal policies.

Most recently, Landrieu did the ol’ bait and switch by proposing cigarette and hotel tax increases that he knew he lacked the clout to get through the legislature.  Next, he turned around and pushed through authorization to double of the police and fire property tax millages, subject to approval of that proposal on the city and state ballots in the fall. Continue reading »

Jun 192014
 
Police officers surround the intersection of Foucher and South Saratoga Streets, where there people were injured in a shooting Thursday afternoon. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Police officers surround the intersection of Foucher and South Saratoga Streets after a March 13 shooting that killed two women. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

City officials will join with members of the Milan Focus Group on Saturday at the site of a March shooting that left two women dead to voice the need for a safer neighborhood, organizers said. Continue reading »

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Jun 162014
 
(via habananeworleans.com)

The corner of Esplanade and Rampart, site of the proposed Habana Outpost. (via habananeworleans.com)

Owen Courreges

Put a fork in it.  The Louisiana Landmarks Society is done.  They’ve bought the farm, cashed in their chips, and kicked the proverbial bucket.

I could go on listing aphorisms signifying death or obsolescence, but the gist is that the Louisiana Landmarks Society has become a joke.  They have abandoned their mission of helping preserve landmarks in favor of the far less laudable enterprise of hawking restrictive zoning for the benefit of local NIMBYs.

I have reached this conclusion following the society’s release of its annual “New Orleans Nine Most Endangered List,” which lists “at-risk historic properties.”  The Louisiana Landmarks Society as a whole was founded in 1950 in order to promote historic preservation, and the list was envisioned as a means to highlight certain properties at risk of being lost.

After this year’s list, it’s clear that is no longer the society’s agenda. Continue reading »

Jun 052014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

While the Mayor is touting his successes at the Legislature, Landrieu’s only major success is getting a fall ballot initiative to increase property taxes in New Orleans. Unfortunately for Senator Mary Landrieu, it might be on the ballot at the same time as her election and could be troubling if voters strongly oppose the tax.

Just because New Orleans voters turned down the Audubon Institute’s millage doesn’t automatically mean they will oppose Mitch’s property tax increase. Everyone knows the cost of living in New Orleans has increased dramatically since Katrina. We’re just not sure voters are ready to add on another tax which would hurt property owners and renters, whose landlords would undoubtedly increase rents. Continue reading »

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Jun 032014
 
820 General Pershing Street, photographed in December 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

820 General Pershing Street, photographed in December 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

The proposed demolition of a century-old home on General Pershing just off Magazine — a point of contention for years between owners who want to tear it down and neighbors who want to see it renovated — was rejected again Monday afternoon for the third time in less than two years. Continue reading »

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Jun 032014
 

Three Uptown swimming pools — at the Lyons Center in the Irish Channel, the Harrell Center in west Carrollton and A.L. Davis Park in Central City — opened for the summer on Monday and will remain open to the public until August, according to a report by Alicia Serrano at MidCityMessenger.com. Continue reading »

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Jun 022014
 
The corner of Freret and Cadiz, showing the row of large commercial buildings owned by the Barreca family. The brick buildings to the right are slated for demolition; the white building on the left will be preserved. (UptownMessenger.com file photo dated March 21, 2012)

The corner of Freret and Cadiz, showing the row of large commercial buildings owned by the Barreca family. The brick buildings to the right are slated for demolition; the white building on the left will be preserved. (UptownMessenger.com file photo dated March 21, 2012)

Arnold Kirschman holds a painting of his plan for the buildings in the 4500 block of Freret Street. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Arnold Kirschman holds a painting of his plan for the buildings in the 4500 block of Freret Street. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

The blighted former Frank’s steak house on Freret Street can be demolished to make way for new development once it is sold to its new owners, a panel of New Orleans city officials ruled on Monday afternoon. Continue reading »

Jun 022014
 
Rendering of the new Krystal burger restaurant planned for South Claiborne Avenue. (Rendering by Mouton Long Turner Architects)

Rendering of the new Krystal burger restaurant planned for South Claiborne Avenue. (Rendering by Mouton Long Turner Architects)

A new Krystal Burger restaurant on South Claiborne Avenue received unanimous New Orleans City Council approval last week, the first in plans for a wave of a dozen or more new locations around the area. Continue reading »

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Jun 022014
 
(photo by Owen Courreges)

(photo by Owen Courreges)

Owen Courreges

Every now and again I drive past the intersection of Martin Luther King and Oretha Castle Haley in Central City. There, in the neutral ground, stands a statue that can only be described as a Lovecraftian horror. The ten-foot tall egg-shaped grotesque features several sets of hands with misshapen, distended fingers reaching out in bizarre fashion.

It’s a wonderfully disturbing statue, something straight out of movie “Beetlejuice.” Alas, there is no plaque on the statue, or other indication of what this nightmarish form was intended for. It simply appears to be a bit of random art with no specific purpose. Continue reading »

May 302014
 
Commander Frank Young receives his promotion from NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas on Friday morning. (photo courtesy of NOPD Sgt. Walter Powers)

NOPD Commander Frank Young (left) receives his promotion from Superintendent Ronal Serpas on Friday morning. (photo courtesy of NOPD Sgt. Walter Powers)

The lieutenant who has led the investigations into a number of major Uptown crimes over the past two years was promoted Friday morning to take charge of the citywide anti-gang investigations, New Orleans police said. Continue reading »

May 282014
 

(image via projectnola.com)

(image via projectnola.com)

The Faubourg Delachaise Neighborhood Association is hosting an informational meeting tonight (Wednesday, May 28) about anti-crime cameras, and may pursue a grant from City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell’s office to help install them throughout the neighborhood. Continue reading »