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 »

May 272014
 
The Broadmoor Arts and Wellness Center will be at 3900 General Taylor Street. (image via Google maps)

The Broadmoor Arts and Wellness Center will be at 3900 General Taylor Street. (June 2011 image via Google maps)

In what advocates are calling a continuation of the revitalization of major neighborhood landmarks, a long-shuttered vocational school just off Broad and Napoleon is slated for transformation into the Broadmoor Arts and Wellness Center. Continue reading »

May 262014
 

Owen Courreges

A common practice amongst subordinates is to intentionally include extraneous steps in a plan to give a meddling boss something to change.  This way, the plan remains exactly the same, but the boss feels as though he’s made a contribution and the subordinate can point out that he compromised.  It goes like this:

PEON:   Here’s what my plan is: We’ll design the product, build a prototype, dispose of toxic waste in the executive washroom, and then launch the product.

BOSS:    Whoa! That third step is a problem. I don’t think we should dispose of toxic waste in the executive washroom.  That could harm our corporate executives.

PEON:   Hmmm… I’m still not sure about abandoning Step 3, but I see what you’re saying and value your guidance.  I’ll scrap Step 3.

BOSS:    Great!  Let’s move forward.

It was this kind of scenario that comes to mind when the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center makes its pitch to expand its facilities into the Lower Garden District as part of a public/private partnership. Continue reading »

May 222014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Let’s face it, New Orleans was not awarded the Super Bowl because NFL owners valued the financial investment the citizens of Minneapolis had made to build a new stadium. New Orleans has a reliable stadium that has served us very well over the decades, a stadium which in fact transformed New Orleans and helped create Poydras Street as a major business destination. We should all thank Doug Thornton, Ron Forman and Governor Jindal for continuing to keep our stadium up to par, within its physical footprint. The State of Louisiana can’t afford to build a new stadium at this time and we don’t have the corporate base of Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston or Milwaukee to even partially fund such a project. Nevertheless, we will win another Super Bowl bid — maybe not next year — but soon because New Orleans is still the best sports destination in America. Continue reading »

May 212014
 
A rendering of the upriver expansion of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (via mccno.com)

A conceptual drawing of the upriver expansion of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (via mccno.com)

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is on the cusp of returning to a major expansion with a new hotel and exhibit hall on long-vacant land in the Lower Garden District, officials said Wednesday morning. Continue reading »

May 202014
 
The Palms Bar and Grill (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Palms Bar and Grill (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans city attorneys are seeking sanctions against the liquor license for The Palms bar in the university area — where an off-duty bartender is accused of raping a woman in April — alleging that the bar does too little to protect its patrons. Continue reading »

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May 202014
 

The Roly Poly location on Tchoupitoulas. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Roly Poly location on Tchoupitoulas. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

With demolition of its building looming on the horizon, the Roly Poly on Tchoupitoulas will close by the end of May, and the owners are looking for a buyer for the business or its kitchen equipment, they said. Continue reading »

May 192014
 

Owen Courreges

The City of New Orleans has targeted a nefarious, rogue activity that has been transpiring beneath our very noses down in the French Quarter.  These fiends brazenly peddle their poisonous wares out in the open, boldly daring the authorities to stop them.  Their actions infest our streets, fly in the face of common decency, and corrupt our youth.

Drug dealers?  Pimps?

Worse.  I’m talking about T-shirt shops. Continue reading »