Oct 232015
 
(graphic via New Orleans Redevelopment Authority)

(graphic via New Orleans Redevelopment Authority)

By Mary Beth Romig

In response to the recent opinion from Owen Courreges in the October 19, 2015 issue of Uptown Messenger, I would like the opportunity to share good news about what the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) has accomplished in terms of commercial revitalization and affordable housing, specifically in the two neighborhoods Courreges mentions. Continue reading »

Oct 222015
 

(map by Uptown Messenger via Google Maps)

(map by Uptown Messenger via Google Maps)

Low water pressure is expected on parts of Chestnut and Felicity streets in the Lower Garden District on Friday for work in the area, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans announced.

The streets that will have low water pressure are Chestnut (from St. Andrew to Felicity and Orange) and Felicity (from Chestnut to St. Charles Avenue). The work will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, so that fire service to the area can be improved.

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Oct 202015
 

SWBCamp Street near Jefferson Avenue will close this week through the end of the year as part of the ongoing installation of a drainage canal there, according to the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Oct 192015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

A few weeks ago the animated TV show “South Park” premiered a new episode regarding an issue so close to our hearts here in New Orleans: gentrification.

The plot of the episode revolved around attempts by the fictitious Colorado town for which the series is named to attract a new Whole Foods Market. This, the city reasoned, would prove the backwoods hamlet to be progressive and forward-thinking. Continue reading »

Oct 182015
 
An image from the security videos at Patois. Detectives note that the infrared video changes the colors in the video, and that the turquoise clothing is actually shown as near-black in normal light. (image via NOPD)

An image from the security videos at Patois. Detectives note that the infrared video changes the colors in the video, and that the turquoise clothing is actually shown as near-black in normal light. (image via NOPD)

In the security video that shocked New Orleans, infrared distortion turns the skin of patrons at Patois a bluish-gray color, creating a visual sense of unreality that matches the confusion felt by those diners moments later when three men wearing masks and hoodies burst in, robbing the entire restaurant at gunpoint on Aug. 21. That citywide shock was only amplified in late September, when robberies took place in similar fashion at Cafe Atchafalaya in the Irish Channel and then the Monkey Hill bar, only a few blocks from Patois and Audubon Park.

The Mayor called a news conference to announce an arrest in an unrelated spree of robberies and tout the city’s crimefighting efforts, then another new conference a day later after Monkey Hill, joined by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite and pledging federal investigation and prosecution of the cases. Local news outlets “flooded the zone” with reaction and analysis pieces, while The New York Times and Washington Post brought national attention to the robbery spree. By the end of the month, the New Orleans City Council held its own hearing on “high-profile” robberies, pitching questions and suggestions to NOPD officials about how to battle the city’s feeling that control was being lost.

The entire discussion, however, provides ample opportunity for an airing of misconceptions about the city, its long battle with violent crime and its police force. While nearly every side of the discussion — frightened residents, embattled city leaders, besieged police officers, and skeptical critics — have made valid and useful points about the issue, the facts frequently get lost in the rhetoric. Continue reading »

Oct 162015
 
1013 Sixth Street (via City of New Orleans)

1013 Sixth Street (via City of New Orleans)

Questions about whether the owner of a bed-and-breakfast planned for the Irish Channel just off Magazine Street would actually live there led to a split vote before the City Planning Commission this week, leaving the decision in the hands of the City Council. Continue reading »

Oct 142015
 

The City of New Orleans has issued a traffic advisory to temporarily close portions of Drexel Drive and Washington Avenue near Xavier University in Gert Town. On Wednesday, Oct. 14, Washington Avenue between South Carrollton and Short streets will be closed to through traffic from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. Continue reading »

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Oct 092015
 
Riccobono's Panola Street Cafe (via Google Maps)

Riccobono’s Panola Street Cafe (via Google Maps)

Riccobono’s Panola Street Cafe, the corner brunch spot in Carrollton, is seeking the city’s permission to add mimosas and bloody marys to its menu — drawing concern from some neighbors who worry about what growth at the restaurant could mean in terms of parking, litter and noise. Continue reading »

Oct 072015
 
The Carrollton and Uptown historic districts (the two large areas on the left) may be subject to stricter scrutiny for new construction. (map via nola.gov)

The Carrollton and Uptown historic districts (the two large areas on the left) may be subject to stricter scrutiny for new construction. (map via nola.gov)

Which Uptown New Orleans neighborhoods’ historic architecture requires legal protection — and how much protection those neighborhoods should receive — received its first round of discussion Wednesday by the committee that could end up proposing changes that become the city’s new law. Continue reading »

Oct 062015
 
The new buildings planned for Freret and Robert Street. (courtesy of Wayne Troyer, Studio WTA)

The new buildings planned for Freret and Robert Street. (courtesy of Wayne Troyer, Studio WTA)

The large corner lot that locals knew as the Weber Garden Center for decades and more recently the Freret Garden Center is planned to become two new buildings as the latest major project planned for the corridor, architects on the project told city officials Monday. Continue reading »

Oct 052015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Uptown’s bar and restaurant scene is always thriving. There’s just nothing quite like indulging some fine dining on a weeknight, treating yourself to a bottle of wine, taking in a sumptuous three-course meal, and – Wait… Is that – Oh my God, he has a gun! Continue reading »

Oct 022015
 
NOPD Commanders Ronnie Stevens and Paul Noel (from left), Deputy Chief Bob Bardy, Chief Michael Harrison, and spokesman Tyler Gamble confer prior to a hearing before the City Council on Friday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

NOPD Commanders Ronnie Stevens and Paul Noel (from left), Deputy Chief Bob Bardy, Chief Michael Harrison, and spokesman Tyler Gamble confer prior to a hearing before the City Council on Friday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A rapid-pursuit helicopter. Advanced audio technology to triangulate gunshot locations. Free meals and massages for police officers.

With armed robberies up four percent citywide this year — a point brazenly driven home by holdups at three recent Uptown restaurants — the New Orleans City Council said Friday they are ready to try nearly anything to help the police stop them. Continue reading »

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Oct 022015
 
The newly announced design for Napoleon Avenue (via City of New Orleans)

The newly announced design for Napoleon Avenue (via City of New Orleans)

After public outcry over proposed changes to the configuration of Napoleon Avenue, New Orleans city officials announced Thursday that the road will keep two lanes of traffic in each direction, with a bike lane and parking lane on each side, and a walking path down the center of the neutral ground after drainage-canal construction concludes next year. Continue reading »

Oct 012015
 
Construction on Prytania Street stretches from one curb to the other, with an open trench down the middle. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Construction on Prytania Street stretches from one curb to the other, with an open trench down the middle. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

(image via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(image via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

On a recent overcast Monday afternoon, the large pit that Prytania Street has become was almost completely quiet except for the gentle drip of water being pumped out of the bottom — fueling residents’ frustrations that the restoration of their roadway and their access to their homes has been delayed again until February of next year.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, however, say that construction is still proceeding, and that they hope the February completion date is the last delay that segment of the project experiences. Continue reading »

Sep 302015
 
Parts of Arabella Street will become one-way as part of a city-enacted experiment, officials said Wednesday (Google Maps).

Parts of Arabella Street will become one-way as part of a city-enacted experiment, officials said Wednesday (Google Maps).

Navigating traffic may become a little easier for Uptown residents on Monday when parts of Arabella Street temporarily become one-way, as part of a six-month trial enacted by the City of New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Sep 292015
 
A NOPD officer ties crime-scene tape on to the front door of Monkey Hill bar on Magazine Street after a robbery Monday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A NOPD officer ties crime-scene tape on to the front door of Monkey Hill bar on Magazine Street after a robbery Monday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

After the third in a series of robberies at Uptown restaurants Monday night, New Orleans officials are now pledging a $30,000 reward and federal investigators and charges as part of a “laser focus” on bringing the gunmen to justice, they said Tuesday morning. Continue reading »

Sep 282015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

There was a time that I got a mild chuckle out of reading the old bumper sticker – New Orleans: Third World and Proud of It. The idea, of course, is that New Orleans is a poor city with inefficient, corrupt government, hence more akin to a developing nation than a prominent American city. Self-deprecating humor and all that.

However, it’s started to hit a bit too close to home lately. Last week we endured yet another “boil water” advisory for the east bank of Orleans Parish in the wake of a brief, 20-minute failure of the plant’s power generation capacity. It was the tenth such advisory in just five years. Continue reading »