Mar 122015
 
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)

Stacy Head

Stacy Head

New construction across much of Uptown, Carrollton and Broadmoor could be regulated as closely as it is in the Irish Channel or Garden District, based on the results of a study authorized by unanimous vote of the New Orleans City Council on Thursday morning. Continue reading »

Mar 112015
 
Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Prologue: Each Saturday at noon on WTUL 91.5 FM in New Orleans, Mark Tobler’s DJ set almost always opens with John Hartford’s song “Back in the Good Old Days.”  The song is a projection of a future population residing at a city dump, and while there — though they may imbibe as a community — the topic of discussion and conversation will be remembering when things were better and wondering how things became what they are.

The 21st century has been a veritable roller coaster thus far for the Crescent City.  Storms, diaspora, growth, crime, food highs, political lows, Hollywood South, hospital hubbub, even an entrepreneurial hotbed too.  It’s downright dizzying at times.  And then there’s our blight — and the quest to remedy that scourge, often via demolition.  We as a city often decry the Big Easy brand as slipping away via noise ordinances, smoking bans, whatever legal challenges and changes that float through City Hall.  But removing the landscape in the name of the greater good?  To be sure, there’s no faster way to becoming Anywhere, USA. Continue reading »

Mar 102015
 
The former Rachel Sims Baptist Mission on Second Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former Rachel Sims Baptist Mission on Second Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The City Planning Commission gave its nod Tuesday to a developer’s plan to convert the former Rachel Sims Baptist Mission in the Irish Channel into condominiums, but required that he provide off-street parking behind the building. Continue reading »

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Mar 092015
 
The former Rachel Sims Baptist Mission on Second Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former Rachel Sims Baptist Mission on Second Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A century-old Baptist mission center in the Irish Channel that closed in 2010 is slated to become 10 condominiums in a redevelopment that is drawing praise from historic preservationists and neighborhood leaders but less enthusiasm from city planners. Continue reading »

Mar 092015
 

Owen Courreges

If there’s anything that probably deserves government attention, it’s preventing children from getting mowed down while they get to and from school. No politician has ever, to my knowledge, run on a platform of exposing children to the greater risk from Mr. Distracted McNeglient’s murder-mobile.

Thus, if you’ve been reading The Lens lately, you’ve been understandably disturbed by a series of articles regarding the operation (or rather, the lack thereof) of New Orleans’ school zone lights. The first article detailed the results of a Lens survey performed this January which revealed that “[s]ix out of 10 — 87 out of 147 in active school zones — were malfunctioning.” Continue reading »

Mar 042015
 
A photo of 3008 Lowerline Street included in city documents. (via nola.gov.)

A photo of 3008 Lowerline Street included in city documents. (via nola.gov.)

Stacy Head

Stacy Head

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

A demolition request on Lowerline Street by St. Mary’s Dominican High School received approval from a split New Orleans City Council last week, reopening the debate about the role of historic preservation that has simmered between prominent members over the past year. Continue reading »

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Mar 042015
 
Workers dig a pit to repair a sewer line on Magazine near Third Street on Feb. 21. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Workers dig a pit to repair a sewer line on Magazine near Third Street on Feb. 21. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The two blocks of Magazine Street around Third where city workers recently repaired a sewer line will close again Thursday and Friday so that the street can be repaired, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans announced. Continue reading »

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Mar 042015
 
Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

The tireless subject of back taxes and property auctions in the New Orleans metro area has once again garnered much buzz in the last week.  True, it is an exciting topic for the Crescent City citizenry at large as we wade through the thankfully diminishing blight, too often witnessing the demise of structure too far gone not to be demolished.  That’s the downside for sure.  The upside?  Seemingly countless blocks are given new looks from fresh eyes.  That said, understanding the what and the how of these processes should demand the lion’s share of your attention if you fancy yourself the real-estate investor type, because well, this ain’t eBay.  Continue reading »

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Mar 032015
 
A revised rendering of the CVS proposed for Magazine and Louisiana included in documents provided to the city. (design by Linfield, Hunter and Junius architects)

A revised rendering of the CVS proposed for Magazine and Louisiana included in documents provided to the city. (design by Linfield, Hunter and Junius architects)

City officials have given initial approval to a proposal to turn the shuttered Blockbuster Video and adjoining restaurants into a CVS pharmacy at the corner of the Garden District on Magazine street. Continue reading »

Mar 022015
 

Owen Courreges

Transit for the poor? What a curious thought.

Although in theory a primary purpose of transit is to provide necessary transportation for those too poor to afford a reliable vehicle, the reality is that the poor are generally the ones who are shortchanged. Continue reading »

Feb 262015
 
New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu celebrates his re-election with supporters on Feb. 2, 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu celebrates his re-election with supporters on Feb. 2, 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

More than 100 donors forked over $2500 each last night for cocktails with Mayor Mitch Landrieu. On everyone’s lips was the same question: Is Mitch running? Those asking included Winston, Sheila and Ronnie Burns (he introduced Mitch), lots of WTC bidders including Darryl and Louella Berger with partners Joe Jaeger and Roger Ogden; Paul Woodward; Pres Kabacoff, former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy and Edward Boettner; and Al Thompson and Arnold Baker with their spouses. Continue reading »

Feb 252015
 
Mardi Gras beads hang on the chain-link fence in front of the tall black tarp, an effort to bring some life back to the otherwise bleak view. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mardi Gras beads hang on the chain-link fence in front of the tall black tarp, an effort to bring some life back to the otherwise bleak view. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Lined with tall black tarps billowing over chain link fences, what was once Prytania Street between Octavia and Nashville now looks like a discarded set from an old episode of the X-Files. Gray mud seeps from under the fence, and strange sounds emanate from behind the tarps, but it is anyone’s guess what could actually be taking place back there. Continue reading »

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 »