Mar 162014
 
(via Louisiana Secretary of State's office)

(via Louisiana Secretary of State’s office)

In Saturday’s runoffs, Jason Williams won the At-Large seat on the City Council and Sheriff Marlin Gusman was also re-elected, each winning with roughly two-thirds of the vote, and in the closest race of the evening, Jeff Rouse was elected coroner.

Meanwhile, the controversial tax for the Audubon Nature Institute was rejected by voters by a two-to-one margin. Continue reading »

Mar 142014
 

By Brooke Duncan III

It’s unfortunate that some have taken to social and other media to bash Audubon, one of the truly great success stories of local government in our time. The millage started out at 4.2 but was reduced a few years ago as a result of a state-wide reassessment of property values when values declined following Katrina. Without getting bogged down in semantics, the tax has been in place for a long time and the proposal returns the millage to its prior level. The difference for a home valued at $200,000 has been reported to be around $12 a year. The current taxes will end in 2021-2022. This is an effort to establish the taxes at the former millage; this is not a new tax in addition to the existing tax. Continue reading »

Mar 122014
 

By Clark Thompson

If you live in Uptown New Orleans, you’ve probably had the misfortune of driving on Octavia street in the past few months. The US Army Corp’s SELA project effectively closes Jefferson Avenue, and ends up sending lots of traffic onto Octavia, and the wear and tear of additional use is destroying the street. And the street is destroying cars, but that’s already been covered. Continue reading »

Mar 122014
 
Lindsay Hellwig, a co-owner of the Courtyard Brewery, speaks to the City Planning Commission on Tuesday afternoon.

Lindsay Hellwig, a co-owner of the Courtyard Brewery, speaks to the City Planning Commission on Tuesday afternoon. (via nolacitycouncil.com)

courtyard brewery logoAfter fielding detailed questions about parking, floor plans, dumpsters, gates, curb cuts, trees, sidewalks and deliveries on Tuesday, the owners of the Courtyard Brewery received approval for a new “nanobrewery” in the Lower Garden District from the City Planning Commission, with the outdoor seating allowed that the name implies.

The commission did not give the Courtyard Brewery permission for live music, however, so they hope to make the case for that when their request heads to the City Council in the next month. Continue reading »

Mar 112014
 
John Fogerty and Lori Wingate of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ron Spooner and Robert Jackson of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans field questions from a crowd of 100 people about the next leg of the Napoleon Avenue drainage project on Tuesday.

John Fogerty and Lori Wingate of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ron Spooner and Robert Jackson of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans field questions from a crowd of 100 people about the next leg of the Napoleon Avenue drainage project on Tuesday.

Construction on the massive new drainage canal under Napoleon Avenue will soon begin moving toward the river, and sections of the neutral ground will likely be inaccessible to parade-goers during Mardi Gras next year, New Orleans officials said Tuesday night. Continue reading »

Mar 112014
 
Volunteers plant a tree while children play behind them at Wisner Playground in November 2010.  (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Volunteers plant a tree while children play behind them at Wisner Playground in November 2010. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

By Ramsey Green and Sam Winston, members of Friends of Wisner Park

On Saturday, New Orleanians will vote on whether to approve a new 50-year tax increase with all revenue exclusively designated for the Audubon Institute. You should vote “No” – especially if you value having more functional green spaces in the city like the beautiful Audubon Park. Continue reading »

Mar 112014
 

RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard stands outside a school bus on Napoleon Avenue in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard stands outside a school bus on Napoleon Avenue in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

The distance that New Orleans children ride the bus to school each day has risen to 3.5 miles in the city’s fragmented charter-school system, nearly double the 1.8 miles they traveled before Hurricane Katrina, according to a report by Della Hasselle of our sister site at MidCityMessenger.com. After the traffic death of a first-grader waiting for the bus last month, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and other city officials are looking into ways to make the busing system safer and more efficient across the city, Hasselle reports.

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Mar 112014
 

State Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, is sponsoring a bill supported by Mayor Mitch Landrieu that would allow the city of New Orleans to hold an election asking voters whether the property taxes dedicated specifically to police and fire services should be raised, according to an article by Charles Maldonado of The Lens. The property tax increase would increase spending on emergency services by about $6 million, the article states.

Mar 102014
 

Owen Courreges

Ron Forman makes over $700,000 per year, yet he’s acting like a beggar.  And the worst part is, he’s not even an honest one.

Forman, the president and CEO of the Audubon Nature Institution (and erstwhile mayoral candidate), is seeking a new property tax millage.  It would be of 50 years duration at a rate of 4.2 mills.  Although the new millage would replace the existing 3.31 mills dedicated to the Audubon Zoo and the Aquarium of the Americas, it is not a renewal.  It is a new millage. Continue reading »

Mar 102014
 
(courtesy of The Audubon Nature Institute)

(photo via The Audubon Nature Institute)

On Saturday (March 15), Orleans Parish voters will decide on more than just runoff races for City Council seats. A property tax worth up to $11.9 million a year is up for vote for the Audubon Nature Institute, the organization that supports the Uptown-located Audubon Zoo, as well as the Aquarium downtown and other sites around the city.

Supporters of the millage say it is a renewal of an already-existing tax. But dissenters say that it’s a new tax, because it could mark an increase in funds for the Institute for a period of 50 years. Continue reading »

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Mar 072014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

For those of us whose memories go back a long ways, one of the all-time great New Orleans stories is the transformation of the Audubon Park Zoo from an “animal ghetto” to a world-class zoo that is considered an American gem.

It all started in the 1970s when then-Mayor Moon Landrieu, irate about complaints that the zoo was a vile-smelling, dirty place where the animals suffered from a lack of care, sent a promising young administrative assistant Ron Forman to the Uptown outpost to see what if anything could be done. Continue reading »

Mar 062014
 

Blight on Simon Bolivar (Uptown Messenger stock photo).

A new “lot maintenance program” passed by New Orleans City Council will allow the city to cut grass on blighted private property, recording the cost on that property owner’s tax bill.

The program, created as part of an amendment to an existing ordinance, allows the city to cut overgrowth, remove debris and perform routine maintenance on a private lot if the grass or growth is over 18 inches, there is trash or debris and/or if there is “noxious” growth, such as poison ivy, according to a presentation given by city administration in a Housing and Human Needs committee last month. Continue reading »

Feb 282014
 

Three small Uptown streets — Rosa Park, Dunleith Court and Richmond Place — are all marked as “private” streets but no one pays taxes for them, a series of contradictions that dates back a century and that assessor Erroll Williams tells The Lens may have to end. Accounts conflict as to whether the city has maintained them, thus making them public, and it is also unclear who would be responsible for their taxes if they are kept private, The Lens reports. Continue reading »

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Feb 272014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It’s always fun to go to the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Ball at Gallier Hall because you never know who you are going to run into. Last night’s ball was a jam-packed but chilly affair with plenty of women in stunning backless, strapless creations and masks. The first people Danae saw crawling out of a big SUV were James Carville (New Orleans best known media darling) and Ryan Berni, the Mayor’s former press secretary/campaign manager who is now contemplating his next step. Could Hillary’s campaign be on Berni’s horizon? Continue reading »

Feb 262014
 

For the first time, Tulane University police are assisting the New Orleans Police Department this year with security along the Mardi Gras parade routes, according to a report by Tania Dall of our partners at WWL-TV. Tulane is sending five commissioned officers and one supervisor to supplement the ranks of the NOPD Second District during every Uptown parade, Commander Paul Noel says:

Feb 262014
 
A float is reflected in the watery grave of a crepe myrtle. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

A float is reflected in the watery grave of a crepe myrtle. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Greetings fellow revelers!  Happy to report the first weekend of Mardi Gras 2014 seemingly unfolded with minimal fuss and maximum fanfare.  While I personally stayed Uptown, walking to this parade and that corner on Friday and Saturday, we heeded caution for Sunday’s wetness and took in a matinee at the Prytania.  So while my own experiences stayed squarely in the 70115, from all the posts I read, the otherwise premiere Carnival activities in the remainder of the Crescent City happened as expected: ‘tit Rex got small, Chewbacchus made the kessel run in less than 12 parsecs, and Barkus took a dip.  All on a Mardi Gras first weekend, as it were. Continue reading »

Feb 252014
 
A drawing of the proposed community center included in city documents.

A drawing of the proposed community center included in city documents.

Kevin Brown (via tccno.org)

Kevin Brown (via tccno.org)

A long-delayed plan to create a new community center on Monroe Street in west Carrollton — now slated to be a new home for Hollygrove’s Trinity Christian Community — received a thumbs-up from the New Orleans City Planning Commission on Tuesday, and organizers say they now have the funding in line for the project to move forward. Continue reading »

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Feb 252014
 

St. Charles Avenue homeowners are allowed by the city to fence in landscaping they create between the sidewalk and the street to protect them from Mardi Gras parade goers, but nearby residents say too many new landscaping projects and fences are cropping up this year, restricting where the public can watch, according to a report by Meg Farris of our partners at WWL-TV. City officials say only one new fencing permit was issued this year, at Constantinople Street, but Farris pointed to other plots that are fenced in without any apparent landscaping.

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