Feb 242014
 

Owen Courreges

Everywhere you look these days you hear an ongoing debate over a simple app known as “Uber.”  The concept is simple: the San Franciso-based company provides an app that connects passengers with “for hire” vehicles and rideshare services via their cell phone.  Pricing is handled through Uber on a distance or time basis.

During times of peak demand, the price can be several times normal taxi rates.  At other times, Uber may cost less than a regular cab.  The goal is to provide a functioning market within the app whereby users can always receive prompt service. Continue reading »

Feb 202014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Voting is one of the most treasured rights of every American. But it is amazing how many people either never register or find some excuse not to vote. Then of course there is the perceived voter fatigue caused by having too frequent elections, failure to educate oneself on the issues, or being too lazy to physically go to the polls.

With early voting set to begin March 1, political eyes will be watching to see what impact voter apathy – due in part to our love of all things Mardi Gras – will have on voter turnout for the March 15 runoff elections for Council At Large, Council C, Sheriff and Coroner. In the primary election held on February 1, approximately 12,000 voters cast their votes early and a much smaller number voted by mail. Continue reading »

Feb 202014
 
Walter Block (via loyno.edu)

Walter Block (via loyno.edu)

Comments in The New York Times by a Loyola University economics professor defending the right of businesses to refuse service to black customers — such as the segregated Woolworth’s lunch counters that became an icon of the fight against segregation in the 1960s — have sparked an academic controversy that drew a rebuttal from the university president. Weeks later, the topic continues to dominate the pages of the student-run newspaper, The Maroon. Continue reading »

Feb 202014
 

law summit

19th Annual Tulane Summit on Environmental Law & Policy panelist topics (via  the Tulane Environmental and Energy Legal Society)

19th Annual Tulane Summit on Environmental Law & Policy panelist topics (via the Tulane Environmental and Energy Legal Society)

The public is invited to listen to thought-provoking expert panelists discuss environmental hot topics such as the Orleans Parish Levee Board lawsuits, the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” and the state’s “cancer alley” at the 19th Annual Tulane Summit on Environmental Law & Policy on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 21-22), in Tulane Law School’s Weinmann Hall. Continue reading »

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Feb 192014
 
NOPD Sgt. Marc Amos watches the crowd during a pause in the Krewe of Proteus parade in 2012. A number of new laws govern parade-goers this year. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

NOPD Sgt. Marc Amos watches the crowd during a pause in the Krewe of Proteus parade in 2012. A number of new laws govern parade-goers this year. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Bon to the jour, 2014 Carnival people!  You may or may not know that the powers that be — read, your New Orleans City Council — have seen it in their infinite wisdom to make this Mardi Gras season one of change.  “How so?” you may ask.  That is, if you missed all the fuss last month?  Before we roll through my standard top 20 we publish annually, in short here are the new rules and ordinances, with a few editorial embellishments: Continue reading »

Feb 182014
 
Members of the Coliseum Square Association meet Monday night in the Felicity Church, which is under renovation by a private owner. The association has been advocating for a similar future for the nearby Spanish-American Church building on Sophie Wright Place. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Members of the Coliseum Square Association meet Monday night in the Felicity Church, which is under renovation by a private owner. The association has been advocating for a similar future for the nearby Spanish-American Church building on Sophie Wright Place. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As the Spanish-American Church heads back to the New Orleans City Council this week for another request to tear down their decaying building on Sophie Wright Place, neighbors and members of the Coliseum Square Association hope the stalemate over the building will lead to stronger enforcement of blight laws against neglectful nonprofits. Continue reading »

Feb 182014
 

jewel bush

As the celebrities and athletes who came to town to party during the NBA All-Star Weekend board planes heading back to their posh lives — after they Instagram images of themselves looking fabulous and doing fabulous things like eating beignets and shooting hoops with underprivileged youth — New Orleans remains as bloody as ever.
Continue reading »

Feb 172014
 
A map of "Dizneylandrieu" distributed by Krewe of Spank members during the Krewe du Vieux parade Saturday night. (image via @noladishu on Twitter; click for larger version)

A map of “Dizneylandrieu” distributed by Krewe of Spank members during the Krewe du Vieux parade Saturday night. (image via @noladishu on Twitter; click for larger version)

Owen Courreges

The past twenty years have seen the popularization of a relatively new word: Disneyfication. The Wikipedia article on Disneyfication defines it as “a term which describes the transformation of something, usually society at large, to resemble The Walt Disney Company’s theme parks.”

Many people, including me, have linked this concept to policies coming from New Orleans City Hall.

Those of you who went to see the Krewe du Vieux parade Saturday evening were greeted by a float emblazoned: “Dizneylandrieu.” Beneath a caricature of Mitch Landrieu as Mickey Mouse, Krewe members dubbed “Mitchkateers” distributed maps of “mayor-approved adventure[s] in the Gentrified Kingdom.” Continue reading »

Feb 132014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Good for the jurors who yesterday found former Mayor Ray Nagin guilty on 20 of 21 criminal charges in federal court.

Those of us who have watched Nagin closely for the eight years he was in office believe Ray thought he could con the jury, just as he fooled New Orleans voters in the 2002 and 2006 mayoral elections. His hubris brought to mind Danae’s initial impression after Ray’s emergence as a major candidate in the 2002 election. “Ray is a rock star,” Danae said. “He’s cool, handsome and clever. Ray’s not about substance. He’s about being Ray.” Continue reading »

Feb 132014
 

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

After a 6-year-old was killed by a passing car while waiting for a school bus earlier this month, New Orleans city and school leaders debated on Wednesday ways to make the school-bus system safer and more efficient, according to a report by Della Hasselle of Mid-City Messenger. Orleans Parish School Board president Nolan Marshall Jr. raised the question of a unified school bus system across the city, while others urged a greater use of public transit.

“We have a lot of work to do on transportation safety, we know that, as long as kids are waiting on the bus in busy intersections, crossing four-lane highways and walking on roads with speed limits up to 40 miles per hour,” said City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who called the special meeting. “We have a real problem here, and we need to do everything we possibly can to provide real solutions.”

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Feb 112014
 

The building at 1020 Erato is slated to become the home of The Courtyard Brewery. (submitted photo)

The building at 1020 Erato is slated to become the home of The Courtyard Brewery. (submitted photo)

The owners of the Courtyard Brewery, a “nano”-scale beer brewery slated for Erato Street in the Lower Garden District, will have to wait another month before finding out the city’s stance on their project, despite strong support among their neighbors. Continue reading »

Feb 102014
 
The silos blocking Jefferson Avenue near Constance will be moved in time for Mardi Gras parades, officials say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The silos blocking Jefferson Avenue near Constance will be moved in time for Mardi Gras parades, officials say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Crowds pack the corner of Magazine and Jefferson during the Okeanos parade in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Crowds pack the corner of Magazine and Jefferson during the Okeanos parade in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

The Corps giveth and the Corps taketh away: The large structures blocking Jefferson Avenue near Magazine Street are in the process of being moved in time for Mardi Gras parades to make their usual turns around that corner, but soon afterward a four-block stretch of Prytania will close for about a year, officials said Wednesday. Continue reading »

Feb 102014
 

Owen Courreges

Mr. Landrieu, tear down this fence.

I am speaking, of course, of the fence that has spanned the end of Newcomb Boulevard at Freret Street for the past several years.   The installation of the fence was approved by the city at the behest of Newcomb’s well-heeled, well-connected residents who were concerned about through traffic clogging their street. Continue reading »

Feb 082014
 
Katie Schwartzmann, lead counsel in the lawsuit against the Orleans Parish Prison that led to the consent decree, discusses the case at Loyola University on Friday. (Zach Brien for UptownMessenger.com)

Katie Schwartzmann, lead counsel in the lawsuit against the Orleans Parish Prison that led to the consent decree, discusses the case at Loyola University on Friday. (Zach Brien for UptownMessenger.com)

The first reports that will show what progress has been made in addressing “inhumane” conditions at the Orleans Parish Prison are due in a matter of weeks, according to live coverage of a panel discussion at Loyola University on the jail consent decree by Della Hasselle of MidCityMessenger.com.

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Feb 062014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

You have to hand it to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. He ran a flawless campaign. His message was just what the voters wanted to hear and of course it helped that he had many millions of dollars to drive home his message through mail and tv, along with a very strong Get Out The Vote effort that capitalized on pure volunteers, unclassified employees and a skilled team of out-of-state professionals.

Judge Michael Bagneris, who got a late start, could not keep up. Judge Bagneris had to spend so much time driving to explain to the voters the Mayor’s failings, that he never had time to define his goals and method to reach them. Continue reading »

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Feb 052014
 

The controversial Orleans Parish Prison consent decree will be discussed during a symposium on prison reform this Friday.

The Prison Reform: Progress, Policies & Practices symposium will “initiate a dialogue between legal practitioners, community activists and others involved with reshaping the U.S. prison system,” according to a press release.
Continue reading »

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Feb 052014
 
Pedestrians pass by the Newcomb Boulevard fence early Tuesday afternoon.

Pedestrians pass by the Newcomb Boulevard fence early Tuesday afternoon.

Early last month, New Orleans city officials promised that they would comply with a court order to remove a fence on Newcomb Boulevard “without delay.” More than a month later, the fence still stands, there is discussion about a City Council effort to make the street one-way, and the city still says it is working on the removal — “without delay.” Continue reading »

Feb 052014
 

Jean-Paul Villere

If you’ve never traversed the Crescent City by foot, you are missing out.  You can really dig in the cracked pavement and tiered landscape, plus there’s a whole host of scents to engage traveling by bike or car one is likely to miss.  Just the other night a group of us walked from Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop over to the Marigny and the wafts of equal parts liquor, urine, and pot made for a less-than-appetizing nasal gumbo.  But while one wrestles over the legal and the sanitary, in the French Quarter the street surfaces historically remain level.  To say the least, it’s refreshing, especially if one is familiar with any other stretch within New Orleans where the mature oaks that pepper the streets over time have broken new ground, so to speak, giving the citizenry, say it with me: more broken sidewalks. Continue reading »