Feb 192015
 
Carrollton Station owner Michael Miller (left) explains his experience taking his bar smoke-free during a town-hall session on the issue in July 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Carrollton Station owner Michael Miller (left) explains his experience taking his bar smoke-free during a town-hall session on the issue in July 2014. Miller said at the time that many bar owners privately looked forward to a ban. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

By Lawson Box

While bar patrons have mixed feelings about the new citywide ban on smoking indoors, some university area bar owners say they are happy about the ordinance as they expect even more students to frequent local watering holes. Continue reading »

Feb 112015
 
The Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue, photographed in January 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

The Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue, photographed in January 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

With plans for a rooftop lounge and a restored Silver Whistle coffee shop on the first floor, The Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue is intent on reclaiming its historic prominence in New Orleans, its owners say — right down to the classic blueberry muffins. Continue reading »

Feb 112015
 

Kate Scott

Kate Scott

By Kate Scott, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center

New Orleans has a troubling legacy to overcome when it comes to the condition of its rental homes, even though more than half the City’s residents are renters. Such conditions have wide-ranging effects on everything from health to educational outcomes. Many renters find themselves having to move because they can’t get dangerous housing conditions addressed. When people have to move a lot, neighborhood stability goes down and so does public safety.

In a City where rents have skyrocketed beyond the reach of many working families, New Orleans renters deserve assurances that the homes they live in meet basic standards of quality and safety. A rental registry program would be good for New Orleans and can be designed in a way that is not overly cumbersome for the many landlords in the City that are just trying to do the right thing. Continue reading »

Feb 092015
 

Owen Courreges

Stacy Head did not appear happy this past week with her colleague on the city council, LaToya Cantrell.  Without any real warning, Cantrell announced vague plans to rapidly introduce an ordinance to create a rental inspection bureaucracy with regular inspections and a comprehensive online database.

“I reiterate my position that this ordinance is not ready for introduction next week,” Head frustratedly wrote in an email to the council. “The lightning speed with which this is moving as well as the apparent insular nature of the discussion is disconcerting.” Continue reading »

Feb 022015
 

Owen Courreges

I personally loathe either giving or receiving directions, particularly in New Orleans.  With all the twists and turns in the Crescent City, it’s a sure bet that there’s at least one step where you’ll have to “bear” onto something or venture on some convoluted path to make a left turn, all the while cursing the lack of rhyme and reason to the whole mess.

It’s all part and parcel of living in a city established nearly three-hundred years ago along a winding river.  The streets tend to take on a life of their own.

Now, sadly, it’s about to become ever more difficult to meander some streets of Uptown New Orleans.  Yes, the City Planning Commission (CPC) has once again exhibited its total lack of purpose, this time by approving needless street name changes borne of local political horse-trading. Continue reading »

Jan 312015
 
Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks at the grand opening ceremony at Martin Wine Cellar on Friday, Jan. 30. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks at the grand opening ceremony at Martin Wine Cellar on Friday, Jan. 30. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Before Mayor Mitch Landrieu took the podium for Friday’s grand opening ceremony at Martin Wine Cellar on Baronne Street, he had a very important question to ask.

“You’ve already got your lemonade?” Landrieu asked a patron in the crowd, noting her tall glass. He took the microphone, and continued, “I’m happy. You know how many times I came here when I was a kid to get a sandwich, how many Lindys I’ve eaten?” Continue reading »

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Jan 302015
 
An image from Google Maps shows the large vacant lot from the corner of Broadway and Edinburgh streets. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

An image from Google Maps shows the large vacant lot from the corner of Broadway and Edinburgh streets. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The large vacant lot on Broadway Street near Earhart Boulevard in Gert Town that formerly held the Mary Church Terrell Elementary School received tentative approval this week to become the new New Orleans Police Department Second District station and a community pool. Continue reading »

Jan 302015
 
A sneak peek at the new playground equipment at Samuel Square. (Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

A sneak peek at the new playground equipment at Samuel Square. The playground will receive its official dedication at 2 p.m. today. (Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Today marks the official grand re-opening of the recently totally redone Samuel Square playground in the 2100 block of Napoleon, though the caution tape was removed a few days ago.  And wow!  Akin to other nearby brightly colored and playful compositions of many reborn play areas (think Laurence Square but moreso the Danneel Playspot at Octavia and St Charles) this 21st century facelift to this centuries old green space does not disappoint.  And being a parent to young children (and a also a tax-paying neighbor myself) just a few blocks away from Samuel Square my level of engagement is set to maximum.  And for many reasons. Continue reading »

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Jan 272015
 
The Magnolia Mansion at 2127 Prytania Street. (via Google Maps)

The Magnolia Mansion at 2127 Prytania Street. (via Google Maps)

A proposal to add a restaurant at the Magnolia Mansion hotel on Prytania Street drew such vehement opposition from Garden District-area neighbors on Tuesday afternoon that the City Planning Commission overruled their own staffers to recommend against the project. Continue reading »

Jan 272015
 

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue will have its license suspended for a month starting in mid March as part of a punishment for breaking a 2013 agreement with the city of New Orleans to reduce the impact of the crowds it attracts on weekends, the city’s alcohol board has decided. Continue reading »

Jan 262015
 

Owen Courreges

Author’s Note:  Owen is inconsolable this week after the passing of yet another needless, paternalistic ordinance by the New Orleans City Council.  Following a mental breakdown, Owen now believes himself to be Bland Landers, an imaginary cantankerous brother of noted advice columnist Ann Landers.  Thus, the following advice column will run today in place of Owen’s usual rantings.

Dear Bland,

My husband and I recently moved in next to a longstanding juke joint, and as we anticipated, it’s far too noisy.  Adding insult to this complete absence of injury, they’re also having music more often that they used to because the bar has become more successful (which also means more people loitering around, which makes me nervous for reasons I usually discuss in vague, coded language).  I’ve called the police out several times without warning to harass them, but nothing ever gets done.  What do I do?

– Batty in the Bywater Continue reading »

Jan 232015
 
At left, a rendering of the exterior of the new restaurant slated for Magazine and Nashville. At right, the Halpern's building slated to become the Lula restaurant and microdistillery. Both projects won City Council approval on Thursday. (UptownMessenger.com)

At left, a rendering of the exterior of the new restaurant slated for Magazine and Nashville. At right, the Halpern’s building slated to become the Lula restaurant and microdistillery. Both projects won City Council approval on Thursday. (UptownMessenger.com)

Two high-concept restaurants planned for Uptown New Orleans — the Lula micro-distillery slated for the Halpern’s building on St. Charles Avenue, and a project on Magazine Street by the owners of Maysville in New York City — both won easy approval from the New Orleans City Council on Thursday afternoon. Continue reading »

Jan 212015
 
Andrew H. Wilson Charter School principal Logan Crowe speaks to more than 100 people gathered at the school Tuesday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Andrew H. Wilson Charter School principal speaks to more than 100 people gathered at the school Tuesday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The impending loss of the charter at Andrew H. Wilson charter school in Broadmoor — one of New Orleans’ most deeply established and celebrated charter schools, but also one of the city’s lowest ranked campuses in state scores — has parents in the community deeply upset.

The school’s strengths, they said at a heated public meeting Tuesday night, run far deeper than superficial and unfairly-calculated test scores show, and they fear that the individualized care they are used to their children receiving will give way to a cookie-cutter approach if a larger operator takes over. Continue reading »

Jan 192015
 
David Augustine Jr., the artist known as Dee-1, gives the keynote address during Monday's Martin Luther King celebration at New Orleans City Hall. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

David Augustine Jr., the artist known as Dee-1, gives the keynote address during Monday’s Martin Luther King celebration at New Orleans City Hall. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Art that expresses the African-American experience — from spirituals more than a century old to a new graffiti exhibit that closes today — has a power across generations to both create change and inspire the young, artists and officials said Monday morning in New Orleans in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“We are the generation of messengers,” said rapper Dee-1, Ben Franklin High School graduate David Augustine Jr. “We all have a platform, we all have an audience, we all have a flock we’ve been entrusted with. We have to decide, what is our message?” Continue reading »

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Jan 192015
 

Owen Courreges

‘Twas a clash of titans. In this corner, Mayor Mitch “the glitch” Landrieu, the scion of a Louisiana political dynasty, who has disappointed many by presiding over a sudden spike of crime in the French Quarter and a corrupt, ineffectual NOPD.

And in the next corner, Sidney “the insufferable” Torres, part-time New Orleans resident and garbage robber baron, who is always kvetching nauseatingly about any real or perceived threat to his property values. Continue reading »