Jan 162014
 
Stacy Head and Eugene Green. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Stacy Head and Eugene Green. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Freddie Charbonnet, Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Jason Williams. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Freddie Charbonnet, Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Jason Williams. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Two sitting members of the New Orleans City Council and all of their challengers said the city needs a new police chief on Wednesday night in a response to a question asked by the Alliance for Good Government. Continue reading »

Jan 162014
 

A new petition protesting a plan to reroute freight trains through Hollygrove has gained 1,000 signatures, according to a report in Mid-City Messenger. “We Won’t Be Railroaded,” the coalition of Hollygrove and Mid-City residents behind the petition, hopes to have 10,000 signatures by mid-Spring, according to the story. Continue reading »

Jan 152014
 
Sheriff Marlin Gusman (from left), former sheriff Charles Foti, School Board president Ira Thomas and gardener Quentin Brown. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Sheriff Marlin Gusman (from left), former sheriff Charles Foti, School Board president Ira Thomas and gardener Quentin Brown. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Sheriff Marlin Gusman and his predecessor, Charles Foti, blame each other for conditions at the Orleans Parish Jail. School board president Ira Thomas blames them both, and gardener Quentin Brown blames them all.

That question — whether the incumbents are responsible for shortcomings in New Orleans’ public institutions, or took poor situations and tried to improve them — resonated through the Alliance For Good Government forums in citywide races Tuesday night. Continue reading »

Jan 142014
 
The sign outside the future home of Del Fuego Tacqueria reads "Coming in 2014 - We swear!" (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The sign outside the future home of Del Fuego Tacqueria reads “Coming in 2014 – We swear!” (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Restaurateur Joel Dondis describes plans for a reception hall at 1911 Magazine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Restaurateur Joel Dondis describes plans for a reception hall at 1911 Magazine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A new Mexican restaurant on Magazine Street planned by a former Commander’s Palace chef received initial approval from the City Planning Commission on Tuesday, as did a new reception hall in the Lower Garden District by Joel Dondis of La Petite Grocery. Continue reading »

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Jan 142014
 
City Council members Jackie Clarkson (left) and LaToya Cantrell present proposed changes to the city's Mardi Gras ordinances on Tuesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

City Council members Jackie Clarkson (left) and LaToya Cantrell present proposed changes to the city’s Mardi Gras ordinances on Tuesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A New Orleans City Council committee is recommending a ban on roping off areas of the neutral ground during parades be added to a list of changes to the city’s Mardi Gras laws, they said Tuesday morning. Continue reading »

Jan 132014
 

Owen Courreges

Howdy, folks! My name is Owen Courrèges and I’m here to regale you with my unique brand of stand-up comedy.

…So the City Attorney, the Head of the Taxi Bureau and the Chief of Police walk into a bar.  The Taxi Bureau Chief says: “Barkeep! Three beers for these dedicated mayoral appointees!”  Obligingly, the bartender slides three bottles of beer down the bar. Continue reading »

Jan 122014
 
A group of dogs tussle at the Wisner Dog Run while their owners watch on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A group of dogs tussle at the Wisner Dog Run while their owners watch on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

In December, the city of New Orleans announced the opening of the Wisner Dog Run, the first free, official place for dogs to play without a leash in the city limits, accomplished by a maze of new fencing between the existing Wisner Park softball field, basketball courts and playgrounds that allows pets ample room to romp.

“This is something that people in the neighborhood have been waiting for for a very long time,” said Sam Winston of the Friends of Wisner Park. “People are just thrilled.”

Though Uptown dog owners and neighborhood residents cheer the development, it represents a significant departure from a much more ambitious plan discussed at public forums throughout the city in 2012 for as many as 20 new dog parks and dog runs on vacant land across the city. Instead, city officials are now evaluating new spaces for dogs to get off-leash exercise on a case-by-case basis, and Wisner may represent the new model for the future of how dogs, their owners and other park-goers play together in New Orleans in the future.
Continue reading »

Jan 122014
 

David Capasso (from left), Jason Coleman, Susan Guidry and Drew Ward at Dillard University. (Della Hasselle, MidCityMessenger.com)

Challengers David Capasso, Jason Coleman and Drew Ward debated issues of economic inequality, crime, public infrastructure and progress since Hurricane Katrina with City Councilwoman Susan Guidry last week at a candidates’ forum at Dillard University, according to Della Hasselle of MidCityMessenger.com.

Jan 112014
 
Tyler Johns, left, Shanay Haywood, center, and Rachel May, right, paint "A.L. Davis Panthers" on the outside of A.L. Davis park. (photo by Zach Brien for UptownMessenger.com)

Tyler Johns, left, Shanay Haywood, center, and Rachel May, right, paint “A.L. Davis Panthers” on the outside of A.L. Davis park. (photo by Zach Brien for UptownMessenger.com)

NOLA for Life in A.L. Davis park. (photo by Zach Brien for UptownMessenger.com)

NOLA for Life in A.L. Davis park. (photo by Zach Brien for UptownMessenger.com)

On Saturday in Central City, volunteers, both local and visiting, came out to fix up A.L. Davis Park as well as Carter G. Woodson School as part of the sixth NOLA for Life Day effort. Continue reading »

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Jan 102014
 
Toilet paper flies from the Krewe of Tucks' "Expelling the Culture" float in 2012. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Toilet paper flies from the Krewe of Tucks’ “Expelling the Culture” float in 2012. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A set of new laws concerning conduct during Mardi Gras parades will not ban toilet paper from being thrown from floats, in a change from a draft of the laws introduced by the City Council earlier this week. Continue reading »

Jan 092014
 
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Judge Michael Bagneris and NAACP President Danatus King at the Holy Name of Jesus School. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Judge Michael Bagneris and NAACP President Danatus King at the Holy Name of Jesus School. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Either the city of New Orleans made tremendous progress in the last four years, or it has not really come as far as its leaders are saying. Or, is it going in the wrong direction entirely?

These were the three positions staked out by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Judge Michael Bagneris and NAACP President Danatus King in a debate before the Alliance for Good Government on Thursday evening. Landrieu, defending his first term, argued that his administration has made impressive strides in a city with both immediate and long-term problems. Bagneris accused Landrieu of misleading the public with distorted reports, and King argued that Landrieu has enacted policies that will ultimately weaken the city through the inequality they create. Continue reading »

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Jan 092014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

In simple terms, many of New Orleans’ races this year’s races are breaking down to the status quo (incumbents) and those who say not good enough for us (the challengers). This “Tale of Two Cities” campaign theme was imprinted by new New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and is inspiring progressives and liberals around the country including Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Minor.

There is more consistent and insistent talk about income equality, which even President Obama has called “a fundamental threat to the American dream.” Even the newly elected mayor in Seattle, home of many prosperous tech companies and their high-paying jobs, has created a task force to examine the issue. de Blasio says there is a progressive movement in America that is having a real effect with mayors from around the country talking about fighting inequality and poverty and expanding access to early childhood education. Continue reading »

Jan 082014
 
Ladders form a backdrop to the Krewe of Proteus on Napoleon Avenue in 2012. A proposed new law would require all ladders be six feet back from the curb. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Ladders form a backdrop to the Krewe of Proteus on Napoleon Avenue in 2012. A proposed new law would require all ladders be six feet back from the curb. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

All Mardi Gras ladders must be kept at least six feet back from the curb during parades, and may not be chained together, under a set of new laws being introduced this week before the New Orleans City Council. Continue reading »

Jan 082014
 
David Capasso, Jason Coleman and Susan Guidry appear before the Independent Women's Organization on Monday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

David Capasso, Jason Coleman and Susan Guidry appear before the Independent Women’s Organization on Monday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Violent crime in neighborhoods, economic development and opportunity, balancing the city budget and even gay marriage and marijuana legalization were all discussed Tuesday night by Democratic candidates in the New Orleans city elections, many appearing on the same stage for the first time a mere three weeks before the Feb. 1 election day.

The pace was brisk and the tone was mostly — though not always — genial as the Independent Women’s Organization asked a handful of questions to more than two dozen Democratic candidates for mayor, City Council and other citywide offices. Continue reading »

Jan 072014
 
(photo by jewel bush for UptownMessenger.com)

(photo by jewel bush for UptownMessenger.com)

jewel bush

It’s 34 degrees at daybreak; and the temperature is rapidly dropping. The day is as dreary as it is gray, but not even the hawk — or the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) — can keep Brandan “BMike” Odums away from the Florida Projects.

He’s not breaking and entering in the name of creation this time around. The visual artist, who is equally dexterous with spray paint as he is with acrylic and pen and ink, is there to reflect on #ProjectBe, an organic participatory art odyssey that began last summer. #ProjectBe sparked debates among the arties — and authorities – about what makes “legitimate” art and whether a weather-beaten public housing development can ever be more than an underground thrill. Continue reading »

Jan 072014
 

Following the holidays, New Orleans voters may feel like the Feb. 1 elections are coming on a compressed schedule, with Election Day just three weeks from Saturday. But several civic groups are quickly mobilizing to provide residents with opportunities to hear from the candidates first-hand in the next two weeks, starting today (Tuesday, Jan. 7). Continue reading »