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 »

 Comments Off
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 »

 Comments Off
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 »

 Comments Off
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.

 Comments Off  Tagged with:
Feb 242014
 

The Krewe of Alla's K&B float rolls on Magazine Street. Officials have not said which floats the riders who were injured fell from. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Alla’s K&B float rolls on Magazine Street. Officials have not said which floats the riders who were injured fell from. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

After two Mardi Gras riders in the Krewe of Alla parade on Sunday were injured from falling from their floats, New Orleans officials are now urging members of all parading groups to treat their mandatory tethers like a seatbelt and keep them fastened throughout the parade. Continue reading »

 Comments Off
Feb 242014
 

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

The state lawmakers who sit on the legislature’s Hurricane Recovery Committee will take up the issue of “intimidating” Road Home collection letters previously raised by New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell in a meeting this evening (Monday, Feb. 24), officials said. Continue reading »

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 »

 Comments Off
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 »