Nov 052018
 

By Jesse Baum
jesse.blacktree@gmail.com

The Krewe of Mid City rolls down St. Charles Avenue.  (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Parade throws, one the biggest draws of the Carnival season, have become one of its biggest sources of controversy, with a growing push to move Mardi Gras away from the waste and excess symbolized by the all the plastic beads filling our streets and catch basins after every parade.

An Urban Conservancy conference held at the historic Carver Theater on Oct. 18 was titled “The Future of Mardi Gras.” Its focus was on sustainability and culture; panelists and environmental advocates discussed how to return the focus to the local artistry that creates Mardi Gras’ most memorable floats, throws and costumes

The audience had gathered to hear about the Carnival’s future—but the panel discussion began with the past.

According to New Orleans historian John Magill, a panelist at the event, early Mardi Gras parades did not have throws. The tradition, Magill explained, began with trinkets that were dispensed by a Santa Claus who walked through the crowd—as Mardi Gras was a post-Christmas holiday, rather than a pre-Easter Holiday. A local toy store provided the parcels.

Fast-forward to today—Mardi Gras is a bacchanalian extravaganza that generates 900 tons of waste each year. Last year the figure was 12,000 tons, and the city made national news when 93,000 pounds of beads were pulled from catch basins along a five-block stretch of St. Charles avenue.

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Nov 022018
 

On November 4th, Grow Dat Youth Farm will host their final event of the season on their farm in City Park. The Fall Harvest Dinner on the Farm will showcase autumn vegetables and feature fresh produce grown on their farm. The evening will feature beloved local restaurants Pagoda Cafe, Coco Hut, Carmo and Windowsill Pies.

These images were taken on the Momenta Project New Orleans 2018: Working with Nonprofits workshop in New Orleans, LA. Photo © Abigail Maki/Momenta Workshops 2018.

During the cocktail hour, guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, craft cocktails, and live music in the eco-campus, Grow Dat’s outdoor classroom constructed of converted shipping containers.

Guests will have the choice of participating in one of 3 educational tours: Sustainable Agriculture, Grow Dat’s Youth Leadership Program, or a tour on ​Herbal and Plant Medicinal Practices hosted by former Grow Dat Fellow Ellenie Cruz. To round out the event, guests will commune over a 3-course seated dinner paired with wine in Grow Dat’s stunning oak grove by the bayou. Continue reading »

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May 182018
 

District B City Councilman Jay H. Banks speaks at a neighborhood meeting in December 2017. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Several residents in the Faubourg Marengo neighborhood say they’ve had to deal with a tar-like odor around – and sometimes within – their homes for several years, and their new City Councilman says he will try to find the cause of the smell.

About 10 people from the small community between Magazine and Tchoupitoulas near Napoleon Avenue have banded together to examine the source of the reported foul odor. The group, unofficially led by Eric Eagan, met for the first time Wednesday evening. Continue reading »

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Mar 302018
 

Protesters hold signs during a March 28 meeting of the City Council utility committee. (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Entergy New Orleans has the City Council just where they want them – frequently playing catch up. While Entergy came into existence to provide gas and electric services to the ratepayers, they also have an obligation to maximize profits for their stockholders. The more Entergy controls costs, the better stockholders like it and citizens lose. Entergy is a major player in the community through their grant programs, their sponsorship of non-profit organizations and their frequent — and often behind the scenes — political maneuvering. Angering Entergy can have negative financial repercussions, as WBOK recently discovered. Continue reading »

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Mar 152018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Covington clinical psychologist Dr. Raphael Salcedo and his wife Beth don’t have much free time on their hands. They spend day and night working with girls at the state-licensed Free Indeed Home where victims of child sex trafficking come to rebuild their lives. As founders of the Louisiana Coalition Against Human Trafficking (LCAHT), the Salcedos created a state-wide advocacy program that provides information and referrals as well as training for local social service providers including police and social workers. Continue reading »

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Feb 072018
 

A lone waterbird stands at the edge of the lagoon at Audubon Park. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

The more things change in the city of New Orleans, it seems, the more residents want Audubon Park to stay the same, based on comments Tuesday evening at the first public meeting about the park’s future.

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Oct 042017
 

Moving trailside for the very first time, the 5th Annual Greenway Soirée will be held at the Cellar on St. Louis—a new adaptively repurposed warehouse venue overlooking the Greenway. The Soirée takes place on Friday, October 6, 6:00 to 11:00 p.m., and it will bring together the very best in food, drink, and entertainment for an evening of celebration. Continue reading »

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Sep 152017
 

Candidates for the District A seat on the New Orleans City Council — Joe Giarrusso III, Dan Ring, Tilman Hardy, Toyia Washington-Kendrick, Drew Ward and Aylin Maklansky — debate during a town hall hosted by Carrollton neighborhood groups on Thursday evening. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

City Council District A is home to a plethora of the city’s parks and greenspaces, and their management and sustainability remains an important issue as the city grows. All six District A candidates said they’d fight to keep greenspaces across the city, though they presented different preservation tactics.

Two candidates stressed the importance of zoning ordinances and the city’s Master Plan in protecting current greenspace, while others argued for legislation protecting trees and living plants. Some candidates said they’d look into unifying park management into one entity, if it proves efficient. Continue reading »

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Sep 142017
 

Please join the South Broad Business Coalition, a group of small business owners along the S. Broad corridor, for a Mayoral Candidates Forum on Thursday, September 21 at 4 p.m. at the Rhodes Pavilion, 3933 Washington Ave.

The questions posed to the candidates will focus on economic and workforce development, economic inequality and wealth disparities, and public safety (crime and water management). Continue reading »

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Sep 072017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

The New Orleans City Council’s budget hearing today focuses on capital improvements, public works and other drainage improvements that were paid for this year with emergency funds. When also factoring in yesterday’s fire at the Sewerage & Water Board’s Claiborne Avenue main pumping station, it’s easy to see why citizens are becoming more skeptical about the ability of our mayor and his S&WB team to protect us against flooding. Continue reading »

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Aug 182017
 

The majority of the diesel fuel that leaked from the Sewerage & Water Board plant in Carrollton has been cleaned up, and no more has appeared, but officials are still unsure how it escaped in the first place, authorities said Thursday afternoon. Continue reading »

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Aug 162017
 

New Orleans Fire Department chief Tim McConnell speaks Wednesday afternoon at a news conference at City Hall. (via City of New Orleans)

A diesel sheen atop the water in a drainage canal in Carrollton led to the discovery Tuesday night of a leak from an underground tank at the Sewerage & Water Board plant, New Orleans city officials said Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading »

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Aug 072017
 

(image via Entergy New Orleans)

The three candidates seeking to succeed Stacy Head as the new At-Large member of the New Orleans City Council all expressed doubts Saturday about the need for a new gas-fired Entergy power station in New Orleans East in the face of residents’ opposition there. Continue reading »

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Jun 232017
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

This week’s tropical storm Cindy is just the latest example that the New Orleans region and the entire Gulf Coast must become better at living with water rather than merely struggling to defeat it. From powerful waves breaking over the sea walls on Lakeshore Drive and in Covington to flooding caused by storm surge in Venetian Isles, Myrtle Grove and Grand Isle, we must employ what the Dutch call “inventive urbanism” to make our towns and cities more resilient. Continue reading »