Sep 162014
 
Palmer Park located at the corner of S. Carrolton and S. Claiborne.

The arch over the entryway to Palmer Park is the only sign of its namesake. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Zach Brien)

The popular Palmer Park — surrounded by an array of diverse neighborhoods including Carrollton, Fontainebleau, Pigeontown and Hollygrove — was given its name during an era of nostalgia for the Confederacy to honor a pastor so passionately in favor of slavery that Gen. Robert E. Lee described his oratory as more powerful than “an entire regiment of troops,” according to a presentation by a University of New Orleans researcher. Continue reading »

Sep 162014
 
Dr. Andre Perry delivers the keynote address at the Rising Tide conference Saturday, Sept. 13. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Dr. Andre Perry delivers the keynote address at the Rising Tide conference Saturday, Sept. 13. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Standardized test scores may be rising in the city’s public schools, but those gains on paper do not translate into any meaningful improvements in the lives of the city’s poorest students, said former New Orleans education official and activist Dr. Andre Perry. Challenging school reformers’ beliefs that a wholesale restructuring of the education system will create a better society, Perry added that all social conditions that plague New Orleans’ poor and African-American neighborhoods still persist even after 10 years of school reforms.

The best first step the city can take to real improvements for the African-American community, Perry said, is to begin searching for a way to reconcile with the thousands of teachers who were wrongfully fired after Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading »

Sep 112014
 
The front door of the Priestley school building in west Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The front door of the Priestley school building in west Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Orleans Parish School Board property committee recommended that Lycee Francais be approved to purchase the former Priestley campus Thursday, sending the proposal to the full school board next week for what could be final approval. Continue reading »

Sep 092014
 
Retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honore (center) and other advocates discuss contamination in the soil at the former Booker T. Washington site in front of what remains of the former school. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honore (center) and other advocates discuss contamination in the soil at the former Booker T. Washington site in front of what remains of the former school. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

When Lt. Gen. Russell Honore led 20,000 federal troops into the city of New Orleans for search-and-rescue missions in the aftermath of the collapse of the federal levees following Hurricane Katrina, he instructed his soldiers not to let the contaminated water touch them.

Nine years later, Honore said, the risk of pollution to New Orleanians is coming not from the failures of the federal government, but from decisions made by leaders right here in the city and state — such as the plan to rebuild Booker T. Washington High School in Central City on top of heavily contaminated soil at the old Clio Street dump. State documents show that in some locations, cancer-causing compounds are present in levels more than 100 times what is considered acceptable.

“As we worked nine years ago to help save this city, we’re going to work now to help save this city from itself,” Honore said. “Because you know what? It’s not the White House doing this. It’s not President Bush doing this. It’s the leaders in New Orleans doing this, and it’s people we did not put in the office — the RSD.”

Many alumni of Booker T. Washington, however, believe that the Recovery School District’s plan for treating the contamination is sufficient, that Honore’s concerns are an unnecessary excess of caution, and that it is time to move the long-delayed construction of a state-of-the-art school forward. Continue reading »

Aug 302014
 
Retired Gen. Russell Honore speaks at the GreenARMY Katrina commemoration at Xavier University. (Zach Brien for UptownMessenger.com)

Retired Gen. Russell Honore speaks at the GreenARMY Katrina commemoration at Xavier University. (Zach Brien for UptownMessenger.com)

As New Orleans continues to recover from the devastation that followed Hurricane Katrina nine years ago, the city should pass a law preventing any schools or daycare centers from being built on top of toxic soil — including the proposed rebuilding of the Booker T. Washington High School over the old Silver City dump site in Central City, retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honore and local allies said Saturday morning.

“We’re the oldest city in this part of the country, and we ought to be the first to make a stand,” Honore said. “We’re not going to put a school on a dump.” Continue reading »

Aug 262014
 
Streetlight repairs have been completed in neighborhoods marked in green, are underway in pink areas, and still to come in orange zones, as of August. (source: nola.gov/DPW)

Streetlight repairs have been completed in neighborhoods marked in green, are underway in pink areas, and still to come in orange zones, as of August. (source: nola.gov/DPW)

When New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked the residents of City Council District B how the city should spend their tax money Tuesday night, the answers nearly all involved streets: the holes in them, the lack of light on them, and the people who sleep on them.

Most of those problems — like all of those before the 300-year-old city — lack easy answers, and have been compounding for decades, Landrieu replied. But on at least one complaint, there is a glimmer of hope: the long-darkened streetlights along St. Charles Avenue are scheduled for repair in September. Continue reading »

Aug 262014
 
Work continued on Yulman Stadium (seen from Ben Weiner Drive) in August. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Work continued on Yulman Stadium (seen from Ben Weiner Drive) in August. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

With Tulane University’s first on-campus home game less than two weeks away, university officials and residents in the Uptown areas are discussing the details of the central question about the once-controversial stadium: What will game day look like in the neighborhoods around the stadium?

Will it be a return to the front-yard cocktail parties of the old Sugar Bowl days? A crasser, modern version, more akin to the obnoxious abuses of public property that draw complaints every Carnival season? Or will the parties largely follow the elaborate on-campus plans envisioned by university officials? Continue reading »

Aug 252014
 
The king's throne in the Krewe of Oak parade on Saturday was stolen, krewe members say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The king’s throne in the Krewe of Oak parade on Saturday was stolen, krewe members say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of OAK’s Mid-Summer Mardi Gras parade is intended to be “Outrageous and Kinky,” but not larcenous — so krewe members are genuinely outraged that the tricycle and cart with the king’s throne disappeared from in front of the Maple Leaf Bar after Saturday’s parade. Continue reading »

Aug 222014
 
NOPD Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy and Barbara Lacen-Keller speak on a Central City sidewalk Wednesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

NOPD Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy and Barbara Lacen-Keller speak on a Central City sidewalk Wednesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy — the longest-serving district commander in the New Orleans Police Department — was promoted Friday morning to Deputy Chief for Operations in the new administration of Superintendent Michael Harrison. Continue reading »

Aug 202014
 
City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell speaks to the Coliseum Square Association at Felicity Church on Monday, Aug. 18. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell speaks to the Coliseum Square Association at Felicity Church on Monday, Aug. 18. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

After residents complained that an initial sweep of a homeless encampment under the Pontchartrain Expressway simply moved the collection of tents and panhandlers from one side of St. Charles to the other, New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell is requesting city officials to return and clean out the area closer to the river as well.

Cantrell is also introducing a change to the city law that more specifically prohibits camping on public property, but said she is still looking to residents for answers to the larger question of how to get homeless people off the streets instead of moving them from one spot to another. Continue reading »

Aug 162014
 
The front door of the Priestley school building in west Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The front door of the Priestley school building in west Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

lyceeA group of Carrollton neighborhood leaders expressed support for the Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans charter school’s plan to reopen the long-shuttered Priestley campus, but many hope the school can do more to benefit all the children of the neighborhood, they said this week. Continue reading »

Aug 132014
 
The former fountain store at 7901 St. Charles Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former fountain store at 7901 St. Charles Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

An architect's sketch by Albert Architecture of a condo building proposed for the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Fern Street. (via nola.gov)

An architect’s sketch of a condo building proposed for the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Fern Street. (via nola.gov)

A shuttered St. Charles Avenue fountain store that began life as a gas station decades ago should not be torn down to make room for a new condominium building, a group of city officials recommended on Tuesday. Continue reading »

Aug 122014
 
The former day care at 1800 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard has been bought by New Orleans chef Adolfo Garcia and his partners. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former day care at 1800 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard has been bought by New Orleans chef Adolfo Garcia and his partners. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Adolfo Garcia speaks Monday before the New Orleans Board of Zoning Adjustments. (via nola.gov)

Adolfo Garcia speaks Monday before the New Orleans Board of Zoning Adjustments. (via nola.gov)

Celebrated New Orleans restaurateur Adolfo Garcia — whose High Hat Cafe and Ancora Pizzeria helped jumpstart the commercial revitalization of Freret Street — has bought a building on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard for his next venture.

Demonstrating the degree to which the redevelopment of O.C. Haley Boulevard has taken off, city officials on Monday compared the Central City corridor to busy Magazine Street as they discussed the need for parking they expect in the very near future. Continue reading »

Aug 052014
 
The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus -- shown here on Oak Street in 2011 -- are stalwarts of the Mid-Summer Mardi Gras parade, which this year is set for Aug. 23. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus — shown here on Oak Street in 2011 — are stalwarts of the Mid-Summer Mardi Gras parade, which this year is set for Aug. 23. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Prepare to leave behind your summer doldrums — and perhaps most of your clothing — as the Krewe of O.A.K. has set (Saturday) Aug. 23 as the date for its annual Mid-Summer Mardi Gras parade. Continue reading »

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Jul 302014
 
A black iron fence surrounds a green space at Constance and Harmony owned by Ruppert Kohlmaier. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A black iron fence surrounds a green space at Constance and Harmony owned by Ruppert Kohlmaier. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Approximate area of green space highlighted. (map by Uptown Messenger via Google Maps)

Approximate area of green space highlighted. (map by Uptown Messenger via Google Maps)

From the front window of the woodworking shop just off Magazine Street his father bought in 1930, Ruppert Kohlmaier can see a little wedge-shaped green space he also owns, and what he sees is a problem. Over the years, he has been threatened with lawsuits by people who claimed to be injured playing under its shady oaks, and now that he wants to build on it, his neighbors are angry at him.

When the neighbors around Constance and Harmony see the same space, they see a beloved pocket park, a crucial buffer between the modest homes of the Irish Channel and the busy commercial activity on Magazine Street. If Kohlmaier replaces the open area with a large building, they say, it will mean the removal of one of the few remaining green spaces in a neighborhood already under heavy redevelopment pressure.

Those conflicting viewpoints — simmering for weeks since Kohlmaier closed off the property with a sturdy iron fence — came to a head Tuesday afternoon at an unusually contentious meeting of the city’s architectural review committee. Continue reading »

Jul 262014
 
Kara Morgan's partner Trey Bornmann, clasps hands on the steps of the Lyons Center in front of a sea of her friends and supporters during a second line celebration of her life on Saturday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Kara Morgan’s partner Trey Bornmann, clasps hands on the steps of the Lyons Center in front of a sea of her friends and supporters during a second line celebration of her life on Saturday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Kara Lynn Morgan (submitted photo)

Kara Morgan on the parade route in 2014. (photo courtesy of Cher Groves)

Kara Lynn Morgan died of melanoma July 15, the day before her 41st birthday, but the tireless neighborhood leader is far from finished with her battle against skin cancer.

She is still fighting it — she and her many allies in New Orleans and beyond — on the fields in the park of her beloved Irish Channel. Continue reading »

Jul 242014
 
Carrollton Station owner Michael Miller (left) explains his experience taking his bar smoke-free to a handful of non-smoking advocates, members of the media and smoker Elizabeth Stella (seated far right) on Wednesday afternoon. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Carrollton Station owner Michael Miller (left) explains his experience taking his bar smoke-free to a handful of non-smoking advocates, members of the media and smoker Elizabeth Stella (seated far right) on Wednesday afternoon. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

This week, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell’s office is launching a series of events — call it a blitz, maybe a crusade — promoting her vision of smoke-free bars across New Orleans.

Wednesday’s event at Carrollton Station was intended to be a forum for bar owners to discuss the issue. Despite personal invitations from her staff to proprietors and public announcements in a variety of media outlets, however, the only person from the public to show up was a single, angry, ardent smoker.

Why the low turnout? Carrollton Station owner Michael Miller — who took the bar smoke-free when he bought it last year — said that many of his colleagues likely see the smoke-free trend as inevitable, and may even be privately looking forward to such a ban.

“The opposition we’ve gotten has not been from bar owners,” Anna Nguyen, a Cantrell staffer, agreed afterward. “It’s been from patrons.” Continue reading »

Jul 222014
 

An image of the official proclamation welcoming Operation Save America to New Orleans was circulated among the group's members online. (via Facebook.com)

An image of the official proclamation welcoming Operation Save America to New Orleans was circulated among the group’s members online. (via Facebook.com)

A proclamation from Mayor Mitch Landrieu commending Operation Save America for its service to New Orleans was issued this past weekend “in error,” city officials said Tuesday afternoon following reports that the group interrupted an Uptown church service on Sunday. Continue reading »

Jul 222014
 
An image of the official proclamation welcoming Operation Save America to New Orleans was circulated among the group's members online. (via Facebook.com)

An image of the official proclamation welcoming Operation Save America to New Orleans was circulated among the group’s members online. (via Facebook.com)

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued an official welcome this week to Operation Save America, an anti-abortion organization that interrupted an Uptown church’s prayer service with its protests on Sunday and had plans to parade the alleged remains of a fetus around Jackson Square in the French Quarter. Continue reading »