Mar 062019
 

Rex arrives outside of the Morris-Downman mansion on Tuesday. Supporters add levity to the situation with a sign “We Are Ready for Ash Wednesday.” (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

The Rex parade stopped at the Morris-Downman House at 2525 St. Charles Ave. during the parade on Mardi Gras, as it has since 1907. This time the toast was more poignant. The mansion, historically significant to the Rex organization and to New Orleans Mardi Gras, was devastated by a seven-alarm fire in February. It has been home to many Rex members, including Billy Grace, a former king of Carnival, who shared a toast with Rex.

Billy Grace, with a firefighter’s coat over his tuxedo, and Rex share a toast on Tuesday. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

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Mar 042019
 

The “Interview with a Vampire” float, depicting the 1993 film adaptation of the Ann Rice novel, rolls down St. Charles Avenue on Sunday. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Bacchus rolled on Sunday with the theme “Starring Louisiana.” The themed floats depicted movies or TV shows that took place or were filmed in Louisiana. These included “NCIS,” “King Creole,” “JFK,” “Interview with a Vampire” and more. The rain had passed through the area by the times the bands started up, so the parade could showcase local marching bands in all their glory.

Jenna Fritscher lifts up Jeri Lynn, 3, to get a plush toy during her first Mardi Gras. (Zach Brien, UptownMesssenger.com)

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Mar 032019
 

Story & Photos by Camille Barnett

Due to the threat of rain and thunderstorms, Uptown’s Sunday morning parades began an hour early. Marching bands and most walking krewes did not parade for Okeanos, Mid-City, or Thoth. Fortunately, the rain held up and skies stayed clear on St. Charles and Napoleon for all three krewes. Continue reading »

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Feb 152019
 

Michele Benjamin (courtesy of Loyola’s Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice)

After spending her entire adult life behind bars, Michele Benjamin learned Monday that she will be able to go free, the Loyola University Law Clinic has announced.

Benjamin, 41, was a teenager when she was sentenced to life without parole in 1996 for the murder of a German tourist in New Orleans.

The Loyola law clinic began filing appeals in her case not long after life sentences for juveniles were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012. That ruling, in Miller v. Alabama, was made retroactive by the Louisiana Supreme Court in 2016, paving the way for Benjamin’s release on parole.

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Feb 102019
 

Zion performs at the Marley Gras Festival at Central City Barbecue on Saturday. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

The annual Marley Gras festival took place at Central City BBQ on Saturday, Feb. 9. The festival featured live music, Jamaican food,  handmade crafts, as well as a pepper-eating competition and a jerk-chicken cook-off. The celebration of the connections between New Orleans and Caribbean culture is held during Carnival in honor of reggae pioneer Bob Marley’s Feb. 6 birthday.

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Dec 202018
 

Preliminary rendering of the Carrollton Courthouse redevelopment (courtesy of Waggoner & Ball)

By Jesse Baum, jesse.blacktree@gmail.com

A neighborhood meeting in the evening on Monday, Dec. 17, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church introduced Uptown residents to the plans for the Carrollton Courthouse.

The property, bounded by Maple Street, Short Street, Hampson Street and Carrollton Avenue, is slated to become an assisted-living and memory-care residence, with 100 units total. The property was listed as one of  the nation’s 11 “most endangered places” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2015.

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Oct 262018
 

From left: Will Snowden, Mithun Kamath, Norris Henderson, and Aaron Ahlquist discuss Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury law and the amendment that would change it.

Twelve men, one room, and a murder charge.

“It has to be twelve to nothing, either way. That’s the law.”

Sidney Lumet’s “12 Angry Men” is one of the most respected films centered around the criminal justice system. But the overall plot, where members of a 12-man jury must agree on a verdict that could send a teenager to the electric chair, could never occur in the state of Louisiana under state law.

Louisiana does not require unanimous jury verdicts in felony trials, instead allowing 10-2 verdicts to send the accused to prison for life. The abnormal verdict law stems from nearly 130 years ago, when delegates at an overtly racist convention ratified the state constitution to allow for non-unanimous juries. Norris Henderson, state director of the Unanimous Jury Coalition, explained the laws’ history during an intimate panel hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans.

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Oct 192018
 
"The Candy Lady" by Ceaux

“The Candy Lady” is a 36″ x 36″ acrylic painting on canvas. Visual artist Courtney “Ceaux” Buckley presented his latest exhibit “Dear New Orleans,” to the public on Oct. 6, 2018. (Tyree C. Worthy, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans-born artist Courtney “Ceaux” Buckley presented his newest collection of paintings to the public on Saturday, October 6. The solo exhibition at Axiom Art Gallery on Freret Street was entitled “Dear New Orleans,” and featured colorful depictions of various scenes and images one can only find in the Crescent City. Continue reading »

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Jul 182018
 

As part of our program with LION Publishers, the Messenger is working on gaining more back-end resources and better utilizing what we already have. Among other things, this means more staff members.

We’re seeking a Business Communication Coordinator to assist growth on our sales and business development side. See the full job description here.

For editorial, we’d like to add more columnists and freelancers into our fold. Continue reading »

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Jul 092018
 

Mario Zervigon, left, touches on how maintaining relationships in the state legislature helped pass the unanimous jury bill during a New Orleans Coalition meeting. From left: Representative Royce Duplessis; Sarah Omojola, director of the Welcoming Project; and Senator J.P. Morrell.

Members of the New Orleans Coalition gathered Uptown Sunday afternoon to discuss the fate of – and the impact of – criminal justice reform legislation in Louisiana. Senator J.P. Morrell and Representative Royce Duplessis were on hand to recap the most recent legislative session and how each bill was successfully passed, as well as what issues will be front and center next year. Sarah Omojola, former Policy Counsel for Southern Poverty Law Center and current Director of the Welcoming Project, touched on the legislative process from an advocacy level. Mario Zervigon, of the Zervigon Consulting Group, moderated the panel.

Both Morrell and Duplessis touched on how term limits will affect the new representatives’ learning curves, since the number of experiences legislators dwindle every year. Duplessis said leaning on longtime senators helped him learn the ins and outs of the legislative process. Losing older Republicans to newly elected ones who lack “flexibility and are drunk on their election” is going to be one of the most devastating impacts from term limits, Morrlel said. Continue reading »

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Jul 032018
 

The d4 Tabletop Gaming Café, located at 8228 Oak Street, features board game competitions, board games to buy, play and rent. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

The new d4 Tabletop Gaming Café offers a hub for New Orleans card and board game players to meet, eat, and play for hours long on Oak Street.

Owners Mark and Tracy Meyer opened the café in March this year. Mark Meyer is a city local with 20 years in the restaurant business, and Tracy Meyer has over 10 years in the business as a pastry cook. Meyer said he and his wife “dreamed up” the idea to combine their love for gaming with their cooking experience, since Meyer needed to create a job for himself after injuring his back. After a two year process, they opened d4 in March this year. Continue reading »

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Jun 202018
 

Joanne Close and Jim Yonkus are hoping to open an intimate wine shop at 1226 South White Street, if the BZA approves a required parking variance.

Developers are hoping to turn a vacant South White Street lot into an intimate wine shop, but three required parking spaces need to be waived in order for the space to be functional, the owners said.

Joanne Close and her husband Jim Yonkus are aiming to open a small wine store in the New Zion neighborhood just off South Broad Street. The property, a vacant lot at 1226 South White St., is zoned for heavy commercial use which requires the couple to add three off-street parking spots. But adding those parking spots would swallow up much of the already-tiny lot.

“We don’t have to have a huge building – it just has to be functional,” Close told a group of neighbors at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday. “Without the parking waiver, those spots would take up the whole lot.” 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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May 072018
 

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Rick Bragg returned to Octavia Books on May 3 to present and sign his new book of classic southern recipes and lighthearted family stories, “The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table.” (Photo by Lauren LeCompte / Loyola Student News Service)

By Lauren LeCompte
Loyola Student News Service

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Rick Bragg returned to Octavia Books on May 3 to present and sign his new book, “The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table.” (Photo by Lauren LeCompte / Loyola Student News Service)

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author returned to a New Orleans bookstore to present and sign his new book of classic Southern recipes and lighthearted family stories.

“What I wanted to pull off was the narrative of our food,” Alabama native Rick Bragg said.

Dozens gathered as Bragg presented and read from his book “The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table” at Octavia Books on Thursday, May 3. Continue reading »

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May 022018
 

A rendering of the Drive Shack golf facility under consideration at the former Times-Picayune site at Howard Avenue.

The Drive Shack golf facility under consideration for the former Times-Picayune site on Howard Avenue nabbed a recommendation for rezoning approval from City Planning staff, subject to a few building design changes suggested by the Design Advisory Committee. Continue reading »

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