Nov 012016
 
RTA manager Justin Augustine (from left), transit advocate Pamela Legge, and RIDE New Orleans executive director Alex Posorske speak Tuesday night at Tulane Hillel as part of a panel discussion on public transit. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

RTA manager Justin Augustine (from left), transit advocate Pamela Legge, and RIDE New Orleans executive director Alex Posorske speak Tuesday night at Tulane Hillel as part of a panel discussion on public transit. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority looks for ways to grow public transportation in the city, officials are considering new options such as a partnership with Uber to reach transit lines or a new fare system based on riders’ incomes. Continue reading »

Oct 252016
 
Robert Brunet & Eric Ramstead of Prytania Theatre

Robert Brunet & Eric Ramstead of Prytania Theatre

Nestled on scenic tree-lined Prytania Street, you will find the oldest movie theatre in New Orleans. For over a century, it has inspired many unforgettable movie experiences. Make it a date and enjoy the latest movie in a wonderfully vintage setting.

Locally owned businesses infuse New Orleans neighborhoods with their unique character, and are a big part of why we want to live, work, eat and shop here. The Shopkeeper Stories series shares the vision and personality of New Orleans business owners.

Shopkeepers: Eric Ramstead & Robert Brunet
Store: Prytania Theatre
Since 1996 Continue reading »

Oct 182016
 
jsu_postcard

(Courtesy of Hannah Engelson)

Even the death of her subject did not discontinue the message of director Hannah Engelson’s documentary about Uptown resident, comedian and disabilities advocate Jonah Bascle, which won a special jury mention at this year’s New Orleans Film Festival.

“My original intention was just to give a well-rounded picture of this person and I think I still accomplished that,” Engelson said. Continue reading »

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Oct 112016
 
Maggie Covert of WalkingMan Studios

Maggie Covert of WalkingMan Studios

The Shopkeeper Stories series shares the vision and personality of New Orleans business owners. Locally owned businesses infuse New Orleans neighborhoods with their unique character, and are a big part of why we want to live, work, eat and shop here.

While drainage system improvements and road construction make “shopping local” a bit more challenging in the short term, the critical improvements mean our city will be safer and stronger for generations to come. We hope you are inspired and continue to shop small and shop local—even if it takes a little extra time!

Shopkeeper: Maggie Covert
Shop: WalkingMan Studios
Since 2013
Continue reading »

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May 092016
 
Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, speaks to the party's Louisiana state convention in 2014 in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Bruce France, brucefrance.com)

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, speaks to the party’s Louisiana state convention in 2014 in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Bruce France, brucefrance.com)

Two Tuesday primaries ago, after a rash of losses in large states on the Atlantic seaboard prompted the media to pronounce the Bernie Sanders campaign over, presidential candidate Jill Stein of the Green Party took to Twitter to invite Sanders to “build the revolution to last outside the rigged two-party system.”

Around 8 p.m. this past Tuesday, just as Ted Cruz was announcing that he would drop out of the race for the Republican nomination, Google recorded a sudden spike in searches for “Libertarian Party.” And two days later, longtime Republican strategist Mary Matalin made national headlines by announcing that she had changed her registration to Libertarian.

As Democrats and Republicans prepare to nominate two historically unpopular candidates, has the moment finally arrived for these third parties to give Americans another choice?

“Third parties tend to be most successful in times of economic concern,” said Brian Brox of the Tulane University department of political science. “When people are feeling economic dislocation, when they’re feeling economic anxiety, that’s when they’re most open to broader possibilities than just the steady state of Republicans and Democrats.” Continue reading »

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Dec 202015
 
Police investigate a fatal shooting in 2011 on Monroe Street just outside an elementary school while classes were in session. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Police investigate a fatal shooting in 2011 on Monroe Street just outside an elementary school while classes were in session. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

On a Thursday in late November, the entire indomitable city of New Orleans recoiled in shared horror at security video of a young medical student collapsed on the sidewalk just off Magazine Street, clutching his bleeding torso, as a hooded assailant stood over him with a gun aimed at his head. The film’s dreadful silence only amplified the menace as the gunman apparently tried to squeeze the trigger, twice, to finish off his already-incapacitated victim, giving up only when a mechanical mercy intervened and the gun refused to fire.

Two nights later, Bunny Friend park in the Ninth Ward — its almost comically benign name a memorial to a teen who died in an accident in the 1920s — became the scene of the city’s next headline-grabbing gun battle. A block party and planned music-video shoot were rent apart by a hail of gunfire, leaving 17 people wounded, and at least a half dozen people have been named as suspects as investigators try to piece together how the celebration turned to chaos.

The bloodshed continued the following weekend, when more young men’s lives would be claimed around some of the city’s most best-known places: 26-year-old Brandon Robinson killed on Bourbon Street, 19-year-old Richad Dowell on Canal Street and 19-year-old Devin Johnson near the newly opened Lafitte Greenway.

And yet, city officials continue to insist that the struggle against violent crime in New Orleans has made significant strides in recent years, and many measurements as well as newly-published academic studies back them up. But if things are getting better, why does the carnage still insist on making its way onto playgrounds, green spaces and tourist thoroughfares? If the violence is the work of a relatively small group of people, why are they so hard to stop? Continue reading »

Oct 182015
 
An image from the security videos at Patois. Detectives note that the infrared video changes the colors in the video, and that the turquoise clothing is actually shown as near-black in normal light. (image via NOPD)

An image from the security videos at Patois. Detectives note that the infrared video changes the colors in the video, and that the turquoise clothing is actually shown as near-black in normal light. (image via NOPD)

In the security video that shocked New Orleans, infrared distortion turns the skin of patrons at Patois a bluish-gray color, creating a visual sense of unreality that matches the confusion felt by those diners moments later when three men wearing masks and hoodies burst in, robbing the entire restaurant at gunpoint on Aug. 21. That citywide shock was only amplified in late September, when robberies took place in similar fashion at Cafe Atchafalaya in the Irish Channel and then the Monkey Hill bar, only a few blocks from Patois and Audubon Park.

The Mayor called a news conference to announce an arrest in an unrelated spree of robberies and tout the city’s crimefighting efforts, then another new conference a day later after Monkey Hill, joined by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite and pledging federal investigation and prosecution of the cases. Local news outlets “flooded the zone” with reaction and analysis pieces, while The New York Times and Washington Post brought national attention to the robbery spree. By the end of the month, the New Orleans City Council held its own hearing on “high-profile” robberies, pitching questions and suggestions to NOPD officials about how to battle the city’s feeling that control was being lost.

The entire discussion, however, provides ample opportunity for an airing of misconceptions about the city, its long battle with violent crime and its police force. While nearly every side of the discussion — frightened residents, embattled city leaders, besieged police officers, and skeptical critics — have made valid and useful points about the issue, the facts frequently get lost in the rhetoric. Continue reading »

Oct 152015
 
Robert Morris

Robert Morris

Uptown Messenger founder Robert Morris will be a featured guest on WHIV’s The Sound Salvation with Chris Rose at noon today. Robert and Chris will be discussing crime and other information. To listen live, click here or tune in to Radio NOLA HIV at 102.3 LPFM. Continue reading »

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Mar 222015
 
Members of the NOPD Sixth District task force search for an armed robbery suspect on Peniston Street in January 2012. The number of task force officers assigned to individual districts has dramatically decreased since then. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Members of the NOPD Sixth District task force search for an armed robbery suspect on Peniston Street in January 2012. The number of task force officers assigned to individual districts has dramatically decreased since then. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

During every parade of Carnival season, thousands throng the sidewalks and neutral grounds of St. Charles Avenue, lured by the promise of thrown beads, the blaring bands or the spectacle of the floats. Within that chaotic revelry, however, also lurks the threat of deadly violence in the form of concealed handguns.

The elite New Orleans Police Department officers specifically tasked with finding those guns do not see much of the floats. Instead, they are hyper attentive to parade-goers’ hands, looking for anxious fingers unconsciously seeking reassurance from heavy metal held in a waistband. Or, the officers evaluate gazes – looking for the one young man walking just a little faster than his friends, his eyes straight forward, more intent than the others on reaching his destination because of the dangerous cargo he has in tow. Continue reading »

Nov 202014
 
Workers from Cutting Edge Renovations prepare the vacant lot at Saratoga and Foucher on Wednesday, Nov. 20, for the construction of two new houses by Pentek Homes. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Workers from Cutting Edge Renovations prepare the vacant lot at Saratoga and Foucher on Wednesday, Nov. 20, for the construction of two new houses by Pentek Homes. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Less than two months ago, the weeds in the vacant lot the corner of Foucher and South Saratoga Street grew as high as the shoulders of the police officers who gathered there for an anti-crime march following the second of three fatal shootings there this year.

Today, the overgrowth is gone, replaced by construction workers preparing the site for a collection of new homes that will be placed on the market early next year for approximately $2 million. The developer of the property, Bo Pennington, and the long-suffering neighbors hope for an even more dramatic transformation: that of one of Uptown New Orleans’ most violent spots into a new nexus for neighborhood revitalization. Continue reading »

Nov 112014
 
An April 2014 image of the building at 8837 Willow, slated for redevelopment into the Carrollton Commissary commercial kitchen. (via Google Maps)

An April 2014 image of the building at 8837 Willow, slated for redevelopment into the Carrollton Commissary commercial kitchen. (via Google Maps)

A proposal to renovate a blighted Carrollton storefront into a commercial kitchen expanded into far broader discussion Tuesday of how the rapid rate of development in New Orleans affects the city’s long-time residents, but officials ultimately decided that those societal issues can’t be saddled onto an individual business owner and voted in favor of the project. Continue reading »

Oct 132014
 
A rendering by architect David Keiffer of the proposed community center in Carrollton. (via Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association)

A rendering by architect David Keiffer of the proposed community center in Carrollton. (via Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association)

As the start of construction nears on a new community center funded by a state investment of more than $1 million, members of the Carrollton neighborhood remain apprehensive about the organization chosen to operate it — despite repeated assurances from officials that this is the most effective use of the land and the money moving forward. Continue reading »

Oct 012014
 
Possible options for the Napoleon Avenue landscaping. (UptownMessenger.com)

Possible options for the Napoleon Avenue landscaping. (UptownMessenger.com)

As contractors have begun digging deep underneath South Claiborne, Jefferson, Napoleon and now Louisiana avenues to install new drainage ditches, Uptown New Orleans residents have asked pointed questions prior to each project about what the neutral ground will look like when the projects are finally done over the next three years.

On Tuesday night, those residents got their first look at possible answers, including a continuation of the walking path down Napoleon Avenue, public art installations on South Claiborne, tall palms restored to Jefferson Avenue and a variety of landscaping options on Louisiana. For many, however, those answers led to more questions — such as whether the projects will incorporate ideas from the city’s new water-management strategy, which plants could be harmful to traffic visibility in certain locations, and how the canopies over the avenues will look with the finished projects. Continue reading »

Sep 292014
 
Judicial candidates Marie Williams, Graham Bosworth and Byron C. Williams participate in a candidates' forum sponsored by the Home Defense Foundation of New Orleans. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Judicial candidates Marie Williams, Graham Bosworth and Byron C. Williams participate in a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Home Defense Foundation of New Orleans. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Prosecutors are using Louisiana’s repeat-offender laws to create potential sentences so high for criminal defendants that they have no choice but to plead guilty, potentially depriving them of the right to a fair trial, three candidates for Criminal District Court agreed Monday night. Continue reading »