Dec 212016
 
Motorists pass through the Jefferson Avenue intersection on Freret Street, which reopened on Friday after being closed four months. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Motorists pass through the Jefferson Avenue intersection on Freret Street, which reopened on Friday after being closed four months. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The busy Freret Street intersection with Jefferson Avenue has reopened to traffic as construction continues on the major underground drainage canal, officials said. Continue reading »

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Dec 152016
 

A member of the 610 Stompers leads a cheer as the Krewe of Hermes rolls past Napoleon Avenue construction fences in 2016. All construction on Napoleon will be complete for 2017, the U.S. Army Corps says. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Napoleon Avenue parade-goers can get their “Neutral Ground Side” T-shirts out of the mothballs for Mardi Gras 2017, because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that all construction on the avenue will be complete before the first parades roll in 2017. Continue reading »

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Dec 132016
 
Firefighters' pension tax results, by precinct: Precinct 14-26 (in red) was the only Uptown precinct to vote against the tax. Five others (in yellow) voted yes but with narrow margins of 50 to 55 percent. Everywhere else (in green) the tax passed easily. (map by UptownMessenger.com)

Firefighters’ pension tax results, by precinct: Precinct 14-26 (in red) was the only Uptown precinct to vote against the tax. Five others (in yellow) voted yes but with narrow margins of 50 to 55 percent. Everywhere else (in green) the tax passed easily. (map by UptownMessenger.com)

In the weeks leading up to Saturday’s vote to renew a property tax that funds one-third of the city’s drainage operations, Sewerage & Water Board general superintendent Joe Becker spoke openly about his fear that this year’s seemingly anti-establishment mood could scuttle the tax, leading to deep cuts for the agency.

“We’re very concerned that people are just going to walk into the booth, see ‘Taxes’ and vote no,” Becker said in November, barely a week after Donald Trump’s Electoral College upset shocked the nation.

It turns out, Becker had little reason to be concerned. Bolstered by support from nearly every public official and watchdog agency in the city, the drainage tax renewal passed easily. Meanwhile, a smaller new property tax to restore funding to the firefighters’ pension fund was not as popular, but still managed to pass. Continue reading »

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Dec 022016
 
Joe Becker, general superintendent of the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans, describes the need for voters to approve a property-tax renewal that funds drainage operations in the city before the Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association on Thursday, Dec. 1. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Joe Becker, general superintendent of the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans, describes the need for voters to approve a property-tax renewal that funds drainage operations in the city before the Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association on Thursday, Dec. 1. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

With barely more than a week before the Dec. 10 election, officials with the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans are making their final effort to spread the word about voting to renew a tax that provides the agency with a third of its budget for draining the city. Continue reading »

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Nov 162016
 
Sewerage and Water Board superintendent Joe Becker speaks with a resident amid flooding from a broken water main on Cohn Street in July 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Sewerage and Water Board superintendent Joe Becker speaks with a resident amid flooding from a broken water main on Cohn Street in July 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

The property tax that generates one-third of the Sewerage & Water Board’s budget for draining the city of New Orleans is up for renewal on the Dec. 10 runoff ballot, and officials are pleading with neighborhoods to spread the word amid the current climate of electoral uncertainty.

“We’re very concerned that people are just going to walk into the booth, see ‘Taxes’ and vote no,” said Joe Becker, general superintendent of the Sewerage & Water Board, at a meeting of the Delachaise Neighborhood Association on Tuesday. “But if people understand the consequences what that ‘no’ vote is, I think they’ll vote intellectually and see the benefits of moving forward with this.” Continue reading »

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Sep 272016
 

(map by UptownMessenger.com via Google)

(map by UptownMessenger.com via Google)

Residents and businesses along Danneel, Dryades and Upperline streets will experience low water pressure Wednesday during the construction of a new water line connecting to the Jefferson Avenue drainage project, according to the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Sep 082016
 
Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams speaks to Jefferson Avenue residents on Thursday evening at First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams speaks to Jefferson Avenue residents on Thursday evening at First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Should the residents who live along the Uptown corridors that have been blocked for years amid the construction of major new drainage canals also be subject to substantial increases in their property taxes this year? Or do the inconveniences they suffer diminish the value of their homes enough to stave off the higher taxes until construction is complete?

Those competing points of view formed the basis for a sometimes-contentious meeting Thursday night between City Councilwoman Susan Guidry, Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams, and a room full of Jefferson Avenue residents. Continue reading »

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Sep 062016
 
The intersection of Freret and Jefferson -- photographed in May 2015, officials say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The intersection of Freret and Jefferson — photographed in May 2015, officials say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Motorists on Freret Street will be unable to cross Jefferson Avenue for the next five months or so, and will be detoured again around the intersection through the side streets, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans announced. Continue reading »

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Aug 242016
 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will hold a Flood Insurance Workshop on Friday, August 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. at City Hall. The workshop will provide the public information on the new updates to flood insurance rates and resources, as well as FEMA’s new Flood Insurance Rate Maps that go into effect September 30, 2016. Continue reading »

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Jul 262016
 
Attorney Michael Whitaker describes the beginning of mediation in 215 claims against the Sewerage & Water Board over damages allegedly caused by the SELA drainage projects. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Attorney Michael Whitaker describes the beginning of mediation in 215 claims against the Sewerage & Water Board over damages allegedly caused by the SELA drainage projects. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A retired federal judge has been appointed to mediate $86 million in damage claims from property damage from the ongoing SELA drainage projects along four major Uptown corridors, attorneys announced Monday. Continue reading »

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Jul 012016
 
This diagram shows the drainage improvements on one side of Galvez Street as part of a $51 million drainage project around Central City. (via City of New Orleans)

This diagram shows the drainage improvements on one side of Galvez Street as part of a $51 million drainage project around Central City. (via City of New Orleans)

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

A new $51 million drainage project along Martin Luther King Boulevard will help prevent flooding from heavy rains around the Central City area — but instead of simply trying to push water away through underground canals, it will absorb and store it according the most current thinking on stormwater management in New Orleans. Continue reading »

May 202016
 
A diagram demonstrating the parts of a bioswale included in a presentation by city officials.

A diagram demonstrating the parts of a bioswale included in a presentation by city officials.

If all goes as planned, the Lower Garden District will soon get a 600-foot-long bioswale along Coliseum Square Park, thanks to money pledged by the Sewerage and Water Board to give the city more green infrastructure. Continue reading »