Jan 262015
 
The loup garou-style Swamp Monster at Audubon Zoo is decked out for Mardi Gras. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The loup garou-style Swamp Monster at Audubon Zoo is decked out for Mardi Gras. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Kara Lynn Morgan (submitted photo)

Kara Lynn Morgan (submitted photo)

As Irish Channel Neighborhood Association leader Kara Morgan fought her battle with a deadly form of skin cancer, she counted her victories by the number of Mardi Gras parades she was able to attend.

Now, members of the association are carrying her legacy forward, marrying that love of parades with her quest to build shade structures in the neighborhood’s park by creating a new “Mystic Krewe of Loup Garou” that plans to roll through the Irish Channel starting in 2016. Continue reading »

Jan 222015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Every reader of this column probably knows a woman who has used abortion as a powerful tool to help guide her body and her life choices.  National statistics consistently show that three out of 10 women have had an abortion — that’s all women, young , old, black, white, Asian and Hispanic.

We’re not sure any woman makes the decision to terminate a pregnancy easily. But it is a decision that millions of women around the world make each year and often pay the consequences emotionally for decades to come. Still, there are no medical, ethical or moral reasons strong enough to ban abortions entirely. Continue reading »

Jan 072015
 
Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

It’s officially Mardi Gras in New Orleans again.  And thank goodness.  It truly is my favorite holiday anywhere every period, for true.  Parties, parades, shenanigans, and any semblance therein.  The rituals, the costumes, and it being New Orleans, of course, the food.  In that vein, part of the hoopla embraces the incessant consumption of brightly colored, sugared up beyond belief, roundish breaded pastry, that may or may not have a wee plastic baby figurine inside, simply and distinctly known as king cake.  Only, I turned 40 recently, and this season I’m watching that part of Carnival from the cheap seats. Continue reading »

Jan 052015
 

Owen Courreges

Since August 2004, six New Orleans police officers have been killed.  Two died in auto accidents with other motorists.  One died from an illness contracted while conducting rescue operations during Hurricane Katrina.  Another was killed off-duty during a home invasion.

The two remaining officers were killed while on-duty.  Both were killed by men suffering from severe mental illness. Continue reading »

Dec 032014
 
Jonah Bascle at La Nuit Comedy Theater on Freret Street in 2011.  (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Jonah Bascle at La Nuit Comedy Theater on Freret Street in 2011. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Jonah Bascle, the 28-year-old local comedian ran for mayor as a platform to bring attention to New Orleans’ lack of accessibility for the disabled, died Tuesday morning of complications relating to muscular dystrophy — but friends and supporters vowed to ensure both his love of good humor and his activism to improve the city live on. Continue reading »

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Nov 242014
 

Owen Courreges

Aldous Huxley once wrote that “a fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.”  This helps explain the bizarrely-detailed 25 page anti-smoking ordinance proposed this past Thursday by Councilwomen Latoya Cantrell and Susan Guidry.

Even I didn’t predict the staggering scope of the ordinance.  Instead of being content to simply ban most indoor smoking, already a contentious proposal, the bill seeks to ban most outdoor smoking as well and treats electronic cigarettes, which produce no smoke, the same way as traditional cigarettes.  It contains no exceptions for hookah lounges or cigar bars. Continue reading »

Oct 312014
 

First Annual Delachaise-Calvary Community

Cohen College Prep High School will host the inaugural Delachaise-Calvary Community Health Fair on Saturday (Nov. 1), including free screenings for a wide variety of vital signs, plus local music, activities for kids and a second line parade led by Cohen Prep Brass Band. Continue reading »

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Oct 082014
 

The New Birth Brass Band will lead participants in a second line benefiting the National Alliance on Mental Illness this Saturday (Oct. 11) in Audubon Park. The 5th Annual NAMIWalks will include a performance by Charmaine Neville prior to the second line and a community celebration in the park after the second line. Continue reading »

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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 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 182014
 

Sweeps by New Orleans city officials of a homeless encampment under the Pontchartrain Expressway ultimately moved the collection of tents and people closer to the river on the other side of St. Charles Avenue, according to a report by our partners at WWL-TV. City officials called the first camp a health hazard and said they were helping the people there get into shelters, but residents say the problem merely moved: “Clearly, if the garbage and human waste is a ‘public health concern’ on one side of St. Charles, it has to be considered a ‘public health concern’ on the other side of St. Charles,” nearby resident Jeff Keiser told The Advocate. Continue reading »

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Aug 142014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

What trait did actor/comedian Robin Williams and many of New Orleans homeless share?  Mental illness.  Like a majority of the homeless in New Orleans, Williams battled periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression until he finally “silenced the demons that relentlessly targeted him” earlier this week, as the Associate Press put it.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the rate of mental illness increases as boomers age. According to the Center for Disease Control, the suicide rate for adults -  aged 45 to 64 – increased 40% from 1999 to 2011. An analysis by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention found that the suicide rate for middle- to late-middle-aged adults is higher than any other age group. Continue reading »

Aug 112014
 
(Cartoon by Owen Courreges)

(Cartoon by Owen Courreges)

Owen Courreges

A ban on smoking in bars and casinos in the City of New Orleans is beginning to appear increasingly inevitable.  Although a concerted campaign to enact a statewide ban has failed repeatedly in past years, the insidious anti-smoking forces are now focusing on smaller-scale efforts.

In New Orleans, these forces have found a political surrogate in District B City Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell, who plans to introduce a smoking ban this fall.

“This is not an attack, this is about healthier environments for all people: those who work in these environments, musicians, employees,” Cantrell said recently. ”But the majority of the people now within our city and even state, close to 80 percent are non-smokers.”

Cantrell attempts an artful dodge, but the truth is that this is an attack — an attack on a market choice. 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 222014
 
An image of the box used for peaches sold in Costco stores that are being recalled because of the possibility of bacterial infection. (via costco.com)

An image of the box used for peaches sold in Costco stores that are being recalled because of the possibility of bacterial infection. (via costco.com)

Based on concerns about a possible bacterial contamination, the federal Food and Drug Administration is issuing a recall of peaches and nectarines that were likely sold at Costco’s New Orleans store and other locations across the country. Continue reading »

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