May 142016

By Ann Welsh

The Lusher Charter School community is special. Teachers, students, parents, and the administration work every day to promote “Learning the Lusher Way” and to exemplify Lusher’s number one rule: Be Kind. The level of engagement from the entire Lusher community is unsurpassed. Only with this consistent effort from all members of the Lusher community can our students achieve the success they’ve enjoyed as a result of their experiences at Lusher. Lusher students have discovered new approaches to environmental remediation after oil spills, have introduced the President of the United States at a celebration of National Poetry Month, and have performed at Carnegie Hall. A Lusher student has even had a planet named after her by NASA! Continue reading »

May 102016

By Chunlin Leonhard

Mr. Robbie Evans, the vice president of the board that governs the Choice Foundation, a three-school charter network in New Orleans, recently urged the Lusher Charter School teachers to vote against their fellow teachers’ efforts to unionize, describing the union as “an impediment to charter schools’ progress.” (The Advocate, Monday, May 9, 2016 p. 1B) He also commented about “union-created deadlock where only ineffective and possibly abusive teachers would benefit,” pointing to the infamous “rubber rooms” associated with New York public schools –“temporary reassignment centers where union-represented teachers accused of misconduct or incompetency have been sent while they await rulings from independent arbitrators.” (Id.)

Mr. Evans’ comments are not only outdated but also completely inapplicable to the unionization efforts at Lusher. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Letter to the editor: Ben Franklin teachers union provides strong model for Lusher
Apr 192016
Children dance during a performance at Lusher Charter School's morning meeting in December 2011. ( file photo)

Children dance during a performance at Lusher Charter School’s morning meeting in December 2011. ( file photo)

By Jana K. Lipman

I am writing to support Lusher teachers, and I want to share my thoughts as a labor historian, a teacher, a former union member, and a parent of two children at Lusher.

Many friends and fellow parents have said they are normally pro-union or progressive, but that teachers, and particularly Lusher teachers, do not need a union.  This is for Lusher teachers to decide themselves.  Parents can support or not support unionization efforts (clearly, I am also taking a side), but ultimately this is a decision for the teachers to make. Continue reading »

Feb 232016

By Chunlin Leonhard

The Act 467 Working Group has recently proposed to revamp New Orleans public school funding formulas intending to increase funding for children with special needs. While this is a laudable goal, the proposed new formula takes desperately needed funds away from schools serving children from middle class families of all races. The proposed funding formula threatens to undo recent progress in making high quality public schools a realistic and viable option for middle class parents of all races. Taking desperately needed funds away from schools such as Audubon Charter School, Warren Easton, Ben Franklin, Edward Hynes, Lusher, McMain, and McDonogh #35 Academy, will only serve to weaken public school education overall by forcing middle class parents out of the New Orleans public school system. Continue reading »

Nov 062015

By William Khan

Hiking the cost of parking meters would be economically counterproductive and regressive. It would take a greater bite of incomes from service workers, and it would be especially harmful to the hospitality workers and businesses that make the city’s economic engine—tourism—run. Continue reading »

Oct 232015
(graphic via New Orleans Redevelopment Authority)

(graphic via New Orleans Redevelopment Authority)

By Mary Beth Romig

In response to the recent opinion from Owen Courreges in the October 19, 2015 issue of Uptown Messenger, I would like the opportunity to share good news about what the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) has accomplished in terms of commercial revitalization and affordable housing, specifically in the two neighborhoods Courreges mentions. Continue reading »

Jul 302015

By Social Work Students United for Reproductive Freedom at Tulane University

As Social Work students, we are concerned about the deceitful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides vital health care services to 2.7 million Americans each year. In Louisiana alone, Planned Parenthood annually provides 16,000 visits in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans for services that include birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests and treatment, and other preventative healthcare such as much-needed sexual health education. Continue reading »

Jul 222015

By Brendan Valentine, David Brown and Kevin Caldwell

According to Dr. Ken Roy, the passage of Louisiana’s Senate Bill 143 is “a sad day for science, a sad day for medicine and a sad day for the State of Louisiana.” Dr. Roy is concerned that it isn’t currently feasible to expect physicians to prescribe a Schedule I substance, due to FDA regulations. He also strongly implies that there are no legitimate therapeutic uses for marijuana in a natural form. Continue reading »

Jul 152015

By Marc H. Morial

Nowhere else in the world but in the American South do a small and diminishing minority of citizens still celebrate and revere the military leaders who waged war and committed treason against the nation they claim to love. Most have moved on to an enlightened viewpoint of the New South – multicultural, diverse, dynamic and forward-thinking. Continue reading »

Apr 302014

By Susan Larson

The New Orleans Public Library is so grateful for Jewel Bush’s warm and thoughtful article about the New Orleans Public Library; we appreciate her support and her advocacy — and her patronage!

I am writing this as the secretary of the New Orleans Public Library Board, of which I have been a member since 2011. Much has transpired since the drafting of the consultant’s report cited in the article. Continue reading »

Apr 182014

By Elizabeth Elliott, Davida Finger and Melissa Gallo

While the City has many responsible landlords, all too often in our practice at the Loyola Community Justice Clinic, our clients face landlords who refuse to repair substandard housing, wrongfully withhold deposits at the end of leases, try to illegally evict in order to rent to Mardi Gras tourists and other offenses that take advantage of the landlord-friendly laws. Louisiana has lagged far behind other states in protecting renters, and Senate Bill 298 is an attempt to find the correct balance between landlord and tenant rights and interests. Continue reading »

Mar 192014
(photo submitted by the Freret Neighborhood Center)

(photo submitted by the Freret Neighborhood Center)

By Liz Jurey, Freret Neighborhood Center

Have you ever wondered what happens in that yellow and red double shotgun house on Freret Street? You might be surprised to learn about the incredible work being done behind those blue doors! The Freret Neighborhood Center helps to offer resources to the Uptown / Central City area by providing access to a computer lab that is open to the public, conducting an afterschool program, organizing neighborhood clean-up efforts, and much more! We engage approximately 1,200 people, including residents, children, university students, as well as local and visiting volunteers.

This is a unique space where people from all walks of life are able to gather and work towards the betterment of this region. Show your support and celebrate our accomplishments by coming out this Thursday for an exciting event in our honor! Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Letter to the editor: Support the Freret Neighborhood Center at happy hour Thursday
Mar 142014

By Brooke Duncan III

It’s unfortunate that some have taken to social and other media to bash Audubon, one of the truly great success stories of local government in our time. The millage started out at 4.2 but was reduced a few years ago as a result of a state-wide reassessment of property values when values declined following Katrina. Without getting bogged down in semantics, the tax has been in place for a long time and the proposal returns the millage to its prior level. The difference for a home valued at $200,000 has been reported to be around $12 a year. The current taxes will end in 2021-2022. This is an effort to establish the taxes at the former millage; this is not a new tax in addition to the existing tax. Continue reading »

Mar 122014

By Clark Thompson

If you live in Uptown New Orleans, you’ve probably had the misfortune of driving on Octavia street in the past few months. The US Army Corp’s SELA project effectively closes Jefferson Avenue, and ends up sending lots of traffic onto Octavia, and the wear and tear of additional use is destroying the street. And the street is destroying cars, but that’s already been covered. Continue reading »

Mar 112014
Volunteers plant a tree while children play behind them at Wisner Playground in November 2010.  ( file photo by Sabree Hill)

Volunteers plant a tree while children play behind them at Wisner Playground in November 2010. ( file photo by Sabree Hill)

By Ramsey Green and Sam Winston, members of Friends of Wisner Park

On Saturday, New Orleanians will vote on whether to approve a new 50-year tax increase with all revenue exclusively designated for the Audubon Institute. You should vote “No” – especially if you value having more functional green spaces in the city like the beautiful Audubon Park. Continue reading »

Mar 072014

By Tobias Arturi

In a state in which abstinence-only sex education is the norm, and locally accessible reproductive health services are scarce, and often demonized, Planned Parenthood has always remained a stalwart voice for the practice of safe sex and a resource for those who need real answers about sex other than “Don’t Have It”.
Continue reading »

Nov 192013

By Tracy A. Buccino

(image via

(image via

In response to Mr. Courreges’ recent piece regarding NORTA fare increases (“Necessary or not, RTA fare hike makes New Orleans two bits closer to unaffordable“), I suggest that one way to increase revenue without socking it to the poor, elderly, and others with no alternative would be to increase the single-ticket price while keeping the monthly-pass price the same or perhaps even lowering it. I would also suggest offering discounted monthly passes for the same categories (and perhaps others) that are currently offered for the single fares. Continue reading »

Nov 022013

By Ed Quatrevaux

Although Katz and Columbus are entitled to their opinions, it is shoddy journalism to falsely attribute quotes. I refer to the first paragraph’s attribution to the OIG of “marking down crimes“. That phrase does not appear in the report or any statement by the OIG and was invented by the authors of the opinion. Continue reading »

Aug 182013

By Alfred Bostick

The recent Uptown Messenger article “Good neighbors: Freret’s revival has largely avoided the issues that often accompany gentrification” is an intelligent and well considered fine piece of writing on a complicated subject. It is much appreciated. I also would have liked to have seen some treatment of the larger economic change that has hit the traditional middle-class quite devastatingly, not only here, but nationally and world-wide. I know it sounds like an extraneous issue to raise and examine in such a tightly focused urban neighborhood discussion, but it seems to me to play a pivotal role. Continue reading »

Mar 062013

Letter to the editor by Edwin Holmes Jr., New Orleans Fire Department

I am writing to clarify remarks made by New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) Assistant Superintendent Tim McConnell during an Uptown community meeting on Tuesday, which you attended, and referenced in your article on The Uptown Messenger website. At no time did Chief McConnell say that any fire company was being closed due to budget cuts. He did state that the City of New Orleans was fortunate to have received the “Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency and Response” (SAFER) grant that allowed the department to hire firefighters in 2010 however; through attrition the department’s numbers have decreased back to the 2010 levels. The fact is the administration increased the amount of funding placed in the NOFD 2013 General Fund budget by more than $1.8 Million dollars. Continue reading »