Aug 152019
 

District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso discusses the new property assessments Tuesday at a new Lakeview Civic Association meeting. (Danae Columbus)

The math is simple: Higher assessments plus higher millage rates equal higher property taxes. In neighborhood after neighborhood, residents are meeting to learn the ins and outs of filing property tax appeals by the Aug. 22 deadline.

“This is obviously a white-hot issue,” said District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso to the more than 400 lake area residents who gathered at St. Dominic’s School on Tuesday night. “I’ve never seen so many people at a Lakeview Civic Association meeting.”

Continue reading »

Aug 122019
 

The star of Bravo’s Southern Charm New Orleans talks loving his new life

Former Saints player Jeff Charleston at the 2019 Saints training camp participating in the Saints Legends program and meeting fans.(Credit Evan Myers/NFL/Saints)

Former Saints player and Southern Charm New Orleans star, Jeff Charleston has a lot to say about his life, and the gist is that he’s loving every minute of it. An interview with Charleston reveals a man excited about new beginnings and a fresh start in his adopted hometown.

“I cannot wait to move back to New Orleans,” said Charleston. “I just have to figure out where in the city I want to live again.”

New Orleanians who don’t watch the Bravo reality series know him as No. 97, the Saints Defensive End who played in the Black and Gold Super Bowl.

He says that year felt like a fairy tale and that experiencing the support of the city after the Saints win is one the greatest moments of his life.

“It really changed the city,” said Charleston. “I felt like after the win, I was adopted by New Orleans.” Continue reading »

Aug 082019
 

Former Zulu King Adonis Expose (photo at left) swears to the accuracy of his qualifying documents. Candace Newell (center) signs her qualifying papers with supporters including City Councilman Jay H. Banks and Barbara Lacen-Keller. L. Jameel Shaheer (right), a former New Orleans firefighter poses with his family and Criminal Clerk of Arthur Morrell. (photos by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

State Sen. Wesley Bishop’s surprise announcement last Friday that he would not seek re-election has set the stage for a power struggle between two former Zulu kings — 2017 Zulu King Adonis Expose and 2016 Zulu King Jay Banks, a popular member of the New Orleans City Council and powerbroker of the BOLD political organization. After Bishop’s decision became public, State Rep. Jimmy Harris — whose current house district overlaps portions of Bishop’s Senate District 4 — staked his claim on Bishop’s seat rather than running for re-election in House District 99.

Expose, a businessman and community organizer, quickly stepped up for what could have been an easily, winnable contest against L. Jameel Shaheer, a former firefighter with limited resources who had previously declared his candidacy to “help the community.” Instead, lawyer and long-time government operative Candace Nikeia Newell arrived at qualifying with several member of the BOLD political organization including Councilmember Banks. Clearly the battle lines were drawn. Continue reading »

Jul 252019
 

A CBD business keeps its sandbags on standby. (Danae Columbus, Uptown Messenger)

Every time it rains hard, I worry that my home might be flooding again. I was in Mid-City on Saturday when the rain began, and I quickly headed back downtown. Along the way, standing water overflowed every intersection, even after I reached the CBD – which until recently had always been a pretty dry area. As I finally approached home I could see a dutiful neighbor standing in knee deep water in an effort to slow down the wake from passing vehicles.

Just that morning, I had carefully swept away all the remaining dirt and debris from the previous week’s flooding. Now I needed to repeat the process after I cleaned up inside.  What I particularly don’t like about floodwaters is that they contain harmful bacteria that can make even healthy people sick.   Continue reading »

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Jul 202019
 

Uptown’s “Django Unchained” and “Queen Sugar” actor Laura Cayouette on New Orleans, Pussyfooting and Hollywood South

(revised 7/23/2019)

Laura Cayouette with Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of “Django Unchained” (courtesy of Laura Cayouette)

That cheerful, tall, lanky strawberry blonde – and avid Saints fan – you see at the Superdome and walking down Magazine Street looks familiar because she is. Actress Laura Cayouette traded Hollywood for Hollywood South nine years ago and hasn’t looked back, much.

“After my first Carnival season as a resident, I called my mother and told her I wanted to sue her for child abuse,” said Cayouette. “I said I wanted to file charges for them not raising me here.” Continue reading »

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Jul 182019
 

St Augustine High School graduates (from left) Judge Kern Reese, Judge Sidney Cates IV, Judge Lloyd Medley, and Clerk of Court Austin Badon were inspired by the Josephite fathers to serve the community. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

What do Judge Kern Reese, Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, Sheriff Marlin Gusman, State
Rep. Royce Duplessis, Judge Paul Bonin and Clerk of First City Court Austin Badon all have in common? Their Catholic school education helped mold them into the public servants they are today. Catholic schools have been prominent in New Orleans since 1727 when Governor Bienville invited the Ursuline nuns to establish a school and orphanage here. Continue reading »

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Jul 122019
 

* DO NOT FORGET THE ICE *

Photo Credit: Chris Granger

No matter the crisis, New Orleanians never lose their sense of humor or their wry sense of irony; the world might end, but if possible, we plan to go out smiling.

Whether a Cat 3, Armageddon, the zombie apocalypse or New Orleans’ version of the same – a levee breach – locals know how to prepare. And until the bitter end, that preparation includes a box of chicken, a cocktail — and maybe a party. Continue reading »

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Jul 112019
 

Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to supporters during a rally on Monday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With almost $10 million cash on hand in his campaign account, a jubilant Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife, Donna Edwards, drew a spirited crowd of donors, consultants and everyday supporters at his Uptown headquarters opening earlier this week.

Retired AFL-CIO leader Peter Babin drove from Slidell to stand with current GNO AFL-CIO President Tiger Hammond and SEIU executive LaTanja Silvester. City Council President Helena Moreno, her chief of staff Andrew Tuozzolo, and Councilman Jay Banks were in that number with Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s close adviser Bob Tucker and staffer Julius Feltus. State Reps. Royce Duplessis, Randall Gaines and Walt Leger III attended. Leger, a $10,000 donor to the governor, gave a rousing introduction and was also praised by Edwards for his accomplishments benefiting the citizens of New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Jul 042019
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

On July 5, 1852 former slave, abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass delivered an impassioned speech — known today as “What to the Slave is the 4th of July” — to President Millard Fillmore, congressional leaders and members of the Ladies Anti-Slavery Society at Rochester New York’s Corinthian Hall. Douglass’s stirring words struck at the heart of racial and social injustice as he chastised his predominately white audience for their hypocrisy. In that era, our country’s leading elected leaders enslaved Africans while espousing freedom, justice and equality. Not too much has changed in 150 years. Continue reading »

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Jul 032019
 

Tulane fans walk on Audubon Boulevard adjacent to Yulman Stadium. (Robert Morris, Uptown Messenger file photo)

By Megan Plotka, Uptown Messenger

After I graduated Tulane in May 2018, I joined Avodah, a yearlong Jewish service corps. I was the only one in my cohort who had ties to New Orleans, though I had only lived here for four years. We all live near the Starbucks on Freret. I did not feel like much had changed because I was still in Uptown New Orleans. I brought them to familiar, nearby places, like Bruno’s, Bear Cat and Cure. I thought I knew the city pretty well.

My supervisor had lived here just as long as I did. She came here to do a year of service and stayed. She knew the same places I did and then some. From cafes in Mid-City to hang-out spots along the river, it seemed like she was living in a city I had only visited.

Until then, I thought I had bypassed Tulane students’ reputation, that Tulane students are isolated from the rest of the city. Continue reading »

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Jun 202019
 

The Committee for a Better New Orleans along with its predecessor The Metropolitan Area Committee have been focused on change at systemic levels for 50 years. Pictured, left to right, are CBNO leaders Anthony Carter, Lindsey Navarro, Keith Twitchell and Tim Hemphill. (Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Since 1966 the Committee for a Better New Orleans, or CBNO, and its predecessor The Metropolitan Area Committee, or MAC, have created an inclusive, welcoming environment where community leaders work across race and class lines to craft transparent solutions to the city’s most pressing problems. The brainchild of Richard W. Freeman and the Bureau of Governmental Research, the nonprofit was envisioned as the action organization that could take BGR’s recommendations to the next step through research and advocacy. Sharing many of the same goals and board members, CBNO and MAC merged in 2002. Continue reading »

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Jun 132019
 

The former Brown’s Dairy complex has gone on the market. (Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Local and national real estate developers are excited by this week’s announcement that the former Brown’s Dairy complex — just uptown of the Pontchartrain Expressway and one block off St. Charles Avenue — is now for sale. According to listing agent Matthew Eaton of Re/Max, this 200,000-square-foot parcel presents the largest infill development opportunity to hit the New Orleans market in recent years. Continue reading »

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Jun 072019
 

Leah Chase and Mary Sonnier at a Chase Family Gala in June 2014. Sonnier was the pastry chef. (courtesy of Mary Sonnier)

New Orleans always reels when it loses one of its greats, but then we count our blessings and reminisce. Ours is a community with a collective memory, and heart.

We all loved Leah Chase. And we will all miss her. Greatly. Now comes the time where we share our stories over the fence and on the front porch.

To those who had the luck to meet her, or better yet to really know her, Leah Chase was one of kind. She was our very own Queen of Creole cuisine. Continue reading »

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Jun 062019
 

Former City Council President Stacy Head, third from left, spoke to the Young Leadership Council last Friday about the importance of civic engagement. Also pictured are Karyn Kearney, left, Stephanie Powell and Andrew Koehler. (Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

In a recent speech to the Young Leadership Council, former City Council President Stacy Head told members that they had the ability to change the outcome of public issues by becoming engaged.

“The impact of civic engagement in government absolutely matters,” said Head. “You can’t sit back. Get out and do good.” Continue reading »

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May 302019
 

A Domain project is under construction in the South Market district. (Danae Columbus)

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Domain Companies officials will meet with neighbors Friday, May 31, to explain a zoning map amendment for their South Market District properties including The Standard, The Beacon, The Paramount, and a 36,000-square-foot surface parking lot. They are asking to change the zoning from CBD -5 to CBD-1, which would allow for increased commercial use, including timeshares.

Domain liaison Christian Brierre says the company is seeking the amendment “solely for the purpose of our retail spaces” and that The Paramount and The Beacon will “continue to be market-leading multifamily apartment products.” Continue reading »

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