Mar 152020

A crowd gathers outside Tracey’s on Magazine Street — near a sign warning against congregating on the street as the deadly coronavirus is spreading in New Orleans. (Sharon Lurye, Uptown Messenger)

By Sharon Lurye, Uptown Messenger

Police cars arrived at Tracey’s Bar on Magazine Street on Saturday to break up a crowd of more than 250 people participating in a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl, in violation of a ban on large crowds that Gov. John Bel Edwards announced through an executive order on Friday. The size of the crowd spurred some public shaming from Mayor LaToya Cantrell on social media.

“The crowd exceeded 250 people and spilled into the streets. They were dispersed without incident,” said an New Orleans Police Department spokesperson. “The NOPD will continue to enforce the governor’s ban.” Continue reading »

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Mar 142020

(Uptown Messenger file photo)

Eight residents of the Lambeth House Retirement Community at the foot of Broadway have confirmed cases of cornonavirus, Lambeth CEO D. Scott Crabtree told state Rep. Aimee Adatto Freeman, District 98, in a letter she emailed to constituents.

Five are hospitalized, and three are in quarantine at the facility, Crabtree said. The patients are reported to be in their 80s and 90s. Continue reading »

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Mar 132020

Cornavirus (via

Editor’s note: This story posted before Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a declaration closing all schools. The schools information below is outdated.

During a conference call Thursday (March 12) afternoon, Mayor LaToya Cantrell gave the number of presumptive coronavirus cases in New Orleans: 11. About two hours later, the city’s webpage on the health crisis stated there were 15 in New Orleans. On Friday morning, the number increased to 23.

The public health situation is moving quickly. Health officials have said that there is evidence of “community spread” of the COVID-19 in the New Orleans area. Most of the current patients contracted it locally rather than during travel, so there are likely to be more cases. Continue reading »

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Mar 122020

BUKU Art + Music Project, 2019. (Zach Brien,

The BUKU Art + Music Project announced today that its 2020 festival scheduled for March 20-21 will be rescheduled. This reluctant change is due to the impacts of COVID-19, the coronavirus. A notice from Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s office stated that BUKU could not take place as planned, according to an official statement from the festival team. Continue reading »

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Mar 122020

After Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared a state of emergency and recommended social distancing, patrons and workers still made the scene at Tracey’s and other venues across the city on Wednesday night. (Danae Columbus)

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Now that Mayor LaToya Cantrell has declared a state of emergency and called for the Louisiana National Guard, New Orleanians who are used to hugging and kissing everyone in sight are being asked to embrace social distancing and other practices like constant hand washing that hopefully can slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. How well Mayor Cantrell is able to manage the city’s ever-evolving response will be her enduring legacy. Continue reading »

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Mar 122020

Loyola University moves to online classes beginning Monday and has canceled on-campus classes for the rest of this week. (photo via

Two Loyola University students and a faculty member went into a 14-day self-quarantine on March 10, at the request of the university, after attending a journalism conference and having lunch at a downtown restaurant with an individual who was later diagnosed with COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

The students and professor have not displayed any symptoms, Loyola President Tania Tetlow said in a March 11 letter to the Loyola community announcing that all classes will taught online for the rest of the spring semester beginning Monday (March 16). Continue reading »

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Mar 122020

The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University has canceled its inaugural event for 2020, citing concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

From Tulane University

The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University has canceled its inaugural event for 2020, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and adherence to university protocol.

Tickets purchased for keynote addresses with John Grisham, Michael Lewis and Malcolm Gladwell will be fully refunded within 10 business days. Continue reading »

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Mar 112020

Jamie Flowers receives a kiss from a member of the Irish Corner Club during the 2019 Irish Channel Parade. Before the 2020 parade was canceled, organizers were urging winks or fist bumps in place of the traditional Irish kisses.  (Zach Brien,

A variety of groups were ready to bring an explosion of activity to Uptown streets this weekend. The Irish Channel Parade, a centerpiece of local St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, was planned for Saturday. And the following day, Mardi Gras Indian tribes and second-line groups were to bring their artistry to the streets of Central City for the annual Uptown Super Sunday.

Now Irish Channel paraders need to store their throws and Indians need to put away this year’s suits. And for Uptown residents, this might be a good weekend for spring cleaning and gardening instead of enjoying parades.  Continue reading »

Feb 272020

Coronavirus (via

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

I am not a naysaying fatalist or someone who rushes to conclusions early. But last night I went to my neighborhood grocery store and picked up 10 cases of bottled water and placed it next to the five cases I bought the other day. I intend to get another 10 cases this weekend and begin stocking up on canned fruits and vegetables too.  And antiseptic cleaning supplies and cough medicine. Am I opening a bodega? No, I am preparing for what could be life-as-unusual if the coronavirus really hits New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Feb 242020

Floats are parked with riders still on them on Magazine Street where a woman was killed after being struck by a float during the Mystic Krewe of Nyx parade. (Dinah Rogers, Uptown Messenger)

New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Fergusen said the NOPD will meet with the mayor’s Mardi Gras advisory committee, krewe captains and others to review Carnival safety.

“We lost two lives this Carnival season,” he said during a press conference on Monday. “It’s very disheartening.” Continue reading »

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Feb 232020

The pioneering Bacchagator, one of Bacchus’ signature tandem floats, extends 105 feet. (Zach Brien,

After the second fatality of the 2020 Carnival season involving a tandem float, the city Saturday night barred krewes from pulling more than one chassis with a single tractor for the remainder of the season.

The Krewe of Bacchus — known for its long, elaborate tandem floats — has agreed to break up its floats for tonight’s parade in light of the two tragedies. The Krewe of Thoth had planned to debut a three-section train float in its afternoon parade. It too will be split up. Continue reading »

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Feb 202020

New Orleans police investigate the scene after the coroner’s van arrives at Valence and Magazine streets, where a woman was killed after being struck by a float during the Mystic Krewe of Nyx parade. (Dinah Rogers, Uptown Messenger)

A woman was struck and killed by a float as midway into the Nyx parade’s trek down Magazine Street on Wednesday night.

Float 21 struck Geraldine Carmouche, 58, at Magazine and Valance Street at about 9 p.m. She died at the scene. Continue reading »

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