Nov 162015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Over at Eater New Orleans, Gwendolyn Knapp sums up the ill-fated “Jack & Jake’s” grocery project quite aptly – as a money pit.

The project began in 2011, when Alembic Community Development bought the former Myrtle Banks Elementary School on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The school, built in 1910, had closed in 2002 and was gutted by fire in 2008. The Orleans Parish School Board had already determined that it wasn’t cost-effective to preserve the building, but Alembic was determined to save the façade. Continue reading »

Oct 192015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

A few weeks ago the animated TV show “South Park” premiered a new episode regarding an issue so close to our hearts here in New Orleans: gentrification.

The plot of the episode revolved around attempts by the fictitious Colorado town for which the series is named to attract a new Whole Foods Market. This, the city reasoned, would prove the backwoods hamlet to be progressive and forward-thinking. Continue reading »

Oct 122015
 
Homeowners of 1823 Cadiz St. cut the ribbon to their new wheelchair ramp built by volunteers from Shell and Junior League of New Orleans.

Homeowners of 1823 Cadiz St. cut the ribbon to their new wheelchair ramp built by volunteers from Shell and Junior League of New Orleans. Courtesy of Gambel Communications

This past Friday, Oct. 9, Rebuilding Together New Orleans completed the rebuilding of its 500th home since Hurricane Katrina. Through RTNO, over 500 volunteers worked on 14 home repair projects for disabled, elderly and military veteran homeowners over the first two weekends of October. Continue reading »

Aug 272015
 
Former Mayor Marc Morial and Mayor Mitch Landrieu discussion the state of New Orleans together. (photo via Danae Columbus)

Former Mayor Marc Morial and Mayor Mitch Landrieu discussion the state of New Orleans together. (photo via Danae Columbus)

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

For many New Orleanians life has never been the same since Hurricane Katrina destroyed their homes, their neighborhoods, their schools, and their sense of community. Katrina was an experience they do not want to relive on this or any other anniversary. For them, the grief process is ongoing. African Americans especially feel the rules were stacked against them, making their recovery even harder. Continue reading »

Aug 262015
 
A home along Canal Boulevard, still scarred by floodwaters around 2010. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

A home along Canal Boulevard, scarred by floodwaters. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

The big exhale of 10 years has arrived as New Orleanians near and far reflect on the 2005 storm season that changed us all.  Personally, my experiences before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina pale in comparison to many others.  My journey to now may best be summed up from the wisdom of my stepfather who told me simply to “ride the horse in the direction it’s going.”  Not an easy thing to do when the unknown awaited, especially in the immediate aftermath of the devastatingly unexpected. Continue reading »

Aug 242015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

We’re coming up on the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, in case you’ve been locked in a closet for the past few weeks and have thus been spared the maudlin, self-indulgent navel-gazing of every commentator that comes down the pike.

For some, Katrina was an opportunity seized. The guiding narrative is that of a city in decline that took advantage of adversity and emerged stronger. It’s a characterization of Katrina that’s equal parts appalling and inaccurate. We are not in a better position as entire swaths of neighborhoods lay in ruin and our population is greatly reduced. Continue reading »

Aug 092015
 
(Some of the "Art by Committee" Murals to be exhibited in "The People's Murals," via Creative Alliance of New Orleans)

Some of the “Art by Committee” Murals to be exhibited in “The People’s Murals” (via Creative Alliance of New Orleans)

The Creative Alliance of New Orleans and Alembic Community Development will be opening a new exhibition titled “The People’s Murals,” at the Myrtle Banks Building in Central City Saturday, August 15 to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. “The People’s Murals,” is a massive exhibition of murals worked on by hundreds of community members, and the opening event will include featured artists and citizens who worked on the murals, as well as light refreshments and food. Continue reading »

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Jul 022015
 
The My House building at 2010 Peniston Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The My House building at 2010 Peniston Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

static1.squarespace.comA facility that served the children and families of the Milan neighborhood for decades on Peniston Street until Hurricane Katrina is now finally nearing its reopening, 10 years after the storm, officials said. Continue reading »

May 292015
 
(image via Broadmoor Improvement Association)

(image via Broadmoor Improvement Association)

The Broadmoor Improvement Association’s long-awaited renovation of the former St. Mathias School on General Taylor Street into a new Arts & Wellness Center will open to the public Monday, June 1., officials announced. Continue reading »

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Apr 102015
 
Via WWNO

Via WWNO

WWNO, the local public-radio affiliate, and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in Central City will host and moderate a discussion next week of the impact of the BP oil spill on Louisiana seafood that still remains five years later.  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 292014
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It seems like just yesterday that we were packing up our TV cameras and computer hard drives to get out of Dodge before Katrina struck. Danae finally took Ray Nagin’s pleas seriously about 4 a.m. and began the long, slow journey to her parents in Arkansas with five dogs and our photographer. Allan, his sister Sandy Levy and their aged Mother, Miriam Katz, left several days earlier for Birmingham in an abundance of caution. Continue reading »

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Aug 282014
 
Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

I want to tell you a story, though it’s a tired one.  It’s one of watermarks, floodlines, and rust.  It’s one of great sadness, overwhelming emotions, and glorious reunitings.  One that over the last 10 years most Americans are tired of hearing, and one that many New Orleanians have a version of.  It’s Katrina.  And Rita.  And levees breaking.  And the curious nine years that followed the moisture-rotted rollercoaster of events in latter 2005 in the Crescent City.  And while my tale unfurls I will ask you to remember two words: gumbo party. Continue reading »

Aug 262014
 
Streetlight repairs have been completed in neighborhoods marked in green, are underway in pink areas, and still to come in orange zones, as of August. (source: nola.gov/DPW)

Streetlight repairs have been completed in neighborhoods marked in green, are underway in pink areas, and still to come in orange zones, as of August. (source: nola.gov/DPW)

When New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked the residents of City Council District B how the city should spend their tax money Tuesday night, the answers nearly all involved streets: the holes in them, the lack of light on them, and the people who sleep on them.

Most of those problems — like all of those before the 300-year-old city — lack easy answers, and have been compounding for decades, Landrieu replied. But on at least one complaint, there is a glimmer of hope: the long-darkened streetlights along St. Charles Avenue are scheduled for repair in September. Continue reading »

Apr 032014
 

the big issueThe entrepreneurship boom in New Orleans is a real phenomenon, and a crucial factor in the city’s continued rebirth — but it must also be accompanied by more economic opportunities for the unsustainable number of jobless African-American men in the city, a panel of business leaders said Thursday evening.

“We can get there,” said Rod Miller, CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance. “We are a ‘new’ New Orleans, but we’re not our best New Orleans.” Continue reading »

Mar 312014
 

the big issueHas post-Katrina rebuilding really created a new city out of New Orleans, or is the “boom” more of an artificial economic bubble that is bound to burst? This question will drive the next installment of Tulane Hillel’s occasional series of “The Big Issue” discussions, set for Thursday evening with the title “New Orleans 2.0: Fact or Fiction?” Continue reading »

Feb 252014
 
A drawing of the proposed community center included in city documents.

A drawing of the proposed community center included in city documents.

Kevin Brown (via tccno.org)

Kevin Brown (via tccno.org)

A long-delayed plan to create a new community center on Monroe Street in west Carrollton — now slated to be a new home for Hollygrove’s Trinity Christian Community — received a thumbs-up from the New Orleans City Planning Commission on Tuesday, and organizers say they now have the funding in line for the project to move forward. Continue reading »

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Feb 242014
 

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

The state lawmakers who sit on the legislature’s Hurricane Recovery Committee will take up the issue of “intimidating” Road Home collection letters previously raised by New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell in a meeting this evening (Monday, Feb. 24), officials said. Continue reading »