Oct 272014
 
Workers try to clear an overturned dump truck that crashed into a building on South Claiborne on Monday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Workers try to clear an overturned dump truck that crashed into a building on South Claiborne on Monday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A South Claiborne Avenue pedestrian was killed Monday when a dump truck crashed into a building and turned over, and emergency workers closed the downtown-bound side of the busy street to traffic near Martin Luther King Boulevard as they worked to clear the wreckage. Continue reading »

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Oct 202014
 

Owen Courreges

With certain issues, there’s often a central figure whose opinion you always want to know.  If there’s a foreign policy incident, the Secretary of State should probably be consulted.  If there’s a disease outbreak, the head of the Center for Disease Control should probably be on board.  Want to gauge response to a major crime?  Let’s see what the chief of police has to say.

And if you want to take some radical step pertaining to city streets, like taking out a traffic lane in the middle of downtown New Orleans, surely you’d want to know what Chief Traffic Engineer Allen Yrle thinks of it. Heck, you might think his support would be considered crucial.

Alas, you would be wrong. Continue reading »

Oct 012014
 
Possible options for the Napoleon Avenue landscaping. (UptownMessenger.com)

Possible options for the Napoleon Avenue landscaping. (UptownMessenger.com)

As contractors have begun digging deep underneath South Claiborne, Jefferson, Napoleon and now Louisiana avenues to install new drainage ditches, Uptown New Orleans residents have asked pointed questions prior to each project about what the neutral ground will look like when the projects are finally done over the next three years.

On Tuesday night, those residents got their first look at possible answers, including a continuation of the walking path down Napoleon Avenue, public art installations on South Claiborne, tall palms restored to Jefferson Avenue and a variety of landscaping options on Louisiana. For many, however, those answers led to more questions — such as whether the projects will incorporate ideas from the city’s new water-management strategy, which plants could be harmful to traffic visibility in certain locations, and how the canopies over the avenues will look with the finished projects. Continue reading »

Sep 292014
 

Owen Courreges

“Look both ways before crossing the street.”

Every child is taught that line, the essence being that before you step off the curb, you’d better have verified that three tons of automotive engineering won’t be bearing down on your fleshy, fragile form. Being a pedestrian is perilous, and you have to take precautions.

However, in the City of New Orleans, it is often a great deal more dangerous than it ought to be. Continue reading »

Sep 222014
 
Anthony Reed installs a new LED light on a St. Charles Avenue streetlight pole. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Anthony Reed installs a new LED light on a St. Charles Avenue streetlight pole. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

All the streetlights on St. Charles Avenue from Carrollton to the Lower Garden District will be repaired and replaced with new LED lights over the next two weeks, city officials said Monday morning as the work began. Continue reading »

Sep 222014
 

Owen Courreges

Cedric Grant and Mayor Landrieu want everyone to know that they plan to repair New Orleans’ chronically ill-maintained street infrastructure. They also want you to know that they have no creative plans for funding it.

Grant is New Orleans’ new grand poobah of public infrastructure. He is simultaneously the executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board and the head of the Department of Public Works. He gets to serve two masters – Mayor Landrieu and the quasi-independent S&WB. Continue reading »

Sep 182014
 
A map of the Southeastern Louisiana Urban Flood Control now shows the final leg on Louisiana Avenue as "under construction." (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A map of the Southeastern Louisiana Urban Flood Control now shows the final leg on Louisiana Avenue as “under construction.” (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

If you like navigating around the drainage projects on Napoleon, Jefferson and South Claiborne avenues — or if, more likely, you don’t — get ready: Louisiana Avenue is next.

The $82.6 million installation of a box canal on Louisiana Avenue from South Claiborne to Constance Street — a sister project of sorts to similar efforts on Napoleon, Jefferson and South Claiborne avenues — got its official start back in the summer, when Boh Brothers was chosen as the contractor, said Sewerage and Water Board superintendent Joe Becker before an audience of nearby residents at the Lyons Center on Thursday night. But after site surveying and other preparations, neighbors will begin to see the beginnings of the work on the ground in the weeks to come, as workers begin trimming trees and starting construction near Clara Street. Continue reading »

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Sep 062014
 
A group of "football wives of New Orleans" enjoys drinks on a back porch prior to the game. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A group of “football wives of New Orleans” enjoys drinks on a back porch prior to the game. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Tulane fans pass Yulman Stadium, seen from Calhoun Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Tulane fans pass Yulman Stadium, seen from Calhoun Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Long before Yulman Stadium even received its name, questions of how football games would impact the neighborhoods around Tulane University dominated discussions about the return of college football to the Uptown campus.

On Saturday, those questions were finally answered: On-street parking may have been tough to find, but traffic was relatively light, and many neighbors were thrilled to revive the front-yard parties associated with memories of the old Sugar Bowl stadium.

“Going to the Dome spoiled my football experience at Tulane. I’m so glad, 40 years later, that we’re back, and I’m shocked at how quiet Audubon Boulevard is,” said Seph Dupuy, a 1970 Tulane graduate as he attended a small gathering there. “I’m pleasantly surprised how well controlled and easy it is to get around.” Continue reading »

Jul 212014
 
(map via NORTA)

The restored Line 90 is shown in blue, and the Leonidas line is shown in Green. (map via NORTA)

The New Orleans RTA plans to restore Carrollton Bus Line 90 this fall, which runs from the intersection of South Claiborne through Mid-City and City Park to reach Gentilly, as part of a series of service changes announced as transit advocates question the slow return of bus lines and the agency’s finances. Continue reading »

Jul 212014
 

Owen Courreges

Keeping your eye on the road matters.  Sometimes it just prevents you from being a jerk, other times it can save somebody’s life.

Case in point: Earlier this past week I was going down Oak Street looking for a parking space on the street. When I saw one, I immediately hand signaled (my car is 63 years old and lacks turn signals) and slowed next to the spot. A white SUV was approaching behind me from the intersection, so I held the hand-signal for a few seconds, believing that the SUV would see the signal and leave me sufficient space. Continue reading »

Jul 012014
 
Derrick "Doc" Simmons,  from the Original C.T.C. Steppers Social and Pleasure Club,  dances on top of a Carrollton Avenue bus shelter during the Original Pigeon Town Steppers second line in 2011. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Derrick “Doc” Simmons, from the Original C.T.C. Steppers Social and Pleasure Club, dances on top of a Carrollton Avenue bus shelter during the Original Pigeon Town Steppers second line in 2011. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority will discuss increasing service on bus routes throughout the city, including restoring route 90 in Carrollton, at a series of community open houses in Broadmoor and Carrollton starting next week. Continue reading »

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Jun 302014
 
Audubon Park's Shelter 11, near St. Charles Avenue, was recently renovated with private donations, and the park is asking the city to pay for similar renovations to the bathroom complexes on The Fly. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Audubon Park’s Shelter 11, near St. Charles Avenue, was recently renovated with private donations, and the park is asking the city to pay for similar renovations to the bathroom complexes on The Fly. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The city of New Orleans’ $12.5 million plan to repave the uppermost end of Magazine Street next year answers a major standing request from the Audubon Commission, but Audubon leaders are still requesting an additional $3.6 million in upgrades to the riverfront park known as “The Fly.” Continue reading »

May 262014
 

Owen Courreges

A common practice amongst subordinates is to intentionally include extraneous steps in a plan to give a meddling boss something to change.  This way, the plan remains exactly the same, but the boss feels as though he’s made a contribution and the subordinate can point out that he compromised.  It goes like this:

PEON:   Here’s what my plan is: We’ll design the product, build a prototype, dispose of toxic waste in the executive washroom, and then launch the product.

BOSS:    Whoa! That third step is a problem. I don’t think we should dispose of toxic waste in the executive washroom.  That could harm our corporate executives.

PEON:   Hmmm… I’m still not sure about abandoning Step 3, but I see what you’re saying and value your guidance.  I’ll scrap Step 3.

BOSS:    Great!  Let’s move forward.

It was this kind of scenario that comes to mind when the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center makes its pitch to expand its facilities into the Lower Garden District as part of a public/private partnership. Continue reading »

May 182014
 
The Tesla Model S (via teslamotors.com)

The Tesla Model S (via teslamotors.com)

It’s tough to say what is most surprising about the Tesla Model S all-electric sedan – the radical design changes that ensue when an auto maker replaces the gas engine with state-of-the-art energy efficiency, or the fact that the vehicle isn’t confined to some Silicon Valley, Tom Swift future fantasy at all. A small but dedicated group of Tesla owners is quickly growing here in New Orleans, and Tesla Motors is in the process of creating a new infrastructure to support them across the oil-and-gas-loving Gulf Coast.

“The car really feels like the future,” said Matt Wisdom, the CEO of New Orleans-based technology company TurboSquid and one of the first Tesla owners in the area. “It’s not that they’ve built a relatively expensive car. It’s that they’ve figured out how it’s going to be. I have no question things are going to migrate this way.” Continue reading »