Mar 302015
 

Owen Courreges

Collegiality and basic civility where in short supply this past week when the city council passed two controversial street name changes – as I originally predicted they would. Sadly, this is what happens when those elected scamps start to break the rules.

Usually, rules are there for a reason. They’re the bedrock of civilized discourse, the roux of the gumbo of organized government, and the something-something of something (note to self: think up more metaphors). With the run-up to the council’s decision, rules the rest of us learned in nursery school were broken left and right, to wit: Continue reading »

Mar 232015
 
(map via roadwork.nola.gov)

(map via roadwork.nola.gov)

Owen Courreges

The city of New Orleans has never been very good at doing things, although it has consistently shown a remarkable ability to publicize those few things it actually does.

It’s like a child who draws crude stick figures and insists on displaying them prominently on the fridge. Were they older, the self-promotion would seem ridiculous, but because of lowered expectations afforded to children onlookers are expected to feign awe and admiration.

These thoughts came to mind when I heard about the city’s new website, RoadWork (http://roadwork.nola.gov), a joint project between the Department of Public Works and the Sewerage & Water Board designed “to inform citizens about past, current, and future road work projects that affect their daily lives.” Continue reading »

Mar 192015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

New Orleans streetcars are our version of light rail transit, and they have made living in the city’s core more attractive.

We know of a one-car family on Carrollton Avenue. The wife uses the SUV to ferry the three kids back and forth and handle the other daily necessities of life. The man of the house only needs to look as far as his neighborhood streetcar to give him access to downtown New Orleans. Continue reading »

Mar 092015
 

Owen Courreges

If there’s anything that probably deserves government attention, it’s preventing children from getting mowed down while they get to and from school. No politician has ever, to my knowledge, run on a platform of exposing children to the greater risk from Mr. Distracted McNeglient’s murder-mobile.

Thus, if you’ve been reading The Lens lately, you’ve been understandably disturbed by a series of articles regarding the operation (or rather, the lack thereof) of New Orleans’ school zone lights. The first article detailed the results of a Lens survey performed this January which revealed that “[s]ix out of 10 — 87 out of 147 in active school zones — were malfunctioning.” Continue reading »

Mar 042015
 
Workers dig a pit to repair a sewer line on Magazine near Third Street on Feb. 21. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Workers dig a pit to repair a sewer line on Magazine near Third Street on Feb. 21. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The two blocks of Magazine Street around Third where city workers recently repaired a sewer line will close again Thursday and Friday so that the street can be repaired, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans announced. Continue reading »

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Mar 022015
 

Owen Courreges

Transit for the poor? What a curious thought.

Although in theory a primary purpose of transit is to provide necessary transportation for those too poor to afford a reliable vehicle, the reality is that the poor are generally the ones who are shortchanged. Continue reading »

Feb 252015
 
Mardi Gras beads hang on the chain-link fence in front of the tall black tarp, an effort to bring some life back to the otherwise bleak view. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Mardi Gras beads hang on the chain-link fence in front of the tall black tarp, an effort to bring some life back to the otherwise bleak view. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Lined with tall black tarps billowing over chain link fences, what was once Prytania Street between Octavia and Nashville now looks like a discarded set from an old episode of the X-Files. Gray mud seeps from under the fence, and strange sounds emanate from behind the tarps, but it is anyone’s guess what could actually be taking place back there. Continue reading »

Feb 212015
 
Workers patch up a section of Magazine Street on Friday afternoon after digging it up to find a sewer leak that shut down the street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Workers patch up a section of Magazine Street on Friday afternoon after digging it up to find a sewer leak that shut down the street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The majority of the repairs needed to an underground sewer line that was causing part of Magazine Street to sink should finished by Monday, but the street will remain closed to most drivers near Third Street through the weekend, officials said. Continue reading »

Feb 122015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Like everyone else in New Orleans, we want the NOPD to right a tightly managed, right-sized operation that keeps us all safe.  We realize it might take two or three years to really hire a full complement of officers. We can live with new officers who might not meet the highest educational standards. We are glad the Chief has thought through his management needs enough to ask the Civil Service Commission for authorization to hire a civilian assistant to drive his ball down the field.

While we were not thrilled when the NOPD’s Office of Secondary Employment was created, we really hate the fact that the office’s leadership have been keeping the majority of plum assignments for themselves, as reported by The Advocate this week.  These actions cost the rank and file money. They damage morale, decrease officer retention, and discourage new officers from accepting positions on the force. No wonder morale is an ongoing problem! Continue reading »

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Feb 022015
 

Owen Courreges

I personally loathe either giving or receiving directions, particularly in New Orleans.  With all the twists and turns in the Crescent City, it’s a sure bet that there’s at least one step where you’ll have to “bear” onto something or venture on some convoluted path to make a left turn, all the while cursing the lack of rhyme and reason to the whole mess.

It’s all part and parcel of living in a city established nearly three-hundred years ago along a winding river.  The streets tend to take on a life of their own.

Now, sadly, it’s about to become ever more difficult to meander some streets of Uptown New Orleans.  Yes, the City Planning Commission (CPC) has once again exhibited its total lack of purpose, this time by approving needless street name changes borne of local political horse-trading. Continue reading »

Jan 152015
 
City Councilwoman Susan Guidry reiterates her promise to continue activist Jonah Bascle's fight to make the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line accessible to the disabled at the Jan. 8 City Council meeting. (via nolacitycouncil.com)

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry reiterates her promise to continue activist Jonah Bascle’s fight to make the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line accessible to the disabled at the Jan. 8 City Council meeting. (via nolacitycouncil.com)

When City Councilwoman Susan Guidry visited comedian and activist Jonah Bascle in the hospital last month shortly before his death at age 28, she vowed to carry his fight forward to make public transportation in New Orleans accessible to the disabled — specifically, the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line.

Last week, with Bascle’s friends and supporters gathered in the City Council chambers, Guidry reiterated that she intends to make good on that promise sooner rather than later. Continue reading »

Jan 072015
 
Revelers dance to the Storyville Stompers in the Oak Street barn. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Revelers dance to the Storyville Stompers in the Oak Street barn. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Tuesday night, the Phunny Phorty Phellows rang in the 2015 Carnival season with their annual ride on the St. Charles avenue street car. Large crowds gathered at the Oak Street streetcar barn to see the Phellows depart down the line. The Phellows are a Mardi Gras crew that dates back all the way to 1878.

Crowds gathered in the Oak Street barn (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Crowds gathered in the Oak Street barn (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Continue reading »