After our report with Gambit this weekend on the role of the shrinking New Orleans police task forces in preventing violent crime by seizing guns, Eve Troeh of WWNO public radio invited Uptown Messenger reporter Robert Morris into the studio to discuss the issue.
On Thursday, churches across the greater New Orleans area celebrated St. Joseph’s Day. A celebration originated in New Orleans’ Sicilian community, the day pays homage to St. Joseph who, according to legend, saved Sicily from famine during the Middle Ages. St. Stephen’s church on Napoleon avenue had an elaborate altar while also serving free food outside the church.
On Sunday afternoon, plumes of feathers, the ring of tambourines and the vibrant colors of Mardi Gras Indians’ hand-stitched suits filled the streets of Central City under pristine blue skies. Mardi Gras Indians from all over the city met at A.L. Davis park on LaSalle and Washington for the annual Super Sunday celebration.
Actor John C. Reilly made an appearance at Children’s Hospital on Friday morning. Reilly, the star of the popular children’s movie Wreck-It Ralph, brought copies of his movies to kids. Reily will reign as the king of Bacchus this year.
On Tuesday, Loyola New Orleans’ Our Lives Matter group held a candlelight vigil in honor of those who have passed due to police brutality. After lighting candles, participants held a 4:30 moment of silence for the four and a half hours Michael Brown’s body was left on the street. Students took the opportunity to share their own experiences with police brutality and abuses of power and generally their feelings about the current events involving the police. Our Lives Matter will be holding events in the coming year including a panel discussion on the definition of racism and a meeting with the Second District police.
On Saturday, the 6th annual Second District Blues festival was held in Palmer Park, on the corner of Carrollton and Claiborne. Its a festival benefiting COPS 2, Citizens Organization for Police Support 2. The festival featured music by Joe Krown, Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Russell Batiste Jr., Mia Borders, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and the Stooges Brass Band. There were many dining options including the Praline Connection, Ms. Linda’s Yakamein and Crepes A la Carte. Different arts and crafts were available for purchase as well. One of the more unique things about Saturday’s festival was its association with the LASPCA and other dog adoption groups like the Louisiana Boxer Group.
The Young Men Olympians social aid and pleasure club, sporting black and white suits, braved the rain for their annual second line parade on Sunday through central city. This year, they celebrated their 130th anniversary. The parade included four big-name brass bands, New Birth brass band, the Grammy-nominated Hot 8 brass band, TBC brass band and the Stooges.
Uptown Messenger and Mid-City Messenger have moved into the new location of the Du Mois gallery and Villere Realty at 4609 Freret, and the space will have its grand opening from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight (Saturday, Sept. 14) for the premiere of a new show at the gallery, “Bathworks,” featuring the art of Brett Reif and Arlyn Jimenez.
Come by, see our beautiful new home (right in the middle of the block with our great neighbors at Zeus’ Place, the Freret Neighborhood Center, Dennis Barber Shop and Bloomin’ Deals and across from Company Burger), enjoy some drinks and some live music. Hope to see you there!
Uptown Messenger columnist jewel bush, founder of the MelaNated Writers Collective, will be speaking at 10 a.m. Saturday as part of a panel discussion on “Creating Community for Writers of Color” at the Rising Tide new media conference on the future of New Orleans at Xavier University. Below, find a short series of questions and answers with Bush:
How did the MelaNated Writers Collective get started?
I was in newspapers for 6 years, and when I left to begin doing communications and marketing for nonprofits and various organizations, I missed the camaraderie of the newsroom. I freelanced for awhile, but it’s not the same as being in a space with other writers. Around this time, I started to take my creative writing seriously and began attending literary workshops around the country like VONA (Voices of our Nation) the only multi-genre workshop for writers of color, co-founded by the Pultizer-prize winning author Junot Diaz and Callaloo when it was at Texas A&M. Spending time with other writers, talking shop with them was amazing. It was what I needed and as close as I could get to the newsroom energy without being in the newsroom. In fact, it was a little bit better, because this bunch of creatives weren’t as jaded or cynical as newsies can often be. They were motivated and psyched about writing.
After I did Callaloo and did VONA for the first time, I knew a week here or two weeks there of this was great, but it wasn’t enough. I knew I wanted and needed this year round at home. I knew I needed to recreate this here; and that’s what I did. I began talking to other writers, poets, bloggers, MFA students/graduates, journalists, teachers about this idea; and from there, the writers I knew introduced me to writers they knew and before you knew it there were nearly 20 people in my living room talking about their work and what it meant to be a writer of color living in New Orleans.
Three years ago, Uptown Messenger was just a crazy idea about how local news should be reported. Now, as we’ve grown into two sites covering breaking news, civic affairs, local schools and public events in two neighborhoods of New Orleans, we are clearly in need of a workspace where we can collaborate with one another in person and meet with our readers, sources and supporters.
Uptown Messenger and Gambit have entered into a newsgathering partnership. Stories from Uptown and Mid-City Messenger will appear in the print edition of Gambit, while stories from Gambit and BlogofNewOrleans.com that may be of interest to Messenger readers will be excerpted online. In addition, long-form stories based on reporting in Uptown and Mid-City Messenger will appear in Gambit.
Over the last two years, as Uptown Messenger has grown, readers from other parts of New Orleans often ask me when we’re going to expand into their neighborhoods — with those calls coming most frequently from Mid-City.
Today, I’m happy to announce that we are doing just that as I introduce MidCityMessenger.com, which will cover Mid-City crime, local government, business, schools, neighborhood groups and events.
Megan Braden-Perry, creator of Gambit’s Public Transit Tuesdays column, was kind enough to invite Robert Morris of Uptown Messenger along this week for her exploration of the South Claiborne route, and together we discovered that the new building behind the former Tharp-Sontheimer funeral home is part of a new home for seniors, constructed unit-by-unit as the largest prefabricated building in the state, the architect told us. Claiborne tends to be a quick, no-nonsense bus route, so the journey featured few of the characters Braden-Perry often encounters, but did include sharing some memories at Forstall Art Supplies, plenty of food talk and a vicious caterpillar attack.
The continents are drifting. The icebergs are melting. And as the Times-Picayune cuts its newsroom and its circulation schedule in half after 175 proud years, it feels as though we’re a little closer to the end of the world.
We’ve received a number of emails from readers lately who have had trouble loading UptownMessenger.com with the Firefox brower. We apologize for the inconvenience, but there is an easy temporary fix.
Jack Davis — a former newspaper journalist at the Times-Picayune Publishing Co., the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere — writes in Gambit that as the daily newspaper makes an unpopular decision to reduce print publication to three times a week, New Orleans will become a hotbed for new forms of journalism, and cites UptownMessenger.com among the “rapidly maturing experimenters in the market,” “attracting an audience with good reporting on urban design, education, culture and crime Uptown.”
Do you think Uptown Messenger columnist Owen Courreges is sometimes a little wordy? Apparently, so do the makers of the 150-year-old Merriam-Webster dictionary.
It was brought to our attention this week that commenting has been inadvertently disabled on several recent articles. This appears to have been the result of a technical problem, and comments have been reopened on the articles in question.