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.
By the request of our readers, UptownMessenger.com has recently added a new section for free local classified ads and open forums for announcements and other conversations.
We’ll be photographing a Saints-watching party tonight, but we want to go where the readers of UptownMessenger.com are. Leave us your suggestions in the comments below, and hopefully we’ll see you there.
Welcome to UptownMessenger.com, which will offer a more detailed, comprehensive look at the news and events of Uptown New Orleans than can currently be found anywhere else.
Our site is currently in an “alpha” release for a few final weeks as we continue to test its features and functionality. During this time, we will be posting news to the site, but the reporting will not reflect either the depth or the frequency that is to come.
Later this month, we will move to a “beta” release, which will see an increase in reporting while we test additional features. Finally, on Sept. 1, we will complete our initial site development and begin concentrating all our energy on serving the Uptown community.
Thanks again for stopping by. Please feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments below.