Jul 102013

On the downtown side of Samuel Square, where Loyola once crossed Napoleon, the dream of a dead end street is temporarily realized in July 2013. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Once upon a time with my wife and two wee daughters we used to live in a li’l ol’ shotgun in the Riverbend.  We absolutely loved that house, but after the birth of our second child, 1200 sq ft was no longer so quaint or enjoyable.  Too, where we were on the 800 block of Dublin often served as overflow parking for area retail, but worse, the density didn’t always bring the best drivers.  Some days people would whip around the corner off Maple like they were in hot pursuit.  And when you have toddlers and newborns you begin to see traffic and safety in a whole new way.  It was at this point I began to wonder about the pros and cons of living on a dead end street. Continue reading »

Jul 102013

A memorial to Officer Rodney Thomas, who was killed Sunday in a hit-and-run crash, stands in front of the Second District station on Magazine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Officers wear black bands over their badges in mourning for Officer Rodney Thomas. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

On Sunday, NOPD Commander Paul Noel went to roll call to tell the Second District dayshift that their fellow officer, Rodney Thomas, wouldn’t be returning to work, that Thomas had been struck and killed in a hit-and-run on the interstate high-rise the night before.

It wasn’t just the hardest moment of his career as a police officer, Noel said. It was the most difficult task he’s ever faced in his life.

“Hopefully I never have to do this again, as long as I live,” Noel said. Continue reading »

Jul 092013

The building that housed Pippen Lane (photographed in March 2011 by Google Maps) is slated for redevelopment as a two-story location of national retailer West Elm.

Cornelius Payne proposes a coffee shop for the 800 block of Jackson Avenue before the City Planning Commission on Tuesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Two redevelopments on major thoroughfares around the Garden District — an upscale national furniture retailer on Magazine, and a new location of a local coffee shop on Jackson Avenue — both won initial approval Tuesday from the City Planning Commission. Continue reading »

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Jul 092013

jewel bush

I was startled to see a self-addressed envelope arrive in my mailbox over the weekend.

Back in January, I wrote a letter to myself as part of a New Year ritual with my writers group. Jamey Hatley, a Memphis transplant and gifted wordsmith, leads what has become a literary sacrament for the MelaNated Writers Collective. We write handwritten notes to ourselves, seal them and then hand them over to her for safekeeping. It’s an individual exercise that we do together. Some MWC members jot down encouraging words or scribble stern reminders to adhere to writing regimens while others list publishing goals. No one reads your letter and you are free to use the paper – space – however you choose. Continue reading »

Jul 092013

George Dureau (Photo by Jason Kruppa)

Local artist and icon George Dureau is a definitive New Orleans talent who has given much to the people and the city he loves over the years. Now his fans can return the favor.

The 82-year-old painter, sculptor and photographer spends his days in a nursing home due to the ruthless effects of Alzheimer’s. He’s being well cared for, but long-term financial support is a concern. That’s why close friend Katie Nachod and other acquaintances, who fondly call themselves “Friends of George,” have planned a fundraising event for Dureau. Continue reading »

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Jul 082013

After the resignations of two members left the new Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans governing board without any members who are minorities, school leaders said that restoring diversity is a top priority as they seek to replace them over the next month.

“We need a more diverse board,” said board chair Tim Gray. “This board really does not look like a cross-section of the population of New Orleans.” Continue reading »

Jul 082013

Broadmoor businesses and homeowners have begun installing the ProjectNOLA anti-crime cameras that the neighborhood hopes will reduce criminal activity as the area continues its commercial rebirth, according to a report by Monica Hernandez of our partners at WWL-TV. The residential cameras are installed by the homeowners and linked in to the private ProjectNOLA surveillance network, while 10 cameras along the Washington and Broad commercial corridor are being sponsored by City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell’s office.

Jul 082013

Owen Courreges

There comes a time in every writer’s life when, owing to a unique combination of nostalgia and sloth, they turn wistfully back to their previous work and think of how they can milk it at least one more time.  The result is always an uncomfortable cobbling of original material and hackneyed crap.

Thus, I am proud to present to you my retrospective column, with selected updates on various topics that I have previously addressed. Continue reading »

Jul 052013

Craig Giesecke

Much has been going through my mind over the past couple of weeks, as we’ve been doing some scaling back here at the house with a yard sale, taking that trip up to Illinois and generally refocusing ourselves. Quite honestly, the local culinary world has not treated us kindly over the past year or so, despite our history of success, and we wonder if our time in New Orleans is coming to an end. Continue reading »

Jul 042013

Under the watchful eyes of the lions guarding Audubon Park, cars make the turn off Magazine Street around faded crosswalks. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Graffiti in the men’s restroom in the Riverview area behind Audubon Park. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As The Fly continues to increase in popularity as a riverfront recreation spot and the uppermost end of Magazine Street continues to suffer under heavy traffic, the Audubon Commission is asking city officials for $8.7 million in long-overdue upgrades to both. Continue reading »

Jul 042013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We only need to look at former Plaquemine Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle’s sentencing yesterday — nearly 46 months for accepting bribes from contractors anxious to do business with his parish — to quickly realize that being a Louisiana sheriff with millions of dollars to dole out to greedy contractors and consultants can be a very slippery slope.

One Sheriff who never made a major misstep and could be coming back around for another term is former Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Charles Foti. Now, in the private practice of law, Foti is bombarded by people every day who are asking him to take on his former protégé, Sheriff Marlin Gusman. It’s even possible that Foti’s cousin, Mitch Landrieu, is one of those speaking with him. Continue reading »

Jul 032013

Casa Borrega (submitted photo)

Jean-Paul Villere

Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard has been the on-again, off-again comeback kid for a few decades now in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans.  Originally a retail corridor known simply as another leg of Dryades, suburban growth and inner city decay atrophied this dusty avenue wedged between the Lower Garden and the Warehouse districts.  In the years I’ve known it, none of the original merchants from yesteryear remain (unlike Freret where the street-namesaked hardware store boasts an unparalleled longevity of operations, over half a century and counting, yes?).  But tomorrow another door opens toward the promising future in a not-so-little venture known as Casa Borrega.  Here’s a quick Q & A I conducted with the owners via email to bring you up to speed: Continue reading »