May 072013

The grass situation at Behrman Park last summer, July 11, 2012. (photo by jewel bush)

jewel bush

Last summer, my son played baseball for a park run by NORDC, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, the dramatic voter-approved overhaul of which was supposed to be one of Mayor Landrieu’s first major accomplishments.

For months, his team practiced on a sliver of grass not on a baseball diamond. Although one game was played at Norman Playground, the rest were scheduled at Behrman Park — also on the Westbank — because we were told it was the only facility in NORDC that had operating field lights. There was only one bench for two dugouts to share. The team that arrived first claimed the bench leaving the other players to sit on the concrete slab or in the bleachers among the throngs of Little League supporters.

The coach collected a modest sum from each participant to purchase uniforms. He never delivered the shirts and visors nor returned the cash. Continue reading »

May 062013

State Rep. Neil Abramson, left, speaks during a public meeting about the expansion of Children’s Hospital onto the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital property. (Robert Morris,

State law requires that the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital site only be used for health-care purposes after Children’s Hospital buys it, lawmakers said at a public meeting Monday night. Meanwhile, the expansion of mental-health services at the former DePaul Hospital site on Calhoun street will no new construction, hospital officials said. Continue reading »

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May 032013

Computer sketch (via NOPD)

The honest taxi drivers of New Orleans should turn in one of their peers who sexually assaulted a woman he was driving through the east Carrollton area early Thursday, so that their profession’s reputation does not suffer from his misdeeds, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Friday afternoon.

“Cab drivers are good, professional, hardworking people,” Serpas said at a mid-afternoon news conference. “You know who this guy is. You know who he is. Tell him to turn himself in; we’re coming to get him.” Continue reading »

May 032013

The monthly Freret Market is slated to return next Saturday (May 11), with free music from noon to 5 p.m. by the Upstarts, Daria and the Hip Drops, and Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots plus 90 local vendors with food, art, gifts and pet adoptions, organizers said.

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May 032013

Newman students Catherine Sillars and Jules Vetter act in a scene from “Lend Me a Tenor.” (submitted photo)

The Theatre Department at the Isidore Newman School will continue its production of “Lend Me a Tenor” with shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday (May 3-4) in the Henson Auditorium, 5333 Danneel Street. Tickets to the Tony Award-winning two-act comedy are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

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May 032013

Craig Giesecke

I’ve unexpectedly had the opportunity lately to spend a lot more time in the French Quarter, since I’ve been helping a friend during JazzFest. This gave me the chance earlier this week to pop into the Louisiana Music Factory to see Beausoleil and Zachary Richard, as well as wander around aimlessly. I think that’s the best way to see the oldest part of our city – without a schedule or plan. Tours are fine to get a sense of how things are laid out, but I also think a completely unstructured day is a lot more fun. Continue reading »

May 022013

Damont Burton (via

Damont Burton, 17, pleaded guilty this week to carjacking in the Oct. 30 robbery of a woman for her SUV, which still had an elderly Chihuahua named Skeeter inside, according to a report by Claire Galofaro of The Times-Picayune. Skeeter was found and returned to his owner a few weeks later.

Burton also pleaded guilty to a charge of armed robbery on Lowerline Street from a few dates after the Skeeter carjacking, Galofaro reports. Carjacking carries a sentence of between two and 20 years; armed robbery carries a sentence of between 10 and 99 years. The robbery charge can also be enhanced by an additional five years when the crime is committed with a firearm.

May 022013

Mireille Rabate, a principal at French American International School in San Francisco, will be invited to New Orleans for an in-person interview May 9 for the CEO job at the Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans charter school, according to a report from The Lens. Meanwhile, the committee screening candidates accepted four more “last-minute” applications for review and selected two of them for a second interview — Lysianne Essama, a French-immersion principal from Maryland, and J’Vann Martin, a former principal at Capital-One New Beginnings Charter School Network, the report states.

[Update, 12 p.m. Friday] The committee will meet again at 8:45 a.m. Saturday at 1441 Canal Street to interview Essama and Martin in a closed-door session, the school announced.

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May 022013

Children’s Hospital officials and the lawmakers who brokered a compromise regarding their expansion to the adjacent New Orleans Adolescent Hospital will hold a neighborhood meeting next week to discuss additional mental-health services that are planned. Continue reading »

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May 022013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Today is an important milestone in Councilman-at-large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson’s life. It is the beginning of her last year as City Council President. She is slated to take over today from the effervescent Councilwoman-at-large Stacy Head who made lots of headway on projects she considers important. Continue reading »

May 012013

Crowds gather around the Ace Hardware on Oak Street in late March in preparation for the Pigeontown Steppers second line. A banner announcing the store’s impending closure hangs above the store. ( file photo)

Jean-Paul Villere

Without fuss or fanfare the Oak St Ace Hardware depleted its remaining inventory over April and closed its doors permanently.  Forever.  Gone.  Kaput.  No mas.  The corner fixture that united neighbors and brought inexpensive solutions to the 21st century world of buying in bulk, automated key duplicating machines, and the like became another memory, the end result of a society that more often chooses convenience over customer service and cost over care.  I, for one, was a fan and truly shopped there as often as I could, and I am more than a little sad if only because I can see the future.  Effectively our consuming buying patterns and the all too nearby Lowe’s spelled the demise for this little gem. Continue reading »

Apr 302013

A NOPD officer keeps drivers away from a road hazard on Joseph Street that snared several vehicles on Tuesday, waiting for city workers to bring barricades to keep drivers away from it until it can be repaired. (Robert Morris,

In 2011, east Carrollton residents complained of a treacherous hump in Lowerline Street next to Lusher Elementary school that was scraping the bottom of some vehicles or causing others to swerve dangerously around it with children in the area. In December of that year, the “Lusher lump” was fixed to great rejoicing — until now, when a scarily similar lump on Joseph Street is ensnaring drivers next to Lusher High School. Continue reading »

Apr 302013

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell delivers her “State of District B” address Tuesday night at City Hall. (Robert Morris,

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell laid out a holistic vision for stronger neighborhoods with more opportunities for young people and healthier residents with better jobs, but said she will need the support of her entire district to bring it to reality.

“I wanted to truly bring our district together, much how we did in Broadmoor. We subdivided to figure out our needs, but we came together as a neighborhood,” Cantrell said. “Tonight, I want us to come together as a district. With your help, we can truly build a District B that we can believe in.” Continue reading »

Apr 302013

Matthew Stone, a sex offender convicted on five counts of indecent solicitation of a minor in Illinois with an outstanding warrant for his arrest for failing to register when he moved to New Orleans, was placed in a Tulane University apartment with three undergraduates in January 2011 when he enrolled in the School of Continuing Studies, which does not request incoming students’ criminal history, according to a lengthy account by Maggie Herman of the Tulane Hullabaloo student newspaper. Stone later moved to New York, served time on forgery charges pressed by a girlfriend from New Orleans, and is now back in prison in Illinois serving a four-year sentence for failing to register as a sex offender, the Hullabaloo reports.