Apr 042013

Lycee Francais nominating committee chair Jeff Teague writes his choices for the school’s governing board, surrounded by many of the same names suggested by other committee members. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

After a high-intensity week of more than a dozen interviews and lengthy deliberations Thursday night, a group of volunteers settled on six people — three attorneys and three people involved in education — to recommend as the new governing board of Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans.

The six chosen — attorneys Ben Castoriano, Tim Gray and Alysson Mills, and Erin Greenwald of the Historic New Orleans Collection, Mary Jacob Jones of The New Teacher Project, and Southeastern Louisiana University education-technology professor Elizabeth Rhodes — will be presented as one slate for approval by an up-or-down vote of the current board next week. All six could be added immediately, bringing the current board to 11 people as they seek out a new CEO for the school.

State charter-school regulations, however, require a minimum of seven board members, and the committee’s goal was to replace all the current board members by July 1. Thus, the committee decided to resume its search immediately, focusing in its second round on seeking members with specific skills — such as an accountant — not currently represented among the initial six chosen. Continue reading »

Apr 042013

The meeting of Lusher Charter School’s board of directors scheduled for Saturday has been canceled, school officials announced. No make-up date has been set.

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Apr 042013

Jimmy Anselmo (center) and supporters after replacing the former Frat House sign with a banner reading, “Bring Back Jimmy’s Music Club.” (photo courtesy of Jimmy Anselmo)

Jimmy’s Music Club will return for three nights of music performances starting today (Thursday) to raise money for its legal battle against the city’s alcohol laws. Continue reading »

Apr 042013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Back in olden times, Allan covered the Louisiana Legislature for The Times-Picayune and Danae lobbied the Legislature for the Dock Board. So we both have a sense of what it takes to be a good legislator and like to keep track of those who we think have bright futures in politics. Continue reading »

Apr 032013

Stacy Head, right, beams at her aide, Barbara-Lacen Keller, in a scene from “Getting Back to Abnormal.” (courtesy of The Center for New American Media)

“Getting Back to Abnormal” — the documentary screening three times as part of the upcoming filmOrama festival at the Prytania Theatre — was never intended to focus on City Councilwoman Stacy Head. But Head’s controversial role in the post-Katrina political landscape of New Orleans combined with her unusual on-screen candor made her and staffer Barbara Lacen-Keller natural subjects for it, the filmmakers said.

“The fact that they let us film them was really good,” said Louis Alvarez, one of the four producer/directors. “A lot of politicians wouldn’t allow that.”

The film’s opening thesis is that in 2010, as Head approached her first re-election campaign, she had become “a lightning rod for all things racial,” and it does not shy away from many of her most controversial moments. Yet, in a phone interview Wednesday morning, Head said she has seen the film and was pleased with its outcome.

“I thought it showed the good, the bad and the ugly about New Orleans and politics and who I am,” Head said. “I don’t take myself too seriously, so I liked it.” Continue reading »

Apr 032013

3527 South Liberty (photo by Jean-Paul Villere)

Jean-Paul Villere

Once upon a time the ivy-covered, faded green house with broken glass panes and missing siding at 3527 South Liberty in Uptown New Orleans probably was a family home, a quaint if not classically styled shotgun with sidehall elements, wrought iron fencing and floor to ceiling windows facing the street.  Today it sits beaten to hell but still seemingly structurally intact, an eyesore of eyesores, and consumed by litter including household discards, dozens upon dozens of old tires, and yes, even hypodermic needles.  Additionally according to nolaassessor.com/ there is a code-enforcement lien, and the city’s new Blight Status site shows a hearing next week on 11 violations found in January 2013.  

This kind of scenario represents the face of blight in the Crescent City today. Continue reading »

Apr 032013

“State Rep. Neil Abramson wants whoever operates NOAH to be required to bring back previous mental-health services,” and would give Ochsner a shot at the 99-year lease on the property, “while state Rep. Helena Moreno said she wants to see Children’s be allowed to take control of the property so it can expand its services,” according to an article by Danny Monteverde of The Advocate.

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Apr 032013

The 18-year-old gunned down on Eagle Street in west Carrollton on Monday night was Joseph Massenburg of Matteson, Ill., who had moved to New Orleans three weeks earlier as an AmeriCorps member working with the energy-efficiency nonprofit Green Light New Orleans, according to a report by Helen Freund of The Times-Picayune. The 1500 block of Eagle, where Matteson was fatally shot, is about three blocks behind Oak Street.

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Apr 032013

The all-female Krewe of Cleopatra moved its parade from the Westbank to the Uptown route in 2013, and the all-male Krewe of Alla may follow suit. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

The Krewe of Alla — which this year paraded 24 floats through Gretna but takes its name from an abbreviation of Algiers, La. — needs 200 paid riders by June 1 or it will seek to move to the Uptown route, according to a report by our partners at WWL-TV. The all-male krewe was founded in 1932 and “traditionally presents the largest parade on the West Bank,” according to Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide.

Apr 022013

jewel bush

Dear armchair activist,

The root of the word activism is “act.”

If you are not doing something in a tangible, meaningful way, to impact social, political, economic or cultural change, then you are not an activist. Advocate, perhaps. Activist, you are not.

If the extent of your “activism” is regurgitating factoids, trolling online discussion forums, retweeting commentary by intellectuals on Twitter or reposting, sharing and liking stories on Facebook, then you are not an activist. Agitator, maybe. Activist, you are not.
Continue reading »

Apr 022013

Firefighters try to control a blaze at a warehouse burning in Central City on Monday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A firefighter works the controls on a ladder truck as part of the effort to contain the blaze at Eagle Insulation. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A 97-year-old insulation business that spans the length of a Central City block just off the highway caught fire Monday night, likely destroying at least two warehouses and sending up a towering column of smoke that could be seen from across the city. Continue reading »

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Apr 012013

5325 Perrier Street (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The proposed front elevation of the home listed in the demolition application. (via nola.gov)

A hearing on whether to demolish a Perrier Street home in Uptown New Orleans to make room for a new one on the lot was deferred for another two weeks Monday by a city panel. Continue reading »