Oct 152012
 

Owen Courreges

Just a block over from my house is Mr. John’s Steakhouse. In my humble opinion, it offers the best steaks in the city. They use only the finest cuts seared in butter and cooked to perfection. And of course, like all of the finest steakhouses, they are not cheap. Mr. John’s is synonymous with special occasions.

This is not, however, the case for the Board of Trustees for the New Orleans Firefighters’ Pension and Relief Fund. Apparently, they believe in spending thousands of dollars at a time at Mr. John’s and other expensive restaurants in the city. Continue reading »

Oct 132012
 

Students’ projects from September 2009 still hang on a bulletin board in a corridor at the New Orleans Free School at 3601 Camp Street. The building was abruptly abandoned three months later because of structural issues, and is now headed for auction. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former New Orleans Free School on Camp Street.

Students’ work still hangs on the walls three years after it was turned in, and their art lays strewn about the floor of the old Free School. A few children’s books sit in crates, toys lay abandoned on the dirty floor, and pigeons flutter in and out of the dark fourth-floor attic. To the trained eye, however, the most insidious problem is the sudden dips in the hardwood floor.

The century-old Free School on Camp Street looks as though it was abandoned overnight, as it almost literally was in December of 2009 when critical structural problems were discovered there. Next month, the building is one of seven former school sites around the city scheduled to be auctioned off by the Orleans Parish School Board, raising the possibility that it might finally be redeveloped into something new, or even one day hold students once again. Continue reading »

Oct 112012
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

The 2012 Republican Party platform is a voluminous document that is filled with wisdom and purported wisdom. But, sadly, one of the few possible subjects of Republican wisdom that is omitted is the fate and future of American cities. Now, to be fair, the platform does excoriate the City of Washington D.C. as an example of every urban failing that can be attributed to the incompetence of Big Government – i.e., the Democrats.

But, the fact of the matter is that American cities, including Washington D.C., Uptown New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, are filled with Republicans. And, in many cases, as often occurs in Uptown New Orleans, these registered urban-living Republicans reside right next door to conservative Democrats who regularly and predictably vote Republican in Presidential and other elections. Continue reading »

Oct 112012
 

By Dana Kaplan

As I knock on doors and attend community meetings and forums throughout the district, I get to listen to the concerns of voters – real people rather than polls – but real people who are truly concerned about the direction of their neighborhoods. And, the most common question is in some form or another, “What are you going to do about crime?” Continue reading »

Oct 102012
 

Sewerage & Water Board “work” on Freret Street. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere)

Jean-Paul Villere

Yet another rhetorical pop quiz from the Sewerage & Water Board this past Monday left Orleans Parish residents (read: me and likely you) wondering if our one and only water supply was safe for consumption.  And the solitary answer everyone can agree on equals “Maybe.”  Forget that it’s the 21st century, forget that Roman aquaducts remain a marvel to humanity and civilization on the whole, and forget too that over the next five years an Orleans Parish water bill will grow incrementally like a film of algae from a broken fire hydrant to the nearest street drain.  But remember this: your vote still matters.  And why this will always be important remains a let-me-speak-to-your-supervisor line of thought.  The S & W B does not answer to much, or do they?  So who’s in charge? Continue reading »

Oct 102012
 

Estelle Carron moved to New Orleans earlier this year and was a French teacher at Trinity Episcopal School, but still owned the home in Memphis where she was found dead after a fire this weekend, allegedly strangled to death by her son, according to an article published Tuesday evening on the website of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“We continue to pray for her and for her family, friends, students, and colleagues,” wrote Trinity headmaster Dr. Michael Kuhn in an email to Uptown Messenger. “In the short time here at Trinity, she became a much beloved and respected teacher and colleague. Estelle will be greatly missed by the Trinity community.”

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Oct 092012
 

Violent crimes in the Freret area since mid-April, according to NOPD crime maps, include a teen being shot, a dispute in which a gun was fired, a fracas at a now-closed high school and a charge of illegal carrying of a weapon. (via NOPD.com)

The murder of a prominent Freret Street bakery owner 25 years ago is still regarded as the seminal moment in the commercial corridor’s long period of neglect. Now, even amid the street’s current renaissance, some residents still feel that they are living just on the edge of the next violent crime.

Several Freret residents and business owners have recently begun discussing the possibility of hiring private security patrols similar to those in other neighborhoods around the city, and Tuesday night, began what they see as a long conversation with their neighbors about whether to move forward. Continue reading »

Oct 092012
 

Photographer John McCusker describes writing his biography of Kid Ory, “Creole Trombone,” Tuesday night at Octavia Books.

“The day after Katrina, all I owned in the world were the notes for the Kid Ory book,” said longtime New Orleans newspaper photographer John McCusker, relating the story Tuesday night at Octavia Booka of how he came to write Creole Trombone. “…But eventually, sitting down and writing became a therapy for me.” Continue reading »