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 »

Jul 022013

All reported robberies around Uptown New Orleans in 2013. (map via NOPD)

The procession of high-profile Uptown robberies may seem unabated lately: a Garden District couple held up on their front porch, masked men barging into Cooter Brown’s in search of the safe, or a trio of very young teens in skeleton masks demanding money at gunpoint on Broadway Street, all just in June alone.

But despite the perception these incidents create, and in spite of a generally shrinking New Orleans Police Department, Uptown has seen a dramatic decrease of 50 percent or more in the number of armed robberies reported in 2013 from the same period of time last year, according to statistics compiled from NOPD sources. Continue reading »

Jul 022013

jewel bush

Last week, Facebook blocked my account for 12 hours because it alleged that a picture I posted violated its terms of use.  The image in question was a black-and-white still from the early 20th century of a man hung from a lamp post with a sign affixed to his chest that read: “This Nigger Voted.”

Yes, this is graphic, uncomfortable and hard to view, but given last week’s news — the highest court in the land striking down key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — the context made sense. It wasn’t gratuitous Rambo-esque or Tarantino bloody and gory for brutality’s sake. I shared this historic image of a lynched black person to spark a discussion and to remind the pop culture community that while folks waste brain cells deciphering the lyrics of Kanye West’s new album or who is Twitter beefing with whom, our rights are being stripped away in brazen swoops. Continue reading »