Jun 242013

Owen Courreges

“Music is one of the oldest forms of human expression. From Plato’s discourse in the Republic to the totalitarian state in our own times, rulers have known its capacity to appeal to the intellect and to the emotions,  and have censored musical compositions to serve the needs of the state . . . The Constitution prohibits any like attempts in our own legal order.  Music, as a form of expression and communication, is protected under the First Amendment.”

— Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781, 790 (1989).

“Noise can be regulated by regulating decibels. The hours and place of public discussion can be controlled.  But to allow the police to bar the use of loud-speakers because their use can be abused is like barring radio receivers because they too make a noise.  The police need not be given the power to deny a man the use of his radio in order to protect a neighbor against sleepless nights.  The same is true here. Any abuses which loud-speakers create can be controlled by narrowly drawn statutes.”

— Justice Douglas, writing for the majority, Saia v. New York, 334 U.S. 558, 561-2 (1948).

This past week a coalition of thirteen neighborhood groups of varying levels of legitimacy proposed a seven-point scheme for controlling excess “noise” in the City of New Orleans, particularly in the French Quarter.  They claim that their plans are eminently reasonable.  I’ll summarize their proposals.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether they are reasonable: Continue reading »

Jun 242013

Tasha Harris pauses for a cigarette break Sunday afternoon at a stop on Valence Street during the Uptown Swingers second line. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Uptown Swingers march up Valence Street on Sunday afternoon. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Continue reading »

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Jun 232013

The McDonogh 7 building on Milan Street. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

The students of the Crocker Arts and Technology charter school had one of the most harrowing journeys through the post-Katrina education landscape of any school in New Orleans, bouncing around four campuses in the city over five years before the school finally lost its charter this year among stagnant test scores.

Now, finally settled into their long-promised new building on Marengo Street with a new operator preparing for next year, Crocker parents are now faced with yet another worry — enough peeling lead paint has been discovered in the campus where Crocker kids spent the longest part of their odyssey to warrant an emergency remediation before the building can be used again. But with lead poisoning known to affect intelligence levels, the broader question of how many other students are at risk around the city remains unanswered. Continue reading »

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Jun 222013

Images via NOPD.

(Image via NOPD)

Police have released an image of the vehicle believed to have been used by the shooter in Friday afternoon’s fatal shooting on Willow Street in west Carrollton. Continue reading »

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Jun 222013

The Uptown Swingers will begin their second line at 1 p.m. Sunday at 4620 Loyola Avenue in the Freret neighborhood, then head up Valence Street to Magnolia, and from there through the Milan neighborhood through Broadmoor, the Hoffman Triangle, Central City and finish with a march down St. Charles Avenue, according to a route sheet published by Gambit.

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Jun 222013

Craig Giesecke

As you read this, Kim and I will be off on a rare road trip, going to the Land of Lincoln (literally, since our 16th president had a law practice in the small town where we’re going. So did Adlai Stevenson, though his star has shone less bright in the galaxy of history). Continue reading »

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Jun 212013

Surveillance images from Cooter Brown’s. (via NOPD)

The armed, masked men who robbed Cooter Brown’s at closing time last week previously committed a similar holdup of a Domino’s restaurant in New Orleans East, based on surveillance images released by authorities Friday morning. Continue reading »

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Jun 202013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It’s no secret that Allan and Danae represent the Orleans Parish School Board and therefore watch education trends pretty closely. But we have to say that today’s groundbreaking for the new $55 Million McDonogh #35 College Preparatory High School on the edge of Bayou St. John is a public education milestone worthy of celebration. First of all, FEMA provided the entire $55 million as part of their long-term commitment to rebuilding schools in New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Jun 202013

The icon with the body shows the homicide, and the first is the location of Tuesday’s shooting. (map via NOPD)

A 23-year-old man was shot to death Wednesday night in the Dixon area of Hollygrove, just around the block from where three people were injured in a shooting the night before, authorities said. Continue reading »

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Jun 192013

The pair of masked, gun-wielding men who robbed Cooter Brown’s at closing time last week are still at large, and police officials are urging employees who have to close businesses late at night to take extra precautions until they’re found.

“The Cooter Brown’s case, if we don’t solve that, they’re going to keep hitting,” NOPD Commander Paul Noel said Wednesday during the Second District’s weekly meeting of ranking officers. Continue reading »

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Jun 192013

Walt Leger

State Rep. Walt Leger, whose District 91 runs in a band across Uptown from the Irish Channel to Hollygrove, intends to pursue a candidacy for Speaker of the state House of Representatives in 2016, he told Jeremy Alford, the capitol correspondent for Gambit. Although a Democrat in a Republican-dominated legislature, Leger says he will build on his reputation as a compromise broker, Alford reports.

Jun 192013

Jean-Paul Villere

“I want a safe neighborhood.”  On any given day I must hear this a good dozen times from newbies (and parents of newbies) moving to New Orleans, less so from those that are returning or looking for a change of scenery already calling the city home.  And the why is simple I think: if you’ve chosen to reside in the city proper then you likely engage on a level of “This ain’t Mayberry.”  Yes, it is a Southern space that affords the stereotypes therein where neighbors and strangers alike trade routine pleasantries, comments on the weather, and the not so stray parallel park assist, but that doesn’t translate to lowering your guard or not following your gut.

Everyone wants a safe neighborhood, but arguably crime happens all over; there isn’t a corner in the Crescent City any one can point to and say ‘Here!  It’s totally safe here in the Cemetery District.  Unlock your doors, and leave your bike unchained and smart phone unattended.”  Continue reading »

Jun 182013

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Late last year, the Daiquiri Place Cafe on St. Charles Avenue lost its liquor license amid allegations that it had done too little to control the noise, litter and large crowds that congregated around it on weekends.

At the time, the Daiquiri Place owners argued unsuccessfully that Santa Fe Tapas next door was a major contributor to the problem. Now, attorneys for the city are making a similar complaint, bringing nuisance charges against Santa Fe Tapas before the city’s alcohol board. Continue reading »

Jun 182013

Four Uptown neighborhood groups — the Broadmoor Improvement Association, the Garden District Association, Maple Area Residents Inc. and St. Charles Avenue Association — are among 13 petitioning city officials to strengthen the city’s noise ordinance, arguing for measures such as designating a specific individual with enforcing it and measuring sound levels from venues’ property lines. Continue reading »