Jul 172013

ENCORE Academy will grow from 205 to 315 students in 2013-14, its second year of operation, with the addition of a third section of kindergarten, a fourth and a sixth grade, according to a report by Stephen Babcock of The Lens. The school will remain at its location inside the Crocker building on Marengo Street for the coming year, but will have to find a new home for 2014-15.

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Jul 172013

As former New Orleans police officers Kevin Wheeler and Juan Vera appeal their termination from the force following their use of a Taser on an unarmed man, the case revolves largely around their assertion that they did not know the man’s weapon had been removed — despite clear evidence of that on a video from a Taser. Continue reading »

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Jul 172013

Camp Tekakwitha in Leeds, Maine, June 2013 (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

My late maternal grandmother was about as New Orleans as it got.  Italian heritage, Bunny Bread, colloquialisms, and all.  And every opportunity I have to invoke a reference to her use of language, I do.  Maybe my most favorite isn’t even hers, but however I will submit it is a waning regional standard.  So while most might properly refer to their brood as their children, permit me a moment to impart to you my upcoming journey to retrieve my chirren from summer camp. Continue reading »

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Jul 162013

Homicides (in red) and gun cases (in blue) in the west Carrollton area in the last six months. (map via NOPD)

Although violent crime is down by 15 percent since last year in the New Orleans Police Department’s Uptown-based Second District, residents of west Carrollton say they remain concerned about the shootings and drug dealing they see and hear in their neighborhood. Continue reading »

Jul 162013

Deborah Cotton, a correspondent for Gambit and founder of cultural-news website New Orleans Good Good, was one of 19 people in the crossfire during a shooting at a second line in the Seventh Ward on Mother’s Day, and as she continues to recover, Gasa Gasa on Freret Street is holding a benefit July 26 to help with her medical expenses, according to a report by our partners at WWL-TV.

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Jul 162013

The former Jimmy’s Music Club location at 8200 Willow. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

As the operators of Jimmy’s Music Club proceed with their request for liquor sales that would allow the venue to reopen, they are inviting neighbors and city officials to join them for an open house Wednesday evening. Continue reading »

Jul 162013

A map of fire incidents in the city from 2008 to 2013. White areas represent 0 to 10 fires in that time; red represents 76 to 90. (via city of New Orleans)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has rejected an Uptown neighborhood association’s request that a ladder truck in Central City be removed from service rather than the truck on Arabella Street, saying that the squad in Central City responds to fires much more frequently. Continue reading »

Jul 162013

jewel bush

Less than a half hour after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager in self-defense, his brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr. appeared live on CNN to begin damage control.

Robert has since been making the rounds in an aggressive, vigorous push to reassert his brother’s innocence and praise the American judicial system — all the while doing the proverbial happy dance on Trayvon’s grave.

The George Zimmerman “nana-nana boo boo” media tour, led by Robert, is in full throttle. Continue reading »

Jul 152013

(map via NOPD)

A man was forced inside a Magazine Street home and robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning, another man was robbed at gunpoint on Louisiana Avenue and a woman was cut by a robber with a knife Friday night, according to weekend crime reports from the New Orleans Police Department. Continue reading »

Jul 152013

Ladder 5 at the Arabella fire station, photographed in March. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Owen Courreges

This weekend saw the departure of the New Orleans Fire Department Ladder Truck No. 5 from the Arabella Fire Station.   A final effort to save Ladder 5 came to naught when Mayor Landrieu’s office rejected an alternative plan proposed by affected Uptown residents. 

The reason for the change was, of course, budgeting.  The city, facing a tight budget, lost $4 million in funding to the NOFD with the lapse of the three-year federal grant.  The NOFD wanted to keep all its pumper trucks, so two ladder trucks had to go.  Of the ladder trucks serving the Uptown area, Ladder 5 was the most expendable. Continue reading »

Jul 142013

Map of upcoming repaving projects on Freret, Nashville and Fontainebleau. (via pavinglaroads.com)

In a matter of weeks, construction is set to begin on a new project to repave Freret Street and to try yet again to correct the installation of new “bump-out” corners at the intersections.

That project will join a series of others — a similar repaving of Broadway Street, the ongoing construction of a new drainage canal under Napoleon Avenue, the recent commencement of the same project on Jefferson Avenue, the upcoming start of another canal project on Louisiana Avenue, and the year-long repairs to the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line — that place most of the major thoroughfares through the interior of Uptown New Orleans under some sort of roadwork. Continue reading »

Jul 142013

(map via NOPD)

A 35-year-old man was shot to death Saturday evening near Second and South Roman streets in the Hoffman Triangle area, and 43-year-old man was killed shortly afterward in another shooting at Eighth and Baronne streets that also injured a 37-man, New Orleans police said. Continue reading »

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Jul 122013

Trent Mackey Sr. hugs defense lawyers outside the courthouse

One year to the day that former Tulane linebacker Trent Mackey was involved in a drug deal turned armed robbery, the 23-year-old was found not guilty on the two armed robbery charges brought against him.

On trial for criminal conspiracy to armed robbery and armed robbery with a firearm, the 12-person jury unanimously ruled he was not guilty on both counts.

There was no question as to whether Mackey was at the scene of the armed robbery. He had planned to meet Megan Wales, a fellow Tulane student, at her apartment on 600 Broadway Street that day to buy marijuana from her.

The question was whether he helped orchestrate the event, which became much more than a simple drug deal when two men burst into the apartment and one pinned Wales on her apartment floor with a gun to her head. Continue reading »

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Jul 122013

(map via NOPD)

Keith Williams (via opcso.org)

A trio of bat-wielding robbers attacked three different people walking through the Lower Garden District on Wednesday evening — seriously injuring one of the victims — and a teen has been arrested out of the group, according to New Orleans police.

Meanwhile, investigators are also looking for two other men caught on surveillance camera last weekend, authorities said. Continue reading »

Jul 122013

Craig Giesecke

Mymymy.  Last week’s column kicked up a lot of dust, as I criticized what I see as the shrinking creativity of the New Orleans restaurant scene and many jumped to its defense. I stand by my opinion, but the fact I have one does not make me right. It’s an opinion and it’s good to see so many take issue. Thanks for reading and responding.

One reader made the observation I need to go out to eat more often and I certainly agree. But, as mentioned in a previous column, this is tough for us to afford these days. Perhaps the summer’s advent of various fixed-price meals will make this a more available option. I hope so. Continue reading »

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Jul 122013

A defense witness called in the trial of former Tulane football player Trent Mackey said he pointed the finger at Mackey after police told him Mackey had already thrown him under the bus.

Mackey, 23, has been charged with armed robbery with a firearm and criminal conspiracy to armed robbery. The charges stem from a July 12, 2012, robbery that the defense says was poorly investigated and pegged on Mackey, while prosecutors have argued that Mackey orchestrated. Continue reading »

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Jul 112013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

State Senator Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, has been in the Louisiana Legislature for 22 years and says he thinks that Governor Bobby Jindal’s regime has been “a terrible disappointment, especially for the medically indigent and the state’s public education system from kindergarten to the graduate departments of our universities.”

Louisiana’s best hope, he says, is that the 2015 Governor’s race will produce a chief executive for the state who will undo the damage that the Jindal Administration has inflicted on public medical institutions and public education. Continue reading »