Aug 092013

Wanda Rouzan leads a procession down Magazine Street to the newly opened St. Katherine Drexel Prep. (Robert Morris,

Just a few short months ago, a group of Xavier Prep alumni promised students that, despite what seemed at the time like insurmountable obstacles, they would proudly return to campus as the Yellow Jackets in the fall.

Call it an act of faith, call it the “Miracle on Magazine Street,” but on Friday morning, with a procession around the block and an invocation from an archibishop, the founders of the new St. Katharine Drexel Prep made good on their promise.

“This could have been a funeral march,” said Dale Atkins. “This is not a funeral. This is not a wake. This is truly a celebration.” Continue reading »

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Aug 092013

Craig Giesecke

This marks my 78th and final column for Uptown Messenger as Kim and I pack up and move back toward the West Coast. She was raised in the San Diego area and we feel it’s time to tighten the circle, pulling family closer and seeking new opportunities. Besides, I am long overdue for a good, no-time-schedule road trip and the adventure it brings.

In a perfect world, we would have time and money for one last, great tour of New Orleans favorite haunts and to try to get around to a few spots we haven’t yet tried. But we don’t have much of either, so such an event will have to wait until we return, which will be as often as possible. Continue reading »

Aug 082013

The home in the 3000 block of Danneel where a 42-year-old man was fatally shot in what police believe may have been a robbery gone bad. (Robert Morris,

Jonathan Joseph (via NOPD)

Jamar Armstrong (via NOPD)

A man gunned down at a Danneel Street home was likely the victim of a robbery attempt gone wrong, investigators say, and they have now arrested two men on murder charges in the case. Continue reading »

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Aug 082013

Jimmy Anselmo thanks the City Council for approving his request to reopen Jimmy’s Music Club on Willow Street. (Robert Morris,

After nearly a year of struggle and discord, Jimmy’s Music Club received permission Thursday afternoon from the New Orleans City Council to reopen in a flurry of smiles, applause, blown kisses — and a long list of operating conditions. Continue reading »

Aug 082013

Members of the City Council and the New Orleans Police Department present the family of Officer Rodney Thomas (wearing blue shirts) with a resolution honoring his sacrifice for the city. (Robert Morris,

With a resolution in his honor and words of encouragement for his family, the New Orleans City Council pledged Thursday morning to ensure the sacrifice of Officer Rodney Thomas has a permanent place in the city’s memory. Continue reading »

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Aug 082013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We are amazed by the changes over the years in the voting public’s perception of candidates involved in sexual scandals.

To put our views in some kind of context, you should know that Allan started covering politics in 1963 at the old States-Item and Danae worked in her first political campaign as a 12-year-old in 1962. She grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas and, campaign veteran that she was, was a blue chip worker in Bill Clinton’s first campaign – a race for Congress in 1974 which he lost but later won a few.

In the 1960s and early 70s, it didn’t take a sex scandal to put a candidate in trouble. Back in the day, a candidate running for the first time who had a divorce in his background was in serious trouble. Voters did not like divorces, although incumbents who had proved their electability could survive a divorce, especially if they re-married and the new wife embraced the political life and was a good campaigner. Continue reading »

Aug 072013

Jean-Paul Villere

Okay Louisiana lawmakers, I give up!  The pelican state’s recent but maybe not altogether surprising archaic approach to finessing legal uses of handheld devices while driving has me questioning the logic over in Baton Rouge.  As of last week, motorists (and presumably bicyclists too) are prohibited from use of social media while operating their vehicles, and while texting under similar circumstances was recently banned, general use of handheld devices and / or the internet remains legal.  Whiskey – Tango – Foxtrot elected officials and boo on you.  Isn’t this a little like saying you can hold a cigarette while driving but you can’t put it to your lips?  Or you can totally hit the drive thru and grab some artery clogging fare, and again hold it in your hand, but don’t eat it! Continue reading »

Aug 062013

The suspect in a robbery just off Magazine Street is arrested in the 5200 block of Laurel on Tuesday afternoon. (Robert Morris,

Officer James Porter directs his police dog to search under a home at Joseph and Annunciation. (Robert Morris,

A man suspected of robbing a woman at gunpoint just off Magazine Street was found hiding between two homes on Laurel Street and arrested after a four-hour manhunt Tuesday afternoon, with police shutting down streets in two neighborhoods to search house-to-house with tracking dogs. Continue reading »

Aug 062013

jewel bush

The war for the most New Orleansest grocery store in Mid City has been waged.

Winn-Dixie’s grand opening pomp and circumstance have included giveaways of all sorts, folks in patriotic-esque costumes meandering around the grocery – to add to the celebratory atmosphere, I suppose – and a saxophonist serenading produce shoppers to add Big Easy flair among other jazzy gimmicks.

Not to be upstaged by the new kid on North Carrollton Avenue, Rouses Market had a brass brand – tuba, trombones, trumpet, snare drum — playing near the store’s entrance, a block party hosted by WWOZ and a Sunday Gospel Brunch. Continue reading »

Aug 052013

Owen Courreges

The NOPD was dealt yet another black eye earlier this year when an investigation from the Inspector General’s Office revealed that off-duty officers were lining their pockets reviewing red-light camera tickets.  Former 8th District Commander Edwin Hosli created a private company, Anytime Solutions, to manage the detail, where off-duty officers were paid $35 per hour to review camera evidence provided by another private company, American Traffic Solutions.

Hosli, a close friend of Chief Ronal Serpas, also made sure to provide the obligatory patronage that feeds on New Orleans like a malignant tumor.  Anytime Solutions paid Serpas’s driver and his son-in-law, Travis Ward, who himself was previously suspended from duty after failing multiple breathalyzer tests when he totaled his NOPD cruiser back in 2009 (not exactly the type of person you want nit-picking other peoples’ driving habits). Continue reading »

Aug 022013

Craig Giesecke

While we’re still packing boxes, spinning off furniture and generally preparing for our move, I’ve had to take time out to schedule one final Big Event while we’re still in New Orleans. While others get involved in White Linen Night or the Red Dress Run, I’m gearing up for the Louisiana Restaurant Association Expo at the Convention Center this weekend.

I love food shows, but the LRA Expo is more than just your average feed-me-for-free event. It’s part reunion, part discovery expedition and all playground for those of us in the food biz. It’s not just a gathering of folks from around Louisiana or the Gulf South, but also from around the country. Though each year brings some different offerings, we can always depend on tremendous hospitality from Wendy Waren and the entire LRA crew. Continue reading »

Aug 012013

A rendering of a proposed floodplain park around the Monticello Canal in Hollygrove, similar to those proposed for other canals around the city in a new water-management strategy for New Orleans.

Rainfall should be diverted out of Uptown via the Mississippi River instead of carrying it all the way to Lake Pontchartrain, and major drainage ditches like the Monticello Canal should be expanded into interior floodplains and water-storage features, according to two recommendations that illustrate how New Orleans should be better managing its water instead of just pumping it away.

The Water Management Strategy presented by architect David Waggonner to a standing-room only crowd Thursday evening at Xavier University is a regional plan for making more efficient use of rainfall, slowing it down and storing it in natural canals to reduce the sinking of the land that contributes to flooding. The recommendations in the Uptown area are only a small part of the plan, but they illustrate some of its key elements and some of its challenges.

“We’re proposing this is a new era for water management,” Waggonner said. “It’s not just about flood protection any more. It’s really about quality and sustainability.” Continue reading »

Aug 012013

The Lyons Center pool is empty on Wednesday afternoon after all outdoor pools in the city closed Monday, July 29. (Robert Morris,

Less than two months after Mayor Mitch Landrieu celebrated its reopening with a jubilant splash, the pool at the Lyons Center is now closed for the summer, along with all the other outdoor pools in the city.

Closing the pools at the end of July was budgetary decision based on the return to school in August, but residents and some officials say another week or two would have been appropriate. Continue reading »

Aug 012013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We are among the many thousands who are remembering Lindy Boggs with love today, relishing the moments we spent with her and celebrating her remarkable life.

Although we were certainly not members of her inner circle, Lindy always treated us – and everyone else – as though we were.

Allan always thought there was a special feminine bond between Lindy and other women, especially those like Danae, who were driven by a great work ethic and a desire to get things done. For thousands of women of accomplishment, Lindy was the ultimate role model who got things done in Congress, at the Vatican and in her own private life. Danae loved to be in Lindy’s company. Allan thought they both glowed when they laughed together and swapped stories about their lives. Continue reading »

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