Jul 292013

The Uptown housing market, including the Garden District and Carrollton, had 132 homes listed in June, which would take about two months to be sold at the current sales pace, a seven-year low creating an extremely strong seller’s market, according to a report by Katherine Sayre of The Times-Picayune. A market is considered balanced when its supply of homes should take six months to sell at the current pace, and during the housing crisis of 2008 and 2009 the supply was between 10 months and two years, Sayre explains.

“In 2012, the average price-per-square-foot for all of the New Orleans metro area was $106. In the Uptown area, the average was more than $200,” Sayre writes. “But last week, several listings in the area were priced between $240 and more than $300 per square foot.”

Two homes on the market driving up that price-per-square foot include the “wildly artistic,” “Frank Lloyd Wright meets tiki magic” two-bedroom, two-bath home on Chestnut listed at $599,999 and the three-bedroom, three-bath home of John Goodman and Melissa Leo’s characters on Treme at 223 Lowerline, now listed at $989,000 (after selling for $170,000 in 1998) — both recently featured by Sarah Chase on the real-estate blog Curbed NOLA.

Jul 292013

Amici Ristorante and McClure’s Barbecue have opened on Magazine Street, and Noodle & Pie is expected to join them this week, according to recent reports. Meanwhile, the legal battle over the Camellia Grill is now focused on the new owner’s application to become a historic landmark. Continue reading »

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Jul 292013

Gray segments are complete; yellow are in the construction phase, and red remain in design. (map via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Illustration of new Jefferson Avenue drainage canal. (via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $52 million, 50-month contract for installation of a new drainage canal on the upper section of Jefferson Avenue, from Dryades Street to South Claiborne Avenue, officials announced. Continue reading »

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Jul 292013

(Cartoon by Owen Courreges for UptownMessenger.com)

Owen Courreges

Detroit has gone bust, announcing that it will seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. The Rust Belt icon of corruption, waste, and decay finally made the difficult decision to cut its losses.

In light of our own sordid history of corruption, waste, and decay, New Orleanians are understandably touchy about this development.  First Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin recently penned an opinion piece for the Times-Picayune entitled “Detroit went bust, not New Orleans” which was ostensibly intended to reassure us that the Big Easy isn’t heading down the same road as the Motor City.

Personally, I did not find this very reassuring in concept alone.  It’s vaguely unsettling that the moment a major American city goes belly-up , a major New Orleans official feels compelled to come out and say: “Don’t worry! We aren’t next!”  It’s disconcerting because Kopplin senses that we have grounds to be worried. Continue reading »

Jul 292013

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

The project to repave Freret Street, Nashville Avenue and Fontainebleau Drive — scheduled to begin in August — will be the subject of an informational meeting Tuesday evening in the student center at Tulane University, officials announced. Continue reading »

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Jul 292013

Tara Cox feeds chickens and roosters in her St. Roch backyard. (Marta Jewson, MidCityMessenger.com)

Roosters — such as the one that awakens Rob Schafer every morning on Carondelet Street — are now illegal to keep in the New Orleans city limits under a new law passed earlier this year, reports Marta Jewson of our sister site at MidCityMessenger.com.

Jul 272013

White Toyota Camry sought in connection with the death of Officer Rodney Thomas. (via NOPD)

Surveillance image of person of interest in the death of Officer Rodney Thomas (via NOPD)

Investigators are looking for a white Toyota Camry and its driver, who is believed to have information about the hit-and-run death of a beloved officer from the New Orleans Police Department’s Second District, authorities said. Continue reading »

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Jul 272013

Sophie B. Wright Charter School is looking for places for its sports teams to practice after the New Orleans Recreation Department Commission demanded $3,000 for the school to use Harrell Park. Meanwhile, construction has halted on the new gym at Eleanor McMain Secondary School amid a conflict over minority participation in the contract, and ENCORE Academy is enrolling more students than it originally expected, according to recent reports about Uptown schools. Continue reading »

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Jul 262013

Two storefronts in the 4700 block of Freret are under renovation for the Humble Bagel deli and Full Blossom Chic consignment shop. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A bagel shop and deli with house-made cheese and consignment boutique for plus-sized women plan to open side-by-side in two vacant storefronts in the center of the Freret corridor. Continue reading »

Jul 262013

Craig Giesecke

I’m writing this column while sitting in our front room, which looks like the love child of Chaos and Literacy. It is a complete mess of books, boxes, various packing materials, ladder, some no-longer-hanging artwork, disheveled furniture and other stuff. In other words, we have a sidewalk sale coming this Saturday as we continue clearing out the house ahead of the move.

This isn’t your normal, rent-a-trailer move. This is a begin-again, let it all go, roll with what you can fit in one minivan, complete disengagement. We arrived in New Orleans the same way nine years ago, and I’m amazed at how much we’ve collected. Anyone is, if they’re stayed in one spot more than a year or so. We have two cats, so we have to reserve space for them. There are a few electronic items and some valued personal possessions and we’ve done some severe reduction of our wardrobes. Only one small piece of furniture will make the trip. Add in a bin of paperwork and we’re pretty much full.

I thought the hardest part would be deciding which books to take, since we have many and I have a thing for real books over a Nook or similar device. But now, looking at the kitchen, it appears to toughest decisions are still to come. Continue reading »

Jul 252013

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

A hearing on the request to allow alcohol to be served at Jimmy’s Music Club — the key to reopening of the popular venue — was postponed by two weeks by the City Council, but neighbors and officials say an agreement over issues associated with the club is “very close,” perhaps just days away. Continue reading »

Jul 252013

Ten armed robberies between July 7 and July 18. Not shown: a home-invasion case on Magazine Street during that time. (map via NOPD)

With few new witnesses or leads coming forward in a rash of 11 robberies around the Garden District and Lower Garden District this month, investigators are hoping that DNA analysis of physical evidence they have collected in the scene will lead to arrests in some of the cases in the weeks to come. Continue reading »

Jul 252013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Nothing in New Orleans is ever simple. For example, consider Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s plan to move our obsolete City Hall over to vacant Charity Hospital.

Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris says that’s a fine idea for city government but it doesn’t work for the Civil Courts who have their own plans and money to refit the former state office building site in Duncan Plaza. “We won’t be moving to Charity Hospital,” says Judge Bagneris. Evidently many other CDC judges agree. Continue reading »