Sep 122012

LaToya Cantrell, right, answers a question while Eric Strachan and Dana Kaplan listen at Freret Neighbors United meeting on Tuesday evening. (Robert Morris,

What was initially billed as political “speed dating” — a chance to meet with individual candidates for the District B race one-on-one — grew into a full-blown debate at a Freret community meeting Thursday night, with three City Council hopefuls trading their ideas on blight, crime, education and other issues in the first such event of the race. Continue reading »

Sep 122012

In what police are describing as a possible over-reaction to recent robberies at the McDonald’s on South Claiborne, an employee there is wanted on an assault charge after he chased a would-be customer away from the store with a gun, authorities said.

“I understand that people at McDonald’s may be a little on-guard,” said Lt. Frank Young of the NOPD Sixth District investigative unit. “We tried very hard to see things through the eyes of the employee, but the facts just didn’t add up.” Continue reading »

Sep 122012

2505 Napoleon, in March and again in June.

Jean-Paul Villere

Seven years ago the Crescent City got tossed on its backside, the likes of which many believed just might be too much for the Big Easy to really rebound from; why would anyone reinvest in a little troubled city below sea level?  Logic and heritage debates aside, today the tone of recovery happens to be very much on the uptick, despite folding into it an oil- and dispersant-crippled Gulf as well as the dizzying highs and lows of our beloved sports teams.  Even a massive implosion of the lending market in the last four years did not shake the steadfast commitment to rebuild from newbies and returnees alike.  In short, not only are home values stable and improving, investors seeking a viable flip are doing so and how.  Case in point: 2505 Napoleon. Continue reading »

Sep 112012

The Knowledge Garden at 1700 Josephine Street had its license revoked by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services for “chronic failure to provide officials with criminal background checks on its employees,” according to a report by Jessica Williams of The Lens, but federal auditors have said that the nonprofit that owns it, Operation REACH, “can’t account for nearly $900,000 in grant funds,” Williams reported.

Sep 112012

The new Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans sign at the Patton Street campus.

Hurricane Isaac caused very little damage to the new Patton Street campus of Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans, and with school now back in session, parents and officials spent Monday night discussing how to work out some of the kinks at the fast-growing school.

“It’s been two weeks of school,” said board chair Jean Montes about running the new campus. “We’re very new at the process, but we’re happy with it.” Continue reading »

Sep 102012

A piece of plywood covers a hole in the cement at the corner of Freret and Jefferson. City officials are debating whether this “bumpout” installed during the streetscape project impedes traffic and should be removed, said leaders of The New Freret business association. (Robert Morris,

City officials remain unsatisfied with the quality of the work done to the sidewalks at corners along the Freret corridor, but they have yet to decide what exactly they will fix or how long the repairs will take. Continue reading »

Sep 102012

Owen Courreges

What follows is one big “I told you so.”

Last month, at the August 20th meeting of the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee, a proposal to demolish the mansion located at 4706 St. Charles Avenue was denied. The mansion, built in 1887, appears to be in sound condition and could easily be returned to commerce.

Typically, when a well-funded party wants to bulldoze a historic mansion on New Orleans’ signature avenue, they succeed. As I noted in my previous column, “How to Tear Down Anything in Three Simple Steps,” the key to destroying the fabric of this city’s history is getting the neighborhood association on your side. For those with money and influence, this should be a relatively simple task. Continue reading »

Sep 082012

Craig Giesecke

If your house is like ours, there are still a few items in your cupboard or maybe your fridge that appeared during our recent storm and now you’re looking at them and wondering, “Why?”

At one point, our Irish Channel house hosted seven adults and two little girls. Our friends arrived with bedding and toys, along with the usual we-might-need-extra items such as flashlights, ice, toilet paper, bottled water and batteries. Of course, there being seven adults, there was an adequate supply of alcoholic beverages. Or at least you think it’s adequate until the kids are asleep and everyone else is setting around with no power and nothing to do but drink. Continue reading »

Sep 082012

Broken windows and water leaks contributed to uncertainty last week as to when Lusher High School students could return after Hurricane Isaac, and even now that the immediate damage has been repaired, the experience reinforces the need for major upcoming renovations to the old Fortier building, school officials said Saturday morning.

“When we get a hard rain, water comes in,” said Lusher CEO Kathy Riedlinger at a Saturday morning meeting of the school’s governing board. Continue reading »

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Sep 072012

Christy Lorio (photo by Leslie Almeida)

“Expect the worst and you won’t be disappointed” was the most solid piece of advice my dad ever gave me. I find my dad’s words of wisdom oddly comforting in the most dire of situations, including the panic felt when dealing with named storms.

With Hurricane Isaac whipping through town, there was nary a household saved from the massive power outages. And while we were charging our phones in the car, checking our Twitter feeds, and complaining about Entergy not doing it’s job, I have to admit I chuckled a bit as to how spoiled we’ve become. Continue reading »

Sep 062012

The former yoga studio now slated to become a Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant on Oak Street, photographed in June. (Robert Morris,

Two new restaurants planned for opposite ends of Uptown — the Mellow Mushroom pizzeria on Oak Street, and Mais Arepas Colombian diner on Carondelet in Central City — both passed the City Council with flying colors Thursday morning, as council members lined up to express their enthusiasm for both projects. Continue reading »