Jun 212012

Diana Bajoie, appointed earlier this month by Mayor Mitch Landrieu to represent Uptown-based District B on the City Council until a replacement can be elected in the fall, may have been one of the local politicians who “steered public money to sham charities run by members of then-U.S. Rep. William Jefferson’s family,” based on testimony by a government witness in last year’s trial of Renee Gill Pratt, reports Michelle Krupa of The Times Picayune. Bajoie has never been charged with any crime and denied “any wrongdoing,” but declined to answer specific questions about the case, Krupa reports, and a spokesman for Landrieu said Bajoie was chosen based on her record and instead questioned her service on a charity run by the Times-Picayune.

Jun 212012

Edward Augustine (via NOPD)

Edward Augustine, 23, was convicted of manslaughter, possession with intent to distribute heroin and unauthorized use of a vehicle in the crash that killed Mariah Woods as she sat in a car in front of her Milan home the night of Jan. 7, 2011, according to reporting by John Simerman of The Times Picayune. Prosecutors are seeking to increase Augustine’s 40-year sentence to as much as 100 years under the state’s multiple-offender law, Simerman reports.

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Jun 202012

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Judge Jules Edwards III and a host of social-justice activists will convene tonight for a panel discussion with Times-Picayune reporter Cindy Chang about her eight-part series, “Louisiana Incarcerated.” Continue reading »

Jun 202012

Jean-Paul Villere

The more open houses I facilitate, the more the actions of those attending never cease to keep me engaged or otherwise surprised.  Or as a colleague once put it, “I don’t sell real estate; I study human behavior.”  Indeed.  So as the summer days bake our bones, let us examine what’s kosher and what’s not when visiting an open home. Continue reading »

Jun 192012

T.J Quills

The new owner of TJ Quills hopes to change the image of the Maple Street college bar by ending underage drinking there, and was given a month to make contact with a neighborhood group and begin paying toward nightly security patrols, based on a decision by city officials Tuesday afternoon. Continue reading »

Jun 192012

The former yoga studio now slated to become a Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant on Oak Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As Oak Street’s status among New Orleans “going out” destinations continues to rise, a number of residents’ groups have engaged a planning firm to help them ensure that the “mixed use” commercial corridor evolves into something more diverse than a strip of bars and restaurants. Continue reading »

Jun 192012

Lycee Francais' new St. Francis of Assisi campus on State Street. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans appears to have made a substantial effort to advertise their addition of a second grade next year to low-income and at-risk communities, state education officials said Monday in Baton Rouge. Continue reading »

Jun 182012

A map of game-day restricted access zones (via tulanestadium.com)

Tulane University described its plans Monday night to shuttle football fans to its proposed Uptown stadium from parking lots around the city, but nearby residents continue to question how they will access their own homes on game days. Continue reading »

Jun 182012

Owen Courreges

New Orleans has certainly received some good press in recent months regarding our business climate. A recent survey by Thumbtacks and the Kauffman Foundation ranked Louisiana one of the top five friendliest states for small business. The Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch named Greater New Orleans the “most improved” in its 2011 “Best Cities for Business” list. Forbes Magazine named Greater New Orleans “America’s Biggest Brain Magnet.”

In a nutshell, New Orleans is riding high in the saddle when it comes to economic PR. We’re gradually escaping the popular perception of New Orleans as insular, bureaucratic and corrupt. Continue reading »

Jun 172012

A rendering of the proposed football stadium on Tulane's Uptown campus. (via TulaneStadium.com)

Over the past week or so, the prospects for Tulane’s proposed Uptown stadium appear to have improved considerably.

A measure that would have required the university to receive the city’s approval for the project (known as an interim zoning district, or IZD) received a negative recommendation from the City Planning Commission, whose members said Tulane should only be held to current law, which allows construction of the stadium by right. Even if the City Council passes the IZD anyway, it is unclear whether its proponents could then muster five votes to overrule a veto by Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

(Tulane will hold its second community forum on the stadium, concerning traffic and parking issues, at 6 p.m. Monday at the Audubon Tea Room, 6500 Magazine Street.)

What do you think? Is Tulane within its rights to build a football stadium on campus? Or is the stadium too big for the residential Uptown neighborhoods altogether?

Jun 162012

Craig Giesecke

I was (again) saddened over the past week as more details spilled out about the changes at the Times-Picayune, including the decision to lay off well-known restaurant critic and food writer Brett Anderson. I don’t pretend to understand the thinking that went into this decision, if there was any, but we’d be a poorer city if he goes.

Turns out, now they say he can have his job back after he finishes his fellowship at Haaah-vahd. Anderson apparently hasn’t yet decided. I’m not in his shoes, so I don’t know which two-word combination I’d use to inform higher-ups of my decision. Continue reading »

Jun 152012

This weekend’s two-day “Juneteenth” celebration in Annunciation Square — held to commemorate the emancipation of the slaves 150 years ago — will feature an emphasis on fitness to dovetail with national efforts to fight obesity, organizers said.

Music for the free event will feature a variety of styles from jazz and soul to bounce, with Mardi Gras Indians and DJs, and food and craft vendors all over the park. But the theme of the day will be “Get Fit, Stay Free,” with a number of games and activities designed to get children moving, said Sheila Matute, an educator and organizer of the event. Continue reading »

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