Jun 192013

Walt Leger

State Rep. Walt Leger, whose District 91 runs in a band across Uptown from the Irish Channel to Hollygrove, intends to pursue a candidacy for Speaker of the state House of Representatives in 2016, he told Jeremy Alford, the capitol correspondent for Gambit. Although a Democrat in a Republican-dominated legislature, Leger says he will build on his reputation as a compromise broker, Alford reports.

Jun 192013

Jean-Paul Villere

“I want a safe neighborhood.”  On any given day I must hear this a good dozen times from newbies (and parents of newbies) moving to New Orleans, less so from those that are returning or looking for a change of scenery already calling the city home.  And the why is simple I think: if you’ve chosen to reside in the city proper then you likely engage on a level of “This ain’t Mayberry.”  Yes, it is a Southern space that affords the stereotypes therein where neighbors and strangers alike trade routine pleasantries, comments on the weather, and the not so stray parallel park assist, but that doesn’t translate to lowering your guard or not following your gut.

Everyone wants a safe neighborhood, but arguably crime happens all over; there isn’t a corner in the Crescent City any one can point to and say ‘Here!  It’s totally safe here in the Cemetery District.  Unlock your doors, and leave your bike unchained and smart phone unattended.”  Continue reading »

Jun 182013

Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Late last year, the Daiquiri Place Cafe on St. Charles Avenue lost its liquor license amid allegations that it had done too little to control the noise, litter and large crowds that congregated around it on weekends.

At the time, the Daiquiri Place owners argued unsuccessfully that Santa Fe Tapas next door was a major contributor to the problem. Now, attorneys for the city are making a similar complaint, bringing nuisance charges against Santa Fe Tapas before the city’s alcohol board. Continue reading »

Jun 182013

Four Uptown neighborhood groups — the Broadmoor Improvement Association, the Garden District Association, Maple Area Residents Inc. and St. Charles Avenue Association — are among 13 petitioning city officials to strengthen the city’s noise ordinance, arguing for measures such as designating a specific individual with enforcing it and measuring sound levels from venues’ property lines. Continue reading »

Jun 182013

Jeremy Wilcox, a New Orleans police officer who served most recently in the Uptown-based Second District, was removed from the force Tuesday based on a 2004 bad check for $2,505 discovered after a traffic stop last summer in which he was driving a truck without a license plate, authorities said. Continue reading »

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Jun 182013

With more Mardi Gras krewes moving to the St. Charles Avenue route, a series of proposals would return the celebration to its neighborhood routes by “bolstering an alternative major parade route in Mid-City, working with Jefferson and the other parishes to coordinate regional parade schedules, adjusting regulations to allow neighborhoods to hold much smaller Mardi Gras Krewe processions, and encouraging those neighborhoods to form ‘Krewes of their own’, something between marching clubs and small float processions,” according to a recent article by Christoper Tidmore for the Louisiana Weekly.

Jefferson Parish officials would be enthusiastic about having a night or two more focused on their parades, Tidmore writes, suggesting that they might help with some Orleans Parish parade-route enforcement on other nights in exchange, a potentially attractive option as the multi-million dollar bill for the federal NOPD consent decree looms.

The proposals may be timely, as City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell spends the year brainstorming potential changes to the city’s Mardi Gras ordinances.

Jun 182013

jewel bush

“When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.”  African proverb

Growing up, I loved summers and not just for the stereotypical reasons like no school or staying up late. The bookworm in me cherished the summertime because it meant enrolling in the summer reading program at the library.

I would go to the library once or twice a week to checkout new reading material. I don’t remember my top number of books read during the dog days or what I even read, though I vaguely recall one middle school summer checking out a hardback on voodoo that was later banned from the library system. Aside from having an affinity for literature, the incentives – bookmarks, gift certificates for personal pan-sized pies from Pizza Hut and coupons for Skate Country and Putt Putt Golf – didn’t hurt either.
Continue reading »

Jun 172013

Marshall Hevron (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Marshall Hevron, a local attorney and an organizer of the reborn Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Uptown New Orleans, has decided not to challenge Susan Guidry for the District A seat on the New Orleans City Council, he recently announced. Continue reading »

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Jun 172013

(image via projectnola.com)

In what may be the most ambitious plan to use security cameras to fight crime anywhere in the city, the Broadmoor Improvement Association has set a goal of installing 100 cameras around the neighborhood by the end of the year. Continue reading »

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Jun 172013

After an initial budget proposal that showed a $700,000 shortfall, the International School of Louisiana held a public hearing on a balanced $16 million budget that increases fundraising expectations but reduces spending on counseling services and recalculates employee benefits, according to a report by Emmanuel Felton of The Lens.

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Jun 172013

(image via NOPD)

Investigators have released a computer sketch of one man as well as descriptions of him and another man wanted in connection with Friday’s fatal shooting on Prytania Street in the Lower Garden District, authorities said. Continue reading »

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Jun 172013

Slightly more than two-thirds of students (68 percent) who attended the now-closed James Weldon Johnson Elementary School will transfer to nearby Benjamin Banneker next year, though Banneker’s School Performance Score of 74.7 is considered ‘failing’ just as Johnson’s 70.9 was, according to a report by Jessica Williams of The Lens. Most of the Johnson students who are headed to Banneker (more than 80 percent) were assigned there automatically because their families did not apply to send them elsewhere, the report also states.

Banneker’s score was slightly better in the 2011-2012 school year than Johnson’s, rising 7 points and only missing the 75 needed to earn a ‘D’ by 0.3 points, compared to Johnson’s 3.8 points of growth that year. Only 21 percent of Johnson students will be going to schools rated C or D, according to figures compiled by The Lens.

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Jun 172013

Owen Courreges

I’m beginning to think there’s a conspiracy to keep Uptowners out of the Marigny and Bywater.  At the very least, if certain plans materialize, there will be no decent arterial past the French Quarter.

Presently, if I want to drive to the Marigny and points further East, I usually take the Claiborne Expressway or South Rampart.  I could certainly go through the Quarter, but that’s generally a nightmare.  I could also go further north, but reaching a road north of the expressway would be a major detour.  The options are pretty well limited. Continue reading »

Jun 152013

The McDonogh 7 building, photographed in May. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Audubon Charter School families are facing a cruel déjà vu — suddenly having the promise of a new facility snatched away from them because of concerns about lead contamination, but it is a situation that has implications across the city of New Orleans. Continue reading »