Sep 252013
 

Jean-Paul Villere

As I wrestled over what I might pen this week I read over the transcript from yesterday’s CPC meeting regarding the rezoning request of 4877 Laurel so that it might become realized as a coffeehouse.  And when I read the ridiculous decision crafted by the commission, my inner green apron got ruffled.  That the CPC voted against a rezoning by 6 to 1 and with very little if any support from attendees on the matter, frankly baffles me.  But then we are talking about a government entity in the City of New Orleans; maybe I shouldn’t be surprised?  Le sigh. Continue reading »

Sep 242013
 

New Orleans health commissioner Karen DeSalvo, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry and Sterling Farms co-founder Troy Henry are introduced during a forum at the Prytania Theatre on Tuesday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans health commissioner Karen DeSalvo, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry and Sterling Farms co-founder Troy Henry are introduced during a forum at the Prytania Theatre on Tuesday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Major proposed cuts to the federal food-stamp programs could be devastating to a cycle of hunger and poverty that already exists in America, even while New Orleans is making strides in the right direction against those trends, a trio of panelists agreed Tuesday evening.

“We are represented by a Republican and a Democrat, and both of them need a call this week about this vote,” said MSNBC host and Tulane professor Melissa Harris-Perry. Continue reading »

Sep 242013
 
Sylvi Beaumont, owner of the proposed "Engine 37" coffee house in the former Laurel Street fire station, points to a photo of the building as she addresses the City Planning Commission on Tuesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Sylvi Beaumont, owner of the proposed “Engine 37″ coffee house in the former Laurel Street fire station, points to a photo of the building as she addresses the City Planning Commission on Tuesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A technicality in the city zoning code became a stumbling block for a coffee shop proposed for the former Laurel Street firehouse next to Wisner Park on Tuesday, but planning commissioners said they were opposing the project reluctantly as they passed the issue to the City Council for a final decision. Continue reading »

Sep 242013
 

jewel bush

The city’s only indie, black-owned bookstore, Community Book Center is turning the big 3-0.

Over the last three decades, the operation that Vera Warren-Williams launched in her parents’ Lower Ninth Ward home has blossomed into a black literary hub hosting publishing world heavyweights such as Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, Dr. John Henrik Clark and Nikki Giovanni while serving as a home base to local authors like Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Brenda Marie Osbey, Tom Dent as well as father-and-daughter writer pair: Kalamu ya Salaam and Kiini Salaam among others. Continue reading »

Sep 242013
 
Production crews transform Cure into a closed set for a movie filming on Saturday, Sept. 21, the second shoot in two weeks. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Production crews transform Cure into a closed set for a movie filming on Saturday, Sept. 21, the second shoot in two weeks. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A promotional image for "American Horror Story: Coven" which is set and filmed in New Orleans. (via Facebook.com/americanhorrorstory)

A promotional image for “American Horror Story: Coven” which is set and filmed in New Orleans. (via Facebook.com/americanhorrorstory)

Early last week, long white trailers with doors dramatically labeled “Fiona” and “Cordelia” slowly rolled up Freret Street, coming to a rest near the celebrated cocktail bar Cure.

Fiona and Cordelia, as the entertainment world was just discovering, are the names of Jessica Lange’s and Sarah Paulson’s characters in the upcoming third season of the notoriously macabre FX television series American Horror Story. Once again, Hollywood had returned to Freret Street. Continue reading »

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Sep 242013
 

The John A. Shaw Elementary School building in the St. Roch neighborhood. (via latterblum.com)

The John A. Shaw Elementary School building in the St. Roch neighborhood. (via latterblum.com)

The ENCORE Academy board will discuss their plan to move the charter school to the site of the former John A. Shaw Elementary School building in St. Roch in a meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Sept. 24) in room 2203 of the Crocker building at 2301 Marengo Street. The meeting is open to the public.

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Sep 232013
 

0923screening

Second Harvest Food Bank, which helps feed a quarter of a million South Louisiana residents each year, is hosting a free screening Tuesday evening at the Prytania Theatre of “A Place at the Table,” a documentary about the struggles of Americans on food stamps. MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, New Orleans Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo and Troy Henry of Sterling Farms will participate in a panel discussion after the event. Continue reading »

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Sep 232013
 

Owen Courreges

This past Saturday, the new Costco Wholesale Store opened its doors in Carrollton.  The membership-only bulk retailer is a plum acquisition for New Orleans,  revitalizing an empty commercial lot and capturing more retail commerce within the city.  It also stands as a comfortable monument to domestic consumerism, where you can buy a gallon tub of mayonnaise because, gosh darn it, we’re Americans.

Although this opening is undoubtedly a blessing, Costco has become something of a political truncheon in recent years.  You see, Costco has situated itself as the poster child for high retail wages, placing other national retailers, particularly Walmart, on the defensive. Continue reading »

Sep 232013
 

Struggling With Your Mortgage Payment?Are you worried about making loan payments on your house? Have you fallen behind, and are struggling to get back on track? Or are you preparing to buy, but unsure how you’ll finance every penny of your new home? Neighborhood Housing Services New Orleans announces its new, federally-sponsored Making Home Affordable loan program for homeowners just like you. Secure, confidential, and comprehensive: click below for more details!

Continue reading »

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Sep 212013
 

Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell rides in the Krewe of Zulu on Mardi Gras day, 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell rides in the Krewe of Zulu on Mardi Gras day, 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Sabree Hill)

The changes to the laws surrounding Mardi Gras parades that some New Orleans residents have sought for years may soon become a reality, as City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell prepares to release a sweeping set of recommendations based on months of input from neighbors. Continue reading »

Sep 212013
 

Six years ago, Audubon Charter School launched one of the most unique and ambitious preschool programs in the city of New Orleans: it would welcome 100 3- and 4-year-old children, regardless of parents’ ability to pay and in spite of very limited state funding for them.

Now, school officials credit that program as a key element of its soaring test scores. But with the preschool running a significant deficit and no new funding for preschool in sight, school leaders are openly wondering how to continue those programs. Continue reading »

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Sep 202013
 

Costco cofounder Jeff Brotman (left), Costco New Orleans employee Henry Lagarde and Mayor Mitch Landrieu laugh together during the Costco grand opening ceremonies. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Costco cofounder Jeff Brotman, Costco New Orleans employee Henry Lagarde and Mayor Mitch Landrieu laugh together during the Costco grand opening ceremonies. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A row of cakes, cookies and desserts stretched down Costco's center aisle. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A row of cakes, cookies and desserts stretched down Costco’s center aisle. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Maybe it was the spirit of economic rebirth, maybe it was New Orleanians’ natural talent for celebrating, or maybe it was the enticing prospect of free samples, but the grand opening ceremony for Costco’s warehouse store on Carrollton Avenue drew a crowd of hundreds that company executives said surprised them.

For their 650 other stores around the country, they mostly just opened the doors and people started shopping, the executives said.

“We’ve never been treated like this before,” Costco cofounder Jeff Brotman said. “You guys know how to throw a party.” Continue reading »

Sep 202013
 

Gamaliel Patterson (via opcso.org)

Gamaliel Patterson (via opcso.org)

Tracy Skipper (via opcso.org)

Tracy Skipper (via opcso.org)

After two separate incidents in which suspects were caught on surveillance cameras — a rash of car burglaries around Amelia Street and a series of shopliftings at the American Apparel on Magazine Street — investigators have identified and charged suspects in both, New Orleans police said. Continue reading »

Sep 202013
 

The state Department of Transportation and Development’s attempt to auction off the closed Jackson Avenue ferry landing for $1.65 million ended with no bidders Thursday, according to a report from Baton Rouge in The Times-Picayune. The state “will now have to consider its other options for selling the property, including bringing it back up for sale at a later date,” the article states.

Neighbors of the property had mixed feelings about its potential sale, with some suggesting that public coffers could benefit from the money, and others expressing hope that it could be included in a broader redevelopment of the riverfront, according to a report by Tania Dall and our partners at WWL-TV on Wednesday evening prior to the sale.

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Sep 202013
 

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

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

Attorneys for the city of New Orleans and the owners of Santa Fe Tapas have reached the “1-yard line” in their negotations over new operating conditions governing the restaurant’s alcohol license, with the issue of security guards the last item that needs to be resolved, they said this week.

“We’re at the 1-yard line,” Halpern said. “We’re just one little piece apart, I think.” Continue reading »

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