Jan 212011

Kids of all ages have plenty to choose from this weekend. From the kids in diapers to those carrying them and everyone in between, the weekend’s calendar is stocked with activities. Tonight features regular weekly events at cafes across town, as well as a special comic book signing party on Freret Street. Tomorrow morning two different school boards — Audubon and Lusher — will meet on their respective campuses, and big kids and little kids alike can converge for a sock hop Saturday evening. See below for all the details of what’s going on Uptown.

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Jan 202011

The Uptowner, 438 Henry Clay Avenue (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

What could have been the final chapter in the years-long effort by the owners of the former Gabrielle restaurant to reopen in Uptown New Orleans was postponed Thursday amid a renewed attempt to find common ground with neighbors.

The owners of the Gabrielle, Greg and Mary Sonnier, need the city’s permission to convert the Uptowner on Henry Clay Avenue from its current status as a banquet hall into a full-time restaurant. The city’s planning commission unanimously recommended against the Gabrielle last month, leaving the full New Orleans City Council to affirm or reject that recommendation in a meeting set for Thursday morning.

The issue never came before the council Thursday, however, postponed without explanation until the council’s Feb. 3 meeting. After the meeting, Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s office explained that the delay is to allow the Sonniers another chance to reach a compromise with their surrounding neighborhoods. Continue reading »

Jan 202011

Latisa Lewis, mother of Errol Meeks, speaks at a vigil for her son at the shooting site on Freret near Dufossat Street. Meeks, 19, was fatally shot Monday night while exiting Friar Tuck's bar. "I really appreciate the love that you are showing my son right now. It makes me feel better to know that I wasn't the only one that loved him, my ma wasn't and that my immediate family wasn't the only one that loved him. I see he is loved by the community and he was a good baby. I know he is with the Lord right now and I am going to miss him dearly, because he was my first boy ," said Lewis, between tears. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

In the faces of a hundred mourners, the grief and regret looming over Freret Street was illuminated by candlelight Wednesday night before a small memorial, a bare tree guarded by a little white picket fence and hung with teddy bears, balloons, flowers and a photo of a slain teenager in his favorite red cap.

Inconsolable sadness, uncontrollable anger, caution, duty, dismay and respect were all on display in the crowd, reflecting the widening sphere of damage since the life of 19-year-old Errol Meeks ended in gunfire late Monday night. Continue reading »

Jan 192011

A view from above of the proposed expansion of Audubon Charter School's Broadway campus (all images courtesy of Jacobs/CSRS)

The Audubon Charter School community — parents, teachers and neighbors – got their first look Wednesday at what the Broadway campus will look like after expansion, even as officials continue to look for a temporary home for the Broadway students during the two-year construction project. Continue reading »

Jan 192011

William Baham (via NOPD)

Investigators released the name of a suspect Wednesday in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old on Freret Street, and said the same man may have been ambushed by others shortly after the shooting on Freret.

William Baham, 25, is wanted on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Errol Meeks, who was gunned down late Monday in front of Friar Tucks bar on Freret. Continue reading »

Jan 192011

An architect's rendering of the Pine Street view of the rear of the Audubon Charter School expansion.

Tonight the Audubon Charter School holds its next community meeting, to discuss the progress of its expansion and further long-range plans for the site. At last week’s RSD meeting, Audubon expressed its interest in the Allen Building campus on Loyola, the issue may arise again tonight. Elsewhere Uptown the NOPD Second District COMSTAT resumes its regular schedule, and the Sixth District holds its monthly NONPACC meeting.  Down St Charles, a special lecture by poet and activist Nikki Giovanni at Loyola, and a public conversation on US national security at the Latter Library. See below for details of everything happening over the next two days.

Correction: Tonight’s community meeting at Audubon Charter School is about the expansion of the Broadway campus, not about the Allen building.

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Jan 192011

A car struck a traffic light at the intersection of Nashville and St Charles early Tuesday morning, resulting in the destruction of both the vehicle and the traffic light.

Around 12:45 a.m. a car headed south through the intersection struck the riverside traffic light on Nashville Avenue, but no casualties were reported, said Officer Keith Villen of the NOPD. New Orleans firefighters extinguished the flames from the burning car within minutes of the incident.

The NOPD has advised residents traveling along St Charles to take extra precautions around this intersection until the repairs are complete.

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Jan 182011

Investigators have secured video images of a suspect in Monday night’s fatal shooting on Freret Street, and should have the suspect identified soon, the commander of the NOPD’s Uptown-based Second District told community members Tuesday evening.

The victim, 19-year-old Errol Meeks, apparently knew the person who gunned him down outside Friar Tuck’s bar shortly after 11 p.m. Monday, said Capt. Darryl Albert at the district’s monthly NONPACC meeting with community members.

“This case, I feel, will be solved with a name to go along with the face that we have very shortly,” Albert said. Continue reading »

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Jan 182011

A woman walks past Friar Tuck's bar Tuesday evening. The bar will not reopen after last night's shooting death of a patron in the street outside it, according to the owner owner Jason Blitch. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Friar Tuck’s bar will not reopen after last night’s shooting death of a patron in the street outside it, its owner said in an interview Tuesday.

“I cannot expect myself or any other employee to go to work when a gentlemen was shot and killed 15 feet in front of my establishment,” Friar Tucks owner Jason Blitch said, noting that the victim, identified by police Tuesday as 19-year-old Errol Meeks, was a friendly acquaintance of his and his employees. “This is not a memory or a view that any of these people should be having to deal with again. … I don’t think anyone should have to come there and relive what happened last night.”
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Jan 182011

NOPD officers get the robbery suspect out of a police car on Freret St. so he can be identified late Tuesday morning. He was positively identified by the victim and several witnesses that saw him running from police. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

A man who allegedly robbed a student at gunpoint Tuesday morning and fled on foot through the Freret neighborhood was arrested a short time later on Freret Street, but one of the officers involved in apprehending him was cut on the chin and will require stitches, police said. Continue reading »

Jan 182011

Police guard the scene of a fatal shooting on Freret and Dufossat St., while mourning onlookers stand by late Monday night. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

A young man was gunned down late Monday night outside a Freret Street bar open in spite of a previous city sanction closing it for the month of January, police and acquaintances said.

The victim, a 19-year-old whose name has not yet been released, was inside Friar Tuck’s bar around 11 p.m. Monday when he was “summoned outside,” left the building and began walking toward a car he had left parked across the street, said Capt. Darryl Albert, commander of the NOPD Second District.

“When he got to the car, shots rang out,” Albert said, adding that either three or four rounds were fired. Continue reading »

Jan 172011

In honor of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Archbishop Gregrory Aymond and other leaders and members of the community gathered for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. day parade Monday morning. The parade started at City Hall and ended at the Martin Luther King monument at S. Claiborne Avenue.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Archbishop Gregrory Aymond and other community members march in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. day parade Monday morning. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

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Jan 172011

Comparatively less on the calendar as area businesses, organizations, and public offices observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day today. The Mayor’s Office is hosting a variety of commemorative events: a march from City Hall to the MLK monument on South Claiborne Avenue, and later today, a service project and an art exhibition opening. Tomorrow night, however, the Orleans Parish School Board will meet (check back here for details on time and location), followed by the NOPD Second District NONPACC. We hope all readers have a safe and happy holiday.

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Jan 172011

Rico Newman, wanted on a murder charge in a Jan. 2 shooting death

Collaboration between police and the residents of the River Garden apartments – site of the former St. Thomas public housing development – has led to the arrest of six people investigators say were responsible for a majority of recent gun violence there.

The 1800 block of St. Thomas Street, where a lone cluster of 1930s-era brick public-housing buildings remains amid blocks of pastel-colored redeveloped apartments, had seen an escalating wave of crime and gun violence over the last few weeks, noted officials in the NOPD Sixth District, which serves the Irish Channel, Garden District and Central City. Break-ins had given way to shoot-outs, leading to a fatal Jan. 2 shooting that investigators say may have been a tragic case of mistaken identity. Continue reading »