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 »

Jan 152011

[Editor’s note: The following letter was written by Garden District resident Owen M. Courrèges.]

In reference to your article of January 8th, “Six alarm fire consumes historic lower garden district church, nearby building:”

I am concerned that your article allowed Rev. Moses S. Gordon and his flock to paint themselves in a sympathetic light, claiming that they are truly saddened by the loss of the church and the historic townhouse next door, also owned by Rev. Gordon. For example, you quote church member Joseph Byrd as saying “[i]t’s a great loss, the loss of the memories, and the historic building too.” Rev. Gordon himself is quoted as saying “We went through Katrina; we’ll get through this.” Continue reading »

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Jan 152011

Brother Walter Umrani, from Muhammad Mosque 46, sings while holding a wreath for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Saturday morning. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Celebrations of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day began a few days early this year, with a march through Central City on Saturday morning.

The march, honoring the 25th anniversary of the holiday, began at AL Davis Park at Washington and LaSalle, paused at the Martin Luther King memorial sculpture on MLK Boulevard, then proceeded back up the boulevard to the Martin Luther King monument on Claiborne Avenue where a wreath-laying ceremony took place.

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Jan 152011

Candles, memories, music and dance marked a vigil for Mariah Woods at Xavier University Preparatory Friday night. Woods was home from Northwestern State University for the holidays when a suspect in a drug case fleeing from police caused a crash at the intersection of Freret and Milan streets that killed her.

Mariah Woods' high school graduation photo sits next to candles lit at a vigil for her at Xavier University Preparatory Friday night. Woods graduated last year from the school. She was very dedicated to journalism and education and aspired to become a journalist, according to Principal Carolyn Oubre. Students at the school got together and raised money for the Mariah Woods Book Scholarship that will be given out at the end of the year awards ceremony and recognized at graduation. The students have already raised $308.12 towards the scholarship fund. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

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Jan 142011

With the weather projected to stay cold and crisp throughout the weekend, some may be tempted to stay indoors and throw another log onto the fire. But for those willing to brave the elements and hop on the streetcar instead, the range of events taking place — exhibition openings, film screenings, book signings, plays, and concerts — will be ample reward for their efforts. See below for details of what’s going on Uptown (and don’t forget to dress in extra layers).

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Jan 132011

The former Allen School building on Loyola Avenue is being sought by three different charters schools: Lusher, Audubon and the New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School, its current occupant. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Most of the hundreds of attendees who turned out for a meeting on the future of Uptown school buildings wanted one of four things: renovations for Sophie B. Wright Charter School, a permanent commitment for Samuel J. Green Charter School, the reopening of the Mary Church Terrell campus in Gert Town or a new school in the Hoffman Triangle.

The former Allen School building on Loyola Avenue, meanwhile, is being sought by three different charter schools: Lusher, Audubon and the New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School, its current occupant. Continue reading »

Jan 122011

Walter Brooks, New Orleans Regional Planning Commission Executive Director, Robert Mendoza, New Orleans Public Works Director, Walt Leger III, State Representative, Roy J. Quezaire, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Legislative Liaison, Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant and State Representative Neil Abramson on 8th and Magazine St. at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Magazine Street Project Wednesday morning. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The resurfacing and repair project that will span most of Magazine Street this year got its official start Wednesday morning at a groundbreaking ceremony in front of Cafe Rani attended by a host of city and state officials.

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Jan 122011

Teacher Elena Countiss helps Austyn Millet, 8, and Aidan Sierra, 8, in a 2nd grade Spanish immersion classroom at the The International School of Louisiana Wednesday afternoon. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The International School of Louisiana is in negotiations to move into the former site of a Catholic school in Algiers Point for its new West Bank location, school officials said.

School officials have already met with the Archdiocese of New Orleans several times about the Holy Name of Mary School on Olivier Street, and the two entities are now attempting to determine if the building can be rented for a price within the charter school’s budget, said Sean Wilson, head of school. The hope is to have an agreement by the middle of the month, officials said.

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Jan 122011

Matt McPayne (front) Sarah Amering, Naomi Jones and Jeff Amering pick up trash in Hollygrove at Fight the Blight Volunteer Day in December. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Public meetings — about schools, blight, crime, and neighborhoods — dominate the Uptown calendar for the next two days. The second RSD meeting takes place tonight at Andrew Wilson School, and tomorrow sees the fourth city Blightstat meeting as well as the Second (moved from Wednesday) and Sixth District COMSTAT meetings. Tomorrow both Carrollton-Riverbend and the Irish Channel neighborhood associations have their monthly meetings; for further details about these and other events going on, see below.

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Jan 122011

A blighted home that Freret-area neighbors have been dealing with for years has drawn the attention of local TV station WGNO, who covered a Tuesday-evening meeting about the house attended by both City Councilwoman Stacy Head and the property owner.

Head minced no words about the need to deal with the house, which has had a gaping hole in its side for years:


The same ABC26 reporter, Darian Trotter, examined the property more closely in a report last week.

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Jan 112011

An Uptown Pilates studio has been allowed to resume construction on its controversial new Magazine Street building even as it continues negotiating with the city over its final design and parking requirements.

A packed meeting of the Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association attended by city officials and representatives of Romney Pilates led residents upset about the studio’s impact on the neighborhood to conclude that there is little they can do other than strive for better notification about similar projects in the future. Continue reading »

Jan 102011

The weather may have turned, as have the Saints’ fortunes in the NFL playoffs, but around Uptown a semblance of normalcy has returned. Weekly meetings continue as normal or, in the case of the New Orleans Toastmasters Club, have resumed after holiday breaks. Tomorrow afternoon, the City Planning Commission will meet to review an ordinance to permit the expansion of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School — those interested should arrive early in case prior business is dealt with swiftly. See below for what else is happening Uptown.

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