Jan 082011

Fire consumes a church in the Lower Garden District Friday night. (Submitted Photo)

This article has been revised to reflect the following additions, as of Saturday afternoon: the time the fire was extinguished, the time of demolition, and the public safety notices.

A six-alarm fire consumed an historic church and an adjacent building at the intersection of Prytania Street and Josephine late Friday night, leading to power outages and street closures in the area. Continue reading »

Jan 072011

A fire has broken out on an abandoned church at the corner of Josephine and Prytania, WWL-TV is reporting. The origin of the blaze is unclear, and the NOFD is working to contain the blaze. More information will be made public as it becomes available.

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Jan 072011

After the merriment of Twelfth Night, those who are looking to cool their heels in advance of the long Carnival season ahead have much to choose from this weekend. Relax with a variety of events, from films and books (and books about films) to art galleries opening and closing. And, of course, the Saints. See below for a taste of what’s happening Uptown; note that Saturday’s Freret Market has been canceled to avoid conflicts with the game. Note also that the silent auction for Melissa Martinez will not take place Uptown, but will be held at the Hi-Ho Lounge on St. Claude.

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Jan 062011

A car crashed through the side of a house on Cadiz and S. Claiborne Thursday night. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

A car plowed through two walls of a home near the intersection of Cadiz and Claiborne around 9:30 p.m. Thursday, sending the driver to the hospital but without injuring anyone else, witnesses said. Continue reading »

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Jan 062011

Rebecca Snook shows a photo on her phone of her and her daughter Melissa Martinez, 17, on Christmas in their Irish Channel home. Martinez perished in a fire two days later. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

With nighttime lows well beneath freezing last February, not too many people thought camping overnight in the St. Charles Avenue neutral ground was a great idea.

Melissa Martinez, at right, camps out on St. Charles Avenue during Mardi Gras. (Submitted photo)

Kara Morgan, president of the Irish Channel Neighborhood Association, thought it was perfect. For Mardi Gras immediately after Saints’ triumphant first-ever Super Bowl victory, quarterback Drew Brees was riding in Bacchus, and Morgan needed to secure a conspicuous place on the route so he would see her life-size photo of him from his float.

But Morgan also needed fellow campers, and when most of her friends her age told her she was crazy, she turned to a dear friend and neighbor’s teenage daughter, Melissa Martinez, who “thought it was the coolest idea ever,” Morgan recalled. Along with Morgan’s niece and another neighbor, Martinez brought her boyfriend, and the five froze through the night together, huddling on top of tarps and around grills and space heaters in a makeshift camp near Seventh Street.

At 3 a.m., Martinez cooked burgers for everyone. At some point, a elderly Corgi wandered up lost, and the girls adopted him until his owner, a doctor who lived nearby, came and found him. By the time of the parade the next day, Martinez was so exhausted that she was home sleeping and missed it altogether.

This cardboard cutout of Drew Brees inspired a St. Charles Avenue campout for Melissa Martinez and Kara Morgan during Mardi Gras 2009. (Submitted photo)

The entire point of that night for Martinez had simply been the experience and the camaraderie, Morgan now recalls, trying to understand how the beloved 17-year-old Irish Channel resident ended up among eight young people killed in a tragic 9th Ward warehouse fire two days after Christmas and labeled an outsider by the city she loved.

“I really just think she was there because she loved the outdoors, loved roughing it, and I really think that would explain a lot of why she would be in the building that night,” Morgan said. “To her, that would be something fun to do.” Continue reading »

Jan 052011

Neighborhood meetings and preparations for Mardi Gras dominate the calendar for the next two days. The Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association will meet at 6.45pm at Laurel Street Bakery, 5433 Laurel Street. The Association and several others around it have been concerned about the construction of a large Pilates studio on Magazine Street, and the issue is likely to come up at tonight’s meeting. See below for what else is happening today and tomorrow.

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Jan 042011

A lack of specifics on the proposed reuse of the shuttered Priestley school campus frustrated two Carrollton area activists at a Tuesday evening meeting about the future of New Orleans school buildings in the Recovery School District.

“It’s a spectacular piece of property, and the amount of imagination that’s been directed toward what ought to be done with the property has been zilch,” Robbie Robertson, who lives a few blocks from the old school, said after the meeting. Continue reading »

Jan 032011

Uptown residents in the Audubon and Carrollton neighborhoods can hear Tuesday night the long-range plans for nearby school campuses, when the Recovery School District holds a public hearing on its facility plan for residents of City Council District A.

The meeting will be tomorrow at 6pm at Langston Hughes School, 3919 Trafalgar Street. A similar meeting will be held for District B residents next week, January 12, at 6pm at Andrew Wilson School, 3617 General Pershing Street.

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Jan 012011

Jayna Morgan and the Sazerac Sunrise Jazz Band perform at the New Orleans Dance Renaissance Masquerade Ball New Years Eve night. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The threat of vicious weather did little to deter Uptown New Orleans from celebrating New Year’s Eve in high style, from the avante-garde “Last Masquerade Ball” at the Eiffel Society, to the retro-themed “Dance Renaissance Masquerade Ball” at Vintage Uptown or classic Big Easy sound of the Soul Rebels Brass Band at Le Bon Temps Roule.

Aerial dancer Niki Frisky drops from the ceiling with a ball at midnight at the Last Masquerade Ball at Eiffel Society New Year's Eve night. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The Soul Rebels Brass Band perform at Le Bon Temps Roule New Years Eve night. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

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