Jun 242013
 

Telly Hankton (via opcso.org)

Attorneys for Telly Hankton, the accused Uptown drug lord convicted of murder in a 2008 shooting on South Claiborne, are seeking the names and locations of the witnesses against him in a 2009 killing on Terpsichore Street, according to a report by John Simerman of The Advocate. Hankton was indicted on federal racketeering charges, along with much of his family, and now faces the death penalty.

Curtis Matthews, brother of a witness in the 2008 murder case, was subsequently gunned down in 2011 in what officials described as an act of retaliation for the testimony committed by a close Hankton associate.

Jun 242013
 

Owen Courreges

“Music is one of the oldest forms of human expression. From Plato’s discourse in the Republic to the totalitarian state in our own times, rulers have known its capacity to appeal to the intellect and to the emotions,  and have censored musical compositions to serve the needs of the state . . . The Constitution prohibits any like attempts in our own legal order.  Music, as a form of expression and communication, is protected under the First Amendment.”

– Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781, 790 (1989).

“Noise can be regulated by regulating decibels. The hours and place of public discussion can be controlled.  But to allow the police to bar the use of loud-speakers because their use can be abused is like barring radio receivers because they too make a noise.  The police need not be given the power to deny a man the use of his radio in order to protect a neighbor against sleepless nights.  The same is true here. Any abuses which loud-speakers create can be controlled by narrowly drawn statutes.”

– Justice Douglas, writing for the majority, Saia v. New York, 334 U.S. 558, 561-2 (1948).

This past week a coalition of thirteen neighborhood groups of varying levels of legitimacy proposed a seven-point scheme for controlling excess “noise” in the City of New Orleans, particularly in the French Quarter.  They claim that their plans are eminently reasonable.  I’ll summarize their proposals.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether they are reasonable: Continue reading »

Jun 232013
 

The McDonogh 7 building on Milan Street. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

The students of the Crocker Arts and Technology charter school had one of the most harrowing journeys through the post-Katrina education landscape of any school in New Orleans, bouncing around four campuses in the city over five years before the school finally lost its charter this year among stagnant test scores.

Now, finally settled into their long-promised new building on Marengo Street with a new operator preparing for next year, Crocker parents are now faced with yet another worry — enough peeling lead paint has been discovered in the campus where Crocker kids spent the longest part of their odyssey to warrant an emergency remediation before the building can be used again. But with lead poisoning known to affect intelligence levels, the broader question of how many other students are at risk around the city remains unanswered. Continue reading »

Jun 222013
 

The Uptown Swingers will begin their second line at 1 p.m. Sunday at 4620 Loyola Avenue in the Freret neighborhood, then head up Valence Street to Magnolia, and from there through the Milan neighborhood through Broadmoor, the Hoffman Triangle, Central City and finish with a march down St. Charles Avenue, according to a route sheet published by Gambit.

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Jun 202013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It’s no secret that Allan and Danae represent the Orleans Parish School Board and therefore watch education trends pretty closely. But we have to say that today’s groundbreaking for the new $55 Million McDonogh #35 College Preparatory High School on the edge of Bayou St. John is a public education milestone worthy of celebration. First of all, FEMA provided the entire $55 million as part of their long-term commitment to rebuilding schools in New Orleans. Continue reading »

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Jun 192013
 

The pair of masked, gun-wielding men who robbed Cooter Brown’s at closing time last week are still at large, and police officials are urging employees who have to close businesses late at night to take extra precautions until they’re found.

“The Cooter Brown’s case, if we don’t solve that, they’re going to keep hitting,” NOPD Commander Paul Noel said Wednesday during the Second District’s weekly meeting of ranking officers. Continue reading »

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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 »