Mar 272013
 

Jean-Paul Villere

I’m no newshound, but of late I’ve noticed more than a few comments on pieces detailing the present tense of some older, and until recently, largely overlooked New Orleans neighborhoods.  Some call it a white tea pot effect, and others have expounded on this, even hyping it up with modified phrasing like re-gentrification or super-gentrification.  But the tone often leans toward a woeful finger wagging on that whispery word unto itself: gentrification.  

And all I keep coming back to is, do we not live in a free market society?  Are the choices made by the citizenry not their own?  To live somewhere or not.  To embrace risk versus reward in prospecting or strict investment, whether as an owner occupant or out and out landlord?  Yes, incentive can come in the form of local, state, and federal tax incentives, and yes, re-zoning has been known to kickstart a movement.  But these benefits are not exclusive to any one demographic, and they never will be.  Quite simply, population migrations happen. Continue reading »

Mar 272013
 

An early version of the plan for the O.C. Haley Boulevard streetscape project. An updated version is slated for release in April. (Click to enlarge.)

The latest delay in long-awaited plans for a $1 million upgrade to the appearance of O.C. Haley Boulevard sparked frustration among a group of residents and merchants Tuesday night about the prolonged uncertainty around the project’s scope after six years of discussion. Continue reading »

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Mar 262013
 

Attorney Morris Bart, left, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas and NOPD Second District Commander Paul Noel tour locker rooms at the NOPD Second District station that were recently renovated based on a donation from Bart. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Attorney Morris Bart, center, smiles as he accepts a statuette from NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas in thanks for his donation. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The floors may still have soft spots and the roof may still leak, but at least the officers at the century-old Second District police station now have a decent place to change clothes or use the restroom, thanks to a donation from prominent New Orleans attorney Morris Bart.

“They put their lives on the line,” Bart said. “If what I can do makes their lives a little easier and shows that, ‘Yes, we do appreciate what they do for us and for the people of New Orleans,’ then it’s my pleasure.” Continue reading »

Mar 262013
 

jewel bush

Denis Chirinos-Avila is one of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States, but the right word to describe him is not “alien” or “illegal” or any other common epithet used to refer to those who live and work here without paperwork.

Denis Chirinos-Avila is scared.

The 27-year-old construction worker has lived day in and day out in a paralyzing fear that his open secret would be exposed, that he would be deported away from the life he has established in New Orleans for more than seven years. Would he be questioned in the grocery store? Or on the way to work? Or accompanying his partner, Reina, to one of her prenatal checkups? Continue reading »

Mar 262013
 

Only 25 percent of students at Crocker Arts and Technology School come from nearby neighborhoods, while the majority are from New Orleans East, Gentilly and Mid-City, reports Erin Krall of The Lens. But the new school’s construction is beginning to serve as an economic-development catalyst in its Milan neighborhood, board members said: “I think this neighborhood will build up around the school,” board secretary Shaun Rafferty said. “Eventually the goal of this being a neighborhood school will be fulfilled.”

Six of Crocker’s 13 teachers have been asked to remain at the school next year, when New Orleans College Prep takes over as its operator, Krall reports.

ENCORE Academy, the other charter school housed in the Crocker building, has canceled its regularly scheduled March meeting that was to be held tonight.

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Mar 262013
 

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and top NOPD officials listened to residents Tuesday night at First Emmanuel Baptist Church in Central City, while the NAACP met separately across town, according to our partners at WWL-TV. The NAACP had originally requested a meeting specifically about racial profiling, but when Landrieu sought to broaden the meeting’s scope, the NAACP protested.

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Mar 252013
 

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell speaks to the Bouligny Improvement Association in February. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell — who took office just in time to get involved in the annual controversy about enforcement of city laws along Mardi Gras parade routes — will fulfill a promise for a more comprehensive review of changes that could be made next year this weekend, when she holds a public roundtable discussion on the issue. Continue reading »

Mar 252013
 

Owen Courreges

New Orleans should annex all of unincorporated Jefferson Parish!  Metairie shall henceforth be known as New Orleans West!  “Fat City” will receive a makeover and be reinvented as “the little Bourbon!”  Prosperity shall rein!

Now that I have your attention, I will explain why this should happen, but cannot happen due to historical factors and outmoded laws. Continue reading »

Mar 252013
 

One victim in Sunday night’s shooting took place in the 3500 block of Audubon Court (shown on map), and the other victim was found crashed in a truck at Broadway and Washington. (map via NOPD)

Two men were killed Sunday evening in a shooting that led one of them to crash a pickup near the edge of the Xavier University campus, authorities said. Continue reading »

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Mar 222013
 

An officer investigates a shooting in the 800 block of Milan on March 4. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Investigators are continuing to pursue new leads in a mysterious shooting earlier this month on Milan Street, but so far little new evidence has turned up to shed light on who might have done it or why, authorities said. Continue reading »

Mar 222013
 

The city’s spring “Movies in the Park” series will bring the animated feature “Hotel Transylvania” to Wisner Park tonight (Friday, March 22), with games and activities starting at 5:30 p.m. and projection of the movie on to the big screen beginning at dusk. Concession sales will benefit the Xavier Prep Foundation and recreation activities at the park. Continue reading »

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Mar 222013
 

Whether to move students out of the Sophie B. Wright Charter School campus after the discovery of termite damage closed the cafeteria and auditorium and who is to blame for the problem were debated by members of the Orleans Parish School Board clearing the way for immediate repairs on Thursday morning, according to a report by Kari Dequine Harden of The Advocate. Students will stay in the building because of a lack of space elsewhere and the risk of trouble from mixing different school populations, officials said, and said the termite damage is old and on out-of-the-way structures but discovered by engineers preparing for upcoming renovations to the school.

Mar 222013
 

Craig Giesecke

Any of us who have lived in a really small town are usually the first to speak up when some urban type starts talking about how they’d like to try the bucolic experience of small-town life.  “Oh, I think it would be so wonderful to really get to know my neighbors,” they say. “It’s so quiet and peaceful – away from the rat race,” they conjecture.

Those of us who have been there know how much unfair judging and rumor there is, as well as how much it’s a hassle to have someone up in your grill all the time. You can’t hide anything. But I can guarantee there’s one environment that’s even tougher in the same kinds of ways – and it’s the New Orleans service industry. Continue reading »

Mar 222013
 

After state Rep. Neil Abramson announced Thursday morning that Children’s Hospital would be reopening the shuttered New Orleans Adolescent Hospital next door and offering mental-health services for children there, Children’s Hospital issued a statement saying that such a plan would not be “economically feasible,” according to a report by our partners at WWL-TV. Abramson later replied that the arrangement is already spelled out in documents signed by Children’s Hospital and the state.

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Mar 212013
 

State Rep. Neil Abramson speaks during a town hall for Carrollton residents on Thursday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to replace state income taxes with an increased sales tax is not just a bad idea, two New Orleans lawmakers said Thursday night: it’s not even a fully formed idea yet. Continue reading »