Feb 252013
 

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry speaks at a town hall meeting Monday night at Lafayette Academy in Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The prolonged stretches of darkness that have regularly fallen over Carrollton Avenue after sunset will soon be a thing of the past, City Councilwoman Susan Guidry told residents Monday night, reporting that the city plans to have all of the thoroughfare’s streetlights repaired within 90 days. Continue reading »

Feb 252013
 

New Orleans Film Society director Jolene Pinder (from left) and “Django Unchained” actresses Laura Cayouette and Dana Gourrier pose at the society’s annual Oscar-watching party at the Prytania Theatre on Sunday evening. (photo via the New Orleans Film Society Facebook page).

“She’s a spitfire and smart as a whip without ever forgetting to be a kid,” writes Laura Cayouette, an actress in Django Unchained, about cheering for Quvenzhané Wallis for Best Actress during the New Orleans Film Society Oscar-watching party at the Prytania Theatre on Sunday evening. “It wasn’t her night, but I hope she knows how many people were rooting for her and how impressed we all are with her achievements and her extraordinary performance.” Continue reading »

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Feb 252013
 

In a trio of recent news stories showing the spicier side of student life, the Hullabaloo student newspaper reports that NOPD officers used pepper spray to break up an off-campus party on Willow Street, that the university is investigating a separate episode in which seven fraternity pledges were allegedly found swimming in the Audubon Park lagoon, and that the decades-old tradition of screening a high-budget porn film in McAlister Auditorium has come to a quiet end since 2011.

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Feb 252013
 

Nearly 10 years ago, Joseph Street resident Roy Fausset came home to find a hole from the roof of his home through the second and first floors, at the bottom of which were fragments of a 45-pound, bowling-ball-sized rock that tests by Tulane professor Steve Nelson confirmed to be a meteorite, according to a report by Scott Satchfield of our partners at WWL-TV.

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Feb 252013
 

Owen Courreges

At this point, there should be little doubt in anyone’s mind that the City of New Orleans opposes the Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008, an “academic freedom” act transparently designed to facilitate the teaching of creationism in public schools.  In May of 2011, the New Orleans City Council voted unanimously to support legislation aimed at repealing the LSEA, and just this past December, the Orleans Parish School Board unanimously voted to ban the teaching of “creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes.”

The actual language of the LSEA seems relatively innocuous at first blush.  It merely allows schools to “foster an environment … that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”  It later provides that that the LSEA “shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.”

Still, that last bit is just a fig leaf.  Creationism can still be introduced into the classroom as an alternative “science,” and the fact remains that evolutionary biology is specifically targeted. Continue reading »

Feb 242013
 

Leona Tate, who was one of three young girls to integrate the McDonogh 19 school in 1961, discusses her continuing efforts to improve public education in New Orleans at a Sunday night mixer at Oak Wine Bar. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A “unity piece” given to civil-rights hero Leona Tate by members of the Orleans Public Education Network on Sunday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

In a show of unity that spans generations, a hero of the civil rights movement who endured death daily threats as a 6-year-old integrating her New Orleans school joined forces Sunday night with a relatively new group of local education activists — many of whom were born decades after her first day of school faded from the headlines. Continue reading »

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Feb 232013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Back in the early days of his mayoral tenure, before things began to fall apart, Clarence Ray Nagin was a rock star. He didn’t know much about city government but he was cool, glib and very optimistic.

Did the city need an infusion of money? He’d sell the airport. Continue reading »

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Feb 222013
 

James Weldon Johnson Elementary School on Monroe Street.

A group of Carrollton residents say they were told this week by Recovery School District officials that Sophie B. Wright Charter School will be the first occupants of the James Weldon Johnson School swing space this fall, spending two years there while their Napoleon Avenue building is renovated.

The residents were also told that cost estimates have been reached for renovations to the long-abandoned Priestley site in their own neighborhood, they say.

RSD officials have not responded to requests to confirm accounts of the meetings this week. Continue reading »

Feb 222013
 

Craig Giesecke

If you’ve ever built a house or otherwise been involved in construction or extensive remodeling of a building, you know any contractor’s standard answer is “two weeks.” You also know only too well how, particularly in this city, the wheels of the public utilities and their regulatory minions in city government grind v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y –- unless, of course, you’re late paying a bill. Continue reading »