The $500,000 streetscape upgrades on the Freret commercial corridor are set to begin in June, and $2 million worth of similar work on South Claiborne is expected to start in August, Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant told City Councilwoman Stacy Head during a meeting of the city’s Public Works Committee.
Got an issue with the pace of pothole repairs, or the way that cars are parked in your neighborhood?
If so, you might have something to add to today’s meeting of the City Council Public Works Committee. Chaired by District B City Councilwoman Stacy Head, the meeting agenda includes a review of the city’s parking-enforcement and pothole-repair practices. Also slated for an update is the state of the streetscape projects around the city.
For details and links to this and other events in and of interest to Uptown New Orleans, see our full two-day calendar listings below.
City oversight of how buildings are designed and maintained could tighten throughout the Lower Garden District and into Central City and Mid-City, based on a proposal working its way through the city council.
Based on a motion by City Councilwoman Stacy Head, the city will create new committees to study the possibility of expanding the reach of the Historic District Landmarks Commission from its current territory in the Lower Garden District, roughly between Prytania and Annunciation streets, to the entire swath from the river to Carondelet between Jackson Avenue and the Ponchartrain Expressway. The committees will also consider designating new areas in Central City and Mid-City for the HDLC to cover.
The New Orleans City Council comes to Uptown this week as part of a 10-stop neighborhood tour seeking public input on how council district lines should be redrawn following the 2010 Census.
City Councilwoman Stacy Head’s District B runs from Audubon though a number of Uptown neighborhoods to Central City and the Central Business district. Its population fell at roughly the same rate as the city’s overall population since 2000, meaning the 70,903 people now living in District B are quite close to the target of 68,765 for each district, according to the new Census. The other four council districts are either well above or well below that target, however, so any change to District B is more likely to come as a result of making adjustments to the other districts work.
After months of beseeching the Uptown-based NOPD Second District for more individualized attention to their neighborhood, Milan residents finally saw the levels of police presence they were looking for this past weekend, they gratefully told officers Tuesday night.
One weekend of suppression through heavy-saturation patrols and walking beats won’t stop the drug trade or end the gun battles, they acknowledged. But it did create a sense of safety and peace long missing from the neighborhood – and an impression that the police are listening to their concerns.
“It is a huge step on the road toward getting the criminal element out of our neighborhood,” said Milan resident Veronica Sharkey.
The New Orleans City Council delivered a unanimous message Thursday to the owners of the former Gabrielle restaurant: Please reopen your restaurant, but not on Uptown’s Henry Clay Avenue.
“There are many locations that would be appropriate,” said Councilwoman Susan Guidry, after a lengthy explanation of her reasons for opposing the Sonniers’ request to convert The Uptowner banquet hall into a revival of the Gabrielle. “I do not believe this is one.”
A neighborhood association that stretches from some of Uptown’s most placid blocks to some that have suffered through open warfare between criminals and police is now exploring the idea of increasing its police presence with off-duty officers.
The Claiborne-University Neighborhood Association held a sort of fact-finding session Thursday night about fee-based security districts, the first in what association president Scott Barron said would be a series of meetings informing residents about the concept.
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.
Two restaurants on Magazine Street were granted permission to sell alcohol and a church was cleared to build on an empty lot in Milan last week by an enthusiastic city council.
The idea of increasing the tax applied to electric bills in New Orleans resurfaced Monday during the first city council hearing on next year’s budget, suggested as a possible route to lessen the amount that property taxes will have to be raised to pay for expanded city services next year.
District B Councilwoman Stacy Head told the rest of the council that her idea is not yet a fully-formed proposal, but that placing part of next year’s tax increase on Entergy customers – rather than property owners – could spread the burden of next year’s budget among a far wider swath of people in New Orleans. Such a tax increase would reach not only renters, Head said, but also nonprofits, churches, universities and other institutions that pay no property tax but do pay electric bills.
“This is a way that every store, every rental, every homeowner, every church, every educational institution — everyone uses utilites, and this is a way to have the hook in everyone, as opposed to a small subset of the city of New Orleans,” Head said (See video of the budget hearing; utility tax discussion begins 2 hours, 56 minutes into video). “It seems more equitable — should it be possible — to me.”
A New Orleans City Council committee rejected a proposal to generate significant amounts of electricity from solar panels on the roofs of Tulane University dorms, saying in a Tuesday morning meeting that the city first needs a better overall system for regulating new, independent sources of energy.
Current regulations allow two different levels of power generation from solar panels: 25 kilowatts from residential customers, and 300 kilowatts from commercial structures, said Matthew Fraser, legislative director for District A Councilmember Susan Guidry. If each room in Tulane’s dorms were to be classified as an independent residential unit for the purposes of solar power generation, that would far exceed the current limits, and a new designation would be needed.
A trio of New Orleans City Council members led by Councilwoman Stacy Head pushed city officials Thursday afternoon for more citywide parking-law enforcement and the hiring of private contractors to tow illegal vehicles.
After hearing during a budget committee meeting that the Nagin administration grossly overestimated the city’s likely collections from traffic fines this year – the budget reads $9 million, but only $2.7 million has been collected – Head returned to an issue she raised earlier this month: lax parking enforcement around the city.
“This, again, is a quality of life and a revenue generating opportunity that we are letting go,” Head said.
The next planned expansions of the city’s streetcar system were decried by city council members Tuesday as shortsighted and impractical to New Orleanians, particularly commuters from Uptown neighborhoods, though administrators said it is likely too late for any changes now.
A $45 million transportation grant out of the federal stimulus program, one of the largest awarded anywhere in the country, will pay for a new streetcar line from Canal Street down Loyola Avenue to the Union Passenger Terminal, uniting the city’s buses and streetcars with Greyhound passenger liners and Amtrak trains. The Loyola Avenue project is actually the first of three downtown-area expansions; the RTA expects to hear in October whether it received another $75 million to help build a line down Rampart Street into the Marigny area and a loop around the convention center.
The city should do its utmost to ensure that the 256 FEMA trailers remaining in New Orleans are gone by the end of the year, Councilwoman Stacy Head told city and federal officials at a Monday morning meeting.
The city council has already passed a law that trailers are not acceptable housing inside the city limits, Head said, so “the FEMA trailers are in the city illegally.”
“The trailers’ existence in the city of New Orleans is illegal. Your property is illegally on city soil,” said Head, who represents the Uptown-based District B, at a meeting of the city’s housing committee. “Until we force you to do the right thing, you’re not going to do it?”
Depending on how voters cast their ballots Oct. 2, the New Orleans Recreation Department may face significant restructuring in the coming year. Based on questions at a Wednesday night forum at the Dryades YMCA, voters are still struggling to understand exactly how it will work.