Jan 182014
 
Drew Ward (from left), David Capasso, Stephen Gordon, Jason Coleman and Susan Guidry speak at the Alliance for Good Government candidates forum Wednesday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Drew Ward (from left), David Capasso, Stephen Gordon, Jason Coleman and Susan Guidry speak at the Alliance for Good Government candidates forum Wednesday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry stands by her record as she seeks a second term, but challenger Jason Coleman thinks New Orleans should be doing better. David Capasso would focus on raising workers’ wages, Stephen Gordon wants city government to run more like a small business, and Drew Ward thinks that New Orleans is being rebuilt in the wrong way.

These were the pitches the five candidates for the District A seat on the City Council made to the Alliance for Good Government this week, as they also debated issues such as how to fix the streets in Lakeview, a proposed railroad through Hollygrove and Mid-City, the behavior of corner stores and, of course, crime. Continue reading »

Jan 162014
 
Stacy Head and Eugene Green. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Stacy Head and Eugene Green. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Freddie Charbonnet, Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Jason Williams. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Freddie Charbonnet, Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Jason Williams. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Two sitting members of the New Orleans City Council and all of their challengers said the city needs a new police chief on Wednesday night in a response to a question asked by the Alliance for Good Government. Continue reading »

Jan 122014
 

David Capasso (from left), Jason Coleman, Susan Guidry and Drew Ward at Dillard University. (Della Hasselle, MidCityMessenger.com)

Challengers David Capasso, Jason Coleman and Drew Ward debated issues of economic inequality, crime, public infrastructure and progress since Hurricane Katrina with City Councilwoman Susan Guidry last week at a candidates’ forum at Dillard University, according to Della Hasselle of MidCityMessenger.com.

Jan 082014
 
David Capasso, Jason Coleman and Susan Guidry appear before the Independent Women's Organization on Monday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

David Capasso, Jason Coleman and Susan Guidry appear before the Independent Women’s Organization on Monday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Violent crime in neighborhoods, economic development and opportunity, balancing the city budget and even gay marriage and marijuana legalization were all discussed Tuesday night by Democratic candidates in the New Orleans city elections, many appearing on the same stage for the first time a mere three weeks before the Feb. 1 election day.

The pace was brisk and the tone was mostly — though not always — genial as the Independent Women’s Organization asked a handful of questions to more than two dozen Democratic candidates for mayor, City Council and other citywide offices. Continue reading »

Jan 042014
 
A police lieutenant demonstrates an extension of the body cameras that can be mounted on a visor or helmet. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

NOPD Lt. Travis St. Pierre demonstrates an extension of the body cameras that can be mounted on a visor or helmet. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas models a body camera during a news conference Friday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas models a body camera during a news conference Friday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans Police officials modeled the new cameras Friday that will be part of all on-duty officers’ uniforms this year, as efforts continue to recruit more officers to shore up the ranks of the shrinking police force. Continue reading »

Jan 022014
 

Mayor Landrieu shoots baskets in the rebuilt Lyons Center gym at the reopening ceremony in June 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Mayor Landrieu shoots baskets in the rebuilt Lyons Center gym at the reopening ceremony in June 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu used the Lyons Center — fully renovated and reopened this past summer after languishing since Hurricane Katrina — as a backdrop Thursday morning for a news conference touting New Orleans’ progress in public recreation in 2013. Continue reading »

Dec 232013
 

Drew Ward

Drew Ward

Reid Stone

Reid Stone

The two Republicans running for the New Orleans City Council District A seat are effectively joining forces in the Democratic district, with entrepreneur Reid Stone announcing his withdrawal Monday afternoon and joining the campaign of neighborhood-activist Drew Ward. Continue reading »

Dec 132013
 

Stephen Gordon

Stephen Gordon

Reid Stone

Reid Stone

An advocate for Lakeview street repairs and a marketing entrepreneur bring the field of candidates vying for Susan Guidry’s seat on the New Orleans City Council to six when qualifying closed Friday afternoon, but Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell drew no opponents. Continue reading »

Dec 132013
 

Jason Coleman

Jason Coleman

David Capasso

David Capasso

What had appeared to be a quiet re-election campaign for District A City Councilwoman Susan Guidry is heating up, with the unexpected entry of two more candidates: Jason Coleman, a Democratic activist and member of the Coleman Cab Company family, and David Capasso, an attorney active in progressive causes. Continue reading »

Dec 112013
 

(map via DOTD)

(map via DOTD)

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry called a proposal to reroute freight trains from Old Metairie to Hollygrove “totally unacceptable” before an audience in Mid-City on Monday evening, and Hollygrove residents formed a new committee called “We Won’t Be Railroaded” to fight the project Tuesday, according to a report by Della Hasselle at our sister publication, Mid-City Messenger. In addition to the environmental and quality-of-life concerns, there may also be civil-rights issues involved in the use of federal money on a project that would widen the disparity in property values between the two communities, Mid-City Messenger reports.

Oct 032013
 

Jonah Bascle

Jonah Bascle

Susan Guidry, the incumbent representative for District A on the New Orleans City Council, has drawn her first announced challenger for her re-election: 27-year-old comedian Jonah Bascle.

But Bascle, confined to a wheelchair by muscular dystrophy, says he remains just as serious about making New Orleans accessible to people with disabilities as he was when he ran for mayor in 2010.

“It’s been four years,” Bascle said. “Stuff that I thought would be done by now still isn’t.” Continue reading »

Sep 252013
 
The NOPD Second District holds its monthly anti-crime march through west Carrollton on Wednesday evening. The Uptown-based district has one of the lowest numbers of officers in the city. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The NOPD Second District holds its monthly anti-crime march through west Carrollton on Wednesday evening. The Uptown-based district has one of the lowest numbers of officers in the city. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

New Orleans has lost 300 more officers than it hired since 2010 amid what some city leaders are calling a staffing crisis, officials said Wednesday. Even with new recruitment efforts finally underway and the promise of hiring 100 new officers over the next year, the City Council is looking for new ways to put more police on the streets faster. Continue reading »

Sep 202013
 

Costco cofounder Jeff Brotman (left), Costco New Orleans employee Henry Lagarde and Mayor Mitch Landrieu laugh together during the Costco grand opening ceremonies. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Costco cofounder Jeff Brotman, Costco New Orleans employee Henry Lagarde and Mayor Mitch Landrieu laugh together during the Costco grand opening ceremonies. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A row of cakes, cookies and desserts stretched down Costco's center aisle. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A row of cakes, cookies and desserts stretched down Costco’s center aisle. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Maybe it was the spirit of economic rebirth, maybe it was New Orleanians’ natural talent for celebrating, or maybe it was the enticing prospect of free samples, but the grand opening ceremony for Costco’s warehouse store on Carrollton Avenue drew a crowd of hundreds that company executives said surprised them.

For their 650 other stores around the country, they mostly just opened the doors and people started shopping, the executives said.

“We’ve never been treated like this before,” Costco cofounder Jeff Brotman said. “You guys know how to throw a party.” Continue reading »

Sep 122013
 

Competing sets of proposals for a new ordinance outlining how sound and noise issues should be enforced in New Orleans were discussed Thursday evening before a Carrollton neighborhood group, but the presentations from each group were so gently put that neighbors wondered where the actual controversy lies. Continue reading »

Sep 122013
 

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (center) grasps hands with Andrea Samuels and Keion Reed on Sept. 1, the day after their 1-year-old baby was killed in Central City gunfire. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (center) grasps hands with Andrea Samuels and Keion Reed on Sept. 1, the day after their 1-year-old baby daughter was killed in Central City gunfire. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

In a city where the pace of new anti-crime programs is matched year-for-year with funerals for children slain by stray bullets, a large group of New Orleans city council members and state lawmakers are now discussing ways to determine whether any of the efforts underway are actually working.

The creation of “Save Our Sons,” “NOLA For Life” and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit each year have been hopscotched by the deaths of 2-year-old Jeremy Galmon in 2010, 23-month-old Keira Holmes in 2011, 5-year-old Briana Allen last year and, shockingly, the deaths of 1-year-old Londyn Samuels and 11-year-old Arabiana Gayles just days apart at the end of this summer, all struck down by cruelly careless gunfire.

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell had only been in elected office nine months when Samuels was killed in her district. Within days, she convened a summit of other City Council members, state lawmakers, judges and law-enforcement officials to discuss what more can be done on the violence issue. A common theme emerged, that more oversight is needed everywhere — of the New Orleans Police Department and its leadership, of the anti-crime programs in place, of the budgets for those entities and of the state law-enforcement agencies that also play crucial roles.

“Historically, the council has been really hands off on the police in general,” said state Sen. J.P. Morrell, one of the participants in Cantrell’s summit. “Both on the state and local level, we have to get more invested in the nuts and bolts of the different crime-fighting tools available to us.” Continue reading »

Sep 052013
 

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry speaks at a town hall meeting in Carrollton in February 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry speaks at a town hall meeting in Carrollton in February 2013. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

District A is one of the more volatile seats on the New Orleans City Council — the last four elections have yielded four different winners — but the field of potential challengers to incumbent Councilwoman Susan Guidry is largely quiet as she completes her first term.

An internal poll from earlier in the summer may partly explain why. Two-thirds of likely voters in the district said they have a favorable opinion of her, a tall barrier for any potential challenger to overcome. Continue reading »

Aug 082013
 

Jimmy Anselmo thanks the City Council for approving his request to reopen Jimmy’s Music Club on Willow Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

After nearly a year of struggle and discord, Jimmy’s Music Club received permission Thursday afternoon from the New Orleans City Council to reopen in a flurry of smiles, applause, blown kisses — and a long list of operating conditions. Continue reading »

Aug 012013
 

A rendering of a proposed floodplain park around the Monticello Canal in Hollygrove, similar to those proposed for other canals around the city in a new water-management strategy for New Orleans.

Rainfall should be diverted out of Uptown via the Mississippi River instead of carrying it all the way to Lake Pontchartrain, and major drainage ditches like the Monticello Canal should be expanded into interior floodplains and water-storage features, according to two recommendations that illustrate how New Orleans should be better managing its water instead of just pumping it away.

The Water Management Strategy presented by architect David Waggonner to a standing-room only crowd Thursday evening at Xavier University is a regional plan for making more efficient use of rainfall, slowing it down and storing it in natural canals to reduce the sinking of the land that contributes to flooding. The recommendations in the Uptown area are only a small part of the plan, but they illustrate some of its key elements and some of its challenges.

“We’re proposing this is a new era for water management,” Waggonner said. “It’s not just about flood protection any more. It’s really about quality and sustainability.” Continue reading »

Jul 252013
 

The Jimmy’s Music Club location at 8200 Willow. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

A hearing on the request to allow alcohol to be served at Jimmy’s Music Club — the key to reopening of the popular venue — was postponed by two weeks by the City Council, but neighbors and officials say an agreement over issues associated with the club is “very close,” perhaps just days away. Continue reading »