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. ( 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. ( 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. ( file photo by Robert Morris)

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry speaks at a town hall meeting in Carrollton in February 2013. ( 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,

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. ( 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 »

Jul 182013

Maybe it was just a pot of jambalaya, or maybe the calm before a storm, but by all accounts Wednesday night was a positive step on the road back for Jimmy’s Music Club — about 30 supporters, neighbors and city officials all sharing a bite to eat and some casual conversation before heading into a week that could bring a formal operating agreement and approval from the city to reopen. Continue reading »

Jul 162013

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

As the operators of Jimmy’s Music Club proceed with their request for liquor sales that would allow the venue to reopen, they are inviting neighbors and city officials to join them for an open house Wednesday evening. Continue reading »

Jun 172013

Marshall Hevron ( file photo)

Marshall Hevron, a local attorney and an organizer of the reborn Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Uptown New Orleans, has decided not to challenge Susan Guidry for the District A seat on the New Orleans City Council, he recently announced. Continue reading »

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Jun 132013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

It’s no secret that Sheriff Marlin Gusman is embattled. Escapes, deaths, and many normal prison problems have plagued his term. Gusman has even admitted that the pricy new jail does not have the special facilities needed to best treat sick and mentally-ill patients in this phase. Let’s not forget that Orleans Parish sheriffs have traditionally kept their finances close to the vest and not readily available for full scrutiny by mayor and council. There’s not much transparency at the prison these days.

Black voters could make Gusman’s reelection a cause and turn out in record numbers to keep their sheriff. Standing in the wings might be one of two strong women who could set the sheriff’s office straight: Dana Kaplan or Stacy Head. There has never been a female sheriff in New Orleans or even a credible female candidate for sheriff. Continue reading »

May 272013

The old signs for the Frat House at 8200 Willow Street have been replaced by a banner for Jimmy’s Music Club. (Robert Morris,

When the New Orleans Alcoholic Beverage Control Board rejected a request by Jimmy’s Music Club last week, it may have seemed like the hand of The Man slapping down the former punk rock haven once again.

The reality, however, is that attorneys, city officials and even the club’s neighbors agree that Jimmy’s may be closer to reopening than it has in the last year. Continue reading »

May 172013

Purple areas show those that a ladder truck can reach within the national standard of eight minutes under a New Orleans Fire Department redeployment plan set to take place this summer. (Robert Morris,

Despite official assurances that the removal of a ladder-equipped fire truck from the station on Arabella is part of the best possible future for the New Orleans Fire Department, Uptown residents who live nearby continue to worry that their level of fire protection is being reduced. Continue reading »

Apr 182013

Children’s Hospital signed a lease in January for the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital that required mental-health services there as a way to continue negotiating to purchase the building outright, but planned all along to keep its psychiatric services at the DePaul campus nearby, hospital officials told the New Orleans City Council on Thursday morning. Continue reading »

Feb 282013

Jimmy Anselmo and Vance DeGeneres, bassist for The Cold. (submitted photo)

(submitted photo)

by Rex Rose

For many months, Jimmy Anselmo has been trying to get the New Orleans City Council to allow him to open Jimmy’s Music Club again at the historic location on Dublin and Willow Streets, across from the streetcar barn, but his application has been buried. The more I look at the issue, the more it seems like a simple lack of communication might be the main impediment.  I feel confident there would be few objections to Jimmy reopening his club if all concerned were provided with just a little background history on Jimmy and his club, which I will deliver from a personal perspective. Continue reading »

Feb 252013

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

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 »