Independent study supports redistribution of citywide parks and recreation taxes

An independent New Orleans research group is backing the proposal to replace three existing property taxes into one millage for citywide parks and recreation. But there’s a caveat: If passed, the city is urged to monitor the park agencies’ spending plans and performance outlined in a cooperative endeavor agreement. The Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonprofit public-policy research organization, released this morning their study on the City-Wide Parks and Recreation Proposal. The proposal allows the city to reallocate taxpayer revenue for park spaces, while tacking on inter-agency cooperation among the city’s four park powers: City Park, the Audubon Commission, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, and Parks and Parkways. This ordinance does not include tax increases for residents; it just redistributes current revenue to help improve citywide infrastructure while assisting the lesser-funded agencies.

As non-unanimous jury amendment vote nears, the fate of 12-member juries loom

Twelve men, one room, and a murder charge. “It has to be twelve to nothing, either way. That’s the law.” Sidney Lumet’s “12 Angry Men” is one of the most respected films centered around the criminal justice system. But the overall plot, where members of a 12-man jury must agree on a verdict that could send a teenager to the electric chair, could never occur in the state of Louisiana under state law.

Nonprofits, traffic cameras, STRS; how does New Orleans City Council prioritize its budget?

How does New Orleans City Council prioritize its budget? Joe Giarrusso III, who represents District A, and Jason Williams, elected by the city at large, discussed the city’s budgeting process and priorities with residents of the Carrollton Area Network. Both councilmembers used the Tuesday evening meeting to present their ideas for improvements or new allocations, with opportunities for public input. Roughly half of the city’s $646 million general funds are spent on public safety and government, according to the city’s 2018 adopted budget. Roughly five percent goes toward public works – around $33 million – and just over $37 million put toward sanitation.

Multi-vehicle crash damages Atchafalaya Restaurant, sends one to hospital

A two-car crash at the intersection of Laurel Street and Louisiana Avenue has sent at least one person to the hospital. The crash also caused minor damage to Atchafalaya Restaurant. The driver of the smaller vehicle was taken to the hospital while the driver of the Jeep, which was vaulted into the restaurant, is unharmed, according to witnesses. Multiple-car accident at the corner of Laurel & Louisiana @UptownMessenger
— Zach Brien (@zjbphoto) July 11, 2018

No more information was immediately available. This story will be updated as needed.

Fate of Louisiana’s criminal justice reform impacted by members’ term limits, representatives say

Members of the New Orleans Coalition gathered Uptown Sunday afternoon to discuss the fate of – and the impact of – criminal justice reform legislation in Louisiana. Senator J.P. Morrell and Representative Royce Duplessis were on hand to recap the most recent legislative session and how each bill was successfully passed, as well as what issues will be front and center next year. Sarah Omojola, former Policy Counsel for Southern Poverty Law Center and current Director of the Welcoming Project, touched on the legislative process from an advocacy level. Mario Zervigon, of the Zervigon Consulting Group, moderated the panel. Both Morrell and Duplessis touched on how term limits will affect the new representatives’ learning curves, since the number of experiences legislators dwindle every year.

Small wine shop planned for South White Street hoping to waive required off-street parking

Developers are hoping to turn a vacant South White Street lot into an intimate wine shop, but three required parking spaces need to be waived in order for the space to be functional, the owners said. Joanne Close and her husband Jim Yonkus are aiming to open a small wine store in the New Zion neighborhood just off South Broad Street. The property, a vacant lot at 1226 South White St., is zoned for heavy commercial use which requires the couple to add three off-street parking spots. But adding those parking spots would swallow up much of the already-tiny lot. “We don’t have to have a huge building – it just has to be functional,” Close told a group of neighbors at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday.

Man killed in Eagle Street shooting, police say

A man was shot to death Thursday morning on Eagle Street, New Orleans police said. The shooting was reported at 8:19 a.m. Thursday, May 24, in the 1700 block of Eagle (between Green and Hickory streets), according to NOPD reports. The man was taking children to school when he was shot, and didn’t even have shoes on, said neighbors who declined to give their names to a reporter. They heard three gunshots, they said. The victim had been shot in the head, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, the NOPD reports state.

Faubourg Marengo neighbors seeking end to ‘noxious odor’ near the river

Several residents in the Faubourg Marengo neighborhood say they’ve had to deal with a tar-like odor around – and sometimes within – their homes for several years, and their new City Councilman says he will try to find the cause of the smell. About 10 people from the small community between Magazine and Tchoupitoulas near Napoleon Avenue have banded together to examine the source of the reported foul odor. The group, unofficially led by Eric Eagan, met for the first time Wednesday evening. “I have noticed the posts (on NextDoor) and noticed I’m not alone, so it’s time to stop sitting back and time to start doing something about it,” Eagan said. “My instinct is to go about this slowly and deliberately.”

City Planning staff recommend rezoning for proposed Drive Shack golf facility

The Drive Shack golf facility under consideration for the former Times-Picayune site on Howard Avenue nabbed a recommendation for rezoning approval from City Planning staff, subject to a few building design changes suggested by the Design Advisory Committee. The proposed entertainment hub would require tearing down the old newspaper building completely, but the owners of the property say they are committed to preserving the massive murals inside. The Drive Shack parent company operates 80 golf courses across the United States, but the new Drive Shack entertainment centers represent an effort to make the sport more accessible — no country club memberships are needed, and anyone can show up and start to play the game. Technology in the facility will allow both new and experienced golfers to document and improve their shots. The facility needs a special kind of zoning called a “planned development district.”