Carrollton neighbors back “Marsalis Unity Park” as the new name for Palmer Park

The Carrollton area neighbors of Palmer Park agreed on “Marsalis Unity Park” as a new name for the park at a meeting hosted by Carrollton United. Palmer Park, which sits at the corner of Carrollton and Claiborne avenues, is currently named after the Rev. Benjamin Palmer, a 19th century minister who was a staunch vocal supporter of both slavery and the Confederacy. Originally called Hamilton Park, it was renamed in 1902, during the Lost Cause movement, for the New Orleans minister who preached to Confederate soldiers and was best known for a speech given after the election of Abraham Lincoln defending slavery and endorsing secession, according to New Orleans Historical. Marsalis, who died April 1, 2020, was a jazz musician, educator and lifelong New Orleanian who lived near Palmer Park for many years. Members of his family still live in the neighborhood.

Street Renaming Commission to host meeting for recommendations, public feedback

General Ogden, Palmer, Leonidas, and Calhoun are a few Uptown streets that may have new names soon. The City Council Street Renaming Commission — established to make recommendations for renaming streets, parks and places that honor members of the Confederacy and active proponents of segregation — will host a public meeting this Wednesday (Dec. 16) to discuss the findings and recommendations listed in its initial report. Here, the community can give additional feedback before the commission delivers its final report to the council in the coming weeks. The virtual public meeting will start around 4 p.m., immediately following the commission’s meeting that begins at 3 p.m. The meeting will be accessible via livestream on the council’s YouTube channel here  and on the council’s website.

Digital town hall to outline plans to revamp region’s transit system

A initiative to overhaul the region’s public transit system, called New Links, was at a crucial phase in February. It had released three comprehensive transportation concepts and was asking the public to weigh in. That public input would drive the final proposal, Regional Planning Commission officials said. When the COVID-19 emergency hit, the New Links team was in the middle of intense outreach at busy transit stops and community meetings. Social distancing put a stop to that outreach.

NOPD commander says there’s little cops can do to stem car break-ins

By Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger

When it comes to stopping the surge of vehicle break-ins plaguing New Orleans, there is little that police can do, NOPD Second District Commander Jeff Walls told a packed crowd at a community meeting Thursday at the NOLA VFW hall on Lyons Street. “Your frustration is our frustration,” he said. “The anger that I have about this — you have no idea,” Walls said. According to a report by The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, crime statistics showed vehicle break-ins for 2019 were on pace to exceed 2018 numbers by 57%, with the number of vehicle break-ins increasing in New Orleans by 160% since 2015. The commander largely blamed the city’s problem on Juvenile Court judges, who he says put juvenile vehicle burglars — which make up a large portion of the offenders — back on the streets, in many cases within a day of their arrest.

Delachaise residents grapple with blight, Cohen High parking and parade Port-o-lets

By Sue Strachan, Uptown Messenger

With the Uptown Carnival parades three weeks away, the new ordinances governing parades was one of the central topics at the monthly Delachaise Neighborhood Association meeting, Tuesday (Jan. 21) at Martin Wine Cellar. Other items on the agenda included updates on a new security district, Cohen High School demolition and parking, and blight. Milan resident Helene Barnett gave an update on the demolition and rebuilding of Walter L. Cohen College Prep High School, 3520 Dryades St. The demolition is scheduled for February, but the parking variance was still a major consideration: Cohen originally had 25 parking spots.

Community meeting about the rise of crime in Uptown informative and contentious

By Sue Strachan, Uptown Messenger

Having your car broken into via smashed windows has become the new normal in New Orleans. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, a group of neighborhood associations hosted a community meeting at the Jewish Community Center to “discuss the recent uptick of crimes and ways to combat it,” stated a notice from the Faubourg Delachaise Neighborhood Association. The meeting, which was moved from a meeting room to the larger Donald Mintz Auditorium, attracted more than 100 fed-up and concerned citizens who wanted answers and solutions. What they came away with is that, particularly with juvenile crime, there is no single solution, and that any improvement is an evolving process including New Orleanians, the City Council, the NOPD, the Mayor’s Office, state legislature, and the local, state and federal judiciary.

Yearlong roadwork in Freret neighborhood to repave streets, sidewalks set to start

By Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger

Around a year from now, city officials say, much of the Freret neighborhood will have repaved streets, repaired curb ramps and replaced sidewalks — with work set to start at the end of this month on a $4.2 million FEMA-funded roadwork project. Work on the project, which is one of more than 200 being funded across the city with more than $2.2 billion of FEMA money, is expected to begin on LaSalle Street either at the end of this month or early next month, according to a contractor on the project. The boundaries for improvements are bounded by South Claiborne on the north, LaSalle Street on the south, Jefferson Avenue on the west and Napoleon Avenue on the east, with an expected completion by early 2021. The work will then continue north toward South Claiborne Avenue, likely going from the Jefferson side of the project before finishing on the Napoleon side. Exact improvements on each street — available online at roadwork.nola.gov — were determined by FEMA, according to city officials.

Yearlong road repairs will begin soon in Freret Street area; meeting to provide details

The city’s Department of Public Works and the Sewerage & Water Board has planned extensive road repairs in the Freret Street area. A public meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 8, will provide residents an opportunity to learn more about the upcoming Freret Group A project and get their questions addressed, according to a notice from District B Councilman Jay Banks’ office. Roadwork NOLA is hosting the meeting to discuss the repairs scheduled to begin soon in the Freret Street area. They will include:

• Repaving the asphalt roadway from curb-to-curb;
• Patching the roadway with asphalt or concrete;
• Repairing damaged sidewalks with driveway aprons;
• Installing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps at intersection; and
• Replacing/repairing damaged underground water, sewer, and/or drainage lines.

Rep. Duplessis talks priorities, takes questions on homelessness at Lower Garden District Association meeting

By Sharon Lurye, Uptown Messenger

State Rep. Royce Duplessis, who represents House District 93, visited the Lower Garden District Association meeting on Monday for a question-and-answer session. District 93 includes parts of the Lower Garden District and Central City, where he lives. The election ended on Saturday for the voters, but it’s only just begun for legislators, who are now all vying for key committee positions. Duplessis said he’s working toward a spot on the House and Governmental Affairs Committee. Duplessis took Helena Moreno’s legislative seat in May 2018 after emerging victorious from a special primary election to replace Morena, who had been elected to her City Council at-large position.