Help the Audubon Zoo name its new lion cubs

With the Audubon Zoo closed to the public, few have been able to meet the newest addition to the zoo’s swelling pride: two male lion cubs. Born in January to mom Kali and dad Arnold, the two cubs are still unnamed. But the zoo keepers are planning to change that, and they are asking for your help. Animal care staff at Audubon Zoo have narrowed their selection of names down to their top three: Haji, Radi and Asani. All the names are Swahili words chosen for their sound and meaning.

Pokémon Go didn’t go away; it’s right in front of you

By Sue Strachan, Uptown Messenger

In 2016, it seemed like Pokémon Go was everywhere. And as quickly as the game jumped into the public’s imagination, it seemed to disappear. However, the game didn’t suddenly vanish, and it didn’t necessarily go underground, more like under-the-radar, much like the game’s mysterious Pokémon, Unown. One place to find the action in New Orleans was at a PVP (Player vs. Player) tournament at the home of a dedicated player, who asked not to be identified.

Newly planted Napoleon Avenue trees shielded from barrage of beads

By Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger

It’s become one of the postcard images of Carnival in New Orleans — beads and other debris lining trees along the Uptown parade route, some to the point of being hardly recognizable. But parade-goers this season on the Napoleon Avenue portion of the route won’t take in any sights that like there — at least if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has its way. That’s because over the past week, the corps has installed more than 100 nets to block beads from latching onto trees on the Napoleon Avenue neutral ground — trees that have just been planted in the past month and are still getting used to their environment, according to corps spokesman Ricky Boyett. “The timing and impacts of Mardi Gras season have been a known factor in this project since its early planning. Netting has been placed to shield the trees from beads becoming wrapped around young branches,” Boyett said, adding that temporary fencing has also been put up around trees to keep pedestrians from walking on the developing root systems.

But what would likely be the most damaging for the trees actually wouldn’t be the beads themselves, according to Boyett, but their removal, which he said could damage new growth.

Army Corps of Engineers is giving Napoleon Avenue neutral ground a makeover

By Emily Carmichael, Uptown Messenger

The Napoleon Avenue neutral ground between Claiborne Avenue and Magnolia Street is in the process of getting a face lift, one designed with both beauty and floodwaters in mind. The new trees and walkway may look like simple landscaping to a passerby, but is actually what the Army Corp of Engineers calls “green space restoration,” a technique that has been shown to reduce flooding. The restoration is part of the Army Corp of Engineer’s Southeast Louisiana Flood Control Project, a $2 billion set of infrastructure improvements meant to reduce the risk of flooding in the event of heavy rain. This is the same project that oversaw the installation of a canal under Napoleon Avenue, the construction that disrupted Carnival celebrations for many in New Orleans. A portion of this neutral ground lies on the parade route and is prime space to set up camp for parade viewing.

Padlocked for two months, Lafayette Cemetery’s future still unclear

By Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger

Tourists flocking to what’s become one of the Garden District’s most popular destinations are met with is just a padlock and a sign: “Lafayette Cemetery #1 will be temporarily closed for repairs.”

It’s been over two months since the city of New Orleans, which owns the cemetery, shut down the area for public access, as it performs the most extensive restoration effort in recent history on the site, which has graves dating back to the 1830s. The city says that work there is long overdue, with natural weathering and a massive spike in tourist interest taking a toll on the historic tombs. That work so far has been scarce, though, according to Martin Leblanc, who says the tour groups he leads there will regularly consider the site among the top three or four to visit in the city. “I think they’re going to finish this cemetery after they finish the streets in New Orleans,” he said. “We haven’t seen any work.”

Martha Griset, who’s overseeing the work with city Property Management, said the city has spent time evaluating how to move forward on the restoration, and has already done some work clearing plant debris.

Irish Channel neighbors planning cleanup in Burke Park on Saturday

The Irish Channel Neighborhood Association is conducting a makeover of a favorite neighborhood green space: Burke Park. Neighbors are getting together Saturday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to clean up and repaint the structures in Burke Park, Annunciation and Second streets. Volunteers will repaint the concrete bleachers and the concessions and restroom buildings. They also plan to trim the bushes and do a general cleanup in the park — in advance of Movie-in-the-Park Night on Oct.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 to close temporarily for repairs beginning Monday

On Monday, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District is scheduled to close temporarily for maintenance and repairs conducted by the Department of Property Management, the Mayor’s Office announced. During the closure, neither the public nor commercial tours will be permitted in the cemetery. Tomb owners may continue to access their family plot and make funeral arrangements by calling Property Management at 504-658-3781 to set up an appointment. Some of planned work includes thorough cleanup of debris; trimming of grass, overgrowth from street trees; removal of magnolia trees; repair of water line; removal and repaving of walking paths; structural repair of brick wall on the Coliseum Street side; repairs of abandoned tombs; and drainage improvements.

Voters approve overhaul of city’s parks and recreation agencies

An underwhelming number of voters Saturday overwhelmingly decided to allow the city to reallocate the property tax money going to parks and recreation. The parks and rec measure passed with the support of 76% of the voters who showed up for a single-issue election; by the time polls closed, 18,308 city residents had pressed the “yes” button. In its initial, unofficial estimate, the Secretary of State’s Office puts the turnout at 9.4% of registered New Orleans voters. The more than $20 million in property taxes used to fund parks and recreation will be split among City Park, the Audubon Commission, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, and Parks and Parkways. Notably, the change will provide City Park with city funding for the first time in its 169-year history.

Parks and rec officials: Ballot proposal means services, jobs, safety and more

By India Yarborough,
Loyola Student News Service

New Orleanians will decide the fate Saturday of a city proposal to redistribute parks and recreation funds. And while many city residents might gloss over the plan’s fine print, involved parks and rec organizations say the proposal is an effort to improve the quality of life of New Orleans residents. “It’s vital, and it’s no fluff,” said Ann Mcdonald, director of the city’s Department of Parks and Parkways. Parks and Parkways is one of four parks and recreation organizations in the city that have an interest in seeing the millage proposal pass. The proposal, if passed May 4, would take the 6.31 mills of taxpayer dollars that are currently divided between Audubon Nature Institute, New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and the Department of Parks and Parkways, and redistribute that money more evenly between four organizations: Audubon, the development commission, Parks and Parkways, and City Park.