Viewpoint: City leaders must work together to get a grip on crime

As with most mayors entering a new term, LaToya Cantrell delivered an upbeat message at Monday’s Covid-restricted inauguration on the steps of Gallier Hall: Though New Orleans has endured a tough four years, citizens are resilient and many opportunities lie ahead. “Our time is now, and the best is yet to come,” Cantrell proclaimed. Like many New Orleanians, I soaked up her words, wanting to believe the city will change. It wasn’t long before the latest crime statistics brought me back to reality. Just 13 days into the New Year, seven innocent people have died.

Viewpoint: Crime and Covid will not mix well with Carnival

It’s Twelfth Night. I rushed out this morning to the King Cake Hub’s annual Carnival Kick Off Party, held this year at Zony Mash Beer Project. As I surveyed all the offerings, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of impact Mardi Gras will have on Covid and crime, both of which continue to break records. Carnival should be a record-breaking event as well. People are tired of being cooped up and want to celebrate.

Carnival 2022 parade changes leave out Magazine Street, Thoth’s altruistic route

All Carnival krewes will see route changes for 2022 Mardi Gras, Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Tuesday (Dec. 21). The Magazine Street leg of many parade routes has been eliminated, she said at a press conference. Magazine Street — where neighbors gather for a more laid-back parade experience — is a favorite viewing spot for many Uptown residents. The changes are necessary, officials said, because of staff shortages in the city’s public safety agencies, including the police, emergency medical and fire departments.

Traffic advisory: Work set to begin on Magazine Street reconstruction in Audubon Park

From the Mayor’s Office

New Orleans Department of Public Works and Louisiana Department of Transportation contractor Hard Rock Construction will begin construction on Magazine Street in and near Audubon Park next week. On Jan. 4, 2022, crews will begin lane closures on Magazine Street from Leake Avenue to West Drive to begin sewer and water line work on the first phase of the project, on the river side of Magazine. During this phase of work, eastbound traffic will be detoured to St. Charles Avenue via Broadway Street.

Traffic advisory: Octavia between Freret and Clara streets to close for six months

Beginning on Monday (Oct. 25) at 7 a.m., weather permitting, crews will close Octavia Street between Clara and Freret streets for approximately six months to safely accommodate full reconstruction of the roadway. The city’s contractor, Command Construction Industries, is starting construction on the $5.1 million bond-funded Octavia (Freret to Claiborne) full-depth reconstruction project. New roadways, sidewalks and underground utilities (water, sewer and drainage) are expected to be complete by summer 2022.  In general, Command Construction Industries will be working from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Permission to work on weekends may also be granted, if necessary.

Viewpoint: Don’t rush to hire a lawyer to help with your insurance claim

Many members of the legal community are aggressively marketing their services in the wake of Hurricane Ida to assist businesses or homeowners and renters with getting the money they deserve from insurance companies. After all, most of us pay thousands of dollars annually for coverage and should be compensated whenever legitimate claim arise. Not so fast, say other lawyers. At least two local attorneys, Megan Kiefer and Sal Brocato, are advising that citizens retain lawyers only if they feel their insurance carrier is not operating in good faith. “It’s premature to hire a lawyer right now,” Kiefer said.