Uptown synagogues and other Jewish institutions on guard against potential attacks

The attack Saturday (Jan. 15) on a synagogue near Fort Worth, Texas, where four people were taken hostage, reverberated across the American Jewish community and heightened concerns about safety and security. Those concerns are particularly acute in Uptown New Orleans, the home not only of two synagogues, Temple Sinai and Touro Synagogue, but also of Tulane University’s Hillel and Chabad houses and the Jewish Community Center. 

“What we know, and have known for generations, is that it takes courage to walk through the world as a Jew, and it takes strength to deny those who would harm us the power over our humanity that they seek,” Touro Synagogue posted on its Facebook page after the hostage incident in Texas. “We will continue to be proud of who we are, and we will continue to love others for who they are.”

“We pray for peace for all of those families of all of those who were affected. We pray for the day when we’ll beat our swords into plowshares, our spears into pruning hooks, when none will make us afraid,” said Rabbi Daniel Sherman in a video message to his congregation, referencing words from the Jewish prophet Isaiah.

Viewpoint: It’s time for action from all criminal justice partners

Every partner in New Orleans criminal justice system is partially responsible for the city’s spiraling crime rate and every partner must do their job to help alleviate it, Councilman at-large JP Morrell said on WWL-TV earlier today (Jan. 20). “People are afraid to leave their homes,” Morrell said. “No one is walking in their neighborhoods.”

The City Council has begun two days of criminal justice hearings, which are already exposing the deep rifts between cops, prosecutors and judges. District Attorney Jason Williams said yesterday that New Orleanians want and deserve to be safe.

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.