Fire in vacant Central City house damages nearby buildings, displaces residents

Eight people were displaced Saturday by a fire that started in a neighboring abandoned property. New Orleans firefighters responded to a 911 call reporting a fire at 2708-10 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The first NOFD company arrived at 1:17 p.m. to find a one-story, wood-framed double shotgun heavily involved in flames. The flames were spreading to neighboring properties, so the firefighters  struck a second alarm. The neighbors had evacuated their homes before the first unit arrived.

Toxic fumes still plague Uptown neighborhoods, Irish Channel residents say

On a pleasant spring evening last week, Irish Channel residents Kimberly Terrell and Justin Vittitow met at Parasol’s to plan a presentation on the air quality in their neighborhood. They were sitting outside the bar, but soon had to go in. Fumes that had drifted in from across the river were burning their throats, Vittitow said. 
Nearly two years after the City Council passed a resolution in support of Irish Channel residents’ efforts to rid their neighborhood of toxic fumes from industry on the Mississippi River in Jefferson Parish, Vittitow and Terrell — members of JOIN (Jefferson, Orleans, Irish Channel Neighbors) for Clean Air — were back in Council Chambers. They spoke Tuesday (March 28) to the Joint Climate Change and Sustainability and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We still have this.

Community Lighthouses begin to shine; hubs will provide aid and energy during disasters

A rousing performance from the Roots of Music marching band kicked off the opening ceremony Saturday (March 25) for the Community Lighthouse project at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Washington Avenue. An initiative of Together New Orleans, the Community Lighthouse project is envisioned as a citywide network of solar-powered hubs with backup battery capacity throughout the city, so that every New Orleanian is within walking distance of an energy and aid source during power outages. The pilot phase of 24 community lighthouses is expected to be fully operational ahead of the 2023 hurricane season. The event Saturday celebrated the completion of the first two lighthouse:, one at Bethlehem Lutheran and another in Broadmoor Community Church. Together New Orleans is a coalition of faith-based and community institutions all over New Orleans.

Roadwork ahead: Camp and Washington to close for six weeks

The intersection of Washington Avenue and Camp Street will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning Monday (March 20) at 7 a.m. The closure is expected to last about six weeks. Crews from Department of Public Works contractor Hard Rock Construction will be doing subsurface utility repairs. The intersection is scheduled to reopen by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 28. Traffic control measures such as barrels and fencing will be onsite to direct drivers and pedestrians. The $12.5 million Camp Street (Louisiana Avenue to Washington Avenue) Infrastructure Improvement Project calls for repairing and/or replacing sewer and drainage lines.

Roadwork ahead: Lanes closed on St. Charles Avenue near MLK Boulevard

The city has temporarily closed alternating uptown bound travel lane on the 1400 block of St. Charles Avenue, approaching Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The closure to accommodate asphalt paving operations will last all day on March 2, until 5:30 p.m.
Vehicles parked on the 1600-1800 blocks of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between St. Charles Avenue and Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard should be moved off the street, and the Department of Public Works asks that residents adhere to the “no parking” signage on the streets. Vehicles parked in these zones will be ticketed and towed.

Public safety, crime reduction to be explored at Coffee on Your Corner

Public safety officials will take your questions on Thursday (Feb. 23) at the next Coffee on Your Corner with the District B Neighborhood Engagement Office. Representatives with the Violent Crime Task Force and with NOLA311 will meet with citizens. Mayor LaToya Cantrell formed the Violent Crime Reduction Task Force, under the command of Orleans Parish Communication District Executive Director Tyrell Morris, in January to strategize methods of crime prevention. Morris will present updates at the meeting, according to Kevin J. Kellup, the neighborhood liaison for District B. Kellup said 15 to 20 District B community leaders will also participate.

Viewpoint: Amid the revelry, be aware that this can happen

By Stephanie Knapp, guest columnist

On a Monday night in November, the Pelicans were playing the Warriors at the Smoothie King center. It was chilly outside, with an early sunset thanks to daylight savings time. My fav neighborhood bar — with its craft beer, reliable big screens, and low-key, cozy vibe — was the perfect place to tune in. I’d watched games there often enough, usually accompanied by my writing or a novel for multitasking during timeouts. But that evening, I ended up leaving early.

Viewpoint: Could Tyre Nichols’ killing have happened in New Orleans?

My heart went out to RowVaugh Wells as she watched the evidence unfold last week against the seven rogue Memphis police officers and three first-responders who are alleged to be responsible for the untimely death of her son Tyre Nichols. A 29-year-old Black man, Nichols died on Jan. 10, three days after a fatal encounter with the MPD’s Scorpion police unit. Nichols made the mistake of trying to run away from the officers during a traffic stop. Running from the police is never a wise move and usually leads to an ugly chase.