New commander to take over NOPD’s Second District

The New Orleans Police Department announced a change of command in the Second District, which oversees police services for Audubon, Carrollton, Hollygrove and other Uptown areas. Capt. Jeff Walls, the Second District commander since 2019, assumed command of the Eighth District on Friday. He replaced Capt. Anthony Caprera, who retired Friday after a 37-year career with NOPD. It’s Walls’ second leadership assignment to the Eighth District, which comprises the French Quarter, CBD, Marigny and Warehouse District. On Monday (June 21), Lt. Eric Gillard, the second in command in the Second District for the past four years, will be promoted to the rank of captain and assume command of the Second District.

Centenarian has seen 100 years of Uptown life

Sedonia M. Duffel, an Uptown native and long-time resident, will turn 100 on Tuesday (June 15). She has lived Uptown for most of her life, beginning in a shotgun double on Louisiana Avenue and eventually in her current home on Austerlitz Street that she and her late husband, Whelmon Duffel, purchased more than 50 years ago. The centenarian is the mother of eight, grandmother of 13 and great-grandmother of 17. Her grandchildren hosted a celebration in her honor on Sunday with limited family, friends and neighbors. One of 14 children, Duffel overcame a serious case of dropsy (edema) as a child but was still able to help raise at least seven of her siblings.

Uptown team wins top prizes at Hogs for the Cause

An Uptown team of amateur pitmasters was named the 2021 champion over the weekend at Hogs for the Cause. The celebration of smoked meat returned to the festival scene at a new site in Belle Chasse. The barbecue and music festival hosted over 80 pork-punny teams from around the country along with musical acts like Anders Osborne and Old Crow Medicine Show. The Grand Champs, Lard and in Charge, are a true Cinderella story. In a field of teams consisting of 30 to 50 members, the Lards got it done with less than a dozen dedicated barbecue warriors.

Locally produced ‘Garden District’ named Best Short Film at London International Film Festival

A locally shot short film, “Garden District,” won Best Short Film at the 2021 London International Film Festival, held virtually last month from London, Garden District Productions announced. During the ceremony, Bryan Batt and Barret O’Brien were awarded Best Lead Actors in a Short Film for their roles in “Garden District.” “We are so proud of the amazing cast and crew of ‘Garden District’ for this prestigious national honor,” said “Garden District” creator Rosary O’Neill. “This film was written to celebrate New Orleans and all of its eccentricities, and the stellar local cast really deserve this recognition.”

“Garden District” is a short film created as a sizzle reel for a future potential television series.  It was produced in its eponymous neighborhood by a local cast and crew and focuses on the life of a New Orleans family.

Hoffman Early Learning Center awarded $400,000 grant from The Kellogg Foundation

The Kellogg Foundation awarded Hoffman Early Learning Center (Hoffman) a two-year grant for $400,000. “These funds will help the center achieve sustainability and to achieve its mission to provide a high-quality, affordable early education to children from a diverse set of socio-economic background,” said Joel Castro, CEO of New Orleans College Prep which operates Hoffman. “We know there is a need for our services, and the support from the Kellogg Foundation will greatly help us further our mission,” said Castro, citing research showing that there are nearly 12,000 low-income families with children ages 0-4 without access to affordable, quality early childcare programs in New Orleans. “Our job is to close the learning gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers,” he said. “We are doing that,” said Hoffman Executive Director Zerlander Ragas.

Ghost bike honoring unnamed cyclist is part of ‘a community effort’

 

Just days after the a cyclist was killed in traffic on St. Charles Avenue, a “ghost bike” was placed at the site to honor his memory. There are a number of groups that make and place these ghost bikes (not to be confused with the Germany-based bicycle company of the same name) around New Orleans. This one was made by Angie Bailleux, who has been fabricating the bikes for going on five years. Bailleux said she does not know the victim.

Neighbors hold nightly vigils in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Protests and demonstrations calling for social justice have continued across the country for months now, including here in New Orleans. Every night, groups in neighborhoods throughout the city come together at 6 p.m. on-the-dot to silently kneel, sit or stand for nine minutes to demand justice for George Floyd, who was murdered by police officers in late May, and to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. “The Kneeling for 9 Minutes movement is bringing together neighbors from all walks of life and various backgrounds who all want to see our country make more progress toward ending systemic racism and creating a more just and equitable society,” said resident Angie Breidenstine, an organizer of one of the Uptown nightly vigils. “Meeting every night is a way to keep the issues visible and central–for ourselves and for our community.”

Purposely gathering on neutral grounds during high-traffic hours at main intersections—such as Oak Street at Carrollton Avenue, Magazine Street at Napoleon Avenue, and Bonnabel Boulevard at Metairie Road — the demonstration is blatantly visible to the hundreds of cars that pass each evening. While some respond with snickers and shouts of opposition from rolled-down windows, most responses come in forms of car honks and chants of support.

Council members to give away 16,000 masks citywide on Saturday

The Councilmembers representing the city’s five districts — Joe Giarrusso, Jay H. Banks, Jared C. Brossett, Kristin Gisleson Palmer, and Cyndi Nguyen — will host a free citywide mask giveaway at 10 a.m. this Saturday, June 13. Uptown locations include the Notre Dame Seminary, 2901 S. Carrolton Ave., and Kingsley House, 1600 Constance St. The event is set to provide 16,000 face coverings to the public, many of which are washable and reusable, to prevent further spread of COVID-19. This joint mask giveaway by the five District Councilmembers is their way of encouraging the wearing of masks or face coverings as the City of New Orleans continues its phased reopening. “As New Orleans works to reopen the doors for our local business, industries, and community organizations, many citizens still need face coverings or masks to reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19,” said District D Councilman Jared Brossett in a statement.

Four Lusher seniors receive full leadership scholarships as Posse Scholars

Four Lusher Charter School seniors have been named Posse Scholars, an honor that provides them with full-tuition college scholarships. Two of the students, Esperanza Milla and Allan Buezo, plan to stay in New Orleans and attend Tulane University. India Miller is heading to Villanova University in Pennsylvania, and Kayla Red will attend Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. The four Posse Scholars were chosen for their leadership potential. The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits and trains individuals to become tomorrow’s leaders.