‘We all mask for you’: Audubon Zoo reopens with restrictions in place

The Audubon Zoo reopened to the public on Wednesday, June 3. Zoo visits, however, are now a little different than in the past. All visitors will follow a one-way trail through almost all of the zoo to see many of their favorite animals and wildlife habitats. The interactive and indoor exhibits remain closed. Due to state and city reopening guidelines, all zoo admissions, including member admission, must be reserved online in advance for a specific date and entry time.

Audubon Schools CEO is stepping down at end of the school year

Audubon Schools CEO Latoye A. Brown will be stepping down from her post at the end of the current school year, Audubon announced on Friday. Audubon is a highly rated public charter school offering French and Montessori programs for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade at two established Uptown campuses and a new Gentilly campus. 

The school has been struggling with financial difficulties recently. According to an email sent to Audubon parents in January, Audubon experienced a budget shortfall of $1.8 million dollars in the past year. The shortfall was attributed to a loss in revenue from the state coupled with rising expenses, including the need for expanded special education services. The following press release was issued just after 5 p.m. on Friday (Feb.

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

By India Yarborough, iayarbor@my.loyno.edu
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.

Mayor to hold meeting on parks millage

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and parks officials are holding a community meeting on the citywide parks and recreation millage proposal on Thursday, Feb. 7. The District B meeting will be held in the from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Lyons Recreational Center, 624 Louisiana Ave. The millage is reallocation of current property tax money for Audubon to include City Park, Parks and Parkways and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. Voters will decide May 4 whether to approve the city proposal to shift the current allocation of over $20 million in property taxes used to fund parks and recreation, which would notably provide City Park with city funding for the first time in its 169-year history.

Mayor and officials from NORD, Audubon, City Park tout plan to reallocate millage

Voters will decide in May whether the city will move forward with an ordinance to reallocate taxpayer revenue for park spaces. The ordinance does not include any tax increase for residents; it will rebalance revenue to help improve city services while bringing revenue to parks. The proposal would adjust the millage rates for Audubon Commission, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and Parks and Parkways in part to allow City Park to finally receive dedicated funding. The oversight for the city’s park and recreation assets would also be unified under the cooperative plan. “This vote represents a milestone in creating equity for our public spaces and rethinking how we allocate our tax revenue,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell in a press release.

City Council adds residency requirement for Audubon Commission members

All 24 members of the Audubon Commission must now be residents of New Orleans and appointed by the mayor under any circumstances, the New Orleans City Council decided this month — leading to the resignation of at least one member and growing calls for the commission to broaden its diversity by adding representation from more neighborhoods across the city. Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, chair of the council’s governmental affairs committee, is examining all of the city’s 75 boards and commissions regarding their composition, attendance and other structural issues. Starting alphabetically with the Audubon Commission, Gisleson Palmer said she found that the 1886 act of the City Council establishing the 24-member Audubon Commission specifically required that all of its members be “citizens and property-tax payers.” That requirement, however, was apparently lost at some point in the commission’s 140-year history, so Gisleson Palmer proposed restoring it, updating the archaic “citizens and property-tax payers” to the more modern standard of city residents. The Audubon Commission’s own handbook, she noted, also says the members must be 24 registered voters.

Private patrols or off-duty officers under consideration by Fontainebleau, university-area residents

A neighborhood association that stretches from some of Uptown’s most placid blocks to some that have suffered through open warfare between criminals and police is now exploring the idea of increasing its police presence with off-duty officers. The Claiborne-University Neighborhood Association held a sort of fact-finding session Thursday night about fee-based security districts, the first in what association president Scott Barron said would be a series of meetings informing residents about the concept. Security districts, used in a number of Uptown neighborhoods, usually levy an additional fee of several hundred dollars onto each property owner’s tax bill within a strictly defined area. That money is then used by a board of neighborhood residents to hire additional patrol officers (either off-duty NOPD officers or a private security team) who patrol only that area, from investigating complaints of suspicious activity to escorting residents to and from their homes at night. In order to be implemented in the Claiborne-University area, the association would first have to vote to request state Rep. Neil Abramson to draft a bill authorizing the district, and then residents inside the district would have to approve it in a special election.