The New Orleans Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating and identifying two suspects believed to have committed identity theft and to have used the victim’s stolen debit and credit card at various locations. The pictured subjects were seen on store security cameras illegally using the victim’s card at a Shell gas station on South Carrollton Avenue near St. Charles Avenue in the Riverbend neighborhood. Through investigation, NOPD Second District detectives learned that the subject pictured at right in the gray hooded sweatshirt possibly goes by the nickname “D-White.”
The two suspects were also seen driving a blue Subaru Legacy automobile, which was found to have been stolen from the Second District. The vehicle has since been recovered.
The agenda for tonight’s meeting of the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association includes an update on the state’s plans for James Weldon Johnson Elementary School and the old Priestly campus, as well as a discussion of the Neighborhood Engagement Task Force. The meeting is at 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday, Oct. 13) at Squeal B-B-Q at 8400 Oak Street.
Stung by the pain of a broken promise, members of the James Weldon Johnson Elementary School community did their utmost Wednesday night to convince the new chief of the Recovery School District to resurrect a plan to move their campus to a safer, more prestigious site a few blocks away. The Priestley site on Leonidas would symbolize social change, many said — traditionally, white schools in New Orleans were built on major thoroughfares like Leonidas, while black schools were tucked behind them in the neighborhood, like Johnson. But more importantly, the Priestley site is in a safer part of the neighborhood, they said. “The crime is very high here,” said Johnson principal Wanda Brooks. “This school year, we had a killing in the back by the cafeteria.”
As the Riverbend community continues its fight to move the Johnson School to the former Priestley campus, neighborhood leaders have released a petition in hopes of showing school officials wide support for the project. Leaders of the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association have been advocating the Johnson’s use of Priestley ever since it was stripped out of the school district’s master plan earlier this summer. After fiery appearances at several town-hall meetings with school officials, the survey represents the association’s latest tactic for drawing the district’s attention. The survey can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FJ88HVT. The Priestley site has a better, more central location that more parents would be comfortable sending their children to, association members have said.
For decades an eyesore, the old Priestley school site on Leonidas now represents the neighborhood’s best hope for a community school, and the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association is preparing to fight to be heard by state officials who currently plan to sell it. Less than a week after two members denounced local and school district officials for dropping plans to renovate Priestley, the association’s board voted Thursday night to urge school officials to return to their original promise to move James Weldon Johnson Elementary to the Priestley site, instead of the current plan to spend $16 million renovating Johnson and then selling off Priestley. The Priestley site is in a safer location on a main thoroughfare, which will make it more attractive to middle-class families in the neighborhood, the association said. The board discussed but did not take a position on the relative merits of renovating the old Priestley building versus demolishing it and constructing a new facility there. Some neighbors said starting over on the site might be cheaper and thus easier to convince the Recovery School District to do, while others described their personal fondness for the historic structure.
Like parents, educators and community members at so many schools around the city, supporters of James Weldon Johnson Elementary in Carrollton are increasingly frustrated with the latest plans for their campus. The public school system is embarking on a $2 billion three-phase to improve school facilities across New Orleans, and over the next month will be finalizing plans on how to distribute the money across the city. On Saturday, the latest version of these plans were presented at a public meeting at Xavier University, and among the new information was that renovations are no longer planned at the long-vacant Priestley High School site. The Priestly building was still being promised to Johnson Elementary as recently as a community meeting in January, but a Recovery School District official explained at Saturday’s meeting that moving Johnson is no longer a priority. The Sewerage and Water Board announced in late March a federal project to cease transporting poisonous chlorine gas through Johnson’s neighborhood, ending the hazard that had made the Johnson site a questionable location for a school, said Lona Edwards Hankins, the RSD executive director for capital projects.
Two Uptown neighborhood associations and a charter school board are all scheduled to have their monthly meetings on Thursday. The ReNEW Charter Management Organization board – which oversees Batiste Cultural Arts Academy at Live Oak and SciTech Academy at Laurel, both in the Irish Channel – will meet Thursday afternoon. That evening, the Irish Channel and Carrollton-Riverbend neighborhood associations are scheduled to have their May monthly meetings. For further details and links to these and other events, see our full calendar listings below. Wednesday
After years of representation in Baton Rouge by Jefferson Parish lawmakers, Carrollton residents see this year’s redistricting process as a chance to rejoin their neighbors in New Orleans, they told a panel of legislators in charge of the process Thursday night. Similarly, the Irish Channel is seeking to have its neighborhood voice reunited in one legislative district, and at least one local state lawmaker called that request a goal he shares. The Riverbend area of Carrollton is currently represented by state Rep. Cameron Henry in the state House of Representatives, forming a far eastern corner of his Jefferson Parish-based district. The four Orleans Parish voting precincts dmade up less than 10 percent of the vote in Henry’s district in the 2008 elections, said Marshall Hevron of the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association, and also voted very differently from the rest of the district. Most of the Jefferson voters cast ballots for Republicans John McCain in 2008 and David Vitter for Senator in 2010, while the Orleans Parish enclave strongly supported President Obama and then U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon against Vitter, Hevron said.
Cowbell on Oak Street and Pepperoni Cafe on nearby Hampson Street will be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages, the New Orleans City Council decided Thursday morning, but Bean Brothers Lounge was denied permission to reopen on Danneel Street in Central City. Both Cowbell and Pepperoni Cafe had been negotiating with the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association about the conditions accompanying their permission to sell alcohol, and both were in slightly unusual situations. Cowbell, at the far end of Oak Street, was actually zoned industrial, so it would have received permission automatically had it not been for a moratorium on new liquor licenses in the area. Pepperoni, meanwhile, had previously been in a nearby building that carried an alcohol license, but when it moved to its current location, the license did not move with it. The Pepperoni application had been opposed by the nearby Maple Area Residents at the January meeting of the city planning commission based on the general proliferation of restaurants serving alcohol in the area, but the planning commission granted its unanimous approval.
The old Priestley school is “a spectacular piece of property, and the amount of imagination that’s been directed toward what ought to be done with the property has been zilch,” said neighbor Robbie Robertson, frustrated by a lack of specifics on Priestley’s proposed reuse at a meeting about the future of New Orleans school buildings in the Recovery School District.