Volunteers needed for Hoffman Triangle Community Clean Up on Saturday

Volunteers are needed to join Hoffman Triangle residents and representatives from the city, businesses and churches for a Community Clean Up on Saturday, Jan. 18. Volunteers will be helping Hoffman Triangle neighbors from 9 a.m. to noon. Check-in is at 8:30 a.m. at Taylor Playground, 2600 S. Roman St., and from there neighborhood leaders will guide volunteers along the streets to clean. The event includes a resource fair where residents will have the opportunity to interact with several city departments.

Tree planting and rain-barrel painting among the activities at Hoffman Triangle event

Hoffman Triangle residents are invited to come out to Taylor Park on Saturday, April 6, from noon to 2 p.m. for a family-friendly event to learn about ways they can reduce flooding by planting trees, installing rain barrels and reducing paving. “Many neighborhoods in New Orleans, including the Hoffman Triangle, are vulnerable to repeated flooding,” said Dana Eness, executive director of the Urban Conservancy. The Urban Conservancy is working with Launch NOLA Green, Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL), Green Light New Orleans, Water Block, and the city’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability — as well as Hoffman Triangle residents, churches, schools and others — to improve the neighborhood’s stormwater conditions. “This event is part of a larger outreach effort aimed at understanding community needs, assets and growth opportunities” says Atianna Cordova, founder of Water Block and outreach manager for the project. At the Green Your Neighborhood event, Hoffman Triangle residents can learn about effective stormwater management techniques and resources to help reduce flooding on their properties and on their streets.

Rare gun seized in drug arrest may be linked to recent shootings

A rare, expensive gun specifically designed to pierce body armor was seized during a drug arrest Thursday and may be linked to a number of recent shootings, police said after making a series of gun arrests in Central City this week. About 4:30 p.m Thursday, an officer saw two men arguing in the 2100 block of Thalia and decided to intervene before the situation became violent, according to the incident report. One of the men, 36-year-old Gie Preston, was found to have a bag with 20 crack rocks in it and a loaded 5.7x28m FN Herstal semi-automatic, the report states. “The firearm was learned to be a rare, expensive, 5.7 x 28mm FN Herstal semi-automatic weapon containing twenty, live 5.7 x 28mm body armored piercing rounds. The weapon shoots small, high-caliber rifle-type projectiles barely seen on the street,” writes Sixth District Task Force Sgt.

Three weekend robberies under investigation

A Dominos Pizza driver making a delivery just off Louisiana Avenue was confronted by a group of masked and gunwielding robbers, a Hoffman Triangle resident was robbed in front of his house by another set of gunmen and a van driver on St. Charles Avenue had his windows smashed with a hammer by another would-be robber in separate this week incidents all under investigation by NOPD Sixth District detectives, authorities said. Details, via an email alert from the Sixth District:
Attempted Armed Robbery – 2100 block of Franklin Court 11/12/2011 10:16pm

A Dominos Pizza delivery driver was delivering a pizza and chicken wings to a residence in the 2100 block of Franklin Court. The driver parked his vehicle and exited with the food at which time he was approached by an unknown black male. This subject told the delivery driver “Give me that” while raising his shirt to reveal a handgun in his waistband.

Shuttered Central City movie theater slated for demolition

The old Gem Theater in Central City is on the city’s demolition agenda today (Monday, Oct. 17), as are a former fast-food restaurant on South Carrollton, a camelback and a double in the Freret neighborhood, and assortment of other homes in Broadmoor, Central City and Hollygrove. The Gem Theater in the 3900 block of Thalia Street operated from 1948 to 1961 for African-Americans, with a capacity of 800 seats, according to information at cinematreasures.org. [UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.]: Eleanor Burke, deputy director of the city’s Historic District Landmarks Commission, left the following comment on this article:
The Gem Theater at 3940 Thalia Street is a Designated Landmark under the jurisdiction of the Historic District Landmarks Commission. This item was placed on the NCDC agenda in error.

Neighborhoods to celebrate “Night Out Against Crime” with movie, health fair, cookouts and music

Neighborhoods around the city are preparing to celebrate the “National Night Out Against Crime” tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 11), and Uptown groups are all doing it their own way, with a movie night, a charity flea market, a health fair, multiple cookouts and live music. Here’s a list of events around Uptown:

Palmer Park (corner of South Carrollton and South Claiborne): Likely one of the largest events of the evening, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Music by Shocking Blond, food by Plum Street Snoballs, Crepes a la Cart and Fruit Sensations, prize wheel and fire engine exhibit. Hot dogs for $1 donation, and fundraising drive in support of NOPD and the fire department. Organized by the Carrollton Area Network (Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association, Carrollton United, Central Carrollton Association, Fontainebleau Improvement Association, Maple Area Residents Inc., StateStreetDrive.com, Northwest Carrollton Civic Association, Palmer Park Neighborhood Association).

Movie night Saturday at Taylor Park

The city’s “Movies in the Park” series returns Uptown this weekend with a Saturday night showing of Disney/Pixar’s acclaimed animated feature “Up” at Taylor Park. The movie starts at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at the park at 2600 South Roman Street. Concessions will be sold, but attendees should bring their own blanket or chairs and bug spray, and “Children are encouraged to wear costumes,” the flyer for the movie reads. For more information, see the New Orleans Recreation Department website.

Lusher continues quest for renovations, while Sophie B. Wright seeks a gym

Lusher Charter School intensified its cries for basic building renovations and Sophie B. Wright supporters made a full-court press for a gym Tuesday night at the second town-hall meeting Uptown on the allocation of federal money for New Orleans schools. As in previous meetings around the city, state and local school officials divided the audience of about 200 people at Dryades YMCA into three groups for free-ranging public-comment session. Each of those three groups Tuesday night was dominated by a vocal contingent of Lusher teachers, parents and administrators who insisted that their school’s buildings need critical repairs to the roofs, windows and air-conditioning systems that are ignored by the current master plan. “We’re not trying to say that work at other schools is not needed,” said Lusher High School principal Wiley Ates. “We’re just saying that Lusher has been taken out of the formula, but the building we’re in is in dire need of stabilization.”

School officials seeking comment Tuesday night on Uptown, Garden District, Central City school plans

State and local school officials return Uptown this week to continue their listening tour about plans for school buildings across New Orleans with a Tuesday evening meeting focused on schools in Uptown, the Garden District and Central City. Discussion at previous meetings has centered on finding a balance between supporting the needs of existing, high-performing schools and rebuilding schools in neighborhoods that have gone without a campus for years.In School Board District 5, the plans largely call for renovations, with Sophie B. Wright and Samuel J. Green scheduled for federal money, but the Fortier High School building used by Lusher Charter School or Benjamin Franklin Elementary in need of repairs without a funding stream identified. A list of District 5 schools is below:

Phase 1 (in progress)

Guste (KIPP Central City Primary) – $13 million renovation complete
Andrew Wilson – $29.2 renovation/addition complete
Mahalia Jackson – $15 million renovation complete
Lawrence Crocker – $21.3 million new school under construction
Carter Woodson (KIPP Central City Academy) – $22.2 million new school under construction
Booker T. Washington – $60 million new school and auditorium renovation in design
Eleanor McMain – $13 million stabilization and gym addition in design

Phase 2 (funded)

Samuel J. Green – $17.5 million renovation
Harney – $1.8 million minor repairs
Live Oak (Batiste Cultural Arts Academy) – $25.4 million renovation
Sophie B. Wright High School – $26.5 million renovation

Phase 3 (unfunded)

Allen (SciHigh) – $21 million renovation
Crossman (Esperanza) – $12.4 million renovation
Fortier (Lusher High School) – $46.2 million renovation
Franklin Elementary – $15.3 million renovation
Andrew Jackson (International School of Louisiana) – $15 million renovation
Sylvanie Williams (N.O. College Prep) – $9.9 million renovation

Removed from plan, no longer needed

Hoffman – demolished

No improvements planned, available for continued use

Ashe
Laurel (SciTech Academy)
Bauduit – potential swing space
Cohen – potential swing space
McDonogh 7 – potential swing space

Landbanked

Lafon
N.O. Free School – vacant and secured, for sale in 2011

Demolition of houses featured in “Treme” images garners praise from neighbors, scorn from preservationists

The clash between neighbors’ urgent desire to rid themselves of dangerous, derelict properties and the threat of destroying the city’s character in the process played out in public on Thursday, when the city demolished a row of blighted Central City homes used in the iconic poster for the HBO series “Treme.” Mayor Mitch Landrieu cast the issue as a choice between historic preservation and public safety, and said his decision to tear down the South Derbigny Street houses fulfilled a promise to Hoffman Triangle residents. Indeed, the residents told FOX 8 and WWL that the crumbling structures across from Taylor Park were havens for crime and an unsafe temptation for neighborhood kids. Preservationists, however, said the properties are less desirable as vacant lots rather than as salvageable examples of the city’s unique shotgun architecture, and so will remain unused longer after demolition than if they had been sold. David Simon and the other producers of “Treme” sent a letter dated April 7 to City Hall asking Landrieu to work with preservationists to find a way to restore the homes, but the letter “sat unopened at City Hall for a week,” reported The Times-Picayune, until reporters’ inquiries prompted Landrieu and others to read it the morning of the demolitions.