NORD promises to reopen Saratoga Playspot, outlines improvements to historic Atkinson-Stern Tennis Center

Calling Uptown’s Atkinson-Stern Tennis Center one of the city’s jewels, Larry Barabino Jr., CEO of the city’s recreation commission, said NORD is moving forward with its renovation plans for the historic tennis venue. Barabino told the City Council’s Community Development Committee last week that the renovations that began in late 2020 are expected to continue until at least the end of this year. That information session will be discussed tonight (Aug. 17) at the Delachaise Neighborhood Association meeting. Opening in 1897 as a private club, Atkinson-Stern is one of the nation’s oldest tennis centers.

Ruling on parking paves the way for Cohen high school construction

The Board of Zoning Adjustments on Monday approved a long-debated parking plan for a rebuilt Walter L. Cohen College Prep high school campus. The campus will have more parking spots than the School Board originally proposed, but the plan falls short of the amount lobbied for by the school’s neighbors in the Delachaise area. The high school operated by the New Orleans College Prep charter school network is set to redeveloped into a 103,000-square-foot three-story building with 35 classrooms that could accommodate about 600 students and 75 faculty and staff members. The school currently on the site will be demolished. Such a campus, according to the city’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, needs 145 off-street parking spaces.

Driver ordered out of her car by gunmen at Willow and Amelia

Two armed men stopped a woman driving on Willow Street in the Milan neighborhood on Tuesday evening and ordered her out of her car at gunpoint, and the vehicle was later found burned in Central City, police said. The woman and a friend were driving on Willow preparing to turn onto Amelia around 10:30 p.m. when a black Dodge pickup in front of them slowed to a stop, according to a police report. Two men with guns got out of the truck and ordered the victims to get out of the car, and the victims did so and took off running, the report states. The car was later found at the intersection of Erato and South Roman streets in Central City, and had been set on fire the report states. Anyone with information about the case should call NOPD Second District detectives at 658-6020.

NOPD: Woman breaks into shed with toddler in tow

Maybe she couldn’t get a babysitter? A 42-year-old woman is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile after she allegedly took a toddler with her while she attempted to break into a stranger’s shed, authorities said. A resident of the 4000 block of Magnolia in the Milan area arrived home Nov. 8 and was startled to see a small child sitting in his driveway, said Sgt. Warren Keller of the NOPD property-crimes division.

Controversial demolition request for St. Charles Avenue mansion returns to city

The controversial demolition of a St. Charles Avenue mansion leads the agenda for this afternoon’s meeting of the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee, which also includes properties in a number of other Uptown neighborhoods. The home at 5428 St. Charles Avenue was designed by Emile Weil, the noted architect of landmarks throughout the city, and the Goldring family’s desire to tear it down and replace it with a building of their own design has upset neighbors and preservationists in the past. The request was slated for a decision last month, but deferred until today (Monday, Oct.

Blight fight comes to Freret and Milan this weekend

On Saturday morning, two of the Uptown New Orleans neighborhoods that have been most energetic in seeking their own revitalization will receive a shot in the arm from the city and hopefully hundreds of volunteers on “Fight the Blight” day at Samuel Square park. Samuel Square sits on both sides of Napoleon Avenue near Loyola Avenue, placing it in both the Freret and Milan neighborhoods. Over the past year, the Freret commercial corridor has surged with new businesses opening, and Milan residents have entered a new level of partnership with police to quell crime on their streets. Improvements to the park will be the focal point of the “Fight the Blight” efforts, with volunteers picking up trash, installing new park benches and picnic tables, painting swing sets and repairing the basketball court. But city officials will extend their fight against blight in a five-block radius around the park, going deep into both the Freret and Milan neighborhoods to identify nuisance properties for targeted enforcement.

Officer fired for lying about chase that led to Uptown teen’s death

The officer involved in a high-speed chase down Milan Street that led to the death of a college student home for the holidays in January was fired from the NOPD this week for lying about the case, authorities said. Officer Justin Ferris was pursuing a car after its occupants allegedly discarded what appeared to be narcotics during a traffic stop, police said at the time. As the suspects attempted to elude the officer, they crashed into another uninvolved car at Milan and Freret, where 18-year-old Mariah Woods was sitting. The Xavier Prep graduate was home from her first semester at Northwestern State University, and her death led to widespread mourning throughout the neighborhood and the school community. The full text of the announcement of Ferris’ termination is below:

Superintendent Ronal Serpas fired Officer Justin Ferris today after a thorough investigation by the Public Integrity Bureau revealed that Ferris broke several departmental rules while in pursuit of a driver who refused to pull over last January.

NOPD: False carjacking call was prostitute’s ploy

After negotiations over a prostitution deal went awry, a woman called in a false report of a carjacking in the Milan neighborhood in an effort to retrieve a purse that was never stolen, police said Wednesday. Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, the woman and a potential customer were sitting in her rental car near South Robertson and General Taylor streets, discussing the price for a sex act, said Sgt. Ron Dassel, a NOPD Second District task force leader. The woman became angry when she discovered the man didn’t have the money she wanted, and ran out of the car, then called police from around the corner and reported a carjacking, Dassel said. Officers flooded the area — “The response was almost instantaneous,” Dassel said — and quickly found the woman, the still-parked rental car, and the man who had also fled on foot after the woman left.