Whole Foods ekes out minor concessions from City Council: 9 p.m. closing time, pumpkins on the patio

After nearly a year of discussions and negotiations with neighbors and the city, Whole Foods Arabella Station will now be able to stay open an hour later on Sundays and display plants for sale on its front patio, with the official approval Thursday of only the least controversial of its requested changes to its operating agreement with the city. Specifically, Whole Foods will now be able to stay open until 9 p.m. on Sundays — matching its closing time the rest of the week — with the condition that it finish all its exterior maintenance and cleanup by 10 p.m. nightly. The store can also display plants, flowers and pumpkins for sale along its Magazine Street side, but no more than four feet out from the front wall. The store had requested an increase in the number of 18-wheelers allowed to make deliveries per day from one to four, and an extension in the deadline for deliveries from its present cut off at 11 a.m. to a later time of 3 p.m. Those changes, the store has argued, would have the effect of decreasing the amount of deliveries from smaller trucks, as well as spreading their arrival through the day to reduce congestion. But Councilwoman Susan Guidry, whose district includes the Whole Foods store, said she found the extended loading times unnecessary, because the store already has to do most of its loading before its 9 a.m. opening to avoid shutting down parking spaces around the loading bays.

Baronne Street, Hurstville neighborhoods to discuss Newman proposal

Officials from the Isidore Newman School will meet next week with the two surrounding neighborhood associations to discuss proposed changes to their campus, prior to the City Council’s vote on the issue next month. Several neighbors with concerns about the school’s plans had asked the school for time for such a meeting, and the City Council deferred its scheduled vote on the matter last week. The meeting of the Baronne Street and Hurstville neighborhood associations is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the Jewish Community Center. Details, from email:

The Baronne Street Neighborhood Association has invited residents of the Hurstville Neighborhood Association to its neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, Aug.

Mayor asks for Uptown budget priorities

Mayor Mitch Landrieu will host a meeting at 6 p.m. tonight at Dryades YMCA seeking input on the top budget priorities of residents of City Council District B, which spans much of Uptown, the Garden District and Central City. Quoting from email:
On Tuesday, August 9, 2011, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will launch a series of community meetings in each councilmanic district to discuss 2012 budget priorities. The first meeting will be co-hosted by District B Councilmember Stacy Head. They will be joined by Deputy Mayors, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas, NOFD Superintendent Charles Parent and department and agency heads. The Budgeting for Outcomes process is aimed at producing a more citizen-driven budget and ensuring improved government performance and accountability.

Little or no changes proposed for Uptown under City Council redistricting maps

Most of Uptown New Orleans appears likely to avoid a political tug-of-war over redrawing City Council boundaries, though one proposal would change the representation for a handful of neighborhoods along Jefferson Avenue. Of the five proposed redistricting plans unveiled this weekend, four show no changes to representation Uptown whatsoever, and one slides six voting precincts along Jefferson Avenue from Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s District A into Councilwoman Stacy Head’s District B.

For the last decade, all of Uptown has been divided between districts A and B along a line that runs the length of Jefferson Avenue from the river to Fontainebleau, then heads up Carrollton toward Mid-City. Guidry represents everything upriver of Jefferson into Lakeview (including the Audubon, Carrollton, Riverbend, and Leonidas neighborhoods); Head represents everyone downriver into the Central Business District (including Freret, Milan, Touro, the Garden Distirct and the Irish Channel); and both reach into parts of Mid-City. District A lost fewer people since 2000 than the rest of the city, so Guidry will have to give up some territory. District B’s population loss was about the same rate as the city as a whole, so it does not need any changes at all, and under some of the possible scenarios it simply is left touched.

Freret streetscape slated for June start, Claiborne in August, city says

Two long-awaited Uptown street-beautification projects are poised to begin this summer after issues with their contractor delayed them from an expected spring start, officials said Monday afternoon. The $500,000 streetscape upgrades on the Freret commercial corridor are set to begin in June, and $2 million worth of similar work on South Claiborne is expected to start in August, Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant told City Councilwoman Stacy Head during a meeting of the city’s Public Works Committee. The streetscape project on Freret is intended to be the city’s contribution to the revitalization of the corridor between Jefferson and Napoleon avenues, adding more signage at the entrances to the corridor, planting trees, upgrading streetlights, repairing broken curbs and making the sidewalks more accessible to wheelchairs. The project was announced last August as part of the mayor’s “100 projects” and residents had been told to expect an April start, but that month came and went without any construction or explanation. In Monday’s meeting, Grant blamed delays in the street projects around the city on a number of factors, design delays, contract holdups, traffic studies and “coordination with community.”

36 hours Uptown: Roads in review

Got an issue with the pace of pothole repairs, or the way that cars are parked in your neighborhood? If so, you might have something to add to today’s meeting of the City Council Public Works Committee. Chaired by District B City Councilwoman Stacy Head, the meeting agenda includes a review of the city’s parking-enforcement and pothole-repair practices. Also slated for an update is the state of the streetscape projects around the city. For details and links to this and other events in and of interest to Uptown New Orleans, see our full two-day calendar listings below.

36 hours Uptown: Redrawing City Council District B

The New Orleans City Council comes to Uptown this week as part of a 10-stop neighborhood tour seeking public input on how council district lines should be redrawn following the 2010 Census. City Councilwoman Stacy Head’s District B runs from Audubon though a number of Uptown neighborhoods to Central City and the Central Business district. Its population fell at roughly the same rate as the city’s overall population since 2000, meaning the 70,903 people now living in District B are quite close to the target of 68,765 for each district, according to the new Census. The other four council districts are either well above or well below that target, however, so any change to District B is more likely to come as a result of making adjustments to the other districts work. “District B can stay exactly like it is and still be within the margin of error that’s allowed,” Head said last week.