New Orleans Life

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Idea Village co-founder Tim Williamson to take over NOLA Media Group

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 12:27 PM

Idea Village CEO Tim Williamson will become the next president of NOLA Media Group. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Idea Village CEO Tim Williamson will become the next president of NOLA Media Group.

Tim Williamson, CEO and co-founder of the entrepreneur nonprofit The Idea Village, will become president of NOLA Media Group (NMG), the umbrella company that oversees NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, NMG announced today.

Williamson, a native of New Orleans, worked with Cox Interactive Media in Pittsburgh before returning home and launching the now-defunct website InsideNewOrleans.com in 1998. He will take over at NMG Aug. 15, according to a letter from The Idea Village's board of directors, while remaining on the Idea Village's board. Emily Madero, chief operating officer of The Idea Village, will become acting CEO Aug. 1.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The "hotelization" of New Orleans: city planners question Airbnb

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 7:45 PM

Caroline Thomas' Coney Island-style satirical signs in 2015. - PHOTO COURTESY CAROLINE THOMAS
  • PHOTO COURTESY CAROLINE THOMAS
  • Caroline Thomas' Coney Island-style satirical signs in 2015.

Sometime this year, New Orleans will likely begin legalizing short-term rentals, creating some kind of framework for permitting and taxing properties on websites like Airbnb. It's been a long, drawn-out debate among residents feeling the squeeze from increasingly tourist-filled neighborhoods, Airbnb operators trying to make a buck, indecisive city officials and departments, and now hotel operators, who fear not only losing business but the hospitality industry itself, pushed further from the heart of the city, unable to afford it.

And despite continued objections from many residents, the City Planning Commission (CPC) and members of the New Orleans City Council, the city planning staff keeps floating the legalization of renting out entire homes — "principal" residential short-term rentals — per the request of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration. The CPC's June 14 meeting was set to vote on those staff recommendations for changes to the city's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, but the Landrieu administration requested moving the vote. The CPC agreed to move it to Aug. 9, which could mean a vote could come from the City Council, who has the final say on policy, as early as Aug. 11.

A packed crowd inside City Council Chambers on June 14 stuck through several hours of comments, mostly coming from residents from the Garden District and French Quarter and representatives from the city's hotel and tourism industry. Commissioners largely agreed Airbnb's creep could deal a crushing blow to the city if not legislated, enforced or regulated properly. "This is an emotional and complicated issue," said CPC Chair Kyle Wedberg, "This is a hyper-local issue. It happens house by house, block by block, neighbor by neighbor. ... An issue that's not only vital for us to solve but vital for us to get right."

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Y@ Speak: hate won't win

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 5:30 PM


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Monday, June 6, 2016

Y@ Speak: hurricane season

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 5:35 PM

As the Louisiana Legislature turns into "that season of an animated series they had to finish in Korea"-level collapse, we brace for the beginnings of hurricane season, a time to horde water and chips like we're all your prepper uncle.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

More love for Shaya and Cane & Table from national magazines

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 5:56 PM

Chef Alon Shaya. - COURTESY BESH RESTAURANT GROUP
  • COURTESY BESH RESTAURANT GROUP
  • Chef Alon Shaya.
Chef Alon Shaya's namesake restaurant is on a roll. The restaurant was named Best New Restaurant in America at the James Beard Foundation awards in May, and Shaya was named Best Chef: South by the group in 2015. Esquire's Tom Junod named Shaya the magazine's restaurant of the year in March. And Shaya (4213 Magazine St., 504-891-4213) also drew recent accolades from Saveur and Garden & Gun, among others.

This week, GQ included Shaya among its top restaurants in America. Written by New Orleanian Brett Martin, the survey explores dining trends from New York to Los Angeles, as well as cities less well known for dining, such as Atlanta. Martin reflects on everything from yacht club restaurants to more casual concepts, such as David Chang's chicken sandwich concept Fuku, and Shake Shack creator Danny Meyer's Chick'n Shack. 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mid-City Library to move to historic Automotive Life Insurance Building

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2016 at 4:26 PM

The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library this fall. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library this fall.

The Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL), which narrowly averted eviction from its home at the American Can building last year, will move to the two-story Automotive Life Insurance Building at 4140 Canal Street, City Librarian Charles M. Brown announced today in a memo to staff and city officials.

The modernist building, which features a marble-and-glass facade and terrazzo flooring, was designed by Curtis & Davis Architects (who went on to design the New Orleans Rivergate) and opened in 1963, It was designated a city historic landmark by the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission in 2010. The two-story building features 9,259 square feet of space on a 23,000-square-foot lot.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Y@ Speak: "satire"

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2016 at 5:25 PM

Last week delivered us a crash course in nonapologies, from state Rep. Kenneth "It Was Satire" Havard's unapologetic sexism to Bayou Boogaloo's Fence-pot Dome Scandal (can we start that instead of adding "gate" to any minor controversy). Also this week: ... what if termites adapted to eat people?

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

"NOLA Readiness Ride" spotlights evacuation points

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2016 at 11:17 AM

Evacuspot sculpture unveiled in Armstrong Park. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Evacuspot sculpture unveiled in Armstrong Park.

Volunteers from Evacuteer, a nonprofit that assists with the city's emergency evacuation programs, will ride RTA public transit lines June 1-3 to share information for the hurricane season beginning in June. 

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Who tells the story of the Confederate monuments in New Orleans?

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2016 at 6:40 PM

PHOTOS BY DERICK HINGLE
& KANDACE POWER GRAVES
  • Photos by Derick Hingle & Kandace Power Graves
While 100 people gathered for a panel at the Tulane Hillel building on Broadway Street on May 17, the Louisiana Senate nearly unanimously passed a "Blue Lives Matter" bill that classifies any offense against a police officer as a hate crime.

Similar measures were floated in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and growing unrest against police violence — but Louisiana was the first state to bring a measure to the governor's desk. “We have to stop this malicious trend before it starts," said Savannah Shange in a statement with Black Youth Project 100 New Orleans. "We cannot allow the gains of the civil rights movement to be squandered away by police officers scrambling to avoid criticism from their constituents." The statement added that including police — a public agency — as a protected class in hate crime legislation would "provide more protection to an institution that is statistically proven to be racist in action, policy and impact." The measure passed 33-3 without any discussion or debate.

The panel at Tulane — part of The Big Issue series on controversial topics in New Orleans — was to explore "what comes next" for the four Confederate monuments the city voted to remove last year, and what we stand to lose or gain with their removal. Predictably, the panel and the room exploded into a heated debate over the legacy of white supremacy, who gets to determine the city's future and interpret its often-painful history, and how mostly white supporters of the monuments respond to black critics sharing their pain and experience.

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Bayou Boogaloo fence comes down after day of online drama

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2016 at 12:26 PM

Fencing along the Moss Street side of Bayou St. John was taken down this morning after protests from neighbors and attendees of the annual Bayou Boogaloo festival. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • Fencing along the Moss Street side of Bayou St. John was taken down this morning after protests from neighbors and attendees of the annual Bayou Boogaloo festival.


After furious online reaction that threatened to derail the popular Bayou Boogaloo festival in Mid-City, organizers bowed to public pressure and removed a section of chainlink fence that stretched for several blocks along the Moss Street side of Bayou St. John.

This morning's removal followed a day of social media protest and complaints about the fence, which blocked the public from using the Moss Street levee for several days before the festival.

Other signs, which closed the popular walking/biking path on the Jefferson Davis Street side of the bayou for a week, were gone this morning as well, though it wasn't clear whether they had been removed by Boogaloo organizers or neighbors.

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