New Orleans Life

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Affordable housing exhibit pops up at Tulane City Center

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 5:00 PM

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As chatter about Airbnb, gentrification and volatile rental markets flies fast and thick, a new exhibit at the Tulane School of Architecture's Tulane City Center/Small City Center (1725 Baronne St.) examines affordable housing issues in New Orleans. 

Rather than focusing on what makes the city unusual or exceptional, this exhibit places local housing challenges in a broader national and international context. 

“There are many ways New Orleans suffers from, and rises to, the same challenges as many other cities,” center public programs manager Sue Mobley says. “(Calling it exceptional creates) a write-off of learning from others.”

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Marigny residents ask for Hampton Inn on Elysian Fields to look less like a Hampton Inn

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 10:46 PM

A slide shows a rendering of a Hampton Inn from the Decatur Street side of the hotel planned for Elysian Fields Avenue in the Marigny. A parking lot is at the rear of the hotel.
  • A slide shows a rendering of a Hampton Inn from the Decatur Street side of the hotel planned for Elysian Fields Avenue in the Marigny. A parking lot is at the rear of the hotel.

Faubourg Marigny residents got a first look at renderings of a four-story Hampton Inn hotel planned for Elysian Fields Avenue — the first major hotel chain to break ground in the neighborhood. But residents are asking developers to make it look less like a chain and more in step with the character of the neighborhood.

The hotel's introduction to the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association (FMIA) was a relatively welcome one, compared to the heated debates in 2012 among residents, the city and developer Sean Cummings, who until recently owned the property and had plans to turn it into luxury apartments. Cummings — who bought the property for $1.1 million in 2007 — sold it to hotel developers for $3.5 million last month. Cummings abandoned plans for the Elisio Lofts after the New Orleans City Council denied a height variance that would have allowed Cummings to build up to 74 feet.

The Hampton Inn, however, is shooting for 50 feet. Its shorter height isn't the only point on which the FMIA was sold: with the group's objection to the practice of whole-home short-term rentals on websites like Airbnb, the FMIA sees a hotel in the neighborhood as a way to force those rentals out. "We'd rather have that going on — in a property that has nothing going on — than have [short-term rentals] disrupt the neighborhood," said FMIA President Allen Johnson. Now, he said, it's up to the developers (and city planners) to determine "how much they take on and do" based on the suggestions of residents.

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Y@ Speak: can we survive 11 more games?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 5:17 PM

New Orleans survived another collective cardiac arrest brought on by our unrealistic expectations for success in sports crashing into a wall of reality. On to the next one. Also this week: comedians desecrate the city and false clown reports.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Free eye exams and glasses offered in New Orleans this week

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 3:49 PM

click image CREATIVE COMMONS/KEN TEEGARDIN
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/KEN TEEGARDIN

Free, comprehensive eye exams and prescription glasses are available to eligible patients at two locations in the city this week. 

A press release from the City of New Orleans announced the program, which is a partnership between the city and Eyes of Hope's VSP Mobile Eyes mobile eyecare clinics. Patients can go to the Sanchez Multi-Purpose Center (1616 Caffin Ave.) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and the Rosenwald Recreation Center (1120 S. Broad St.) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday for exams, which will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

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The Hole Gritty City: The New Orleans Sinkhole Tour rolls Oct. 22

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 11:36 AM

Workers are busy repairing this pothole on Stafford Place in Lakeview. - SHARESSA G.
  • SHARESSA G.
  • Workers are busy repairing this pothole on Stafford Place in Lakeview.

Ghost tours, history tours, architecture tours, cocktail tours — and now a tour of some of New Orleans' most notable sinkholes. What took so long?

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On the Clock: Waymon Morris, Carousel Gardens director of recreational services

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 9:58 AM

Waymon Morris takes a break to drive the train at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.
  • Waymon Morris takes a break to drive the train at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.


Waymon Morris and I sit on the bench-style conductor’s seat as the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park train pulls out of the station, into the dappled lawns and mossy shade of New Orlean City Park. The engine rattles crazily underneath us, like a piece of high-powered farm equipment or someone’s fixer-upper car that hasn’t yet been blessed with a muffler. Morris points to the timer on the rudimentary dashboard, which helps drivers know if they’re keeping pace with the train’s typical runtime, and pulls the shrill whistle, warning any wandering toddlers, errant ducks or distracted drivers of our approach on the 2-mile track. From the conductor’s perch, the whistle is so loud it could pop an eardrum, but literally everyone we pass  —  infants in Baby Bjorns, picnickers, a grandma out for a stroll with her Shih Tzus  —  smiles and waves. 

“I don’t care how old you are,” Morris half-confides, over the chuff and rumble of the engine. “Everyone loves the train.”

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Y@ Speak: the deadline to register to vote in Louisiana is Oct. 11

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 7:41 PM

In this week's edition of an election cycle in which candy must clarify its positions on refugees and sexual assault: Louisiana officials denounce Trump's comments (but not Trump) and we watched some "debates." Meanwhile: LSU thought it could take on a hurricane, and Mike Yenni won't step down despite many calls to do so after inappropriate and likely illegal sexual behavior. Sounds familiar!

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Mitch Landrieu goes after Donald Trump on American cities, criticizes Trump's "confused, racist vision"

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 4:55 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Minutes after the second presidential debate concluded Sunday night, Mayor Mitch Landrieu published a polemic on the website Medium against GOP nominee Donald Trump and Trump's vision of American cities.

"It suits his politics better to parachute in to places like Detroit and Philadelphia for photo-ops," Landrieu wrote, "while mostly giving red-meat speeches in front of white crowds outside of the American cities he is talking about."

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mid-City, Nix branches of New Orleans Public Library to close temporarily later this month

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 5:25 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.

Two New Orleans library branches will close temporarily this month — one for renovation, the other for relocation, according to a memo released today from library director Charles Brown.

The Nix branch library on N. Carrollton Avenue will close Oct. 15 for painting, electrical, plastering, plumbing and other major maintenance work. No specific date is set for the reopening, but library staff was told it would be in "early 2017."

As Gambit reported in May, the Mid-City branch will be moving from the American Can Company on Orleans Avenue to the 1963 Automobile Life Insurance building at 4140 Canal Street. That building was designed by Curtis & Davis Architects, and was designated a city historic landmark by the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission in 2010. The American Can location will close Oct. 22, and the Canal Street branch is set to reopen at the end of November. 

Patrons with book holds at either Nix or Mid-City Library are encouraged to visit a local branch to update their preferences, or do so in person at any library branch.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

New Orleans City Council moves short-term rental vote to Oct. 20

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 6:00 PM

City Councilmember caricatures on the steps of City Hall during a protest on Sept. 27.
  • City Councilmember caricatures on the steps of City Hall during a protest on Sept. 27.

Following years of debate and several studies, the New Orleans City Council was set to vote on a framework for regulating short-term rentals advertised through platforms like Airbnb. The vote was scheduled for Oct. 6. Today, the City Council announced it's moving the matter to Oct. 20.

But if the Council misses its Oct. 20 deadline, that could table the issue for good, at least until the next administration steps in.

The City Council is looking at a lengthy report and recommendations from the City Planning Commission (CPC) outlining four potential types of short-term rentals, a practice that currently is illegal but rarely if ever enforced. The CPC voted to prohibit whole-home rentals in residential areas, which account for nearly three-quarters of all short-term rentals in New Orleans and 2 percent of the city's entire housing stock.

Only a few City Councilmembers have spoken out against whole-home rentals — District A Councilmember Susan Guidry told Gambit in July that they're "the biggest threat to the quality of life of our long-term residents." District D Councilmember Jared Brossett said he's concerned about the "commercialization of residential neighborhoods as a result of whole-house short-term rentals." At-Large Councilmember Stacy Head said they would likely be "heavily regulated" if they're approved.

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