New Orleans Life

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Y@ Speak: haunted

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 11:15 AM

In this week's Tales from the Cryptkeeper (hello): "The City Where Nobody Lives... Except The Visitors" and "The Team That Is Good (?) But Is Actually Very Bad."

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Short-term rentals in New Orleans get City Council approval

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 9:15 PM

At an Oct. 20 New Orleans City Council meeting, opponents of whole-home rentals in New Orleans wore "shame" buttons, with the Airbnb logo replacing the "A."
  • At an Oct. 20 New Orleans City Council meeting, opponents of whole-home rentals in New Orleans wore "shame" buttons, with the Airbnb logo replacing the "A."

Airbnb now has a framework to operate, legally, in New Orleans. After months of debates and public meetings over short-term rentals (STRs), their proliferation, and the impacts they've had in the city over the last several years, the New Orleans City Council on Oct. 20 passed a measure — introduced by Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration this week — that sets up permits, fees, taxes and an infrastructure for short-term rentals advertised on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

The motion prohibits full-time whole-home short term rentals in residential areas — but it will allow whole-home "temporary rentals" up to 90 days a year.

The vote followed a week of compromises laid out by Landrieu's administration, which initially supported the practice of whole-home rentals in residential neighborhoods, but backed off in favor of "temporary rentals" up to 120 days a year, then, ultimately, 90 days. Housing advocacy groups and residents — disappointed with the compromise vote — have demanded the city prohibit all whole-home rentals. Opponents, in red, wearing "shame" buttons and holding up signs, called councilmembers "sellouts"; proponents cheered.

The motion serves as a starting point to amend the city's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, the city's massive rulebook for land use through which all property manners adhere. It now will incorporate STRs.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Uninhabitable" storytelling showcase sheds light on New Orleans housing issues

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 5:45 PM

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Everyone has a landlord story. Or a mold story. Or a termite story. Or worse. Or all of the above. On Oct. 20, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center partners with the live storytelling series Bring Your Own to open the floor to "stories of being pushed out and pushing back," from evictions and absentee landlords to the rising costs of housing and rents in New Orleans.

The city routinely ranks among the worst U.S. cities for renters, though more than half of the city rents. Nearly 40 percent of renters pay half their entire income on rent and utilities, according to GNOFHAC. Housing costs continue to rise, outpacing wage growth and quality housing; about 80 percent of the city's 62,000 rental units need major repairs and thousands other rental properties endure mold, rodents and leaks. Housing advocates say renters can't get the city's code enforcement to respond to quality of life issues via 311.

The event aims to "shine a light on the leaks, rats,and mold that are all too common in the lives of New Orleans renters" through eight storytellers' grim, funny and thought-provoking true stories.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Radical Arts & Healing Collective (1340 Montegut St.) with food by Goodman's BBQ, a cash bar and music from Lost in the Holler. Storytelling begins at 8 p.m. Admission is free.

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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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