New Orleans Life

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fix My Streets sign giveaway, shirt sale

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 2:52 PM


Fix My Streets Nola, the local grassroots movement founded by Lakeview business and civic leader Robert Lupo, is holding a yard sign give-away and T-shirt sale from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday (May 22) inside the Chateau Cafe, 139 Robert E. Lee Blvd. (in the West Lakeshore shopping center).

Yard signs will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis — while supplies last, Lupo said. "Fix My Streets" T-shirts are being sold for $20 each, with all proceeds going toward printing more signs.

Fix My Streets Nola began as an attempt by Lupo to draw attention to the state of streets in Lakeview, but it quickly expanded to address streets citywide. Since its inception, the movement has garnered increasing media attention, including my column this week in Gambit. "The simple goal of Fix My Streets Nola is to use social media and a yard sign campaign to get the attention of city officials," says Lupo.

By most accounts, it is gaining traction very quickly. Lupo has been interviewed my most local TV stations and is scheduled to be a guest on Angela Hill's WWL-AM radio show May 28.

Gambit is also the media partner of Fix My Streets Nola. We're co-sponsoring a three-week "Pimp My Pothole" photo contest. Rules and more info are available HERE.

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Should developers build a 21-story hotel at Canal and Tchoupitoulas streets?

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 2:32 PM

These brick buildings (behind the low-rise structures in foreground) are on Tchoupitoulas Street near Canal Street. Owner Kishore "Mike" Motwani wants to raze them, along with neighboring structures, to build a 21-story hotel on the site, but neighbors and preservation groups object. - JEANIE RIESS
  • These brick buildings (behind the low-rise structures in foreground) are on Tchoupitoulas Street near Canal Street. Owner Kishore "Mike" Motwani wants to raze them, along with neighboring structures, to build a 21-story hotel on the site, but neighbors and preservation groups object.

In a city that loves to talk about itself, the changes New Orleans has made after Hurricane Katrina and the levee collapses are more and more often the subject of heated conversation and debate. With an influx of economic development, where do we relax our stringent standards for authenticity and historic preservation, and where do we uphold them? And who decides?

That’s a tension the newly elected New Orleans City Council will attempt to balance Thursday, when a developer will appeal for the right to tear down several small historic (but neglected) buildings at 105-111 Tchoupitoulas Street and 422 Canal Street to build a 21-story hotel.

The project, spearheaded by Kishore "Mike" Motwani of Jayshree Hospitality LLC and the Minnesota-based hospitality management company Wischermann Partners Inc., seeks to build two hotels, a Marriott Residence Inn and a Marriott Springhill Suites.

The $120 million project has been rejected twice — first by the Central Business District Historic Landmarks Commission (HDLC) and then by the Architectural Review Committee. Among the loudest voices opposing the project is the Preservation Resource Center, whose senior advocate, Michelle Kimball, says it’s uncommon for the City Council to approve a project that’s already been denied twice by government entities. Still, Kimball is uncertain. “You never know when you’re coming on with a new City Council what might happen,” she says.

The City Council has issued few clues as to how its members might vote tomorrow. Council President Stacy Head declined comment on the matter, while District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who represents the district that includes the proposed development, issued a lukewarm statement without taking a side.

“She’s currently looking at it,” says spokesperson David Winkler-Schmit. “There are a lot of different things to consider.”

A spokesperson for Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the mayor opposes tearing down the historic buildings.

Sean O’Laughlin, vice-president of development and construction for Wischermann, says it’s not up to a few disgruntled neighbors to decide whether New Orleans plays host to a $120 million redevelopment project on its main street, which already is lined with high-rise national hotels.

“It truly is (the leadership of the City Council) that needs to make this decision on behalf of the greater good, the city,” says O’Laughlin. “Or, is it going to be the chosen few of immediate neighbors that will have the larger voice? I say today that I think the project is more about the street of Canal than it is about the neighbor across the way. And that is hard to say. The last person I want to be is the big bad developer.”

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Y@ Speak: What are your #NOLAConfessions?

Posted By on Mon, May 19, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Last week's @BeingNOLA user @animatedGeoff asked New Orleans for its deepest, darkest, least nEaUxLa-iest thoughts. We present to you some of the highlights. Also this week: the Solange Special, Bayou Boogaloo, and the Foo Fighters at Preservation Hall.

And a big thanks to all of you who submitted your nominations for the 2014 Y@ Speak Awards. We'll announce the finalists soon, so stay tuned.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

NOPD release proves we're all just living in a gumbo party sitcom called New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, May 16, 2014 at 2:07 PM

No, America, no! We're not a place where people ride their Mardi Gras floats through drive-through daiquiri shops on their way to gumbo parties where jazz bands play alligators like trombones and women take off their tops in hopes they'll be showered in beignets.

We are the home of proud universities, of world-class art and culture, of Silicon Bayou, of #NEWORLEANSWILL and ...

... what?

Never mind.

New Orleans Police Department
Wanted for Simple Robbery

The victims allowed the pictured female, claiming to be a voodoo priestess, into their residence ... 

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Y@ Speak: the swarm

Posted By on Mon, May 12, 2014 at 11:38 AM

This week's Y@ Speak looks back at a week of end time plagues: swarming termites, flash floods, spiders, gentrifiers, football players, Supriya Jindal shooting a gun, moms. Moms saved the day and week. Good work, moms.

And a friendly reminder that nominations are open for the 2014 Y@ Speak Awards. Submit your nominations for your favorites by midnight, May 18. Then we'll open up the voting for finalists leading up to the awards on June 2 at Publiq House. Go nuts.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

The New Orleans Mother's Day shootings of 2013 — one year later

Posted By on Fri, May 9, 2014 at 1:37 PM

One year ago on Mother’s Day, a jubilant group of New Orleanians was second-lining behind the Original Big 7 Social Aid & Pleasure Club at the club’s annual Mother’s Day procession in the Seventh Ward. About 1:45 p.m. on May 12, as the bands and marchers reached the corner of Frenchmen and North Villere streets, a fusillade of gunfire strafed the peaceful crowd. Within seconds, 20 people had been injured by bullets or in the crowd’s frantic attempt to escape. Some crimes still shock even violence-inured New Orleanians. The Mother’s Day shooting of 2013 was one of them.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu and New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas promised the shooters would be found — quickly. Surveillance footage released to the public showed a man in a white T-shirt raising a 9mm handgun and firing into the crowd before running away. In less than a week, police arrested brothers Akein and Shawn Scott. Akein Scott, the alleged shooter, was no stranger to cops; he was an alleged affiliate of the Frenchmen/Derbigny street gang. At the time, he was scheduled to appear in court the following week, and just before the shooting he was out of jail on a $15,000 bond.

After the shooting, Orleans Parish Magistrate Gerard Hansen set Akein Scott’s bond at $20 million — half a million dollars for each count of attempted murder. Scott and his alleged cohorts have not yet gone to trial. They are scheduled to appear in federal court next month. Trial is set for June 16 before U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

2014 Y@ Speak Awards: nominations are live

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 10:30 AM


Nominations are now open for the 2014 Y@ Speak Awards. We added a few new categories this year, including one suggested in our all-call for ideas, bringing the total awards to 14. That's 14 Very Important awards some of you will receive at our distinguished ceremony "adult" Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards except you win shame instead of a surfboard free event on June 2.

New categories for 2014 include "Most Informative Account" and "Funniest Account." We also have categories for "Best Bar/Restaurant Account" and "Best Business Account (Retail or Service)." And thanks to @superrrmoon's suggestion, we added "Best Newcomer to Twitter." (Mini spoiler: we'll likely incorporate your other great suggestions into our award ceremony.)

Our other categories include: Best Female Account, Best Male Account, Best Twitter Feuder, Best Media Personality Account, Best Athlete Account, Best Local Band/Musician, Best Comedian Account, Best Celebrity Account and Best Politician Account.

Click here for the nomination page. Nominations are open from today, May 7, through midnight Sunday, May 18. Only Twitter accounts based in the New Orleans area will be considered. And please use the Twitter handle (as in "@yat_speak") and not just the name of the user (as in "Yat Speak"). The top five finalists will be whittled down from nominations and committee input, and finalist voting opens Wednesday, May 21 through midnight Wednesday, May 28. The winners will be announced at the Y@ Speak Awards on Monday, June 2 at Publiq House (4528 Freret St.), with your returning host Ian Hoch.

Go forth and vote. Tell your friends. This is your civic duty.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Y@ Speak: #JazzFest, week two

Posted By on Mon, May 5, 2014 at 1:21 PM

How was your week? Did you go to Jazz Fest? Great! Us too. Did you go to Jazz Fest and take a Twitter dump all over your coworkers then wake up and realize you did that and blame it on a software malfunction? No? Good!

Here's a look at the last few days' of this year's Fest, from marriage proposals to second lines to $319,000 parking.

Also: we're announcing the nomination period for the second annual Y@ Speak Awards this week. We're looking for your ideas for a new award category, so feel free to send us those (you have until tomorrow). The awards are June 2 at Publiq House.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Y@ Speak: #JazzFest, week one

Posted By on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM

If you're reading this, you survived the Krewe of Chad Bachelor Party Massacre of 2014, in which many recycling bins were tumbled and fists were bumped. Elsewhere, this year's Jazz Fest kicked into gear as @BeingNOLA went with weeklong Phish programming, Jason Isbell got hustled and had a couple get engaged, Solange hung out with empanadas and Glen David Andrews, and we learn one woman's Jazz Fest "cleansing" ritual.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

A treasure trove of archival New Orleans footage has been posted to YouTube

Posted By on Sun, Apr 27, 2014 at 2:07 PM

The online historical archive British Pathé has released 85,000 archival newsreels to YouTube and among the treasure trove of archival footage is a slew of films about New Orleans from the early 20th century. Of course, many of the films, like the one above, are about Mardi Gras but there are also a few interesting clips of Hurricane Katrina, General Charles DeGaulle's visit to the Big Easy in 1960 and footage of the Catholic Congress in 1938.

If you're into history, check out all the best New Orleans archival films below and then head over to the British Pathé YouTube Channel and geek out on some history.

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