New Orleans Life

Friday, February 16, 2018

Editorial: New Orleans needs a local power source

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 2:18 PM


The New Orleans City Council soon willdecide whether to allow the local Entergy affiliate to build a new electric power plant in New Orleans East. The proposed “peaking plant” would provide New Orleanians with immediate power during periods of greatest demand — on the hottest days of summer, during hard freezes, and after severe weather events such as hurricanes. The council has been studying this issue for almost two years, and its Utilities Committee is scheduled to make a recommendation next Wednesday (Feb. 21). The full council will likely decide the issue next month.

Entergy New Orleans (ENO) wants to build a 226-megawatt facility, which local utility watchdog the Alliance for Affordable Energy rightly criticizes as inappropriate. In the face of this and other criticism, ENO has proposed an alternate 128-megawatt facility. The Alliance opposes this plan as well, suggesting that the council force ENO to use alternative energy sources — particularly solar power.

For most of the past century, the council has regulated ENO and its predecessors. Council members in recent decades have done a good job of holding the local utility’s feet to the fire — thanks largely to a battery of technical and legal advisors who have helped them navigate the arcane waters of utility regulation. In the present matter, the council’s advisors unanimously recommend approval of the smaller plant, which is roughly one-fifth the size of the old Michoud generating station. We agree, and we likewise agree with the consultants’ recommendation that ENO invest heavily in alternative power sources (including solar) and upgrades to its distribution system.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

'Mr. Okra,' New Orleans iconic produce vendor, dies at 75

Posted By on Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 11:19 PM

  • Mr. Okra.

"Mr. Okra," Arthur Robinson, the singing produce vendor who drove the streets of New Orleans for decades selling fruits and vegetables from his brightly painted truck, has died at 75. The news, which spread on social media tonight, was first confirmed by The New Orleans Advocate.

In 2009, when Mr. Okra's truck died, New Orleanians held fundraisers to buy him a new one. That year he was the subject of a documentary, Mr. Okra, by executive producer Andre Jones and director T.G. Herrington. He also was a fixture at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Robinson talked to Gambit in 2012 about his career and his legacy:
Oh, things change. I remember when children would see you coming, they'd call for their parents, saying, "Mama, mama, here comes the vegetable man!" Now, you pass by, some of these areas they got here, you ask the kids if their parents want something and they look at you like you're crazy.
A family member told The New Orleans Advocate Robinson died at home of natural causes. No funeral services or memorials have been announced.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

You can recycle your Mardi Gras beads at New Orleans libraries

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 3:34 PM

If you're looking to unload those 40 pounds of plastic headed for the back of your closet, consider making a trip to one of several branches of the New Orleans Public Library, which is partnering with the Arc of Greater New Orleans to recycle Mardi Gras beads and other parade throws.

Arc of Greater New Orleans helps create wage-earning jobs for people with intellectual disabilities to sort and repackage throws for future Carnivals. It recently opened its recycling center at 925 S. Labarre Road in Metairie, and the group also partnered with the Young Leadership Council to collect throws after the Freret and Thoth parades.

You can bring your beads and throws to the following New Orleans library locations:
Algiers Regional Library (3014 Holiday Drive)
Alvar Library (913 Alvar St.)
Children's Resource Center (913 Napoleon Ave.)
East New Orleans Regional Library (5641 Read Blvd.)
Hubbell Library (725 Pelican Ave.)
Rosa F. Keller Library (4300 S. Broad Ave.)
Milton H. Latter Memorial Library (5120 St Charles Ave.)
Main Library (219 Loyola Ave.)
Norman Mayer Library (3001 Gentilly Blvd.)
Mid-City Library (4140 Canal St.)
Robert E. Smith (6310 Canal Blvd.)

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Y@ Speak: Mardi Gras miracles

Posted By on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 4:47 PM

An indoor basketball game got rained out, but you had a tarp. A float hit a power line, but you waited for the parade. The route was flooded, but you made a bridge out of beads. Your Uber didn't show up, but you had a motorized wheelchair. As your aunt's 1999 AOL chain email with a picture of a baby's foot once said, "If you don't believe in miracles, perhaps you've forgotten you are one."

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

City Planning Commission holds off on Bywater hotel plans

Posted By on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Opponents of a proposed hotel in Bywater at the City Planning Commission's Feb. 6 meeting.
  • Opponents of a proposed hotel in Bywater at the City Planning Commission's Feb. 6 meeting.

The New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) is holding off on approving plans for a proposed hotel on St. Claude Avenue in Bywater, buying more time for developers to amend their plans or work with the CPC on a compromise. The CPC deferred action on the plans to its March 13 meeting.

As the CPC heard from the developers’ attorney Justin Schmidt Feb. 6, more than two dozen opponents in the crowd held signs that read “NO” or depicted a hand blocking a sun, an image that followed a campaign among residents and advocates to “Block out the Sun Yard.”

An online petition opposing the hotel has collected more than 3,000 signatures, while residents have challenged the developers plans to turn the former Truck Farm venue and neighboring properties along the 3000 block of St. Claude into a 37-room hotel with a bar, restaurant and pool with a parking lot across the street.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

New Orleans City Planning Commission recommends 'soft cap' on Bourbon Street strip clubs

Posted By on Tue, Feb 6, 2018 at 8:00 PM

Club workers and allies filled the Rosenwald Center to oppose limits on the number of clubs on Bourbon Street.
  • Club workers and allies filled the Rosenwald Center to oppose limits on the number of clubs on Bourbon Street.

With more than 200 strip club workers and advocates filling a makeshift meeting room inside the Rosenwald Center’s gym Feb. 6, the New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) rejected parts of a plan from the New Orleans City Council to limit the number of strip clubs on Bourbon Street.

The CPC instead followed recommendations from its staff that call for a “soft cap” of 14 clubs, rather than a harder cap limiting clubs to one per block face, as the City Council had proposed in its pitch for the CPC to study its feasibility.

The CPC’s recommendations now head to the City Council, which could adopt them into the city's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.

Today’s hearing follows raids of eight Bourbon Street clubs last month by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and the New Orleans Police Department, resulting in suspended alcohol licenses and some club closures, and a loss of income for hundreds of out-of-work dancers, bartenders and others club workers and their families in what otherwise is a lucrative Carnival season.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Y@ Speak: let them dance

Posted By on Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 6:23 PM

Strip club workers and allies hit the streets last week — so did city workers who teared down (some) ladders and declared war on the Krewe of Chad.

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Friday, February 2, 2018

A proposed hotel in Bywater heads to the City Planning Commission for approval

Posted By on Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 1:00 PM

The New Orleans City Planning Commission is set to weigh in on proposed plans for a hotel and parking lot on St. Claude Avenue.
  • The New Orleans City Planning Commission is set to weigh in on proposed plans for a hotel and parking lot on St. Claude Avenue.

As it prepares for zoning approvals next week, new details have emerged about a proposed hotel development on St. Claude Avenue in Bywater, where a lot formerly occupied by the Truck Farm space and several residential properties could be transformed into a 37-room hotel.

The New Orleans City Planning Commissions (CPC) appears likely to approve the plans at an upcoming hearing, pending developers’ amendments to the site plans at the request of the CPC. The CPC meets at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the Rosenwald Recreation Center (1120 S. Broad St.).

In December, several Bywater residents and property neighbors voiced their concerns about The Sun Yard, which calls for changing the block’s “four two-family residential uses and a vacant office” into a hotel with a restaurant, bar and pool.

In its 245-page report, the CPC says the “primary impacts of the proposal would include an increase in noise, litter or debris, and odors.” Those impacts will create a “a definitive increase in overall intensity and will certainly have an impact on surrounding properties.”

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Five first-aid stations are along the Uptown parade route

Posted By on Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 9:30 AM


Parades begin in earnest this evening, meaning beads-related black eyes, scraped knees from the high seas of New Orleans sidewalks and other seasonal ailments may be in your immediate future. Here are five places (in order from Uptown to downtown) where New Orleans Health Department will staff first-aid stations along the Uptown parade route on Feb. 2-4 and Feb. 7-13:
  • The corner of St. Charles and Napoleon avenues

  • The corner of St. Charles and Washington avenues

  • St. Charles Avenue and Felicity Street

  • At soon-to-be-renamed Lee Circle

  • St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street
There also will be a station at Orleans Avenue and N. Hennessey Street on Feb. 10, during the Endymion parade. Stations should be manned one hour before the first parade's float until crowds disperse.

God forbid you should need an emergency room at this time of year, but if it comes up, there are emergency departments at Touro Infirmary (1401 Foucher St., about two blocks off the Uptown route) and at Ochsner Baptist (2700 Napoleon Ave.). A little further away from the Uptown route — but close to the Endymion route — there is an emergency room at University Medical Center (2000 Canal St.).

Go ahead and text MARDIGRAS to 888777 if you'd like to receive weather, traffic and safety alerts from the city throughout the holiday season.

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Slideshow: Strip club workers march in the French Quarter to protest raids on local clubs

Posted By on Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 12:50 AM


Hundreds of strip club workers and their allies marched in the French Quarter tonight in an "Unemployment March" to protest recent ATC and New Orleans Police Department raids on strip clubs, which shut down work for hundreds in the busy days before the Mardi Gras season.

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