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May 032017
 

Friends of the Boogaloo held a crawfish boil for GiveNOLA Day to benefit the free fest. Crawfish was boiled by George from Mid-City Yacht Club (Claire Byun/cbyun@nolamessenger.com).

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

Bayou Boogaloo organizers are readying for the 12th annual festival, though they’re still ironing out a few details – including a lease with the city.

Unlike past years, the city is seeking $20,000 from the Mothership Foundation – which produces the free fest – to use the land around Bayou St. John for the weekend. Instead, organizers have proposed a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the city that dedicates $5,000 per year toward tree upkeep and litter abatement along the Bayou. Jared Zeller, president of Mothership Foundation, was on hand Tuesday evening to answer questions about the festival to members of the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association. Continue reading »

Apr 272017
 

City Park’s new South Course features several lagoons and historic oak trees that once lined the former City Park golf courses destroyed by Katrina (Claire Byun).

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

City Park has been running at a budget surplus for several months, but most of the excess stems from a state-mandated order against pay raises for the park’s staff.

Operating results for March exceeded the park’s budget by a little over $100,000. Revenues slightly exceeded what the park had planned, but the kicker comes from a major dip in expenses. Most of that stems from the park’s inability to give staff a yearly merit pay raise, which was mandated by the state legislature last year.

“There was money budgeted for a merit pay increase, if we were permitted to do so,” said City Park CEO Bob Becker. “And we were not permitted by the state.” Continue reading »

Apr 242017
 

A member of the Monumental Task Committee places candles and flowers along the Jefferson Davis Monument late Sunday night.

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

The Jefferson Davis Monument is still standing Monday morning after a group of pro-monument protestors stood guard over the night.

More than 50 people gathered in front of the Confederate president’s memorial Sunday night after rumors that Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration would begin taking down four monuments early Monday morning. The candlelight vigil was organized by the Monumental Task Committee (MTC), a pro-monuments group which previously filed a lawsuit aimed at preventing the Jefferson Davis statue—among others—from destruction. Continue reading »

Apr 142017
 

A man was killed on the 300 block of Jane Place in Mid-City Tuesday evening.

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

Personal crime incidents over the last four weeks were nearly two-thirds higher than the previous four weeks, though property crime has decreased.

New Orleans Police Department’s First District reported a total of 28 persons crime over the last four weeks. The previous month saw 18 persons crimes – which includes armed robberies, assaults and homicides – and doesn’t include the most recent homicides.

To cut down on personal crime, First District Commander Hans Ganthier is sending most of his resources to “hotspots” such as the Tulane Avenue and Ulloa Street neighborhoods. That area was the site of two murders over the last week. Continue reading »

Apr 112017
 

A representation of reported crimes within a quarter mile of the “hotspot.” Crimes include assault, a homicide and vandalism (via CrimeMapping.com).

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

The New Orleans Police Department is working with city officials to address rising violence surrounding a Mid-City business, but officials need input from neighbors when the time comes.

NOPD First District Commander Hans Ganthier addressed the rising violence and drug arrests at or near Ulloa Street Playhouse – a small restaurant that’s been troubling neighbors for years. A man was killed a block from the restaurant Saturday in a hail of gunshots from at least two different weapons, Ganthier said.

Police officers responded around 2:30 p.m. and found at the man dead on the sidewalk. Ganthier said NOPD has been combatting rising violence and drug sales at that location for months.

“We have been hitting this area, but apparently that’s not been as effective as we’ve liked,” Ganthier said to the Mid-City Neighborhood Association on Monday. Continue reading »

Apr 112017
 

Bayou St. John outlined in red.

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

Cassie Pruyn, local author, is writing a narrative history of Bayou St. John. The book – which will be published by History Press in New Orleans – is scheduled to come out later this year.

Pruyn is still looking to interview people who are important to the area, or who have lived in the neighborhood for years, for the book. Continue reading »

Apr 102017
 

A map of the reported sex crimes in the Fairgrounds neighborhood over the past month (CrimeMapping.com).

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

After a slew of sexual assault reports in the last few months, Faubourg St. John neighbors were concerned about a serial rapist in the area. Officials from the New Orleans Police Department assured residents against that idea.

Commander Doug Eckert, who’s in charge of the NOPD’s Sex Crimes Unit, spoke to the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association during their monthly meeting Tuesday. Eckert reassured residents that there’s no serial rapist running around the Fairgrounds, and only one rape has been reported so far this year. Continue reading »

Apr 072017
 

An overview of the station location map used during the public workshop.

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

Faubourg St. John neighbors have worked for weeks to identify the best future locations for bicycle sharing stations in the area, though residents aren’t sure their voices will be heard.

Steve Kaplan, member of the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association, said about a dozen FSJNA members determined the safest and most aesthetically-pleasing spots in the neighborhood for the stations. Neighbors shared their findings with city officials at the public bicycle share workshop in Mid-City on Monday.

“The program is going to happen,” Kaplan told FSJNA at its meeting Tuesday. “It’s going to happen, and where we put the stations initially is very critical. We tried to come up with the least invasive and most probably chance to succeed.” Continue reading »

Apr 042017
 

After years of protests, delays and lawsuits, City Park’s Bayou Oaks golf course is slated to open later this month (Claire Byun/cbyun@nolamessenger.com).

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

A brand new Mid-City golf course is just weeks from completion, and officials expect revenues to hit more than $1 million during the first year. Those profits, however, are planned for more charitable uses.

City Park’s newest championship golf course, called Bayou Oaks, opens to the public April 21. The $24 million course will be managed by the Bayou District Foundation, which oversees the North Course in the park as well.

Previously, Bayou District Foundation redeveloped the St. Bernard Public Housing Development to create Columbia Parc in 2010. The 53-acre site is now part of a Bayou District that includes an early education school, a planned K-8 public charter school and a college prep public high school two blocks away. J.T. Hannan, director of public and governmental affairs, said the district includes families from three income levels – low income, public income and market rate – which diversifies the housing complex. Continue reading »

Apr 032017
 

Residents discuss the best bicycle share station locations during a public workshop Monday evening.

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

A slew of bicycle share stations are proposed along Esplanade Avenue and the Lafitte Greenway, and Mid-City residents got their chance at criticizing or recommending them Monday night.

The 700 custom-designed bicycles will be placed at an estimated 70 stations designated at locations in neighborhoods around the city as part of a citywide bicycle share program, Dwight Norton of the mayor’s office of resilience, said. The program launches in October after three more public workshops, an online survey, several draft plans and a public hearing.

Norton and his team hosted the Mid-City/Bayou St. John bicycle share public workshop Monday evening to a crowd of about 40 people. Continue reading »