Who Runs the Streets of New Orleans? | NY TImes


On the morning of Sunday, March 29, Sidney Torres was sipping an espresso in the kitchen of his mansion on the edge of the French Quarter when a jarring notification lit up his iPad and two iPhones. Pimps fighting with drug dealers and johns. Man has gun. Hurry. The message came from a neighbor 10 blocks away, on St. Louis Street, and was sent through a venture Torres started four days earlier: a private police patrol that could be summoned via mobile app. Torres, who made a vast fortune as the founder of SDT Waste & Debris Services, a sanitation company that cleaned up much of New Orleans in the years following Hurricane Katrina, spent $380,000 to fund the enterprise after a crime wave put Quarter residents on edge for the better part of a year. Between November and January, there were more than 60 robberies in the neighborhood, and the crimes became increasingly brazen, including a vicious stabbing and a spate of random beatings. It became a personal issue for Torres on Dec. 17, when his 8,000-square-foot home was burglarized; three weeks later, the bar next door was held up by two masked gunmen. Torres’s crowdsourcing approach to crime, conceived throughout February and March, was the impulsive byproduct of his belief that the New Orleans Police Department, which has shrunk by around 500 officers since Hurricane Katrina, was no longer able to protect even the neighborhood less than a square mile in size that contained the city’s most valuable real estate.

Seated at his kitchen table, Torres began furiously refreshing his iPad. The screen displayed a digitized map of the Quarter, a grid of 78 city blocks that, as a national historic landmark and the center of the city’s $6.7 billion tourism industry, draw upward of nine million visitors each year. A red dot represented the incident in progress on St. Louis, while a green arrow indicated a member of Torres’s squad, the French Quarter Task Force, which at all hours had three armed officers zigzagging the neighborhood in matte black Polaris Rangers that resemble militarized golf carts. When Torres, who is 39, had deployed the same vehicles in his garbage business, the decimated city became cleaner than ever. ‘‘Basically, I’m handling crime the same way I did trash,’’ said Torres, whose brooding good looks and penchant for self-promotion earned him the nickname of Trashanova before he sold his sanitation company to a national conglomerate in 2011.

Read more via NYTimes

The Cultural Politics of Hurricane Katrina


After the Storm« traces the cultural and political responses to Hurricane Katrina. Immediately after Katrina, and during the past nine years, its devastating consequences for the Golf region, New Orleans, and the American Nation have been negotiated in a growing number of cultural productions - among them Spike Lee's documentary film »When the Levees Broke«, David Simon and Eric Overmyer's TV series »Treme«, or Natasha Trethewey's poetry collection »Beyond Katrina«. This book provides interdisciplinary perspectives on these and other negotiations of Hurricane Katrina and puts special emphasis on the intersections of the categories race and class

Read more and pre-order via Amazon.com

10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina inspires multimedia novel



An "Elegy for the Lost City," written by a career musician about New Orleans, can't help but be jazzed up, jived, and funkified by the diverse assemblage of world-class players, homey hipsters, and denizens of the Deep South in this “down river Lake Woebegone,” so described in this pre-book release review by Pulitzer Prize-Nominated Playwright and Peabody Award Winner Willy Holtzman.
“Elegy” is cast in the accents and attitudes of New AW-lins, where elongated vowels can take on a life of their own and real life characters like Dr. John and Harry Connick Jr. pop up amid the fictitious inhabitants of this deeply-rooted, dialect-rich place.

A pop culture countdown to the apocalypse with Hurricane Katrina as an allegory for what awaits us all, Goldstein’s “Ficto-Reality” novel is filled with tragic untimely losses mirroring the Storm’s holocaust. Edited by Michael Lydon, founding editor of Rolling Stone and dean of American rock journalists, “Elegy” is set among the music and restaurant worlds of New Orleans and spans the centuries in time-tripping style with the Crescent City as its epicenter. Lydon was enthralled by Goldstein’s “free-flowing prose, peppered with stinging humor,” describing it as “A book to be savored like a spicy crawfish bisque – read it, but be warned of this risk: you may soon feel an overwhelming urge to experience ‘N’awlins,’ not just through Goldstein’s eyes and ears, but by spending a few weeks there yourself.”

“An Elegy for the Lost City” brings a post-modern interpretation to the calamitous events of Hurricane Katrina, where every neighborhood bears the scars of “dat’s not dere no more” and every corner turns on the memory at those who were taken, or still unable to return. Encompassing 300 years of history from D’Iberville to modern day DuFossats, “Elegy“ enters a diverse world of jazz, jambalaya and funk–Jesus, Jews and Buddhism. It’s hushpuppies, crawfish and kreplach, spirits in mystic visions, shape-shifting guides, imaginary friends, and past-life revelation; a spicy world where mystery abounds. In New Orleans’ first satellite outpost of St. Louis, the disparate families of “Elegy,” under the spell of cosmic confluence all share attendance at the most famous and unique event in baseball’s epic storied history, 1961’s “Miracle of the Foul Balls,” featuring Roberto Clemente’s World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates against the Cardinals.

Read more via prnewswire

COOLinary New Orleans August 1-31, 2015 | coolinaryneworleans.com


During the month of August, enjoy 2-3 course lunch menus for $20 or less and 3 course dinner menus at $39 or less  and 3 course brunch menus at $39 or less at over 50 award winning restaurants. Experience cuisine that delights your palate and is an integral part of the history, fabric and culture of New Orleans.

More and more restaurants are signing up every day so be sure to check back often. It’s going to be a delicious summer! Don’t forget to ask for the Chef’s COOLinary Menu.

Read more via CoolinaryNewOrleans

17 shocking stats that show how the 1 percent have ruined New Orleans | Salon

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, the nation saw tens of thousands of people left behind in New Orleans. Ten years later, it looks like the same people in New Orleans have been left behind again.


The population of New Orleans is noticeably smaller and noticeably whiter. While tens of billions poured into Louisiana, the impact on poor and working people in New Orleans has been minimal. Many of the elderly and the poor, especially poor families with children, never made it back to New Orleans. The poverty rate for children who did made it back remains at disturbingly high pre-Katrina levels, especially for black children. Rents are high and taking a higher percentage of people’s income. The pre-Katrina school system fired all its teachers and professionals and turned itself into the charter experiment capital of the US even while the number of children in public schools has dropped dramatically. Since Katrina, white incomes, which were over twice that of blacks, have risen three times as much as blacks. While not all the numbers below are bad, they do illustrate who has been left behind in the 10 years since Katrina...

Read more via Salon

How many new restaurants in New Orleans will survive? | NOLA.com

Photo by Todd A. Price, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

In 2015 at least 28 restaurants have opened in New Orleans. And we're only halfway through the year.  In 2014, 60 new restaurants opened and only five of them are closed:

That means that 92 percent of 2014's new restaurants have survived.

Academic studies have shown that 26 percent of new restaurants typically close in the first year. By the third year, 59 percent are gone.

Clearly, New Orleans restaurateurs are beating the odds.

Over the past decade, those of us who closely watch restaurants have been amazed by how many have opened and how few have closed.

Read more via NOLA.com

Boil water advisory issued for most of New Orleans | WVUE


A precautionary boil water advisory has been issued for most of New Orleans.

The advisory is in effect for the East Bank of New Orleans, according to the Sewerage and Water Board.

Residents in the affected area are advised not to drink, make ice, brush teeth, bathe, shower, prepare or rinse food with tap water unless it has been properly disinfected until further notice.

At 2:55 a.m. this morning, the S&WB Carrollton Water Plant experienced a number of Entergy power surges that resulted in interruptions to the Claiborne and Panola Pumping Stations.

Read more via WVUE

Three dead, nine injured in movie theater shooting | The Advertiser


Three people were killed and nine wounded when a lone gunman opened fire in a Lafayette movie house Thursday evening.

Lafayette police confirmed shortly before 8 p.m. law enforcement officers responded to a call about an active shooter at the Grand 16 Lafayette at 3141 Johnston St.

Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft confirmed at least three people were killed, including the gunman, who died from a self-inflicted wound.

Two victims were pronounced dead at the scene. Nine were transported to area hospitals, eight by ambulance and one by private party. One victim died at a hospital.

The suspect was described by several witnesses as a white, middle-aged male. State Police said the shooter, whose identity was not released late Thursday, was 58 years old.

Read more via The Advertiser