February 20, 2014
City Council Chamber
City Council Regular Meeting News Summary February 20, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council adopted an ordinance that strengthened the City's authority to address property maintenance violations. The Council also moved for approval on a zoning docket and ordinance in support of the reopening of the Orpheum Theater.
In other business, representatives of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club presented the Club's 2014 Royalty to the Council. The Council also celebrated the 100th birthday of famous New Orleanian Mrs. Willie Mae Seaton, and recognized award-winning couture designer Harold Clarke.
Strengthened City's Authority to Address Property Maintenance Violations
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,940, co-authored by Councilmembers Cantrell, Head and Gisleson Palmer, to amend the City Code relative to property owners' duties and the City's enforcement authority and procedures relative to weeds, debris and noxious growths.
Specifically, the Ordinance outlines the duties of property owners relative to the maintenance of plant growth and debris removal, as well as use of correction notices, the process by which the City notifies property owners of violations. In the event that a property owner does not comply with a correction notice within seven days after delivery of the notice, the Ordinance permits the City to perform any and all corrective actions provided in the correction notice and to bill the property owner for all costs.
In an effort to address blighted and abandoned properties, the Ordinance provides that the City may undertake continued corrective action(s) on a property on a monthly basis without re-noticing if the property owner has been notified at any time during the preceding twelve months, and if the owner has failed to perform corrective action(s).
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "It is our hope that all property owners will maintain their properties in a responsible and appropriate manner. However, this Ordinance gives the City the authority to address property violations in a timely and efficient way, and to ensure that blighted properties do not continue to deteriorate."
Supported Reopening of Orpheum Theater
The Council approved Zoning Docket 11/14 and passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,929, authored by Councilmember Cantrell, to provide a Conditional Use to permit the reopening of the Orpheum Theater in the Central Business District.
The Zoning Docket requests a Conditional Use to permit an Amusement Place with the sale of alcoholic beverages at 129 Roosevelt Way (formerly 129 University Place) in the Central Business District. The Ordinance provides for the establishment of the Conditional Use.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "New Orleans is a city that respects and celebrates culture and the arts, and our citizens, business owners and leaders are dedicated to protecting our city's unique character. The Orpheum is a beloved and historical New Orleans landmark and the ongoing renovations will restore the theater and bring it back into commerce for our citizens and visitors to enjoy."
Received Presentation of 2014 Zulu Royalty
Members of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club appeared before the Council to celebrate "Zulu Day" and to present the 2014 Zulu royalty, Zulu King Garren Thomas Mims, Sr. and Zulu Queen Georgette Anita Lang-Mims, along with the 2014 Zulu Characters.
The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club began in the early 1900s. The group's first appearance as Zulus came in 1909 and by 1916 the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club was incorporated. The Club's parade on Mardi Gras day has grown into one of the most popular parades and the Zulu Coconut has become one of the most sought-after and treasured Mardi Gras throws. The organization credits itself as "the everyman club" due to its diverse membership, which includes people from all walks of life and professions. Zulu contributes to a number of community initiatives including the Adopt-A-School program and the Southern University Scholarship Fund.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "Zulu has a long tradition of giving back to the community. The loyalty and dedication of its hundreds of members to mentor young people, organize toy drives for the holidays, and give out scholarships to our city's students is truly wonderful. The organization has always been a positive force in our city and an integral part of New Orleans Mardi Gras."
Commemorated 100th Birthday of Mrs. Willie Mae Seaton
Mrs. Willie Mae Seaton, along with family members, appeared before the Council to be congratulated on her 100th birthday on July 14, 2014. The Councilmembers led the Council Chamber in singing "Happy Birthday" to Mrs. Seaton.
Mrs. Seaton, a famous New Orleanian, is the founder of the renowned local restaurant Willie Mae's Scotch House, known across the nation for its fried chicken. Willie Mae's Scotch House opened in 1956 as a bar on Treme Street. Shortly after opening, the business moved to its current location on the corner of St. Ann Street and North Tonti Street where it shared space with a barbershop and beauty salon. In 1972, Willie Mae's Scotch House expanded and began restaurant service.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded the restaurant, and by 2007 it had been rebuilt and reopened with the help of funds raised with assistance from the Southern Foodways Alliance. After reopening, Mrs. Seaton's granddaughter, Kerry Seaton, took over operations at the restaurant. The restaurant has received recognition and accolades from the James Beard Foundation, TIME Magazine, and the Food Network.
Council President Clarkson said, "She is a New Orleans icon and a national treasure! We were honored to honor her!"
Recognized Accomplishments of Local Couture Designer
The Council recognized Harold Clarke, an internationally known, award-winning couture designer, for his many achievements and his commitment to bringing fashion to New Orleans.
Born in Jamaica, Mr. Clarke is an alumnus of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where he opened his first studio and showroom featuring designs that were sold to exclusive clients and boutiques nationwide. Mr. Clarke later began to specialize in couture bridal and special occasion gowns. After his work on a bridal party in New Orleans, Clarke began to create a collection inspired by the city. His designs have been worn by celebrities and socialites across the nation. Clarke has made New Orleans the home for his showroom of couture bridal and special occasion gowns, located at 102 St. Charles Avenue.
Council Vice President Head said, "We are honored to recognize Mr. Clarke for his outstanding achievements and his creativity. Each of his custom gowns is a work of art - inspired by our beautiful city and guided by his incredible talent. New Orleans is truly lucky to have him as our ambassador of fashion."