Looking past gaffes in 'czar' Blakely's memoir of Katrina recovery

By Jed Horne, The Lens news editor |

It’s too bad that Ed Blakely’s book about his two years as New Orleans “recovery czar” is so full of sloppy mistakes. (“Blacks didn’t have permission to march in Mardi Gras blackface parades until the 1970s.”) Howlers like that undermine his credibility.

Grocer forging ahead with plans to resurrect Seventh Ward's iconic Circle Food Store

By Ariella Cohen, The Lens staff writer

It was the place to go if you wanted to put food on the table, a uniform on your child or even a doctor’s eye on that lingering ear infection. Best known as a full-service grocery, Circle Food Store had physicians and dentists working in cramped offices a floor above the produce aisle, and a clerk to cash checks and sell school uniforms not far from a sweet-smelling bakery.

Landrieu ditches Nagin plan

Call it the off-target plan. Mayor Mitch Landrieu is moving away from predecessor Ray Nagin’s recovery strategy of pushing projects in 17 “target zones” across the city.

Let’s hope the second time is a charm

New Orleans officials again are taking bids to oversee and manage a long-awaited grant program for grocers serving low-income communities. Known as the Fresh Food Retail Initiative, the $7 million federally funded program was stalled last month when U.S. Housing and Urban Development officials, who are providing the money, balked at the city’s bidding process.

Let’s hope the second time is a charm

New Orleans officials again are taking bids to oversee and manage a long-awaited grant program for grocers serving low-income communities. Known as the Fresh Food Retail Initiative, the $7 million federally funded program was stalled last month when U.S. Housing and Urban Development officials, who are providing the money, balked at the city’s bidding process.