Throw Me Somethin’: Stop! Brake tags won’t be ready until Jan. 18 _lowres

The City of New Orleans unveiled a new vehicle inspection certificate design on Wednesday, December 30, 2015. The new certificates, commonly called brake tags, will be available to drivers on Jan. 18, 2016.

On a crisp, sunny day last week, I drove to a neighborhood car-care business to buy my annual Orleans Parish brake tag. (Or inspection sticker, to those living outside the parish.) I was thrilled not to be in a long line of cars and smiled as the attendant approached my driver’s window. Things went downhill after that.

The attendant said he couldn’t issue brake tags until Jan. 18, but did not know why. Back home, I got the scoop online at www.nola.gov/brake-tags/.

Seems the city’s Department of Safety and Permits revised vehicle inspection standards and requirements at the end of 2015. The new rules include the option for most drivers to buy a one-year or a two-year brake tag if they pass inspection. In years past, only one-year tags were issued.

I called City Hall for information and was told the new brake tags are in production and will be ready Jan. 18. I noted that Jan. 18 is a federal holiday in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and there was a pause. Then the voice on the phone told me to return to the brake tag station “the next working day” after MLK Day. Oops.

Don’t worry if your brake tag expires between Jan. 1-30, 2016. It will not be delinquent until Jan. 31.

The city’s website offers a look at the new stickers. Unlike the old ones, they are circular in design and uniform in color. The year of expiration is in the center and the month of expiration is indicated along the outer edge. I plan to get my two-year sticker on Jan. 19.

For information, including a list of vehicle inspection locations and the cost of brake tags for various vehicles, visit www.nola.gov/brake-tags/. To contact someone at the Motor Vehicle Inspection Bureau, call (504) 658-7170 or email braketag@nola.gov.

Parlez vous?

“The new year is a great time to set goals and challenge yourself to learn something new, like French,” said Aurelie Champvert, executive director of the Alliance Francaise of New Orleans.

The winter session of language classes begins this week. They are for all ages and levels and are taught by native, certified French teachers. They take place weekdays, evenings and Saturdays.

Adult classes are held at the Alliance Francaise French Language & Cultural Center, 1519 Jackson Ave. Classes for children 18 months through 5 years are held at Play & Grow Studios, 3900 Gen. Taylor St.

For information, visit www.af-neworleans.org/french-classes. To contact Champvert, call (504) 568-0770.

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at jensencolumn@gmail.com.