Aug 022013

Craig Giesecke

While we’re still packing boxes, spinning off furniture and generally preparing for our move, I’ve had to take time out to schedule one final Big Event while we’re still in New Orleans. While others get involved in White Linen Night or the Red Dress Run, I’m gearing up for the Louisiana Restaurant Association Expo at the Convention Center this weekend.

I love food shows, but the LRA Expo is more than just your average feed-me-for-free event. It’s part reunion, part discovery expedition and all playground for those of us in the food biz. It’s not just a gathering of folks from around Louisiana or the Gulf South, but also from around the country. Though each year brings some different offerings, we can always depend on tremendous hospitality from Wendy Waren and the entire LRA crew. Continue reading »

Aug 012013

A rendering of a proposed floodplain park around the Monticello Canal in Hollygrove, similar to those proposed for other canals around the city in a new water-management strategy for New Orleans.

Rainfall should be diverted out of Uptown via the Mississippi River instead of carrying it all the way to Lake Pontchartrain, and major drainage ditches like the Monticello Canal should be expanded into interior floodplains and water-storage features, according to two recommendations that illustrate how New Orleans should be better managing its water instead of just pumping it away.

The Water Management Strategy presented by architect David Waggonner to a standing-room only crowd Thursday evening at Xavier University is a regional plan for making more efficient use of rainfall, slowing it down and storing it in natural canals to reduce the sinking of the land that contributes to flooding. The recommendations in the Uptown area are only a small part of the plan, but they illustrate some of its key elements and some of its challenges.

“We’re proposing this is a new era for water management,” Waggonner said. “It’s not just about flood protection any more. It’s really about quality and sustainability.” Continue reading »

Aug 012013

The Lyons Center pool is empty on Wednesday afternoon after all outdoor pools in the city closed Monday, July 29. (Robert Morris,

Less than two months after Mayor Mitch Landrieu celebrated its reopening with a jubilant splash, the pool at the Lyons Center is now closed for the summer, along with all the other outdoor pools in the city.

Closing the pools at the end of July was budgetary decision based on the return to school in August, but residents and some officials say another week or two would have been appropriate. Continue reading »

Aug 012013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We are among the many thousands who are remembering Lindy Boggs with love today, relishing the moments we spent with her and celebrating her remarkable life.

Although we were certainly not members of her inner circle, Lindy always treated us – and everyone else – as though we were.

Allan always thought there was a special feminine bond between Lindy and other women, especially those like Danae, who were driven by a great work ethic and a desire to get things done. For thousands of women of accomplishment, Lindy was the ultimate role model who got things done in Congress, at the Vatican and in her own private life. Danae loved to be in Lindy’s company. Allan thought they both glowed when they laughed together and swapped stories about their lives. Continue reading »

Jul 312013

NOPD Deputy Chief Darryl Albert greets a resident on Race Street during the NOPD 6th District anti-crime march through the Lower Garden District. (Robert Morris,

After a rash of robberies around the Lower Garden District earlier in July, the NOPD Sixth District chose the neighborhood for its monthly anti-crime march on Wednesday evening. The officers included a number of Sixth District detectives, and they were joined in the march by several members of the Coliseum Square Association as they spoke to residents and handed out CrimeStoppers flyers.

Detective Claudia Bruce hands out CrimeStoppers flyers to a group of men sitting in Coliseum Square. (Robert Morris,

Continue reading »

Jul 312013

Only four years after opening, Freret Street Po-Boy and Donuts will take on culinary landmarks — Willie Mae’s Scotch House and the Acme Oyster House — for the title of “Best Daym Takeout” in New Orleans in tonight’s premiere of a new show on the Travel Channel starring Daymon Patterson. Continue reading »

Jul 312013

Jean-Paul Villere

Tomorrow I’ll make 39.  But that’s 24 hours away.  Which in New Orleans ain’t the surest of equations.  I know statistically warmer weather brings on more criminal activity, but temp wise we’ve had worse summers.  Some might say it’s been comparatively cool over seasons past.  Some might further say that might even explain away why here we are 2 months into the 2013 hurricane season with a thankfully uneventful record.  Some might go on about climate change too, but I digress.  As I creep into 40, the goal is to get there.  Avoid the pitfalls of the Crescent City diurnal.  Which again, doesn’t seem to get easier. Continue reading »

Jul 302013

A rendering of the Isidore Newman School’s proposed new preschool building. (courtesy Isidore Newman School)

Isidore Newman School hosted parents and community members Tuesday night as the school moves forward with plans to more than double its early childhood facility.

Head of School Dale Smith and architect Mac Ball presented the 950-student school’s plans to expand enrollment offerings to its youngest attendees.

“I think it’s safe to say he’s a preservationist at heart,” Smith said of Ball — one of the reasons he was selected for the job. Continue reading »

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Jul 302013

The four driving lanes currently on Nashville Avenue will become two vehicle lanes and two bicycle lanes after an upcoming repaving project. (map via Google)

After a repaving project this fall, Nashville Avenue will trade the four driving lanes it currently has on the lake side of South Claiborne for two vehicle lanes and two dedicated bicycle lanes, officials said Tuesday. Continue reading »

Jul 302013

A broken, collapsing section of the 900 block of Webster has caused passing drivers to bottom out their cars or to take dangerous, last-minute moves to avoid it for a year or more, but it has finally been repaired after a project that required replacing underground pipes for most of the block, reports Bill Capo and our partners at WWL-TV.

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Jul 302013

William “Will” Rideau (1936-2013) is shown on his horse LeBeau. (family photo)

jewel bush

Over the weekend, I traveled to St. Landry Parish, the heart of Creole and Cajun culture and heritage in Louisiana, to attend my great-uncle’s funeral.

My great-uncle Will was a tall, agreeable man who lived a simple life wearing flannel shirts, loving baseball, family and above all horses – horse training, horse riding and horse betting. He never left home, literally. He spent his entire 77 years living in the same quaint cabin tucked deep into the woods of Rideau Settlement on our family’s original homestead, land purchased for $25 an acre by his father. Continue reading »

Jul 302013

Marina Schoen (via

Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans has filled another top leadership role for the coming year with the hiring a new academic director, a veteran foreign-language teacher with experience at Lusher and Audubon charter schools who previously interviewed for Lycee’s CEO position. Continue reading »

Jul 292013

Ahmad Sheppard, 33, was found bound, gagged and shot in the head inside his neighbor’s ransacked Prytania Street apartment in June, and his father and his friends described his generous nature in a celebration of the popular French Quarter DJ’s life this weekend, according to a report by Jaclyn Kelley and our partners at WWL-TV. A sketch of a man seen leaving the apartment that night has been released, and police are still looking for Sheppard’s neighbor’s white Jeep Cherokee that was stolen that night, Kelley reports.

Jul 292013

The Uptown housing market, including the Garden District and Carrollton, had 132 homes listed in June, which would take about two months to be sold at the current sales pace, a seven-year low creating an extremely strong seller’s market, according to a report by Katherine Sayre of The Times-Picayune. A market is considered balanced when its supply of homes should take six months to sell at the current pace, and during the housing crisis of 2008 and 2009 the supply was between 10 months and two years, Sayre explains.

“In 2012, the average price-per-square-foot for all of the New Orleans metro area was $106. In the Uptown area, the average was more than $200,” Sayre writes. “But last week, several listings in the area were priced between $240 and more than $300 per square foot.”

Two homes on the market driving up that price-per-square foot include the “wildly artistic,” “Frank Lloyd Wright meets tiki magic” two-bedroom, two-bath home on Chestnut listed at $599,999 and the three-bedroom, three-bath home of John Goodman and Melissa Leo’s characters on Treme at 223 Lowerline, now listed at $989,000 (after selling for $170,000 in 1998) — both recently featured by Sarah Chase on the real-estate blog Curbed NOLA.