New Orleans-born artist Courtney “Ceaux” Buckley presented his newest collection of paintings to the public on Saturday, October 6. The solo exhibition at Axiom Art Gallery on Freret Street was entitled “Dear New Orleans,” and featured colorful depictions of various scenes and images one can only find in the Crescent City.
Sponsored by Midway Pizza
Ben Sherman and Stephen Watson have built a culture of great staff, good food, and gracious company over the last several years at Midway Pizza on Freret Street. They are on track to open a second location in the new airport this February with the same funky-cool feeling the Uptown community loves. With a true neighborhood feel and “the best staff in the city,” the pizza joint is proud to be a staple for the Freret corridor. Co-owner Ben Sherman sat with Uptown Messenger—on his birthday of all days—to talk big about the restaurant, their great staff, and the neighbors he loves so much.
“Our goal has always been to be a part of this neighborhood. We’re almost eight years in over here,” Ben said. “So many people from every part of the neighborhood gather here, whether it be for a football game or family outing, from Tchoupitoulas to well into Broadmoor.”
Frank’s Steakhouse — the landmark restaurant that reigned over Freret Street for decades — was unceremoniously knocked to the ground on Wednesday in a dramatic illustration of the changing times in New Orleans.
The Frank’s complex in the 4500 block of Freret was the last major undeveloped property on the corridor since a wave of new business openings began around five years ago. On July 2, Arnold Kirschman finalized his purchase of the buildings from the Barreca family who had owned them for the better part of a century, as part of a plan to demolish the steakhouse in the center of the block to rebuild a stretch of buildings matching the old cleaners on the corner of Cadiz.
Although the Freret Street Festival is now in its 17th year, its growth in recent years has mirrored the rapid redevelopment of the commercial corridor — and this year, the April 5 event will stretch all the way to Jefferson Avenue for the first time, adding a fifth music stage to its lineup, organizers said.
Sure, New Orleans already has an “official” oyster festival. But Woody Ruiz of the ubiquitous festival fish tacos thought the middle of summer was kind of an odd time to eat oysters, and he wanted a chance to give the big names downtown a run for their money on oyster preparation.
On Sunday (Jan. 19), Ruiz will get his chance, when he partners with the founders of Freret Market to create the first (hopefully annual) Freret Oyster Jam in the parking lot of the Publiq House.
Freret Clay Center, a new nonprofit promoting ceramics art and education, will hold its grand opening at 2525 Jena Street with a group exhibition from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Six artists will participate in the exhibition. For more information, see the Freret Clay Center website.
PROLOGUE: In 2009 on Freret St at an open house I held, a septuagenarian realtor I can only imagine being more local than local sneered in my general direction as she exited, “Freret’s never coming back.” Then being a believer myself, I felt at once insulted and repulsed, as if she’d purposely urinated on the floor and thought nothing of it. After all, in many ways I came to feel it was her generation that had largely abandoned the city proper, swapping distinctive neighborhoods for blanched strip malls and multi-laned thoroughfares, leaving behind a devil-may-care swath of once vibrant stretches, the very core that the surrounding region’s commerce and population sprang from. Now, in 2013, Freret crowns front pages, but without question there’s still much to be done.
That project will join a series of others — a similar repaving of Broadway Street, the ongoing construction of a new drainage canal under Napoleon Avenue, the recent commencement of the same project on Jefferson Avenue, the upcoming start of another canal project on Louisiana Avenue, and the year-long repairs to the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line — that place most of the major thoroughfares through the interior of Uptown New Orleans under some sort of roadwork.
Just two weeks after the 2013 Freret Street Festival drew record-setting crowds, Dat Dog, The Other Bar and Gasa Gasa will be hosting another festival Saturday evening, “Uptown Sounds,” featuring acoustic sets, DJs and full bands. The festival runs from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and will also feature art and film, and is being organized by Loyola University’s Music Industries Studies program, according to a post at The New Freret website.
“I don’t want to further subsidize these businesses through an increase in property taxes,” said Soniat Street resident George Chaney.
The Freret Neighbors United will hold an extended meeting tonight (Tuesday, March 12) to discuss a proposed new security district in the neighborhood, and the Milan Focus Group will meet Wednesday to hear from city and police officials.
As progress moves forward on stabilizing both the Willow Street elementary campus and the Fortier campus for upper grades on Freret Street, Lusher Charter School officials are also deliberating on what, if any, changes will be made for the 100 students who remain at the satellite campus at the Jewish Community Center on St. Charles Avenue.
The Freret Market will bring its eclectic assortment of food stands and local art and clothing vendors to the corner of Napoleon Avenue from noon to 5 p.m. today (Saturday, March 2), along with free performances by Mardi Gras Indian blues band Chawa, Miss Claudia Baumgarten’s Singalong Americana and New Orleans rock band Coot.