Coliseum Square Association surpasses Lafon Fountain fundraising goal

By Claire Byun

Lafon Fountain waters will hopefully flow again next year, thanks to a neighborhood organization’s fundraising efforts. The Coliseum Square Association has raised more than $68,000 toward their endowment to repair and refresh major parks and fountains around the Lower Garden District. At least $25,000 of that will be matched by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, but board members are hoping for a little bit more. The foundation is mulling over matching more of the CSA’s endowment, but even without the extra cash bump there’ll be more than $93,000 for repairs and landscaping on Lafon Fountain. “We’ve met our goal,” said Karon Reese, CSA vice president.

Convention Center seeks land-use change to allow 300-foot hotel at upriver expansion

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has applied for a land-use change to allow a 300-foot hotel at their planned upriver expansion, drawing questions from neighbors in nearby Coliseum Square on Monday evening. Bob Johnson, Convention Center president and general manager, acknowledged that negotiations on the Convention Center have dragged for more than a year, but officials hope a partial land rezoning will help jumpstart the nearly $1.5 billion project. Johnson told the CSA that developers have applied to change a section of the center’s zoning law to remove height limitations. Under current regulations, developers could not build the planned 300-foot-high hotel that Johnson called “the crown jewel.”

Developers applied for a zoning overlay, and soon the City Planning Commission will consider proposed zoning changes for the vacant tract that would make it consistent with the Convention Center’s developed land. The commission will make a recommendation to the City Council after holding a public hearing on the zoning changes.

Audubon Charter considers future expansion to Gentilly or Westbank

By Claire Byun

Audubon Charter is considering expanding to a third location, but school officials stressed Saturday morning that the expansion is “only an idea” at this point. The school’s board of directors held their regular meeting Saturday morning at the Milan Street campus and approved a motion to “consider the idea of expansion.”

“We have a model that works, so expanding it is not a risk because we already have two schools that are working,” said board member Erica Murray. The charter currently has two locations: a “lower school” on Broadway Street; and an “upper school” on Milan Street. Murray said a location on the Westbank or Gentilly would serve students well, since many travel from those parts of town every school day. Scott Saltzman, parent, said the board’s first priority should be improving the experience and facilities of the current campuses before starting up another school.