In true collaborative spirit, Lusher Charter School engineering teacher Matthew Owen and his wife, Laura, are working with Tulane Medical School and local hospitals to create much-needed personal protective equipment, or PPE, for New Orleans hospital employees to protect them from COVID-19. The Owens are working with medical students and other engineers and students on designs for PPE. Laura Owen, a support services teacher at Lusher, spearheaded the effort with medical students who contacted hospitals about their needs. When they discovered that the teachers had access to Lusher’s 3D printers, the med students planned a Zoom call with the couple and developed a design to print. With permission from the school, the Owens brought three 3D printers and supplies home to begin the project.
While some New Orleanians will soon begin receiving the much-heralded extra $600 unemployment benefits and other stimulus checks Congress authorized in response to the global pandemic, many self-employed and Form 1099 contract workers — including those in the short-term rental industry — received rejection letters from the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Still other eligible workers who were not able to apply online are encountering long wait times to speak with a staffer. “I haven’t been able to work in three weeks,” said one small business owner. “If I didn’t have a small nest egg, I don’t know how I would feed my family,” she said. Though the CARES Act states that self-employed and contract workers are eligible for unemployment, thousands of Louisiana workers have been caught in the cross-hairs between conflicting state and federal laws and available funding.
Walmart is temporarily closing three stores in the New Orleans area today (Thursday, April 9) to sanitize them and restock shelves. The stores include the Walmart on Tchoupitoulas Street, as well as stores in New Orleans East and Harahan. They will reopen Friday at 7 a.m.
Third-party sanitation specialists will thoroughly clean and disinfect the stores according to guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection and other health experts, according to a press release. Walmart employees will be restocking the shelves. The Walmart press release states: “When the stores reopen on Friday we will conduct associate health screens and temperature checks, and all associates will be provided with face masks and gloves.
Food, family and holidays are intrinsically linked, particularly in New Orleans where traditions run deep. With Passover starting today (Wednesday, April 8) and Holy Thursday (April 9) leading up to Easter Sunday, more families are planning their feast around these holidays at home due to COVID-19 self-quarantine rules. Gatherings will be far smaller and religious services will be virtual, but it’s still the holidays. Some will want a day off from cooking or may just want something special, picked up or delivered. Local restaurants, bakeries and caterers have filled the culinary void with to-go menus.
If you’re wondering how you can keep whiling away the hours while your normal activities are on hold, here’s a suggestion: Take advantage of the virtual public library. Although your neighborhood library is shuttered for the time being, the New Orleans Public Library still provides access to a wide variety of movies to stream, e-books to read, audio books to listen to and more. There are also plenty of resources to keep the kids entertained, help them (and you) master their homework and even prepare for the LEAP or the SAT. Now that you have more time on your hands, have you been thinking about tackling some of the projects you haven’t gotten around to? The virtual library can help.
The City Council on Thursday approved two motions on parking and residential density in the University neighborhood. They are aimed at establishing an Interim Zoning District for the Uptown area near Tulane and Loyola with more stringent parking requirements than the rest of the city. It’s an unusual move for a council that normally prioritizes the creation of housing, particularly affordable housing, over parking. But the Uptown area near Tulane and Loyola universities has an unusual problem, with investors buying up homes and converting them to high-end multi-unit rentals marketed to students. “What’s occurring right now, particularly in the Maple neighborhood, is that doubles are being converted into dormitories,” said District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso at Thursday’s meeting.
New Orleans residents know something about parking scarcity. Off-street parking is rare in the rows of century-old doubles and singles that make up the city’s historic neighborhoods. In most areas, this is a problem occasionally, during special events or when a neighbor has a party. In the university area near Tulane and Loyola — where rental units are in especially high demand — it is constant, residents say, and it’s been getting worse. To create more rental units, doubles have been converted to fourplexes and triplexes with six bedrooms are expanded to create 12, according to city records compiled by neighborhood activists.
The key to a good Mardi Gras Day is getting up early. There is so much fun to be had — don’t miss a minute. The National Weather Service predicts areas of dense fog before 9 a.m. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 66. Winds will be calm. Sounds nice.
The all-day Lundi Gras festivities culminate with two spectacular parades, one a study in traditional elegance and another in contemporary opulence. After the weekend’s parade-perfect weather, the National Weather Service has rain in today’s forecast. A slight chance during the day goes up to 60% at night. Temperatures will be pleasant, however, with low tonight of around 58 degrees. The first parade is named for a prophetic sea-god known in Greek mythology as the shepherd of the oceans.
After the second fatality of the 2020 Carnival season involving a tandem float, the city Saturday night barred krewes from pulling more than one chassis with a single tractor for the remainder of the season. The Krewe of Bacchus — known for its long, elaborate tandem floats — has agreed to break up its floats for tonight’s parade in light of the two tragedies. The Krewe of Thoth had planned to debut a three-section train float in its afternoon parade. It too will be split up. The second tandem-related death occurred during Saturday evening as Endymion float 14 was passing South Galvez Street and Canal.