The City Council on Thursday (Sept. 23) approved a third-floor addition to a Garden District mansion owned by Sharonda Anderson, the mother of Pelicans star Zion Williamson. Anderson and architect John Williams had appealed the Historic District Landmarks Commission’s denial of their request to demolish 62% of the roof to add a screening room, workout room and guest bedroom to the 7,457-square-foot historic residence on First and Coliseum streets. The architects have since revised the design so that it’s less visible from the street, but the HDLC’s Eleanor Burke said the commission staff believes the addition would still undermine the architectural integrity of the building and the neighborhood and would set a precedent that could affect all of the city’s historic districts. The HDLC has partial control in the Garden District, giving it jurisdiction over demolitions and new construction only.
The City Planning Commission was especially enthusiastic over Docket 021/21 at this week’s meeting. “I want to thank you for making me cry at a CPC meeting,” said a smiling Commissioner Sue Mobley, seconding a motion to approve the developers’ request. After a round of enthusiastic “yeas,” Commissioner Kyle Wedberg said: “I’m very excited to make this unanimous.”
This unanimous vote was not for just any conditional use to permit a hotel with live entertainment in the LaSalle Street Overlay District, with nine provisos. It was for the Dew Drop Inn. The Dew Drop, the city’s leading Black music venue for three mid-century decades, holds a hallowed position in New Orleans cultural history, in rock ’n’ roll and rhythm-and-blues history, and in the hearts of many musicians.
The owner of Lilly’s Café, a popular Vietnamese restaurant in the Lower Garden District, is planning to open a second Lilly’s farther up Magazine Street. Lilly Vuong, who runs the 8-year-old restaurant with family members, told Garden District neighbors in a Neighborhood Participation Project letter that she recently purchased the cottage at 3329 Magazine St. to open a second Vietnamese restaurant. Before that can happen, she needs approval from the City Planning Commission and the City Council; a restaurant is only allowed as a conditional use in the district. A hearing is on the Planning Commission’s Jan.
Carrollton area resident Katie Smith told the City Council’s Street Renaming Commission in a presubmitted comment last week that she looked forward to the day she could give her cross street as Mahalia Jackson Street instead of Leonidas. That day now looks less likely. The commission voted Wednesday to remove Leonidas Street, as well as Lakeview’s Walker Street, from the list of names to be replaced. The City Council created the Street Renaming Commission in June to identify the streets and other public places in New Orleans that were named to honor white supremacists, and to recommend replacement street names.
Many of the streets that honor Confederate leaders were named in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as part of the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” propaganda campaign.
The Paradigm Gardens Plant Sale, held Sunday mornings in the shadow of the Pontchartrain Expressway in Central City, offers not just pots of herbs and tomatoes but a chance to enjoy an outdoor, socially distanced brunch and concert. The brunch on Sunday (Oct. 11) included food from Coquette restaurant and the vocal stylings of Robin Barnes. Plus, goats — all in a gorgeous garden. The sale of the plants and brunch items helps finance the Paradigm Gardens School — the only K-12 garden school in Louisiana.
The National Weather Service downgraded the hurricane warning for New Orleans to a tropical storm warning early Tuesday, as Hurricane Sally sat in the Gulf of Mexico off the Mississippi-Alabama border. The storm is expected to make landfall late tonight or Wednesday near Mobile, putting New Orleans on Sally’s west side, where the threat is lower. City Hall, NORD, libraries and trash collection will resume normal operations Wednesday. Vehicles will need to be off the neutral grounds by 8 a.m. on Wednesday. The Category 1 storm, which has 85 mph winds, has been moving at 2 miles an hour.
A 60-year-old man was robbed at gunpoint Sunday evening in the Leonidas neighborhood, the New Orleans Police Department reported. The victim was in the 8600 block of Cohn Street, near Leonidas Street, at about 8 p.m. when he was approached by a gunman threatening to shoot if he didn’t turn over his wallet. The victim complied. Further details were not immediately available. Anyone with information is urged to call the NOPD Second District station at 504-658-6020 to speak to a detective, or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 to leave an anonymous tip that could be eligible for a cash reward.
Tropical Storm Sally is expected to make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday as a Category 1 hurricane and make its presence known throughout the metro area through Wednesday. Sally was moving slowly west-northwest across the Gulf of Mexico on Monday morning, the National Hurricane Center reported. At 7 a.m. it was about 115 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River with maximum sustained winds at 65 mph. Due to a shift in the forecast cone to the east, rainfall is now forecast to total between 4 to 6 inches in New Orleans, with locally higher amounts possible. Parking on neutral grounds and sidewalks is allowed until further notice.
National Urban League President and former Mayor New Orleans Marc Morial was born to lead. His parents, former Mayor Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial and educator Sybil Haydel Morial, wouldn’t have had it any other way. From his NORD playground days as a national champion Little League football star to his groundbreaking work in civil rights and economic empowerment, Morial has united voices and created meaningful change first in Louisiana and later across the globe.
“A good gumbo depends on diversity and inclusion, the very thing companies, schools and institutions of all kinds find themselves wrestling with,” Morial said, discussing his new book “The Gumbo Coalition: 10 Leadership Lessons That Help You Inspire, Unite and Achieve.”
He believes that most leaders of large organizations are not taking full advantage of America’s “incredible diversity.”
“America needs a national Gumbo Coalition movement right now because the ingredients for the most diverse gumbo in the world are already at our fingertips,” said Morial. “We have all the spices and flavors to create all manner of coalitions.”
One of only 14 Black students out of 1,000 at Jesuit High School, Morial graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University before returning home to become a member of the Louisiana State Senate in 1992 and mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002. While mayor, Morial addressed corruption at the New Orleans Police Department, reduced violent crime by almost 60%, renamed and improved the Louisiana Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and accelerated economic growth.
He also expanded the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, beefed up year-round youth programming, increased home ownership, initiated the return of the historic Canal and Rampart streetcars, strengthened ties to Latin America and the Caribbean, and brought NBA basketball back of New Orleans. During his final year as mayor, Morial served as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He was selected to lead the National Urban League in 2003.
Morial coined the phrase “Gumbo Coalition” after a campaign supporter prepared gumbo for a party being hosted in his honor.
A man was shot to death in the Lower Garden District on Sunday afternoon, the New Orleans Police Department reported. At 1:43 p.m, NOPD Sixth District officers responded to a call of shots fired in the 600 block of Felicity Street. They found a man, later identified as Johnathan Davis, suffering from gunshot wounds. Medical responders attempted life-saving measures; however, he was pronounced dead at the scene. Davis was 22.