Car wash owners seek demolition of Tchoupitoulas cottages

By R. Stephanie Bruno and Katherine Hart
The City Council is set to determine the fate of three 19th century cottages on Tchoupitoulas Street at its Thursday (Feb. 1) meeting. The owners took their demolition request to the council after the Historic District Landmarks Commission blocked it. The doubles on the river side of the 5500 block of Tchoupitoulas are owned by Car Wash Blues, the company behind Uptown Car Wash, which surrounds the row of residential buildings. 
The owners want to raze the buildings so they can expand the car wash and add higher-margin detailing services, according to co-owner Andrew Stall. Detailing is the most lucrative element of the car wash business, he said.

‘They need their toilet paper’: Council OKs signature throw for Tucks only

The Krewe of Tucks got its toilet paper back on Thursday (Jan. 18), when the City Council amended its new Carnival regulations to allow the 55-year-old satirical parade its signature throw. In a meeting days before the start of Carnival season, the City Council approved revisions to the city’s list of prohibited throws. Among the newly banned throws were rolls of toilet paper, prohibited because of cleanup and environmental concerns. After the ban passed, the Tucks leadership wasted no time in meeting with members of the City Council, the Department of Sanitation and Parks & Parkways.

John Kennedy Toole house in Carrollton under review for landmark status

A center-hall cottage in the Carrollton neighborhood is on its way to becoming a local landmark for its distinction as the last residence of John Kennedy Toole, the author of the Pulitzer-awarded novel “A Confederacy of Dunces.” 
The Historic District Landmarks Commission approved the building at 7632 Hampson St. at its October meeting for further study, the next step in becoming an official landmark. 
Although the property has displayed a Orleans Parish Landmarks Commission plaque since 1987, it does not have landmark protection. The designation would help to safeguard the site’s preservation. Toole lived in the house from 1966 to 1969, the year he died at 31. During that time, the “Dunces” manuscript mostly stayed at the top of an armoire in his bedroom, according to a biography. The senior editor at Simon & Schuster had returned the manuscript in 1966 after a year of back-and-forth correspondence and revisions.

After 50 years, Dew Drop Inn gets ready to open its doors

Beginning this fall,  the legendary Dew Drop Inn in Central City is set to host live music for the first time in more than half a century. The city’s leading Black music venue for three mid-century decades, the club billed as “the swankiest spot in the South” holds a hallowed place in New Orleans cultural history and in rock ’n’ roll and rhythm-and-blues history. Lead developer Curtis Doucette Jr. told Uptown Messenger they are planning a mid-October opening for the music club. No word yet on the opening act, but he said he wants to bring back as many of the original Dew Drop musicians as he can. Of course, the Dew Drop community of musicians dates from the 1940s to 1970, so few remain on the scene.

Neutral Ground Coffee House planning move to Carrollton area

Neutral Ground Coffee House owners Caroline “Phant” Williams and James Naylor were driving through the Carrollton neighborhood recently in their quest to find a new home for the city’s oldest coffeehouse and entertainment venue. They had decided Carrollton would good fit for the Neutral Ground, exiled since it lost its lease on its longtime Danneel Street space in April. At the corner of Oak and Adams, the partners noticed an empty, dilapidated commercial building. “There’s just something very attractive about this building,” Williams said. “So we stopped and were like, ‘Wow, wouldn’t this be a great spot!’”

After a Google search failed to turn up any information on the building, they dropped the idea.

Planning Commission rejects plan for Bohemia outdoor restaurant on Freret

A proposed open-air restaurant complex on the Freret Street corridor received a thumbs-down from the City Planning Commission on Tuesday (May 23)

The large vacant lot on Freret and Upperline Street is envisioned as Bohemia Gardens, an outdoor recreational space with a bar and three restaurants featuring up-and-coming chefs, the developer told the CPC. In its report, the Planning Commission staff objected to the project’s design, stating it did not fit the character of the neighborhood. “The historical development pattern of the Freret Street mixed-use corridor is what makes Freret a vibrant and walkable neighborhood,” the staff states. “The proposed design strategy drastically departs from the character of Freret Street in that current layout of the structures breaks the rhythm and fabric of the street by not providing building facades to the edge of the sidewalk.”

The CPC asked the developers and their architect to bring the building facades to the sidewalk and combine the small structures into one larger building to anchor the corner of Freret and Upperline. After meetings with the CPC staff, a redesign and three deferrals, the Bohemia group had not brought the plans into compliance.

Tulane University asking city for control over four Uptown blocks

Tulane University is asking the city for control over four city blocks adjacent to its Uptown campus. The proposal requests “long-term leases for site control and access” to the four Uptown blocks and one block near the downtown medical school. The request took University Area neighbors, already rankled by parking and traffic congestion in the area, by surprise. Tulane spokesman Michael Strecker told Uptown Messenger that the university just wants to fix and maintain the Uptown streets. “None of these areas would be closed to the public,” Strecker said in an email.

Revival plans for Dew Drop Inn move forward

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.