Middle school filmmakers at Audubon Charter enjoy their long-awaited premiere


Audubon Charter School’s very first film festival was scheduled for March 14, 2020. That was five days after the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Louisiana, and it would be over a year before the middle school students — who wrote, acted in and helped to shoot the movies —  would be able to show off the products of their hard work. Out of the glare of the May morning sun, in the cool Prytania Theatre, Stephanie Knapp, an Audubon parent and teacher who led Audubon Charter students through the process of making movies together, took the stage. The students and their supporters — parents, family and friends — were masked and spread out in the theater, with alternating rows taped off to allow for sufficient social distancing. “It’s interesting to see how everything is changed, how everything is different … and everything is still kinda the same,” Knapp said.

Team behind Bayou Beer Garden wants to open new bar on Tchoupitoulas

A co-owner of Bayou Beer Garden and Bayou Wine Garden wants to open a new bar in Uptown on Tchoupitoulas Street – but first he will have to face the objections of neighbors who say they don’t want to turn their street into an entertainment district. Dubbed Riverside Bistro and Beer Garden, the proposed establishment would be located at 4842 Tchoupitoulas, across the street from F&M Patio Bar and down the block from Grit’s Bar on Lyons Street. At a virtual neighborhood meeting on Monday, local residents raised their concerns that a third bar in the area would lead to too many issues with parking, noise and late-night revelers getting into traffic accidents on the busy street. “The first person that lies in front of my house drunk and passed out in 1 in the morning, you’re gonna hear from me,” said Donna Williams, a nearby resident. 

Kami Galeana, another neighbor, said she was worried about how late hours on a school night would affect her 6-year-old child. “It turns that whole area into an entertainment district.

Double shooting turns to homicide when victim dies in hospital

A man was killed in a double shooting early Thursday (May 6) in Central City near St. Charles Avenue, the New Orleans Police Department reported. At about 2:50 a.m., Sixth District officers discovered two victims with gunshot wounds – a male victim transported via private conveyance to a local hospital and a second male victim found at the scene. Medical responders took the second victim to the emergency room. One of the victims died at the hospital, police said, and the shooting was reclassified as a homicide.

Champagne Strolling signals the start of a Magazine Street revival

The annual Champagne Stroll is returning to Magazine Street this Friday (May 7) through Sunday (May 9). This year it is called “Champagne Strolling” and takes place as a three-day event: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The spring 2020 Champagne Stroll was virtual, on a live interactive video feed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual component will also continue this year. 

The Magazine Street Merchants Association sponsors the event and encourages everyone to sip and shop safely. “Despite the pandemic, we are trying to maintain the traditions of our Magazine Street events,” said MSMA President Kevin Gillentine, who owns the Kevin Gillentine gallery at 3917 Magazine.

14 Parishes brings island flavors to Oak Street

14 Parishes Jamaican Restaurant is settling nicely into its latest location at 8227 Oak St. Chef Charles Blake and Lauren Johnson Blake, a husband-and-wife team, have been serving up traditional Jamaican food out of the Pythian Market on Loyola Avenue since May 2018. While that location caters mostly to a lunch crowd, the Oak Street location is hoping to find its way into New Orleanians’ dinner plans. Charles, who hails from Spanish Town, Jamaica, has a passion for food and has been cooking his entire life. He and Lauren, a New Orleans native, met in Atlanta, where she also fell in love with his cooking.

Karen Carter Peterson won 2 out of 3 Uptown precincts in congressional race

Although Karen Carter Peterson ultimately lost against Troy Carter in the April 24 runoff election to fill Cedric Richmond’s seat in the House of Representatives, she made a decent showing in the Uptown neighborhoods of New Orleans. Preliminary election data from the Secretary of State shows that Carter Peterson got 53% of the vote in Uptown, winning 60 out of 92 precincts in the 2nd Congressional District. Carter Peterson tried to woo progressive voters with promises to support a $15 minimum wage, police reform, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for All. An endorsement from Gary Chambers, the progressive candidate who came in third place in the primary election on March 20, seemed to give her a big boost: 43 precincts that had voted for Chambers voted for her this time around, while only 14 Chambers precincts switched their allegiance to Troy Carter. Yet it was hard to stir up much excitement in the electorate for this off-season special election, held to fill Richmond’s seat after he took a position in President Joe Biden’s administration.

Neutral Ground Coffee House keeps on truckin’ — with a little help from its loyal friends

Even a fire, hurricanes, financial collapses and a pandemic cannot keep the Neutral Ground Coffee House from being there for its devoted regulars. 

Last summer, as the coronavirus raged, it was saved once again when two new owners, James Naylor and Phant (a.k.a Caroline) Williams, stepped in and purchased the venerable Uptown coffee house. “We are a community, some of whom have been here since 1977,” Naylor said. “Really, it’s like family – very inclusive and multigenerational too.” 

The bohemian enclave goes back to 1974, when a graduate student named Greta Lee opened the Penny Post on Maple Street. It featured not only coffee, tea and pastries but live music, chess and backgammon, and lively conversation. By the time it closed after a fire in 1977, it had a loyal following.

Amanda Shaw concert at CR Coffee Shop on Tuesday, May 4 (sponsored)

Fresh coffee and live music — sign me up. Live music and artisan coffee and teas are the perfect mix to bring a new burst of energy to Uptown. Magazine Street is coming back in full force this spring, thanks to CR Coffee Shop and special guest Amanda Shaw. This festive event will be an opportunity for the community to donate to The Amanda Shaw Foundation while supporting their local cafe. 

CR Coffee Shop is pleased to announce that we will be hosting Amanda Shaw on our patio from 8 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 4, for GiveNOLA Day! This nonprofit focused event was created by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, an institution dedicated to driving positive impact through philanthropy, leadership and action in the Greater New Orleans Region.