Uptown writer Michael Tisserand to release ‘My Father When Young’ in time for Father’s Day

A wedding procession in Orleans, France. Young women puffing cigars in Evansville, Indiana. A costumed reveler crossing the street during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. These photos, and many more, were captured by Jerry Tisserand between 1955 and 1959. His collection of images is now the subject of the book, “My Father When Young” by his son, Uptown resident and award-winning author Michael Tisserand.

YAYA Arts Center to host Back in Bloom on Friday

YAYA Arts Center in Central City is hosting Back in Bloom, a spring showcase with art demos, live music from Jack Sledge and the Hammers, and an art market by YAYA artists. The free celebration of spring will be held Friday (May 21) from 6 to 8 pm. at the YAYA Arts Center, 3322 LaSalle St. Participants can also watch glass art demos and take part in the Goblet Grab, which involves buying a handmade glass that can be filled, free of charge, throughout the evening. YAYA, for Young Aspirations Young Artists, was founded in 1988 as a creative partnership between New Orleans artist Jana Napoli and art students from International High School of New Orleans as an after-school enrichment program.

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.

City Council approves revival plans for the historic Dew Drop Inn

Plans to revive the historic Dew Drop Inn music venue and hotel in Central City moved another step forward last week with the City Council’s unanimous approval. “Putting this back into commerce is a wonderful, wonderful thing,” said District B Councilman Jay Banks before the conditional use application went up for a vote. “It adds to the musical legacy of the wonderfully musical city that we have. I am extremely excited about this.” The council attached 11 provisos to the approval to make sure the developer will provide a passenger drop-off zone, noise abatement, a landscape plan and other city requirements, but no off-street parking is required of the development.

Uptown’s Cajun luminary finds new audiences in virtual concerts

The last live show for musician David Doucet, a longtime Uptown resident, was March 8, 2020, at The Dakota in Minneapolis, playing with Cajun band BeauSoleil. David, guitarist for the Grammy-awarded band, is widely credited with transforming the acoustic guitar into an important voice of southwest Louisiana’s signature music. The younger brother of Cajun fiddler Michael Doucet, the Touro area resident has used his distinctive hybrid of fingerpicking and flatpicking guitar playing to enhance the performances of BeauSoleil, the band he and his brother have performed in since the mid-1970s. In 1991, David Doucet launched his own solo debut with the release of the album “Quand J’ai Parti.” David is bilingual, having learned French from his parents and grandparents, who luckily still spoke the language.

Really, Really Old Book Sale offers rare books to fund summer program for kids

On Saturday (March 27), the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library will host an outdoor “Really, Really Old Book Sale” at the Carriage House located behind Milton H. Latter Library at 5120 St Charles Ave. This outdoor sale will feature hundreds of out-of-print, signed, first editions, rare, antiquarian books and fond treasures from your childhood. Prices start at $1, and all proceeds will go toward the 2021 Summer Fun and Reading Program at the New Orleans Public Library. “The public library needs community support now more than ever before,” FNOPL Executive Director Dixon Stetler said. “Through fundraisers like this one, we can fund important library programs, and also provide access to high quality reading materials that are affordable to all.”

The Friends of the New Orleans Public Library raises money from the books sales year-round to underwrite critical library programming, including the annual Summer Reading Program, Black History Month Programming and the Every Child Ready to Read Program.

How junction boxes on Uptown neutral grounds are transformed from blight to works of art

As Uptown resident Ivana Dillas drove home from work every day along Louisiana Avenue, she noticed how the junction boxes on the neutral ground attracted tags and graffiti and were surrounded by litter. “Studies have shown that neighborhood beautification reduces these unsightly activities, as well as crime,”  Dillas said. 

She saw the website address for Community Visions Unlimited, the organization behind the beautification initiative, written on painted boxes elsewhere and contacted them. She asked how she could help, especially along the Louisiana Avenue corridor. “I loved the idea of putting artists to work, and I began fundraising and directing donors to the CVU website,” Dillas said. Then Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who had supported the project when she was on the City Council, got wind of the effort, and her office stepped in with a significant donation. The section of Louisiana Avenue now has almost all of the junction boxes painted. 

Two of the Louisiana Avenue boxes, the “Horn Players” at Baronne and “The Dancers” at Carondelet, were painted by Linda LeBoeuf, the artist behind 39 art boxes citywide.

Walter Isaacson discusses ‘The Code Breaker’ at event celebrating Garden District Book Shop’s 40th year

 

At the garden of the stately manor house of Katherine and Tony Gelderman, on Saturday (March 13), the Garden District Book Shop hosted acclaimed author and Tulane professor Walter Isaacson for a combined celebration of his new book “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race” and a celebration of Garden District Book Shop’s 40th anniversary. “For 40 years, Garden District Book Shop has charmed us,” said Christopher Tidmore, one of a group who purchased the store from founder Britton Trice earlier this year. “It has been a great 40 years, and we’ve overcome a lot of obstacles,” Trice told the assembled audience. Despite bookstore chains, the rise of e-books and the gobbling maw of Amazon, Garden District Book Shop is poised to enter its fourth decade with a new children’s reading room and plans to add a connecting cafe and bistro, with three enthusiastic new owners besides. When Isaacson, smiling, took the stage, it was for the first in-person event that the bookshop has hosted through the pandemic.

Walter Isaacson will discuss ‘Code Breaker’ at in-person event on Saturday

Bestselling author and New Orleans native Walter Isaacson will host the first national signing of his new book, “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race,” on Saturday (March 13) at a private home in the Garden District. The book is an account of how 2020 Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that allowed us to cure diseases, fend off viruses and have healthier babies. Isaacson will share his insights into the work of Doudna, which is increasingly topical as we navigate through this pandemic and aim to understand the technology behind the new vaccines. The event is limited to 150 guests, due to COVID-19 restrictions. At the home of Tony and Katherine Gelderman on First Street in the Garden District, it will be outside, socially distanced and fully masked.