University area neighbors taking another look at parking restrictions after Planning Commission vote

The City Planning Commission on Tuesday (July 13) gave a thumbs-down to continuing and expanding an off-street parking mandate in the University area aimed at stemming the tide of “doubles to dorms” conversions. The commissioners backed the city planners, who recommended denying the proposal, calling it “inappropriate, regressive and harmful.”

The concerns voiced by commissioners, the City Planning staff and advocacy groups have sent the proposal’s proponents, District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso and a host of neighborhood associations, back to the drawing board for further tweaks. The measure would establish a zoning district, the University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay District, where developers are required to create an off-street parking space for each increase in the number of bedrooms.

The City Council will next vote on the proposal. In September, the council approved an Interim Zoning District with an off-street parking requirement despite the Planning Commission’s recommendation for denial. That IZD is set to expire in two months.

Carrollton Courthouse developer fined for razing schoolhouse building


The demolition of a former classroom building next to the Carrollton Courthouse cost the developers the highest possible fine levied by the Historic District Landmark Commission, a fine the commissioners bemoaned as not high enough. The wood-frame building, deemed historic by the HDLC, was torn down in May to make room for the an addition to the Greek Revival landmark building, which is being converted to an assisted living and memory-care residence. The 1,400-square-foot school building dates to the 19th century, the HDLC has determined. The Carrollton Courthouse only briefly operated as a courthouse for the town of Carrollton when it was the seat of Jefferson Parish, according to a history of the building by the HDLC. It was converted to a school, then McDonogh 23, after the area was annexed to New Orleans in 1874.

Blue Bike group to meet with residents during District B Community Office Hours

City Hall’s Neighborhood Engagement Office will host the Blue Krewe, on Monday (July 12) during Community Office Hours at the Milton H. Latter Memorial Library, 5120 St. Charles Ave. 

The Blue Krewe, a group working to bring back the Blue Bike program, will be available to meet with residents June 12 by appointment from 1  to 5 p.m. 

The Blue Krewe will be sharing information on the Bikes for All reduced fare program and bike-sharing during the District B Office Hours. They will also perform a demonstration of the new pedal-assist e-bike. 

The Community Office Hours program is the city’s way of improving the communication between residents and City Hall. The meetings are separated by City Council district to better focus on the area’s needs. 

The Office Hours are Monday through Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents can voice their concerns to their representative in the Neighborhood Engagement Office or an invited guest. Meetings are in-person or virtual, but appointments are required. 

District B Community Office Hours were moved in June from the Rosa F. Keller Library & Community Center to Milton H. Latter Memorial Library.

Louise S. McGehee School will move child care center to a new building

The Louise S. McGehee School won unanimous approval from City Council on Thursday (July 1) to move its child-care center to another building on campus, allowing the all-girls private school to reorganize its classroom spaces for better social distancing. A zoning-related ordinance from 2001 mandated that the school could only use the building it owned on 2336 St. Charles Avenue as an alumni center and administrative offices. As a result, McGehee School had to ask for permission from City Council to allow that building, located at the back of its campus, to be used for child care and additional classrooms.

A City Planning Commission staff report admitted that it’s unclear why the school was so limited in the first place. “The staff is unaware of the original logic for implementing this use restriction,” the report said.

Pickleball, ‘the fastest growing sport you’ve never heard of,’ planned for vacant warehouse space in Lower Garden District

Pickleball may be coming to former warehouse in the Lower Garden District. The City Planning Commission last week voted to approve plans for the sports facility. 

Pickleball is a paddle sport that incorporates elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong and was created as a family activity, according to USA Pickleball. NBC News has called it “the fastest growing sport you’ve never heard of.” 

The 21,000-square-foot former warehouse space on 460-462 Josephine Street and 2120 Rousseau Street, near the Walmart, will be remodeled to create five indoor pickleball courts and one outdoor court. Approximately 10,000 square feet would be added to include a second floor with a restaurant and bar. Plans show 24 off-street parking spaces. 

The former warehouse space is on track to become the first dedicated pickleball facility in New Orleans, according to developer Renee Melchiode.

Palmer Park gets a new name: Marsalis Harmony Park

The City Council voted Thursday (July 1) to change the name of Palmer Park to Marsalis Harmony Park. The new name for the park, located where the Carrollton and Claiborne avenues meet, was chosen with input from community members, who eventually settled on “Marsalis Unity Park” at a meeting of multiple neighborhood associations early last month. “Marsalis Harmony Park” was the second most popular name discussed. Palmer Park was named after the Rev. Benjamin Palmer, a prominent Confederate and vocal defender of slavery. The park’s new name honors the late renowned jazz musician and educator Ellis Marsalis, whose family still lives in the neighborhood.

Viewpoint: Councilman Joe Giarrusso kicks off his campaign for a second term with talk of ‘smart growth’

District A Councilman Joseph Giarrusso told several hundred supporters at Ralph’s on the Park last week that he has spent his first years in office building relationships and working on major issues but that there is much more to accomplish. The fundraising event officially kicked off Giarrusso’s campaign for a second term. “When I ran last time as a first-time candidate, you bet on me not knowing what you were going to get,” he told his supporters. Giarrusso said he has worked hard on the three areas he knew were important to his constituents: economic development, crime and infrastructure in District A, which includes portions of Uptown, Mid-City, Bayou St. John and Lakeview.

Join us in exploring 19th century architects and builders, hosted by Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court (sponsored)

Our July blog will explore a sampling of historical architectural plans and building contracts by African American builders and architects in New Orleans. Visit our website at to view the blogs. Visit us at the Research Center, where exhibits can be viewed in person from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, please contact the Research Center at 504-407-0106 or Clerk of Civil District Court

Notarial Archives Research Center
1340 Poydras Street, Suite 360, NOLA 70112.

Plans approved for five-story development on former Rite Aid site on St. Charles

The Board of Zoning Adjustments approved plans Monday for a primarily residential mixed-use redevelopment of the former Rite Aid property at at 3401 St. Charles Avenue. The developer asked for variances to build up to 65 feet and five stories, while zoning allows for only 40 feet and three stories. Although BZA staff members recommended that the board deny the developer’s request, the board voted 5-0 to allow a building of that height as long as the development followed eight provisions laid out in the staff report, plus another requirement that the development cannot be larger than 220,000 square feet. 

Historically, the site used to hold the Ghisalberti Flats, built in 1905, which was 75 feet high. The apartment building was demolished in the 1950s, according to the Preservation Resource Center, and the Ghisalberti corner became the site of a K&B drugstore, bought out by Rite Aid in 1997.

City Council approves microbrewery and restaurant in Hollygrove

The New Orleans City Council unanimously approved the plan last week for the Catalyst Microbrewery and Restaurant to be built on the former site of the Hollygrove Market at 8301 Olive St. Grove Holly LLC plans to construct two buildings to house the new brewery and restaurant. The site — which once had metal sheds, small warehouse structures, fragmented concrete pads and overgrown plants — has been cleared to prepare for construction. 

Following the recommendation of the City Planning Commission, the City Council approval also included the CPC’s 11 provisos that include, to address concerns expressed by neighbors, requirements to provide plans for lighting and noise abatement. “We are excited to be one step closer to the opening of Catalyst,” Grove Holly principals Eric Augustin and Elise Cahn said. They could not yet provide their timeline for completion.