Silver Lining: New Orleanians are lining up to get their furniture repaired

This is the third Silver Lining, an Uptown Messenger series on locally owned small businesses that are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. For almost five decades, Uptown Restoration has been repairing furniture at the corner of  Zimpel and Cherokee streets in the University section of Uptown New Orleans. 

Though off the beaten path, the repair shop does a steady business. But this year, it’s been especially busy. Not long after the lockdown in March, more customers began showing up with broken furniture and pieces that needed to be restored or refinished. “With everyone staying at home, and many working from home, they had the time to attend to repairs they had been meaning to do for a long time,” said Uptown Restoration proprietor Bobby Franks. 

For a while, Franks had to rent storage space for the backlog of furniture in the queue to be worked on.

Tulane researchers develop a rapid COVID-19 saliva test read by a smartphone device

From Tulane University

Researchers from Tulane University have developed a 15-minute COVID-19 test that is read by a smartphone to address the need to expand testing capacity in community-based settings. This test uses the same CRISPR-based approach that the researchers have submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization. Rapid PCR tests typically use nasal swab samples and are performed in laboratory settings by highly trained individuals using sophisticated equipment. The saliva-based COVID-19 test, which doesn’t require lab processing, could rapidly expand testing capacity in outpatient clinics, community testing sites and other locations. The assay developed by researchers at Tulane detects SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA in saliva to diagnose COVID-19 and is more sensitive than PCR-based tests, the current gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis.

Silver Lining: Urban Roots branches out as Uptowners find relief in gardening

This is the second Silver Lining, an Uptown Messenger series on locally owned small businesses that are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other New Orleans businesses considered essential, the Urban Roots Garden Center did not have to close down during the COVID-19 lockdown. It was considered to provide essential services because they sell edibles and fruiting plants. Also, like other businesses in Uptown Messenger’s “Silver Linings” series, this one does not rely on the tourist trade or out-of-town visitors. At the beginning of the pandemic, Urban Roots offered a new service: curbside pick-up.

Patios, a porch and the PPP offered lifeline to Delachaise bistros

When The Delachaise first opened at 3442 St. Charles Ave. 17 years ago, it had a patch of grass out front where owner Evan Hayes hoped to build an outdoor space. Then 10 years ago, Entergy tore up that section of the avenue to install a new gas line, and Hayes used the opportunity to pave the area and create a patio. “That doubled our business,” he said.

Silver Lining: Maple Small Animal Clinic is busier than ever during the pandemic

This is the first Silver Lining, an Uptown Messenger series on locally owned small businesses that are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maple Small Animal Clinic has a different pandemic story to tell from many of our local businesses. For one thing, it does not depend on the tourist trade. And veterinary clinics are considered an essential business, so it never had to shut down. The clinic changed its protocol to curbside drop-off and pickup, but it stayed fully staffed and did not need to limit its services.

Bacchus announces plans for virtual parade via its own app

The Krewe of Bacchus had announced plans to hold its super-parade, before Mayor LaToya Cantrell called off the 2021 parade season. The superkrewe has not given up. It’s just, like many events this year, going virtual. Clark Brennan, captain of Bacchus, announced Monday that Bacchus will have a virtual parade in 2021 using the new “Throw Me Something Bacchus!” mobile app.

‘At some point, you lose the character of the street’: Magazine Street retailers on the future of Uptown’s historic corridor

As Nathan Lott, the Preservation Resource Center’s policy and research director and advocacy coordinator, put it: Magazine Street — with its architecture, its history and its flock of local business — is a microcosm of New Orleans, one that has acutely felt the city’s economic slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic. The time from Christmas to Mardi Gras is usually a boon for these businesses. The upcoming holiday season is seen as crucial to whether or not many of Magazine Street’s businesses survive. On Thursday, the PRC hosted an online panel of five Magazine Street merchants to discuss the future of the beloved corridor. The panel consisted of Dirty Coast owner Blake Haney, Perlis Clothing owner David Perlis, West London Boutique owner Mariah Walton Bencik, Guy Williams of Gulf Coast Bank, and Susan Brooks, the new owner of Club Ms. Mae’s.

St. Catherine’s Day Hat Parade canceled for 2020

The annual St. Catherine’s Day Hat Parade, held in the Garden District on the Sunday before Thanksgiving for the past decade, has been postponed due to concerns about the spreading COVID-19 virus. This year the walking parade and celebration would have been on Sunday, Nov. 22. In past years, the hat-wearing participants meet in the pocket park at St.

Viewpoint: Support public safety officers threatened with furloughs

People are getting desperate. Led by an increase in homicides and aggravated assaults, the crime wave sweeping across New Orleans and America can be blamed in large part on COVID-19 and the economic turmoil it has caused. A recent Council on Criminal Justice analysis of homicide rates in 27 U.S. cities found that the sheer number of crimes increased sharply during the summer months.  Overall domestic violence and carjackings are also skyrocketing together with drug and gang violence.  

Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s almost singular focus on reducing the virus in Orleans Parish has successfully limited hospitalizations and deaths, especially as the virus’ latest wave is wreaking havoc nationally. We applaud her for those efforts. Yet its accompanying financial devastation is driving up crime in New Orleans as desperate individuals resort to reckless acts to put a few dollars in their pockets.  

Along with a very real concern about how to pay the bills during New Orleans’ stalled economic recovery are factors such as an increase in gun sales, mental health issues such as depression, boredom and a lack of interaction with others. 

New Orleans is a poor city where the Police Department has perpetually been understaffed and underpaid by regional and national standards.

Volunteers needed for drive-thru flu-shot event at Audubon Zoo

On Monday (Oct. 26), the city will host a free flu-shot event at the Audubon Zoo, serving the dual purpose of providing flu shots to residents during flu season and helping public health and safety officials test plans for large-scale vaccine administration in anticipation of a future FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. The New Orleans Medical Reserve Corps and the NOLA Ready Volunteer Corps are recruiting volunteers to assist in this and future vaccine administration events. Volunteers will be assigned various medical and non-medical duties:

Medical providers are needed to give flu shots. Non-medical volunteers are needed to support vaccination site operations, including patient registration, measuring throughput and flow, supply restocking, and logistics support.