The former St. Francis de Sales Church is featured in the Preservation Resource Center’s Preservation Fest 2020, a full day of free online programs.
Built circa 1867, just two years after the Civil War, the stately St. Francis de Sales Church served as a Catholic church parish until 2008, when it was sold by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and deconsecrated. The wooden church building remained vacant for nine years and fell into disrepair before developer Peter Gardner purchased it in 2017 and commenced an extensive restoration. Today from 12:30 to 1 p.m., take a virtual tour of the property here on the PRC Facebook page. For a Preservation Fest schedule, see here.
At 7 p.m. every night, a racket breaks out on quiet stretch of Laurel Street in the West Riverside area. It’s neighbors sending a thank-you note to the doctors and nurses, RTA workers, ambulance drivers, firefighters and everyone else who is working to help New Orleanians through the coronavirus pandemic, reports Doug MacCash on NOLA.com. The ritual, modeled on similar demonstrations of unity in New York and around the globe, was initiated by 72-year-old Uptown resident Natesh “Mo” Mohan to show respect and gratitude for everyone on the front-lines.
In an initiative to honor this week’s religious holidays during a major health crisis, the Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative Air Force will launch its first “Spirit Flights” over New Orleans. Two local religious leaders will be flying over the city in a World War II plane. The first flight will take on Good Friday (April 10) at 10 a.m. Archbishop of New Orleans Gregory Aymond will fly over the city to bless the citizens of metropolitan area during this pandemic. Aymond himself only recently recovered from COVID-19. “We continue to ask for prayers for our health care workers, our leaders, those who are sick, and those who have died,” Ayond said.
Police cars arrived at Tracey’s Bar on Magazine Street on Saturday to break up a crowd of more than 250 people participating in a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl, in violation of a ban on large crowds that Gov. John Bel Edwards announced through an executive order on Friday. The size of the crowd spurred some public shaming from Mayor LaToya Cantrell on social media. “The crowd exceeded 250 people and spilled into the streets. They were dispersed without incident,” said an New Orleans Police Department spokesperson.
Members of the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club gathered Saturday (March 14) for their annual Mass at St. Mary’s Assumption Church that traditionally precedes their Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year, the parade hosted by the group founded in 1947 was canceled by the city due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Groups of green-garbed revelers strolled the streets of the Irish Channel Saturday (March 14) with the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade canceled due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. Men were dressed in their tuxedos and kilts while the women were draped in green and glitter. The crowd kept growing, however, and the New Orleans Police Department had to step in and break it up later in the evening, saying the event violated the ban on gatherings of more than 250 people. “This is irresponsible, potentially endangering the entire community,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said on Twitter.
Editor’s note: This story posted before Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a declaration closing all schools. The schools information below is outdated. During a conference call Thursday (March 12) afternoon, Mayor LaToya Cantrell gave the number of presumptive coronavirus cases in New Orleans: 11. About two hours later, the city’s webpage on the health crisis stated there were 15 in New Orleans. On Friday morning, the number increased to 23.
The BUKU Art + Music Project announced today that its 2020 festival scheduled for March 20-21 will be rescheduled. This reluctant change is due to the impacts of COVID-19, the coronavirus. A notice from Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s office stated that BUKU could not take place as planned, according to an official statement from the festival team. “It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we respect their decision, and instead of crying we’ve been planning…fast,” the statement from BUKU reads. “With the help of so many people, and motivated by the vision of y’all dancing and headbanging, we are rescheduling BUKU 2020 to take place over Labor Day Weekend.”
The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University has canceled its inaugural event for 2020, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and adherence to university protocol. Tickets purchased for keynote addresses with John Grisham, Michael Lewis and Malcolm Gladwell will be fully refunded within 10 business days. The book festival had planned to run March 19-21, and festival organizers estimated around 30,000 visitors would attend the three-day event on Tulane’s uptown campus. However, the top priority for the festival organizers is that of the health and safety of the general public, authors, volunteers and Tulane’s faculty, staff and students. On Wednesday afternoon, Tulane University announced it would reduce the concentration of people on campus by conducting classes online beginning March 23 and through the end of the semester, reducing the number of gatherings and eliminating non-essential travel.
A variety of groups were ready to bring an explosion of activity to Uptown streets this weekend. The Irish Channel Parade, a centerpiece of local St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, was planned for Saturday. And the following day, Mardi Gras Indian tribes and second-line groups were to bring their artistry to the streets of Central City for the annual Uptown Super Sunday. Now Irish Channel paraders need to store their throws and Indians need to put away this year’s suits.
Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington State will all cast their presidential primary votes tonight (March 10). The NOLA Messenger crew is inviting our readers, neighbors, and any political thinkers to join us again to watch the campaign unfold. Our next Democratic Primary Watch Party is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. tonight at Twelve Mile Limit, 500 S. Telemachus St. Political junkies of any affiliation are welcome, and the venue is for ages 21 and up. Messenger merchandise will be available, and drink sales will help support our own coverage of local elections in 2020.