Drive-thru preschool graduation gives 4-year-olds their day in the sun

 

The carpool line at the Child Development Program on Claiborne Avenue looked a bit different Saturday (May 16). Children’s heads popped up through sunroofs as teachers greeted the line of cars with cheers, waves, balloons and gift bags. Preschoolers were being treated to a drive-thru graduation. Of the 54 total students, ages 6 weeks through 4 years old, at the Uptown center, seven were graduating 4-year-olds. After being told by several parents that the sudden shelter-in-place orders brought on confusion to many of the children, particularly the older students, CDP staff members determined that they needed to do something to lift the children’s spirits.

Yo Joe! New Orleans real estate trends, advice for STR owners

I’m Joe Gerrity, local businessman, investor and Real Estate Broker. For my Yo Joe! column, I’ll be answering your real estate questions and providing market information special to New Orleans. New Orleans has seen an explosion in short-term rentals in recent years. In fact, an estimated 8,500 units were in operation until restrictions were passed in 2019.

We'll Be Right Back: New Orleans Hospitality

New podcast tackles the future of hospitality in New Orleans

There’s a new podcast in town, and service industry professionals are offering up their voices for it. The weekly podcast, titled We’ll Be Right Back: The Future of Hospitality, features interviews with professionals and organizations providing relief and resources as the industry manages amid COVID-19. As stated on its website, We’ll Be Right Back will “tell the stories of local business owners and employees in the service/hospitality sector and gig economy at-large in the Greater New Orleans Area impacted by the economic blowback of the coronavirus, as well as highlight the resources available to businesses and individuals alike.” Play the latest episode featuring Rachel Billow Angulo of La Cocinita. 
“It’s important for New Orleans to have difficult, but hopeful and productive discussions as we chart a path forward in the wake of COVID-19,” said Greg Tilton, host and producer of We’ll Be Right Back.

Where to find food to-go for Passover, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter

Food, family and holidays are intrinsically linked, particularly in New Orleans where traditions run deep. With Passover starting today (Wednesday, April 8) and Holy Thursday (April 9) leading up to Easter Sunday, more families are planning their feast around these holidays at home due to COVID-19 self-quarantine rules. Gatherings will be far smaller and religious services will be virtual, but it’s still the holidays. Some will want a day off from cooking or may just want something special, picked up or delivered. Local restaurants, bakeries and caterers have filled the culinary void with to-go menus.

Have some free time? Explore the virtual library

If you’re wondering how you can keep whiling away the hours while your normal activities are on hold, here’s a suggestion: Take advantage of the virtual public library. Although your neighborhood library is shuttered for the time being, the New Orleans Public Library still provides access to a wide variety of movies to stream, e-books to read, audio books to listen to and more. There are also plenty of resources to keep the kids entertained, help them (and you) master their homework and even prepare for the LEAP or the SAT. Now that you have more time on your hands, have you been thinking about tackling some of the projects you haven’t gotten around to? The virtual library can help.

Viewpoint: Weighing risk in the restaurant takeout dilemma

By Kristine Froeba, opinion columnist

COVID-19 can live up to eight hours on cardboard takeout boxes and up to 72 on Styrofoam containers, straws, cups and plastic bags, says a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Airborne droplets can linger in the air for three to four hours after a person has coughed or sneezed. What does that mean for locals who are supporting our beloved local restaurants and coffee shops? It means risk. Takeout and curbside service is a risk to the health of the workers and the customers, but how much?

Chess program at NORD centers aims to help kids build stronger brains

By Emily Carmichael, Uptown Messenger

Kendric J. Perkins opens an online chess games on his phone. One of students at Strategic Thoughts has just made a move, and now it is Perkins’ turn. “This is Isiaih,” Perkins said. “He might get me this game.”

This is the kind of homework Perkins assigns his students at Strategic Thoughts, the challenge of playing their teacher in online game of chess. On Monday (March 2), Strategic Thoughts will start a chess course in seven New Orleans Recreation Department locations.

Newly planted Napoleon Avenue trees shielded from barrage of beads

By Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger

It’s become one of the postcard images of Carnival in New Orleans — beads and other debris lining trees along the Uptown parade route, some to the point of being hardly recognizable. But parade-goers this season on the Napoleon Avenue portion of the route won’t take in any sights that like there — at least if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has its way. That’s because over the past week, the corps has installed more than 100 nets to block beads from latching onto trees on the Napoleon Avenue neutral ground — trees that have just been planted in the past month and are still getting used to their environment, according to corps spokesman Ricky Boyett. “The timing and impacts of Mardi Gras season have been a known factor in this project since its early planning. Netting has been placed to shield the trees from beads becoming wrapped around young branches,” Boyett said, adding that temporary fencing has also been put up around trees to keep pedestrians from walking on the developing root systems.

But what would likely be the most damaging for the trees actually wouldn’t be the beads themselves, according to Boyett, but their removal, which he said could damage new growth.

Krewes moving away from all the throwaway throws

By Christian Willbern, Loyola University New Orleans

In a rainbow sea of glitters and feathers, NOLA Craft Culture owner Lisette Constantin is working towards a greener Mardi Gras. “Here, in house, we’re trying to do wherever we can to make as much of an impact as possible it does in terms of sustainability,” Constantin said. After years of throwing plastic trinkets in the streets, krewes and community members are looking for a more sustainable way to celebrate, including collectible and reusable throws, recycling programs, and the creation of biodegradable Mardi Gras beads. The City Council had litter in mind when it prohibited riders from tossing single-use plastic bags, paper products that do not biodegrade and any package containing bulk throws in its recent revisions to the Carnival parade ordinances. It’s not just the bags littering the streets, however.