Planning Commission rejects plan for Bohemia outdoor restaurant on Freret

A proposed open-air restaurant complex on the Freret Street corridor received a thumbs-down from the City Planning Commission on Tuesday (May 23)

The large vacant lot on Freret and Upperline Street is envisioned as Bohemia Gardens, an outdoor recreational space with a bar and three restaurants featuring up-and-coming chefs, the developer told the CPC. In its report, the Planning Commission staff objected to the project’s design, stating it did not fit the character of the neighborhood. “The historical development pattern of the Freret Street mixed-use corridor is what makes Freret a vibrant and walkable neighborhood,” the staff states. “The proposed design strategy drastically departs from the character of Freret Street in that current layout of the structures breaks the rhythm and fabric of the street by not providing building facades to the edge of the sidewalk.”

The CPC asked the developers and their architect to bring the building facades to the sidewalk and combine the small structures into one larger building to anchor the corner of Freret and Upperline. After meetings with the CPC staff, a redesign and three deferrals, the Bohemia group had not brought the plans into compliance.

At Pasta on the Fly, build your own meal with fresh pasta and toppings

By Marielle Songy, Uptown Messenger

New Orleans native Ryan O’Connor owns Pasta on the Fly, a new Maple Street restaurant that allows diners to build their perfect pasta bowl. O’Connor was working at the Ritz-Carlton on Canal Street when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. He relocated to California, where he worked as general manager of the Michelin-starred Rustic Canyon restaurant in Santa Monica.   

At Rustic Canyon, O’Connor learned from master pasta maker Evan Funke. “He has the softest touch when it comes to pasta; he rolls out everything by hand,” he said. “That was a turning point for me.

Loyola, Tulane plan to increase student housing

Loyola and Tulane universities bring about 11,000 students each year to the Uptown area. Dorms available for students, however, are limited. With insufficient student housing available, both Loyola and Tulane have announced the beginning of new residential buildings on their campuses. In November, Tulane announced through email the beginning of the first phase of a new  project that will add an additional 1,200 beds to their student housing, according to Tulane spokesperson Michael Strecker. By the end of this summer, Strecker said, 700 beds will be added to Tulane’s campus living.

Team behind Costera opens Osteria Lupo on Magazine


Since 2019, Costera has been serving coastal Spanish-inspired cuisine on Prytania Street. The latest endeavor from owners Reno De Ranieri and Chef Brian Burns, Osteria Lupo, will bring the flavors of northern Italy to the Magazine Street. The restaurant opens Wednesday (April 5). Burns is a Chicago native who attended culinary school at the École Supérieure de Cuisine Française, now known as Ferrandi Paris. He and De Ranieri joined forces while working for the Link Restaurant Group.

Toxic fumes still plague Uptown neighborhoods, Irish Channel residents say

On a pleasant spring evening last week, Irish Channel residents Kimberly Terrell and Justin Vittitow met at Parasol’s to plan a presentation on the air quality in their neighborhood. They were sitting outside the bar, but soon had to go in. Fumes that had drifted in from across the river were burning their throats, Vittitow said. 
Nearly two years after the City Council passed a resolution in support of Irish Channel residents’ efforts to rid their neighborhood of toxic fumes from industry on the Mississippi River in Jefferson Parish, Vittitow and Terrell — members of JOIN (Jefferson, Orleans, Irish Channel Neighbors) for Clean Air — were back in Council Chambers. They spoke Tuesday (March 28) to the Joint Climate Change and Sustainability and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We still have this.

Domilise’s po-boy shop scores a role in ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’

Keen-eyed New Orleanians watching Amazon Prime’s new miniseries “Daisy Jones & The Six” are noticing many of the scenes are shot – if not set — in New Orleans. The city stands in for New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Albuquerque, among others. Episode 9 of the 1970s rock ‘n’ roll fable features Uptown’s Domilise’s Po-boy & Bar as a Chicago sandwich shop. The idea to film in New Orleans came from local film location manager Batou Chandler. Chandler told Uptown Messenger she wanted to support local small businesses and a favorite film location, City Park, all in need of a financial boost during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Neutral Ground Coffee House owners prepare for a potential ‘exile’

Caroline Williams, known by most as Phant, broke down in tears at the front door of Neutral Ground Coffeehouse. Someone waiting at the door mistook the Neutral Ground co-owner for a Realtor looking to sell the building where the coffee shop lives. That’s how Williams and James Naylor learned their coffeehouse could lose its longtime home. They don’t know when they will have to go, Williams said, but they’ve already begun preparing for Neutral Ground to be in “exile” if the building sells. Neutral Ground Coffee House is a “community space, part gallery, half stage,” often referred to as a safe third place for patrons.

The Tell Me Bar in the Lower Garden District lets the wine ‘be what it’s meant to be’

The Lower Garden District has a new social spot that features natural wine by local experts. Uznea Bauer, Cory Cartwright, and Tyler Robinson opened The Tell Me Bar on St. Thomas Street near the Pontchartrain Expressway in December 2022. 

It specializes in natural wine, which Bauer described it as wine created with as little intervention as possible. “You’re working as ‘hands-off’ as possible in the vineyard. You’re not using chemicals, pesticides or insecticides other than herbal applications and copper — more natural things with no chemicals,” she said.

The Sidewalk Side: St. Thomas Street in the Irish Channel

During Carnival, I stumble across a wonderful block in the Irish Channel, the 2800 block of St. Thomas Street. Although none of the nine houses on the block are painted purple, green and gold, they are so exuberantly colored they put me in the mood for a parade. Color, I discover, is just one of the elements that ties the block together. Take a look, for example, at the wide brick sidewalk, laid in a herringbone pattern.

King Cake Hub to ring in Carnival season at Zony Mash

King Cake Hub is back this year at Zony Mash Beer Project and will kick off the Carnival season season with a party and pageant. The seasonal pop-up is a one-stop shop for king cakes. Local bakeries send a daily supply, so that lovers of the Carnival confection, or anyone buying a king cake for their workplace, have myriad fresh choices in one place. King Cake Hub was founded in 2019 by Will and Jennifer Samuels. The couple got their first taste of the king cake business with their own king cake at their gelato shop La Dolce NOLA on Metairie Road in 2011. 

When Will died of esophageal cancer in September 2021, Jennifer knew she would continue King Cake Hub, as it was such an important part of the couple’s life together.