They’re back: The dancing denizens of Ghost Manor to haunt Magazine Street again

Ghost Manor, the animated light show that allows ghosts, ghouls, witches, skeletons and zombies to show off their dancing skills, is back for a limited engagement this year at 2502 Magazine St. The animated display took a break last year due to Covid and was scheduled for another break this year, but owner David Gentry decided to set the ghosts free for their annual romp. “The ghoulish denizens of Ghost Manor are taking over once again,” a statement on Facebook reads. “Although the human inhabitants are still dealing with significant damage from Hurricane Ida, the ghosts and ghouls were not content to remain silent this year. We tried.

Porch concerts respond to canceled music festivals

Porch concerts had been popping up throughout the city when Milan area residents Natalia and Guy Gonzalez began hosting concerts on their Marengo Street front porch. The tradition started for the Gonzalezes in the fall of 2020, after a musician asked Natalia’s 94-year-old mother if she would put on a porch concert to help out the Radio Bird Quartet. She agreed, and then Natalia took on the project. “We have had Radio Bird, of course, as well as The Walrus, a Beatles cover band,” Natalia Gonzalez said. “In fact, recently when their Zony Mash show got canceled, they came to our porch and played the concert there.”

They are now presenting shows twice monthly, with Mia Borders booked for an upcoming show.

Tipitina’s to open coffee shop and bar with live music next door on Tchoupitoulas

Legendary local music venue Tipitina’s plans to expand by opening up a coffee shop next door that will also serve as a bar and live entertainment venue at night. 

The City Planning Commission approved the plans in a unanimous vote on Tuesday (July 27), with the provision that all music must be indoors with windows and doors closed. The coffee shop will be on 4331 Tchoupitoulas St., in a building previously used as a commercial short-term rental space known as Tchoup House. The venue has a rear patio and upstairs deck. 

In comparison to the bopping music club next door, the new entertainment venue will be low-key, focusing more on piano and acoustic performances. 

“The live music that we are envisioning would be akin to a piano bar: small scale, a piano man, or perhaps a jazz or funk trio,” according to a project description the club submitted. “An intimate vibe, nowhere on the level of size or production that the artists who play inside Tipitina’s require.” This expansion represents a hopeful new chapter for Tipitina’s, which like all music venues has struggled mightily to survive the pandemic.

‘A Century on Harmony Street’ to honor the Kohlmaier cabinet makers in the Irish Channel

Furniture maker Ruppert Kohlmaier Jr. was just 6 years old when he started working in his father’s shop on Harmony Street in the Irish Channel. Almost 80 years later, he still works there every single day. His long career has been blessed, he said, by having a legion of New Orleanians as clients, whom he considers to be his extended family. Select pieces from his clients’ collections will be on view at the Louisiana State Museum’s Cabildo beginning Nov. 4 in the exhibition “A Century on Harmony Street: The Kohlmaier Cabinet Makers of New Orleans.” Curated by gallery owner Cybèle Gontar, the retrospective honors both father and son Kohlmaier and will be accompanied by a catalog.

Empanola is bringing its innovative empanadas to Magazine Street

 

Empanola, the spot that serves up traditional and New Orleans-inspired empanadas, is opening a new location at 3109 Magazine St. on Aug. 1. The site is the former location of novelty and gift shop Bootsy’s Fun Rock’n, which closed last summer. The Empanola location at 7321 Freret St., a neighborhood favorite since 2019, will remain Empanola’s main store, where all of the empanadas are baked.

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.

Hollygrove tract is set to be redeveloped into affordable housing

When Paul Irons and his sister Marseah were growing up, they regularly passed the corner of Monroe Street and Earhart Boulevard a block and a half from their Hollygrove home. “I remember when it was a Church’s Chicken. I remember when it was not a Church’s Chicken,” said Irons, noting that four generations of his family have called Hollygrove home. “And I remember seeing it vacant for a long period of time.”
At last week’s City Council meeting, Irons and Marseah Delatte, managing partners with New Orleans Restoration Properties, saw the council members give unanimous approval to their plan to develop the now-blighted square block — including the cement slab where the Church’s used to be — into affordable housing. The Grove Place complex promises 43 affordable housing units in an area with convenient access to multiple job centers.

City plans to turn McDonogh 7 site into affordable housing

By Sharon Lurye, Uptown Messenger

A proposal from the Housing Authority of New Orleans to turn the former McDonogh 7 school building into affordable housing drew intense interest from neighbors as more than 50 people attended an online community meeting on Friday (June 18). Representatives from HANO and the architecture firm VergesRome laid out plans for the Uptown site, which currently houses the upper grades of Audubon Charter School. The three-story school building would be turned into 27 affordable housing units for seniors, while the rest of the site would house 12 more units in the form of family duplexes. There would be 41 parking spaces in total, and 20% of the site would be green space. If all goes according to plan, the Housing Authority aims for City Council approval in December or January and would start construction in the fall of 2022 or spring of 2023.

Our Lady of Lourdes church on Napoleon is on the market again

The pews are gone. The baptismal font and religious statues have been removed, and the church bell is no longer in the belfry. Even the stained glass windows are in storage elsewhere. For now, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church at 2400 Napoleon Ave. awaits the next chapter in its nearly 100-year history.