Lower Garden District development promises to transform the riverfront

A new neighborhood is planned for the a whopping 27 acres of vacant land in the Lower Garden District. The developers’ plans include 1,100 new apartments, a boutique hotel, an “apartment hotel,” a grocery store, bars, restaurants, fitness center, offices, green space, a museum and an entertainment venue. The developers say they could break ground as soon as next year. 

“This development is an opportunity for a one-of-a-kind mixed-use site that will bring everything you want to see in a neighborhood and more,” land-use consultant Nicole Webre announced to the audience of a public meeting via Zoom last month. Webre is part of River District Neighborhood Investor LLC, the team selected in 2021 by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center board to develop the site. 

According to the plans that the investors submitted when securing their bid for the development, roughly 40% of the new housing units will be affordable or “workforce” housing, priced below market rate. The River District  would completely remake what is currently a zone of empty lots just upriver from the Crescent City Connection — a rare undeveloped patch of land on even rarer high ground within the city.

Blighted firehouse on Louisiana is up for redevelopment

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is taking steps to renovate the dilapidated firehouse at 2314 Louisiana Ave. The agency is seeking community input on how to redevelop the 7,000-square-foot city-owned building. On Wednesday evening (March 10), NORA hosted a community meeting via Zoom. The historic firehouse is blighted, and NORA’s goal put it back into commerce. Seth Knudsen, NORA’s real estate development director, said the vacant firehouse is zoned as a historic urban mixed-use district, or HU-MU, which permits residential use as well as a variety of commercial uses from child care to medical and dental clinics to grocery stores and more. 

“When we consider the range of things that’s permitted, this is among the most diverse zoning districts in the city and really contemplates a pretty wide range of possible future uses for the structure,” Knudsen said.

Where to find a Friday fish fry in Uptown neighborhoods

It’s Lent, the season of the Friday fish fry. Below are some fish fry opportunities in the Uptown area. See here for the archdiocese’s complete list of church fish fries in the metro area. In addition to the traditional church fish fries, some local restaurants are taking part in the United Way’s Fish Fry Fridays, a fundraising campaign for Hospitality Cares. 

If you know of a fish fry in the Uptown area that’s not on this list, we invite you to leave the information in the comments section. Holy Name of Jesus
6325 Cromwell Place (on the Loyola University campus)
March 11, 25; April 8
5 to 7:30 p.m.
Fried fish or shrimp with sides, $12 ($10 child); fish and shrimp combo with sides, $14
Pick up or dine in.

Blindsided by route change, Krewe of Thoth wants to cut parade in half to stay Uptown

Krewe of Thoth officials say they are willing to sacrifice the downtown half of their parade to keep their traditional route deep in the Uptown neighborhood, where they bring Carnival to patients at Children’s Hospital and other institutions. “Hopefully, we can adjust it,” said Penny Larson, spokesperson for the Krewe of Thoth. “If we have to, we’ll cut the end off.” The historic parade route begins at Tchoupitoulas and State streets, then traverses Henry Clay Avenue before turning right on Magazine Street, where it rolls until turning on Napoleon Avenue. Under the city’s revised 2022 parade routes, the krewe will line up at Napoleon and Prytania Street.

After pandemic losses, Magazine Street businesses were counting on Carnival parade revenue. Then the routes changed.

While most New Orleanians are glad the parades will return to the streets for the 2022 Carnival season, the route changes will hurt many of the small businesses along Magazine Street. The 2022 routes, announced on Tuesday by Mayor LaToya Cantrell, eliminate the  stretch of Magazine Street from Jefferson to Napoleon Avenue, where nine krewes begin their procession, and the longer stretch of Magazine from Henry Clay Avenue that the Krewe of Thoth commands. Instead, these parades will all line up at Napoleon and Prytania Street. The owners of Tito’s Ceviche and Pisco at 5015 Magazine were expecting the revenue from the parade-viewing crowds to help with their financial recovery from the pandemic. “Mardi Gras parades are a financial boost for us,” said Tito’s co-owner Tatiana Lock.

Saying goodbye to Harry’s Ace Hardware won’t be easy for Uptown residents

It turns out that grabbing a Hubig’s Pie on the way to the register at Harry’s Ace Hardware was a small pleasure we took for granted. For over six decades, Uptowners assumed the store with the friendly staff  — and the pies – would always be there. 

Harry’s Ace, like the fried pies that used to be on their top shelf, is soon to be filed under the most dread of New Orleans idioms, “ain’t dere no more.” The latter hopes to return next year, but after more than a century, the former, Harry’s, is hanging up its hat. Sometime next spring, the familiar shop under the red awning on the corner of Magazine Street is shutting its doors. The closure was announced Dec.

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.