Yardi Gras Stories: Carrollton-Hollygrove homes are as proud, and as colorful, as peacocks

Creativity isn’t canceled. 

In the Carrollton-Hollygrove neighborhood, the houses are especially colorful. The Carrollton-Hollygrove subkrewe’s theme is “Nesting in Place” — a nod to the neighborhood bird sanctuary that resident peacocks call home. 

Courtney Bullock, one of the subkrewe’s co-captains explains how the Krewe of House Floats idea came together. “It all blew up in a week,” Bullock said. “There was a division of neighborhoods, and I knew that people would want to decorate their houses — we just had to do something.” 

Bullock’s house, adorned with musical instruments and a piano banner, has a musical theme. “The title of my house float is ‘Lay That Funky Music,’” she said.

Yardi Gras Stories: House floats bring neighbors together in Central City

Mardi Gras parades may be cancelled, but that hasn’t stopped residents of Central City from turning their neighborhood into a festive Wonderland. Central City is one of the many neighborhoods participating in Yardi Gras, an alternative to Mardi Gras parades where homeowners decorate their own houses as floats. On the 3200 block of Dryades, for example, residents are working together to turn four homes into “Alice in Wonderland”-themed house floats. 

Friends and neighbors came together on Saturday to start putting up whimsical decorations. One house was the Cheshire Cat, and the others were the Queen of Hearts, the Caterpillar and the Mad Hatter. The neighbors shared pizza and art supplies as they decorated, and music kept everyone bouncing. 

“We have all embraced it, and we have had a lovely time,” said Shirley Madison, the Queen of Hearts.

Ghost bike honoring unnamed cyclist is part of ‘a community effort’

 

Just days after the a cyclist was killed in traffic on St. Charles Avenue, a “ghost bike” was placed at the site to honor his memory. There are a number of groups that make and place these ghost bikes (not to be confused with the Germany-based bicycle company of the same name) around New Orleans. This one was made by Angie Bailleux, who has been fabricating the bikes for going on five years. Bailleux said she does not know the victim.

Iconic pavilion at The Fly is without its sail-like canopy

 Who even calls the stretch of greenspace overlooking the Mississippi River “Audubon Riverview Park”? But that is its official name. The current pavilion in the park everyone refers to as “The Fly” has a history dating back more than 25 years. 

That structure, officially named “A Stage for Viewing,” was damaged in October’s Hurricane Zeta in October, and the process of replacing its shredded roof is still in play. 

It’s this structure’s predecessor that gave the stretch of land by the river its name. Few today can remember the original building that people thought resembled a butterfly. So the park gained the nickname “The Butterfly,” which was then shortened to “The Fly.”  The building, which housed concessions and restrooms, was actually supposed to resemble gull wings.

Phunny Phorty Phellows herald Carnival with creativity and caution

 

With masks creatively incorporated into costumes, 25 members of the Phunny Phorty Phellows boarded a streetcar Wednesday at the Willow Street Car Barn for their traditional Twelfth Night trip down St. Charles Avenue. Since 1981, the krewe has heralded the beginning of the New Orleans Carnival season. Following COVID-19 restrictions, the 25 participants represented about 25 percent of the group’s usual size, the public was not allowed inside the streetcar barn to send them off, and crowds along the route were asked to wear masks and keep to small socially distanced groups.

On life support, Tipitina’s reinvents itself again and again

Ride by the yellow corner building at Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas these days, and you see a line of people spread out on the sidewalk to order coffee at a to-go window. Yes, coffee. Since 1977, this has been the location of the iconic New Orleans’ music club, Tipitina’s. Originally intended to showcase the life’s work of Professor “Fess” Longhair, born Henry Roeland Byrd in 1918, at the end of his career, it quickly grew into one of the most beloved music venues in the city. It has survived changing ownership and changing musical climates, as well as hurricanes, over the years, even briefly closing in 1984.

Silver Lining: New Orleanians are lining up to get their furniture repaired

This is the third Silver Lining, an Uptown Messenger series on locally owned small businesses that are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. For almost five decades, Uptown Restoration has been repairing furniture at the corner of  Zimpel and Cherokee streets in the University section of Uptown New Orleans. 

Though off the beaten path, the repair shop does a steady business. But this year, it’s been especially busy. Not long after the lockdown in March, more customers began showing up with broken furniture and pieces that needed to be restored or refinished. “With everyone staying at home, and many working from home, they had the time to attend to repairs they had been meaning to do for a long time,” said Uptown Restoration proprietor Bobby Franks. 

For a while, Franks had to rent storage space for the backlog of furniture in the queue to be worked on.

Glowing up with the Columns: Rejuvenation is a natural progression for this storied gathering place

It wouldn’t be overreaching to say the Columns is beloved by generations of New Orleanians, as well as those visiting the city. The large front porch framed by imposing Doric-style columns has been a favorite for cocktails and watching the scene unfold along St. Charles Avenue. Charming and old world, it is a place where first dates, proposals, break-ups and the accompanying drowning of sorrows, sharing of secrets, love-at-first-sight, weddings, debutante soirees and celebratory fetes happen on a daily basis. If walls could talk, the Columns’ walls could fill three volumes, easily.