Lucy Boone Ice Cream pop-up to settle down in Milan area

Lucy Boone Ice Cream has been charming New Orleanians with its ice cream pop-up since 2020. Now, Lucy Boone is set to open their brick-and-mortar in the renovated Fine Arts Theater on Baronne Street at Constantinople. 

Lucy Boone is the chill creation of Abby Boone and her husband, Aaron Schnell, who named the business is named after their daughter Lucy. They serve handcrafted concoctions such as Cold Brew, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, Key Lime Pie and Salted Butter Caramel. Abby said that she enjoys making ice cream flavors that remind her of her childhood, and she hopes that the flavors resonate with customers and offer a bit of nostalgia in the form of a tasty dessert. Abby grew up in Iowa and attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she specialized in pastries.

Complaints against ‘nightmare’ landlord keep piling up

New Orleans renter Jessica Spraggins had a hard time sleeping in her family’s three-bedroom, $2,600-a-month apartment after her bedroom ceiling partially collapsed. 

“When the city gets rain, so does our bedroom,” Spraggins said. 

The hole hadn’t always been there, she said, but rain leaking from the roof caused the collapse on May 31. Spraggins messaged her landlord, Laura Russell, that very day. Russell responded that she would send someone to look at the damage, according to screenshots of their text communications. Nobody ever came, Spraggins said. 

What did come was an eviction notice. Russell began eviction proceedings June 16 to remove the family from Apartment B at 7800 St.

Affordable housing, child-care center proposed for blighted firehouse

A blighted firehouse on Louisiana Avenue could be transformed into affordable housing and an early childhood center, if plans submitted to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority are granted final approval. The proposal was presented Wednesday evening (July 27) at a public Zoom meeting to inform the community about ongoing plans for renovating and repurposing the disused firehouse at 2314 Louisiana Ave. 

Mid-July marked the close of NORA’s solicitation for the development proposal period, and the organizations Home by Hand and Alembic Community Development presented their joint plans for the site. Their proposal would see the old firehouse renovated to become an early childhood education center on the ground floor and seven affordable rental units on the two floors above. “One of the requirements of the program is that any development that arises from the [NORA-run] program must create either affordable housing units or economic development opportunities in the form of jobs,” said NORA project manager Kyle Gilmore. 

The city is leasing the property to NORA for a 99-year term; NORA will then sublease it to a development partner that administers the overall process of putting the building back into use. According to NORA, an award for the sub-lease will be granted Aug.

Zimpel Street cottage sets off battle between developers and neighbors

The City Council on Thursday (July 21) handed Carrollton area neighbors a victory by overturning the Historic District Landmarks Commission’s approval of plans to partially demolish a house near Tulane University. The approval would have allowed developers Preston Tedesco and Sidney “Sam” Torres V to add a second story to a 1,359-square-foot single-family home they purchased on Zimpel Street. The plans they filed with the city show two units with a “doubles-to-dorms” layout. On June 1, the HDLC voted 8-2 to allow the entire roof and 65% of the facade to be demolished so the second floor could be added. The HDLC staff found that the modest mid-century building, rated as “non-contributing,” had nothing to distinguish it.

Hummus reigns supreme at the Green Olives Café on Maple Street

Green Olives Café began serving Middle Eastern food on Maple Street in the fall of 2020. Owner Hilmi Abdeljalil put any pandemic-related hesitancy aside for the chance to share his passion for the food he had been cooking his entire life. Growing up in Jerusalem, he learned to cook at home with his family and, with the help of his cousin, he developed a passion for cooking Middle Eastern food. Abdeljalil got his start in the restaurant business in his home country at a spot called Melech Ha Hummus, which translates to King of the Hummus, before moving to New Orleans in 1994. 

“I started working in the restaurant business and I learned as I went,” he said. “I love cooking and I love hummus — that’s my favorite.”

Upon moving to New Orleans, he worked at Mona’s Café on Banks Street for three years before returning to Jerusalem.

Redevelopment of the famed Dew Drop Inn is officially underway

Officials gathered in Central City on Thursday (July 7) to officially break ground on the restoration of the famed Dew Drop Inn, the city’s leading Black music venue for three mid-century decades. The groundbreaking was complemented by performances from the Beautiful Creole Apache Tribe and Cyril Neville. Speaking at the ceremony, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the city is working to redevelop the section of Central City where the Dew Drop Inn Hotel & Lounge at 2836 LaSalle St. can serve as an anchor. “The city of New Orleans is making sure we’re leveraging our dollars in this immediate area,” she said.

Uptown VFW breaking ground to help support veterans in need

New Orleans’ sole remaining Veterans of Foreign Wars post is breaking the mold. In a city where every neighborhood once had a VFW hall, VFW 8973 on Lyons and Annunciation streets is New Orleans’ last. However, it may end up being a role-model for the organization’s national headquarters. Once nearly abandoned, the Uptown post, Nola VFW, has been revived by post-9/11 membership. Now it is growing so quickly it may require a second branch.

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.