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.

Silver Lining: Urban Roots branches out as Uptowners find relief in gardening

This is the second Silver Lining, an Uptown Messenger series on locally owned small businesses that are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other New Orleans businesses considered essential, the Urban Roots Garden Center did not have to close down during the COVID-19 lockdown. It was considered to provide essential services because they sell edibles and fruiting plants. Also, like other businesses in Uptown Messenger’s “Silver Linings” series, this one does not rely on the tourist trade or out-of-town visitors. At the beginning of the pandemic, Urban Roots offered a new service: curbside pick-up.

Silver Lining: Maple Small Animal Clinic is busier than ever during the pandemic

This is the first Silver Lining, an Uptown Messenger series on locally owned small businesses that are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maple Small Animal Clinic has a different pandemic story to tell from many of our local businesses. For one thing, it does not depend on the tourist trade. And veterinary clinics are considered an essential business, so it never had to shut down. The clinic changed its protocol to curbside drop-off and pickup, but it stayed fully staffed and did not need to limit its services.

New Orleans Thanksgiving 2020: Socially distanced Creole Oyster Dressing

Below is the Oyster Dressing recipe I’ve prepared since 2006. It was recorded at the elbow of my cousin Velma, then 93. At 4-foot-10, still whip-smart and eternally feisty, she bossily instructed me in “the right way” to prepare the family dressing for an “authentic Creole New Orleans Thanksgiving.” Her recipe cards and everything else she’d owned were stolen a year before “by that hussy Katrina,” her sobriquet for the hurricane. The recipe she passed down that day, first prepared by her family in the 1800s, had been committed to memory during Prohibition.

Magazine Street welcomes new take on Thai from BRG restaurant group

 

Jimmy Cho, the chef and owner of the Cho Thai — a recent addition to Magazine Street in the Irish Channel — has operated the West Bank favorite Banana Blossom since 2009. One of the repeat customers at that Thai fusion restaurant happened to be a partner at BRG Hospitality, the rebranded John Besh group whose holdings include August, Pizza Domenica and Shaya. He liked the food at Banana Blossom so much he approached Cho joining the BRG’s restaurants. Cho signed a contract with BRG in November 2019, and the redesign of the interior space at 3218 Magazine St. was set to begin in the new year.

City plans safer bike paths in Central City and Lower Garden District

The Office of Neighborhood Engagement hosted a pre-construction meeting Thursday to inform Central City and Lower Garden District residents about bicycle infrastructure improvements coming to their neighborhoods. Construction on the project on the East Bank began in August 2020, and the Thursday meeting allowed residents to view the proposals for their area. The project will bring bike lanes and street redesigns to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from St. Charles Avenue to South Broad Street, Melpomene Street from St. Charles Avenue to Camp Street, Baronne Street from Calliope to Phillips Street, South Galvez Street from MLK to Erato Street, and South Broad Street from Fourth Street to Thalia Street.

‘At some point, you lose the character of the street’: Magazine Street retailers on the future of Uptown’s historic corridor

As Nathan Lott, the Preservation Resource Center’s policy and research director and advocacy coordinator, put it: Magazine Street — with its architecture, its history and its flock of local business — is a microcosm of New Orleans, one that has acutely felt the city’s economic slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic. The time from Christmas to Mardi Gras is usually a boon for these businesses. The upcoming holiday season is seen as crucial to whether or not many of Magazine Street’s businesses survive. On Thursday, the PRC hosted an online panel of five Magazine Street merchants to discuss the future of the beloved corridor. The panel consisted of Dirty Coast owner Blake Haney, Perlis Clothing owner David Perlis, West London Boutique owner Mariah Walton Bencik, Guy Williams of Gulf Coast Bank, and Susan Brooks, the new owner of Club Ms. Mae’s.