[Editor’s note: The following letter was written by Garden District resident Owen M. Courrèges.]
In reference to your article of January 8th, “Six alarm fire consumes historic lower garden district church, nearby building:”
I am concerned that your article allowed Rev. Moses S. Gordon and his flock to paint themselves in a sympathetic light, claiming that they are truly saddened by the loss of the church and the historic townhouse next door, also owned by Rev. Gordon. For example, you quote church member Joseph Byrd as saying “[i]t’s a great loss, the loss of the memories, and the historic building too.” Rev. Gordon himself is quoted as saying “We went through Katrina; we’ll get through this.”
What Rev. Gordon fails to mention is that he had previously applied to the city to demolish the structure, working through Steven Gill, a local attorney who is also a member of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. In 2007, a public hearing was held on the matter with the HDLC. The Preservation Resource Center opposed the demolition proposed by Rev. Gordon and noted the foregoing in its “Demolition Threats” feature in its “Preservation in Print” newsletter. Karen Gadbois reported on this on her “Squandered Heritage” blog.
[Editor’s note: The following letter was sent by Greg Sonnier, owner of The Uptowner, to the Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association after that group decided to withhold their support for his restaurant Tuesday night. Sonnier also sent a copy of the letter to UptownMessenger.com as a comment on the original story, and it has been reprinted here in full.]
I was notified by a reporter from the UptownMessenger.com of the ARNA meeting where our application request for Gabrielle restaurant at 438 Henry Clay Ave was brought up. I apologize for not being able to attend but would like to take the time to address my request for the zoning change from non-conforming use to a restaurant (table service). I think it best to summarize our predicament for you from the beginning in order to present the facts. It was our intention after Katrina to re-establish our established New Orleans business, Gabrielle Restaurant at this address.
“Since it first began using the City’s NOLAReady service in mid-August, NOPD traffic has been several times that of all the other channels (for example, weather advisories, Amber Alerts and boil water orders) combined!”
The Refrigerator Bandit kicked in our back door to take a bunch of grapes out of the fridge. Left a cell phone, computers, and jewelry untouched even though he opened all our dresser drawers. NOPD was on the scene soon after we called, recognized the M.O., took fingerprints, and were very professional and diligent about the whole thing. We got a timely response by a patrolman and, after an end-of-shift wait, Detective Waldron showed up to investigate and explain what had happened based on past experience.We live on Terpsichore Street just off Coliseum Park and Det. Waldron said this was the farthest downriver the Refrigerator Bandit had struck at the time (about a month ago).