Apartment and retail complex planned for St. Charles and Louisiana

The old Rite Aid property at 3401 St. Charles Ave., vacant since 2018, may gain new life. Developers plan to build a 115-unit apartment complex with 19,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. 

Neighborhood residents are abuzz about the planned development at St. Charles and Louisiana avenues, and reactions are split between excitement over the new development and concerns over its size. The development will have a five-story building facing Louisiana and a three-story townhouse behind it, facing Delachaise Street.

Yardi Gras Stories: The Lower Garden District turns the music up and gets down

“Here’s your Elvis outfit,” said the wife, tossing a Vegas-era Elvis Presley jumpsuit and a pompadour black wig with sideburns at her husband.  

“But … uh … I don’t even like Elvis,” piped the husband from his armchair. “Put it on,” came the wife’s command. “We’re going to a parade!” 

That scene took place seven years ago, shortly after Illinois native and raconteur Terri Bird and her husband, Kassinger Valente, relocated to New Orleans.

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.

City to take on parking problems in the university area

New Orleans residents know something about parking scarcity. Off-street parking is rare in the rows of century-old doubles and singles that make up the city’s historic neighborhoods. In most areas, this is a problem occasionally, during special events or when a neighbor has a party. In the university area near Tulane and Loyola — where rental units are in especially high demand — it is constant, residents say, and it’s been getting worse. To create more rental units, doubles have been converted to fourplexes and triplexes with six bedrooms are expanded to create 12, according to city records compiled by neighborhood activists.