The Broadmoor Improvement Association is holding a Day of Service event Monday (Jan. 17) in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Volunteers will repaint the mural on the Gen. Pershing Street side of Broadmoor Arts & Wellness Center and assist at the Broadmoor Food Pantry. The neighborhood association will also hold its first meeting of the year on Monday morning. To take part in the Day of Service, meet at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of the Broadmoor Arts & Wellness Center, 3900 Gen. Taylor St.
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.
The pandemic may have upended the city’s traditional Mardi Gras plans, but the show must go on. Residents of the University Uptown neighborhood have raised the curtain on a fleet of Broadway-inspired house floats, following the theme of “2020: The Musical!” This Krewe of House Floats has stepped in during a Carnival season of no parades, no bars and no partying in the French Quarter after curfew.
“Krewe of House Floats has really been building the plane while flying it. The humor and the whimsy of our neighborhood really shows through with our theme,” said Jenna Rockett, captain of the University Uptown subkrewe. “It’s that ability to look around and laugh and make it work.”
“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.
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.
Parades are canceled this year, but have you no fear. Freret held a vote on a theme for house floats. They picked a theme based on Seuss, let creativity loose, and let everyone know: The theme’s “Oh, the Places You Can’t Go!”
The Freret neighborhood has become a colorful storybook as it takes on a Seussian theme for Yardi Gras, a safe alternative to Mardi Gras parades where residents decorate their own houses as floats. Imagination abounds in houses decorated in the spirit of beloved children’s books.
When given lemons, “leave it to this city to make some lemonade and put vodka in it,” said Liz Cooke, a resident of the Freret neighborhood and the owner of Lionheart Prints on Magazine Street. Cooke came up with the idea for the theme because, simply, “I can’t wait to go places.”
“I’m used to traveling every month for business or just life, and I’ve just staying put like I’m supposed to,” she said.
The Garden District, bordered by the Uptown parade route on St. Charles Avenue, is a neighborhood that parties during Carnival time. The neighborhood’s Krewe of House Floats theme, “Garden Party,” reflects their spirit.
“One of the best parts of living in our amazing neighborhood is the access to so many magical Mardi Gras parades and the spirit of the season,” Garden District subkrewe Captain Meghan Caye Turner said. “When I heard the concept of Krewe of House Floats, I knew it was important to keep the spirit alive in our neighborhood, while supporting local artists and shops.”
The subkrewe of the Garden District has fewer than 20 houses registered on the map that rolled out on the KoHF website on Monday (Feb. 1), but there are more that didn’t make it to the official map.
One striking creation is in the 1200 block of Harmony Street, where neon artist Nate Sheaffer has created a magical “Krewe of Garden Party” covered with his custom designed neon lights.
Sheaffer moved to New Orleans right after Mardi Gras 2020.
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.
The iconic song “The House of the Rising Sun” comes to mind when you learn the theme of the Audubon Riverside subkrewe of the Krewe of House Floats. “There Is a House in New Orleans” is the theme, and many houses are already wowing passers-by (and drivers-by).
Audubon Riverside has 170 official houses that will appear on the map that will roll out on the KoHF website on Feb. 1. The subkrewe’s captain, Courtney Guidry, saw some chatter about “house floats” around Thanksgiving and posted a question on whether her neighborhood was going to be included. With that, Admiral Megan Boudreaux asked if she wanted to serve as the area captain.
From its seeds in an offhand remark founder Megan Boudreaux posted on Twitter, Krewe of House Floats has quickly grown into a superkrewe, with about 11,800 members in 40 subkrewes across the metro area. All are devoted to keeping the Carnival spirit alive and providing support for locals affected by the pandemic. Throughout the season, Uptown Messenger will be visiting with neighborhood KoHF subkrewes across Uptown to see how they’re doing Yardi Gras.
The Krewe of House Floats’ neighborhood theme “Channel Surfing” makes for good viewing in the Irish Channel.
Co-captain Lindsay Grissom came up with the theme. “We hope that it gives everyone the creative room to decorate however they want, since there are so many TV options out there,” Grissom said. “People are also free to decorate without using that theme — we’re just hoping for some Mardi Gras spirit in the Channel.”
Her co-captain Autumn Town got involved in this project when Admiral Megan Boudreaux first came up with the idea and was looking for subkrewe captains.
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.