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.

Where to find a Friday fish fry in Uptown neighborhoods

It’s Lent, the season of the Friday fish fry. Below are some fish fry opportunities in the Uptown area. See here for the archdiocese’s complete list of church fish fries in the metro area. In addition to the traditional church fish fries, some local restaurants are taking part in the United Way’s Fish Fry Fridays, a fundraising campaign for Hospitality Cares. 

If you know of a fish fry in the Uptown area that’s not on this list, we invite you to leave the information in the comments section. Holy Name of Jesus
6325 Cromwell Place (on the Loyola University campus)
March 11, 25; April 8
5 to 7:30 p.m.
Fried fish or shrimp with sides, $12 ($10 child); fish and shrimp combo with sides, $14
Pick up or dine in.

Blindsided by route change, Krewe of Thoth wants to cut parade in half to stay Uptown

Krewe of Thoth officials say they are willing to sacrifice the downtown half of their parade to keep their traditional route deep in the Uptown neighborhood, where they bring Carnival to patients at Children’s Hospital and other institutions. “Hopefully, we can adjust it,” said Penny Larson, spokesperson for the Krewe of Thoth. “If we have to, we’ll cut the end off.” The historic parade route begins at Tchoupitoulas and State streets, then traverses Henry Clay Avenue before turning right on Magazine Street, where it rolls until turning on Napoleon Avenue. Under the city’s revised 2022 parade routes, the krewe will line up at Napoleon and Prytania Street.

Lusher board puts off name change, rejects naming school after Jeanne Marie Lusher 

After years of controversy and debate, the board governing Lusher Charter School officially voted on Thursday to change the school’s name to … something to be decided. 

At an emotional meeting that lasted almost four hours with 90 public comments, the Lusher board voted against renaming the school after pediatric oncologist Jeanne Marie Lusher. The four board members who opposed keeping “Lusher” in the name were Alysia Loshbaugh, Rachel Wisdom, Kiki Huston and George Wilson, while the two members willing to consider it were Brenda Bourne and Gary Solomon.  

“We are not the name. We are the community. We are the students. We are the faculty,” Wisdom said.

Lengua Madre to offer a personal, contemporary take on Mexican cuisine at Thalia and Constance

Big changes are coming to the corner of Thalia and Constance Streets where Lengua Madre, a restaurant that offers a contemporary, personal approach to Mexican cuisine, will open at 1245 Constance St. on Wednesday (Aug. 4). It will be the first solo endeavor of chef Ana Castro, who previously worked as sous chef at Coquette on Magazine Street and as co-sous chef at Thalia, which operated in the same location as Lengua Madre. Castro was also the head of the kitchen at the brief pop-up Here Today in the spring. 

Castro was born in South Texas and raised in Mexico City by her paternal grandmother.

Tipitina’s to open coffee shop and bar with live music next door on Tchoupitoulas

Legendary local music venue Tipitina’s plans to expand by opening up a coffee shop next door that will also serve as a bar and live entertainment venue at night. 

The City Planning Commission approved the plans in a unanimous vote on Tuesday (July 27), with the provision that all music must be indoors with windows and doors closed. The coffee shop will be on 4331 Tchoupitoulas St., in a building previously used as a commercial short-term rental space known as Tchoup House. The venue has a rear patio and upstairs deck. 

In comparison to the bopping music club next door, the new entertainment venue will be low-key, focusing more on piano and acoustic performances. 

“The live music that we are envisioning would be akin to a piano bar: small scale, a piano man, or perhaps a jazz or funk trio,” according to a project description the club submitted. “An intimate vibe, nowhere on the level of size or production that the artists who play inside Tipitina’s require.” This expansion represents a hopeful new chapter for Tipitina’s, which like all music venues has struggled mightily to survive the pandemic.

Empanola is bringing its innovative empanadas to Magazine Street

 

Empanola, the spot that serves up traditional and New Orleans-inspired empanadas, is opening a new location at 3109 Magazine St. on Aug. 1. The site is the former location of novelty and gift shop Bootsy’s Fun Rock’n, which closed last summer. The Empanola location at 7321 Freret St., a neighborhood favorite since 2019, will remain Empanola’s main store, where all of the empanadas are baked.

Hollygrove tract is set to be redeveloped into affordable housing

When Paul Irons and his sister Marseah were growing up, they regularly passed the corner of Monroe Street and Earhart Boulevard a block and a half from their Hollygrove home. “I remember when it was a Church’s Chicken. I remember when it was not a Church’s Chicken,” said Irons, noting that four generations of his family have called Hollygrove home. “And I remember seeing it vacant for a long period of time.”
At last week’s City Council meeting, Irons and Marseah Delatte, managing partners with New Orleans Restoration Properties, saw the council members give unanimous approval to their plan to develop the now-blighted square block — including the cement slab where the Church’s used to be — into affordable housing. The Grove Place complex promises 43 affordable housing units in an area with convenient access to multiple job centers.