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.
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.
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.
From its beginnings as a gas station and a camelback shotgun double, the sleek mid-century modern building at 3701 Magazine St. was created by architect Nathaniel “Buster” Curtis. Curtis had been a principal in the firm of Curtis & Davis Architects, best known for designing the Superdome and the Rivergate. This piece of history is now for sale and housing two retail pop-ups — in a flurry of them these days — offering items shoppers are unlikely to find elsewhere in New Orleans. You would have to go to places like New York or Paris to find the Turkish textile art and clothing at Elysian and the textile home décor selections at Meet Me in Venice.
Things got off to a very confusing start in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic for Tal Sharon. His restaurant, Tal’s Hummus, on the corner of Magazine and Bordeaux, specializes in Israeli street food, and like other business, it went through a period of turmoil. After the pandemic hit, things were unclear from all perspectives – from the supply chain to the regulations to the customers. And then there was the instituting of all the protective equipment and protocols to keep both employees and the public safe. “After two or three weeks, things normalized to the point that we were able to at least survive – to keep our doors open and keep our employees,” said chef and owner Sharon (pronounced Sharr-rhone).
For those driving or walking on St. Charles Avenue, watching the transformation of a large Queen Anne style home near Napoleon Avenue has been the talk of the town. And like many buildings, it has stories to tell. On Oct. 28, The Chloe, a boutique hotel with a restaurant and bar, officially opened its doors, becoming the latest resident in this once-upon-a-time sleeping beauty at 4125 St.
Since early March we have all become accustomed to — and perhaps cynical of — phrases like “the new normal” and “these uncertain times.” Nothing quite describes what so many of us are experiencing, this constant hum of anxiety and powerlessness. In contrast, we also see celebrations of creativity, of learning a new skill or reinventing yourself. But even this encouragement exhibits problems, as for many these past months have simply been about trying to keep it together, a constant struggle to preserve their sanity and well-being. There are so many ways we describe the pandemic experience and so many ways we have responded, but there is one movement I have seen in neighborhoods that has not only captured my attention, but as of late, drawn my family in. Early this summer, my wife discovered The Little Copa — fresh fruit daiquiris prepared right in our neighborhood, the Irish Channel.
Deepen your child’s connection with the arts—in the comfort of your home! Young Audiences of Louisiana is launching a virtual studio art program, Simply Arts Studio. Families across the Greater New Orleans Area have the opportunity to enroll their child in dance, yoga, visual arts or beginner piano for as low as $15 per class. All Simply Arts Studio workshops are
Instructed by experienced teaching artists
Based on grade level
Limited to eight students to ensure quality interaction
Either three weeks or five weeks long
Available after school or Saturdays
Courses begin this week For a full list of course offerings, visit www.ya4la.org! Register today.
Although Olga J. Hedge Pedesclaux was born after women earned the right to vote, as a Black female, she faced down intimidation registering to vote in the 1940s. “They didn’t want us voting and threw all kinds of barriers in the way,” said Pedesclaux, a 96-year-old Donaldsonville native now living in Gentilly.
The mother of former City Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, Pedesclaux remembers that it took several trips to New Orleans City Hall to finally get registered. On her first attempt, officials asked Pedesclaux, then 20, to recite the entire Preamble to the Constitution of the United States.
Pedesclaux forgot to wear her wedding ring on her second try and was rejected for lying about her marital status. On the third attempt, she brought along the neighborhood ward boss, who simply stood in the back of the room while Pesdesclaux successfully completed the necessary paperwork.
Because of the intimidation she encountered just to get registered, Pedesclaux considers voting a sacred honor. “There is no reason anybody shouldn’t vote in every election,” she said.
Although Pedesclaux is eligible to vote by mail, she prefers to cast her ballot in person during the early voting period. “There is something special about going to the polls to vote,” she said.
The once bare white walls of a South Carrollton Avenue storefront are now highlighted by bottles of red, white, rose and sparkling wines from France, the U.S., Spain and Italy, along with some select local and global spirits. If those walls could talk, they would tell of the journey Vino Wine and Spirits took, including delays due to COVID-19 pandemic regulations and the cyber attack on City Hall, as they were navigating the already arduous permitting process. Then there was the card reader that wasn’t going to arrive in time for the opening, and then when it did, it was in pieces to be assembled. The good news is that a new chapter began the last week of June, when Vino Wine and Spirits welcomed its first customers, card reader be damned. Vino Wine and Spirits is the realization of a dream of Allyson and Milton Hernandez.