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.
Just days after the a cyclist was killed in traffic on St. Charles Avenue, a “ghost bike” was placed at the site to honor his memory. There are a number of groups that make and place these ghost bikes (not to be confused with the Germany-based bicycle company of the same name) around New Orleans. This one was made by Angie Bailleux, who has been fabricating the bikes for going on five years. Bailleux said she does not know the victim.
Who even calls the stretch of greenspace overlooking the Mississippi River “Audubon Riverview Park”? But that is its official name. The current pavilion in the park everyone refers to as “The Fly” has a history dating back more than 25 years.
That structure, officially named “A Stage for Viewing,” was damaged in October’s Hurricane Zeta in October, and the process of replacing its shredded roof is still in play.
It’s this structure’s predecessor that gave the stretch of land by the river its name. Few today can remember the original building that people thought resembled a butterfly. So the park gained the nickname “The Butterfly,” which was then shortened to “The Fly.” The building, which housed concessions and restrooms, was actually supposed to resemble gull wings.
Behind the glittering offerings at Symmetry Jewelers lies a pandemic story despite how very busy they are and have been.
Like other non-essential businesses, Symmetry Jewelers closed down when it was mandated on March 22. They reopened a couple of months later, on the first day it was allowed. They bought masks for staff and customers alike, installed sanitizer stations and social-distancing markers, and developed a regimen for regular sterilizing. And like other local businesses, they had to register with the city to be permitted to open up. During those two lockdown months, the business took out a line of credit to pay employees while they applied for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Ride by the yellow corner building at Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas these days, and you see a line of people spread out on the sidewalk to order coffee at a to-go window. Yes, coffee. Since 1977, this has been the location of the iconic New Orleans’ music club, Tipitina’s. Originally intended to showcase the life’s work of Professor “Fess” Longhair, born Henry Roeland Byrd in 1918, at the end of his career, it quickly grew into one of the most beloved music venues in the city. It has survived changing ownership and changing musical climates, as well as hurricanes, over the years, even briefly closing in 1984.
This is the third Silver Lining, an Uptown Messenger series on locally owned small businesses that are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. For almost five decades, Uptown Restoration has been repairing furniture at the corner of Zimpel and Cherokee streets in the University section of Uptown New Orleans.
Though off the beaten path, the repair shop does a steady business. But this year, it’s been especially busy. Not long after the lockdown in March, more customers began showing up with broken furniture and pieces that needed to be restored or refinished. “With everyone staying at home, and many working from home, they had the time to attend to repairs they had been meaning to do for a long time,” said Uptown Restoration proprietor Bobby Franks.
For a while, Franks had to rent storage space for the backlog of furniture in the queue to be worked on.
The WRBH 88.3 FM studios, a landmark on the corner of Magazine and Foucher streets, has a distinctive spot in the broadcasting world. It is the nation’s only full-time FM reading radio service and one of only three such stations in the world, according to its website.
WRBH, also known as “Reading Radio,” turns the printed word into the spoken word so that vision-impaired people can receive the same ease of access to current information as their sighted peers.
Two other stations share that mission: Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network, a sideband service not on the FM dial, and Vision Australia Radio Network. The latter is a network of eight radio stations whose programming and structure are similar to WRBH but do not operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Australian group recently reached out to WRBH to share information, ideas and forge a relationship. The target audience for Reading Radio includes the blind and illiterate, as well as individuals who are unable to read due to illness, spinal cord injuries, eye muscle damage, learning disabilities, lack of access to print media and loss of vision due to age.
It wouldn’t be overreaching to say the Columns is beloved by generations of New Orleanians, as well as those visiting the city. The large front porch framed by imposing Doric-style columns has been a favorite for cocktails and watching the scene unfold along St. Charles Avenue. Charming and old world, it is a place where first dates, proposals, break-ups and the accompanying drowning of sorrows, sharing of secrets, love-at-first-sight, weddings, debutante soirees and celebratory fetes happen on a daily basis. If walls could talk, the Columns’ walls could fill three volumes, easily.
This is the second Silver Lining, an Uptown Messenger series on locally owned small businesses that are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other New Orleans businesses considered essential, the Urban Roots Garden Center did not have to close down during the COVID-19 lockdown. It was considered to provide essential services because they sell edibles and fruiting plants. Also, like other businesses in Uptown Messenger’s “Silver Linings” series, this one does not rely on the tourist trade or out-of-town visitors. At the beginning of the pandemic, Urban Roots offered a new service: curbside pick-up.
Louisiana Second Congressional District Rep. Cedric Levan Richmond, who recently became the highest ranking Black staff member to join President-elect Joseph Biden’s administration, was introduced to politics at a very early age. Richmond was just 5 years old in 1978 when his mother, Maple Richmond Gaines — a dedicated New Orleans public school teacher — would wake him and his brother Sidney Jr. before dawn to accompany her to the picket line, where the United Teachers of New Orleans were striking for higher wages and better working conditions. Richmond would hold up a sign while his mother, the strike leader, made sure no cafeteria workers or other early arrivers entered the school building. “Cedric’s father, Sidney Richmond Sr., was an entrepreneur and very involved in the community,” Richmond Gaines said. “Although he died when Cedric was 7 years old, he left an impression on Cedric about the importance of community service.”
Richmond’s stepfather, Ulis Gaines, was an electrical contractor who imparted a similar message, Richmond Gaines said.