Redevelopment of the famed Dew Drop Inn is officially underway

Officials gathered in Central City on Thursday (July 7) to officially break ground on the restoration of the famed Dew Drop Inn, the city’s leading Black music venue for three mid-century decades. The groundbreaking was complemented by performances from the Beautiful Creole Apache Tribe and Cyril Neville. Speaking at the ceremony, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the city is working to redevelop the section of Central City where the Dew Drop Inn Hotel & Lounge at 2836 LaSalle St. can serve as an anchor. “The city of New Orleans is making sure we’re leveraging our dollars in this immediate area,” she said.

Portside Lounge, Caribbean outpost in Central City, is set to close

Portside Lounge, the Central City tiki bar that’s been serving up tropical cocktails since 2017, is closing, an announcement on Facebook said Wednesday. “It is with an extremely heavy heart that I make the announcement that I will be closing down The Portside Lounge,” the post reads. “It’s been a wild ride with a ton of amazing people, artists, and musicians, but nothing lasts forever and all good things must come to an end.”

The bar will host its grand finale this weekend with music every night, including  The Unnaturals on the Fourth of July, its last day. The bar is coming full circle, according to the Facebook post. The Unnaturals, a local surf rock band with attitude, played the bar’s first show.

Fans of Casa Borrega mourn its closing

Patrons who have been enjoying eclectic Mexican fare, a variety of live music and the occasional street parties at Casa Borrega since 2012 will sadly miss it. “Oh no, I can’t believe it. I was just there last week,” said one regular, expressing the dismay of many when they learned the Central City restaurant served its last Chile Relleno and Margarita Borrega on Friday (May 6). It was located in the section of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard that has seen spurts of development since Hugo Montero and Linda Stone first came up with the concept more than a decade ago. Other restaurants followed – with varied success — and a couple of years later the Southern Food and Beverage Museum opened down the street.

Textile recycler ricRACK to hold Earth Day celebration

RicRACK is holding an Earth Day Celebration on Friday (April 22) at its store at 1927 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. “The public is invited to celebrate one of our most favorite days of the year (next to our birthday),” the nonprofit’s press release states, “when we get to honor and celebrate with the rest of the world the beauty and respect we have for our creator, our everything, Earth Day.” RicRACK is a textile recycler, sewing studio and resale shop started by costume designer Alison Parker to incorporate the world of clothing and fabric repurposing, re-using and waste reduction. The ricRACK Earth Day celebration on Friday (April 22) from 4 to 7 p.m. will include:

• Local eco-friendly businesses and resource groups like Compost NOW, Life City and Vintage Green Review will have information on hand to help participants make better environmentally friendly choices. • A virtual fashion show created by the New Harmony High School Fashion Club will hold its world premiere.

Review: New Orleans artists present a celebration of diversity and place

By Saskia Ozols, guest columnist

The current exhibit by the Renegade Artists Collective, “Off the Beaten Path,” includes an outstanding combination of voices that link symbolism of New Orleans and the Greater Gulf South, through commentary on its history and notes on considerations for the future. 

RAC exhibition curators Erin McNutt and Cheryl Anne Grace, both painters themselves, organized the show to include artists of varied genres and professional backgrounds — all currently working in New Orleans and without traditional gallery representation. The exhibit features work by professional mid-career artists along with the works of select students, art majors chosen by a committee from local universities. 

Exhibiting new talent with established professionals has been a formula in historic art communities to assure longevity. It both preserves and promotes a healthy, thriving art community. The structure fosters growth and provides a pathway for both artists and collectors to persevere through generations despite otherwise challenging conditions. Cities such as Boston, New York and Philadelphia have long histories of this structure in their most venerated institutions.  

This structure is especially important now as visual arts practice, preservation and education are quickly slipping away from public view.

Neighborhood Cares Day in Central City postponed

From the Mayor’s Engagement Office
The Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office announced it will regretfully postpone the Neighborhood Cares Day in Central City due to inclement weather. The re-scheduled event will be held next Saturday (March 19) at the Keller Community Center, 1814 Magnolia St., from 9 a.m. to noon. City departments, residents, churches, schools and businesses in Central City will come together to beautify and clean the neighborhood. Residents will also be able to enjoy free food and music, free COVID-19 tests and vaccines, job opportunities, a resource fair and more. The Central City Neighborhood Cares Day is held in partnership with HandsOn New Orleans, PeeWee’s Crabcakes, Heard Dat Kitchen, New Orleans East Hospital and CORE New Orleans.

City begins neighborhood cleanup initiative with Central City event

On Saturday (March 12), the Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office will be joined by residents, churches, schools and businesses for a community care day and resource fair in Central City. The event kicks off the city’s Neighborhood Cares Initiative. In coordination with Hands On New Orleans, volunteers will be able to beautify the neighborhood by removing litter and debris near the Keller Community Center, 1814 Magnolia St., and the surrounding streets. Residents will also be able to enjoy free food, free Covid-19 tests and vaccines, music, a resource fair and more. The event will be held at the Keller Community Center from 9 a.m. to noon.

Nation’s oldest World War II veteran, Lawrence Brooks, dies in his Central City home

Lawrence Brooks, the nation’s oldest World War II veteran at 112, died Wednesday morning (Jan. 5) at his home in Central City, his daughter Vanessa Brooks told Uptown Messenger. Brooks had been in and out of the Veterans Affairs Hospital several times in recent months, but was still alert, enjoying the holidays and watching his beloved Saints play until the end. He was able to relish the Saints’ win against the Panthers on Sunday. He died as he had planned — in his own bed.

Nation’s oldest World War II veteran just wants to stay in his Central City home

 

Central City resident Lawrence Brooks, the nation’s oldest living World War II veteran at 112, is back at his home after a recent stay at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a few nights in the intensive care unit. When his daughter and caregiver, Vanessa Brooks, was notified of his impending release last Thursday (Nov. 4), she was asked whether she planned to ride home with him in the ambulance. She shook her head and laughed. “He’ll have six people with him,” she said.