Ashé Cultural Arts Center’s board of directors, Efforts of Grace, has appointed Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes as the new executive director of Ashé. She will take her post Jan. 1, 2020, succeeding founding executive director Carol Bebelle, who will retire from the organization at the end of December. Ecclesiastes was selected after a rigorous search, said board President Beverly Guillory Andry. “Ms. Ecclesiastes comes to the organization with vast experience and knowledge in the field of culture and arts, as well as an understanding of its transformational power in the community,” Andry said. Efforts of Grace is the sponsor of Ashé Cultural Arts Center, a leading community-based cultural arts organization.
Local and national real estate developers are excited by this week’s announcement that the former Brown’s Dairy complex — just uptown of the Pontchartrain Expressway and one block off St. Charles Avenue — is now for sale. According to listing agent Matthew Eaton of Re/Max, this 200,000-square-foot parcel presents the largest infill development opportunity to hit the New Orleans market in recent years. With a hefty price tag of $8.5 million (approximately $42.50 per square foot based on land area), potential developers will be crunching the numbers to see what types of adaptive reuse could turn a profit. Regardless of whether the complex is redeveloped as retail shops, restaurants, art galleries, micro-breweries, recording studios, sports or entertainment complexes, apartments, condos, hotels, short-term rentals or some combination of the above – the sale will permanently change land uses and property values for many surrounding blocks.
Musician PJ Morton had not heard of Buddy Bolden until three years ago, when the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church, where his parents are pastors, planned to turn Bolden’s former Central City home into a parking lot. The architect for the project, a longtime friend of Morton’s, sent him an article about Bolden, the cornetist considered the founding father of jazz. “[He] was like ‘Hey man your mom, they just tried to knock down Buddy Bolden’s house,’” Morton said. “And I’m like, ‘Who’s Buddy Bolden?’”
Now Morton has joined forces with the Preservation Resource Center and Marcelin Engineering to renovate the house as well as the identical house adjacent to it.
The fate of the Central City shotgun where early jazz pioneer Charles “Buddy” Bolden once lived has long concerned preservationists and jazz aficionados. Now some fresh hope for the dilapidated building has appeared in the form of PJ Morton, an acclaimed musician with close ties to the building’s owner. At a blight hearing Tuesday, Morton laid out plans to renovate the building at 2309 First St. He wants to turn the shotgun double and its twin next door into a museum, recording studio and event space, according to a Facebook post by the Preservation Resource Center, which is advising Morton on the project. The city’s Historic District Landmarks Commission has repeatedly cited the building’s owner, the Greater St.
Super Sunday is an annual gathering of Mardi Gras Indian tribes celebrating their heritage and culture in a magnificent display of hand-sewn suits, singing, dancing and chanting. The festival in A.L. Davis Park will include two stages and more than 50 food and craft vendors. This year’s Uptown Super Sunday takes place on Sunday, March 17. Special guests include the Hot 8 Brass Band, Young Pinstripe Brass Band and the Original Pinettes Brass Band plus Lucky LOU, DJ Captain Charles, DJ Jubilee, SOSU wirh Lady D, the Young Men Olympian, the Lady Buckjumpers, B.R.W. R&B Singing Group and more. The festival begins at A.L. Davis Park, located at Washington Avenue and LaSalle Street, begins around noon.
The future of the historic Dew Drop Inn on LaSalle Street in Central City is once again in doubt, after a deal to restore the dilapidated former music hall fell through. Ryan Thomas, owner of real estate development company Peregrine Interests, said a difficulty getting investors for the planned two-story development with a hotel, museum and restaurant — along with a music venue — is what held up the deal that was set to close Dec. 30. The property’s owners are now looking at other offers, according to Scott Graf, a commercial real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. The sale agreement called for 15 hotel rooms at the 80-year-old site, with a total of 10,000 feet of renovated space.
Man robbed on Felicity Street
A 48-year-old man was robbed on the street Monday night in Central City, the New Orleans Police Department reported. The victim was at Felicity and South Liberty streets at about 8:45 p.m. on Monday, March 11, when he was approached by four men demanding money. He refused, and one of the assailants struck him and removed the money from his front pocket. The four men fled in an unknown direction. Anyone with information related to this robbery is asked to call the NOPD Sixth District at 504-658-6060 or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111
Domestic battery suspect sought
The New Orleans Police Department has obtained an arrest warrant for Ian N. Petty, 35, in connection with a home invasion and domestic abuse battery incident that occurred on March 1 in the 2800 block of South Liberty Street.
George Short was sentenced to 20 years last week for the killing of a man in Central City in 2014. Short, 43, averted his scheduled murder trial and potential life sentence on Feb. 20 by entering into a plea agreement as potential jurors lined up outside the courtroom of Criminal District Judge Arthur Hunter, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office reported. Under the terms of the agreement, Short pleaded guilty to an amended charge of manslaughter, two counts of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon, and one count of introducing contraband into a corrections facility. On Feb.
Café Reconcile is recruiting new students for its 2019 classes. While Café Reconcile’s Class 1 is already underway, applications to participate in future classes, including Class 2 which begins March 18, are currently being accepted both online and in person. Young adults ages 16-24 years old can apply. Café Reconcile is an eight-week hospitality training and job placement program that provides paid stipends, life skills classes, visits to industry partners, interview training and more. Upcoming program dates for 2019 include:
Class 2: March 18
Class 3: May 13
Class 4: July 15
Class 5: Sept.
The city’s first gunshot-detection crime camera was installed last week on Martin Luther King Boulevard, Project NOLA reported. Sponsored by bounce music star Big Freedia, it was installed one year after Freedia’s younger brother Adam Ross was killed in a Central City shooting. Complementing Project NOLA’s network of over 2,500 crime cameras in New Orleans, the new gunshot-detecting crime cameras will allow Project NOLA staff to more quickly alert the NOPD to active gunfire, identify gunmen and provide life-saving real-time supplemental information to responding units. The city’s first was installed near the spot where Adam Ross lost his life. Developed in 2011 to help reduce crime by increasing police efficiency, the Project NOLA nonprofit community-based crime camera program helped the NOPD reduce the murder rate in New Orleans to a level unseen since 1971, said Bryan Lagarde, executive director of Project NOLA.