Central City Library begins transition to new location with pop-up services

Library services within the Mahalia Jackson Learning Center end today, Sept. 26, in preparation for a move to the a new larger location in the Allie Mae Williams Multi Service Center at 2020 Jackson Ave. Until the new location opens this fall, there will be three-day-a-week library service outside of the new location beginning Monday, Oct. 7. The pop-up library will be open Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pop-up library services will include books and other materials for checkout, children’s crafts and toys, weekly storytimes every Saturday at 10:30 a.m., and free WiFi access.

New micro-distillery to begin producing craft rum in Central City

Happy Raptor Distilling plans to start producing its signature line of craft spirits, 504Rum, this fall in Central City. Once the site of a graffiti-covered storage facility, the distillery’s location at 1512 Robert C. Blakes Sr. Drive (a two-block stretch of Carondelet Street) is nestled in a high-traffic but often overlooked area. The micro-distillery will feature a 2,000-square-foot production space and tasting room with an adjacent back patio. The revitalized space will feature  a custom-built copper still and a mural by local artist Hill Landry. The Happy Raptor team plans to begin production later this month and will open for private events shortly thereafter.

Central City Library moving to larger location

Central City Library is moving to a new, larger location this fall: the Allie Mae Williams Multi-Service Center at 2020 Jackson Ave., the New Orleans Public Library announced. Library services within the Mahalia Jackson Learning Center will end Thursday, Sept. 26. From Sept. 26 until the new location opens, there will be three-day-a-week library service outside of the new location.

Dryades Public Market closure puts Central City in a food desert

By Emily Carmichael, Uptown Messenger

When Dryades Public Market closed its doors on Friday, Central City lost its major supplier of fresh produce. An anchor of the Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard shopping district, Dryades Public Market opened in 2016 as a way to bring fresh, affordable food to a low-income neighborhood with few grocery options. “This is my primary grocery store,” said Trenell Thomas, Dryades Public Market assistant manager. She’s not concerned for herself, however. Thomas owns a car and can drive to another store.

Ashé Cultural Arts Center announces new executive director

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.

Danae Columbus: Redevelopment of Brown’s Dairy signals further change for Central City

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.

Buddy Bolden house envisioned as center to foster young musicians

By Emily Carmichael, emilycarmichael19@gmail.com

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.

PJ Morton steps in with plan to save Buddy Bolden house in Central City

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.

The Indians are coming: Here’s the schedule, route and music lineup for Super Sunday

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.

Dew Drop Inn renovation deal falls through, but hopes for redevelopment remain

By Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger

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.