RTA, NORD and libraries outline their Phase 1 reopening plans

New Orleans is embarking on the first week of Phase 1 in reopening the city as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed nearly 500 lives in the city and more than 2,000 deaths statewide. If you use public transit, the city’s recreational facilities or the public library, here’s what you can expect from those agencies during this initial phase. Regional Transit Authority
Beginning Sunday (May 17), the RTA returned to Saturday service on all bus and streetcar routes. The RTA also will go back to collecting fares as part of the Phase 1 reopening of the city. For more information regarding fares, visit www.RTAforward.org/fares-passes.

New Orleans-based company offers customer logging technology for local businesses

As the City of New Orleans moves into phase one of reopening, customer logging has been a suggested safety precaution, especially for high-traffic locales. IDScan.net, a local developer of identity verification and information gathering technologies, is now offering New Orleans companies a touchless solution for automatically logging customers. “Our solution helps businesses across industries protect their customers and their staff,” said Denis Petrov, CEO of IDScan.net, in a statement. “Our solution, which logs customers and gets them through the door as fast as possible, is particularly useful where there is high traffic.”

IDScan.net’s visitor management platform scans government-issued IDs and instantly pulls the individual’s name, address, and date of birth. It then creates a record for the individual in a database, along with the time and date of the visit.

Class of 2020, Part 1: High schools turn to virtual resources, social media and creativity to honor graduates

 

The final months and weeks leading up to high school graduation tend to hold anticipated end-of-year senior traditions, celebrations and countdowns, but this semester is different. The class of 2020 won’t be able to celebrate their accomplishments with hugs from faculty and classmates this month; they won’t be able to graduate in a venue surrounded by cheers from family and friends; and they won’t be able to walk proudly across a stage to receive a handshake and a diploma. When Gov. John Bel Edwards announced school closures for the remainder of the semester in mid-March, students were faced with the challenge of adjusting to a new normal of distant learning. Now, with the state-wide stay-at-home order extended through May 15, graduating seniors are confronted with another major unprecedented change: a socially distanced graduation celebration. “Once you start your freshman year of high school, all you can think about is walking across that stage your senior year to make yourself and family proud,” said Rayon Pratt, a graduating senior at Landry-Walker high school.

PPE masks by Simply CBD

Simply Dispensary: From New Orleans wellness retailer to PPE supplier

As COVID-19 continues to impact the City of New Orleans, many small businesses have been forced to close altogether or adapt in ways they would never have imagined just a couple months ago. For Simply Dispensary, a local wellness products retailer with locations Uptown, in Mid-City, in the Marigny, and on the West Bank, that meant transitioning into a completely new industry in just a matter of weeks. 

Since the beginning of March, Simply Dispensary has harnessed its relationships with suppliers and manufacturers in the U.S. and abroad to provide much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and hard-to-find supplies—hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and 3-ply disposable face masks—to restaurants, convenience stores, and other businesses. “When it comes down to it, we are in the business of selling wellness products,” said co-owner and general manager Sean Partridge. “As this outbreak started affecting our city and the people we care about, and you can’t find the supplies you need to stay safe and well anywhere, we knew we had to start offering these products ourselves.” By mid-March, when the City of New Orleans announced the stay-at-home order, Simply Dispensary had already brought in inventory of hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and hand soap.

Central City church hosts two days of COVID-19 walk-up and drive-thru testing

Council members Helena Moreno, Jason Williams and Jay H. Banks are proud to announce mobile COVID-19 testing in Central City. The testing initiative is hosted by 12 Baptist churches throughout the city and held this week at New Hope on Rev. John Raphael Jr. Way. In partnership with the city of New Orleans, NOLA Ready and the New Orleans Health Department and Ochsner Health System, community drive-thru or walk-up testing will take place on Tuesday (May 5) and Wednesday (May 6) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the New Hope Baptist Church, 1807 Rev. John Raphael Jr. Way (formerly LaSalle Street). “Having testing easily accessible to those that are most likely to be impacted and who are less likely to be able to get to the other testing sites, just makes sense,” said District B’s Councilman Banks. “Throughout every crisis New Orleans has experienced, churches have been an anchor, and served as a beacon of hope.

For the city’s small restaurants, federal aid falls flat

 

Mason Hereford shut down the dining rooms of his two restaurants by a vote. Days before Mayor LaToya Cantrell ordered restaurant dining rooms closed, Hereford gathered the staff of Molly’s Rise and Shine and Turkey and the Wolf, and, united and socially distanced, they elected to shift operations to take-out only. Hereford thought his establishments would operate this way for a week or two. They lasted only three days, before, with safety in mind, he shut them down completely. In 2017, full-service restaurant jobs constituted 7% of New Orleans’s workforce according to a report by The Data Center.

Tulane institute to study effect of pandemic on nation’s schools

From Tulane University

The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences has awarded the National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice, or REACH, at Tulane University a $100,000 contract to collect data from approximately 150,000 school websites across the country to see how the nation’s education system is responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The project, which will track traditional public schools, charter schools and private schools, aims to quickly answer questions that are critical for understanding how students are learning when school buildings are closed. Key questions include: how many schools are providing any kind of instructional support; which are delivering online instruction; what resources are they offering to students and how do students stay in contact with teachers? “This data will also help answer important questions about equity in the school system, showing how responses differ according to characteristics like spending levels, student demographics, internet access, and if there are differences based on whether it is a private, charter or traditional public school,” said REACH National Director Douglas N. Harris, Schlieder Foundation Chair in Public Education and chair of economics at Tulane University School of Liberal Arts. REACH will work in cooperation with Nicholas Mattei, assistant professor of computer science at Tulane University School of Science and Engineering, to create a computer program that will collect data from every school and district website in the country.

Which businesses and restaurants are open in Uptown New Orleans?

[Last updated 8:30 a.m. April 30]

Uptown is blessed with many excellent restaurants. The continued closure of their dining rooms is necessary for public health but difficult the talented and hard-working staff of these establishments. Luckily, we don’t have to deprive ourselves of the food we’ve grown to love and depend on during our confinement. Many of our local restaurants are offering to-go and delivery options with precautions for social distancing. Below is a list of Uptown eateries and other businesses with information on which are delivering, which are offering takeout and which have decided to close for a while — plus information to help you treat yourself while giving your neighborhood restaurants a needed boost.

Along Oak Street, business owners preserve their community during the stay-at-home mandate

Along Oak Street, from Carrollton Avenue to the river, the toll of the coronavirus pandemic is clear: at least 13 stores and restaurants have signs announcing their storefronts are closed due to the virus. But for the businesses that have held on so far, the initial panic has worn off, and there’s hope that they’ll make it to the other end of this crisis. “I’ve learned you’ve just got to adapt. You’ve got to be so flexible,” said Chamain O’Mahony, co-owner of the bakery Breads On Oak. O’Mahony had to shut down her bakery’s downtown location, as foot traffic there has essentially disappeared, but she’s still doing take-out Thursday through Sunday on Oak Street.