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.
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.
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, 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.
A steady trickle of cars flowed past a renovated garage on Orange Street on Friday (April 24) as The Commissary chefs, staff and family passed out free meals of barbecue shrimp and grits with smothered okra through the car windows to an extended family of hospitality workers and musicians. Lower Garden District neighbors walking and bicycling past were also offered the free meals that included ice cream po-boys from New Orleans Ice Cream Co. The restaurant group Dickie Brennan & Co. has developed the 7,000-square-foot project, which includes 6,000 square feet of commercial kitchen. The original plans were to prepare food for the group’s five restaurants – Palace Café, Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, Bourbon House, Tableau and Acorn — to streamline operations and boost consistency for signature dishes.
For Part 2 of this two-part series on Magazine Street, Uptown Messenger takes a snapshot of restaurants, bars and coffee shops in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. (Part 1 focused on local shops and galleries.)
Along Magazine Street, a gastronome can sample French, Indian, Vietnamese, Cajun, Creole, Chinese and homegrown flavors in myriad restaurants that dot the six-mile stretch. Bars, an important part of New Orleans social life and culture, can be temples of cocktail culture or beloved neighborhood hangouts. Coffee shops offer places to relax, visit, study or work and have their own individual vibes. Along with the mix of retail stores, these businesses have made Magazine Street a popular destination for tourists and locals.
Who among us wouldn’t want to be eating with friends at a neighborhood restaurant, shopping at a favorite boutique or getting ready for Jazz Fest? Unfortunately we can only dream about those luxuries right now. Ms. Corona is holding us back as a region, a nation and globally. She won’t be letting go until we have a vaccine. As the owner of several small businesses, I want to open up New Orleans just as much as anyone. I need customers.
For Part 1 of this two-part series on Magazine Street, Uptown Messenger is focusing on retail businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Part 2 will focus on restaurants, bars and coffee shops. The following is a snapshot of local shops and galleries. The six-mile Uptown stretch of Magazine Street is home to approximately 300 businesses, creating a hub for tourists and locals to enjoy shopping, dining and cocktails. Five weeks ago, when Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued the stay-at-home order, followed by Gov. John Bel Edwards three days later, these small businesses had to shutter their storefront operations.
Xavier University is the first site in a campaign bring COVID-19 testing to medically vulnerable communities. Walk-up testing will be available at Xavier from Tuesday (April 21) through Friday of this week. LCMC Health, the New Orleans Health Department and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center will be conducting a mobile testing campaign for COVID-19 across the metro area over the coming weeks. At a press briefing on Monday, Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director of the New Orleans Health Department, urged residents of the Xavier neighborhoods such as Gert Town, Hollygrove and Dixon to take advantage of the testing this week. To be eligible for testing, you must be 18 years of age or older and either recently exposed to COVID-19 or recently showing symptoms of the virus.
The 10th annual Champagne Stroll on Magazine Street is still on for May 2. It’s just not on the street, it’s online, the Magazine Street Merchants Association has announced. Magazine Street (@MagazineStreet) will host an interactive Instagram live video feed, the “Virtually Champagne Stroll,” on Saturday, May 2. Merchants will offer special deals and followers can chime in with their messages supporting Magazine Street and photos of themselves drinking champagne and shopping online. This night has been one of the flagship events of the Magazine Street Merchants Association, providing heavy traffic and much needed sales to many businesses on Magazine Street, giving them a boost before the traditional summer slump sets in.