Mayor LaToya Cantrell today joined other officials and partners to break ground on the $4.2 million Freret Group A roadwork project. “This is the first Joint Infrastructure Project starting in Council District B; in total there will be nearly $60 million invested in this district over the next several years,” said Ramsey Green, deputy CAO for infrastructure. “At the conclusion of this project, residents on 50 blocks will have better streets and an overall improved quality of life. We have 16 projects under construction worth about $108 million.” The city’s Department of Public Works, in conjunction with the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans, began road repairs in the Freret neighborhood on Feb.
Around a year from now, city officials say, much of the Freret neighborhood will have repaved streets, repaired curb ramps and replaced sidewalks — with work set to start at the end of this month on a $4.2 million FEMA-funded roadwork project. Work on the project, which is one of more than 200 being funded across the city with more than $2.2 billion of FEMA money, is expected to begin on LaSalle Street either at the end of this month or early next month, according to a contractor on the project. The boundaries for improvements are bounded by South Claiborne on the north, LaSalle Street on the south, Jefferson Avenue on the west and Napoleon Avenue on the east, with an expected completion by early 2021. The work will then continue north toward South Claiborne Avenue, likely going from the Jefferson side of the project before finishing on the Napoleon side. Exact improvements on each street — available online at roadwork.nola.gov — were determined by FEMA, according to city officials.
Fans assembled at Crescent City Comics in the Freret neighborhood on Saturday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the comic book store’s rebirth after Hurricane Katrina. It wasn’t always clear that the store would make it this far. It opened in Gentilly in 1994, but when the storm hit in 2005, the shop lost much of its stock to flooding. It stayed shuttered for the next four years. “It was definitely a possibility it could be the end,” said store manager Leo McGovern.
After sitting unused for more than four years, the prime corner that used to be home to the Freret Service Center in the heart of the Freret corridor may be the latest addition to the area’s restaurant scene — complete with a full bar and large patio dining area. Work has been underway for months at the site of the decades-old auto shop at the corner of Freret and Valence streets, with broad speculation in the Freret neighborhood about what might go in its place. A recent renovation permit filing with the city sheds some light on that — calling for a new restaurant largely centered on patio dining. A proposed floor plan sent to the city shows much of the restaurant’s seating would be in outdoor dining spaces totaling more than 1,000 square feet right off Freret Street. A more than 3,000-square-foot indoor area — utilizing the existing structure — would house the bar, kitchen, bathrooms and indoor dining room farther away from the street.
The annual Freret Street festival drew a large crowd on Saturday, April 6, packing the street from curb to curb between Napoleon Avenue and Soniat Street. Performers included Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Debauche, J & the Causeways, Little Freddie King, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers and more.
A proposed Rouses Supermarket on a busy stretch of Freret Street will have all the amenities shoppers would expect from their other stores, but on a much smaller scale, representatives from the project told a community meeting on Wednesday. The planned 10,000-square-foot Rouses would go at the site of the former Bloomin’ Deals thrift store — the site of Wednesday’s meeting — with a warehouse and office space on property next door at 4617 Freret Street. The planned overhaul of the northeastern corner of Freret and Valence streets was met with strong support from neighbors, who call the area a “food desert.”
“Are y’all firm on the 2020 opening? Can it be next week?” said Michelle Ingram, who owns nearby Zeus’ Place and lives in the area. Should the city approve three conditional use permits Rouses wants — to sell alcohol, expand the former Bloomin’ Deals space by 1,500 square feet and create a commercial space next door — construction would go forward in August with the store set to open by 2020.
New Orleans-born artist Courtney “Ceaux” Buckley presented his newest collection of paintings to the public on Saturday, October 6. The solo exhibition at Axiom Art Gallery on Freret Street was entitled “Dear New Orleans,” and featured colorful depictions of various scenes and images one can only find in the Crescent City.
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Ceaux is part of the Axiom Artist Collective, which owns the gallery at 4613 Freret Street. Local artists, community members, and supporters visited the gallery for the exhibit opening earlier this month.
Ben Sherman and Stephen Watson have built a culture of great staff, good food, and gracious company over the last several years at Midway Pizza on Freret Street. They are on track to open a second location in the new airport this February with the same funky-cool feeling the Uptown community loves. With a true neighborhood feel and “the best staff in the city,” the pizza joint is proud to be a staple for the Freret corridor. Co-owner Ben Sherman sat with Uptown Messenger—on his birthday of all days—to talk big about the restaurant, their great staff, and the neighbors he loves so much. “Our goal has always been to be a part of this neighborhood.
Frank’s Steakhouse — the landmark restaurant that reigned over Freret Street for decades — was unceremoniously knocked to the ground on Wednesday in a dramatic illustration of the changing times in New Orleans. The Frank’s complex in the 4500 block of Freret was the last major undeveloped property on the corridor since a wave of new business openings began around five years ago. On July 2, Arnold Kirschman finalized his purchase of the buildings from the Barreca family who had owned them for the better part of a century, as part of a plan to demolish the steakhouse in the center of the block to rebuild a stretch of buildings matching the old cleaners on the corner of Cadiz. Kirschman said Thursday morning that he is still in the process of meeting with his architects, contractors, real-estate agents and city officials to hammer out a final timeline for the construction of the new buildings, which will be three-stories tall with apartments in the upper two floors. He has yet to line up any commercial tenants, he said, though he has decided to limit the project to at most only one new restaurant, so that the businesses will be the best fit to match the residents.
Although the Freret Street Festival is now in its 17th year, its growth in recent years has mirrored the rapid redevelopment of the commercial corridor — and this year, the April 5 event will stretch all the way to Jefferson Avenue for the first time, adding a fifth music stage to its lineup, organizers said. In 2013, the event drew more than 23,000 people, organizers said — a dramatic increase from fewer than 10,000 just two or three years earlier. This year, 30,000 people are expected, and organizers are looking for ways to ease congestion so that walking on Freret during the festival remains as pleasant as possible. One change is that the event will extend from Napoleon Avenue all the way to Jefferson (instead of stopping a few blocks before Jefferson as in the past), but will have the same number of vendors as last year — 200, said Michelle Ingram of Zeus’ Place and the Freret Market. “We’re not adding vendors; we’re just spacing out those we have,” Ingram said.