A new restaurant and bar that aims to support the business community opened on 4525 Freret St. on Friday. A combination bar, restaurant and workspace, The Business Bar was already packed on opening night when it held a happy hour for entrepreneurs. Laughter and conversation bounced off the walls; some customers grooved in their seats to the R&B music playing overhead, while others mixed business and pleasure as they worked on their laptops while also clinking cocktails with names like “Old Fashioned Grind,” “Bloody Fresh Start” and “Break Even Expresso.”
The co-owners of the restaurant were putting in sweat equity as they rushed to keep up with the flood of customers on opening night. Jade Newman, 31, sprayed down tables and greeted customers while Jessica Robinson, 32, manned the bar.
Parades are canceled this year, but have you no fear. Freret held a vote on a theme for house floats. They picked a theme based on Seuss, let creativity loose, and let everyone know: The theme’s “Oh, the Places You Can’t Go!”
The Freret neighborhood has become a colorful storybook as it takes on a Seussian theme for Yardi Gras, a safe alternative to Mardi Gras parades where residents decorate their own houses as floats. Imagination abounds in houses decorated in the spirit of beloved children’s books.
When given lemons, “leave it to this city to make some lemonade and put vodka in it,” said Liz Cooke, a resident of the Freret neighborhood and the owner of Lionheart Prints on Magazine Street. Cooke came up with the idea for the theme because, simply, “I can’t wait to go places.”
“I’m used to traveling every month for business or just life, and I’ve just staying put like I’m supposed to,” she said.
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.