Some California-based investors have purchased a Garden District church building with historic ties that go back to the 1840s. It may be better known, however, for its ties to Beyoncé going back to 2o18. That’s when entertainment news site TMZ declared, with a three exclamation point headline, that Beyoncé Knowles-Carter bought a church in New Orleans. She didn’t. But TMZ wasn’t too far off.
The Chicory House is a new Garden District café, replacing Still Perkin’ as The Rink’s resident coffee shop — and more. Two owners of the Garden District Book Shop in The Rink at Prytania and Washington, Carroll Gelderman and Barkley Rafferty, own The Chicory House as well. They took ownership of the bookstore in early 2021 when the founding owner, Britton Trice, retired after 40 years. Garden District Book Shop has made a name for itself as the quintessential neighborhood book shop, offering friendly personal service and hosting book events and signings. Gelderman and Rafferty have put their own touches on the shop, including converting a storage space into a children’s book room.
When Gelderman and Rafferty took over the book shop, they also acquired Still Perkin’, which had long served a variety of select brews and other coffeehouse fare to Garden District residents and visitors.
It was always Gelderman and Rafferty’s intention to retire Still Perkin’ and open a new place with a bistro concept and a stronger connection to the bookstore.
The City Council on Thursday (Sept. 23) approved a third-floor addition to a Garden District mansion owned by Sharonda Anderson, the mother of Pelicans star Zion Williamson. Anderson and architect John Williams had appealed the Historic District Landmarks Commission’s denial of their request to demolish 62% of the roof to add a screening room, workout room and guest bedroom to the 7,457-square-foot historic residence on First and Coliseum streets. The architects have since revised the design so that it’s less visible from the street, but the HDLC’s Eleanor Burke said the commission staff believes the addition would still undermine the architectural integrity of the building and the neighborhood and would set a precedent that could affect all of the city’s historic districts. The HDLC has partial control in the Garden District, giving it jurisdiction over demolitions and new construction only.
Judy at The Rink, a Garden District gift shop, has revamped over the summer under new ownership. The owners, Martha Claire and Quin Breland, have revised the product lines but will continue to feature works by local artisans. The owners are inviting all to sip, see and shop at the new store on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 4 to 7 p.m. The grand reopening happy hour offers bubbly on tap and a signature cocktial from Cocktail & Sons. A portion of evening’s proceeds will be donated to the Junior League of New Orleans Scholarship Fund.
The New Orleans Architecture Foundation, in partnership with New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles, is holding a self-guided tour of contemporary homes Sunday in the Irish Channel and Lower Garden District. The tour is May 19 from 10 a.m. 4 p.m., beginning at the Modern Market, 1200 Annunciation Street. For decades, the Irish Channel and Lower Garden District neighborhoods, nestled just upriver of the CBD, suffered from disinvestment and demolition of their historic built fabric. In recent years, vacant lots have given way to innovative new homes, creating a vibrant neighborhood where 19th century mansions and shotguns coexist with the best of contemporary design. Tickets are $30 on the day of the tour.
The city’s overhaul of short-term rental regulations, passed by the City Council on Thursday, will restrict the tourist accommodations in residential areas. In the Garden District, however, they will be completely banned, with the passage of an amendment to the sweeping regulations. The STR prohibition applies to the area from “the center line of St. Charles Avenue, downriver side of Jackson Avenue, center line of Magazine Street, and downriver side of Delachaise.” No waivers will be allowed. The amendment and other measures must be formally adopted within 90 days to become law.
The City Council gave McDonald’s approval to redevelop its St. Charles Avenue restaurant at its Dec. 6 meeting. The two-story structure in the Garden District will be torn down and replaced. Planners and preservationists have been working with the fast-food chain for two years to determine an appropriate design for a purpose that the city has deemed inappropriate for the area.
After a robbery attempt early Tuesday evening on Washington Avenue near Camp Street, investigators arrested a man moments later who was identified by the victim, police said. A man was walking home from work just before 6 p.m. in the 1200 block of Washington when he was approached by stranger who demanded his money, according to a police report. The victim ran away, yelling for help, and his attacker jumped into a silver Impala, police said. Minutes later, members of an NOPD Sixth District Task force patrolling the Irish Channel stopped a silver Impala at Chippewa and Soraparu and saw a passenger, 20-year-old Willie McEleven, who fit the description of the robber, police said. The victim was able to identify McEleven, and he was arrested on a charge of attempted simple robbery.
Two robberies at gunpoint were reported within minutes in the Carrollton area Wednesday night, following an armed robbery on Magazine Street in the Garden District and a carjacking in Broadmoor the previous night and a carefully planned business holdup earlier this week, a crime spree that investigators say often intensifies as the holidays approach. The most recent robberies were reported at 12:05 a.m. and 12:14 a.m. Thursday in the Carrollton area. In the first case, two victims on Cherokee Street just off Freret were approached by a man with a silver semiautomatic who demanded their property, then left in a red truck, said Sgt. Chris Billiot of the NOPD Second District persons-crimes division. In the second case, a victim standing at the intersection of Spruce and Broadway streets was robbed by a man with a black handgun, who then left on foot, Billiot said.