Car wash owners seek demolition of Tchoupitoulas cottages

By R. Stephanie Bruno and Katherine Hart
The City Council is set to determine the fate of three 19th century cottages on Tchoupitoulas Street at its Thursday (Feb. 1) meeting. The owners took their demolition request to the council after the Historic District Landmarks Commission blocked it. The doubles on the river side of the 5500 block of Tchoupitoulas are owned by Car Wash Blues, the company behind Uptown Car Wash, which surrounds the row of residential buildings. 
The owners want to raze the buildings so they can expand the car wash and add higher-margin detailing services, according to co-owner Andrew Stall. Detailing is the most lucrative element of the car wash business, he said.

John Kennedy Toole house in Carrollton under review for landmark status

A center-hall cottage in the Carrollton neighborhood is on its way to becoming a local landmark for its distinction as the last residence of John Kennedy Toole, the author of the Pulitzer-awarded novel “A Confederacy of Dunces.” 
The Historic District Landmarks Commission approved the building at 7632 Hampson St. at its October meeting for further study, the next step in becoming an official landmark. 
Although the property has displayed a Orleans Parish Landmarks Commission plaque since 1987, it does not have landmark protection. The designation would help to safeguard the site’s preservation. Toole lived in the house from 1966 to 1969, the year he died at 31. During that time, the “Dunces” manuscript mostly stayed at the top of an armoire in his bedroom, according to a biography. The senior editor at Simon & Schuster had returned the manuscript in 1966 after a year of back-and-forth correspondence and revisions.

Dew Drop Inn set to reopen before year’s end

The Dew Drop Inn is set to reopen in winter 2023, the developers announced Thursday (Oct. 19) in a press release. The distinctly New Orleans landmark in Central City has been restored to its former glory as one of the country’s most culturally significant music venues. 

Once known as “the South’s swankiest spot,” the Dew Drop Inn’s current revival is led by real estate developer and New Orleans native Curtis Doucette Jr., whose passion for historical Black culture and music led him to acquire the Dew Drop in 2021 and spend three years restoring the beloved site, reimagining it as a destination that blends a legendary music venue, 17-room boutique hotel, restaurant and pool club. 

From the late 1930s until the late 1960s, the Dew Drop Inn hosted some of the most iconic musicians of our time, including legendary artists like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Tina Turner and Etta James, as well as local legends like Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas, among many others. The venue served as an incubator for the birth of rhythm & blues and rock ’n’ roll. More than just a music venue, the Dew Drop Inn was a place where artists not only played but hung out, recorded and sometimes lived.

PJ Morton’s Buddy Bolden house cited again for demolition by neglect, reports

The Buddy Bolden house on First Street in Central City, now owned by a foundation run by musician PJ Morton, has been cited by the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission for demolition of the jazz landmark by neglect, Sophie Kasakove reports on The citation, which requires Morton to stabilize the building by Aug. 4, is not the first since the Grammy winner announced, to great fanfare, in 2019 his plans to revive the blighted shotgun, where Bolden lived while pioneering the music now known as jazz. It has been deteriorating since it was purchased in 2008 by Morton’s parents, Bishop Paul S. Morton and the Rev. Debra B. Morton for their church, Greater St. Stephen Ministries.

City seizes the blighted Buddy Bolden house, reports

The city seized the blighted Central City shotgun where legendary jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden once lived, stating the owner, Greater St. Stephen Ministries, let fines for minimum property maintenance pile up unpaid, Doug MacCash reports on Grammy winning musician PJ Morton, the son of the St. Stephen pastors, announced plans in 2019 to renovate the Bolden house at 2309-11 First St. and a twin shotgun double next door into a museum and community recording studio, but has allowed it to deteriorate for years.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 cleanup planned for Thursday

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, padlocked since 2019, will open Thursday morning (Oct. 13) for a volunteer cleanup to ready the historic “city of the dead” for All Saints’ Day. Garden District neighbors will pull up weeds, remove broken concrete and clean walkways from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 was founded in 1833 and still in use today, although the city has closed it to the public to make repairs and to protect the delicate tombs.

New York investors buy the Whole Foods building on Magazine

A New York investment group has purchased Arabella Station, the home of Whole Foods Market on Magazine Street, for $31.4 million, property records show. Whole Foods has a long-term lease on the former bus barn and is expected to remain. The property that takes up the entire block at 5600 Magazine St. was purchased by DK WFNO, a limited liability company operated by Debra Kalimian. Kalimian runs D&R Holding and A&R Kalimian Realty out of offices in Manhattan, records show.