The Lower Garden District has a new social spot that features natural wine by local experts. Uznea Bauer, Cory Cartwright, and Tyler Robinson opened The Tell Me Bar on St. Thomas Street near the Pontchartrain Expressway in December 2022.
It specializes in natural wine, which Bauer described it as wine created with as little intervention as possible. “You’re working as ‘hands-off’ as possible in the vineyard. You’re not using chemicals, pesticides or insecticides other than herbal applications and copper — more natural things with no chemicals,” she said.
Tito’s Ceviche & Pisco recently opened its second location on St. Charles Avenue in the Lower Garden District. The Peruvian bistro opened in the former St. Charles Tavern on Sept. 28 and is serving lunch, happy hour and dinner.
The two owners of Tito’s Ceviche & Pisco, Tatiana and Juan Lock, began searching for a second location for their Magazine Street restaurant before the pandemic. In the summer of 2020, Lock was driving down St.
The Avenue Pub has new owners. Blue Oak BBQ founders Ronnie Evans and Philip Moseley have teamed up with the owners of the Frenchmen Street bar The Rambler, Steve Jeffcoat and Ryan Noland, to purchase the Pub in early September. The longtime St. Charles Avenue spot for beer, bourbon and bites is currently closed for renovations and will reopen sometime this month. Former owner Polly Watts helped her father, Duane Watts, open the divey 24-hour beer hangout in 1987.
HRI Communities announced it is set to move forward with a major renovation of the River Garden Apartments. The developer has closed on the financing for the $10 million renovation project. The mixed-income apartment homes were developed in 2003 as the first phase of the St. Thomas HOPE VI Redevelopment Project. The renovations at 913 Felicity Street will include comprehensive exterior and selective interior improvements, said HRI Communities President Josh Collen in a press release.
From the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Board
The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Board moved to adopt a master development agreement with its development partner, River District Neighborhood Investors. At its August meeting, the board voted to approve terms for a mixed-use development of 39-acres of land adjacent to the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Advancing a partnership many months in the making, the board action grants the River District group the permission to proceed with developing plans that will fulfill the Authority’s vision to create new experiences for residents and visitors alike. Of key importance to the agreement moving forward: the developers have made a hard commitment to a total of 900 mixed-income housing units, of which 450 will be affordable and workplace housing units. According to experts, this agreement provides a model for diversity and equity that may serve as a national model for public-private partnerships of this nature.
A new neighborhood is planned for the a whopping 27 acres of vacant land in the Lower Garden District. The developers’ plans include 1,100 new apartments, a boutique hotel, an “apartment hotel,” a grocery store, bars, restaurants, fitness center, offices, green space, a museum and an entertainment venue. The developers say they could break ground as soon as next year.
“This development is an opportunity for a one-of-a-kind mixed-use site that will bring everything you want to see in a neighborhood and more,” land-use consultant Nicole Webre announced to the audience of a public meeting via Zoom last month. Webre is part of River District Neighborhood Investor LLC, the team selected in 2021 by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center board to develop the site.
According to the plans that the investors submitted when securing their bid for the development, roughly 40% of the new housing units will be affordable or “workforce” housing, priced below market rate. The River District would completely remake what is currently a zone of empty lots just upriver from the Crescent City Connection — a rare undeveloped patch of land on even rarer high ground within the city.
La Vie En Rose Café, a coffee shop that honors both innovation and Creole tradition, has moved to the Lower Garden District.
The shop has moved from sharing space with Big Sexy Neon at 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. to a new location at 1420 Annunciation St. Its soft opening will be Monday (Feb. 14), in time for Valentine’s Day and the heart of the Carnival season. Owner Kirby Jones initially opened La Vie En Rose Café as a bike café pop-up at Martin’s Wine Cellar.
A once-industrial corner of the Lower Garden District that’s been steadily adding new bars and businesses is expanding its offerings again, as City Council approved plans last week for a new wine shop at 1152 Magazine St.
The council voted on Thursday (Oct. 7) to permit the opening of Patron Saint, which will sell wine, groceries, books, and locally-made home goods. The unanimous vote came with eight provisos, requiring the store to get city approval on everything from lighting to the placement of its trash container. The 1,500-square-foot shop is in a former industrial warehouse near the Pontchartrain Expressway overpass. The council granted permission in 2018 for the building, owned by Rosa and Seth Dunlap, to be turned into an avant-garde theater space with a bar and restaurant.
Big changes are coming to the corner of Thalia and Constance Streets where Lengua Madre, a restaurant that offers a contemporary, personal approach to Mexican cuisine, will open at 1245 Constance St. on Wednesday (Aug. 4). It will be the first solo endeavor of chef Ana Castro, who previously worked as sous chef at Coquette on Magazine Street and as co-sous chef at Thalia, which operated in the same location as Lengua Madre. Castro was also the head of the kitchen at the brief pop-up Here Today in the spring.
Castro was born in South Texas and raised in Mexico City by her paternal grandmother.
The stage was set on a balmy summer night when musician, vocalist and indie favorite St. Vincent captivated the audience in a courtyard that once saw saints of another sort. It was the opening night party for Hotel Saint Vincent in June, and it seemed like the A list was out in full force for one of the more posh hotel opening celebrations the city had seen in a long time.
The party was also a revelation: It showcased the long and winding road of the building complex constructed as an orphanage just after the Civil War into its current incarnation as a 75-room hotel developed during another seismic cultural and economic shift, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hotel Saint Vincent is a project of MML Hospitality, helmed by Larry McGuire, Tom Moorman and Liz Lambert, whose expertise in developing hotels and restaurants — transforming, might be a better word — is seen in Austin, Texas, where the company is based.
The group worked with local developers Jayson Seidman and Zach Kupperman, who are part owners and developers. They are co-founders and developers of The Drifter in Mid-City, and Seidman is a co-owner and developer of the Columns, a late 19th-century Thomas Sully designed house turned hotel and bar that just went through its own re-do in 2020 and early 2021.