Dinner Club series for authentic Creole cuisine begins with The Munch Factory

Eat NOLA Noir, hosts of Black Restaurant Week, and the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network will kick off “Dinner Club” showcasing “authentic creole cuisine” from around the city. The club series will visit a new restaurant each month, starting today (July 1) with The Munch Factory in the Lower Garden District. “Join us as we explore the culinary scene in New Orleans and try new dishes, meet new people, and get full,” Eat NOLA Noir wrote of the event series. The dinner will include a full serving of authentic Creole cuisine and unlimited buffet of menu items. The event takes place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at 1901 Sophie Wright Place. Dinner tickets and free club memberships are available at Eat NOLA Noir. Those interested can also sign up for information about upcoming Dinner Club meet-ups and food pop-ups.

City Council approves plan for wellness center in former church, with restrictions

The City Council last week approved the zoning change that will allow a wellness center in the former Norwegian Seamen’s Church, while promising to add some requirements for the business and property owners. The wellness center will be owned and operated by three sisters, Diana Fisher, Deborah Peters and Kendall Wininger, who are Lower Garden District residents. It will include offices for physicians and therapists, a health club with fitness classes in the former chapel and in the outdoor pool, and a carryout health-food restaurant. District B Councilman Jay Banks said the City Council is adding two provisos to the ordinance allowing the zoning change from residential to mixed-use, permitting a commercial venture. One will require the owners to submit a parking plan; the other will prohibit them from acquiring a permit to sell alcohol at the site.

Claret Wine & Cocktail Bar celebrates its opening in Lower Garden District

The Claret Wine & Cocktail Bar is officially opening with a ceremony today in the Framework building, although the Lower Garden District spot has been serving patrons since May. The owners Tujague’s and of Bar Frances collaborated to create the wine, cocktail and charcuterie bar, according to our friends at nola.eater.com. There is no kitchen, but a good selection of cheese and meat plates, as well as curated and creative libations, is available. After a 4 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony with the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, patrons are invited to celebrate with a complimentary glass of champagne, and to stick around for happy hour. Mark Latter of Tujaque’s and Patrick Schindler of Felicity Property Co.

Norwegian Seamen’s Church buildings granted landmark status

A 20th century complex of buildings in a district revered for its 19th century architecture was given official landmark status Wednesday by the Historic District Landmarks Commission. Designed and constructed in 1968, the Norwegian Seamen’s Church held its last service on Christmas Eve 2018. It then changed to secular hands, and its new owners are planning a wellness center. The church’s history in the Lower Garden District began in 1906, and it is its history and cultural significance — as well as the airy Scandinavian-style mid-century architecture — that the HDLC honored in granting the extra layer of protection from alteration or demolition. “The buildings that make up the campus more stylistically resemble Scandinavian architecture than that of the surrounding neighborhood,” HDLC staff stated in their report.

Scandinavian Jazz Church building set for redevelopment as wellness center

By Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger

One-hundred and twelve years as a religious hub for the Norwegian community makes a space on Prytania Street ideal for yoga classes, meditation and water aerobics, its new owners told residents of the Lower Garden District on Wednesday. If all goes as planned, the site of the former Scandinavian Jazz Church — previously called the Norwegian Seamen’s Church — will be transformed into a wellness center called the Santosa Center for Healthy Living by the fall of 2020. The property’s owners say the development will be a unique, all-inclusive wellness center not found anywhere else in New Orleans. “We feel there’s no better place to do this than in this church,” said Diana Fisher, who owns the property along with her sisters Deborah Peters and Kendall Winingder. Fisher said most of the existing buildings on the property wouldn’t be altered.

Lower Garden District church displays 60 international Nativity scenes

The International Creche Exhibit at St. Alphonsus will display more than 60 Nativity scenes from around the world. From the parish website:

The 6th International Creche Exhibit, presented by the Friends of St. Alphonsus, will open November 27, 2011 at the St. Alphonsus Art and Cultural Center from noon, to 4:00p.m. The exhibit will be open daily Monday through Saturday from 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m., and close Sunday, December 4, 2011, with holiday caroling featuring the inspiring voices of our local Laetare Singers choir at 4:00p.m.

More than sixty Nativity scenes from all over the world will be exhibited in the Center, located at 2025 Constance Street between St.

Jackson Avenue chicken-wings restaurant faces growing opposition to liquor license

Concerns about what neighbors described as repeated disruptive block parties at a Jackson Avenue chicken wings restaurant led the Coliseum Square Association to withhold its support for a liquor license at the establishment Monday night. The owner of Finger Lick’n Wings, Marlon Horton, has said that he originally envisioned his competition for customers as small sandwich shops in the neighborhood, but discovered that many customers prefer takeout orders or delivery because he cannot sell alcohol with his food. On game days, “it’s like crickets” in his restaurant, because sports fans are all at restaurants like WOW Cafe and Wingery that can sell alcohol. Horton extolled the good behavior of his business, noting its well-kept storefront and dedication to fighting litter, but many neighbors complain that he has frequently held large parties that consume all of Jackson Avenue. Horton replied that his local fame as bounce artist 10th Ward Buck means that any event at his store draws a large crowd, but said he was willing to sign a good-neighbor agreement to stop having any parties.

“Birth of a Muse”

Sculpture Kim Bernadas, unveils “Birth of a Muse,” in the Terpsichore finger park near Prytania Friday evening. After Hurricane Katrina, the Percent for Art program focused on restoration of public art, and “Birth of a Muse” is the first new work commissioned since then.