Ashé Cultural Arts Center announces new executive director

Ashé Cultural Arts Center’s board of directors, Efforts of Grace, has appointed Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes as the new executive director of Ashé. She will take her post Jan. 1, 2020, succeeding founding executive director Carol Bebelle, who will retire from the organization at the end of December. Ecclesiastes was selected after a rigorous search, said board President Beverly Guillory Andry.  “Ms. Ecclesiastes comes to the organization with vast experience and knowledge in the field of culture and arts, as well as an understanding of its transformational power in the community,” Andry said. Efforts of Grace is the sponsor of Ashé Cultural Arts Center, a leading community-based cultural arts organization.

Café Reconcile recruiting new students

Café Reconcile is recruiting new students for its 2019 classes. While Café Reconcile’s Class 1 is already underway, applications to participate in future classes, including Class 2 which begins March 18, are currently being accepted both online and in person. Young adults ages 16-24 years old can apply. Café Reconcile is an eight-week hospitality training and job placement program that provides paid stipends, life skills classes, visits to industry partners, interview training and more. Upcoming program dates for 2019 include:
Class 2: March 18
Class 3: May 13
Class 4: July 15
Class 5: Sept.

Rape suspect sought after attacks on two women on O.C. Haley Boulevard

A man who is said to be homeless and living under the overpass is wanted on a rape charge after an alleged sexual assault on one woman and an alleged attempt on another Sunday evening, police said. Around 9:45 p.m. Sunday, the man coerced a woman behind an abandoned home in the 2200 block of O.C. Haley Boulevard and attempted to sexually assault her, but she fought him off and escaped, according to a news alert issued by the NOPD. The man then found another woman, told her the first woman was waiting for her in an abandoned lot in the 2100 block of O.C. Haley, and then sexually assaulted her there, police said. The suspect is described as a thin, 6-foot-tall black man in his 40s wearing dark jeans and a red-and-black Polo-style shirt, police said. He is believed to be homeless and living under the interstate at O.C. Haley and Calliope.

New restaurant at Rouses, new barbecue on Magazine, coffee on O.C. Haley, and Dunbar’s to Gentilly

In a flurry of recent restaurant news around Uptown, the Rouses store on Tchoupitoulas has opened a sit-down restaurant, a new barbecue restaurant is going in next to Le Bon Temps Roule on Magazine, Velvet Espresso is opening a location on O.C. Haley Boulevard, and Dunbar’s is moving again. The Cellar restaurant behind the wine section in the Rouses on Tchoupitoulas offers selections that “range from shrimp and grits with Abita-braised greens, to beet frites, bacon- and pine nut-crusted pork loin, ginger pickled peach salad with Tabasco sugar cane vinaigrette, and cannoli for dessert,” with prices from $7 to $12 and a kids menu, reports Susan Langenhennig of The Times-Picayune. McClure’s Barbecue, the well-known pop-up restaurant, has begun demolition on the interior of a building at Magazine and Bordeaux, and may be open by New Year’s, reports Gwendolyn Knapp of Velvet Central, an expansion of Velvet Espresso Bar across from Whole Foods on Magazine, will open by Christmas at 1409 O.C. Haley Boulevard, the New Orleans Redevelopment Agency building, using the additional space to prepare more specialty coffees, according to an interview by Knapp following up on an earlier article by Langenhennig. Finally, former Freret Street institution Dunbar’s Creole Cooking has not reopened in its post-Katrina space at Loyola University this semester, but its owners will open Dunbar’s Soul Food in Gentilly this spring, reports Ian McNulty of Gambit.

Central City prepares to show off during Tour of Homes

Nearly $75 million in investments have already been made along O.C. Haley Boulevard, City Councilwoman Stacy Head told our partners at WWL, and supporters are hoping the area is next in line for a residential and commercial renaissance akin to that on Freret Street. This weekend’s Crescent City Tour of Homes and O.C. Haley Art Market (as well as Thursday night’s Patron Party) are all intended to showcase the improvements that have already been made to the neighborhood and the potential for future growth. According to a news release from Head’s office:

New Orleans, LA – November 2, 2011 – Central City is one of New Orleans most important neighborhoods, consistently demonstrating positive and substantive signs of recovery and revitalization post Hurricane Katrina. Central City, where culture meets convenience, is located between the Superdome and the New Orleans Arena, St. Charles Avenue, and Uptown.