South Claiborne neutral ground is getting a makeover


South Claiborne Avenue is getting an upgrade, with both drainage and beautification in mind, near the Carrollton, Leonidas and Fontainebleau neighborhoods. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun planting trees on the neutral ground for the restoration project replacing the green infrastructure removed for the construction of underground drainage improvements. The restoration is part of the corps’ Southeast Louisiana Flood Control Project, a $2 billion set of infrastructure improvements meant to reduce the risk of flooding in the event of heavy rain.  

The project will stretch from Leonidas to Pine streets and include 98 new trees. Six varieties of deciduous and evergreen trees have been chosen: nuttall oak, bald cypress, southern magnolia, spruce pine, sweet bay magnolia and “Muskogee” crape myrtle.

Subway robbed on South Carrollton; robbery at knifepoint on South Claiborne, police say

The robbery of the Subway on South Carrollton Avenue was caught on surveillance camera, and a man was robbed at knifepoint on South Claiborne Avenue over the weekend, New Orleans police said. Shortly before 3 p.m. Friday, Sep. 28, a man walked into the Subway restaurant in the 3500 block of South Carrollton Avenue with a white T-shirt covering his face, startling the four people — a man in his 50s, and three women ranging in age from their 30s to their 50s — working there, according to the initial NOPD report. “One of the employees fell to the floor while the other employees fled to [the] back,” the report states. “The suspect went behind the counter and retrieved an unknown amount of cash from an open register.”

Walgreens renovation on South Claiborne viewed as window into city’s revitalization strategy

Mayor Mitch Landrieu personally convinced the pharmacy chain to undertake a $1.4 million renovation of the building at the corner of Napoleon Avenue, and Walgreens agreed in part because CVS was building a new store across the street, writes Rebecca Mowbray of the Times-Picayune. The upgrade both beautifies the entrance to the Broadmoor neighborhood and typifies the mayor’s detail-oriented approach to improving the landscape of New Orleans one property at a time, the article states.

Child-psychology office on Maple rejected, but Taco Bell given green light on South Claiborne

A proposal to use a home on Maple Street as an office for two child psychologists was turned down by the City Planning Commission on Tuesday, but a Taco Bell planned for South Claiborne Avenue was given speedy approval. Dr. Lucinda Lang DeGrange said that the home she owns at 7513 Maple could already be used for her own practice, but that she had hoped to rent out one of its units to another psychologist, and for that needed a zoning change. Her house sits between two others at the edge of the Maple Street “neighborhood business” corridor, so that’s why she chose that zoning classification, she told planning commissioners. “That’s what’s already on the street. In theory, it would be an extension of what’s already there,” DeGrange said.

Taco Bell proposed for South Claiborne, child-psychology clinic on Maple set for city’s review

In Uptown New Orleans, a run for the border may soon get a good bit quicker. On Tuesday, the city planning commission will review plans for a Taco Bell restaurant in the long-vacant Pizza Hut building on South Claiborne Avenue. Also on Tuesday’s agenda is a child-psychology clinic proposed in an old home on Maple Street. The Taco Bell plans call for the demolition of the graffiti-prone Pizza Hut to make way for a new building with a drive through. The property is already zoned commercial, but because it’s located in an Inner-City Urban Use corridor, it requires specific permission to become a fast-food restaurant and carries stricter design standards.

Despite city’s initial OK, neither Rue de la Course nor Ignatius are moving soon, owner says

The owner of the popular Rue de la Course coffeehouse on Magazine Street took a step closer Tuesday to being able to convert the location into a restaurant with alcohol sales, but said no immediate plans have been made for the location. Jerry Roppolo, who owns Rue and its building, was poised earlier this year to get a liquor license for Ignatius Eatery up the street, but then withdrew after he was unable to reach an agreement with his landlord there. Based on a subsequent plan he presented this month to move Ignatius into Rue’s building, the City Planning Commission voted Tuesday to recommend Roppolo receive a conditional-use permit to sell alcohol in the building he owns, but Roppolo said any changes to either location are still a long way off. “I believe our building would be a lot more valuable as a restaurant, and by getting a conditional use I have the opportunity to open a restaurant there,” Roppolo said. “Does that mean it’s going to happen?

Uptown gets preview of next year’s drainage projects

Massive drainage projects slated to begin in six months should alleviate some of the Uptown’s flooding woes, and new construction technology should make the work on Jefferson, Napoleon, Louisiana and South Claiborne avenues less damaging to surrounding homes than previous projects, engineers and officials said Tuesday evening. Each of the four Uptown projects — on Louisiana, Napoleon and Jefferson from Claiborne to Constance Street, and on the uppermost portion of Claiborne from Lowerline to Jefferson Parish — will involve a new, larger box culvert underneath the neutral ground alongside the existing underground drainage canal, said Ron Spooner, a New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board administrator. Napoleon will begin first, in April, followed by South Claiborne in May, Jefferson in January 2012 and Louisiana later that year, Spooner said. Promised by Congress since devastating rains caused $1 billion in flood damage in the New Orleans area in 1995, the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Program has already completed major drainage improvements in Hollygrove, Broadmoor and along a central portion of South Claiborne Avenue. Each of the new projects will last years, but once complete, they will reduce rainfall accumulation for Uptown homes by anywhere from 4 to 16 inches, depending on the exact location in the neighborhood, Spooner said at a preliminary meeting Tuesday night at Loyola University to begin addressing residents’ concerns.