Monday, February 16, 2015

New Orleans developer Pres Kabacoff on housing and gentrification

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 2:01 PM


Gawker contributor Peter Moskowitz is writing a book about gentrification. He interviewed New Orleans developer Pres Kabacoff about his company, HRI Properties, which has been a major force in developing the Warehouse District, CBD and Lower Garden District, including remaking public housing projects. The interview (posted here) addresses building housing, gentrification and the poor.

From the interview:
Moskowitz: How do you make money and make affordable housing at the same time?

Kabacoff: The trick is to get market rate to come. The affordable will come. But if the market rate doesn't come, you end up with all the affordable and the issues they tried to unwind with these programs like Hope VI. On the affordable side, probably a third of those people you would love to have as your neighbor, another third—the kind of people who if their refrigerator stops working their life falls apart—if you can get them stable, you want them, and a third you just don't have the social staff to deal with the issues they're bringing to the table.

When we do developments, it's usually its one-third market, one-third workforce, and one-third former public housing—mothers with children on food stamps and all that stuff. There's a mixture of people. How do we afford to do the affordable piece? You need a lot of subsidy.

Moscowitz: But what about that last third? The poorest. How do you house them?

Kabacoff: If there's crime that follows, the market rate gets nervous, votes with their feet and leaves, then it doesn't work. So what do you do with the third that's too difficult? You just don't take them, or you evict them. Just get them out of there. I don't have the staff to deal with them. One of the deficiencies of the Hope VI model is how do you provide social services for those people?
Moskowitz also responded to some reader questions. He's written for Gawker on housing issues and development in New York, Detroit, Camden, New Jersey, Paris and other cities.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Endangered crocs hatched at Audubon Zoo

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 3:43 PM

  • Courtesy Audubon Zoo

Two brown false gharials, endangered freshwater reptiles that look similar to crocodiles, have been born at the Audubon Zoo Reptile Encounter — marking the first time the species has been bred in captivity in America in five years. It’s the first false gharial births at Audubon Zoo, although the species has lived at the zoo since the 1980s.

The zoo’s staff says the gharials, part of the crocodilian group that also includes alligators, crocodiles and caimans, hatched several weeks ago and are only a few inches long. The zoo announced the births Wednesday. 

Gharials are native to southeast Asia and typically inhabit freshwater swamps with lots of vegetation, as well as lakes and rivers. They have a narrower snout than a crocodile and consume a varied diet, including fish, small animals, insects and crustaceans. Unlike crocodiles and alligators, gharials slide on their bellies on land instead of raising up their bodies to walk.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has placed false gharials on its Red List of Threatened Species (version 3.1) and attributes much of the population decline to habitat destruction. It estimates there are fewer than 2,500 mature adult gharials in the world, with most living along tributaries of the Ganges River.

Adult gharials average 350 to 400 pounds, with males growing from 13 to 19.7 feet long and weighing as much as 1,500 pounds, according to the San Diego Zoo website. Females tend to be shorter, averaging 11 to 13 feet long.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Live Oak Cafe focuses on emerging musicians

Posted By on Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Nyce performed at Live Oak last week - COURTESY LIVE OAK CAFE
  • Courtesy Live Oak Cafe
  • Nyce performed at Live Oak last week

The breakfast/lunch spot Live Oak Cafe (8140 Oak St., 504-265-0050; is putting a new emphasis on its daily music offerings and providing a space for emerging and familiar musicians to spread their wings.

“(Our music booker is) determined to have as much variety in here as possible,” says Clare Leavy, chef/co-owner of Live Oak Cafe, which opened in January. “We try to have a different genre every day, and it’s really interesting. The focus is on emerging artists that most people haven’t heard about yet.”

The diversity in music genres melds with Live Oak’s customer base, which ranges from young families to college students to neighborhood regulars and tourists attracted to the bourgeoning restaurant, entertainment and retail scene on Oak Street. Leavy and her partners decided to take the music schedule in a different direction after pianist Charles Farmer, who had performed daily for eight years at Live Oak and its predecessor Oak Street Cafe, retired.

“We did it for the idea of it, really,” Leavy says of changing up the music schedule. “New Orleans is all about music and should be a playground for musicians to play whatever kind of music they want to play — bring whatever they have to the table.”

There will be regular appearances by musicians such as Sarah McCoy, who is scheduled to play once a month; and Katarina Boudreaux, who plays Mondays and Tuesdays for the next month; as well as some musicians who play regularly in clubs around town, such as Dave Easley (Nov. 2) and Norbert Slama (Oct. 25). For a daily schedule, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Live Oak, which offers home cooking with Creole and Cajun influences, plans other updates, starting with expanding the cafe with a new kitchen and doubling the size of the dining room. The restaurant will close in December, and Leavy says the construction timeline calls for the restaurant to reopen in time for Carnival — with the possible addition of dinner service.

The cafe is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Free Christmas opera Oct. 7

Posted By on Sat, Oct 4, 2014 at 12:46 PM


The International Youth Fellowship’s (IYF) New Orleans chapter is hosting a performance of the Christmas Cantata, an opera-like re-enactment of Christians’ traditional Christmas story, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the UNO Lakefront Arena. Admission is free. Call 504-2 08-2911 or visit to g et free tickets.


In the musical, the story of Jesus Christ’s birth is told through music, elaborate sets and costumes and includes a version of Handel’s MESSIAH, performed by the award-winning Gracias Choir. The choir has performed internationally, and this year earned grand prizes at the Concorso Corale Internazionale in Italy and the Montreux Choral Festival in Switzerland.

This is the fourth time the choir will perform in New Orleans.


Inho Choi, IYF New Orleans regional director, says IYF volunteers are personally delivering thousands of invitations with tickets to homes across New Orleans in an effort to bring Gracias Christmas Cantata to a wider audience. IYF presented the production at the Saenger Theatre last year, but opted for UNO Lakefront Arena for the 2014 show in order to accommodate a larger audience.

The choir’s 2014 U.S. tour includes 20 cities.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Parkway Bakery and Tavern gets a thumbs-up

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 6:08 PM


Parkway Bakery and Tavern is among 18 restaurants to make Coastal Living magazine’s “Our Favorite Seafood Dives of 2014” list in its June issue.

Parkway was the only restaurant in Louisiana to make the list, which also featured Gulf Coast eateries including Desporte & Sons Seafood in Biloxi, Mississippi; The Gulf in Orange Beach, Alabama; The Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House in Destin, Florida; and Keys Fisheries in Marathon, Florida.

Coastal Living described the list as its “annual batch of casual restaurants that care plenty about fresh fish, fried sides, and seaside locale.” The magazine recommends Parkway’s fried shrimp and fried oyster po-boys, sweet potato fries and Barq’s root beer. Interestingly, the photo it ran with the writeup was of sweet potato fries, not seafood.

See other restaurants in the list after the jump

Continue reading »

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: New Orleans Jazz by Edward Branley

Posted By on Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 5:38 PM


In the earliest days, New Orleans jazz was very different than the music and settings we know today. At first, it was played in the raucous saloons of Storyville to a mostly black audience but as time went on it was embraced by the white society of New Orleans and music lovers around the country.

In New Orleans Jazz (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99), which arrives in bookstores today (April 7), New Orleans native Edward J. Branley outlines the transformation of jazz from its early days in the Crescent City to modern time. He does so mostly with short introductions to its six chapters and lots of photographs with long captions.

Continue reading »

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Leon Russell to headline Bucktown Bash food and music festival July 4

Posted By on Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Leon Russell headlines Bucktown Bash
  • Leon Russell headlines Bucktown Bash

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell, who released his 37th album Life Journey (Universal) in March, will headline the Independence Day Bucktown Bash and blessing of the Bucktown fishing fleet. The one-day festival also features food, including a variety of shrimp dishes, kids’ activities, crafts and a Bucktown heritage display.

Gates open at 10 a.m. at the Bucktown Marina. Entertainment and blessing of the fleet begin at 12:30 p.m. Admission is $5, children 12 and under are free.

Here’s the music lineup:

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. — The Quickening

2 p.m.-3 p.m. — Bucktown All-Stars

3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. — The Breton Sound

5 p.m.-6 p.m. — Zebra

6:45 p.m.-8 p.m. — Leon Russell

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

40 Arpent Brewing Company debuts its beer

Posted By on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM

40 Arpent fermentors get beer ready for rollout at The Iron Rail.

When Michael and Emily Naquin, owners of 40 Arpent Brewing Company arrived at The Avenue Pub after debuting their beer at the New Orleans International Beer Festival March 22, it was a victory celebration. Fellow brewers, distributors and beer fans crowded around to congratulate them.

“The support from area brewers was overwhelming,” Emily says.

Continue reading »

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Recycle your Christmas tree this week

Posted By on Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 4:36 PM


We’re officially into Carnival season, so it’s time to get rid of the trappings of the Christmas season — namely the tree. Local parishes that offer curbside Christmas tree recycling have scheduled pickups for this week.

Jefferson Parish residents should put their trees out Wednesday, Jan. 8, and they’ll be picked up Thursday through Saturday (Jan. 9-11), and Orleans Parish residents’ trees will be picked up by the curb on regular garbage collection days, Thursday through Saturday, (Jan 9-11), this week only.

Many of the trees picked up in Jefferson Parish will be placed along shoreline fences in Goose Bayou near Lafitte, while others will be ground into mulch for composting.

To be accepted for recycling, trees should be undecorated and not have any remnants of tinsel, lights or ornaments on them. Do not place trees in plastic bags. Flocked trees are not acceptable for recycling. The trees are mostly placed along Louisiana's coastline to help rebuild land.

Recycling schedules in nearby towns include:

Continue reading »

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Friday, January 3, 2014

MoPho Mid-City to open in a week

Posted By on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM


MoPho Mid-City (514 City Park Ave., 504-482-6845) is set to open this weekend (Jan. 11), with former August chef de cuisine Michael Gulotta offering a menu of pho, vermicelli and other traditional Southeast Vietnamese dishes and specials that meld Vietnamese and Louisiana influences.

“That’s where chef’s really going to shine, through the daily specials,” says Jeff Gulotta, the chef’s brother, MoPho general manager and co-owner. Those specials include dishes like slow-roasted lamb neck in green curry with Creole cream cheese potatoes and grilled Two Run Farms beef ribs and cast iron roasted rapini with lime vinaigrette. “We’re using traditional Vietnamese cooking techniques and a Gulf pantry.”

The restaurant previously was scheduled to open the last week of December 2013, but Jeff Gulotta says, “We were just waiting on chairs and permits. The chairs came in [Jan. 3].” The Gulottas partnered with August veteran (and high school friend) Jeff Bybee on the new restaurant.

“We may try to do a soft opening on Friday (Jan. 10),” Jeff Gulotta says. “We’re shooting for opening next weekend.”

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