Comiskey Park and Playground — once a neighborhood landmark, but a blight on a tough corner of Mid-City since Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods — was reopened today by Mayor Mitch Landrieu. The park had received national attention in 2007 when a production company planned to remake the park and document the effort in a reality TV/documentary show titled ReNewOrleans. Plans foundered, and the park space — one block off a gritty stretch of Tulane Avenue — sat for years in worse shape than before.
"They left a lot of things behind," Landrieu said. "Cost everybody a bucketful of money."
Steam shovels provided the backdrop for this morning’s groundbreaking for the new Winn-Dixie shopping complex at S. Carrollton and St. Louis streets in Mid-City. The lot — site of a former Bohn car dealership — has sat fallow since Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods. Mayor Mitch Landrieu, District A City Councilwoman Susan Guidry and representatives of the supermarket chain and developers Stirling Properties were all on hand for the ceremony. “Though the lot was not technically blighted,” Guidry told the crowd, “it was a blight to our souls.”
“We’re not building the city the way it was; we’re building the city the way we want it to be,” Landrieu said, adding that the shopping complex is expected to provide 365 permanent jobs in the supermarket and satellite businesses, which will include Office Depot, Neighborhood Pet Market by Jefferson Feed, Felipe’s Taqueria, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Pei Wei Asian Diner and the frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry, “which I am really pumped up about,” Landrieu added. (The mayor can be spotted at the Magazine Avenue location fairly regularly.)
Guidry referred to the complex as “a premier shopping as well as recreational area,” making reference to the Lafitte Corridor, the 3.1- mile greenway that will eventually run through Mid-City to the French Quarter. In December, the city agreed to let the supermarket build a car crossing on St. Louis Street into the parking lot, a move vigorously opposed by the group Friends of the Lafitte Corridor (FOLC) but defended by the Landrieu administration. Before the ceremonial shovel-turning, Landrieu made oblique reference to the contretemps, thanking FOLC “for taking what could have been a very big conflict” and helping find a solution — “while it may not be perfect,” he added.
Southwest Louisiana’s colony of endangered whooping cranes grew to 19 Tuesday, when wildlife officials released 16 young birds into the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Gueydan to join the three adult cranes placed there in March. The releases are part of a 15-year experimental program to establish a nonmigratory population of whooping cranes in Louisiana.
Similar programs to build whooping crane populations in the wild are under way in two other locations, and captive-breeding projects are being conducted at a dozen locations across the U.S. and Canada. The only self-sustaining natural wild population of whooping cranes nests in Canada, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) website. It also warns, “It is that all or most of the populations of these endangered birds could be wiped out from a single event such as a hurricane, disease outbreak, toxic spill, or prolonged drought. This makes the species vulnerable to extinction.”
Sage was burned, the Treme Brass Band played, and Congo Square dancers did the bamboula at the Nov. 18 reopening of Armstrong Park in the Treme, which had been behind chain-link fence since last year when it became clear that the Roots of Music Sculpture Garden had been installed shoddily. Making the repairs and reopening the park was a stated goal in Mayor Mitch Landrieu's State of the City address earlier this year, and before he cut the ceremonial ribbon, Landrieu acknowledged the work had been done with "a lotta fits, a lotta starts and a lotta anxiety."
A few images from the park and from the ceremony:
More details below the jump.
It’s time to clean out your garage/attic/closets/nooks and crannies and donate youth sports equipment you no longer use to REPLAY, the Son of a Saint Sports Foundation recycling program for youth sports equipment. Son of a Saint, which helps boys 9-13 who have no father in the home participate in organized sports, is collecting new and used sports equipment and has partnered with area groups to make drop-off easy.
Donated equipment will go to Son of a Saint, New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and New Orleans Kids Partnership.
Drop off sites include:
Semolina (Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd.)
Zea Rotisserie & Grill (110 Lake Drive, Covington; 1121 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey; 1325 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner; 1525 St. Charles Ave.; 1655 Hickory Ave., Harahan; Clearview Mall, 4450 Veterans Memorial Blvd.)
Oct. 3-Oct. 17
Hilton New Orleans Riverside gym (2 Poydras St.)
Oct. 8, Oct. 15, Oct. 22
Tulane University home games
Cut-off Playground (6600 Belgrade St.)
Al Davis Playground (2600 LaSalle St.)
Easton Playground (600 N. Lopez St.)
Kenilworth Playground (6800 Curran Blvd.)
Pontchartrain Playground (corner of Press Street and Prentiss Drive)
Donate at any PlayNOLA game or event
Month of November
Whole Foods Market (3420 Veterans Memorial Blvd.,
Metairie; 5600 Magazine St.)
REPLAY’s wish list of items (youth sizes) includes: (below jump)
They’re almost cute, the tiny reddish-brown ants sparsely covered with spiky hairs and with a tendency to run around in circles. But as people who live in Texas, Mississippi and Florida will attest, the 2 milimeter-long pests are destructive and very difficult to control. They also overwhelm other ant populations in the area, either killing them or forcing them to leave.
The LSU AgCenter issued a notice Sept. 21 that the ant, which has caused big problems in the Caribbean as well as in the Gulf states it has invaded, has arrived in Louisiana. LSU AgCenter scientist Victoria Bayless identified ants collected at a home in Sulphur, La., as hairy crazy ants — the first on record in the state. She says she wasn’t surprised because entomologists for several years have expected the insects (also known as Caribbean crazy ants and the Raspberry crazy ants) to reach Louisiana from southeastern Texas. Parts of Mississippi also report colonies.
The ants don’t sting, but they can bite. They are mainly a nuisance, Bayless says, but can have an economic impact on an area. They are prolific breeders and the number of ants in a single colony can be as high as several hundred thousand, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension.
Hairy crazy ants have lived in Florida since the 1950s, but didn’t start spreading until 2000. They reached Houston, Texas in 2002, and reached the Mississippi coast in 2009.
The League of American Bicyclists today announced the recipients of its 2011 Bicycle Friendly Community designations. New Orleans was among 11 cities added to the list for the first time, including Omaha, Neb., Saint Paul, Minn., and Santa Fe, N.M. Bill Nesper, director of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America program, says the organization is "especially pleased to see so many communities improving their award level.”
The release announcing the awards specifically commends New Orleans: "(The city) has seen its number of bike commuters increase by more than 150 (percent) in the last five years. The city, which had received Honorable Mentions in three previous rounds, implemented the feedback we provided and received the bronze designation this time. New Orleans was recognized for their large biking population, bicycling education programs, a bicycling network that has tripled in length in the last three years and the strong bike culture seen in events like the NOLA Bike Bash."
In July, Dan Jatres, pedestrian and bicycle program manager for the Regional Planning Commission (RPC), called on the New Orleans City Council to support the city's application to the program, a list of only 190 cities (of the 490 that applied) with five rankings: gold, silver, bronze, and the rare platinum (reserved for Davis, Calif.). New Orleans has only received honorable mention designations in the last three years. The bronze designation is its first ever recognition by the program.
District C Councilwoman and council transportation chair Kristin Gisleson Palmer introduced a resolution in support of Jatres' request, adding that the city is in the "top six in the country for bike riding." The resolution includes a measure to establish goals to get New Orleans a gold designation by 2018 — an ambitious goal, Jatres said, and one the city will have to "ramp up its efforts."
Louisiana ranked 24th among the states in the Bicycle Friendly America 2010 rankings, with "F" grades in bicycle infrastructure, policies and programs, evaluation and planning. For a Bicycle Friendly Community designation, the league judges cities on "engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning." A national advisory group selects the winners. Selected cities receive no direct financial benefit, but the designation serves as leverage for potential funding. The 2008 honorable mention made the city eligible for a Bikes Belong grant.
Did you see me last week at the Gretna BMX track? Granted, I was disguised, although not deliberately, behind the darkest sunglasses in the drawer, along with a well thought-out ensemble, a t-shirt and ripped jeans, far from my usual society-page attire.
I could get used to this, I thought briefly to myself, as I sang along to “Rock the Casbah,” thanks to the woofer not eight feet from my face, all fine until the guy next to me sprayed my sandaled feet with his discarded chewing tobacco.
“We can’t move,” mumbled my sister Heather, speaking low and directly into my ear. “We’ll offend him.”
Distraction seemed best, so I leaned forward and shouted towards his wife, complimenting her two-inch acrylic nails, while shuffling my feet closer to Heather, the BMX Mom, who worked fast with a napkin.
It’s been years since I spent a summer in Louisiana, spoiled instead by the Monterey Peninsula, where my husband prefers to paint. In addition to Carmel Valley's cool weather, we enjoy the quiet, the escape from social obligations and a daily agenda, packed more than ever this summer as we juggle commitments for a statewide touring Rodrigue museum exhibition.
“Oh, this stinkin’ swamp water stinks!” —from the movie Swamp Women, 1955
Early one recent morning I met George Rodrigue in the garage for the two-hour drive to Lafayette, Louisiana, where we were to meet some friends from California at the Blue Dog Café. I was running late.
“What are you wearing?!” he exclaimed. “We’re going on a swamp tour!”
Dressed for the day in a skull-covered pirate dress, over-sized spider rings, and spiky heels, I hollered at him as I ran back to the house for my flip-flops and bug spray:
“Swamp tour? I thought we were going to brunch!”
In Lafayette we joined our friends the Pistos and Ricciardis, visiting from Carmel in search of southwest Louisiana’s best boudin and pecan pie, as Chef John Pisto scouted locations for his television cooking show.
We enjoyed an excellent brunch at the Blue Dog Café, with the added bonus of Cajun Swamp fiddler Hadley Castille, who sat in with the Wildflowers Band.
From Lafayette we drove through Breaux Bridge to the town of Henderson, where we crossed the levee to McGee’s Landing and the edge of the Atchafalaya Swamp.
“Great news!” announced George, after negotiating our afternoon with Captain David in the corner of McGee’s Bar, “We’re taking an airboat!”
Now I’ve been on dozens of swamp tours in my life, all on pontoon-type, roomy tour boats. The closest I’d gotten to an airboat was reruns of Gentle Ben (1967-1969).
“What’s an airboat?” asked our guests in chorus.
“Has Captain David been drinking?” I asked George, under my breath.
Within minutes we heard the roar of the airplane-type engine approaching the floating dock. I saw mouths moving in the shape of “Oh No!” but heard no one. Our captain motioned to our seats…
“Put the ladies in the front,” screamed George…
…as we donned our headphones and entered a silent movie.
It’s a good time to ditch work and start the Independence Day weekend early by attending the third annual Chris Paul Foundation Golf Classic at English Turn Country Club on Friday, July 1. You can watch lots of sports stars swing their clubs — and the proceeds go to a good cause. Registration is 8:30 a.m., tee time is 10 a.m. and the awards ceremony starts at 3 p.m.
Hornets star point guard Chris Paul, a four-time NBA All-Star and 2008 Olympic gold medalist, sponsors the golf tournament as a fundraiser for Paul’s CP3 Foundation, which provides scholarships, food and other essentials to underserved communities in New Orleans and Winston-Salem, N.C. The foundation also manages the CP3 Afterschool Zone in New Orleans, an afterschool program that provides activities for children in Central City and promotes physical fitness for young people.
HEY H STREET! I missed you! I wanna start PTT again, but it was such…
Wait, you're back at Gambit? Does that mean we get more Public Transit Tuesdays?
The point? Wasteful as well as very bad use of tax payer money for truly…
So, what's your point?
HumidCity will do everything it can to assist. If there is something we can do…
Throw another party in the city with the highest poverty rate in…
Can you say it's The Beatles without John?
Or can it be Miami Vice…
an excellent movie! my review - http://www.neauxreelidea.com/2013/04/revie…
The road to Hell is paved in unbought stuffed dogs.
Long how many more billions we spend to prevent the FBI's definition of terrorism versus…
Your Typical "Short-Sighted Mean Spirited, Long Term Pain" Comment is why New…