I’ll do my best to refrain from making too many weary references to the past year. If I do, just kick me under the table and I’ll move on…
Walking around here during the holidays is usually a bustling, sparkly mood enhancement- lots of holiday lights, special events, and more local sightings than normal. Knowing most of you didn’t make it down here (and thank you for that), I’d like to bring you my “Best French Quarter moments.” And because it seems necessary, I am also going to list my “Worst French Quarter moments.” Here’s the thing: I am going to mix them all up. As I find more in my notes, I will add them.
Best/Worst of French Quarter 2020
Stanley’s adds seating outdoors and evolves its menu
Jewel of the South adds seating in parking lot next door and reopens
Many tourists ignore mask mandate
Manolito keeps making its signature drinks at window
Golden Lantern Bar follows the rules, does contact tracing and keeps its good cheap drinks and cheerful professional staff.
Mona Lisa has hilarious conversation with world via its daily window notes, also offers good Italian food
Mattassa’s continues its struggles, even with residents increased grocery needs and Rouses closing for long period in December
Valentino Hotels renovates
Le Richelieu Hotel renovates
Relaxed parking enforcement
Fewer cars in Quarter
Hard Rock* demolition is still not done by 1031 Canal Development
10 months later, neighbors’ remains (Anthony Magrette, Jose Ponce Arreola, Quinnyon Wimberly) are finally all removed from Hard Rock* collapsed building
Nelly Deli (Quarter Master) renovates
Cafe Envie on Decatur reopens in April with careful rules in place
FQ Rouses/A&P gets a whole new do inside with pretty floors and room to move about
My mom gets better after long spring/summer illness (not COVID) and comes home to her beloved Quarter
Blue bike racks become bigger eyesores
Copper downspout thefts increase again
FQ dogs are even more blissed-out with increased walks and long stretches of time with their people
Jackson Square artists’ carts and art are thrown into Mississippi River by malicious malcontent
Saint Ann construction is completed (?)
Soap hawkers on Royal continue to harangue passersby, rarely wear masks during COVID mandate.
Some bars ignore mask mandate
Mayor orders Willie’s Chicken Shack to close for duration after COVID restrictions are ignored
Clarinetist Tim Laughlin offers evening balcony concerts on Royal
Place d’Armes bell captain Chris Stall and valet staff maintain a cheerful and helpful vibe to neighbors and visitors throughout stay-at-home summer
Backatown Coffeehouse hangs in on Basin, keeps sweet potato pies and coffee flowing.
City Hall pays attention to the potential of the Quarter, asks for input
City Hall chooses the wrong place to suggest another pedestrian mall
Signmaker gets windfall with numerous “anti-mall” yard sign orders
#JazzFestingInPlace at WWOZ is a triumph
Neighbors sit outside nightly and talk quietly and safely on Chartres, on Barracks, on St. Philip, on Bourbon, on Saint Ann…
Reggie the cat remains at large; family still hopeful for return
Homer Plessy at the Little Red Schoolhouse announces renewal of its charter
After more than 100 years at that location, Tujague’s leaves its 823 Decatur home,
Tujague’s opens at 429 Decatur Street at end of the year
Chef Jerry Mixon moves on from Cafe Amelie
Vieux Carre Wine and Spirits keeps serving the liquor-needy.
Bike lane is added on N Peters/French Market to Elysian Fields
Pedestrian striping and traffic calming upgrades are added to area around Crescent Park bridge
Unhoused population get hotel rooms for short period in summer
Retail stores begin to disappear in summer. My last informal count: 15 establishments gone in last 6 months.
French Quarter Festivals does online Holiday Concert series, culminating in Christmas Even concert by Irma Thomas. Miss Irma’s “O Holy Night” rendition remains perfect
Heavy rain storms brought on by climate change are so severe across the city that even the French Quarter floods, a rarity (2 such came in October, November)
HNOC does #NolaMovieNight with clever social media commentaries during movies.
Neighbors on Saint Ann hold safely chalked early pandemic dance party with appropriate music
I decide to check off a bucket list item and move to the Pontalba apartments, hopefully increasing my work on Mercantile Jackson Square writing project
Frogs croaking from courtyard garden ponds and pools all through quiet summer months
City Hall baits the sewers to stem rat infestation
Mary’s Ace Hardware on Rampart reports bar owners, restauranteurs, and homeowners outnumber the usual contractors are coming in to their well-stocked, 2-story establishment.
Oversized and unmitigated “prayer event” is held on river in November, pointedly ignoring all mask and distancing protocols.
Protest for Black Lives Matter are peaceful, well-organized, and citizens follow mask and (mostly) distancing protocols asked for by its organizers.
NOPD attempts scare tactics by reporting phantom piles of bricks hidden near Black Lives Matter protest site, tells neighbors of phantom buses filled with counter-protestors, neither of which materialize or are proven with any photographic evidence.
- The Hard Rock Hotel is owned by 1031 Canal Development (Mohan Kailas).