Best and Worst of 2020 French Quarter

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).

French Quarter Ironwork: monograms and initials

I have been gathering photos of different ironwork motifs in all four quadrants of the Quarter and will be researching them further when I am able to get to the wonderful HNOC’s Williams Research Center.

Here are all of the (18) monogram and initial motifs I have found – so far.

I have found them on Burgundy (2), Dauphine (1), Bourbon (1), Royal (5), St. Louis (1), Chartres (3), at the Pontalbas,  2 different motifs on the Skyscraper at St Peter and Royal, on a modest brick house on Dumaine (where the AP scrollwork from the Pontalbas is on the gate transom of a house in mid block for some mysterious reason) and two on Esplanade. Most are found on second or third-story balconies, but a few are on front doors, and a few others are on a gate.

Thanks to The Collins C. Diboll Vieux Carré Digital Survey at HNOC I was able to research each location to see if I could find a likely reason that particular monogram or initial was added. I am also searching for other history books to find other information as needed so I will continue to refine and add to this list in the next few weeks to capture each monogram and its history.

Have been long confused by description of the Bosque House: “The central panel of the rail has a most graceful arrangement of scrolls in the character of the best 18th-century work and in an oval at the center appears the monogram of Bartholome Bosque, curiously backward when seen from the street.” It doesn’t seem backward any longer.

Yet, in the 1930s pictures of the scrollwork it does indeed look backward in the picture:

Love the description too:

The wrought iron railing of this balcony is perhaps the finest feature of the façade and is comparable to only three or four other examples in New Orleans — the Cabildo, the Pontalba House, and the Correjolles House at 715 Governor Nicholls. All these railings are of about the same date and are all probably the work of the same craftsman, who, in the case of the Cabildo and the Pontalba House is known to have been Marcellino Hernandez, a local blacksmith of great skill.

I went to look at 715 Governor Nicholls and its ironwork certainly resembles the Bosque House:

715 Governor Nicholls

Next up: the anthemion or palmette motif.

Golden French Quarter

From Historic New Orleans Collection, a link below to some lovely sketches by local artist Rolland Golden. By the way, his book is an treat too.

 


Born in New Orleans in 1931, Rolland Golden—who passed away in July 2019—spent much of his career as an artist drawing and painting Southern scenes. After serving in the Navy, Golden attended the John McCrady Art School from 1955 to 1957. Those years studying in the French Quarter began a lifelong love for the old buildings and charm of the Vieux Carré. After graduation, Golden married Stella Doussan and opened the Patio Art Studio on Royal Street. In the next few years, and as their family grew to include three children, they moved between several apartments on St. Philip, Royal, St. Ann, and Bourbon Streets—all in the French Quarter.

https://www.hnoc.org/content-rolland-golden%E2%80%99s-sketches-show-changing-french-quarter-50s-and-60s?fbclid=IwAR19M2kOMRdEkQb7CQ4NblExRbF4lZJKaBV0nLHB0-Im2r4ld0gZv-Hxkg4

 

Golden completed this painting of the Napoleon House in 1960. (THNOC, 1975.130)1975.130_web.jpg

L’Union, New Orleans Tribune honored

The Louisiana Creole Research Association will host a forum and unveiling of a new historic marker this weekend for L’Union (1862-1864), the South’s first Black newspaper, and the New Orleans Tribune (1864-1869), America’s first Black daily paper.

The forum takes place this Saturday, June 16 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.at the Williams Research Center at the Historic New Orleans Collection, 410 Chartres Street. The marker unveiling will immediately follow the forum, and the event is free and open to the public.

From The Advocate article:

In response, Roudanez formed L’Union with his older brother, Jean Baptiste Roudanez, as publisher and Paul Trevigne as the paper’s first editor.

As soon as L’Union began publishing, the three men faced repeated threats of arson and death, but in response, they decided to expand their audience by publishing the daily Tribune.

As the paper editorialized in 1869, its goal was not to be a journal dedicated merely to beautiful prose. “We plead for equality not as philosophers (who) in their closet write beautiful essays about abstract principles,” the editorial said. “We are seeking to throw off a tremendous load which has been our inheritance for centuries. With us, it is a reality and no abstraction.

Found at 527 Conti Street (at Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights showroom building)

Portage Bike Roll 2018

The Historic New Orleans Collection is offering free bicycle tours with A Bicycle Named Desire every Wednesday and Sunday through June 3 as part of the upcoming exhibition Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina, presented by The Helis Foundation.
The six-mile trip highlights the public art, history, and architecture along the Esplanade corridor, starting in the Marigny, through Tremé, down Esplanade to City Park, then looping back to finish in the French Quarter at THNOC, 533 Royal Street. There, guests will be able to preview some of the works that will be on view in Art of the City when THNOC’s new exhibition center opens in fall 2018. That preview also opens today at 533 Royal Street, with a special event at 6 p.m. featuring UK artist Robin Reynolds, whose work New Orleans: Between Heaven and Hell anchors the display.
Maps for self-guided tours are now available at THNOC and A Bicycle Named Desire, 632 Elysian Fields Avenue. The free guided tours are offered Wednesdays and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. May 9–June 3. The afternoon tour on June 3 will take place by bus. Registration is required for all guided tours. Participants must be 16+ years old and capable of strenuous physical activity and a six-mile bike ride. For more information, contact A Bicycle Named Desire at abicyclenameddesire@gmail.com or (504) 345-8966.

 

%d bloggers like this: