Vision at St. Rose de Lima

“One of the things that makes these things possible isn’t just the money. It’s people having the same vision, and they hold to it. There might be bumps in the road along the way, but if people have the same idea, the same goal, the same vision about community redevelopment, it’s amazing what a group of neighbors can do.”

Five years since her husband’s passing, with only a volunteer board behind it, Rose Community Development Corporation celebrates the opening this week of the Rose Collaborative Campus, including the three former church buildings that will now house an arts-focused co-working space, an integrated school, and the new home of the 30-year old Southern Rep Theatre company.

The $11.8-million project, involving the acquisition, rehab and conversion of the three former St. Rose de Lima buildings into new uses, required no fewer than nine sources of capital. There was a New Markets Tax Credit allocation from the National Trust Community Investment Corporation; Historic Tax Credits, both state and federal; low-interest loans from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and the State of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development; an economic development grant from the City of New Orleans; and grants for brownfield remediation from the State of Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Regional Planning Commission.

Kitchen Witch Cookbook store is pushed from FQ but finds a warm welcome @ 1452 N. Broad

Sadly, the lively cookbook/ spice/vinyl/art store Kitchen Witch had to leave the Quarter, due to the ridiculous commercial rents. (Even though I believe ever more residents are living in the Quarter than had been since the mid 1980s, I also believe that commercial rents are so out of control that we are rapidly losing our good, useful stores at a frightening rate.) What is truly sad is the owners of Kitchen Witch have been working/ living in the Quarter for decades but now are completely out of it, which is a real loss.  I wish them well.

Happily, Kitchen Witch immediately found a place quite near their home in a lovely community on N. Broad and Bayou Road. You can shop there with Deb and Philipe, add a stop at the Community Bookstore just a few footsteps away, buy vinyl and cds at Domino Records, browse for beauty prods at King and Queen Emporium and at Beauty on de Bayou, pick up first-class fried chicken at McHardy’s, find some Jamaican tastes at CoCo Hut, meet friends for excellent coffee and egg cups at the great Pagoda Cafe at Bayou and Dorgenois, and refresh your artistic eye at the brand new world-class Joan Mitchell center one more block to the river.

Broad Street has so many new and longtime businesses from Canal to Bayou that it is impossible to list them all here. Lucky for me, the community center has a excellent list.

The Bayou Road area is one of the richest cultural corridors in the city, since it is one of the oldest streets. New Orleans had been founded when Bienville was directed by Native Americans to travel from the Gulf of Mexico up Bayou St. John. There, the group portaged over land using a stretch of the area that is now Bayou Road to the present day French Quarter.

Here’s one slice of culture in this section of town that most present-day New Orleanians either don’t know about or have forgotten about:

The Greek New Orleans population goes back to French Colonial New Orleans and was centered around this area.  Roughly half of all Greeks in New Orleans lived within a mile of Holy Trinity which was at 1222 N Dorgenois before moving to its present location along Bayou St. John at Robt. E. Lee.  A wealthy Athens merchant named Michael Dracos arrived in the 1760s and married a local woman of mixed Acadian and Native American lineage. When their daughter married a Greek native in New Orleans in 1799, it became recorded as the first known marriage of two people of Greeks origins in North America.

Debbie Lindsey and Philipe LaMancusa opened their store at 1452 N. Broad, suite C, on All Saints Day. Kitchen WItch Cookbook  is planning to be open 7 days a week, 10ish to 4ish and will feature book signings and related events.


Its in the little strip mall-like building with the Boost Store and the Beauty Supply.