Squandered Heritage Vintage

Church's Chicken

I have been following the administrative adjudication process for many of our blighted and abandoned properties here in New Orleans, on March 31 2009 the property at 1600 S. Claiborne owned by FRIW CHKN LLC. was on the docket.

1600 S Claiborne

This property is located at the corner of Claiborne and Martin Luther King and was a Church’s before the flood. On April 28, 2009 their representative Justin Schmidt appeared before the BZA requesting a conditional use to allow a fast food restaurant at that location.

Picture 7

So it comes as a surprise to see this property on the Code Enforcement demolition agenda.

These demolitions which are funded by CBDG funding have been making their way on to the agenda, this isn’t the only property scheduled for demolition review that also has a building permit. Once again it makes you wonder how these City agencies communicate with each other.

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • Justin Schmidt


    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Given that my client has just spent the past year going through the Conditional Use Permit /Design Review Process, as required by the Inner City Urban Corridor Regualtions, I’m sure my client doesn’t want to see this building torn down.

    A building permit was issued last month and the renovations commenced immediately. The proposed renovations include additions of lanscaping and beautification in compliance with corridor. Your pictures even reflect the cuts to the “cement jungle” where landscaping and trees will be added.

    Thanks again for the heads up.


  • Matt

    There are over two dozen properties on Code Enforcement demo list with permits that would appear to make those properties active renovations. That’s over 10% of the list (which is about 230 properties long).

    The people in city departments really need to start picking up the talking machine-thingies on their desks and speaking into them.

  • Matt

    Here’s video of both Stacy Head and Cynthia Willard-Lewis agreeing to give this place a conditional use permit. Both claim the location was the national leader for Church’s before the storm.


    When does one ever see both of them on the same side of an issue?

    By the way, it will still be a Church’s. FRIW CHKN, LLC is a d.b.a. for the Church’s national corporation, which apprently took the site over after the previous owner, a franchisee, went bankrupt after the storm. That’s according to Mr. Schmidt in te video above.