… and put in a parking lot: Mansion gives way to yet more macadam

With owners claiming Katrina damage, this architecturally eclectic structure on Prytania Street near Touro Hospital was demolished on Thanksgiving Day 2006. While people were basting turkeys or gussying up for a racetrack repast, bulldozers gassed up and tore into a lunch of timbers and cornices, a few blocks uptown of the Garden District.

Plans for Central City reception hall pit cousin against cousin at hearing on zone change

By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

An after-the-fact request for a zoning change pitted cousin against cousin this week at the City Planning Commission meeting. According to developer Earl Myers, in December 2010 the city Department of Safety and Permits issued him a permit for commercial renovation of his Central City property, a former auto repair shop in the 2000 block of Felicity Street.

Blight worsened by housing preservation program, Hoffman Triangle residents say

By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

Hoffman Triangle residents thought they were getting a handle on the blight problem that has gripped their community since Hurricane Katrina. A small neighborhood wedged between Broadmoor and Central City, the Triangle went deeply under water after the levees failed.  As a recovery strategy, residents  formed a neighborhood association, pitched in on clean-up drives and have been working steadily to increase home ownership and rid the community of blight.

Grocer forging ahead with plans to resurrect Seventh Ward's iconic Circle Food Store

By Ariella Cohen, The Lens staff writer

It was the place to go if you wanted to put food on the table, a uniform on your child or even a doctor’s eye on that lingering ear infection. Best known as a full-service grocery, Circle Food Store had physicians and dentists working in cramped offices a floor above the produce aisle, and a clerk to cash checks and sell school uniforms not far from a sweet-smelling bakery.

Neighborhood Participation Plan cranking up after three years stuck in neutral

By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

Three years after New Orleans voters approved a necessary charter change, City Hall is finally getting around to implementing the so-called Neighborhood Participation Program to give disparate communities all across the city a more direct voice in the governance process. According to a just-released “Scope of Work,” a five-step process begins next month as neighborhood liaisons – five have been identified to date — begin meeting with city officials to develop a “framework” and then move toward “comprehensive implementation” of the NPP by May 2013.