Tuesday, September 18, 2012

St.Claude is rapidly evolving

The Healing Center
One of the (very) few things that Mayor Nagin's Recovery Czar actually did was establish Empowerment Zones. For those of you not living in New Orleans, this was not about self-esteem-building. It means that certain areas of the city were selected for tax breaks and other assistance. The theory was that rebuilding the entire flooded city all at once was impossible, so more effort was put behind a few neighborhoods that showed the most potential.

Shadowbox Theatre
Canal Street is looking really good now. When I think back to how it was in 2007, it doesn't even seem like the same place. There are lots of new businesses and the landscape is beautiful again with oaks and shiny red streetcars.

Freret Street is thriving with new eateries, bars and small businesses. There's been a big grassroots effort in that neighborhood. They've got a farmers/arts market once a month that's caught on.

The latest success is St. Claude Avenue, which I suppose was a shopping district in the 1920s or 30s, judging by the architecture. The St. Roch Neighborhood area is coming back big time.

It was hoped the streetcar would be extended to Poland at its northernmost edge, but now it is going to stop at Esplanade. That might have brought more tourists to the neighborhood. They can walk.

Future ceramics studio
The Healing Center on St. Claude is a cool building that's been renovated to include a food cooperative, health club, bookstore, Turkish restaurant, retail stores and nightclub.

I read that Joan Rivers is performing at the Healing Center on Aug. 21. Sounds odd, but apparently true despite that most of the activities there revolve around yoga and meditation.

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