Kako Gallery on Royal Street to close permanently, citing safety concerns

(Photo: Kako Gallery)
Kako Gallery, currently located at 733 Royal Street, announced Monday on social media that it will be closing in two months, citing safety concerns.

The art gallery listed Aug. 27 as its last day. Owner Vina Nguyen was a mayoral candidate who ran against LaToya Cantrell in November 2021, receiving 13.5% of the vote.

The business posted the following message on Monday:

Hello folks,

After many years of investment and great memories, we have decided to permanently close our 733 Royal Street location due to countless encounters that defines and reflects the city’s unsafeness. Our last day is August 27th.

For those that have supported us over the years, you can continue to purchase artwork online or visit our Denham Springs location that operates as a show floor and warehouse for wholesale art production. Thank you all for your continuous support over the years! God Bless.

Kako Team

Guided public tours resume at Gallier, Hermann-Grima houses since start of COVID-19 pandemic

(Photo: Hermann-Grima House at 820 St. Louis St. | Reading Tom | CC Flickr)
Public tours at the Hermann-Grima and Gallier houses resumed earlier this month for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic more than a year ago.

Guided public tours resumed at both houses starting on June 4, according to an announcement by the museums on social media. Hermann-Grima House tours cost $15 and start on the hour from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In addition, Gallier House tours also cost $15 for one hour and run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Friday through Sunday.

Both museums, which are operated by The Woman’s Exchange, initially closed their doors to the public shortly after the coronavirus pandemic was declared in March 2020.

The houses, which were designated as National Historic Landmarks in 1974, hold significance among architecture in the French Quarter.

The Hermann-Grima House, located at 820 St. Louis St., dates to 1831, when it was built for Samuel Hermann and his family. Hermann was a German-born immigrant and successful commodities broker. He tore down the original house after acquiring the two lots behind it and rebuilt it with the slave quarters and other buildings.

A market crash in 1837 forced Hermann to sell the house, slaves and other property following a bankruptcy. The home was owned by the Grima family from 1844 to 1921.

The house is considered one of the best-preserved examples of Federal style architecture in the French Quarter and is one of the few functional open-hearth kitchens in Louisiana, and has the “only” remaining original and intact stable in the French Quarter, according to the museum’s website.

The Gallier House, located at 1132 Royal St., was designed by architect James Gallier, Jr. and is a preserved 19th century example of wealthy family’s townhome in the French Quarter.

The home was completed in 1860 and includes several engineering innovations, indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water, and a double skylight. Although not original, the household decor was based on the home’s inventory, including several pieces of period decorative art.

The comfortable lifestyles families in houses such as these were made possible with enslaved people, who are interpreted on guided tours, according to the museum’s website.

For more information on the Hermann-Grima and Gallier houses, or to book a tour, visit hgghh.org.

Matassa’s Market reopens in the French Quarter with new operators

(Photo: Infrogmation | CC)
Matassa’s Market, grocery store located at the intersection of Dauphine and St. Philip streets, reopened earlier this month.

The market, located at 1001 Dauphine St., reopened several weeks ago after its owners leased it to new operators, according to nola.com.

Owners Louis Matassa and partner Vincent Catalanatto Jr. shuttered the business in January, although the exact reasons weren’t immediately clear at the time. Many believed the store would join other neighborhood businesses that closed permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent government restrictions.

But Matassa and Catalanotto, who own the building, leased it to Richard Djapni, a Monroe-based pharmacist who also operates several grocery stores throughout Louisiana.

Matassa is a third-generation owner of the store. His father, Cosimo, opened a recording nearby on North Rampart Street in the 1940s and worked with artists such as Little Richard, Allan Toussaint, Fats Domino, Ray Charles and others. The grocery store was started by Giovanni Matassa, Cosimo’s father, in 1924.

Tahyo Tavern on Decatur Street closes

(Photo: Google Maps)
Tahyo Tavern, the Lower Decatur Street bar operated by Tia Torres from Villalobos Rescue Center, closed last month due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Located at 1140 Decatur Street, Tahyo Tavern cited limited capacity from the coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses in the French Quarter, according to statement posted to social media Dec. 26.

Calls and emails seeking comment from Tahyo Tavern were not returned.

Read Tahyo Tavern’s full statement:

Tujague’s restaurant moves four blocks down to new location on Decatur Street

(Photo: Tujague’s former location, looking in the direction of its new spot. | Dave Minsky)
Tujague’s reopened Monday at its newest location, 429 Decatur St., after relocating from its previous location four blocks away. The restaurant announced its reopening on social media last week.

The restaurant was formerly located at 823 Decatur St., where it operated for more than 100 years, or since 1914. The plan to relocate was reported in October 2019 and Tujague’s last dinner was held in June.

Opening week hours are Monday through Wednesday, from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Thursday (New Year’s Eve) from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday (New Year’s Day) from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Reservations are currently accepted, including for New Year’s Eve.

Tujague’s was founded by French immigrants Guillaume and Marie Abadie Tujague, who opened the restaurant in 1856. It’s known as the “second oldest” restaurant in New Orleans.

Other than its longevity, Tujague’s is noted for its historic furniture, including the “oldest” stand-up bar and a mirror imported from Paris, which predates the restaurant and, allegedly, the U.S. itself, according to its website.

In addition, the grasshopper cocktail, a cocktail typically made with creme de menthe, creme de cacao and cream is believed to be invented here.

A farewell to the old Tujague’s. Gif courtesy of Eric T. Styles.