How to protect French Quarter buildings as Barry approaches

The edge of the French Quarter showing the high level of the Mississippi River in May 2019. Picture by Infrogmation of New Orleans | CC

Tropical Storm Barry gathered strength as it pushes sustained winds of up to 65 miles per hour, according to accuweather.com, and is predicted to make landfall along the central Louisiana coast Saturday morning as a possible Category 1 hurricane.

Whether structures will be damaged by the wind isn’t so much a concern as the flash flooding from the rain. The National Hurricane Center predicted that New Orleans could potentially experience six to 10 inches of rain as of Friday afternoon. While the French Quarter sits a bit higher than most places in the city, there are still ways to protect its historic buildings from rising water.

Interim Executive Director for the Vieux Carré Foundation Brook Tesler offered some tips to The Quarter Rat that may help protect buildings from flooding.

For one, sandbag your doors. Although the city isn’t distributing sandbags, there are some locations throughout the city. Nola.com provided a handy guide, although nothing for Orleans Parish. Third District City Councilwoman Kristen Gileson Palmer posted on social media that sandbags can be picked up at 530 Powder St. in Algiers. Get them while you still can.

As of this writing, according to the Flood Protection Authority, all of the floodgates along the Quarter and the entire city’s boundary of the Mississippi have been closed.

Park your car on high ground, Tesler noted. Most parts of the Quarter sit at or just above sea level by a few feet.

Close shutters if you’re fortunate to have them, Tesler said, and open up doors between bouts of rain to prevent from getting mold. Telser added that owners are generally allowed to temporarily place boards over windows to protect them from wind damage.

Most importantly, Tesler added, listen to the city if there’s an order to evacuate. No such order has been made yet, but the city advised its residents to shelter in place by 8 p.m. “Your life is more important,” she said.

The city received heavy flooding during the rainfall on Wednesday, receiving more than seven inches in some spots in a matter of hours, causing flash flooding.

The Quarter fared relatively better than the rest of the city. Royal Street in the Quarter received flooding during Wednesday’s rains, Tesler said, adding that Bourbon Street appeared to be draining better since construction.

“Living with water is important here in New Orleans,” Tesler said.

For city updates regarding Tropical Storm Barry, check with NOLA Ready.

Police search for suspect wanted in July 6 business burglary on North Peters Street

Courtesy of the NOPD

The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) is searching for a man captured on a surveillance camera allegedly burglarizing a business in the 900 block of N. Peters St. in the French Quarter on July 6.

According to the NOPD, the incident occurred at approximately 2:27 a.m. when an unidentified man kicked out a glass pane window and entered the business, then removed an unknown amount of cash from two donation boxes.

NOPD says the suspect, who is described as having bushy hair and short beard, fled toward Dumaine Street. Police released a surveillance camera photograph of the suspect, pictured above, on July 8.

The NOPD requests anyone with information about the incident to call Detective Marshall Scallan or other Eight District detectives, at 504-658-6080. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may contact Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 877-903-7867.

Man wanted for allegedly stealing $10,000 worth of hydrocodone pills from CVS on Decatur Street

Courtesy of the NOPD

The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) is searching for a man wanted for allegedly stealing approximately $10,000 worth of hydrocodone pills from the CVS Pharmacy at 620 Decatur St. on June 2.

According to the NOPD, the unidentified man entered the store at approximately 4 p.m. and took the pills, then fled the location. The NOPD released a surveillance photo of the suspect on July 18, which is pictured above.

The NOPD requests anyone with information regarding the incident to contact Detective Alicia Pierre at 504-658-6080. They can also call Crimestoppers anonymously at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 877-903-7867.

NOPD: Man reports theft of cash and $15,000 Rolex watch after meeting woman on Bourbon Street

Courtesy of the NOPD.

A man was deprived of one $15,000 black Rolex watch and roughly $2,000 on June 12 after meeting an unidentified woman on Bourbon Street, according to the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD).

Shortly after the encounter, according to the NOPD, both the man and woman went to his hotel in the 100 block of Barrone Street. The woman left the hotel alone and later the victim noticed his watch and cash missing, according to the NOPD, which noted that the incident was reported at approximately 4:40 a.m.

The NOPD released a photograph (pictured above) of the suspect on July 5.

The NOPD is investigating the alleged theft and is asking anyone with information to contact the Eighth District Investigative Unit at 504-658-6080, or call Crimestoppers anonymously at 504-822-111 or toll-free at 877-903-7867.

The French Quarter’s antebellum slave markets, mapped

The St. Louis Exchange and Hotel rotunda where slaves were auctioned was demolished in 1916. Picture courtesy of the Louisiana Digital Library.

Slavery was already institutionalized in the U.S. before the country won its independence from the United Kingdom in 1783 and still in place for decades more following ratification of the Constitution.

Congress banned the importation of new slaves in 1808, but it took a Civil War and a Constitutional amendment in the mid 19th century to formerly abolish the practice of slavery in the U.S. Until then, people were essentially treated as private property and sold at markets.

Using an online map published by The Historic New Orleans collection, The Quarter Rat digitally plotted the slave markets in the French Quarter to give a sense of where they once existed.

The July 4 holiday commemorates the day America declared its independence from Great Britain, but still, at times, struggles with its legacy of enslaving human beings—the vast majority of whom were people of color—for their labor.

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee erected in 1884 remained for decades as what many considered an unpleasant reminder of the city’s place in the transatlantic slave trade. It took nearly two years of legal wrangling between the city and the state legislature, going as far as the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, before Lee statue was removed on May 19, 2017.

The inside of the St. Louis Hotel rotunda shortly before demolition. Picture courtesy of the Louisiana Digital Library.

To those with knowledge of the city’s history, many reminders of slavery are still present—they’re just not as obvious as a Confederate statue. One of the most notable locations is the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel at 621 St. Louis St., once known as the St. Louis Exchange and Hotel. Here was the location of a large 88-foot rotunda that once held social gatherings, parties, and slave auctions on a regular basis.

Described by The Daily Picayune in 1840 as “the pride of Orleans and of Louisiana” and “the most gorgeous edifice in the Union,” it contained a saloon, an elegantly furnished hotel, a bar room, a billiard room, and several offices and stores.

An excerpt from vianolavie.org describes a prosperous scene inside the rotunda:

John Theophilus Kramer describes the scene of a slave auction where “richly dressed gentlemen are helping themselves to fine liquors and delicacies,” and “ladies, splendidly dressed in black silk and satin, and glittering with precious jewels, are entering the hall.” This description portrays the luxuries not only of owning slaves, but also of buying and selling them.

vianolavie.org

On February 11, 1840, the rotunda suffered a fire that collapsed its dome. According to an article published in The Daily Picayune the next day, the fire began in the attic on Royal Street and “advanced with resistless progress along the front of the building on St. Louis [S]treet.”

The rotunda was left in place for decades after the Civil War and served as somewhat of a tourist attraction, according to nola.com. It was eventually demolished in 1916.

There’s nothing to indicate where a slave market was once held in the Quarter, except maybe a history marker. Below is an interactive map showing the approximate locations of nearly two dozen markets, giving a sense of how different the neighborhood was compared to now.

Early Sunday morning shooting in the French Quarter claims the life of a man, NOPD says

Shooting-900StLouis

A man who was shot in the 900 block of St. Louis Street during the early morning hours of June 30 has died, according to the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD).

The NOPD says it responded to the call of an aggravated battery by shooting at approximately 3:30 a.m. and found a man who was shot at least once.

Local media are reporting that the 33-year-old man was approached by a woman, who shot the man following an argument.

NOPD and media sources report that the man was taken to the University Medical Center where he later died.

The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office will release the victim’s name and cause of death after an autopsy and notification of next of kin, according to the NOPD.

No additional details were released.

The NOPD asks anyone with information regarding this incident to call homicide detectives at 504-658-5300. Anonymous callers can also contact Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 1-877-903-STOP.

Subjects sought in Eighth District simple robbery on May 26

NOPD-robbery-May262019

Picture courtesy of the New Orleans Police Department

The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) is seeking assistance in locating the three pictured subjects, who are sought in the investigation of a simple robbery that occurred on May 26, 2019 at the intersection of Dumaine Street and the Mississippi River.

Through investigation, NOPD Eighth District detectives learned that at about 2 a.m, the victim was sitting on bench at the location when the pictured unknown black female allegedly approached and attempted to sell the victim marijuana. The victim said he agreed to the sale and when he attempted to pay the female, she reportedly grabbed the money from his hand and attempted to flee without making the transaction.

The victim then reportedly grabbed the female’s hand in an attempt to stop her, at which time the two pictured unknown black males allegedly approached and physically assaulted the victim. The subjects then reportedly fled the scene on foot heading toward North Peters Street.

Anyone with additional information regarding this incident or the identities and/or whereabouts of the pictured subjects is asked to contact NOPD Eighth District detectives at 504-658-6080, or call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 1-877-903-STOP.

Subject sought in Eighth District vehicle burglary on June 5

Picture courtesy of the New Orleans Police Department

The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) is seeking assistance in locating and identifying a subject in the investigation of a vehicle burglary that occurred on June 5, 2019, in the 900 block of Dauphine Street.

At about 5:16 p.m., the unknown pictured subject was captured via video surveillance shattering the rear passenger window of the victim’s vehicle and burglarizing the vehicle, taking several power tools. The subject then fled the scene with the property in hand walking eastbound on Dumaine Street to an unknown location.

Anyone with information regarding this incident or the pictured subject is asked to contact NOPD Eighth District detectives at 504-658-6080, or to call anonymously to Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 1-877-903-STOP.

Compac Groceries on St. Louis closes after several years

Compac-Groceries-Tanya-TJ-Lewis-facebook

Picture by Tanya TJ Lewis via Facebook.

Compac Groceries, a convenience store utilized by tourists and locals located at 731 St. Louis, has closed after several years.

It’s unclear when the store closed. However, several people on social media have reported on June 26 that the longtime store has closed and will be replaced by a Willie’s Chicken Shack.

Located near the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Louis, Compac sold sundry items including to-go beers, snacks, and glass bongs. The store’s closure received a mixed reaction on social media, with some remembering it as just another over-priced French Quarter mini-mart with expensive ATM fees, others called it a convenient spot to purchase booze, while some reminisced of good times had there.

There is some good news, however. There is a second store, called Compak, located at 501 Dauphine.