French Market hosting free COVID-19 testing Tuesday and Wednesday

(Photo: The French Market in 2017. | xiquinhosilva/CC)
The French Market will host a free, walk-up COVID-19 testing set on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The testing site is in partnership with the New Orleans Health Department and will be located at the Flea Market space located at 1235 N. Peters St. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 30 and July 1.

Oral swab tests will be given, with results available in three to four days.

Appointments, insurance and IDs are not required.

Only people not showing symptoms are asked to get tested at this location. If you are showing symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to coronavirus, call the Louisiana Department of Health directly at 877-766-2130.

The Louisiana Department of Health on Monday reported 7,796 and 532 cumulative coronavirus cases and deaths, respectively, in Orleans Parish.

Woman arrested in connection to Decatur Street business burglary

(Photo: Elizabeth Slaton via NOPD)
A woman was arrested Tuesday in connection to a business burglary that occurred yesterday on Decatur Street.

Officers responded to a complaint of a business burglary in the 800 block of Decatur Street in the French Quarter on June 8, according to New Orleans Police.

Eighth District detectives determined through their investigation that Elizabeth Slaton, 36, entered the rear of the business and allegedly stole several items.

Detectives were able to positively identify Slaton and obtain an arrest warrant, the NOPD said.

Slaton was located at the NOPD’s 5th District station at 3900 North Claiborne Avenue and was taken into custody.

Slaton was booked into the Orleans Parish Justice Center on suspicion of simple burglary of a business.

Anyone with additional information on this incident is asked to contact NOPD Eighth District detectives at 504-658-6080.

The Tahyo, ‘Pit Bulls & Parolees’ gift shop on lower Decatur Street, closes due to COVID-19 shutdown

A gift shop connected to “Pit Bulls and Parolees” reality TV show located on lower Decatur Street, has closed earlier this month, citing the COVID-19 mandatory shutdowns.

In a statement posted to social media on May 15, Villalobos Rescue Center announced that The Tahyo, located at 1224 Decatur St., closed for good following a prolonged shutdown due to coronavirus.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a March 16 executive order that closed businesses as part of a measure to contain spread of the virus. On May 16, Cantrell began easing restrictions and instituted a phased reopening of the city.

The shop was one of the first to close following the initial outbreak of the virus several months ago, according to Tia Torres, who runs the nonprofit all-breed dog rescue shelter and focus of the TV show.

Torres’ daughter Mariah ran the lower Decatur Street shop to help support the dogs housed by her mother’s rescue.

“We could not hold up against the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of mandatory shutdowns,” according to a May 15 statement released by The Tahyo. “We enjoyed our time on Decatur St and will miss our FQ family.”

The store will continue to exist, however, in its online form at Sales proceeds go to support Villalobos dog rescue, which costs approximately $4 million a year to operate, according to its website.

Cafe du Monde reopens for in-dining service as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted

(Photo: jc.winkler | CC Flickr)
Cafe du Monde reopened on Friday for the first time since closing its doors in March due to COVID-19.

The coffee and beignet shop, located at 800 Decatur St., is now open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day of the week as part of the May 16 phased reopening and easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in New Orleans.

Normally open 24 hours a day, the restaurant and must-see stop for tourists was forced to cease in-dining operations and use take-out or delivery services following Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s March 16 stay-at-home order issued as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

As the lockdown progressed, the restaurant also maintained its mail order operations by shipping coffee and beignet mix.

Cafe du Monde also ceased operations following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and received national media attention when it reopened nearly two months later.

The phased reopening is based on several conditions, including that coronavirus cases continue to drop and that people continue following public health guidelines such as social/physical distancing at least 6 feet apart from each other, according to the city’s safe reopening page.

Read more on the city’s reopening plan at

Cafe du Monde, 800 Decatur St., 504-525-4544, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week;

Unique Grocery on Royal Street ordered to shut down for not regulating social distancing

French Quarter street performer arrested for allegedly stealing artists’ carts and pushing them into Mississippi River

Landon Semones. Courtesy of NOPD.

A French Quarter street performer who allegedly pushed more than a dozen artist carts into the Mississippi River during the course of several hours in January was arrested Feb. 17 following an investigation by the New Orleans Police.

Landon Semones, 42, was arrested on 11 counts of theft and one count of authorized entry into a business after entering the Jackson Square Artists Yard on Jan. 31 and pushing at least a dozen artists carts into the river, according to New Orleans Police.

New Orleans Police responded to a call of a theft in the 700 block of Decatur Street at 11:25 a.m. on Jan. 31 and spoke to a victim who stored under the breezeway across the street from Jackson Square.

The victim told officers that he stored his cart under the breezeway on Jan. 30 and upon returning at 7 a.m. the next morning, he noticed the security lock on the door had been tampered with, according to New Orleans Police.

When the victim entered the storage area, he noticed that his cart and numerous other carts were missing.

Project NOLA, a nonprofit crime camera network, released a video on Feb. 12 that allegedly shows Semones pushing the carts one by one into the river during the course of several hours.

During the investigation, New Orleans Police identified Semones as a suspect and issued an arrest warrant.

Semones turned himself into the New Orleans Police Department Eighth District station located at 334 Royal Street at 9 a.m. on Feb. 17 and was booked into the Orleans Parish Justice Center.

Semones, who is known to perform as a mime in the French Quarter, is also known by the name “Dade Murphy.”

The Jan. 31 incident disrupted the daily routines of at least a dozen artists — including painters, musicians and other merchants — who cater to tourists in the heavily-trafficked tourist area of Jackson Square.

The alleged thefts of the carts reportedly damaged thousands of dollars of art and supplies, according to Cassie Tarr, who organized a GoFundMe page to raise money for the artists, adding that many of them lost their livelihoods in the incident.

The incident occurred less than a month before Mardi Gras on Feb. 25, during one of the busiest times of the year for artists, street vendors, performers and hospitality industry workers in the French Quarter.

“Many of the carts [belong] to our beloved older members of Jackson Square, folks who have been part of the cultural fabric of the French Quarter for over 40 years,” Tarr wrote on the GoFundMe page.

The GoFundMe page, which was created on Feb. 5, has raised more than $20,000, just short of the $25,000 goal, and will be distributed equally among the 13 artists who lost their carts, Tarr wrote.

Anyone with additional information on this incident is asked to contact NOPD Eighth District detectives at 504-658-6080.