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

(Photo: Paul Sableman | CC Flickr)
Unique Grocery store, located at 127 Royal St., was issued a “social distancing” cease and desist order from the city. It’s unclear when the order was issued, although one resident captured a photo of the order posted to the front door on Thursday.

The store was declared “dangerous and unsafe” because people “cannot maintain social distancing,” according to the city notice, “cease desist operations until operational plan.”

A city spokeswoman didn’t respond to emails seeking comment on Friday.

The city recently, on May 16, entered “Phase One” reopening as coronavirus restrictions are eased for “low-risk” businesses, while still being required to maintain public health guidelines, including limiting occupancy.

The Department of Safety and Permits is tasked with enforcing Phase One requirements.

Visit nola.ready.gov for a full list of reopening guidelines.

Brennan’s bunny hops and pops champagne down Royal Street in uplifting, slightly terrifying Easter video

Courtesy of @CityOfNola.

Note: video is not optimized for smartphones or tablets.

Easter Sunday — a holiday normally celebrated with parades and festive crowds was instead marked by a lone Brennan’s restaurant Easter Bunny prancing down Royal Street with saber in hand, popping champagne bottles amid the backdrop of a shuttered and empty French Quarter during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city of New Orleans’ official Twitter account shared an April 11 video of a person in a bunny suit skipping down Royal Street and stopping twice to pop champagne bottles with a saber, all while reminding us to social distance six feet apart from each other.

A scene that normally depicts a bustling scene of pedestrians, traffic and commercial activity instead portrayed a picturesque, yet bleak urban landscape nearly devoid of human presence — with the exception of a person in a bunny suit holding a sword while skipping to a recorded singsong tune.

The video is an uplifting sign because the French Quarter hasn’t completely lost its weirdness during the pandemic.

A March 22 stay-at-home order issued by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards closing nonessential businesses and limiting physical movements of citizens to curb the spread of coronavirus, and a proactive local campaign enforcing gatherings, has led to a virtual shutdown of the French Quarter and its tourist economy.

More than 525,000 presumptive cases, including at least 20,000 deaths, of coronavirus were reported in the U.S. on Sunday, according to data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Louisiana public health officials have confirmed more than 20,000 cases of coronavirus, which is attributed to at least 840 deaths across the state, according to statistics reported on on Sunday.

At least 5,600 cases, and 235 deaths, attributed to coronavirus have been reported in Orleans Parish.

Thanks for the champagne, Brennan’s bunny. When the pandemic is over, quarter rats will be popping bottles too.

Gold Rolex watch snatched from victim’s wrist by robbery suspect in Bourbon Street bathroom, NOPD says

New Orleans Police released surveillance camera footage of a suspect who allegedly snatched a gold Rolex watch off the wrist of a victim inside a Bourbon Street bathroom on Jan. 16.

A man briefly chased an alleged thief who snatched a gold Rolex watch from his wrist inside a Bourbon Street bathroom Jan. 16 before losing of the suspect, according to New Orleans Police.

The incident occurred at approximately 2:40 a.m. when the suspect followed the victim inside the bathroom of a business in the 200 block of Bourbon Street and took the watch, New Orleans Police said.

The suspect ran out of the building onto Iberville Street towards Royal Street, according to New Orleans Police. The victim briefly gave chase, but lost sight of the suspect.

New Orleans police are investigating the incident as a simple robbery and on Jan. 23 released surveillance camera footage of the suspect, which is pictured above.

Police describe the suspect as a black male standing six foot one inch tall with a slim build, wearing a white mesh hat with a black front, white t-shirt and dark colored pants.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact New Orleans Eighth District detectives at 504-658-6080. Anonymous callers are asked to contact Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 877-903-7867.

Tour operator known as ‘Voodoo Bone Lady’ accused of shooting man in the French Quarter

The Bone Lady, AKA April Caldwell. Photo: Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.

A tour operator in the French Quarter was arrested on Jan. 14 after allegedly shooting a man in the abdomen following a domestic incident on Royal Street, according to various local reports.

April Caldwell, 41, was taken into custody by the New Orleans Police Department shortly after 8:30 p.m. after the shooting, which occurred in the 600 block of Royal Street, according to nola.com.

Caldwell, who runs a walking ghost tour company in the French Quarter under the alias of Voodoo Bone Lady, was charged with one count of aggravated battery.

Caldwell first appearance in the case on Jan. 15 in Orleans Parish Magistrate Court, where she also signed a domestic stay away order, records show.

According to court records, Caldwell’s bond remains in jail on a $100,000 bond.

A family of street performers interviewed by The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate said they heard Caldwell and another man arguing followed by a gunshot.

The 56-year-old victim, according to police, was reportedly dating Caldwell and was transported to a local hospital after the shooting.

April Caldwell’s alleged arrest on Jan. 14. Photo: Eevie Lisa Ford.

According to Louisiana Secretary of State records, Caldwell runs her company 5-Star Voodoo Bone Lady Haunted Tours under the alias of Onassys Bloomberg at 628 Royal Street.

A progress report is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Feb. 12 in section M4 and a rule to show cause is scheduled for 3 p.m. on March 15 in section M3 in Orleans Parish Magistrate Court, according to court records.

Man arrested with samurai sword on Royal Street, NOPD says

Travis Fisher. Picture courtesy of the Louisiana State Police.

A man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault Dec. 7 after police saw a man allegedly trying to attack another using a samurai sword, the Louisiana State Police said.

Troopers from the Louisiana State Police Troop N were on a proactive vehicle patrol in the 600 block of Royal St. when saw heard individuals screaming, the Louisiana State Police said.

When officers approached, they saw Travis Fisher, 42, with a sword raised in an “aggressive manner” towards a man attempting to move out of the way, the Louisiana State Police said.

Fisher immediately complied with troopers’ orders to drop the sword and was taken into custody, the Louisiana State Police added.