Digital town hall to outline plans to revamp region’s transit system

A initiative to overhaul the region’s public transit system, called New Links, was at a crucial phase in February. It had released three comprehensive transportation concepts and was asking the public to weigh in. That public input would drive the final proposal, Regional Planning Commission officials said. When the COVID-19 emergency hit, the New Links team was in the middle of intense outreach at busy transit stops and community meetings. Social distancing put a stop to that outreach.

Sip and shop — virtually — during the Magazine Street Champagne Stroll

The 10th annual Champagne Stroll on Magazine Street is still on for May 2. It’s just not on the street, it’s online, the Magazine Street Merchants Association has announced. Magazine Street (@MagazineStreet) will host an interactive Instagram live video feed, the “Virtually Champagne Stroll,” on Saturday, May 2. Merchants will offer special deals and followers can chime in with their messages supporting Magazine Street and photos of themselves drinking champagne and shopping online. This night has been one of the flagship events of the Magazine Street Merchants Association, providing heavy traffic and much needed sales to many businesses on Magazine Street, giving them a boost before the traditional summer slump sets in.

Archbishop, rabbi to take ‘Spirit Flights’ over city

 

From Big Easy Wing

In an initiative to honor this week’s religious holidays during a major health crisis, the Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative Air Force will launch its first “Spirit Flights” over New Orleans. Two local religious leaders will be flying over the city in a World War II plane. The first flight will take on Good Friday (April 10) at 10 a.m. Archbishop of New Orleans Gregory Aymond will fly over the city to bless the citizens of metropolitan area during this pandemic. Aymond himself only recently recovered from COVID-19. “We continue to ask for prayers for our health care workers, our leaders, those who are sick, and those who have died,” Ayond said.

Police break up St. Patrick’s Day party on Magazine to reduce risk of coronavirus

By Sharon Lurye, Uptown Messenger

Police cars arrived at Tracey’s Bar on Magazine Street on Saturday to break up a crowd of more than 250 people participating in a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl, in violation of a ban on large crowds that Gov. John Bel Edwards announced through an executive order on Friday. The size of the crowd spurred some public shaming from Mayor LaToya Cantrell on social media. “The crowd exceeded 250 people and spilled into the streets. They were dispersed without incident,” said an New Orleans Police Department spokesperson.

Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club celebrates faith and friendship at Mass

Members of the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club gathered Saturday (March 14) for their annual Mass at St. Mary’s Assumption Church that traditionally precedes their Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year, the parade hosted by the group founded in 1947 was canceled by the city due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Irish Channel Parade turns into a pub crawl, before police break it up

Groups of green-garbed revelers strolled the streets of the Irish Channel Saturday (March 14) with the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade canceled due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. Men were dressed in their tuxedos and kilts while the women were draped in green and glitter. The crowd kept growing, however, and the New Orleans Police Department had to step in and break it up later in the evening, saying the event violated the ban on gatherings of more than 250 people. “This is irresponsible, potentially endangering the entire community,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said on Twitter.

COVID-19 updates: What’s closed and what’s open as the number of cases rises

Editor’s note: This story posted before Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a declaration closing all schools. The schools information below is outdated. During a conference call Thursday (March 12) afternoon, Mayor LaToya Cantrell gave the number of presumptive coronavirus cases in New Orleans: 11. About two hours later, the city’s webpage on the health crisis stated there were 15 in New Orleans. On Friday morning, the number increased to 23.

BUKU Project moves festival to Labor Day weekend

The BUKU Art + Music Project announced today that its 2020 festival scheduled for March 20-21 will be rescheduled. This reluctant change is due to the impacts of COVID-19, the coronavirus. A notice from Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s office stated that?BUKU could not take place as planned, according to an official statement from the festival team. “It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we respect their decision, and instead of crying we’ve been planning…fast,” the statement from BUKU reads. “With the help of so many people, and motivated by the vision of y’all dancing and headbanging, we are rescheduling BUKU 2020 to take place over Labor Day Weekend.”

Tulane cancels Book Festival, moves all its classes online over COVID-19 concerns

From Tulane University

The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University has canceled its inaugural event for 2020, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and adherence to university protocol. Tickets purchased for keynote addresses with John Grisham, Michael Lewis and Malcolm Gladwell will be fully refunded within 10 business days. The book festival had planned to run March 19-21, and festival organizers estimated around 30,000 visitors would attend the three-day event on Tulane’s uptown campus. However, the top priority for the festival organizers is that of the health and safety of the general public, authors, volunteers and Tulane’s faculty, staff and students. On Wednesday afternoon, Tulane University announced it would reduce the concentration of people on campus by conducting classes online beginning March 23 and through the end of the semester, reducing the number of gatherings and eliminating non-essential travel.