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Healing Center Unwrapped
Inside a St. Claude Ave. Development
Ian Hoch turns in a dispatch and pictures from the forthcoming New Orleans Healing Center.
For decades, an empty Universal Furniture dominated the block of St Claude Ave. between St. Roch and Spain Sts. A boxy leftover from the dark ages of mid-century American architecture, the iconic-if-hideous diamond pattern facade concealed a trio of 19th-century buildings from the street. Sensing that the St Claude corridor, like Uptown's Freret. St., was ready for some new blood, developer Pres Kabacoff conspired with Vodou Priestess Sallie Ann Glassman to re-invent the space into something both useful and beautiful.
After delivering the Bywater Art Lofts, American Can Company, River Garden and many more developments, Kabacoff is now mighty close to cutting the ribbon on the 55,000 square foot New Orleans Healing Center, which will have Louisiana's first co-operative grocery store at its nucleus. The New Orleans Food Co-op will sell feel-good food that comes from local producers in a sustainable manner, and should be a significant draw for shoppers at all income levels seeking a source of healthy natural foods in the downriver 'food desert.'
Beyond the community grocery store, residents can look forward to taking classes at the Street University, where just about anyone who wants to can use nice new classroom space to teach any kind of course they like so long as it fits the Healing Center's mission of fulfilling and empowering the individual and the community by providing services and programs promoting physical, nutritional, emotional, intellectual, environmental and spiritual well-being (whew!). You could come in one day for a group discussion about violence in the community and be back the next day for a collegiate-style lecture about Louisiana history.
Priestess Glassman's Vodou shop, "Island of Salvation," is already stocked up with herbs, oils, candles, and Vodou art. The famed Maple St. Book Shop will be 'fighting the stupids' from a new location inside the Center. There is a cabaret-style performance hall, dine-in organic restaurant with juice bar, Wild Lotus Yoga studios, street-level retail space and much more all waiting to be filled with goods and people. In its current empty state, the star of the show is the building itself, which reminds this author vaguely of the Cloud City of Bespin from the remastered Empire Strikes Back with its natural light features and honeycomb-like floor plan.
Take a look at Ian's pictures of the Center below. To see descriptions, make the slideshow full screen, and click on the "Show Info" button in the top right corner.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Elizabeth Davas, Ian Hoch, Lindsay Mack, Anna Gaca, Jason Raymond, Lee Matalone, Phil Yiannopoulos, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham,
Cheryl Castjohn, Sam Nelson
Brandon Roberts, Rachel June, Daniel Paschall
Michael Weber, B.A.
B. E. Mintz
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Minced Media, Inc.