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NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden (5:00 PM)
The NOLA Project presents this festive comedy that pits two of Shakespeare's most beloved characters in a war of words and wits
1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd (5:00PM- 11:00 PM)
The Holy Trinity Cathedral is inviting Grecophiles of all ages out to Bayou St. John for goat burgers, traditional music and dancing, and regional libations
The Convention Center (6:00PM-9:00 PM)
An experience for both foodies and wine connoisseurs with live music by Flow Tribe
Zephyr Field (7:00 PM)
New Orleans baseball against the Omaha Storm Chasers
One Eyed Jacks (7:30)
Sketchy Characters Productions brings you a comedy sketch and web series that plays off the madness of the French Quarter
Shadowbox Theatre (8:00 PM)
Straightforward conversational drama explores one area's gentrification through 50 years
Art Klub, 513 Elysian Fields Ave (8:00 PM)
An interactive and sparkling performance presented by Nari Tomassetti
The Little Gem Saloon (8:00 PM)
The fourth evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Howlin’ Wolf (9:00 PM)
A funky two night celebration of the band’s 30th anniversary
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Rock around Lee Circle tonight
Rancor on Rise
Developer Sean Cummings, Marigny Residents at Odds Over Plans for High Rise
Over the last few weeks, the Marigny has once again become the setting for high drama.
Protests, T-shirts, and signs reading, “Size Matters,” now supplement the historic landscape. At odds are Sean Cummings, who renovated the International House, Kingsway Studio and the Rice Mill, and a coalition of residents galvanized by the Fauborg Marigny Improvement Association.
The project spurring the uproar is Cummings’ plans to construct a mixed use high-rise, The Elisio Lofts, on the corner of Elysian Fields and Decatur. The post modern towers would consist of three buildings—one 50ft. tall, one 29ft. tall, and the point of contention, a 74ft. building. The complex would sit at the intersection of the Quarter and the Marigny, providing a break in height and style from the surrounding, historic neighborhoods.
The project has been in the early development for about nine months, and it has already received approval from the City Planning Commission, which issued a statement about its decision.
“The staff believes that the scale and height are appropriate given the existing scale of the surrounding development and the location of the site at the gateway of the riverfront, as articulated in the Riverfront Vision 2005 Plan,” the Commission said.
The project has also been granted conceptual approval from the Historic District Landmark’s Commission’s Architectural Review Committee (ARC). Plans for the lofts will be reviewed by the HDLC in the City Council Chambers tomorrow at 9:30 am, where the council will ultimately determine the fate of the Cummings project.
The FMIA objects to the height of the project, the lack of parking provided within the structure, and its density. FMIA President Alexandre Vialou said that the organization’s biggest concerns by far are the height and the potential for one high-rise to create a dangerous precedent.
“Some people look at the visual of the modern building, some look at the location. What I think the main concern of the neighborhood association is the expected height of the building,” said Vialou.
The accepted maximum height for buildings in the Marigny has long been 50ft., and Vialou said that the organization feels that the construction of The Elisio Lofts would be a slippery slope for the Marigny, ultimately transforming the neighborhood into a vacation spot.
“I think many people who were born in the neighborhood and lived their entire lives in the Marigny are very concerned that their neighborhood could become a condominium haven.”
Another one of the FMIA’s major gripes is the projected parking situation.
The structure would provide 74 spaces and a 1:1 ratio of parking spots to units, a steep drop from the FMIA’s claim that zoning requirements mandate such a building to provide 159 parking spots. Cummings has received four variances from the City Planning Commission to approve the construction.
Vialou said that he believes the City Planning Commission’s unanimous approval is indicative of a larger agenda.
“This is a kind of test phase for the Riverfront Overlay District,” Vialou said. “The precedent is that once you build a tall building you have to build a parking garage, then an uninspired modern building. We’re very sensitive to the social and architectural fabric of the neighborhood.”
Often at odds with the organization, Marigny Rectangle resident and internet presence Lord David has joined forces with the FMIA in opposition of Cummings' project. There was a rally meeting yesterday at Siberia (2227 St. Claude Ave.) in which renters and owners came together to oppose the construction of the high rise. The following excerpt is from Lord David’s statement on the development:
“For a cultural reference, this is where the Street Car named Desire ran past the Kowalski's apartment, as Stanley called out "STELLA" into the night. It is where Ignatius J. Reilly crossed from the French Quarter, on his way to 'set free the Moors' at his Bywater job. It is a local and historic neighborhood, filled with Shotgun Houses & Creole Cottages, not many of them taller than 20 to 25 feet at the peak of their roof. Since 1972, the Marigny has held fast to a height limit of 50 feet, refusing to allow high rises, in office buildings, condominiums or apartments to be constructed here.”
Sean Cummings issued his own thorough response to each and every concern. With regards to the height, Cummings said that complaints have been overblown.
“Contrary to the misleading campaign promulgated by the leaders of the FMIA and their consultants, our project is not some crazy out of scale, out of touch 75 feet high-rise towering over single family creole cottages. Rather, it is 50 feet. It is 29 feet. It is 74 feet. And, in the new pocket-park alley we are creating, there is no height. Thus, our average height is only 42 feet, and given the conditions of this property and its location, one can see why the City Planning Commission, the HDLC, our immediate and nearby neighbors, and all manner of other people support our design so enthusiastically,” Cummings wrote.
In terms of parking, Cummings cited the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinances requirements—a 1:1 ratio of parking spots to units for multi-family dwellings. According to Cummings, who said he has received 110 letters in support of the project that were largely written by Marigny residents, the FMIA’s campaign is aggressive and undemocratic.
“We have consistently invited the leadership of the FMIA to meet to review our plans, but despite the obvious support that this project has from many of the residents they claim to represent, and virtually every trained professional in architecture and urban planning, they appear unwilling to participate.”
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Ryan Sparks, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Ryan Sparks, Kerem Ozkan
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