Week in Review, April 26-30: City Allows Bigger Gatherings
NEW ORLEANS – This week, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards fell in line with most other Southern governors by partially lifting Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate. Face coverings are now only required in schools, healthcare facilities, daycare centers, some state buildings and other specific locations – including on public transit.
Meanwhile, at a Thursday morning press conference, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director of the city’s health department, announced that the city’s mask mandate will remain in place but larger gatherings will be allowed. In addition, capacity limits are going away for most establishments. Under the new rules that take effect Friday, outdoor gatherings of up to 500 will be allowed. Indoor, the maximum number of people is now 250. “We believe that this will definitely accommodate residents as well as our hospitality industry,” said the Mayor. “But again, it’s a balance. … New Orleans is a safer place because of the guidelines that we have had in place throughout the past year and we want to continue on that trajectory. … And so with that, we’ll continue to move forward with vaccinating all of our residents.”
Canal Street Reopens
Yesterday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell today joined other City officials and business leaders to announce the recent reopening of two-way vehicle traffic on several blocks of Canal Street near the site of the October 2019 Hard Rock Hotel collapse. “The reopening of Canal Street has been a long time coming,” said Cantrell at the event. “There has been a lot of hard, thoughtful, and careful work put into this by all our agencies and partners.” Ttwo lanes of vehicular traffic on Canal Street are now open from Burgundy through North Rampart Street. The outside lane (closest to the collapse site) has been converted into a protected pedestrian pathway. Officials said they are working with the owners of the Hard Rock site to restore the sidewalk and streetscape to its pre-collapse condition.
Shakeup at Entergy New Orleans
Deanna Rodriguez has been appointed by Entergy Corporation to lead Entergy New Orleans LLC as its president and CEO. She succeeds David Ellis, who is taking on the role of “chief customer officer” at Entergy Corporation. The changes are effective May 9. “Throughout Deanna’s career, a common thread in her nearly three decades of success has been her understanding and expertise in how proactive and sustained stakeholder engagement can positively impact both business results and the livelihood of our customers and communities,” said Rod West, group president, utility operations for Entergy Corporation. “Her industry experience combined with her background in regulatory affairs at Entergy New Orleans make her ideally suited to lead ENO.”
Kingsley House to Change Name
Venerable New Orleans nonprofit Kingsley House, which has been active for more than 125 years, announced it will begin the process of changing its name after learning that its namesake Charles Kingsley published “writings and sermons that proved to be completely inconsistent with the core values and mission of the organization.” Since 1896, the state-certified and nationally accredited nonprofit has provided southeast Louisiana with programs and services for infants, toddlers, preschool-aged children, youth, parents, senior citizens, veterans, and “medically fragile” adults. “When considering such a prolific change like renaming a treasured and historic organization, our team recognizes the need to retain the heartbeat of our work and keep the community we serve top of mind in our decision-making,” said Kingsley House CEO Keith Liederman, Ph.D., in a press release. “We are proud of the impact we’ve had in our first 125 years and believe our renaming decision is a testament to our ongoing commitment to advancing systemic change for our children, families and community.”
New Museum to Open in May
The Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience announced it will open to the public on Thursday, May 27 at 818 Howard Avenue, a few blocks from the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the National World War II Museum. MSJE exhibits will explore the “many ways Jews in the American South influenced and were influenced by the distinct cultural heritage of their communities,” according a press release. The museum will focus on the history of 13 states over the last three centuries – including colonial times, the Civil War, World War II and the Civil Rights Movement. “We are excited to announce an opening date after a pause as a result of the pandemic,” said Jay Tanenbaum, museum chair, in a press release. “Jews in the south formed bonds of deep friendship and community-building with their non-Jewish neighbors. These stories show how people of different backgrounds come together to create the American experience. This can be a bridge to a better understanding and future for all of us.”
Chandelier Bar to Debut at the Four Seasons
The new Chandelier Bar will be the “glamorous lower-level centerpiece of Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans,” according a press release. “Rooted in tradition, Beverage Manager Hadi Ktiri’s purposeful menu reflects stellar executions of the Crescent City’s most famous cocktails while enveloped within a namesake custom chandelier of 15,000 crystals.” “Chandelier Bar is the energy center of Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans, and a passionate tribute to the illustrious cocktail tradition of the City,” said Four Seasons General Manager Mali Carow. “Wrapped within this stunning chandelier, guests from near and far will connect, celebrate, and indulge here as part of their New Orleans experience, tasting New Orleans in every savored sip.”