House of the week: Victorian on Belleville St.

The things I could do with this house!
The things I could do with this house!

The more I look at houses for sale, the more I am disappointed by the culture-eradicating renovations I discover. Developers and contractors are tearing the heart and soul out of New Orleans’ architecture and it honestly makes me want to weep. While I appreciate some new design, there’s a lot to be said for the creativity and elegance of the past. Don’t rip out transoms and dividing walls for an “open floor plan.” Go live in a suburban tract house if that’s what you’re looking for.

Stepping down from the soapbox, I must admit I am able to discover a fairly pristine, untouched local abode from time to time, but it is becoming harder and harder to find. Though I am somewhat reluctant (do developers read my blog?), I wanted to share with you one of those historical, and affordable, classic New Orleans homes.

Located in Algiers, less than a block away from the beautiful, oak-lined Opelousas Avenue on the West Bank, I discovered this Victorian that surprisingly features a minimum of updates. Built a century ago, this three bedroom, one bathroom home offers original hardwood floors, soaring ceilings, brick-lined fireplace mantles, floor-to-ceiling windows, transoms, sliding pocket doors and an old, wrought-iron fence in front of a huge porch.

While the photos don’t reveal a backyard or bathroom (something that should make any buyer beware), I am so happy to see that there are a few unsullied homes left. I think the asking price of $300,000 is a bit high, especially for a house located directly across from an elementary school, but so goes the real estate market in the GNO.

House of the week: Mary Plantation on Hwy 39

While people are spending millions to live in a 500 sq. ft. flat in Manhattan or a tract home in Northern California, you could have your very own plantation for little over a million. Located in Braithwaite, Louisiana, approximately 22 miles from downtown New Orleans, there is for sale a property that is over two centuries old offering over 2500 sq. ft. of living area and over ten acres of land. Continue reading

Willa Jean: A Parking Story

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Grilled Gulf Fish Sandwich with tartar sauce and slaw on a Hawaiian Roll

Not to sound like a snot, but growing up around a major metropolis like San Francisco has taught me a few solid rules to follow when parking in the city. First, never park illegally or you will most definitely be ticketed, booted and/or towed. Second, never ever leave anything inside your car that can be seen from outside, that is unless you’re looking to have your window busted in and that item (and possibly your whole car) stolen. Finally, and central to the point of this blog, always pay the full amount on the meter whether you think your stay will be shorter or not. City time is different from any other kinds of time and there are tons of reasons one can get held up. Isn’t a $3.50 fee better than a $50 parking ticket? I would also add that when parking on a hill, be sure to turn your wheels, but in New Orleans that is (thankfully) not something anyone has to worry about. Continue reading

Twice as nice

While dining at the restaurant of a talented chef can be a choice experience, enjoying a menu created and prepared by a collaboration of two talented chefs is definitely twice as nice.

On Tuesday, February 23rd chefs Alex Harrell of Angeline and Jason Goodenough of Carrollton Market are joining forces to present a five-course prix fixe menu featuring California Olive Ranch olive oil plus meat and seafood sourced from Inland Seafood.  This synergistic experience will be held at Angeline located at 1032 Chartres Street in the French Quarter. Continue reading

Pining for Press Street Station

In addition to a two-bedroom in the French Quarter (renting for $950 no less!), one of the first apartments I looked at was in Bywater. It was a gigantic half of a double with two bedrooms, high ceilings, transoms, hardwood floors and a built-in bookcase in the parlor going for $495 a month. Instantly I was sold, but I had to convince my mother. Continue reading

It’s OK, eat the whole bag. Love, Cookie

Unless I’m overcome with a nostalgic craving for Double-Stuf Oreos and ice-cold milk, most store-bought cookies are just not worth the calories they cost. Not that I’m watching my figure (it’s pretty much the same … fat), but I estimate that if you’re going to gorge yourself on sweets, why not indulge in the good stuff? Admittedly, I did have a thing for Pepperidge Farm Brussels, but even they have gradually lost their luster, blatantly falling victim to cheaper ingredients and large-scale mass production all in the name of profit. When it comes down to it, nothing can beat home-made cookies, particularly my cookies, fresh out of the oven. Continue reading

Livin’ easy at The Big Cheezy

When you dine out regularly, it can be a relief to go to a casual restaurant where you don’t have to be concerned about whether or not your food will taste good, or even worse, if you’ll be able to afford it. I’m sure you all can relate to restaurant “sticker shock” … or should we call it a “check crash?” One too many Old Fashioned’s or extra appetizers can easily push you far beyond your food-cost comfort zone. There’s also that possibility that, by no fault of the chef, you simply didn’t like your dish. Then you’re left paying through the nose for a partially full stomach and an afternoon of disappointment. Continue reading