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FMIA Board Updates

The FMIA Board shares updates, ideas, important letters, and other content to help our neighbors stay informed and get involved.  

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  • 21 Nov 2023 2:03 PM | Kip Hollar (Administrator)

    The attendance at, and participation in, the 6:30 PM Potluck gatherings before our Monthly General Membership Meetings has significantly dwindled over the last year.  This is not an effect of COVID, as we had great participation after returning to in-person meetings.  From boxes of Brother's Fried Chicken, to homemade pasta salads, to bean dips, to bags of chips, to store bought desserts, we had quite a spread on those two eight-foot tables in the back of the room.  And that's not to mention the bottles of wine and two-liters of soda in the kitchen window.  However, for whatever reason, they have slowly all but disappeared.

    We are at a crossroads here folks.  We need to decide the future of the Potlucks.  Will they continue, and if so, in what form and fashion?  If they do continue, please understand that everyone is invited to attend, whether you bring something or not.  However, we encourage all those that are able to do so to please bring something.  If no one brings anything (which is pretty much the case now), then there is nothing to be had.

    UPDATE:  We had a great showing for the November Meeting Potluck.  Thanks to all who participated and contributed!

    If you haven't already done so, please cast your vote in the poll below.  We thank you for your input and participation.  The poll will close on November 30th.

  • 28 Oct 2023 3:00 PM | Kip Hollar (Administrator)

    Let it be known that, contrary to what they are telling neighbors, the FMIA was NOT aware of their intent to canvass the neighborhood.  In fact, they have ceased all communication with us, insomuch that they refuse to return emails, phone calls, and/or text messages.

    If you are approached by the developers and asked to sign their petition, we urge you to decline.  We also encourage you not to provide your name and address as they are requesting you to do after declining to sign.  If you do provide the requested information, you are then essentially signing their petition.

    To be extremely clear, the FMIA emphatically OPPOSES the developer's plans to build a new hotel at 621 Elysian Fields Avenue (former site of American Aquatic Gardens).

    The last plans presented to us asked for a 40% height waiver (from a maximum of 50 feet to 70 feet) and almost 50% increase in the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from 2.1 to 3.1.  This would make the new hotel the largest building in the Marigny at 93,000 sq. ft., and the tallest building on the entirety of Elysian Fields Avenue, from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain.  READ THAT AGAIN and let it sink in for a minute.

    The FMIA Board of Directors had previously authorized a Petition of our own to gather signatures to submit to the City Planning Commission and the City Council.  However, we were hoping that we could continue open dialogue and reasonable negotiations with the developers leading to amicable compromises.  Obviously that ship has sailed.

    Please click HERE to Sign the Petition to Say "NO" to a New Hotel at 621 Elysian Fields Avenue.

    The original design, above, has since morphed into the latest rendition, below...

    A 93,000 sq. ft. monstrosity of an eyesore that will shadow our entire neighborhood!

  • 18 Apr 2022 3:18 PM | Donna Wakeman

    Virtual event, free with RSVP
    May 11, 12 pm

    The Preservation Resource Center has partnered with the Historic Districts Landmarks Commission to relaunch this free course designed to help property owners understand the HDLC application process and avoid the common frustrations and pitfalls experienced by some applicants. This course will provide the knowledge and tools property owners need to smoothly navigate the process. Taught by HDLC Deputy Director Eleanor Burke, this class provides an opportunity for property owners to ask questions and learn more about how to work through the HDLC process. The course is free, but you must be registered.

    Learn more & RSVP! 
  • 2 Apr 2022 5:25 PM | Donna Wakeman

    New Orleans City Planning Commission

    Dear Commissioners,

    The FMIA has been working alongside VCPORA regarding the issue of parklets, and their impact on Historic Core neighborhoods. We obviously have the same concerns they do, as well concerns that are more specific to our neighborhood. The FMIA agrees that temporarily expanding outdoor dining during the COVID-19 epidemic, when health measures prohibit or limit indoor dining, made sense. However, we are opposed to any permanent implementation in the Marigny for the following reasons:

    They are no longer necessary. Currently, there is not a dearth of dining options in the Marigny. It is obvious that street life is not a problem. There is no longer a demonstrated need for them.

    Commercial business in residential areas. These are bringing the bars outside in the streets, much like Bourbon and Frenchmen Street. Many bars and restaurants are located in residential areas, some in grandfathered spaces where such commercial uses are otherwise no longer allowed. Expanding a “legal non-conforming use” in size or intensity is prohibited in the CZO.

    It Impacts the Quality of Life in the Marigny Outdoor dining and drinking establishments have shown, in the French Quarter, to significantly increase the noise impacts, crowding, and litter on adjacent residential uses.

    Privatization of Public Space Outdoor dining also involves a taking and privatization of public space, such as sidewalks or streets. That is space, which is shared by many users for residential parking, loading and unloading, and passenger zones, has now been specifically designated for the private usage of a sole business entity, as well as spaces that neighbors already purchased parking permits for.

    Public Safety & ADA Accessibility Crowding and safety become an issue when establishments take over the often narrow and crowded public right of way that separates a business from its adjacent parklet dining area. In some situations, this may make a bad or difficult situation worse, with a variety of potentially negative effects for pedestrians, diners, and businesses. This is especially problematic for ADA accessibility.

    Aesthetic Considerations As we have observed, and predicted, the aesthetic considerations have not been adequately addressed. The existing parklets bear little resemblance to anything that could contribute to our historic streetscapes. Even if their designs were improved, the parklets will still mask and obscure our carefully preserved architecture.

    Opposite of Current Zoning  Concept of Protecting Residential Properties The CZO supports the concept of putting more intense commercial uses on the exterior of our neighborhood, away from residential properties. This proposal, allowing restaurants and bars to exist in public, outdoor space would push the more impactful commercial businesses to the interior of the neighborhood.

    Impact and Consideration of Surrounding Properties The CZO traditionally considers whether or not a use is appropriate based upon the zoning of the property, while also considering its location and surrounding properties. A parklet, if placed in the interior of a neighborhood, should not be allowed when surrounded by residential properties.

    And perhaps most importantly, there has been no record of enforcement for the ones that are operating. Some have been in place for nearly two years without a valid permit. Some have introduced exterior speakers and furniture/equipment on the sidewalk, including tents, which are specifically prohibited. There has been no effort to enforce any of these built-in regulations and no indication that they will be in the future. 


    Allen Johnson


  • 2 Apr 2022 12:06 PM | Donna Wakeman

    Dear Councilmember King,

              Last week, a social media firestorm erupted when the Royal Frenchmen Hotel announced the city had shut down their bar, which turned out not be true. Royal Frenchmen Hotel itself shut down the bar and live music due to an inability to receive music permits, as they had been operating without permits for a long time. For many people, the issue of music here might seem like a new issue, but not for residents of the Triangle, who have been dealing with both outdoor concerts and indoor concerts at the Royal Frenchmen (with all doors and windows open) during COVID, but also before that, in 2017.

              On November 17, 2014 (at an FMIA Meeting) and December 1, 2014, (at an NPP) Angela Mendoza Fabacher, Architect, met with neighbors on behalf of the developer, Hugh Stiel. The vacant property, which is outside of the Frenchmen Overlay, was the former home of Boys Town, and zoned HMC-1. It had to have its zoning changed to HMC-2, which is normally reserved for properties on the exterior of our neighborhood, in order to house a hotel above 10,000 sq ft. In the architect’s letter after the NPP, numerous neighborhood concerns were addressed, including the lack of enforcement of the Frenchmen Overlay, and concerns over having another cocktail lounge on a primarily residential stretch of both Royal and Frenchmen. The letter addressed this concern in Section 2.h, when it stated “The proposed cocktail lounge is small and would not be set up for live entertainment.  It would be geared towards hotel guests and could bring in some small additional revenue for the hotel.”  This is a far cry from the situation now.

              Despite the City Planning Commission’s recommendation of a denial of the zoning change, the City Council approved the zoning change on April 9, 2015. After a beautiful renovation, the hotel finally opened in the fall of 2017, and outdoor music quickly became an issue. On November 9, 2017, Jen Cecil, the former Director, One Stop for Permits & Licenses, wrote a neighbor about the issue, saying she had met with Hugh (owner) and Dustin (manager)and told them that: “Outdoor entertainment is not permitted by their Live Entertainment permit. Outdoor Entertainment is not able to be licensed as a year-round use. Outdoor Entertainment is only allowable when a special event permit is obtained. All speakers within an establishment must point toward the interior of the establishment, and not toward the outside. Any additional complaint that is substantiated with photographs or recording or by NOPD will result in the City moving forward with administrative adjudication against the property.” The music moved inside (despite the developer’s promises to its neighbors to have no music in the cocktail lounge), because the Motion that the City Council voted to approve the zoning change didn’t include this promise. During the pandemic, music in the courtyard began again, including the assessing of cover charges, which is not allowed. During this time, the Royal Frenchmen (per One Stop) received five permits for wedding second lines and only one Special Event Permit for Live Entertainment, Outdoors that extended from 7/3/20 to 7/11/20, that cost a total of $100.25.

    Despite the expiration of this permit, the nighttime music in the courtyard continued until a few days after June 23, 2021, when Clare Cahalan, the Special Events Administrator for the City of New Orleans sent a letter to the owner of the hotel, Hugh Stiel, stating that they were not permitted to hold outdoor live entertainment in the courtyard and that he City would not issue such permits “ due to its history of complaints and proximity to a historic district. You are ordered to cease and desist hosting or allowing entertainment other than interior spaces, such as a ballroom. Any future violations may result in enforcement activities including but not limited to the suspension or revocation of the business’ ABO license.”  It was at this time that the bands simply moved indoors, but opened the doors and played to the crowd in the courtyard or on the street. In fact, there was at least one time that the Trumpet Mafia played on the balcony of the building to the crowd on the street below. In short, live music, which was not supposed to be allowed, is no longer ancillary to the hotel’s bar. It is the primary draw for the property. A hotel has now become a music venue.

    Many of the citizens filing complaints have lived near the property long before the hotel opened, however they are being wrongly portrayed as transplants and being told to move.  Additionally, online commenters are proposing to knock on doors to find the people filing complaints.  This social media campaign has gotten out of hand, and the lack of facts has caused people to attack our citizens and their character.

    We urge you to help restore citizens’ faith in the ability to enforce rules and regulations, as well as ask for respect be extended to your constituents by doing the following:

    1)Support Clare Cahalan and Safety and Permits as they enforce the rules not just at the Royal Frenchmen, but at all properties that “have a history of complaints”, and especially those with a “proximity to residential districts.”

    2)We do not believe that it  is possible to enforce the developer’s promise not to have live music there, we do think it is crucial to make sure that they be required to have any and all necessary permits, and that they follow all the rules currently in place.   Especially the requirement that all doors and windows be closed during performances. This standard should be applied to all venues as well, as it’s currently the rule.

    3) Assure that this property remains a hotel and does not continue to act as a music venue, as it has begun to refer to itself. The music should be ancillary to the main purpose of being a hotel.

    We appreciate your help in this matter and look forward to working with you in the future. As always, please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, or if we can be of assistance.


    Allen Johnson


  • 16 Mar 2022 11:21 AM | Donna Wakeman

    By Gary DeLaumont, FMIA Vice-President

    Wow!! What a spectacular Mardi Gras!! The  weather was beautiful,  as were the costumes and homes in the Marigny!! Our 2022 Home Decorating Contest was a huge success. I narrowed the choices down to 20, which was not easy. The judges then chose the top three, and four honorable mentions. A special thanks to Lisa Suarez at Dr Bob’s, who gave us three prizes that, along with Gift Certificates from Grand Krewe, were the first, second and third place prizes. Thanks again to our judges, winners and everyone who participated. Have a great Lent, and we hope to see you next year! 

    View photos of the winners and honorable mentions in our photo gallery.

    First Place: 2312 Royal - "Ross is the Boss"  

    Second Place: 2459 Burgundy - "Carnival"

    Third Place: 611 St Ferdinand - "Day of the Dead"       

    Honorable Mentions:

    1824 Dauphine - "Little Mermaid"

    2415 Burgundy - "Theme from 'Up'”

    1015 Franklin - "Pot of Gold"                                          

    2312 Burgundy - "Live, Laugh, Llama"

  • 18 Jan 2021 2:38 PM | Donna Wakeman

    French Market Corporation has engaged Concordia, a local planning firm, to revisit the overall purpose and potential of the French Market Farmers & Flea Markets in a virtual meeting on Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 6:00pm; see attached flyer. The project scope includes focus on understanding the community stakeholder perspectives of the French Market. As a part of this work, Concordia seeks to better understand your experience as a culture bearer, resident, and/or neighbor. Therefore, your feedback and input will be invaluable to the process.  

    If you are interested in attending the virtual meeting, please fill out the RSVP form linked here to provide your contact information; link is also accessible on the attached flyer. 


  • 14 Jan 2021 11:50 AM | Donna Wakeman

    You can now donate to the FMIA through your Amazon purchases. Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchases in your name to us as we work to make the Faubourg Marigny a great place to live, work and play.

  • 7 Sep 2020 11:29 AM | Donna Wakeman

    Board of Zoning Adjustments                                                                                              1300 Perdido St                                                                                                               New Orleans, LA 70112

    Docket 064-20

    Dear Board of Zoning Adjustment Members, We are writing in opposition of BZA Docket Number 104-19, which would allow the applicant to build a two family residence with insufficient lot depth (Article 9, Section 9.3.A (Table 9-2) – Lot Depth). This two family residence would be a two-story home ( in a neighborhood of one-story homes) that is out of context for our neighborhood.

    We oppose this variance on the following violations of the Nine Criteria of Section  4.6.F of the CZO:

    Section 5- “The variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality”- The CZO allows for two-family dwellings, but states that it should “protect the existing residential development and maintain the desirable character of such development. This is a neighborhood of one story residential properties, with a significant number of them shotgun doubles. This property, which the applicant has referred to as a “stacked double” is not consistent with our Historic District and would prove to be an outlier, a clear violation of Section 5.

    Section 7- “The request for the variance is not based primarily upon a desire to serve the convenience or profit of the property owner or other interested party(s)”- The applicant lives in Los Angeles, and will use one of the units for himself when he comes to visit. He has told the neighbors that the other unit will be used for a Short Term Rental, which would improve the economic feasibility of this project, thus necessitating the need to build the second story. We believe this is a clear violation of Section 7.

    Section 9- “The property variance will not impair an adequate supply of light and air to adjacent property, increase substantially the congestion in the public street, increase the danger of fire, or endanger the public safety”- This two-story building will block the sunlight of the adjacent one-story homes, an inarguable violation of Section 9.

    We welcome the construction of residential housing that is in context with the HMR-3 Residential Zoning. We ask that you decline this variance, and that the applicant would come back with a development that would embrace the “tout ensemble” of the Marigny. 


    Allen Johnson


  • 31 Aug 2020 6:48 PM | Donna Wakeman

    Dear Commissioners,

    The Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association has formulated the following comments and position, and we appreciate your consideration:



    As stated in the first article of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO), the purpose of it is, amongst other objectives:

    ▪ To encourage and promote, in accordance with present and future needs, the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City of New Orleans.

    ▪ To preserve and enhance the value of structures, communities, and neighborhoods that constitute the distinct places within the city.

    ▪ To promote the principles of sustainabilitity.

    The Faubourg Marigny, along with Tremé and Bywater, are further protected in the document under the designation of Historic Core Neighborhood Districts. The stated purpose of the residential aspect of the Marigny/Treme/Bywater District is as follows:

    The … Historic Marigny/Tremé/Bywater Residential District is intended to protect existing residential development and to maintain a desirable character of such development within the historic Marigny/Tremé/Bywater areas. Incompatible uses are excluded from this residential district. Rehabilitation, renovation, and adaptive reuse particularly of historically significant buildings are encouraged. (Article 9 Historic Core Neighborhoods Residential Districts)

    The best way to protect and maintain the desirable character of these historic neighborhoods is to closely regulate outdoor live entertainment. Sound travels. That is an indisputable fact. Another indisputable fact is that no mitigation efforts will eliminate the transmission of outdoor sound, thus exposing neighboring homes and yards to the effects of such sound. The nearer the homes and yards, the louder the sound. Again, indisputable.


    If the past foretells the future, then the City Planning Commission staff report will lean heavily in favor of tourist-oriented business despite the CZO. The CZO attempts to balance the needs of residential and commercial uses. In Article 10, the stated purpose of the Historic Marigny/Treme/Bywater Commercial Districts are as follows:

    ▪ The HMC-1 Historic Marigny/Tremé/Bywater Commercial District is intended to provide for restricted retail stores and service establishments that will attract tourists and local residents without adversely affecting either the character of the historic Marigny/Tremé/Bywater area or nearby residences.

    ▪ The HMC-2 Historic Marigny/Tremé/Bywater Commercial District is intended to permit more intensive commercial uses than the HMC-1 District, yet protect the historic character of the Marigny/Tremé/Bywater area. The district includes the peripheral properties in Marigny/Tremé/Bywater that front on major traffic arteries and can provide access for more intense commercial uses

    ▪ The HM-MU Historic Marigny/Tremé/Bywater Mixed-Use District is intended to provide a mixed-use environment of light industrial, commercial, and residential uses that would not adversely affect the historic character of the neighborhood. Compatibility of such uses and structures with one another and with the area is encouraged through the development review process.

    Currently, Live Entertainment-Secondary Use is not allowed in HMC-1, is a conditional use in HMC-2 further limited to one per block face and is also a conditional use in HM-MU. (see CZO Table 10-1)

    Further attempts to define and balance the interests of residents, tourists and businesses in the Marigny and Treme are addressed by the CZO in Article 18 Overlay Zoning Districts. The stated purpose of the Arts and Culture Diversity Overlay District is as follows:

    The AC-1 Arts and Culture Diversity Overlay District is intended to accommodate a limited number of live entertainment uses, but with additional permissions to sustain established and promote new arts and cultural uses, including a limited number of small-scale live entertainment venues in neighborhood business or mixed-use areas. The AC-1 Diversity Overlay District seeks to maintain and reinforce small-scale uses and a balance of daytime and night-time uses that are compatible with the character of surrounding residential neighborhoods. (Article 18.2.G)

    Repeatedly, the CZO calls for balance, limits and small scale in addressing businesses, including tourist oriented ones, in Historic Core Neighborhoods. Expanding the scope of Live Entertainment is certainly not in the best interests of the residents of these neighborhoods, upsets the existing balance and distorts their historic character.


    The CZO has many definitions, requirements and restrictions on live entertainment. Many of these address the issue of sound mitigation, and specify closing windows and doors, etc. On the subject of outdoor live entertainment, it is conspicuously sparse. Only in the AC-1 Overlay District (encompassing Frenchmen St., St. Bernard Ave. and Broad St.) does it mention outdoor music, in a restaurant as a conditional use, and again in Art. 20 as conditional use within 30 ft. of a residential neighborhood. Period.

    18.9.C.3 RESTAURANT

    a. Musical accompaniment for patrons at a restaurant (standard or specialty), in conformance with the following use standards:

    7. Musical accompaniment shall only be performed in the interior of a restaurant; outdoor musical accompaniment shall be subject to the general Live Entertainment – Secondary Use regulations, as applicable.


    2. Live entertainment – secondary use and live performance venues shall submit a sound abatement plan, to be reviewed by the Director of Safety and Permits, and all other appropriate City agencies, which shall address the intended use of amplification, sound levels, and need for soundproofing. Outdoor live entertainment areas located within thirty (30) feet of a residential district shall be a conditional use.

    Clearly, the intent is that outdoor music is to be rarely allowed, and restricted when close to residential neighborhoods. Interestingly, the many requirements specified for controlling and mitigating sound within a building, where complete sound abatement is possible, are absent in the two mentions of outdoor music, where it is impossible.

    If outdoor live entertainment is to be expanded, serious limits and constraints must be instituted in order to fulfill the CZO’s purpose of preserving and enhancing our historic residential neighborhoods. Limits and constraints should include, but not be limited to:

    1. Increase the distance between outdoor live entertainment areas and residential districts to 60 ft. (the distance across 3 rooms in my house) to protect residents’ ability to enjoy their backyards.

    2. Limit the hours outdoor live entertainment is permitted. AC-1 already limits music to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and midnight Thursday to Saturday. (Art. 18.9.C.3.a.6). Again, this protects the ability of residents to enjoy their homes and backyards.

    3. Continue to make outdoor live entertainment a conditional use in all instances.

    4. Limit the number of Outdoor Live Entertainment permits to one per block face.

    5. Require a comprehensive sound abatement plan, including the use of landscaping, from a qualified sound control engineer to insure than sound does not travel beyond the 60 ft. buffer.

    6. Require a sound data logger for such venues to record and store sound level data to monitor the venue’s compliance with any city ordinances regarding sound levels.

    7. Require that the stage and/or performance area and any amplification face away from the residential district and towards the establishment.

    8. Instituted a system of inspection and fines similar to the STR ordinances to ensure that the quality of life of residents isn’t degraded by the expansion of outdoor live entertainment venues.

    In short, if outdoor live entertainment venues are to be expanded, the city must ensure that the health and welfare of its people are protected (including their ability to sleep at night), that its residents can enjoy their property in peace and that the citizens of New Orleans are not sacrificed to the tourist industry.

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