La Provence was one of north shore’s dining landmarks until it closed in 2018. What was once a French restaurant, will now open as a hotel and events venue. The spot is perfect for this as it has been compared in the past to a classic French country inn.

Cayman and Danny Sinclair, brothers and local entrepreneurs, purchased the property which they plan to turn into the small hotel and events venue naming it the Inn at La Provence.

“I feel like there’s so much value in that name, it’s so recognized; it means a lot to people. It would be a shame to lose that,” said Cayman Sinclair.

The single-story building currently has several dining rooms and a “lodge-like lounge” with a fireplace. La Provence, which was built and opened by Chris Kerageorgiou in 1972, became one of the north shore’s most respected restaurants. Well known for Kerageorgiou’s quail gumbo and braised rabbit, his lamb a la Grecque and the little pots of chicken liver pâté set down with the bread, La Provence gave residents a great place to create fond memories.

“My family would stay for hours, sitting around that fire in the front room,” he said. “It was a classic place. We’re really excited to be able to revitalize it.”

The brothers plan will be to reconfigure the existing building for the events venue and build small bungalow-style structures on the two-acre property. The 28 room hotel and events venue would be a perfect place for weddings, corporate meetings and retreats.

“We can host the event, they can stay on the property, and from here they can go to other restaurants for rehearsal dinners or their night out,” he said.

Set to open in Fall of 2019, the Inn at La Provence will also open to the public for brunch on Sundays.

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Liz’s Where Y’ at Diner in Mandeville was tragically burned in a fire June 11, 2019. The closing of this landmark at 2500 Florida Street was sad for everyone. Liz is not letting the fire detour her business. She plans to reopen.

Tuesday morning, June 11, 2019, a fire broke out during a busy morning rush. The fire began in the dry goods storage area and spread from there causing major damage to the building. The restaurant’s 10 year anniversary is today and will be celebrated when the restoration is complete.

Liz praised the community for their love and support, “The love we’re getting … the wonderful things people are saying and doing for us. The free meals (from neighboring restaurants). It’s amazing. It’s truly amazing.

“I’ll tell you: It’s overwhelming.”

Liz Munson opened “the laid-back diner” ten years ago in Mandeville on Florida Street. This had been her dream after waitressing for fifteen years. The New Orleans native wanted to celebrate the New Orleans’ classic Creole food in the tranquil setting of the Northshore.        

The fire hasn’t stopped her from working nor her employees. She will keep paying her employees even though the restaurant is closed. Liz has created a make shift office out of a picnic table next door. She and her 33 employees are working on getting the restaurant restored and reopened.

Luckily the damage was mostly in the kitchen area, however everything will have to be replaced. Munson explains that, “The smoke (damage) is everywhere. Little things like the pencils and the pens. Every sheet of paper. Everything smells like smoke.”

Patrons will still enjoy the same food, and same atmosphere as before. Liz shoots for a Labor Day reopening. There is a GoFundMe page that has been set up to help cover cost.

Click here to contribute to the GoFundMe account for Liz’s Where Y’ at Diner.

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Baby Boomers have been a big target in the housing market but the future will see a shift in who the future housing market will capture. According to Morgan Stanley, Millennials and Gen Z will slowly take over.

In 2019, it is reported that Millenials (those born between 1981 and 1996) will become the largest generation in the nation. If all follows as planned, Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) will take over in 2034. What does these mean for the housing market? This “youth boom” which is the merging of these two generations will heighten the economy and encourage a drive for demand in housing.

“We’re going to see strong demand for housing, both multifamily and single family, over the medium to long term,“ says Richard Hill, who leads Morgan Stanley’s U.S. REIT Equity and Commercial Real Estate Debt research teams.

We can already see the effects in the housing market in many U.S. regions. Areas report bidding wars as the Millennials a forming households. Home prices across the country continue to rise due to the lack in inventory. There are a reported 22 million people between the ages of 20 and 24 across the United States that will be adding 3.6 million new households within the next five years.

“Our findings show that household formation will increase 1.7 times annually over the next five years, compared with the prior eight years,” says James Egan, a strategist on the firm’s Securitized Products Strategy team.

The areas with the change in the trend market are definitely effected in different ways. The West and Southwest are seeing a rapid change because the Millenials outnumber the Baby Boomers. This is the exact opposite for New England and the Rust Belt which have the least Millenial population.

With a new generation comes a new way of buying, iBuyers. An iBuyer is a company that uses a web-based questionnaire and home-value algorithms to purchase homes. Basically they use technology to make an offer on your home instantly. iBuyers will account for 3% of the U.S. existing home sales by 2030.

“3% might seem small in percentage terms,” says Brian Nowak, Head of U.S. Internet Research, “But given the large size of the residential market, which is around six million transactions a year and $1.8 trillion in transaction value, it means iBuyers would purchase roughly 175,000 homes in 2030.”

The U.S. housing market will see a massive change in both target market and purchasing tools within the next decade. This is great news for both single-family homes and multi-family homes.

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Spring is not the only thing warming up this year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) just reported that the pending home-sales rose 3.8% in March 2019 (April 2019 will be released May 30, 2019.)

“There is a pent-up demand in the market, and we should see a better performing market in the coming quarters and years,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

The Pending Home Sales Index reported its findings based on a forward-looking indicator of the contract signings which rose to 105.8 in March from 101.9 in February. Yun notes that the increase has been influenced by the influx of mortgage applications and favorable mortgage rates.

The break down by region is contrasting. In the Northeast there has been a decline in pending sales of 1.7% in March to 90.5. In the Midwest however, pending home sales grew 2.3% to 95.3 in March. The two regions with the biggest jump in March were the South which rose to 127.2 (a 4.4% jump) and in the West to 95.1 an 8.7% rise.

So far spring is looking up for the housing market and only time will tell if the selling season will remain a hot market.

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St. Tammany Parish school system has 55 school campuses with 39,000 students. The school system takes no cuts when it comes to safety. Currently there are 1,793 security cameras in schools and buses, perimeter fencing around all campuses, and visitor photo id systems in place at each school. This month St. Tammany Parish voters approved referendums “to pay for police officers and mental health providers on public school campuses.”

The new property tax, which 64% of voters supported, gives the school system money annually allotted from the new 2-mill tax. The money will pay for police officers and mental health providers at each school campus. Luckily the 2 mills will not cost St. Tammany homeowners additional tax money due to the School Board decision to cut 2 mills from the district’s tax rate.

Other outcomes of the May 4, 2019 voting were also positive. Sixty-five percent of the voters agreed to allow $175 million in bonds to go to St. Tammany schools for construction and technology purposes. Covington elected Mark Verret as the final member of the City Council. There was also a 10-mill, 10-year property tax for Lacombe area recreation renewed as well as a 5-mill, 10-year tax for the Pearl River fire district.

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Madisonville, Louisiana is rich in boat and ship building history. In fact, the U.S. Navy built their vessels and repaired them in Madisonville during the War of 1812. Today plans were announced to reopen an unoccupied barge manufacturing plant on the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville.

The 230-acre plant was the home to a Trinity barge-manufacturing plant which closed its doors in 2015 when Trinity Marine Products announced the “demand for larger tank barges that transport oil is currently soft.”

“Due to encouraging conditions in the barge construction market, we are pleased that Arcosa Marine is restoring the Madisonville barge facility to full operation,” Arcosa Marine president Thomas Faherty said. “Arcosa Marine is preparing the facility to produce barges for customer delivery in 2019.”

Arcosa Marine Inc. will begin a $7.5 million renovation on the project and will hire approximately 149 employees. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state will give them an incentive package that will include a workforce training program and Arcosa will also use the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. They plan to install new equipment and upgrade the plant in order to produce barges.

“We are excited to welcome back the manufacturing operations of a marine mainstay in the St. Tammany Parish economy,” Edwards said in the news release. “Manufacturing jobs generate great economic activity and a high number of supporting jobs throughout the area. We’re encouraged by the return of barge manufacturing in Madisonville and hope that this new investment by Arcosa will lead to greater growth in the future.”

This is a great boost for the St. Tammany area economy. There will be an additional 236 indirect jobs for the region. The average annual salary for new jobs will be $51,400 plus benefits.

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The huge lakefront residential-business development in Mandeville called the Port Marigny Development has been in front of the City Council since 2015. Mandeville City Council originally nixed the plans for the development in 2017. The 77-acre site that was once a concrete plant will be allowed to be the future site of the Port Marginy Development under a new Mandeville City ordinance.

The former Pre-Stressed Concrete abandoned industrial site sits along Lake Ponchartrain at Monroe Street. Drs. Michael and Marcus Pittman own the property and proposed the $180 million residential-commercial project. The project is the largest development that has ever been planned in Mandeville.

“Port Marigny will be a good thing for the city and for the people of our community,” said Dr. Michael Pittman, who with his brother has owned the site for more than 30 years.

Port Marigny Development originally planned to include businesses, a hotel and over 400 residences. Under the new city ordinances the development can only have a maximum of 350 residential dwellings under certain conditions laid out by the Mandeville Planning and Zoning Commission and a maximum of 36,000 square feet of commercial space which can include restaurants. The highest building can be 65 feet high but the majority of the buildings will only reach 35 to 48 feet high. Mandeville Planning and Zoning Commission will allocate where the taller buildings will be allowed. The two brothers will have five years to get a city building permit and plan to start construction on the project in a couple of years.

City Councilman David Ellis believes its a win win situation for the developers and those residents who have opposed the development since its conception. Many residents voiced their concerned about about density, traffic and potential flooding of its lower elevations.

“There’s going to be some arguments,” he said. “But I think it’s a win for all.”

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Peter Lewis and Keitisha Young might be running against each other to become the next City Council member but they agree on one thing. If elected both candidates would make building a community center a priority in District A. District A is located in northern Covington which is mainly an African-American lower income neighborhood.

Peter Lewis, 41, was born in Covington and graduated from Covington High School. He holds bachelor’s degrees in general management and human resources/business management from Southeastern Louisiana University and owns an insurance agency in Covington.

Lewis, who is endorsed by the St. Tammany Parish Democratic Committee, has been a mentor to local children and has worked with them for years. He wants to change the anger and violence he sees in the community. Just last month two shootings took place in District A by a 19-year-old resident. Bringing a new community center to the area will help with this situation. Youth in District A will have a place to go after school where they can be mentored.

Along with the new community center, Lewis wants to create more classroom space in the overcrowded schools, rennovate housing in the area, add sidewalks and street lamps and improve roadways.

“I see the other areas of Covington making changes, but District A doesn’t because no one is speaking up,” he said.

Keitisha Young was born in Covington and also graduated from Covington High. She studied business at Howard University in Washington, D.C.; working toward a degree at Southern New Hampshire University. She is endorsed by the West St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce’s Political Action Committee and the Alliance for Good Government.

Young agrees with Lewis and says District A needs a new community center for the kids. Right now kids only have the Boys & Girls Club on Columbia Street which charges a fee. They need a free place to go that is a healthy environment.

“You need after-school recreation, studying, tutoring,” she said. “Kids emulate what they see, and the only thing they see is the courthouse and the jailhouse right down the street.”

Slum lords are also an issue Young wants to address.

“We have people paying $500, $600 for rent and they’re living in a house with holes in the floor and it’s infested by rodents. It’s a big problem, and it’s throughout the district. … We need homeownership education in our area. People have to know what their rights are and not be afraid to speak up about the housing they’re living in.”

Landlords need to be held accountable, Young believes there should be stronger home inspections. Residence who pay rent should have a home that is in livable condition.

“Things are getting cleaned up by the city, but it’s not getting done here in our district … The new mayor and council … have a responsibility to one another. We need to talk about all of it and see what we can do.”

The elections will be held on March 30, 2019 and early voting is currently daily through March 23, 2019.

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Diboll Gallery, located at Loyola University in New Orleans, is currently housing an exhibit that features a local Mandeville Artist. Luba Zygarewicz, a Mandeville resident, is part of the HIVE MIND exhibit which continues until March 17, 2019.

The artist pictured with one of her installations currently showing at Loyola University: “Rendere: pouring myself out to render life” is comprised of over 1000 tea bags that have been emptied out, dipped in beeswax and fused together.

Luba was born in Chile, and came to the United States, San Francisco, when she was 15 years old. She began her formal study of art at Loyola University and earned a Bachelor of Art in Sculpture. She then went on to obtain a Master of Fine Art from San Francisco Art Institute.

Motherhood took over for awhile, but she still was able to create and discover her talent while rearing and schooling 4 children. Many of her pieces reflect her stages in life and the story of her family. Her mediums include used tea bags from her cups of tea, discarded twigs, lint from her dryer and even clusters of hair.

“Finding myself doing piles of laundry,” she said in the show’s statement. “I often thought of fellow artists I knew…they were probably in their studios making ‘art,’ while I was doing yet another load of laundry. This is where my time is going! ‘Petrified Time: 13 years of my life folded and neatly stacked’ grew out of this inner struggle between domestic obligations and my creative practice.”

“For a while motherhood defined a lot of my work and the process. I think that’s why I worked in little things because they would accumulate into big things,” she said, adding that her long-running project – collecting her fallen hair for over 25 years– was important because “it was a reminder that I am an artist.”

“My work investigates implied presence in light of absence. I collect moments that together create an experience as a way of holding memories. Memories often drift into the present and are woven into my practice.” she said in a proposal for The Wild: Artist in Residence on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. She was one of five international artists awarded a spot in the November 2018 residency, entitled “Wonder Up a World.”

“The whole point was being more aware of how I move through the world, in a sense of just being present,” Zygarewicz said of LED-lit shoes she created as a representation of a mindful walking practice for an interactive

A suspended installation entitled “RISORGERE: to rise again” is made from hundreds of remnants of the 2017 Sonoma County Fires which are woven together to with wire to form a tapestry of lives. It was created by the artist during her residency last summer at Chalk Hill Artist Residency in Healdsburg, California.

performance during the seven-day residency abroad.

Her installations and sculptures have been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally including Agora Gallery in New York City, Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in Sonoma, California, Ogden Museum Of Southern Art and the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, among others.

Luba Zygarewicz’s work can be viewed at HIVE MIND continues until March 17 at Loyola University’s Collins C. Diboll Art Gallery, 4th Floor of the Monroe Library, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans at the HIVE MIND from now until March 17, 2019.

Follow Luba’s process on Instagram at @lubazygarewicz

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It is reported that there are over 24,000 St. Tammany residents that are in need of food. These hungry individuals now have a place to go for help called the Mission Pantry.

Started by The New Orleans Mission, The Mission Pantry is the origination’s latest accomplishment. Founded in 1989, The New Orleans Mission has been serving the New Orleans area for three decades. It has helped residents who are struggling with homelessness, addiction, abuse or lack of food.

The Mission Pantry is located in Lacombe on the site of the New Orleans Mission’s Giving Hope Retreat at 31294 U.S. 190. The Giving Hope retreat is a 58-acre campus where programs are provided to help aide the homeless population. It offers housing to 80 men who are going through a year-long recovery program.

Walmart donated a $75,000 grant to The Mission Pantry which was used to purchase a refrigerated truck. The truck is used to pick up food from neighboring retailers in the North Shore area.

“With the help of our incredible community partners, we hope to get farmers, grocers and other food purveyors to support the program as we attempt to eradicate food insecurity in St. Tammany Parish,” Mission Pantry Program Director John Proctor said in a news release.

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