Blog

A young group of volunteers helps at a NOLA rebuilding project.

How NOLA Locals Can Get Involved in Giving Back

New Orleans stands alone as a truly unique and vibrant American city. A cultural center, we attract tourists from all around the world who come to see the one-of-a-kind charm and personality that the region proudly embodies.

However, we should never forget that beyond the revelry and excitement that there are plenty of underserved communities in our city in need of a helping hand. There exists a number of opportunities to make this city a better place, and organizations that are always looking for more help from people like you.

Getting Started

If you’ve felt the call to pitch in but feel overwhelmed by the number of potential places in need, a good place to start your journey would be with the HandsOn New Orleans initiative. HandsOn’s mission is to serve as a kind of clearinghouse for all the various projects that need volunteer help in the city. You can jump right in and take a look at their Opportunity Calendar to see where you can be of help, or check out their Volunteer Referral List and get in touch with someone who can point you in the right direction. It’s easier than you think.

Rebuild and Revive

Numerous floods and other disasters have done damage to the city with lasting consequences. Even after life continues as normal, there remain many abandoned structures that are a blight on their communities. Since 1988, Rebuilding Together has been one of the preeminent organizations devoted to changing this. Whether you’re a master renovator or have never picked up a paintbrush, they’ll show you the ways you can pitch in to restore these great neighborhoods to the beauty their residents deserve.

Cultivate Renewal

One important aspect of improving neighborhoods is youth outreach. Ensuring a bright future starts with empowering those who will shape the city in the decades to come.  One organization that does just that, along with teaching valuable lessons about nutrition and sustainability is Grow Dat Youth Farm. Their two-acre farm in City Park is both a center for youth leadership and education and a functioning agribusiness. Their youth-run farmers market stands not only give young people an education in leadership and responsibility, but help provide nutritious and affordable food choices to neighborhoods where those choices can be hard to come by.

Animal Rescue

Sadly, one of the most easily neglected populations in a city like New Orleans are abandoned and stray animals, left alone on the street with nowhere to call home. Founded after Hurricane Katrina, Animal Rescue New Orleans is dedicated to responding to the needs of these dogs, cats, and other animals in need, getting them vital medical attention and even new homes. Over 7,800 (and counting) dogs and cats have been adopted through Animal Rescue, and their shelter houses those who are still in need. Volunteers and supplies are always needed, and your help can go a long way in bringing an animal from the cold streets to a loving home.

Environmental Outreach

It’s not only buildings that have been devastated by storms and flooding in the New Orleans area. Vital wetlands that have served as a buffer from Gulf waters have also been damaged and put the area in danger. The mission of Common Ground Relief, along with restoring communities, is to revitalize these marshlands and restore them to where they can protect the land again. Common Ground helps by performing soil tests, replanting, and maintaining a tree farm that provides a natural safeguard from encroaching waters. Not only that, a job training program gives residents the knowledge and skills to keep these improvements going for years to come. Your help can keep New Orleans and the surrounding area a thriving community for all people.

April Fools Day in NOLA

It’s well-known that NOLA is a party town with its fine share of seasonal festivals, street parades, and open street drinking. The spirit of April Fools Day in NOLA is evident through its Mardi Gras jester costumes and the trickster lore of the city’s Voodoo roots. But April Fools is yet another excuse to celebrate. The city offered fun and affordable events that locals and visitors enjoyed over the casual holiday weekend:

April Fools Pop Up Shop

The Lower Garden District’s Gallery hosted an April Fools Pop Up Shop on Saturday. Arts and crafts, fashion accessories, poetry performances, tarot card readings, and more featured local and some Texas artists. From 10 am to 6 pm guests were able to enjoy Bloody Marys and mimosas with proceeds donated to charities.

April Fools Night Tasting Room

At 1906 Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District, The Tasting Room offered leisure hour specials from 3 pm to 7 pm. Guests enjoyed $5 glasses of select wines and $20 wine flights  throughout the evening. In the courtyard, a special April Fools showing of The Three Stooges played on a projector while guests dined and sipped on brews from NOLA Brewing Co. and new beers from Gnarly Barley Brewing.

Loyola University Fools Fest

Preparing for the run up to April Fools Day, Loyola University hosted its third annual fools fest called the Loyola Family Fair on March 25th. The free event was open to members and partners of the Loyola network. This year, the festival–run by students–took an exclusive focus on the entire Loyola community and their families. From 11am to 7pm, ten bands featuring students and alumni from the Film and Music Industry Studies Program and Loyola’s music program took the stage. Guests enjoyed field day and carnival games, a craft fair, international foods, and other family-friendly activities. Although April Fools is about lighthearted jokes, this event was held in tribute to the community and faculty members that support the student body throughout the year.

Comedy Shows

Celebrating April Fools with a laugh, guests enjoyed shows at The New Movement Theater in the Bywater section of NOLA. Go Ahead from 7:30 to 8:30 pm featured alternative comics for an hour of humor. Living Room Liars performed an interactive improv showing of “Who’s Telling the Truth?”Affordable $5 tickets made this a show where you could truly enjoy the comedy relief without worrying about your wallet.
If you missed the shenanigans this April Fools, enjoy a laugh at upcoming shows at The New Movement Theater. As far as evening drinks, there is no shortage in NOLA. You can find fantastic happy hour specials at bars like Altamura, Trinity, or even the Dryades Public Market. If there’s anywhere to enjoy your inner prankster, its New Orleans!

Public Transit Improvements For NOLA’s Central Business District

 

New Orleans Public Transit
RTA public transit routes in New Orleans (Map data ©2016 Google)

If you take a look at New Orleans’ Central Business District, you’ll see the fruits of New Orleans’ post-Katrina recovery on full display. Before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, NOLA’s Central Business District (CBD) was notorious among residents for turning into a ghost town at the end of each workday. Today, New Orleans’ buzzing CBD bears little resemblance to the depressed neighborhood it once was.

To encourage development along the neighborhood’s business corridor after Katrina, the city streamlined development regulation processes. In the wake of eased building restrictions, new businesses began to crop up in the CBD. New restaurants, retail locations, and cocktail bars continue to draw more people to the neighborhood.

Until recently, however, the revitalization of New Orleans’ CBD did not extend to the public transportation serving the historic neighborhood.

Currently, improving public transit for people who live and work in the Central Business District is a top priority for local government officials and city planners. Major projects are underway to improve the city’s public transit. Check out the list below to learn more about NOLA’s transit initiatives that are in the works!

New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Goes Digital

Back in October, Transdev and New Orleans’ Regional Transit Authority debuted RTA GoMobile, their new mobile app. New Orleans’ public transit riders can now use their smartphone to buy and display fare on any bus, ferry, or streetcar.

A few more digital resources to help you navigate New Orleans transit:

NOLA Transit – this app provides users with updated transit schedules, step-by-step directions, and real-time data on New Orleans bus and streetcar locations.

Roadify – a Waze-like app that uses crowdsourced data to inform users of transit schedule changes and service alerts.

Ride New Orleans – a transit advocacy group serving the greater New Orleans area. Their website is a mecca for regional transit resources, where you’ll find the latest news and information regarding NOLA city transit.

Expanded Service, At Last!

On April 17, New Orleans’ Regional Transit Authority expanded service on more than 20 bus and streetcar routes, including an express shuttle to Louis Armstrong International Airport and 24-hour operations on nine major bus lines.

Plans to Overhaul the Canal Street Ferry

Back in April, New Orleans received a $5 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to go towards the city’s broader effort to overhaul and redesign the Canal Street ferry terminal. The proposal for the new, energy-efficient ferry terminal will also allow the city to redesign and modernize its riverfront property.

Bike Sharing & Other Projects

In recent years, New Orleans’ construction of bike lanes has made it a lot easier and safer for cyclists to get around the city. With more residents pedaling around the CBD, local businesses with opportunities to serve cyclists have capitalized on the growing popularity of biking. Newly-opened cafe Rouler functions as a combination restaurant and bike repair shop for CBD residents. The owners of the cafe envision Rouler as a community gathering place, where cyclists and non-cyclists alike can enjoy good food and company. Four Winds, a prominent luxury apartment building located in the CBD, is moving forward with plans to construct a dedicated bike storage facility for building residents. The property recognizes the demand for convenient bike storage.

Earlier this spring, city officials submitted a request for proposals from businesses interested in operating a bike-sharing system throughout New Orleans. The proposed system will offer affordable access to bikes that would be located at fixed stations throughout the city. In addition to serving the city’s tourism industry, the proposed bike-sharing program is intended to provide an alternative mode of transportation for residents.

Reliable Transit = A Worthwhile Investment for New Orleans

Making the city more walkable and accessible can only bolster the already-thriving Central Business District. By revitalizing and updating the transportation infrastructure of historic neighborhoods, New Orleans is investing in its future; by improving access to neighborhoods of historical value, New Orleans is paying homage to its unique history. How fortunate that a public transit makeover can accomplish both!

 

Enjoy 1,300 Acres of New Orleans City Park

At over 1,300 acres and host to millions of guests each year, New Orleans’ City Park is one of the city’s, and country’s, beloved treasures. Founded in 1854 and located in Midcity, the park is the 87th largest and 7th-most-visited park in the United States. While other towns like New York’s Central Park may receive more recognition, City Park dwarves its more acclaimed park in size, and possibly activities.

City Park boasts an incredible array of activities and destinations. With facilities like New Orleans Botanical Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art and loads of activities for the kids, it offers fun opportunities for all ages.

Like many of New Orleans’ favorites, City Park felt its share of damage during Hurricane Katrina. Over the following month, the park would lay under one to eight feet of rain–totaling $43 million in damages. It took time but thanks to the employees, board and volunteers from all over the country, City Park recovered.

Today, City Park is back as one of NOLA’s premiere destinations. Tourists and locals alike love to flock to the park for its endless activities or just to catch some shade under its immense greenery.

Today, City Park can be found as a frequent member of the country’s top parks lists. With things back on track and a mindset for further improvement, City Park plans to remain as a signature piece of NOLA’s diverse and delightful sights.

If you’d like to volunteer your time to City Park, click here for more information.

Get Down to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival!

Jazz-Fest-Audience-New-compressor

If you haven’t been to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival yet, you have to change that this time around! Back for its 47th year, the annual festival is a who’s who of local and international talent, spanning genres from jazz to hip hop to zydeco. Just some of this year’s marquee names include Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Snoop Dogg and Elvis Costello while NOLA’s signature brass sounds will be on display courtesy of acts like Irma Thomas, Irvin Mayfield, Trombone Shorty, Galactic and Flowtribe.

No New Orleans festival would be complete without a wealth of culture and food from the region. This year’s Jazz & Heritage Festival lives up to the demands with tons of local Cajun, Creole and other New Orleans tastes, as well as great art displays that highlight the city’s craft and cultural communities.

This year’s festival runs over April 22-24 & April 28-May 1. Be sure to grab your tickets at http://www.nojazzfest.com before April 21st for tickets at $65. After that, gate prices will be $75 for adults and $5 for kids 2-10.

Regions Bank Building

building-large

Metairie’s 3525 N. Causeway Blvd. (known as the Regions Bank Building) boasts an impressive list of tenants. They include AIG, Regions Bank and our very own Kailas Companies. Will your company be the next to join us?

The ten-floor, 120,000 square-foot office building contains 3 express elevators and 620 covered and uncovered parking spaces. The building was renovated in 2009 and offers a newly renovated lobby, drive-thru banking and a new air conditioning system. With on-site management and maintenance teams, the building’s team is ready to assist you at any time. On-site banking and restaurants provide an extra level of convenience you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

Located in the center of Metairie’s Central Business District, your future office is on the corner of West Esplanade Ave and Causeway Blvd. Such prime location provides ideal views of the city, including Lake Pontchartrain and the Causeway Bridge. Be sure to take a stroll down the road as the CBD’s treelined streets provide a perfect mix of beauty and just enough shade–a must-have when it gets extra humid.

Several suites are available to view. Whether you prefer street level or an office overlooking it all, be sure to contact us today before it’s too late.

Naveen Kailas

Naveen Kailas joined Kailas Companies in 2011. Prior to joining the company, Naveen earned two bachelor’s degrees from Boston College and a J.D. from Tulane University Law School. At Tulane, he concentrated on real estate law and earned a certificate in Louisiana Civil Law.

Naveen holds certificates in negotiation and arbitration/mediation. He is a Louisiana General Contractor licensed in commercial building construction. His education and skills provide Kailas Companies with a wealth of knowledge in areas that include: development, acquisitions, operations, pre-construction contract negotiation and construction.

Naveen’s acumen has been on full display on several projects for Kailas Companies. This includes Merchant Lofts, 201 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA (38 Units, 11 parking, 2,500 sq ft. retail) and 201 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA (261 units, 125,000 sq ft. retail). While working on these projects for Kailas Companies, Naveen Kailas demonstrated his ability to successfully oversee tasks including Preconstruction Negotiations, Building Design Review, Contract Administration, Construction Management, and successful lease-up of properties.