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While the cronyism is lamentable.. and Rose's stupid complicity in misrepresenting the facts intolerable.. the question of whether or not Gabrielle would be an acceptable addition to that neighborhood is still very much open to discussion.

Outside of the bullshit circumstances you outline here.. I don't necessarily see the restaurant as harmful. At the same time, it would be a shame if this kind of behavior were rewarded.

Editor B

Wow, great research.


You lost me.

"The neighborhood then chose to appeal the determination to the BZA (Board of Zoning Adjustments)."

Who made what determination?

It sounds as if someone (Safety and Permits? Planning Commission Staff?) decided that the use was an existing non-conforming use and as such could be continued in use as a restaurant or the use was represented as something other than a restaurant, which complies with the zoning.

This incomplete paragraph infers that someone decided to allow the restaurant and the neighborhood objected.

Seems some facts are missing here.


Rose is an editorialist and not a journalist, per se.

Jeffrey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie but I wouldn't know ... you know the rest. Extrapolate it to this situation.


dude....excellent commentary.

Is it just me or have you noticed how much incredible information is coming out of N.O.'s blog community lately?

Hey man, BTW, if you know of anyone with an Entergy horror story, please send them to me....I've got a helluva story working here. I'm absolutely positive they are charging fraudulent bills...and the more interviews I can get the more I can prove it. Any help would be appreciated.


This can provide more background:

"The Sonniers have found that the occupational license issued to their business by the city adhered to pretzel logic. The document clearly indicates that the property is licensed to be a restaurant, but in the words of Edward Horan, a zoning administrator with the New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits, the city "issued (the Sonniers) a restaurant license even though they're not licensed to be a restaurant."


"In November, Sherman filed an appeal with the Board of Zoning Adjustments challenging Safety and Permits' decision to license 438 Henry Clay as a reception hall. In a letter to the zoning board co-signed by neighbors Harris Rea IV and John Paul Sapir, a student at the University of Alabama and Eddie's son, Sherman contended that the property should have lost its "non-conforming use as a 'reception hall' " even before the Sonniers purchased it.

Citing Section 13.6 of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, Sherman wrote, "Because The Uptowner had previously been used only intermittently, it lost its non-conforming use."


"Crosby, the Sonniers' attorney, filed a temporary restraining order blocking the zoning board hearing, which was scheduled for earlier this month. That matter is scheduled to be heard later this month in Civil District Court. "

(Crosby is a frat brother of Kearney, Batt, and Sonnier, FWIW.)

"Sonnier said that in recent weeks Councilwoman Stacy Head has come forward offering to help."

Surprise, surprise...another Kearney flunky who means Bidness.

All of that being said, it seems to me that if one were to make such a large investment, one would want to know that the correct permits could be obtained, no?

Oh, wait, that's right. Batt lost.


And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Ernie the Attorney's previous commentary:


"a renowned Mid-City bistro that fell victim to the flood"

Weren't the victim of a falling tree?


I wouldn't let Rosie off the hook so easily Maitri. He *used* to be a beat reporter. He can also talk to Gordon Russell or Bruce Eggler, the guys who understand City Hall and the zoning process.



A Rose by any other name?


And still.. even an editorialist has an obligation to get his facts straight.


Also it occurs to me that the building the Sonniers abandoned is being rehabilitated along with most of that neighborhood.


Where do you get your information from? During his campaign for re-election, Jay Batt sent a letter to neighbors near 438 Henry Clay Ave., assuring them that he would not support Gabrielle going into that location. I recieved one. How do you explain that?
Why are you assuming that Chef Sonnier, who ran an extremely successful and well respected restaurant for many years pre-K, would become involved in corrupt politics all of a sudden? He's the bad guy because the "law" in New Orleans is so f&*#ed up?
As for the "significant opposition" - I wouldn't call 10 neighbors with 25 yard signs "significant". I think it's rather lame - like your blog.


Hi Kate, welcome to the discussion.

First, perhaps Mr. Batt lied to you, as he has done to others before (see:Bruno's). Speak to those in the Maple street area about Mr. Batt's letters. Or those around Stuart Hall.

Mr. Sonnier is an exceptional chef. However, perhaps Mr. Batt led him to believe that the conversion from 'reception hall' to 'restaruant' was a slam dunk. Perhaps it would have been, had Mr. Batt been re-elected.

Also, the "law" was there way before Mr. Sonnier. Perhaps he should have considered it before he spent all that money on a piece of property that was not zoned for the purpose he sought.

Opposition need not put up a yard sign in order to be "significant".

Personally, I don't live in the neighborhood, I don't know what kind of impact it would have, but I'd certainly like another fine restaurant open. However, I don't want to drastically impact a neighborhood with a business that was not zoned to be in that neighborhood.

Finally, I'm not telling you where I get my information, sorry.

But thanks for playing, and come again!


The neighborhood doesn't necessarily need another restaurant. And it REALLY doesn't need a tussle such as this.

I applaud Sonnier for wanting to reopen in Orleans parish. I hate the way it seems to be happening. I hope this can be resolved, and that the man isn't putting all his eggs in this hinky basket, so to speak. Because the eggs are getting mighty rotten.


I can appreciate Rose's point; I was around when the Bruno's debate was raging on Maple St. I read Rose's article as a call for Midura to do lead, maybe? To state her point clearly. The Bruno's thing went on forEVER, ad naseum; it was ridiculous. If the zoning prohibits the opening of a restaurant, why not just step up and stop the crap right now? Just the way I see it.


At this point, Midura can't say anything, on the advice of the City Attorney.

Also, she already offered to mediate before it went this far, but the parties wouldn't have it!

It's going to end soon, I do believe. One reason the Bruno's thing went on forever was because absolutely nobody was for it except the owners of Bruno's and Batt. I dunno what the opinion of the residents around the Uptowner is.


Gotcha. I guess it just bugs me that lately it seems like we have to choose between leaders who take action, and leaders who don't for fear of litigation. Can we ever get anything done?


And you forgot to mention Eddie Saphir who is leading the charge not to allow this Restaurant.

Greg Sonniers mother-in-law is no fan of Jay Batts. She lives adjacent to the Walgreens dump site.


Seems I must go re-read Poppy Brite's "Liquor." This is sounding terribly familiar--restaurant opening, nefarious doings, corruption. I think the back cover of the book, which I enjoyed thoroughly, said something about a "romp"????


Great work, Ashley.


"lame like your blog?"

that ain't right. this blog rocks. show me what you consider a good blog, Kate.


"Kate" posted from a thoracic surgeon's IP address in Arizona.

Mr. Clio

Now, Ashley, if you don't reveal your sources, the Bush administration is going to have to arrest your ass.


Thanks, Ashley. I wanted to know the true story and you and Ernie gave it to me. I do live nearby and the area does not need another restaurant.


Ha. Kate's comment is awesome.

What a douche "she" is.

Excellent article Ash.

ps. 6 days to the Krewe.

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