Tag: Columns

Mark Bennett: A path of safety, adventure and recreation underway, at last | News Columns

Just outside West Terre Haute on Tuesday morning, a young woman walked toward Terre Haute along U.S. 150 as cars and trucks sped past her.



Mark Bennett: A path of safety, adventure and recreation underway, at last

Tribune-Star/Mark BennettProgress underway: Ben Leege stands beside the substructure of a new pedestrian walkway adjacent to the south side of U.S. 150 between West Terre Haute and Terre Haute. Leege is the Indiana Department of Transportation’s project engineer on the effort.


She walked just a few feet from traffic. That’s because there’s almost no shoulder area between the edge of the highway and the steel roadside barriers. “The Grade,” the 1.1-mile stretch of roadway between the two towns, is risky for the numerous people who walk or bicycle to their destinations.

At that same moment Tuesday, construction continued on a remedy to the longtime hazard.

It’s a success story, a community-wide effort that will provide safety, as well as an economic boost and recreational opportunities.

Anyone who’s driven between Terre Haute and West Terre Haute since late August has undoubtedly noticed the early-stage progress on a new pedestrian walkway, adjacent to the south side of the U.S. 150 pavement.

Once it’s finished in October 2021, that young woman and other pedestrians or bike riders will be able to trek to and from West T and the Haute without feeling the air gusts of SUVs and pickups that motor by at an average rate of 16,000 vehicles a day, according to 2018 figures from the West Central Indiana Economic Development District.

This solution to that decades-old problem alone validates the project’s $6.2-million cost.

The walkway opens up other benefits, too.



Mark Bennett: A path of safety, adventure and recreation underway, at last

Tribune-Star/Mark BennettScenic: A new pedestrian walkway on the south side of U.S. 150 between West Terre Haute and Terre Haute will offer its users a clear view of the Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area, shown here.


It unlocks a virtual dead-end to the popular National Road Heritage Trail, which winds for 30 miles through eastern and central Vigo County and across the Wabash River before reaching the no-room-to-safely-walk-or-bike segment of U.S. 150. Thanks to the walkway, the Heritage Trail system could someday connect Vigo County’s four college campuses. Heritage Trail also can now extend to Illinois and link with burgeoning trail systems in Vermillion, Parke and Sullivan counties.

And, the walkway makes the Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area and its Wabashiki Trail more accessible. The new pedestrian bridge will run alongside the 2,700-acre wetlands, which was set aside by the state of Indiana in 2010. The numbers of hunters, anglers, bird-watchers, hikers, runners and picnickers using Wabashiki’s amenities will grow.

Terre Haute and West Terre Haute could become a destination for groups of cyclists, runners and outdoors enthusiasts, just like other Midwestern towns that anchor long-running trail systems.

Constructing the walkway on the slope between the highway and wetlands requires some architectural finesse.

Three-hundred steel pilings are being driven 30 to 60 feet deep into the soil to support the walkway, explained Ben Leege, the Indiana Department of Transportation’s project engineer. Those 12-inch-diameter pilings are then

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Historic hotel gets new life as Columns, starting with modern flavor from Coquette | Where NOLA Eats

It’s something in the appealing mystery rising with each turn of the ornate staircase, the perpetual twilight of the cloistered bar, the tropical languor of the deep porch, framed by those majestic white columns.

All this goes into the feel of the historic mansion long known as the Columns Hotel.



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A coffered ceiling rises over the bar at Columns on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Oct. 26, 2020. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




It’s a classic setting that’s still as accessible as an afternoon cocktail. Perhaps for that reason, countless New Orleans people have built their own affinity to it through the years.

Now it’s beginning a new chapter with new owners, a new chef and a revamp meant not to transform the old place but rather to revitalize the role it has long held.

It also has a new name, now simply Columns, though whether people really drop “the Columns” remains to be seen, and perhaps heard.



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A view from the hallway into the lounge at Columns on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Oct. 26, 2020. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




Columns is opening in phases, with the public areas open for food and drinks now and room bookings to come later in the year.

The renovations are significant but rarely feel sweeping, with more layers peeled back than added on. Mostly, it’s about familiar spaces reframed and freshened up, though not too much.

“We don’t want to scare away the ghosts,” said Jayson Seidman, who bought the hotel last year.



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Jayson Seidman at Columns, the hotel in a historic mansion he reopened on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, photographed Oct. 26, 2020. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




The biggest change thus far comes from the kitchen and bar, run now by chef Michael Stoltzfus and his team from Coquette.

Their menu is built around casual food with a modern lens, and a bent toward lighter, fresher flavors.



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Green cabbage with smoked trout roe, fennel aioli and dill at Columns, where chef Mike Stoltzfus and his team from Coquette leads the kitchen and bar, Oct. 26, 2020. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




Smoked trout roe is dappled between curls of cabbage transformed by char and fennel aioli. There’s a chili-flecked cashew hummus with a rainbow of crunchy vegetables to dip, and broad slices of country ham share a platter with pickles, pimento cheese and puffy shrimp crackers.

The roasted oysters are dabbed with swiss chard, butter and a Tabasco mash; the burger is made with a dash of smoky andouille.



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Making a Sazerac at Columns on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Oct. 26, 2020. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




The

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