1920s complex built to house orphans offers a taste of Spain — in the middle of Marrero | Home/Garden

Some buildings are eye-catching because they’re so grand. Others are eye-catching because they’re unique. Still others stand out simply because they feel somehow out of place.

Reader Brian Gros recently came across one that fits all three of those descriptions.

“Can you tell us about the white Italian villa on Barataria Boulevard in Marrero?,” Gros recently wrote.

Architecturally speaking, it’s Spanish, not Italian — but if you’ve seen the complex about which Gros writes, chances are you remember it.

Covering an estimated 10 acres and including several buildings in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, it looks like the sort of mission complex you’d come across in San Antonio or a Clint Eastwood movie.

It is Hope Haven, founded in 1916 as an industrial cooperative farm by the Rev. Peter Wynhoven to serve as a home, school and source of practical training for orphaned boys who had aged out of the system.


SUSAN POAG / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Bill Curtis and Craig Guillory of Duff Waterproofing worked their way top to bottom pressure washing the Chapel of St. John Bosco on the Hope Haven campus in Marrero Tuesday, September 13, 2011. The ornate chapel was built in 1941. The pressure washing is part of the ongoing renovation of the buildings on the historic campus, one of which currently houses Cafe Hope, a non-profit restaurant program which trains young adults in both the kitchen and dining room skills.

“The orphan asylums can care for these boys only until they are 12 years of age, and that is too young for them to be thrown on their own resources,” Wynhoven told The Times-Picayune. “It seemed to me that they could be taken away from the evil influences of the city, taught some useful trade, given proper guidance and be self-supporting at the same time.”

Early on, Wynhoven’s “school farm,” as he called it, was simply a dream, but it was one that enjoyed wide community support. Over the years, newspaper reports covered a litany of fundraisers to benefit it, from movies and dances to vaudeville shows. There were at various points a euchre and lotto party, a newsboy parade, an auto race and — a true novelty at the time — an air show, all to will Hope Haven into reality.

Once that seed money was secured, the next order of business was to find a suitable site. Wynhoven found it in a stretch “overgrown wilderness” just a few miles outside the city. With a number of dairy farmers and other craftsmen summoned from Wynhoven’s native Holland to offer their expertise, the project was humming along by 1921. By then, some 250 acres had been cleared for cultivation of crops, as well as for the raising of pigs, sheep and dairy cows. A handful of humble, utilitarian buildings went up to house its young farmers.

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Hope Haven in Marrero. 2000 file photo BY SUSAN POAG 

The ultimate dream, though, was to build a proper school on the

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The Taste with Vir: Elizabeth Kerkar’s contributions to Taj Hotels created new school of Indian interior design – opinion

In the 1950S and the 1960s, the big American hotel companies looked as though they would take over the world. Such chains as Hilton (owned by the eponymous family and then by TWA), Intercontinental (owned by Pan Am) and a little later, Sheraton (owned by the multinational conglomerate ITT), opened in many of the world’s capitals.

Some of these hotels were not bad looking structures (though it later became fashionable to dismiss them as ugly skyscrapers) but it is fair to say that they had no sense of place about them. There may have been a few token nods to the city they were located in, but most days, if you suddenly woke up in a Hilton or an Intercontinental, it was hard to tell which city you were in.

That began to change a little from the 1970s onwards but it continues to be a problem for many global chains even today. They use the same service model, the same systems and often, the same architects and designers no matter where they build their hotels. So there is very little to distinguish one property from another. Nor is there much sense of art or aesthetics.

Indian hotels have always been different much to the bemusement of foreign chains. I have heard it said that when the Tatas did not know what to do with the Taj Mahal Hotel in the 1950s, they asked Hilton if the chain would run it. Hilton said it would. But the existing building was too awkward and had to be pulled down. A huge new skyscraper would be constructed in its place.

The Tatas said goodbye to Hilton and decided to run the Taj themselves. They were up against the Oberois, India’s leading hotel chain who had collaborated with Intercontinental in Delhi and were about to collaborate with Sheraton at a brand new hotel in Mumbai. It should have been a no-contest. But against the odds, largely thanks to the genius of JRD Tata and the team he entrusted the Indian Hotels company (which owned the Taj) to, the Taj brand grew from one Mumbai hotel to rival the Oberois as a national chain.

Though the Oberois worked with the great American chains, they retained an Indian sensibility. Such great Indian artists as Krishan Khanna and Satish Gujral created works of art specially for Oberoi hotels and Rai Bahadur MS Oberoi, who built the chain, was keen to imbue it with an air of Indian-ness.

At the Taj, JRD Tata and Ajit Kerkar, the man who turned the Taj into an all-India chain, worked to a similar brief. Their combined efforts helped create the Indian hotel industry: one reason why India is probably the only non-Western country where the top hotels in each city are still run by Indian companies and not by foreign chains.

At the Taj, at least, a key element of the planning of each hotel was the design. Kerkar had worked in London before he was headhunted by the Tatas

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Restaurant review: Belfast’s Ginza Kitchen taking steps to ensure a creative taste of the Orient

New restaurants have been opening in Belfast in the face of appalling economic and social conditions imposed by the pandemic. Stove on the Ormeau Road, Yugo in Ballyhackamore and now Ginza Kitchen on the Lisburn Road are signs of defiance by the restaurant trade and a mark of confidence in the future. There is nothing more reassuring than to see sensible people invest in something perceived as risky at the best of times, never mind during Covid.

nd even more reassuring is the presence of Ben Tsang, one of the city’s most polished and able restaurant managers, who has popped up in Ginza a few doors down from French Village where he established it as one of the Lisburn Road’s best lunch houses.

Ben has form so for Ginza to appoint him to front of house and chef Chee Keong Lau formerly of Dublin’s Zakura in the kitchen shows they mean business.

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Open house brings taste of fall to downtown Lee’s Summit

Many turned out to the annual Fall Open House in downtown Lee’s Summit.

Many turned out to the annual Fall Open House in downtown Lee’s Summit.

Special to the Journal

Orange and red balloons bobbed in the brisk wind along Main Street as people took advantage of fall-like weather in downtown Lee’s Summit last week.

On Sept. 11 and 12, the city hosted its annual Fall Open House. Eighteen local store owners opened their doors — with social-distancing and safety protocols in place.

Julie Cook, events and promotions director for downtown Lee’s Summit, said for more than 20 years, the event has showcased fall decor, cool-weather clothing and fine cuisine.

Cook said she hoped the open house would be a fun reprieve for families hoping to spend time outside, and safely enjoy the shops and eateries.

“There’s plenty of local businesses downtown to grab takeout or curbside pick-up and then picnic at Howard Station Park or City Hall Plaza,” Cook said. “I think right now it is more important than ever to support locally owned businesses.

“When times are tough, it’s helpful to see our dollars change hands within the community.”

One of the local shops, KD’s Books, has been a part of downtown for 27 years. Owner Cheryl Collier said she’s been a lifelong book lover.

“The open houses are always an opportunity to meet new customers, and I think that’s the importance of having a small shop,” Collier said as she straightened her purple-rimmed eyeglasses. “It’s that connection you have to a customer.”

Amid the pandemic, Collier said she was encouraged that so many people were coming out and also following safety guidelines.

“It’s nice because people enjoy getting out in nice weather and doing something that feels normal. This event provides a sense of normalcy,” Collier said.

“We appreciate so much that people are wearing masks and being careful, and we try to do our best to be careful as well,” she said, gesturing to the red social-distancing stickers around her store.

A trio of women, Pat Howard and her daughters, were also enjoying the vibe in Downtown Lee’s Summit as they sat on a bench near The Living Stone, which was showcasing new fall trends.

“We love our downtown. Living Stone is our favorite shop as it’s just a really friendly and fun place to be,” Howard said. “The shops are mostly locally owned (by) residents of Lee’s Summit. We have been in the area for 20 years, so you feel a sense of community out here as you see people you also see at church or in the grocery store.”

Carlo Mancini and his wife also said they were enjoying the atmosphere on Saturday morning.

“It’s a cute, quaint area,” said Mancini as he sipped a spiced chai tea from Whistle Stop Coffee & Mercantile.

“The shops, the restaurants, the people, the service and the weather are all appealing. And it’s a good way to get out, as Downtown Lee’s Summit is really awesome.”

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A taste of Africa: Museum garden highlights slavery-era plants | News

AUSABLE CHASM – Fish pepper made Jim Cayea more than a little epicurious about how to grow heritage edibles.

“The more I learned the more I wanted know,” said the Cornell Cooperative Extension master gardener and Morrisonville resident.

“I tend to like unique and different types of varieties of crops. That’s why I got into Wabanaki and Black American cuisine and gardening.

Coached by Jolene Wallace, extension horticulture program educator, Cayea put plants grown by the descendants of enslaved Africans into a raised-bed garden on the ground of the North Star Underground Railroad Museum at Ausable Chasm. The museum is closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but visitors can view Cayea’s epicurean journey outside.


“For years and years, I have been interested in what is called the fish pepper,” he said.

“The fish pepper is mottled colored. It was used by Black Americans. The group I’m really dealing with were people who were enslaved and then freed. This particular pepper was used around the Chesapeake Bay area, from roughly like Washington D.C., Alexandria, Va. up to Philadelphia. It was used to cook in fish dishes.

Every fish pepper seed stems from Horace Pippin, a black folk painter. “This gentleman served in World War I with the 369th Infantry (Regiment) called the Harlem Hellfighters,” Cayea said.

“He lost the use of his right arm after being shot by a sniper. This left him with a severe arthritic pain. In research for some relief, he resorted to an old folk remedy that was called bee stings.” Pippin began giving different seeds to beekeeper, H. Ralph Weaver. “Horace’s seeds came from some of far-flung old-time gardening friends who sent him some really nice varieties,” Cayea said.

“Weaver saved the seeds in his private collection where it remained until 1995 when his grandson, William Woys Weaver, released it to the public, so every fish pepper seed that is sold today comes from Horace Pippin.”


Cayea did a project on African crops for his fellow master gardeners.

“The healthy cooking style of the American Blacks originated in West Africa, basically, and in Angola,” he said.

“Angola is the second highest region for slaves genetically. In particular, most of them went to Brazil because Portugal owned both of them. I learned a lot of interesting things like where the kola nut came from. It’s what we make our colas our of, coke and that type of thing. It came from Africa.”

Watermelons were a portable water source on the continent.

“If you go out and water was hard to find, you would bring a watermelon with you so you that you could have some water,” Cayea said.

“If you’re going on a caravan thing you obviously have to carry water.

Tennis ball lettuce is another crop in the garden.

“This is a crop that was grown by (Thomas) Jefferson’s slaves,” Cayea said.

“What I found kind of interesting when I was reading this stuff, not all slave owners did this, but

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