Camellia Grill may get historical landmark status tossed its way as the Historic District Landmarks Commission agreed to study up on the Riverbend restaurant. In operation since 1946 (well, except for those few pesky post-Katrina years), the beloved Greek Revival building has been caught up in legal snafus for years now. In other news from last week's HDLC meeting, a request to label Uptown's St. Katharine Drexel Prep School as a historic landmark was shot down.
The Camellia Grill dirt: Former owner, Michael Shwartz, still controls the name and image of the restaurant. The current owner, Hicham Khodr, was sued by Shwartz for breaking their licensing agreement by allegedly changing the logo and not paying a $200 royalty fee. So, because of this, Shwartz said that Khodr needs to change Camellia Grill's name, logo, uniforms and the freaking facade of the building. Then some court cases happened. Khodr then applied for historical landmark status, which Shwartz's people argued was just a sneaky way to get away with not changing the exterior of Camellia Grill. The battle waged on as Shwartz tried to block the HDLC from considering it as a historic designation. This was dismissed on Friday. As it stands, the building is currently protected as the HDLC studies up and makes a decision.
St. Katharine Drexel Prep School, however, will not be getting any historic landmark love (for now, at least). The Magazine Street location, former site of Xavier University Prep, was called "sacred ground" by an alumna pushing for landmark status. She was worried the school would be sold or redeveloped, and estimated it could go for $17M on the market (later called "voodoo economics," by the way). School leaders called her reasoning for historic consideration "insulting," and said they have no interest in selling or redeveloping, but plan to concentrate on "educational priorities."
· City to study landmark status for Camellia Grill, but not Xavier Prep campus [Uptown Messenger]
· Camellia Grill operator wins two victories in ongoing legal battle [nola.com]