The New Orleans Healing Center

Last Saturday  a couple of friends and I toured  The New Orleans Healing Center near the corner of St. Roch and St. Claude. Although construction is on-going in the re-purposed building, several businesses are already up and running including Island of Salvation Botanica, Wild Lotus Yoga, The Movement Room, The Street University and The Building Block. Wild Lotus was in the midst of a yoga class and Island of Salvation was open where we had a little chat with  Ms. Sally Ann Glassman who graciously allowed me to snap a few pics inside.  We also checked out the future homes of Cafe Instanbul (a performance arts space), Fatoush Restaurant ,Coffee Shop and Juice Bar, The Inter-faith Center and the New Orleans Food Co-op, among other spaces. The space that will house the Inter-faith Center opens onto an area of the roof where a deck is planned to show off the beautiful view of the city(see slideshow). An arts and crafts bazaar will be housed in the main lobby/gallery area, a beautifully appointed space with lots of natural light flooding in from the large front windows. One of the services I’m most excited about is the Full Circle Women’s Collective whose webpage states, “The Women’s Collective is a place of gathering for women of all ages, races, faiths, and socio-economic status.  All activities and events offered through the Women’s Collective are based on the confidence that intrinsic in each and every one of us is a life purpose ready to be recognized, acknowledged and fueled.”
How wonderful that sounds!

If you haven’t visited the Healing Center yet, I urge you to do so and see for yourself what a promising and exciting venue this is for the community. Meanwhile, enjoy the slideshow below showing both the finished and unfinished areas of the center.

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20 thoughts on “The New Orleans Healing Center

  1. I have a concern for the community. The pressure on the neighborhood and the people that makes it desirable being pushed out.
    The facility being affordable. It was supposedly created to be a source of affordable resources to the community, but that has yet to be seen, and I have asked several of the merchants to address my issues, but have not gotten a good answer. One said they wanted to come up with a good answer, and would reply later. Another who is going against the affordable/coop concept has said “that is just some people in the community [pay no attention to it]”

    I have tried to become involved, but do not yet feel welcome, there actions, and subsequent answers to questions raised have put a further bad taste in my mouth. Yes, I have toured the place half a dozen times. 2 of which were as a part of an official tour toubting its bennefits.

  2. I emailed Mike privately and offered to publish his concerns. Anyone who lives in the neighborhood of The Healing Center is welcome to publish their views and concerns here. Leave a comment and I will get in touch.

  3. I’ll answer from a healer’s point of view. Massage therapist to be specific. I can’t say anything about the building/neighborhood/owners of the healing center. I know some had concerns, but I am not hearing a big fuss right now, and think a majority of the businesses are good — Heck I even support them.

    The one I can say needs improvement is the Affordable Healing Arts (AHA). That’s the one with various healers. I understand not all healers use a table, but given that a table for one room can be replaced in just over 3 years at $10/ month instead, she is asking healers to pay $24 per three hour shift. — That would pay for a high quality sub $400 table in 16 shifts (thats less than one month for one annual contract healer renting the facility)

    Not lugging your own table makes a shift $54 not $30. I am sorry, but that’s the cut taken from a major spa that takes care of everything for you (marketing, laundry, legal stuff, everything in total.

    I just came back from there open house, and the assistant kept saying but its only $30 a shift. However, if you are only paying $30, that means you are bringing your own table. With 11 rooms, that could get pretty noisy. I don’t care how quiet the rooms are, you have clients waiting in the waiting room, and others throughout the rest of the facility. That means we have people carrying tables up and down stairs plus cramming into the elevator. This also means your healer is already worn out before the session even begins. I charge extra for outcalls. I should not be doing the work of an outcall when going to my own facility that I am paying for. This also causes undue wear and tear on the equipment and facility.

    NOTE: if you know who you are renting to, you basically know how many rooms keep tables setup all the time and how many don’t. If a change is needed, its only a couple of rooms. Not all 11 (and you would not need to set aside a room to store up to 14 tables)

    Next, since you must be out of the facility 10 minutes before the end of your shift. Not a big deal if you are paying a reasonable rate for half a day, or are paying for a 15 minute break after a reservation scheduled for your needs 30/60/90 minutes. Instead, you are either forced to do 35 minute sessions if you want to do 3 one hour sessions, or 2 full hour sessions. (you must stop 15 minutes before the end of your shift so you can give the client 5 “minutes to dress”)

    In conclusion, you are paying full spa prices to give a Massage Envy Quality product (short, and low quality made worse from lugging your table in)

    Oh yea, and they don’t make it conducive to having a set schedule. At $60-108 for a day shift of 6 hours, I am not going to set aside time (i.e. M/W/F Mornings). Heck, I am not even going to schedule a one hour session if I don’t know I’ll even fill more than an hour — a major issue for last minute calls. Client: “Can I come in now?” Therapist: “No, unless you pay $20 extra to cover the rent for the second/third hour”

    An annual agreement drops the hourly price by $2 ($6 for a 3 hour shift–i.e. $48 vs 54 or $24 vs 30 if you lug your table). However at $480 minimum that the annual contract gives you, you might as well get two other healers together pay $1500 and get significantly more than an average of 15 hours a week in the space.

    BTW, if people have paid for time they will sit there waiting for clients, if they can still get oncall time in smaller blocks, they will take single calls on request (and pay for it).

    PS Debra C Howard, you are “not getting demand for fixed shifts” because you are charging $480 for 15 hours a week (more if you don’t have an annual contract–$600 if you do 2 six hour shifts a week) and that does not even include a table. It should be closer to $380 for 28 hours.

    p.p.s. The issues I’ve stated are why this is a disservice to the community, guests, and healers.

    • I’m just seeing this site for the first time. Thank you for the dialogue.
      Patrick is mistaken about the pricing – please see our website for the real scoop at
      AHA! is not designed for full-time practices; we support and encourage those beginning their own business, opening another location, or those who want to practice part-time. By offering our therapods in reasonable time requirements, we offer more access to more clients and more practitioners – we can be open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. No single practitioner can work that much and be healthy themselves!
      Practitioners rent a beautiful, comfortable space to meet clients. Clients come here to connect with a qualified, professional practitioner. Our reception services include assisting practitioners to fill open scheduled time by connecting walk-in and phone-in clients with a practitioner who has an opening that day.
      How the practitioner schedules their day, their clients, and their time with us, is up to them.
      PS – the price to rent a massage table is $5 for the three hour session.

      • I’m a little confused by this response.
        First, there’s this:
        “we support and encourage those beginning their own business, opening another location, or those who want to practice part-time.”

        Then, there’s this assurance:
        “Clients come here to connect with a qualified, professional practitioner.”

        As with many of the practices associated with the NOHC, there’s a really good idea, put into practice in a skewed way, making it difficult to comprehend which thing it is they’re really about.

        Are you offering a place for beginners & those ‘practicing’, and then selling it as “a qualified, professional practitioner”?

        Is it really a performance hall for the arts, or is it a night club, open until 2am, seven days a week? So far, it seems like it’s whatever they say it is to get the most revenue possible.

        • Okay, I went to the site.
          It’s much like the NOHC site, in that, by the time I read through all the accolades they drop upon themselves, I forgot what I came here for.

          Then I remembered and there was some more confusing things about blocks of time & monthly minimums and other stuff that felt like a tax audit readout.

          Somehow, I feel the opposite of healed.

        • DC Howard,

          I can not say you are totally off base with your project now. I am glad I could be of help. Hopefully it helped get the word out. Now I can just say we have differing ideas for a facility, but at least you are in a reasonable range. You did drop the price a bit, but you failed to correct any issues I had questions with.

          I contacted you around memorial day. I believe it was within a week of memorial day.

          after about 6 weeks of no word from you, I contacted Mark the site manager for the whole healing center, asked him to look into it, and dropped of a simpler cleaner list of my issues.

          A couple weeks later (July 30), I come to the open house, and talk with your assistant.
          She confirmed the hourly price for the table and rather focused on “its only $30 for the block” “the rooms are sound proofed” (NOTE: I didn’t care how quiet the rooms are its potentially moving a dozen tables through the halls and waiting room, plus wearing out of the healer that my issue was with). She never said the table was only $5 for the whole block. — It was after this that I finally posted here.

          That same day, I also addressed my concerns with one of the other core healing center members “Sallie Ann Glassman”

          I even posted on the facebook page after this ( ).

          Notice how I gave you ample time to address my concerns and correct any misinterpretations. Even to this day August 30, I have never heard from you other than your mass messages about

          p.s.$480 the minimum monthly price for the annual contract sounds like a full time price.
          That’s an average of 15 hours a week in a room. I do a maximum of 5 hours actual healing time a day & 20 per week. No practitioner should do more than that to maintain there own health.

  4. Oh yea, the only requirement for affordability is to offer a $20 service. That’s a chair massage. I already do that. In fact, I offer sliding scale chair massages at the Herb Import Company 5055 Canal every Wednesday from 2-4. That’s right I offer my services essentially just for tips. The Herb has graciously offered there space at no charge for this service.

    I also offer 33% off to those in need for studio sessions. i.e. Students, Service Industry, and Artists (the life blood of New Orleans). Heck, show your MIS/Free Care card, and I’ll do the same. That means you can get a 90 minute session for only $75 that’s less than an hour at a fancy spa, and actually therapeutic unlike those high volume spas.

  5. This is a note from some of the neighbors who wish to see this happen, and for you to enjoy the fruits of it.. Please understand that there is no desire here to prevent the opening of a Performance Theater. In fact, we embrace it. In theory.

    Chuck Perkins released, through the FMIA, the intent of operations for Café Istanbul, as a starting point for discussion. Our contention with this is in regards to the sale of alcohol during non performance hours, and the late hours on weeknights, and in fact, 7 days a week. Please review the license description below, from Nicole Webre, Legislative Director for C.M. Palmer:

    “Café Istanbul is in the process of changing zoning for the property from a theater of performing arts to an amusement place, which identifies it as a venue for adult entertainment. Under both designations, the sale of alcohol is only allowed as a concession during performances”, said Nicole Webre, legislative director for District C Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer. “Selling alcohol at any other time would qualify it as a cocktail lounge.”

    Chuck Perkins Release states, however:

    Entertainment will not go longer then 2am except on special event days. We will be opened from 5pm to 2am 7 days a week.

    Café Istanbul will sell alcohol during non performance hours to guests of the Healing Center. Guests being anyone coming to the Healing Center for any of its offered services.

    This is clearly in violation of their liquor license, and we request that the law be enforced, and that Café Istanbul refrain from this violation.

    We also see no reason to hold said performances at such a late hour. The Shadow Box theater on St Claude usually closes by 10 or 11pm, on weeknights. On the original petition & in personal conversations, we were told that this Performance Hall would operate during “Normal Center Hours’ which were described as ending at 10pm. We would like to hold Café Istanbul to their word on this, as well.

    There are parameters set for a reason. We would suggest that their inability to stay within the limits of their own zoning & liquor license guidelines doesn’t suggest infallible management. It is our belief that as an untested entity, Café Istanbul should begin by following the basic rules of law, in respect of the City of New Orleans, and the people of the community it has chosen to make its home.

    In attempting to make zoning changes in secret, to circumnavigate this law, against the wishes of the surrounding community, they are doing the very opposite of ‘healing’. In many ways, their actions towards their neighbors seem more like an occupying force than a community center. They are dead set on having their way & making money from existing healers, regardless of the result to the people who live in this neighborhood.

    Perhaps ‘The Greed & Arrogance Center’ would be an apt title here.

    • Sounds like your neighborhood has a good reason to be upset with Cafe Istanbul. Telling residents you’re doing one thing then turning around and doing the opposite sucks big time. I’m assuming you’ve brought this up with your councilperson?

      As an aside, thanks to someone clicking over here from the OffBeat piece I found that my photo of the Healing Center was used in that post without permission. Since it clearly states on the homepage that permission is needed I am royaly pissed. Plus she didn’t give credit — very bad blogosphere manners indeed. She must be a novice blogger.

  6. Actually, that piece is by Jan Ramsey, herself. She wrote it, took your picture, called me a crook & “anit-music” and then went on WWL’s Monday night broadcast about Frenchman Street music clubs & said exactly what I’ve been saying. Except it wasn’t about her pal, Pres Kabacoff, so it’s okay.

    As a magazine editor, she knows better than to steal your work.
    As Papa Doc Kabacoff’s lackey, she knows no bounds.

    • Yeah, I found out pretty quickly who Ms Ramsey was when I tweeted and facebooked about the photo snatching. (Obviously I don’t often read the mag.) Whoever tweets for OB quickly apologized and removed the photo as I’d asked. Hopefully she’s learned proper blogging manners and realizes something like that gets around quickly in the local blogosphere and twitterverse.

      I guess it remains to be seen how Cafe Istanbul actually conducts business. If they violate their word to the neighborhood perhaps a peaceful protest might be in order. 🙂 As I read someone say somewhere else, serving alcohol in a “healing center” and keeping your neighbors awake until all hours doesn’t seem in keeping with the philosophy they are striving to portray.

  7. “serving alcohol in a “healing center” and keeping your neighbors awake until all hours doesn’t seem in keeping with the philosophy they are striving to portray.”

    Right. Neither do the 25 foot tall spot lights outside our bedroom windows (can anyone say ‘prison yard’?) or the fact that Kabacoff has the Guardian Angels ‘patrolling the perimeter’ as his private “security force”.

    With Sallie Glassman ranting about the Healing Center being “the intersection of spirit & politics”, they’ve got it all: They make their own rules, like any small government, have their own church, and are starting to accumulate their own private “security forces”. They make no bones about crushing any opposition, in fact Kabacoff threatened me at our first meeting.

    Quiet protest? Not hardly. The neighborhood is pissed off at this ‘occupational force’ and there is a meeting there tonight, including representatives from the City Council, to ask how & why they think they should be able to operate outside the rule of law.

    I’ll be happy to let you know what transpires.
    I expect the usual smiling handshakes from Kabacoff, who will then go make backroom deals when we’ve gone home.

    Let the Healing begin.

    • Anyone who’s paid any attention to New Age practices and politics since the 1980s would not be surprised by the things critics of the Healing Center have pointed to. From the New Age way of thinking, hiring private guards, circumventing ordinances, stating one thing then doing another, intruding on neighbors’ sleep and privacy are all just fine, because Glassman, Kabacoff et al are on a mission. They are spiritually advanced, so they can act at will. Your puny concerns are superficial, and you need to be reeducated.

  8. The meeting started well. Many ideas and many voices make for some settling in, of course.

    In the long run, we extracted an agreement from Mr Kabacoff that he would ask only for a concession license, allowing Cafe Istanbul to serve alcohol only during actual shows.

    Before starting the meeting, Pres Kabacoff made it clear that any hours discussed other then his 2am, 7 day a week program, were unacceptable and would not be open for debate.
    This set the tone for the entire meeting.

    Let it also be said that the built in bar, NOT ALLOWED BY CURRENT ZONING, has already been built, as if to say, I do what I want, fuck you.

    As the meeting progressed, Kabacoff took this position more literally, ridiculing those who questioned anything he said, making a point of listing his many accolades, over and over, and mentioning repeatedly what a scholar he is. While he never actually said the words above, he did tell a young mother, concerned about the noise at late hours, “If you don’t like it, move”.

    When another neighbor began to ask questions about zoning, calling upon his own research, Kabacoff mentioned the litigation process, telling him, “if you sue me & lose, yu’ll have to pay”, clearly pointing out that his money could buy more court time than any of us could afford, and that he would make it a financially punishable offense.

    I could go into great detail here, but I’m so disgusted, I’d rather not. Honestly, when he began ridiculing other neighbors at the meeting, I simply left. It was getting uglier by the moment.

    I will leave you with a comment from another neighbors’ letter to CM Palmer, regarding the upcoming hearings of rezoning this as a bar;

    “Pres Kabacoff took a tone throughout the meeting that implied this was a waste of his time, and that he plans to do what he will. His tone felt aggressive, arrogant, paternalistic, patronizing and very colonial – one of a powerful man coming in to the neighborhood, and the lesser people were annoying to him, but at the end of the day, they are unimportant.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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