Holy Cross building first residence hall

The University of Holy Cross is building a $14 million residence hall, the school's first, on its 101-year-old campus in Algiers.

It marks the year's largest economic development project on the West Bank of New Orleans, according to the university's president, David “Buck” Landry.

Officials held a ceremony to mark the project Tuesday. The site is just to the east of the university’s original administration building, which was constructed in 1916 on Woodland Drive off what is now Gen. de Gaulle Drive.

Scheduled for completion by the 2018-19 academic year, the four-story residence hall will house up to 135 students.

This is the first new construction on the Holy Cross campus since 2004, officials said. Work began on July 1. So far, exterior work has been done for the first and second floors.

The 60,000-square-foot residence hall will be available to local or out-of-state students of all levels. It will feature a community kitchen, community living room and conference centers.

Two study rooms each on the second, third and fourth floors will act as a community center for the students. Four-bedroom suites will feature in-unit kitchens and two-bedroom suites will have a living room.

The residence hall will also include a prayer and meditation room, a fitness center and laundry facilities.

UHC officials are hoping the addition of the residence hall will continue to increase enrollment. This fall, enrollment increased more than 6 percent, with 1,300 students from across the Gulf Coast registering in the undergraduate and graduate programs, bucking the national trend of falling enrollment at many colleges.

Loyola voice teacher wins jazz award

A voice instructor in the Loyola University department of popular and commercial music has won a jazz vocal prize.

Quiana Lynell took home the grand prize in the sixth annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, held in Newark, New Jersey.

The competition, also known as the SASSY awards, is the only one of its kind, providing a platform for one outstanding jazz singer to launch a career within the music industry.

Lynell was among five finalists to perform in the competition.

The five — Lynell; Tiffany Austin of Berkeley, California; Christine Fawson of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Fabio Giacalone of Brooklyn; and Tatiana “LadyMay” Mayfield of Fort Worth, Texas — were selected via public voting online from among more than 600 submissions.

The five finalists performed before a panel of judges, who evaluated their performances “for vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation and the ability to swing,” according to contest rules.

As the grand prize winner, Lynell received $5,000 and an offer for a record deal with the Concord Music Group.

She has performed as a soloist with both jazz and symphony orchestras. She studied vocal performance at LSU and has worked alongside such artists as Terence Blanchard, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Aaron Neville.

She is a native of Tyler, Texas. 

Tulane professor gets Defense Dept. grant

A professor at Tulane University has receive a $1.7 million, three-year grant from the Department of Defense for blood vessel research.

Stryder Meadows, a cell and molecular biology professor, received the money to study how arteriovenous malformations, or defects in arteries, veins and capillaries, form a genetic disorder.

The disorder, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, affects about 1 in 5,000 people.

Also known as Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, the disorder causes red spots to form in the skin and gastrointestinal tract due to the widening of small blood vessels. It also creates abnormal connections between arteries and veins in organs such as the lungs, liver and brain.

In arteriovenous malformations, capillaries become enlarged and form a direct connection between the arteries and veins. That means the blood flow never slows when it enters the veins to travel to the heart.

The syndrome can cause hemorrhaging and life-threatening complications.

Patients are born with the mutation for the disorder, but the defects arise when the capillaries enlarge. Meadows' research team hopes to identify the genes that directly regulate the formation of the connecting capillaries.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.