The Historic Bywater Neighborhood of New Orleans, located downriver from the French Quarter and Marigny Triangle, is experiencing a wonderful growth spurt and renaissance. Theaters, restaurants, bars are popping up all over the place as well as an influx of residents with an artistic flair.
Take time this week to explore the arts and culture of this thriving scene, which reflects the city’s mission of reinventing the Crescent. In the Bywater, this includes the Riverfront Park which should be opening any minute now, as well as the arts and culture overlay proposed for the St. Claude corridor. These actions will cement the residents’ efforts to improve the already enticing quality of life in downtown New Orleans.
The mainstays of the area, such as Kermit Ruffins’ regular Thursday night gig at Vaughan’s Lounge, or Little Freddie King’s sets at BJ’s Lounge, continue to draw crowds. While new-ish-comers such as Siberia and All Ways Lounge (officially in the Marigny but part of the St. Claude corridor ) offer extremely diverse bookings that add to the areas appeal.
Sunday will be an ideal day to stroll the neighborhood during the Bywater Home Tour. Tickets are available at the Bywater Art Garden, across the street from the newish Bywater Lofts on Dauphine near Pauline. Start your morning with an early lunch at the very happening Maurepas Foods in the 3200 block of Dauphine.
Please note, and early lunch – you don’t want to get caught in their usual crowds. These “purveyors of robust cuisine” encourage you to drink up and chow down. Their hip southern chef and “chief mixologist” rival the more pricey hotspots of New Orleans foodie and cocktail culture.
The home tour offers a look into a variety of home styles, as well as homes in various states of livability – under construction, ready to move in, and the very lived in. A great peak at the variety of lifestyles in the area, too.
The Try-Me Coffee Shop on France Street (which I’m still waiting to try) is said to roast some extremely delicious coffees. And take the time to check out some of the art in the hood too – visual and wearable. The studio of Christopher Porche West has been a mainstay of Burgundy Street for over a decade. His photographs are a wonderful pictorial history of street culture in New Orleans.
A rather new spot is The Parlor on St. Claude Street where Oliver Manhattan’s outlandish hats, fashions, and costumes are presented along with several other Bywater artists, including whimsical hats and headpieces by Kate McNee.
Finish the day with a slice of New York – pizza that is. Pizza Delicious, 617 Piety Street, started as a Sunday night only pop-up restaurant. Now they are a full service pizzaria offering whole pies, fresh salads and pastas. This IS the place for NY style pizza in New Orleans.
The area is growing so fast, I’ll just mention a few more spots for interesting cultural experiences…Marigny Opera House – actually presenting opera as well as other dance and theater performance. All Ways Lounge is presenting an obscure Tennessee Williams play through Sunday. New Movement Theater has a comedy line up this week on Thursday and Saturday. The Antenna Gallery on St. Claude not only presents cutting edge art exhibits, they have teamed up with DJ Soul Sister for obscure music themed movies.
As you probably know, New Orleanians are proud of their city AND their neighborhoods. So ask someone on the street or on a bike, what’s their favorite Bywater spot and I’m sure you’ll get more info than you care to hear. Take what you need, and leave the rest…until next time.
See you out and about in New Orleans!
Out and About is a weekly blog by Leslie Compton of Every Thing Lovely, a special event and creative consulting team, and is sponsored by Key to NOLA Properties, a full service real estate brokerage firm specializing in furnished rental properties in New Orleans. Key to NOLA Properties and Every Thing Lovely have joined forces to provide a full array of services for travelers’ (and locals’) personal and professional needs while in the Crescent City.