NEW ORLEANS— Bayou Road existed before our city was called New Orleans. In fact, Native Americans even showed the portage to Bienville.
Today, Bayou Road looks a lot different than back then, but along this historic stretch in the 7th Ward is a rebirth — a rebirth of businesses.
Just as unique as being one of the city’s remaining brick streets, so too is the variety of mostly African American-owned businesses that now call it home.
“It’s a very good area to be around our own, and a lot of people come through and they feel like they’re family,” Darreona Charles of The Coco Hut says.
We heard about the benefits of location from every proprietor but also the benefits of partnership.
“Good business owners so that attracts good people. The energy is definitely important to me, and we work together on this strip so it definitely has me feeling like I’m in the right place,” Akil Mithell of EGO’s Gentlemen Spa told us.
Joining longstanding operators like the Community Book Center and The Coco Hut are new entries like Whiskey and Sticks and CupCake Fairies, an effort they attribute to publisher and businesswoman Beverly McKenna, who owns most of the buildings along with her husband Dr. Dwight McKenna.
“I think it’s part of the vision Ms. Beverly had for this block. Being a part of the revitalization and also being an example to everyone else that we can work together, we can survive, and support one another,” said Melissa Woods and Michele Burton-Oatis of CupCake Fairies.