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Food & Drink

GoNOLA Find: Backatown Coffee

Backatown Coffee
Backatown Coffee Parlour is a neighborhood favorite on Basin Street. (Photo: Justen Williams)

Café Au Lait, chicory, and iced coffee.

New Orleans is known for its rich and addicting caffeinated drinks.

Nestled along Basin Street in the heart of Old Storyville is Backatown Coffee Parlour – a locally-owned boutique coffee shop that offers them up alongside much more. Everything from its off-the-beaten path locale, its globally-inspired decor and ambiance, and its hand-crafted menu, are working toward one shared purpose: to change the narrative of what a coffee shop is.

Photo: Justen Williams

Meet the Owners

Jessica and Alonzo Knox are the proud owners of the Tremé-based coffee shop. Having both lived in New Orleans since 2003, the couple experienced the devastation from Hurricane Katrina and rebuilt. Backatown is as much a personal project as it is a passion project for the couple. They believe that long gone are the days when coffee shops were reserved for white-collar workers and self-proclaimed “hipsters.” Backatown is a place for everyone.

“We wanted to create a community-based space where anybody could feel welcomed,” said Alonzo Knox. Through the use of art, music, and of course, coffee, the two are doing just that.

Backatown’s Location

Not Uptown and not quite downtown, but Backatown! Located on the grounds of Old Storyville, Backatown’s location was intentional. The Knox’s wanted to give a new meaning to the idea of what Backatown looks like and what should be there.

“Every community deserves quality services,” said Alonzo Knox. That was the basic premise that supported the location choice.

Since its opening in November of 2017, Backatown has been part of the reawakening of Basin Street. On any given day, the shop welcomes a host of diverse and unique guests who are drawn in by the comforting vibes of the shop.

Photo: Justen Williams

Art Fusion at Backatown

Keeping the community at the forefront, Backatown hosts a monthly event called Art Fusion, which serves as a backdrop to showcase local art and cuisine. Jessica and Alonzo carefully select and work closely with the artists to bring their exhibits to life for the community to enjoy.

“For so many of these artists, this is their first opportunity to really display their talents,” said Jessica. “And we’re able to engage and with individuals who thought they couldn’t afford fine art,” she added.

Local caterers are also invited as vendors for the event where they can share their work as well.

Backatown’s Menu

Praline Smoothie, Sweet Potato Scones, Crawfish Quiche, and Red Lattes made with beets are among the many uniquely NOLA menu items you can find at Backatown. Hand-crafted by Jessica and Alonzo, the menu goes beyond your traditional coffee shop fare with items that appeal to all palettes. Guests will also find a number of savory breakfast and lunch bites, vegan and vegetarian-friendly foods and drinks, specialty coffee blends, and an assortment of loose leaf teas.

Backatown goes beyond the brew to create an inclusive space that is dedicated to the community. Whether you’re drawn in by the art, music, ambiance, location, or the menu, you’ll find comfort in knowing that you’re appreciated and accepted as a guest.

Mariah Hickman is a Minneapolis native who landed in the Crescent City by way of Dillard University, and stayed to feed her festival fever. She loves writing about the hidden stories of New Orleans, and shedding light on diverse and locally-owned businesses. A self-proclaimed listicle queen, get ready write down a few of her suggestions for food and fun in New Orleans.

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