St. Claude Avenue (formerly known as Good Children Street) runs through the downtown neighborhoods of Marigny and Bywater and into Holy Cross and the Lower Ninth Ward. Renamed for wealthy landowner and developer Claude Tremé who immigrated from France to New Orleans in the late eighteenth century, the road that now bears his name has undergone a continuous evolution throughout its long history.
In recent years, the St. Claude Corridor has transformed into a state-designated Main Street steeped in the arts. Old stalwarts like the Hi Ho Lounge and Saturn Bar are still there, but they have been joined by newer music clubs, restaurants and coffee shops, dance studios, art galleries, shops, and the city’s newest Rampart-St. Claude streetcar line, which runs to Elysian Fields Avenue. Whether you are looking to explore a different part of town, or for an edgy place to party late night, the St. Claude Corridor has something for everyone.
The Hi Ho Lounge, though it has changed ownership, was an early pioneer of the St. Claude arts scene. It hosts nightly shows with local musicians like Shamarr Allen, the Stooges Brass Band, and DJ Soul Sister as well as a weekly bluegrass jam session. In addition to music, it also holds comedy, improv, and burlesque performances. Here’s an insider’s tip: Fry & Pie in Hi Ho’s courtyard area offers several, delicious French fry dishes.
Alternative music club Siberia hosts live music and other events throughout the night. It features everything from heavy metal bands to blues to burlesque. The kitchen in Siberia, KUKHNYA, has tasty Slavic food like borscht (beet soup), kielbasa, and beef stroganoff. KUKHNYA is also open for brunch on weekends.
Cafe Istanbul in the New Orleans Healing Center is a hub of diverse and avant-garde performances. For those enticed by open-mic nights, Cafe Istanbul hosts the Moth StorySLAMs—open-mic storytelling competitions—as well as open-mic poetry nights. Live music, theatrical, acrobatic, and belly dance performances often grace the stage too.
Food & Drink
Mosaic eyes, courtesy of the Global Mosaic Project, gaze at customers as they enter and leave Shank Charcuterie, in what is otherwise an unassuming building. The traditional butcher shop opened in 2015 and serves a small, changing lunch and dinner menu in addition to its butchery items. Current menu items include the charcuterie plate, grilled pork chop, pulled pork sliders, and the Choripan sausage sandwich. Co-owner Kristopher Doll previously did charcuterie for Ancora and High Hat on Freret Street and La Boca in the Warehouse District.
It’s hard to talk about the St. Claude Corridor without mentioning St. Roch Market. First built in 1875 as an open air public market, it had operated for the second half of the twentieth century as a seafood market. It shuttered following Hurricane Katrina but reopened in 2014 with a new concept. A hub of up and coming food and drink vendors, this upscale food court of sorts is a perfect place to dine or drink with a group. After ordering tacos from La Mezcla, oysters from Elysian Seafood’s Oyster Bar, or a Haitian dish from Fritai, groups can reconvene at interior or exterior tables to enjoy different meals together.
Red’s Chinese needs no introduction for locals. However, for those who have not yet visited this neighborhood establishment, take note that the building looks like an old convenience store. Driving by, you won’t find traditional signage either – keep your eyes peeled for a glowing red sign with no business name. But that is part of Red’s charm. Order the craw (crawfish) rangoons and the General’s chicken or the Kung Pao Pastrami for some full flavors.
Opened in late 2017 on St. Claude Avenue in the Bywater, Poke-Chan is a fast-casual restaurant specializing in poke, the Hawaiian raw fish dish which has made its way to New Orleans in recent years. Menu items come as either a bowl or in burrito form with white or brown rice or mixed greens. The menu works as a sort of build-your-own meal: pick your protein (such as yellowtail, scallops, or octopus), then choose your mix-in (like sesame oil or cucumbers), and finally your toppings and garnishes (including mango, seasoned bean sprouts, or pickled ginger).
Wooden wine racks stacked with lesser-known, small production wines fill Faubourg Wines near the Press Street (recently renamed Homer Plessy Way) railroad tracks. Stop in for a bottle to go, or perch at a table in the old storefront windows enjoying a glass of wine (corkage fee is just $2) and cheese plate with St. James Cheese Co. selections and fresh bread from Bellegarde Bakery. Faubourg Wines hosts free wine tastings on Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., knitting groups, book clubs, game nights, and more.
The Art Garage, which opened in the spring of 2016 in an old auto body warehouse, is the newest art market from the Frenchmen Art Market team. More than just an arts market, the Art Garage has been known to host other art-related events and activities including live painting, live music, body painting, fire dancing, magic shows, and more.
One of many art galleries in the St. Claude Arts District, Good Children Gallery is named after the original Good Children Street. They curate a variety of art exhibits, including mixed media and transdisciplinary exhibits. They are open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m.
How about a little New Orleans bounce in your life? Dancing Grounds, a dance studio and nonprofit offers drop-in adult dance classes like Basic Ballet and Hip Hop & Popping for $12. A few classes, like African Dance & Drum, are also offered at the NORDC Stallings Center for just $5. Class packages are also available.
For a challenge, check out NOBL—the New Orleans Boulder Lounge. Appropriate for both seasoned boulderers as well as newbies, NOBL offers both memberships and day use passes. Bouldering, is climbing at low heights unrestrained by ropes or harnesses. But don’t worry—if you fall, a padded floor will break your fall.
Treasure Tattoo, which opened in 2015, is a neighborhood tattoo parlor and art gallery featuring tattoo artists Jamie Ruth and Stacey Colangelo. The parlor hosts occasional events and art shows.
Looking for some gifts? Restoration Thrift is a neighborhood gem selling second-hand clothing, furniture, household items, and more. Have fun rummaging for treasures here. Maypop Community Herb Shop sells soaps, salves, culinary spices, medicinal herbs, teas, lotions, essential oils, and more. Dynamo sells adult goodies in a judgement-free environment, for those interested.