There is so much going on in NOLA on any given weekend that it can seem nearly impossible to decide what to do. This is the fifteenth edition of a weekly series (formerly titled things to do“) in which we here at Big Easy Magazine give suggestions on meaningful ways to spend a day, evening or afternoon in our beloved city that tie in with our progressive values. So let’s begin! What’s a good way to spend a weekend in New Orleans, or more specifically, what’s a great way to use your time this weekend this beautiful city of ours? No matter what part of the city you might find yourself in, make sure to visit and support some of the many women owned and operated businesses in New Orleans!
Having lived in this city for ten years, and having only lived in two different neighborhoods myself (Uptown and the Riverbend), I’m sure to miss a few establishments in this brief piece. If (and when) I do, please feel free to leave a comment with the name of the women owned and/or lead business and a bit of information about it!
Whether you’re just starting your day off, or taking a break in the midst of it, grabbing a coffee is essential! A shop that has quickly become a well known gem throughout New Orleans is Cherry Espresso Bar. This shop is worth your attention! Whether you’re stopping at their location at 4877 Laurel Street or at 1581 Magazine Street, the talented baristas serve up what can only be described as the best coffee in the city. The coffee sold at Cherry (much of which is locally roasted) is sourced ethically and sustainably. Lauren Fink, the owner of Cherry Coffee Roasters, pays her employees a fair wage, creates and maintains a positive working environment, encourages tipping and builds talent. If you haven’t had a chance to visit this wonderful coffee house yet, do yourself a favor and stop by!
Once you’ve had your coffee fix, a logical next step would be to visit a locally owned book shop. A short bike ride away from Cherry Espresso’s Laurel Street location is Blue Cypress Books at 8126 Oak Street! Owned and operated by Elizabeth Ahlquist, Blue Cypress has an all female staff and the most impressive used book selection in the city. Each person that works in the shop is bursting with knowledge and passion for books (used and locally written books especially). One could spend hours in this shop browsing their used book selection and their poetry selection alone. However, we will assume that you, the reader have other things to do, other places to visit and other errands to run. This being the case, you can walk about a block from Blue Cypress to Mo’s Art Supply! At 1124 S. Carrollton Avenue, Mo’s has an impressive and well priced selection of fine art supplies and gifts. The owner of the store is Simone Burke. She is a Louisiana local who has created a wonderful company with locations in New Orleans, Covington, and even Baton Rouge. Local artist Erica Smith manages the New Orleans shop. Mo’s employs a team of mostly women and empowers them to continue work on their own art as well as spread their knowledge to Mo’s customer base throughout south-eastern Louisiana. As we’ve mentioned in a previous article, Erica was of crucial help opening up the New Orleans store in 2015. She was the one who found the location where Mo’s sits today!
In the vein of art, a five minute walk from Mo’s takes us to the next establishment on our list. At 8725 Oak Street, Nola Artisan Warehouse is owned and run by Jennifer Murphy. Jennifer has partnered with organizations that help female artisans in developing nations make a living pursuing their passions. She also sells a great deal of local art and gifts in her shop. If you find yourself on Oak street, stopping here is a must. You’ll be supporting a female business owner, local artists, and artists from developing nations all in one stop. Jennifer creates some of the best soy based candles in the city as well! These are called “Chique Scents,” are hand poured in New Orleans, and are absolutely worth your attention.
Now, by this point in your day, you are probably getting hungry and are in need of something to eat. If you live in the city, you’ve probably already heard of Cowbell. At 8801 Oak Street, this restaurant serves up some of the best food in the city, all at reasonable prices. Owned and run by Krista Pendergraft-May, Cowbell takes a firm stand against the failed ideologies of White Supremacy and Nazism and all the hatred and racism that go along with them. The first thing one sees upon visiting their website is a statement directly reflecting such values. So if you want to value inclusivity, diversity and societal progress all while enjoying a delicious burger, Cowbell is the place for you!
After eating, or just to pass the time during the afternoon or evening, be sure to take a few short steps from Cowbell and visit Euphorbia Kava Bar at 8726 Oak Street! The owner of this establishment, Ashley Daily, runs Euphorbia much like she runs her life, with hard work, determination, love, and positivity. She is the pillar of a community of positivity and inclusiveness that has grown up around Euphorbia. Stop by and take in the beautiful plants in the courtyard, play a board game, or just converse with some of the regulars and you’ll see what I mean.
No matter what you end up doing this weekend, regardless of which locally owned, woman run business you decide to check out, don’t forget to stay hydrated! Be kind! Be New Orleans! Also, make sure you take the time to check out our larger and more detailed piece on women owned businesses that we published in our September edition a few days ago! There you can learn more about the businesses listed in this piece as well as a few others!
If you have any additional suggestions or thoughts on the businesses listed above, please comment! If you just have thoughts on living and working in this city that you want to share, feel free to contribute to our blog! Lastly, don’t forget to check out the events section on our website for many other good ideas on how to get the most out of your weekend.