Sandwiched between Lake Pontchartrain and the French Quarter, Bayou Saint John is the perfect mix of local businesses to explore and lush green waterfront to wander through. On a sunny day in NOLA, check out all that Bayou Saint John has to offer!
1. Parkway Bakery and Tavern
The place that my dad and I stopped for lunch turned out to be one of the most famous “poor boy” restaurants in the entire city. The casual vibe and gut-stuffing Southern food would be enough to make it an institution, but the history of Parkway only adds to its character.
Founded back in 1911, the Parkway Bakery was initially famous for its fresh baked bread, going as far as to provide bread to almost all of the restaurants in Mid-City. The “poor boy” was invented to distribute cheap and filling sandwiches during the railroad worker strike in 1929, and when the owners of the Parkway Bakery heard about this, they jumped right in. After that, they realized that these sandwiches would be a great addition to their menu. They now serve a wide range of “poor boys,” including a “po’boy ice cream sandwich.” Be sure to check out some of their other classic New Orleans dishes, such as fried gulf oysters and smoked alligator sausage.
Like most of New Orleans, the Parkway Bakery was devastated by Katrina, but with help of their families, the owners were able to open their doors just 2 months after the storm. The whole community came out to celebrate and the Parkway Bakery ended up serving over 5,000 po’boys in just one day.
2. Wheel Fun Bike Rentals
City Park is huge- which you probably know if you trekked through the park after Voodoo trying to find a cab or Uber. But really, it’s even bigger than Central Park, so trying to see it all by foot is pretty ambitious. Solution? Take a bike!
Wheel Fun Rentals rents bikes to take around the park and the surrounding Bayou Saint John area, ranging from regular bikes to group surreys. Between the flat landscape of City Park and the shade provided by the ancient-looking oak trees, this spot was made for biking. Try riding along the bayou itself for a stunning view of some of New Orleans’s most charming homes.
3. Bayou Boogaloo
Disclaimer- Bayou Boogaloo isn’t until May, but it’s too good of a festival to pass up talking about. Being Mid-City’s first official music and art festival, it attracts a huge amount of the community, with almost 40,000 people who attended in 2017. They feature over 40 musicians and have 5 stages, in addition to featuring 60 art vendors from New Orleans to sell their pieces.
PHOTO: Trip Smarter
Most importantly for us broke college students, it’s totally free!! So be sure to keep it in the back of your mind as a perfect post-finals celebration at the end of the year.
COVER PHOTO: Best of New Orleans