Bywater is booming. No question about that. There are storefront art galleries and funky coffee shops, small experimental theater spaces and artist work spaces. All to say, Bywater has made its name as the emerging “funky” Crescent City district attracting artists of all genres, as well as those looking to live in a vibrant area of New Orlgeans at an affordable price.
All is not perfect in the neighborhood, though. There are few grocery stores — stores of any kind, actually. And ensuring the continuation of a sense of community when so many newcomers are moving in is sometimes a challenge.
But one organization is working hard at it: The Bywater Community Development Corporation is comprised of a group of neighbors and area supporters whose mission is to “promote the safety and wellbeing of all New Orleans’ Bywater residents by nurturing a sense of community through strong support of the arts, commerce, home ownership and education.”
It’s a lofty goal. But the Bywater CDC is putting its mission where its mouth is, offering real ,tangible support to a number of neighborhood good causes, the Dinneral Shavers Education Fund/Silence is Violence, PhotoNola and the Homer Plessy School Initiative among them. And, they are pleased to announce, there is the possibility of extending up to five more small grants of between $200 to $1,000 this year to community groups whose missions also are to promote the arts and home preservation in Bywater.
This newest NolaVie Partner is also an enthusiastic advocate and promoter of ChazFest, the one-day local “between-the Jazzfest weekends” music event. Recently voted the best local music festival by Offbeat magazine, this New Orleans 9th Ward neighborhood party promises to be even more exciting this year than in previous ones.
So plan on checking out ChazFest at noon on Wednesday, May 2, and stay into the evening at The Truck Farm Studios (3020 St. Claude Ave.) Go early and stay late, because you wouldn’t want to miss any of the 10 straight hours of nonstop music, culture and good times on two stages, with great food and lots of serious libations.
Sharon Litwin is president of NolaVie.