New Orleans is often more than meets the eye. You can be strolling along and see the front of what you think is a modest Creole cottage. But, pop your head over the gate and you’ll find a sprawling courtyard with a pool and a realization that the modest cottage is actually a seven bedroom house.
Although it is not in the cottage style, Arrow Cafe is nestled in at 628 Rampart Street, and it is also more than meets the eye. Among the aromas of the freshly baked goods and pour-over coffee, are four owners who have worked to make Arrow Cafe a coffee shop that is for the community.
Jane Srisarakorn was the impetus. She decided to start the business, and as part owner and barista Sarah Corsiatto proudly explains, “She [Srisarakorn] became the third or fourth female coffee shop owner in the city.” Bringing on board Cam Bourdreaux of Killer PoBoys and Nick Christian, the shop was almost ready to run. It just needed that extra something, which turned out to be Sarah Corsiatto. She bought into the shop, and as she explains it with a smile, “I bought myself a job and this eye twitch.”
When seeing the calendar for Arrow Cafe you realize that her eye twitch joke is really more of a truth. The cafe is open every day (yes, even on Mondays) from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM. But that’s not all. They have a mission to help artists begin their careers, to give back to the community, and to make their cafe a place that says “yes” to new experiences.
Pop-ups, art shows, bike workshops, film screenings–those are all events you could surprisingly walk into when you come through the doors of Arrow. The walls, corners, and possibly even the ceiling could be covered with art made by New Orleans artist. “This is a great way for people to see actual art from New Orleans artists,” Christian explains. “I know a lot of artists that have to paint so many Fleur-de-lis paintings because that’s what sells, but they have other work that they want to show,” Christian says, and Arrow wants to help with that. In fact, On June 2 they will be hosting their fourth art show by displaying the work of 14 different artists in the city. The show is set to begin at 7:00 PM and last until 9:00 PM, but Corsiatto says that is a “soft nine,” because there will be doughnuts, coffee, and Twin Peaks, so who knows when that will end.
The cafe is not just about the visual arts either, having hosted one-act plays every month to help a budding new theater group in New Orleans. They welcome all different communities from tourist groups to bakers into their cafe. “You can try to feed off the community, which is unfortunately what a lot of business do, or you can try to bring everyone together and give them a place to grow,” Christian says.
Arrow Cafe is that place to grow, and it is helping foster a space that invites all to come in, be who they are, and join the community of sharing. It sounds like a sanctuary or a French salon or a symposium. Although, Corsiatto and Christian have a different take on it. “When you’re hanging out in Arrow with him and I,” Corsiatto says, “it’s like ClownTown.”
Arrow Cafe will host their fourth art show on June 2 at 7:00 PM. They will be exhibiting the art work from 14 different New Orleans artists. There will also be food trucks, baked, and–of course–coffee.