Brunch at Katie’s and North Claiborne Avenue in the Treme


My last day in New Orleans is always a little sad, but for this Sunday morning, Darren Towns and I decided to head out to Katie’s, a restaurant in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans, which somehow I had never been to. Although the place looked crowded, we were able to get right in, and I was impressed with the shady ambiance of the outdoor seating, although due to the heat, we opted to eat indoors. Katie’s is a full-service restaurant, offering a lot more than breakfast, yet breakfast is what we came for, and Katie’s is amazing. I chose a seafood omelette, asking them to exclude the green onions, which they did, and I enjoyed it very much. While we were enjoying our breakfast, the place crowded up very quickly, and there was soon an hour wait or more, so it’s a good idea to go early. I noticed that Katie’s also offers po-boys and hamburgers, so I will have to visit again when it isn’t breakfast. I don’t know how I missed this place for so long, but I won’t miss it anymore. After leaving there, we headed down to North Claiborne Avenue where there was supposed to be a coffee bar called Addiction, but it wasn’t open. Next door was a strange example of the oddities of gentrification, as the building was the old Clabon Theatre, but its current owners, who apparently didn’t know any better, painted the boarded-up front black, with a legend “The Clabon”, and then for some reason, a map of Claiborne Parish, on the opposite side of the state near Shreveport, showing the location of Homer and Haynesville and such. Of course Claiborne Parish and Claiborne Avenue and The Clabon theatre have nothing in common except having been named for the same governor of Louisiana. But apparently these millennials didn’t know that.

Katie’s Restaurant & Bar
3701 Iberville St
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 488-6582

Under The Bridge on Claiborne on Mardi Gras Afternoon

083 St. Bernard Avenue084 Downtown Indians Under The Bridge086 New Orleans Invictus087 In The 6th Ward088 St. Bernard Avenue089 Music Stage Under The Bridge090 Mardi Gras Shakedown091 Young Sino092 North Claiborne093 Under The Bridge094 DJ Money Green095 Bikes and Four-Wheelers096 Under The Bridge097 Truck Floats098 Under The Bridge099 Under The Bridge100 North Claiborne Avenue101 Downtown Indians Under The Bridge102 Spy Boy103 Downtown Indians103 Downtown Indians104 Downtown Indians105 The Culture Renewed106 North Claiborne Avenue107 Downtown Indians108 Downtown Indians108 Bikes on Claiborne109 Downtown Indians110 Downtown Indians111 Downtown Indians112 Downtown Indians113 Downtown Indians114 Under The Bridge115 Back Dat Grill Up116 Under The Bridge117 Deep South Audio118 DJ-ing Under The Bridge119 North Claiborne Avenue120 Under The Bridge121 Maxxpain122 The St. Bernard123 Under The Bridge124 Joe T's Treme Spot125 North Claiborne Avenue127 Under The Bridge128 North Claiborne Avenue129 Under The Bridge130 Under The Bridge131 Indians Going Home133 Indian Drummers134 Indian Drummers135 Downtown Indians136 Laban Food Mart137 Downtown Indians in the Treme138 Downtown Indians in the Treme139 Downtown Indians in the Treme140 Downtown Indians in the Treme141 Downtown Indians in the Treme142 Downtown Indians in the Treme143 Downtown Indians in the Treme144 Downtown Indians in the Treme145 Downtown Indians in the Treme146 Downtown Indians in the Treme149 Downtown Indians Under The Bridge150 Downtown Indians Under The Bridge151 Downtown Indians Under The Bridge152 Downtown Indians on North Claiborne153 Downtown Indians at Claiborne & St. Bernard154 Downtown Indians
It took me nearly an hour to get from Metairie to the North Claiborne Avenue area where TBC Brass Band was supposed to be playing, and where, incidentally, Darren had told me I might run into some of the Mardi Gras Indians. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find any parking, but out north of the Interstate bridge, I found a vacant lot across from a church where nobody was charging any money and lots of people were pulling in and parking. It meant a long walk across a long, vacant commons towards the new Lafitte Project, but the sun had come out and the weather seemed a bit warmer. Under the I-10 bridge, the crowds were truly massive. There was a large stage on St. Bernard Avenue, where bounce rappers were performing, but I could not find any of the TBC Brass Band members anywhere. Since it was more than an hour after they were supposed to start playing, I might have missed them. There were vendors and food trucks, a DJ spinning on a street corner, people zooming around on motorcycles and four-wheelers, and up at the far end, elaborately-costumed Mardi Gras Indians, as I had hoped. I soon found, however, that eager crowds pressed around them so that it was hard to shoot pictures or capture video. But still, seeing the Indians in their beautiful costumes up close was amazing in itself, and I was able to follow one tribe and its drummers down into the Treme neighborhood as they were on their way home, and got some better pictures and footage there.
Choosing the area under an interstate bridge for a festival site may seem strange, but the evidence is that the neutral ground of Claiborne Avenue was a festive site for New Orleans’ Black community long before the interstate was built. Community leaders in the Treme neighborhood had tried to halt the interstate construction, but had failed. More recently, since Hurricane Katrina, some activist white kids had suggested removing the interstate in that area, redesignating I-610 as I-10, and restoring the neutral ground of Claiborne as the grassy, tree-lined site it once was, but with the Superdome so nearby, that is unlikely. Black residents resent the overhead interstate, but continue to use the space during Mardi Gras and also after second-lines, when large crowds often gather there. The one positive thing that I’ve had people tell me about the bridge is that brass bands sound really good under there.
Gradually, it got dark, and the crowds began to gradually disperse, so I left as well, headed Uptown to see if I could find any of the Uptown Mardi Gras Indian tribes.

Under The Bridge and Along North Claiborne With the @TBC_BrassBand at the Money Wasters Second-Line

Whenever a downtown second-line reaches the I-10 bridge on North Claiborne, things get kicked up a notch, because there is usually already a crowd under the bridge on Sundays. Some people actually bring coolers, hibachis and lawn chairs and sit under the bridge, watching the custom cars, motorcycles and second-liners that go past. People race go-karts and motorcycles along both directions of North Claiborne, spinning tires and throwing up smokescreens, and gradually the crowd watching that and the crowd in the second-line get joined together. Here the dancing gets more exuberant, for the dancers know they have a large audience, and all of it may also be related to the old neutral ground on Claiborne being an important place for the Black community in Treme prior to the construction of the high-rise interstate overhead.