HomeFest, an annual community celebration of place-based economic development and culture, was celebrated on Saturday, July 23rd, between 11am - 7 p.m., bringing over 500 attendees to the most historic road in New Orleans. This year’s theme, "The Soul of New Orleans", showcased Bayou Road,"The Black Wall Street of New Orleans," its entrepreneurs and cultural history and the talents of over 20 Black cultural vendors on the brick-paved street. From an African-inspired stilt walker and jazz and percussion street performances to a 90’s-theme photo backdrop, a clothing filled- pop-up shop and video-installation about Black Bayou Road entrepreneurship and self-determination, this year’s festival gave goers an empowering intergenerational experience!
Created in 2013 by Community Book Center, the longest running Black bookstore and cultural hub in New Orleans, - HomeFest was conceived as a platform for elevating cultural institutions, artists, authors and other native talents while shining light on local challenges and vital economic and community resources. And this year, it did not disappoint!
"HomeFest 2022 brought the community home! It matters because we have to support each other and ourselves. For our area to have a diverse mix shows that we can be a destination for folks in New Orleans. They don't have to leave the city to enjoy themselves and care for themselves. We have food, beauty, shopping, spirits, theater, music, a museum, an artist residency, lodging, nightlife, and more. This is why HomeFest 2022 was created. Partnerships like New Corp, Fund 17, and Broad Community Connections as resources to support the corridors' economic growth are equally important."
—Vera Warren-Williams, Owner, Community Book Center
Co-produced by Broad Community Connections and LikeMindsDine Productions with guidance from the Bayou Road Business Association and the Black Bayou Cultural Heritage & Economic Development Association, Inc, HomeFest 2022’s bright colors and Ankara prints filled the 2400 and 2500 blocks bringing the theme to life. Vendor tables lined the streets showcasing community organizations, handmade wellness and beauty products, jewelry, and clothing of Black business owners who call New Orleans home. The aromas of African, Caribbean and New Orleanian cuisine floated in the air alongside sounds of live music and laughter. Homefesters gathered on the steps of the Andre Cailloux Center for Performing Arts and Cultural Justice dancing to the sounds of DJ RQ Away, DJ Rakim Beau, and the Knockaz Brass Brand while multigenerational affirmations and neighborhood history from community leaders, organizers, and partners like Rev. Dr. Denise Graves, Civil Rights activist Leona Tate, and Bayou Road visionary Beverly McKenna soaked the crowd with wisdom and inspiration.
"Bayou Road will always be a second home to our organization," says Bivian "Sonny" Lee III, Founder and CEO of Son of a Saint and a sponsor of this year’s HomeFest. "The neighborhood welcomed us with open arms during a transitional period in our organization's history. Son of a Saint wants to continue to engage and collaborate with community partners like the Bayou Road Business Association and Broad Community Connections in a meaningful and impactful way, which is what Homefest 2022 is. We want to do our part and help elevate other Black-led nonprofits and organizations centered around community improvement and mission-driven development."
—Bivian "Sonny" Lee III, Founder and CEO, Son of a Saint
HomeFest 2023 is underway, but you can visit Bayou Road today. Whether a local New Orleanian or visitor, there is something for you. The close-knit community of enterprises on Bayou Road offers books, performance and visual art, beauty services, and a variety of cuisine.
For more information, check out www.bayouroad.com.
When you are here– You are HOME.
Special thanks to all of HomeFest 2022 sponsors:
About Like Minds Dine Productions
like minds dine is a multimedia and live events production company established in November, 2017 by media & entertainment industry professional Kristin J. Meyers. They specialize in the art of storytelling through visual productions, including Music Television, Experiential, Live Events, Digital Media, and Film.
About Bayou Road Business Association
The Bayou Road Business Association is a collaborative initiative of business and property owners and eligible stakeholders focused on maintaining and improving the commercial corridor. The Bayou Road business corridor is bound by North Broad St, to Esplanade Ave, to Tonti St, to Bayou Rd, to North Dorgenois St, to Columbus St, and back to North Broad. The BRBA is supported in partnership with Broad Community Connections. For more information about the Bayou Road Association, visit https://www.bayouroad.com.
About Broad Community Connections
Broad Community Connections is a community development organization devoted to building community power by investing in Broad Street neighborhoods' health, economic, residential, and cultural development. To learn more about BCCs programs and initiatives, visit https://www.broadcommunityconnections.org.
About Black Bayou Cultural Heritage & Economic Development Association
A coalition of Black business and property owners formed to support each other and improve the economic, historical, and cultural environment for Black-owned businesses and longtime residents of the area.
About Black Wall Street
Refers to affluent commercial and residential neighborhoods founded by Black Americans who created businesses to support their communities during segregation. Bronzeville in Chicago, IL; Farish Street in Jackson, MS; Greenwood in Tulsa, OK; Hayti in Durham, North Carolina; Sweet Auburn in Atlanta; and West Ninth Street in Little Rock, AR, are all on the list. (The History you Didn't Learn: Wall Street, TIME) - https://www.history.com/news/tulsa-massacre-black-wall-street-before-and-after-photos